Today Current Affairs 29th December 2016

29th December Current Affairs 2016: Instantly obtain Latest Current Affairs December 29, 2016 with all essential info, Be the first to know all the Current affairs December 29, 2016 top news, Major Issues, Current happenings, Important events in National as well as International level with clear explanation. For all competitive exams and Interviews, equip yourself with the Latest Current Affairs December 29, 2016 granted here.

South Indian Bank has introduced a full-fledged NRI-focused mobile banking application called SIB Mirror+ across major mobile platforms. The new app was launched after the path-breaking 'E-Lock' feature that provided a single tap solution to fully secure all digital transaction from frauds. SIB Mirror+ equips the customers to perform almost all banking transactions from their smart phones. The app comes with self-registration facility for ease of activation and utilises NEFT facility for interbank fund transfers. It also provides bill payment facility, instant mobile/DTH recharge, cheque book request and 24x7 ‘within bank’ fund transfer. The innovative feature ‘Social Money’ allows customers to transfer money from and to their friends through social media channels like Facebook and Whatsapp.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Affected Areas to improve rural road connectivity in worst LWE affected districts critical from security and communication point of view. The project will be implemented under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to provide all weather road connectivity in 44 worst affected LWE districts and adjoining districts. The Union Ministry of Rural Development will be the implementing Ministry as well as sponsoring Ministry of this project during implementation period four years from 2016-17 to 2019-20.  The fund sharing pattern of LWE road project will be same as that of PMGSY i.e. in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and States for all States. However the ration will be 90:10 for eight North Eastern and three Himalayan States (Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir & Uttarakhand). Road Connectivity Project for LWE Affected Areas  : This project is envisaged in LWE States including the 35 worst affected LWE districts which account for 90% of total LWE violence in the country.  The all-weather roads taken up under this scheme includes Other District Roads (ODRs), Village Roads (VRs) and upgradation of existing Major District Roads (MDRs) that are critical from security point of view. Besides, bridges up to a span of 100 meters which are critical from security angle will also be funded on these roads.  The National Highways and the State Highways are excluded from this project. The roads to be constructed under this project have been identified by Union Ministry of Home Affairs in close consultation with the State Governments and the security agencies.

China has successfully launched pair two high-resolution remote sensing satellites SuperView-1 01 and 02 to get commercial images.  These satellites were launched on-board of Long March 2D rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in Shanxi Province.  They will provide commercial images at 0.5-meter resolution. The satellites launch followed release of a white paper which said China plans to form a BeiDou network consisting of constellation of 35 satellites for global navigation services by 2020. It is expected to compete with US’s Global Positioning system (GPS). China plans to start providing basic navigation services to countries along the Silk Route One Belt One Road Economic route and 21st-century Maritime Silk Road in 2018.  China will launch a lunar probe in 2018 to achieve world’s first soft landing on the far side of the Moon to show case its ambitious space programme including manned missions, building permanent space station and reaching to Mars.

The Union Government has launched Integrated Voice Response System (IVRS) system in a bid to tackle the call drop menace.  The system was launched at multiple locations including Delhi and Mumbai to obtain direct feedback from subscribers on call quality on the issue of frequent call drops. It is now available in Delhi, Mumbai, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Goa and soon will be extended to the entire country. Subscribers will receive an IVRS call from a short code 1955 and will be asked a few questions such as whether they are facing call drops in their area or not. Mobile users can also send a toll-free SMS to the short code, containing their location where they are facing the problem.  The feedback received will be shared with operators so they can take corrective steps in the problem areas and address the issue of call drops. Initially, it will be utilised obtaining feedback for call drops and subsequently it will extended to capture consumer feedback in other areas as well. Call drop occurs after voice call is interrupted or disconnected before it is completed after being successfully established. Thus, it can be said that it represents telecom operator’s inability to maintain a successfully established call prior to their normal completion. Reasons: Call drop may occur if signal strength of mobile tower of telecom operator goes below the minimum acceptable single to make a call. It may also even occur due to interference created by bad environmental conditions and because of improper hard handoff if user is moving from one cell to another cell.

Union Government launched Swachh Swasth Sarvatra initiative to strengthen health centres in open defecation-free (ODF) blocks.  The objective of this initiative is to strengthen community health centres in 708 ODF blocks across the country to enable them to achieve higher levels of cleanliness and hygiene. The Swachh Swasth Sarvatra is a part of the Union Government’s flagship Swachh Bharat Mission and is focused on the twin objectives of constructing toilets and enabling behavioural change. Under it, financial assistance of 10 lakh rupees will be given to the community health centres so that they can be strengthened to meet the standards of sanitation, hygiene and infection control.  It is joint initiative of Ministry of Health and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to achieve better health outcomes through improved sanitation and increase awareness on healthy lifestyles.  Along with this, Union Health Minister J P Nadda and Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar also jointly launched a booklet- Healthy Children Healthy India. The booklet contains tips on leading a healthy life for children.

The Union Government has approved an ordinance to term the possession of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes beyond March 2017 a penal offence. The ordinance also seeks to removes the liability of the government towards bearers of such notes. This 'Specified Bank Notes Cessation of Liabilities Ordinance' will now be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for the approval. It will be then converted into a proper legislation by passing of a law by Parliament within months. Highlights  : The Specified Bank Notes Cessation of Liabilities Ordinance makes holding of the cancelled notes beyond a limit after 31 March 2017 a criminal offence.  This criminal offence will attract a monetary fine of Rs 10000 or five times the cash held, whichever is higher. Moreover, providing wrong information while depositing the old currency between 1 January and 31 March will attract a fine of Rs 5000 or five times the amount. People can deposit the old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in banks up till 30 December 2016. They can deposit these demonetised notes in the Reserve Bank of India up to 31 March 2017.

The Bihar Government has approved 50 per cent reservation in all judicial services for candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes, Extremely Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The decision was taken during a cabinet meeting. The reservation will be applicable in both Superior Judicial Services and Subordinate Judicial Services. Highlights : The Cabinet stated that the aspiring candidates belonging to EBC will get 21 per cent reservation and those belonging to OBC will get 12 per cent reservation. In addition, candidates falling in the Scheduled Castes category will have 16 per cent reservation and those in the Scheduled Tribe category will get 1 per cent reservation in all judicial services under the state. Aside from this, 35 per cent ‘horizontal reservation’ will be provided to women and 1 per cent reservation to those who are differently abled. According to the Principal Secretary of General Administration department, D.S Gangwar, the order follows the Supreme Court ruling in the State of Bihar versus Dayanand Singh case and was passed after due consultation with the Bihar Public Service Commission and the Patna High Court. In October 2016, a bench of Supreme Court Justices comprising Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre had given the Bihar government and the Patna High court time till 1 January 2017 to complete the work of providing reservation to the backward classes in the State’s judicial services. Furthermore, the bench had set 30 June 2017 as the deadline for the state to fill up existing vacancies in the state’s judicial services. Earlier, while subordinate services had 27 per cent reservation there was no quota in superior judicial services. Currently, there are around 1100 vacancies in both categories. Superior judicial services include additional and district judges and subordinate services include judicial magistrates and munsif magistrates.  

The Union Ministry of Water Resources has announced a roadmap for early completion of Prime Minister Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) and Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP). Highlights of Roadmap : The roadmap is aimed at early completion of 99 identified projects under PMKSY and AIBP. Out of these 99 projects, 23 projects were categorised as Priority-I projects which will be completed by April 2017.Another 31 projects were identified as Priority-II projects which will be completed by April 2018. The remaining 45 projects were classified as Priority-III projects which will be completed by December 2019. Out of the 99 AIBP projects, Maharashtra has 26 projects. While Andhra Pradesh has eight projects, Gujarat has only one project. Seven projects of Maharashtra are - Waghur, Bawanthadi (IS), Lower Dudhna, Tillari, Lower Wardha, Lower Panzara and Nandur Madhmeshwar. They are in priority-I category. The remaining 19 projects of the State are under the priority-II category. In Andhra Pradesh, all the eight projects are in priority –II category. The projects are Gundlakamma, Tadipudi LIS, Thotapally, Tarakaram Teerta Sagaram, Musurumilli, Pushkara LIS, Yerracalva and Maddigedda. The lone project in Gujarat is Sardar Sarovar which is in priority-III category. The project is likely to be completed by 2018. Total funds required for completion of all the 99 identified projects have been estimated at Rs.77595 crore.  Likely potential utilisation through these projects is estimated to be 76.03 lakh hectares.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has cleared the appointment of Dr Shesh Pal Vaid, Special DG, Coordination and Law and Order, as new Director General of Police. Vaid, the 1986 batch Indian Police Services (IPS) officer of J&K cadre, will hold the office until October 2019. He will succeed DGP K Rajendra, whose extended term of service will end on 31 December 2016. Kumar was appointed as DGP of J&K in May 2014 and later was given an extension of three months during the unrest that occurred in the valley after killing of a militant named Burhan Wani. His appointment was approved at a cabinet meet chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. He is the second officer from Jammu to have risen to the post of Director General of Police. MM Khajuria was the first person from Jammu to hold the position. He held the position in 1985. Shesh Pal Vaid :  He carries an immense experience in operations against the militants.He was promoted to the rank of DG and appointed as DGP (Prisons) on 3 March 2016. He was transferred and posted as Special DG (Coordination and Law & Order) on 8 September 2016. He survived a major explosion in September 1991, while serving as the Superintendent of Police, Jammu. On 21 March 1991, he was ambushed by militants. At that time, he was posted in the Baramulla-Kupwara range near Sopore as Deputy Inspector General of Police. As per reports, Vaid was chosen for the post ahead of 1985-batch officer SK Mishra, his senior, because the ruling combine of PDP-BJP wanted to appoint a local officer for the post. Apart from Vaid, another IPS officer of 1987-batch SM Sahai’s name was under consideration for the post but recently he was transferred to Delhi.

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors in December 2016 approved USD 235 million for the Bihar Rural Roads Project. The project aims at improving and effectively managing Bihar’s rural road network. It will also suggest better contract management practices to avoid time and cost over-runs. It will also propose better contract management practices to avoid time and cost over-runs. The fund will support the construction of about 2500 km of rural roads under the Mukhiya Mantri Gram Sampark Yojana (MMGSY). The roads under the project will be constructed using cost-effective designs and will also incorporate engineering measures that ensure road safety. Highlights of the project : After the completion of the project, around 1.2 million people will be able to access all-weather road. A majority of these people belong to the poor and vulnerable sections of society. 30% of the people, who will benefit from the project, live below the poverty line and about 48% of them are women. The project will also create direct employment of about 20 million person days for local labourers through a rural road construction and maintenance program. Under the project, climate resilient and cost-effective engineering designs will be used. Local materials and industrial by-products will be used to construct the roads. It will also use the alluvial sand that gathers on large tracts of farmable land after floods. It is expected that the step will save more than 25% in construction costs for rural roads. The Rural Works Department of Bihar will undertake a climate vulnerability assessment of the existing rural road network. The department will focus on floods and include suitable remedial measures in its road design, construction and maintenance program. The Bihar Rural Roads Project will also carry out simple road safety audits during the design and construction stage. In addition, it will also consult local communities to identify their requirements for any road safety enhancements.

The Committee on Digital Payments headed by Ratan P Watal in December 2016 submitted its report to the Union Ministry of Finance.The committee was formed by the Union Government to suggest measures for increasing digital financial transactions across the country. Accordingly, it has suggested the following recommendations in its report. Make regulation of payments independent from the purview of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Update the current Payments and Settlement Systems Act, 2007. Promote digital payments and receipts within Government. Create a fund proposed as DIPAYAN from savings generated from cash-less transactions. Create a ranking and reward framework to encourage and recognise government agencies who lead the efforts on enabling digital payments. Consider outsourcing the operations of payment systems like Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) and National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT). Upgrade payment systems like RTGS and NEFT to operate on a 24x7 basis in the due course of time. Allow non-bank payment service providers (PSPs) to directly access payment systems. National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) should be made payments centric in its ownership and objectives. Enable payments to be inter-operable between bank and non-banks as well as within non-banks. Create a formal mechanism to enable innovations and new business models.Implement other measures to promote digital payments. In addition to the above recommendations, the committee also suggested other measures to promote digital payments including Promoting Aadhaar based eKYC and paperless authentication Providing disincentives for usage of cash . Creating awareness and transparency on cost of cash

Serbian professional tennis player Ana Ivanovic on 28 December 2016 announced retirement from tennis at the age of 29. Ivanovic announced her retirement in a video in which she stated that she no longer feels fit enough to compete at the highest level. The tennis player is the first Serbian woman to win a grand slam tournament. Ana Ivanovic : Born on 6 November 1987, Ana Ivanovic is a Serbian former professional tennis player.As of 7 November 2016, she is ranked No. 65 in the world by the Women's Tennis Association. She was ranked No. 1 in the world after she defeated Dinara Safina to win the 2008 French Open. She has also qualified for the annual WTA Tour Championships three times, in 2007, 2008 and 2014. In total, she has won 15 WTA Tour singles titles, including one Grand Slam singles title. She was named one of the 30 Legends of Women's Tennis: Past, Present and Future by Time in June 2011. Reporter Matthew Cronin also included her on the list of Top 100 Greatest Players Ever. She turned pro in 2003. Since that time, she earned USD 15.5 million in on-court prize money. At the 2004 Zürich Open, she was narrowly beaten by Venus Williams in the second round in two tiebreak sets. She was ranked 8th on Forbes' highest-paid female athletes list for 2016.  

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has inaugurated Chashma-III nuclear power plant near Mianwali in Punjab Province. The inauguration of the plant not only alleviates the load shedding problems in Punjab Province, but also helps Pakistan in achieving the commitments under the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). As per the INDCs that are submitted by Pakistan to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), use of non-fossil fuel based energy sources will be encouraged in the country. Chashma-III Nuclear Power Plant  : It also called as the C-III nuclear power plant.The power project is a joint collaboration between the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and China National Nuclear Corporation. It was executed by the PAEC under the guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that monitors diversion of nuclear energy material and technology for non-civilian uses. It helps the government's commitment to end loads shedding by 2018.For the successful completion of the project, the China Atomic Energy Authority and the Export-Import Bank of China extended technical and financial support. The 600 MW capacity plant is a part of the bigger Chashma Nuclear Project that consists of four nuclear power plants. While the Chashma-I and Chashma-II power projects are already operationalised, Chashma-IV plant will be operationalised in 2017.The four plants will help the PAEC in achieving the overall target of 8000 MW nuclear energy capacity.  

Meghalaya will host the 2022 National Games, which will coincide with the state’s 50 years of statehood. The state had pledged 5 crore rupees as the bid amount for the game. With this, Meghalaya will become the third north-eastern state after Manipur and Assam to host the National Games. The news was announced on 27 December 2016 in the meeting of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) meeting held in Chennai. The IOA accepted Meghalaya's bid to host the National Games overshadowing four other bidders, which were Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Chhattisgargh and Uttarakhand. The IOA accepted Meghalaya's bid to host the 2022 National Games following the successful South Asian Games, which was co-hosted by Shillong and Guwahati earlier in 2016. The next Nation Games will be hosted by Goa in November 2017.  National Games : The National Games comprises various sports disciplines in which sportsmen from the different states of India participate against each other. The country's first few Olympic Games, later christened as National Games, were held in Delhi, Lahore, Allahabad, Patiala, Madras, Calcutta and Bombay. In 1924, a provisional Indian Olympic Association came and the Indian Olympic Games were held in February 1924 in Delhi. The motive behind these games was to select Indian competitors for the 1924 Antwerp Olympics. Thereafter, the games were held every two years.These games were later christened as National Games during the 9th Games in Bombay in 1940. The 2015 National Games were held from 31 January 2015 to 14 February 2015 in Kerala. It was the second time that Kerala hosted the National Games. It first hosted the games in 1987. Sachin Tendulkar was the goodwill ambassador for the games.

Former IAS officer Anil Baijal is all set to be appointed as the 21st Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. The approval for his appointment was given on 28 December 2016 by President Pranab Mukherjee. Baijal will succeed Najeeb Jung, who resigned from the post of Delhi LG on 22 December 2016. Jung had resigned 18 months short of his tenure. Anil Baijal : Anil Baijal is a 1969 batch IAS officer of Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre.At present, he is associated with the Vivekananda International Foundation. He has obtained a master's degree in Arts from the University of Allahabad. He is an alumnus of University of East Anglia.He has also served as the Home Secretary under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. It was during his tenure as Union Home Secretary that Kiran Bedi was removed from her post as the head of jails. She was accused of breaking every clause in the jail manual. He is the former Vice-Chairman of Delhi Development Authority (DDA). He has also given his services as the Chief Secretary of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, MD of Indian Airlines, Development Commissioner of Goa, CEO of Prasar Bharati, additional Home Secretary in the Information and Broadcasting.He retired as Secretary of the Urban Development Ministry in 2006. Thereafter, he was associated with the planning and implementation of Rs 60000 crore Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) launched by the Manmohan Singh government. He has also served on the executive council of the Vivekananda International Foundation.He has also served on multiple corporate boards including IDFC bank.  

The Nedumkayam tribal colony in Malappuram district of Kerala has become the first fully-digital tribal colony in the country. The district collector, Amit Meena on December 27 officially declared the colony as the first digital and cashless colony at a function held in the colony. In an attempt to go completely cashless, Malappuram district had launched a digital initiative to train the people of the village on digital transaction. Adequate training was imparted to the entire tribal people of the colony in cashless transaction and digital literacy. The training was completed with the support of National Service Scheme, volunteers of an Arts and Science College at Kondotty and Jan Sikshan Sansthan, of Malappuram district. The community centre of the colony was made WI-FI enabled with the assistance of NGO Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) to help residents carry out cashless transaction without difficulty. As part of formal launch of the project, every member of the colony sent Rs 5 to the account of district collector using smart phones and the collector returned Rs 25 to each of them through online transaction. The village in Malappuram district, located about 400kms from Kerala’s capital, though lags behind in many ways, but the colony has now become a model for the rest of the country.

Twitter and ICICI Bank announced a partnership on Wednesday that is aimed at integrating additional digital customer care support features to benefit customers with direct online response to their queries and feedback in real-time. The social networking platform said ICICI Bank is the first bank in India to implement the new features to its Twitter account @ICICIBank_Care for social customer care. The profiles of businesses who have enabled ‘Receive Direct Messages from anyone’ as well as that they The profiles of businesses who have enabled ‘Receive Direct Messages from anyone’ as well as that they provide support will also display a more prominent button to start a Direct Message so people know the business offers support privately.  Businesses can now clearly communicate which of their company accounts provides support on Twitter. The ‘Provides Support’ indicator will show up when people search for a business, mention a business in a Tweet, or find a business in Direct Messages.  Additionally, businesses can display hours of availability on their profile to help set people’s expectations for when the business is likely to reply, Twitter stated. It added that businesses can now add a deep link to their Tweet that automatically displays a call to action button, which allows the customer to send the business a direct message, quickly and easily.   

China started operations of one of the world’s longest high-speed railways that links the country’s prosperous eastern coast to the less-developed southwestern part of the country. The China operationalises world’s longest bullet train line — 2,252 km in length — traverses the five provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou and Yunnan and cuts travel time from Shanghai to Kunming from 34 to 11 hours, China Railway Corporation said. The maximum speed is 330 km per hour, Wang Jinda, a train driver was quoted as saying by the state—run Xinhua news agency. The line is also the longest east—west high—speed railway in China. A longer rail line stretching north to south is the 2,298—km Beijing—Guangzhou line, was put into operation in 2012. China has built more than 20,000 km of high-speed rail lines. According to the government’s plan, the mileage will increase to 45,000 km by 2030. The launch of the Shanghai—Kunming line means the country’s high—speed rail grid has taken shape, connecting almost all provinces on the Chinese mainland. China is also aggressively marketing its bullet train technology in different countries, including India.

As per the report of ‘Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations 2008-2015′ released by Congressional Research Service (CRS), India has emerged as the second largest purchaser of arms among developing nations after Saudi Arabia. According to the report, between 2008 and 2015, India purchased defence equipment worth $34 billion while in the same period, Saudi Arabia’s purchase was worth $93.5 billion. The report highlights the recent Indian efforts to diversify its procurement of arms, of which the US has been a major beneficiary. India is planning for continuous modernisation plan for its defence forces.

Union Human Resource Development ministry has granted a prestigious educational institute in the form of a Regional Institute of Education (RIE). The new RIE will be located at Nellore. Presently National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT), the apex body of Union government on school education, has five regional institutes in the country which were located in Ajmer, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Mysuru and Shillong. The opening of the new regional institute is expected to an impetus to the strengthening of school education and teacher education in the region particularly southern states. The Nellore regional institute would serve the states of Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry besides the home state of Andhra Pradesh.

Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh,  Akhilesh Yadav, laid the foundation stone for Film Television and Liberal Arts Institute on December 27 in Lucknow.  A token amount of Rs 10 crore has been allotted by the state government for the institute and 14 acres has been allotted for the institute under Awadh Vihar Yojna near Lucknow Haat on Shaheed Path. To promote the shooting of films in the state, the Chief Minister also distributed Rs 9.41 crore to film industry people. CM Akhilesh Yadav highlighted the various developmental projects taken during his rule including Lucknow metro and Lucknow-Agra Expressway and claimed his government is committed for the development of the state.  Present on the foundation ceremony were veteran Bollywood actress Jaya Bachchan, her son Abhishek Bachchan, film director Anurag Kashyap and Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishen among others.

Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan has inaugurated the 24th National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) at Vidyapratisthan’s Institute of Information Technology in Baramati.  The Minister said the Centre would provide all necessary support to the growth of science and technology in the country. The five-day Science Congress will bring over 700 child scientists under one umbrella that will give them an opportunity to showcase their talents. The top 25 projects will be shortlisted and respective students will be provided with training support.  

The State Government of Maharashtra on December 27, 2016, decided to create a new ministry for welfare of Vimukta Jati and Nomadic Tribes (VJNT) OBCs and Special Backward classes. The proposal to create the new ministry was approved by the cabinet which was presided over by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The separate ministry would be headed by an independent minister. In another decision, the cabinet sanctioned dissolution of the Nagpur Improvement Trust. The cabinet also approved hike in the grant provided for Ramai and Shabri Awaas Gharkul Yojana. Besides, it was also decided that State Agriculture Corporation land will be available for allocation to those affected by notified projects as compensation. Government would provide financial assistance to Ramdas Athavale backward cotton  producers’ co-operative cotton mill in Digras. A committee headed by the textile minister will be formed to discuss approvals to cotton mills in the revised textile policy. Cabinet also decided to grant extension to individuals, companies and institutions who have been given government land on lease or ownership for carrying out constructions.

Haryana Government has decided to set up a pilot corridor for an innovative concept of “Caterpillar Train” that will fly over city’s traffic, in Gurgaon city. The concept of Caterpillar Train, also known as C-Train, was co-developed by an Indian Railways engineer Ashwani Kumar Upadhyaya along with Emil Jacob, both PhDscholars at MIT, for which they won a global award at the MIT in the United States earlier in 2016 for this innovative idea. The Haryana Chief Minister has directed the authorities to find a way out and put the idea into implementation.  The state government is planning to set up the pilot corridor near the regularly busy and congested Huda City Centre and Sushant Lok. The cost estimate is about $3 million for a pilot system and about $20 million for a full-fledged automated system. The C-Train includes a citywide network of lightweight, elevated train coaches running at about 100 kmph on a track supported by poles bent into arches.  

IDFC Bank has announced the nationwide launch of IDFC Aadhaar Pay, the country’s first Aadhaar-linked cashless merchant solution that uses a retailer’s own Android smartphone to enable cashless payments. Developed by IDFC Bank in association with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Aadhaar Pay is ‘unique’, as it does not compel a customer to use cards, download new applications, remember passwords, account numbers, set up virtual payment addresses, type detailed USSD codes to transfer money, or even have a phone to do cashless payments. IDFC Aadhaar Pay will be available on a merchant’s smartphone, who will be onboarded with IDFC Bank using e-KYC, within an hour. An SMS link thereafter will enable the merchant to download the IDFC Aadhaar Pay app on any basic smartphone,which will be connected to a STQC-certified Aadhaar biometric reader.  A customer can pay the merchant with just two fields in the IDFC Aadhaar Pay app  bank name and Aadhaar number. The fingerprint is the password, thus making it easy to use.

The Union Government has approved the re-designation of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project Implementation Trust Fund (DMICPTF) as National Industrial Corridor Development & Implementation Trust (NICDIT). NICDIT will be the apex body to oversee integrated development of all industrial corridors across the country. It will implement all the five proposed industrial corridors, together covering 15 States. NICDIT will function under the administrative control of Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) i.e. Ministry of Commerce & Industry. It will also coordinate all efforts of Union Government for the development of industrial corridor projects and will monitor their implementation.  It will help in bringing in holistic planning and development approach and sharing the learning from development of industrial corridors. It has is given permission to utilise financial assistance already sanctioned and an additional sanctioned amount of Rs 1,584 crore within the extended period up to 31 March, 2022.  Besides, an Apex Monitoring Authority will be constituted under the chairpersonship of the Finance Minister to periodically review the activities of NICDIT and progress of the projects. It will consist of Minister of Commerce & Industry, Minister of Railways, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Minister of Shipping, Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog and Chief Ministers of states concerned as members.  NICDIT will implement all the five proposed industrial corridors, together covering 15 States. The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, the first of the planned corridors, is under development. Other four corridors Bengaluru-Mumbai Economic Corridor, Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor, Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor and Vishakapatnam-Cheenai Industrial Corridor are in various stages of planning.

Vast majority of tribal population is engaged in agricultural labour. It has the largest number of anaemic women. Mortality rates: The community also has registered the highest child mortality and infant mortality rates compared to other social groups. Education: The gross enrolment ratio (GER) among tribal students in the primary school level has declined from 113.2 in 2013-14 to 109.4 in 2015-16. Besides, dropout rate among tribal students is alarming. Poverty: The overall poverty rates among the tribal population have fallen compared to previous years. They remain relatively poor when weighed against other social groups. Health infrastructure: It has also been found wanting in tribal areas. There is a shortfall of 6,796 sub-centres, 1,267 primary health centres (PHCs) and 309 community health centres (CHCs) in the tribal areas at an all-India level as on March 31, 2015. Gaps in rehabilitation: There are gaps in the rehabilitation of the tribal community members displaced by development projects. Only 21 lakh tribal community members have been rehabilitated so far of the estimated 85 lakh persons displaced due to development projects and natural calamities.

In a landmark moment, the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and President of the United States Barack Obama visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to offer condolences to the victims of the surprise Japanese bombing on US naval base 75 years ago. The meeting of the two leaders at the memorial site was another move towards reconciliation. Highlights : Both the leaders used the ceremony to encourage their citizens to reconcile and move forward.   Though Abe did not apologise for the attack, he did offer his most sincere and everlasting condolences to the victims and stated that Japan had taken a solemn vow to never wage a war ever again.  Abe also visited the USS Arizona Memorial, which was built in 1962 in the memory of the American sailors and Marines who lay buried in the wreckage of the battleship, sunk by the Japanese during the attack.  Both Abe and Obama sought to guide their citizens to embrace reconciliation and remembrance. Though Abe is not the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit the historic site, he is the first to do so with a US President and the first one to visit Arizona Memorial.The visit comes as a result of years of reconciliation efforts put in by all levels of governments on both sides. The meeting comes at a time when Abe prepares to lead Japan into a new yet uncertain era and Barack Obama prepares to move out of the office and let the Republican President-Elect Donald Trump take over. It could possibly be Obama’s last meet with a foreign leader as the president of the United States of America. On 7 December 1941, an unsuspecting US Naval base at Pearl Harbor was bombarded by Japanese warplanes. Within just two hours, much of the US fleet had sunk, leaving over 2,400 sailors and soldiers dead.  The attack propelled United States to enter World War II, which ended shortly after US dropped two atomic bombs on Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing irreparable destruction.  In May 2016, President Barack Obama visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to offer his condolences to the victims of the devastating attack and called for a world without nuclear weapons. Obama was the first sitting President to visit the memorial site.