Current Affairs 19th December 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The first Cyber Crime Police Station in Himachal Pradesh was inaugurated at the state police headquarters here by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh . After inaugurating the police station online from his office, he said the main objective of this Cyber Crime Police Station is to deal with increasing incidents of crime in cyberspace. It will register and probe cyber crimes such as hacking of government web sites and its data, online fraud and cyber terrorism. This police station will also liaise with nodal agencies dealing with cyber crime and undertake investigation for its detection and prevention, he said, adding it will also spread awareness about cyber crime and ways to avoid being falling victim to it.

Himachal Pradesh has achieved 100 percent Aadhar saturation on the basis of population of year 2015, making it the sixth state after Delhi, Telangana, Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh to have achieved this milestone. In this small hill state Aadhaar numbers have been generated for 72, 52,880 residents. In order to maintain this achievement in future, special arrangements have been made under which services of Anganwari workers and health services will be taken to cover different age groups. About 240 Permanent Enrolment Centres are operational for updating and enrolment activity while 22 Aadhaar Mobile Vans are also covering any left out citizen or elderly person in the remote areas of the state.

Amid Naga protests, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has inaugurated two new districts Pherzawl and Noney out of Naga-dominated districts of Churachandpur and Tamenglong respectively. According to the state government, new districts have been created to bring infrastructure development in the interior hill areas. Manipur has been greatly disturbed by armed violence with the formation of the United National Liberation Front of Manipur (UNLF) on November 24, 1964. Insurgency started in Manipur as early as in the 1960s.  Another significant Manipuri armed separatist group known as the Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) and its armed wing, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), has been engaging in an armed struggle since 1976. The objectives of these organizations are same: independence and sovereignty of Manipur  

About 25-30 global CEOs and the heads of the multi national corporations will throng to Gujarat on January 10, 2017 for the 8th edition of biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (VGGS) 2017. The global CEOs will be accompanied by almost an equal number of Indian corporate leaders, who will attend the Global CEO Round table, to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Bollywood actress, Priyanka Chopra as the brand ambassador of state tourism. She will promote brand entity of “Awesome Assam”.  The six month old BJP government had gone on a celebrity hunt to promote Assam tourism. Chopra will visit Assam on December 24 and address international tour operators meet.  The minister explained that Priyanka was chosen for she is the presently the best. Assam government had explored various options and was in talks with batting maestro, Sachin Tendulkar, Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor, actress Depika Padukhone.   

Indian cricketer Karun Nair scored triple century in first innings of the fifth and final test-match against England. The match is being played at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. With this, Nair became the second Indian batsmen to score triple century in tests. Earlier, Virendra Sehwag scored two triple centuries in test matches. Karun Nair’s unbeaten 303 helped India to reach 759/7 score. This score also helped India to lead England by 282 runs. In the first innings of the match England scored 477 runs.  In the test cricket history, a triple century has been scored by 26 different batsmen on 30 different occasions.  These triple centuries were scored by batsmen from eight of the ten test cricket playing nations. No cricketer from Zimbabwe and Bangladesh has scored 300. The First cricketer to score a triple century was Andy Sandham of England. He scored the triple century against West Indies in 1930 in a Test hosted by West Indies.

The Supreme Court of India has referred cases against note ban to a constitution bench. The ruling was given by a bench comprising the Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur and justices DY Chandrachud and AM Khanwilkar. The primary responsibility of the constitution bench will be to review - The constitutionality of the demonetization scheme Procedural irregularities in its implementation if any Violation of citizen’s right by the cap on cash withdrawals from ATMs and bank counters The bench further framed nine questions for the consideration of the bench. The proposed bench will start functioning in January 2017. The nine questions framed by the Supreme Court are  :  1. Does the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has the power to issue the 8 November 2016 notification to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes? 2. Does demonetization violate a citizen’s right to property provided by the Article 300A of the constitution? 3. Does demonetization violate a citizen’s fundamental right to equality provided under Part III of the constitution? 4. Does capping withdrawal limit have a basis in law? 5. Does the demonetization have the procedural basis? 6. Is Reserve Bank of India’s power to scrap notes an outcome of excessive delegation of power by the Parliament? 7. What is the scope of the judicial review vis-à-vis fiscal and monetary policy? 8. Can a political party file a writ petition in the Supreme Court against a government policy? 9. Is the decision barring district cooperative banks from handling cancelled currency notes discriminatory? However, the court refused to provide the interim relief sought by the petitioners. Senior counsel and former Union Ministers P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal appealed for an extension of the time limit to use the scraped notes for certain essential payments and allowing district cooperative banks to accept the banned currency notes.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed new conditions on the deposit of the old demonetised Rs 500 and 1000 notes. The bank has stated that the deposit of old notes exceeding the amount of Rs 5000 will be allowed only once per account till 30 December 2016, the last date for the submission of the old notes. The deposit will need to be backed by a satisfactory explanation on why the owner had not deposited the notes earlier. Even if someone attempts to make multiple deposits in a value lesser than Rs 5000 to try and work around the new rule, they will face the same scrutiny once they cross the mark of Rs 5000 and their multiple deposits will be evaluated as if they were just one. This move has been made to keep a check on the inflow of a large amount of unaccounted for cash through bank accounts. Along with this, the bank stated that the old notes exceeding the value of Rs 5000 shall only be credited to the KYC (Know Your Customer) complain accounts, as these accounts will give the bank easy access to the identity and addresses of the clients. The high denomination notes of Rs 500 and 1000 were demonetised all of a sudden on 9 November 2016, following which people were given time till 30 December to deposit all their old notes. The government had then stated that any deposit above Rs 2.5 lakh will invite tax scrutiny but it also gave a chance to the black money hoarders to come forward and declare their money by paying 50 percent in tax and penalty under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana 2016. Almost 13 lakh crores of old notes have been returned to the system. This is not, however, the end of RBI’s announcement, as the bank is expected to issue more guidelines on maintaining strict scrutiny on the deposit of Rs 5000 plus old notes.

‘Hour of Code’: Disney’s campaign in India to teach computer programming to school students To help kids imbibe technical skills at an early age, Disney has launched its ‘Hour of Code’ campaign in India. Under the campaign, the entertainment firm will teach computer programming to school children through its free online tutorial featuring characters from its film Moana. Presently, Disney is teaching coding to school students in different states of India like Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Disney came to India with this campaign in its third global edition. Facts of the campaign  It will teach the basics of coding to students aged 8 years and above It is being taken in over 700 private and Public schools of these three states. The programme that aims to reach out to a million students in India is being carried under the partnership with Next Education. Benefits of the tutorial: The students will learn the basic principles of coding, which is a long run will lay the foundation for text-based programming for them. Disney India Vice President Abhishek Maheshwari in a statement said that Hour of Code will help students to bring their stories to life. He also said that storytelling, when combined with technology, turns up to be one of the most powerful tools, which can be accessed by a child. Hour of Code campaign : The campaign was first started in 2013 by Code.org. Presently, the campaign has seen the participation of more than million students globally. Partners of the campaign include big names like Google and Microsoft. The previous two Hour of Code tutorial featured characters from movies like Star Wars and Frozen. Under these tutorials, about 40 million students learnt the basics of coding. This year, ‘Moana: Wayfinding with Code’ tutorial created in collaboration with Code.org will be available in available in 23 languages in more than 180 countries.

Atletico de Kolkata  was crowned the Indian Super League champions for the second time in three seasons. The team defeated the Kerala Blasters in a penalty shootout, 4–3, during the final. The match had ended 1–1 after 90 minutes and extra time. Atletico de Kolkata : Atletico de Kolkata is an Indian Super League football franchise. It is based in Kolkata, West Bengal. It was established on 7 May 2014 as the first team in the league. The team is owned by Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd., which consists of Sourav Ganguly, Spanish La Liga club Atletico Madrid, alongside businessmen Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka and Utsav Parekh. The marquee player for the 2016 season was Portugal international forward Helder Postiga. Spanish midfielder Borja Fernández served as the captain of the team. Indian Super League : The Indian Super League is a men's professional football league in India. It was founded in 2013 in an effort to make football a top sport in India and to increase the level of Indian football worldwide. The league currently features eight teams from around India. Since the inaugural season, three teams have been crowned the champions of the Indian Super League. The winner of the 2015 Indian Super League was Chennaiyin.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) of the United Kingdom (UK) on 15 December 2016 approved the 3-parent technique. A 3-parent baby contains Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from three parents. This technique allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies by replacing a mother's faulty mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) with another woman's mDNA. With the present approval, the UK has become the first country in the world to legally approve the controversial medical advancement. Though Mexico became home to the first baby with this technique in September 2016 itself, the country has no explicit legal stance on this issue so far. The 3-parent baby technique : Mitochondria are structures in cells which generate vital energy and contain their own set of genes called mDNA. Mitochondrial diseases are passed through the mother and cause symptoms ranging from poor vision to diabetes and muscle wasting. The technique involves in vitro fertilization of both the mother's egg and a donor's egg with the father's sperm.  Before these two fertilised eggs begin dividing into an embryo, the unhealthy mother’s egg nucleus is replaced with egg's nucleus of a healthy donor. This gives the doctors with a fertilised egg with a healthy donor mitochondria and the mother's DNA in the nucleus. This fertilised egg with the donor’s healthy mitochondria will be implanted in the mother’s uterus.

India's Vijender Singh has knocked out Tanzania's Francis Cheka at the Thyagaraj Stadium, New Delhi, to defend his WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title. Singh took less than 10 minutes to knock Cheka out in the third round itself to retain the title. The Haryana boxer had won the title in July 2016 by defeating WBC European champion Kerry Hope. On the other hand, the Indian boxers dominated the undercard fights as well. In the first fight of the evening, Rajesh Kumar defeated Mubaraka Sseguya of Uganda in the Lightweight category. In the same category, Kuldeep Dhanda outpunched Egy Rozten of Indonesia. Deepak Tanwar emerged victorious in the Welterweight division by defeating Indonesian Sutriyono Bara Boys by technical knockout. In the Cruiserweight division, Dharmender Grewal overpowered Ugandan Abasi Kyobe by unanimous decision. India's Vijender Singh on 17 December 2016 knocked out Tanzania's Francis Cheka at the Thyagaraj Stadium, New Delhi, to defend his WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title. Singh took less than 10 minutes to knock Cheka out in the third round itself to retain the title. The Haryana boxer had won the title in July 2016 by defeating WBC European champion Kerry Hope. On the other hand, the Indian boxers dominated the undercard fights as well. In the first fight of the evening, Rajesh Kumar defeated Mubaraka Sseguya of Uganda in the Lightweight category. In the same category, Kuldeep Dhanda outpunched Egy Rozten of Indonesia. Deepak Tanwar emerged victorious in the Welterweight division by defeating Indonesian Sutriyono Bara Boys by technical knockout. In the Cruiserweight division, Dharmender Grewal overpowered Ugandan Abasi Kyobe by unanimous decision. World Boxing Organization (WBO) : The World Boxing Organization is a sanctioning organization, which recognizes professional boxing world champions. The WBO's headquarters are located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is recognized by the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) as one of the four major world championship groups. The other three major world championship groups are the World Boxing Association (WBA), the World Boxing Council (WBC) and the International Boxing Federation (IBF).

Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle was crowned Miss World 2016 at the 66th edition of the event held at MGM National Harbor, Maryland in the United States of America on 18 December 2016. The competition saw a total of 117 contestants from countries across the globe. Stephanie Del Valle beat runner-ups Miss Dominican Republic Yaritza Reyes and Miss Indonesia Natasha Mannuela to grab the esteemed title. Other contestants who made it to the top five were Miss Philippines Catriona Elisa Gray and Miss Kenya Evelyn Njambi. 19-year-old Dev Valle was crowned by Miss World 2015, Mireia Lalaguna Royo. With the win, she becomes the second Puerto Rican to hold the title since the start of the competition in 1951. The first Puerto Rican to win the title was Wilnelia Merced in 1975. Dev Valle hopes to use this victory to enter the entertainment industry. Miss India Priyadarshini Chatterjee, fell out of the race after failing to qualify in the top 10. She had initially made it into the top 20 and even into the top five for Beauty with a Purpose title, which was, however, later won by Miss Indonesia. The 20-year-old was the first candidate from the North East region to represent India at the World pageant. Other Winners Miss Cook Islands, Natalia Short won the sports challenge  Miss China PR, Jing Kong won the Top Model competition Miss Mongolia, Bayartsetseg Altangerel was the winner of the Talent challenge Miss Philippines Catriona Gray won the Multimedia challenge   Miss Indonesia Natasha Mannuela won the Beauty with a Purpose title. All these five challenge winners automatically earned a place in the Top 20. The country to hold the maximum number of winners is Venezuela with 6 Miss World titles, followed by India and the United Kingdom with 5 wins and then South Africa, United States, Iceland, Jamaica, and Sweden, all of whom are tied with 3 wins each. The last Indian to have won the Miss World crown was Priyanka Chopra in the year 2000 and before that it was Yukta Mookhey in 1999 and Diana Hayden in 1997. Reita Faria was the very first Indian to grab the title in 1966 and decades later in 1994 the crown had again found its way to India because of none other than Aishwarya Rai. Miss World Pageant :  It is the oldest surviving major international beauty pageant. It was created by Eric Morley in 1951 in the United Kingdom  It is being co-chaired by Julia Morley since the death of her husband in 2000.   The main rivals of the competition are Miss Universe and Miss Earth, which are also equally popular global beauty pageants.

Henry Judah Heimlich, inventor of life-saving Heimlich manoeuvre, passed away on 17 December 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. He was 96. Heimlich had graduated from New Rochelle High School in 1937. He earned a BA degree from Cornell University in 1941. He received his M.D. from the Weill Cornell Medical College in 1943. Heimlich also invented the Micro Trach portable oxygen system for ambulatory patients. He was also the inventor of the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve, which drains blood and air out of the chest cavity. The valve’s design allows air and blood to drain from the chest cavity in order to allow a collapsed lung to re-expand. Heimlich manoeuvre : Heimlich first published his views about the manoeuvre in an informal article in Emergency Medicine titled Pop Goes the Cafe Coronary in June 1974. On 19 June 1974, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that retired restaurant-owner Isaac Piha used the procedure to rescue a choking victim, Irene Bogachus, in Washington. From 1976 to 1985, the choking-rescue guidelines of the American Heart Association and of the American Red Cross taught rescuers to first perform a series of backblows to remove the Foreign Body Airway Obstruction (FBAO). If backblows failed, then the rescuers learned to proceed with the Heimlich maneuver. After American Heart Association conference in July 1985, backblows were removed from choking-rescue guidelines. From 1986 to 2005, the published guidelines of the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross recommended only the Heimlich manoeuvre as the treatment for choking. The choking-rescue guidelines published by the American Heart Association in 2005 called the procedure as ‘abdominal thrusts.’ On 23 May 2016, Heimlich used the manoeuvre himself for the second time to successfully save the life of a fellow resident of his senior living community. He had used it for the first time on a man choking in a restaurant when he was about 80 years old.

State Bank MobiCash Mobile Wallet was launched on 18 December 2016. MobiCash is a product of State Bank of India (SBI) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL). It was jointly inaugurated by Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley and Minister of State for Communications (Independent charge) and Minster of State for Railways Manoj Sinha. While introducing the MobiCash Mobile Wallet service, Finance Minister appreciated the broader vision of SBI and BSNL to bring a Wallet both for smart and feature phones. State Bank MobiCash Mobile Wallet : State Bank MobiCash will be the Mobile Wallet Service of the State Bank of India and includes the service over the Application/USSD/SMS.  In this case, bank means State Bank of India or any of its successors or assignees, while, wallet means a mobile-based prepaid wallet registered with the Bank. Wallet Holder means the holder of State Bank MobiCash. This wallet service can be accessed with the help of 6 digits Mobile Personal Identification Number (MPIN). These mobile wallets will be governed by RBI and Bank’s policy. The product will be available to applicants having a valid Mobile number, identity proof and address proof.

The Union government has appointed senior IPS officer Rajiv Jain as the new chief of Intelligence Bureau (IB).  He succeeds Dineshwar Sharma and shall have two years term. He is IPS officer of the 1980-batch of Jharkhand-cadre. He had joined the IB in 1989 as assistant director. Since then he has worked in different capacities including the sensitive Kashmir desk. He had handled various assignments as chief of Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB), name given to IB units in state capitals. He had headed the Ahmedabad SIB (from 2005 to 2008) and later in Delhi SIB (from 2008 to 2012) which is considered politically sensitive. He was advisor to previous NDA government’s interlocutor on Kashmir K C Pant when talks were held with separatist leaders. He is recipient of President’s Police Medal. Intelligence Bureau (IB) :  IB is India’s internal intelligence agency. It was recasted as the Central Intelligence Bureau in 1947 under the Ministry of Home Affairs.  

India and Tajikistan have signed four agreements in areas including on double taxation avoidance, money laundering and counter-terrorism. These agreements were signed following delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon in New Delhi.  Signed agreements are  : Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Broadcasting in Exchange of Audio Visual Programs MoU for cooperation in the exchange of financial intelligence related to money laundering, related crimes and financing of terrorism. Protocol amending the Agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income. Announcement of initiation of Bilateral investment treaty between both countries. Highlights : Terrorism: Both countries agreed to deepen their engagement to deal with the threat of terrorism and radicalism in the neighbourhood especially in Afghanistan. Called to end sponsorship, support and provision of safe havens and sanctuaries to terrorists. CCIT: Both countries affirmed to resolve to work for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the UN General Assembly. UNSC: Tajikistan support India’s bid for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. Connectivity: Need for exploring the possibility of increasing flight operations between the two countries. Appreciated signing of the trilateral Chahbahar port agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan as the project will provide connectivity to Tajikistan. People to people contact: Agreed to explore ways for easier business, medical and tourist and other visas to promote people to people exchanges.  

The Union Government has decided to set up a single permanent Tribunal to adjudicate all inter-State river water disputes. This single body will subsume all existing tribunals for resolving grievances of inter-State water disputes in a speedy manner. It will be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge. The Tribunal will also have more teeth as whenever it gives order, the verdict gets notified automatically. Until now, the Union Government was required to notify the awards, causing delay in its implementation. Besides the tribunal, the Union Government has also proposed to float some Benches by amending the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956 to look into disputes as and when required. Unlike the tribunal, these benches will cease to exist once the disputes are resolved. Earlier water tribunals took decades to deliver final awards into disputes, whereas the proposed Tribunal is expected to deliver its verdict during a span of three years. Along with the tribunal, the amendment also has been proposed to set up Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC). The DRC will be comprising experts and policy-makers. It is proposed to handle disputes prior to the tribunal. The Union Government will set up a DRC whenever a state will request. Most of the disputes will be resolved at the DRC’s level itself. But if a State is not satisfied, it can approach the tribunal.

India has defeated Belgium 2-1 in the final to lift the 2016 Men's Hockey Junior World Cup. The final was played at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The third place in the tournament went to Germany, who was defeated by Belgium in the semi-final. Also, it was the first time that a host nation has won the Cup in 11 editions of the tournament. Top scorer in the tournament: England’s Edward Horler (8 goals) Best player in the tournament: Spain’s Enrique Gonzalez de Castejon Best goalkeeper in the tournament: Belgium’s Loic Van Doren Men's Hockey Junior World Cup : The Hockey Junior World Cup is an international field hockey competition. It is organised by the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The tournament was started in 1979. The tournament has been held every four years since 1985. Germany is the most successful team, having won the tournament six times followed by India, having won the tournament two times. Argentina, Australia and Pakistan have each won the tournament once. The 2013 tournament was held in India from 2 November to 17 November 2013 in which Germany emerged as the winner. .France had claimed its first ever medal in tournament winning silver after losing to Germany. The 2016 Men's Hockey Junior World Cup was held in Lucknow from 8 December to 18 December 2016.

In an interesting new project, British Library- the national library of the United Kingdom- is going to digitise 4000 early printed Bengali books, amounting to almost 800000 pages. The project is being conducted as a part of the UK-India Year of Culture plans for 2017. It is also a part of a wider project titled ‘Two Centuries of Indian Print’, which is an international partnership headed by British library to digitise all unique reading material from its South Asian printed books collection. The collection features books that are highly popular, covering almost 22 South Asian languages. It will explore how digital research methods and tools can be applied to the unique digitised collection  It will make South Asia’s rich literature accessible to everyoneIt has received a funding of almost 500000 pounds from Newton Fund.  The publications that are going to be digitised include rare ones that do not survive in other libraries and so, are in huge demand.  It will see collaborations between the British Library and Indian institutions in order to encourage the flow of knowledge and skill and to help the Indian institutions to build a research capacity,  It will deliver digital skills workshops and training sessions at Indian institutions in order to support innovative research within South Asian studies. 

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has opposed a move to establish a separate entity to regulate payments and settlements as recommended by Ratan Watal Committee for Digital Payments. The 11-member committee was notified in September 2016 by the Union Finance Ministry to review existing payment systems in country and recommend appropriate measures for encouraging Digital Payments. One of the committee’s terms of reference was to study and recommend changes in the regulatory mechanism under various acts such as the RBI Act, Payments and Settlement Act, and the Information Technology Act among others. Based on it, the committee had recommended making regulation of retail payments independent from the function of RBI to give digital payments boost. It had called for establishing separate Payments Regulatory Board (PRB) as an independent body for retail payments and suggested that RBI’s regulation must be kept only for SIPS (systemically important payment system).  According to the global practice both the SIPS and retail payment systems are under the central bank for a variety of reasons including issues of inter-connectivity between the systems and the role of the central bank as the lender of last resort (LOLR). RBI has mooted a monetary-policy-committee-style structure for the PRB, where outcomes are decided independently, but implementation remains with the banking regulator.

China has launched its first fully-owned overseas satellite ground station near the North Pole enabling it to collect satellite data anywhere on the Earth at fastest speed in the world. It is formally known as China Remote Sensing Satellite North Pole Ground Station. It is located about 200 kms north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden. The Artic ground station is built and run by Chinese Academy of Sciences. It will allow China to collect satellite data anywhere on Earth at speeds that were more than twice as fast as before. It will use best and most sensitive signal receiving devices ever built by China. It includes one with higher bandwidth, covering frequencies from 26.5 to 40 GHz. It has download speed of 6 Gigabits (billions of bits) per second, fastest in the world. It will also play an important role in China’s Gaofen project, a network of observation satellites orbiting Earth to provide global surveillance capabilities which is due to be completed in 2020. Advantages of this facility  : This facility in Sweden can download data from satellites orbiting Earth in less than 3.5 hours, compared to domestic ground stations located in other part of world which require 7 hours. The shorter time is because satellites orbiting North Pole are able to pass about 12 times each day around Earth while those satellites flying over China can orbit Earth only about 5 times each day.

The Union Government has appointed senior IPS officer Anil Dhasmana as new chief of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency.  He succeeds Rajinder Khanna who completes his two year tenure on 31 December 2016. He will have tenure of 2 years. Anil Dhasmana   : He is a 1981-batch IPS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre. Prior to this appointment he was Special Secretary in the agency. He has been with RAW for the last 23 years during which he has served on important desks including Pakistan. He had also served in key foreign capitals such as London and Frankfurt. His domain of expertise is considered to be Balochistan, counter-terrorism and Islamic affairs. He also has experience in handling Pakistan, Afghanistan, Europe and SAARC desks. Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)  : RAW is the primary foreign intelligence agency of India. It was established in 1968 following the intelligence failures of the Sino-Indian and Indo-Pakistani wars. It is under the direct command of Prime Minister and reports on an administrative basis to the Cabinet Secretary of India, who reports to the Prime Minister. Its primary function is gathering foreign intelligence, engaging in counter-terrorism, advising Indian policymakers, promoting counter-proliferation and advancing India’s foreign strategic interests.  

The Supreme Court in a landmark verdict held that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and did not enjoy sovereign status, either under its constitution or that of India. The apex court made this observation while hearing on appeal filed by State Bank of India (SBI) and other banks over the issue of recovery of loans under Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002. It affirmed that J&K’s constitution was subordinate to the Indian Constitution and its permanent residents were Indian citizens. The SBI and other banks had appealed against Jammu and Kashmir High Court verdict given in July 2015. The J&K HC had held that the SARFAESI Act, 2002 enacted by the Parliament was not valid in respect of the permanent residents of the state as it collides with the Transfer of Property Act of Jammu & Kashmir, 1920. It had held that law made by Parliament which affects the laws made by a State legislature cannot be extended to J&K. In its judgment, the HC had repeatedly referred to the sovereignty of the state and held that Section 5 of the Constitution of J&K gives absolute sovereign power to state to legislate in respect of laws touching the rights of its permanent residents qua their immovable properties. Section 3 of the constitution of J&K, states that the state of J&K is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India. This provision is beyond the pale of amendment. Thus, it is clear that J&K has no vestige of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India and its own constitution, which is subordinate to the Constitution of India. Preamble to the J&K’s constitution also does not talk about sovereignty of citizens of the state. Thus, J&K HC has gone out of its way “to refer to a sovereignty which does not exist. Permanent residents of J&K are citizens of India and there is no dual citizenship as is contemplated by some other federal Constitutions in other parts of the world. Therefore, it is wholly incorrect to describe it as being sovereign in the sense of its residents constituting a separate and distinct class in themselves. The provisions of the SARFAESI Act, 2002, are within the legislative competence of Parliament and can be enforced in J&K.

The NASA has successfully launched constellation of eight mini-satellites as part Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) into space to improve hurricane forecasting. These satellites were air launched by aerospace company Orbital ATK onboard of Pegasus rocket fired from plane at height of 12km. NASA had opted for air launch rather than traditional rocket liftoff from the ground, to cut costs. Each of the micro-satellite of CYGNSS weighs just 64 pounds (32kg) and has 5-foot wingspan. They will be placed into the orbit 500km above earth’s surface. They have GPS navigation receivers to frequently measure the surface roughness of oceans. It will allow scientists to calculate wind speed and storm intensity. Unlike weather satellites already in orbit, these satellites can peer through rain swirling in a hurricane, all the way into the core or eye.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) will soon launch ‘Tarang Sanchar’ portal that will let users check radiation compliance status of mobile towers and transmitters across country. Using this portal user can also request to get a particular BTS tested by DoT to assess its electro-magnetic frequency (EMF) compliance level. The portal has data from 12.5 lakh base transceiver stations (BTS). It will enable users to view tower-specific details such as the operator, the supporting technology (2G/3G/4G). It will also help user to check with mobile tower meets electro-magnetic frequency (EMF) by putting in a specific request to DoT. DoT will test mobile towers for free if the prescribed ceiling in a particular service area for testing of BTS has already been reached. It may also charge user fee of Rs. 5000 to get the radiation level checked of mobile towers in case the tests are not undertaken earlier.

The Union government has formed a high-level inter-ministerial task force to look into all the strategic aspects of Indus Water Treaty (IWT) with Pakistan. Mandate of Task force is to take all important strategic and policy decisions. Thus, it will be an all-powerful body which will take decisions regarding the treaty. It will be headed by Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Nripendra Mishra. Besides, other members of it include NSA Ajit Doval, foreign secretary S Jaishankar and secretaries in ministries of finance, power, water resource and environment. Besides, chief secretaries of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir are invitees in the task force. The high-level inter-ministerial task force has been formed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held a review meeting on the 56-year-old Indus Water Treaty (IWT) with Pakistan in the aftermath of series of cross-border terror strikes including Uri attack. In that meeting, it was also decided that India will exploit to the maximum water of Pakistan-controlled Rivers including Jhelum. 

The Union Power Ministry is going to launch new mobile application GARV-II to provide real time data of all six lakh villages of the country. The purpose of the mobile application is to ensure transparency in implementation of rural electrification programme. GARV-II mobile app has incorporated village-wise; habitation-wise base line data on household electrification for all states. It also has mapped village-wise works sanctioned under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) to monitor progress of works in each village. It also incorporates the status of release of funds to the states for electrification projects sanctioned under DDUGJY. GARV-II allows peoples participation for rural electrification work. It opens rural electrification work to public scrutiny and input about rural electrification programme It also has a citizen engagement window ‘SAMVAD’ to enhance participation. It automatically forwards feedback and suggestions of people to the concerned authorities through SMS & Email. It aims to ensure electricity access to all households as government has already electrified over 11,000 villages out of 18,452 un-electrified villages. The earlier version of GARV mobile application was only providing data about rural electrification regarding 18,452 un-electrified villages. The GARV-II will provide real time data of all six lakh villages of the country in real time.

The world’s first cloned goat bearing superfine Cashmere wool was born in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The goat will be raised in a base for animal husbandry research conducted by experts from agricultural universities in southwest China’s Yunnan Province and Inner Mongolia. Cashmere wool is obtained from Cashmere goats and few other types of goat. The wool fibre obtained from clonned goat is less than 13.8 micrometres thick. It is much finer than the average of 15.8 micrometres of the famous Erlang Mountain goats in Inner Mongolia. It is scientific process of creating genetically identical copies of biological matter. It may include genetically identical copies of genes, cells, tissues or entire organisms.

The Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Bipin Rawat will be the new Chief of Army Staff, while Air Marshal BS Dhanoa, the next Chief of Air Staff. They will take charge in the afternoon of 31 December 2016. Lt. Gen Rawat will replace General Dalbir Singh, who will retire from his office at the end of this month. Air Marshal Dhanoa, will replace Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha.  Lt. General Bipin Rawat : Over last three decades of his service, Lt. General Rawat has tremendous hands-on experience of serving in combat areas, and at various functional levels in the Indian Army. He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LAC with China, the LoC with Pakistan and in the North-East.He is known for his balanced approach towards compassion, soldiering and connect with civil society. His experience as GOC-in-C Southern Army Command in Mechanised Warfare has been focused towards the western borders, in coordination with the other two services. As per reports, Lt. Gen Rawat was found the best suited among the Lt. Generals, to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganised and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East. Air Marshal Dhanoa : He was commissioned into the fighter stream of the Air Force in June 1978.He has served in various squadrons, and also in the Intelligence Directorate of Air Headquarters. Earlier in the day, Anil Dhasmana was appointed as the chief of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Dhasmana will succeed Rajinder Khanna. In addition, Rajiv Jain was appointed as the chief of Intelligence Bureau (IB). Jain will succeed Dineshwar Sharma.  

Lanura, a village in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), became the first village in the state to go cashless. As per reports, at least one member of every household in the village has been trained to use the Electronic Payment System (EPS) and so far, 150 people were trained for the purpose. official spokesperson said, the feat was achieved due to the efforts of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and the CSC e-Governance Services India Limited under the objective of Digital Financial Inclusion. The government has been pushing for digital transactions since the demonetisation move that was announced on 8 November 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Lanura village is located some 30 kilometres away from Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. The village falls in Panchayat Bugroo-B in block Khansahab of the district. Budgam district : Budgam was created as a district of the state in 1979. Prior to its creation, it was part of Srinagar district, before that Budgam was a part of Baramulla district when Srinagar itself was a constituent of the Anantnag district. It is one of the districts in Kashmir with a majority Muslim Shiite population. According to the 2011 census, Badgam district has a population of 735753, roughly equal to the US state of Alaska or the nation of Guyana. It had a sex ratio of 883 females for every 1000 males and literacy rate of 57.98 percent, which was an increase of 39.54 percent recorded in 2001. Cashless economy : It is an economy in which almost all transactions are done digitally or by using cards and the circulation of physical currency in minimum. Under the present government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is trying to switch itself to a cashless economy. Till date, India’s economy was mainly dependent on cash transactions.

Swasthya Raksha Programme: The programme was launched by the AYUSH Ministry to promote health and health education in rural villages. The Swasthya Raksha Programme was in news on 16 December 2016 as the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH Shripad Yasso Naik provided information about the programme in the Lok Sabha. Swasthya Raksha Programme It was launched by the Union Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in October 2015. The purpose of the programme is to promote health and health education in villages The Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), the Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM), the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH) and the Central Council for Research in Siddha (CCRS) are implementing the programme. Objectives of the programme are  :  To organize Swasthya Rakshan OPDs, Swasthya Parikshan Camps and hygiene awareness programme To create awareness about cleanliness of domestic surroundings and environment To provide medical aid and incidental support in the adopted Colonies and villages To document demographic information, food habits, hygiene conditions, seasons, lifestyle and disease prevalence To assess health status and propagation of ayurvedic concept of pathya-apathya and extension of health care services. In order to achieve the above objectives, the following initiatives were undertaken so far.Information, education and communication (IEC) material like banners, hoardings, posters and handouts were developed in Hindi, English and 07 regional languages. Swasthya Rakshan OPDs were organized in each village on weekly basis for providing treatment for various disease conditions. Swasthya Parikshan Camps organized on weekly basis.A Survey was undertaken in the identified villages to identify prevalent diseases. Individual health screenings of people have been done. Mass campaigns were organised with a focus on personal, environmental and social hygiene.

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