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Last Modified:31-12-2016

December 2016 – Current Affairs and Quiz

31 December 2016 Current Affairs

  • Most Events of 2016

    Most Significant India Events in 2016 The 2016 Pathankot attack was a terrorist attack committed on 2 January 2016 . The 2016 Assembly polls in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry ended on May 19 with the vote counting.  Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched 20 satellites through a single rocket, breaking its 2008 record of launching 10 satellites in a single mission.  An Indian Air Force AN-32 transport plane carrying 29 people, mostly military personnel disappeared while flying over the Bay of Bengal. While female wrestler Sakshi Malik delivered India its first medal of the 2016 Rio Games on August 18, PV Sindhu became India’s first woman to win an Olympics silver medal .Mariyappan Thangavelu won gold medal at 2016 Summer Paralympic games India decided to boycott Pakistan and cancelled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Islamabad for Saarc Summit. The Indian Army conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control in a fitting response to Pakistan for the Uri attacks conducted by the country.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes to check corruption.  Fourteen coaches of the Indore-Patna Express had derailed at Pukhrayan in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh, killing at least 150 people and injured over 200.  Chief minister of Tamil Nadu, leader to many Tamils and 'Amma' to millions, J Jayalalithaa died after undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai for 75 days. She was 68.  Tropical cyclone Vardah made landfall in Chennai that killed at least 7 people. Vardah moved ashore just north of Chennai as the equivalent of a Category 1 tropical cyclone.    Creating history, the first batch of three female pilots — Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh were inducted in Indian Air Force fighter squadron. 2016 Top 5 financial events in India : The year 2016 is finally coming to its end with leaving a long list of financial happenings that brought tremors in the nation from time to time. Whether it was willful defaulter business tycoon Vijay Mallya’s escape to the UK, ousting of Cyrus Mistry from Tata Sons, politics over Goods and Services Tax, appointment of new RBI Governor, impact of Brexit or demonetisation of two high-value currencies announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the second last month of the year Demonetisation : The November 8 evening brought goose bumps to all the Indians when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes after that midnight. Reliance Jio’s ‘4G-only’ network launch : Mukesh Ambani brought big smiles on the faces of netizens by launching its 4G network-Reliance Jio Income declaration scheme : The scheme was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget 2016 with an aim to fish out black money from the Indian economy. Most Significant World Events in 2016 :  Colombia, FARC rebels strike new peace deal South Korean lawmakers vote to impeach President Park Geun As Aleppo Falls, Iran Rises  Turkey coup attempt Rodrigo Duterte Becomes President of the Philippines Pat Toomey's shifting stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership North Korea Conducts Missile and Nuclear Tests Britain Votes to Leave the European Union Russia Interferes in the U.S. Presidential Election Donald Trump Wins the U.S. Presidency Other Information :  In January, Iran severed diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia after the Saudis executed Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.  In February, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill met in Cuba, the first time the heads of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches sat down together in nearly 1,000 years. South Africa, Gambia, and Burundi, announced that they intend to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. Terrorists launched major attacks in Nice, Belgium, Pakistan, and Orlando. South Sudan’s civil war intensified. The release of the Panama Papers in  April exposed how some wealthy people hide their money offshore. The Zika virus emerged as a major global health threat.  In October, Iraqi forces, aided by Kurdish troops and guided by U.S. Special Forces, launched an offensive to reclaim Mosul.  Matteo Renzi, who burst onto the political scene back in 2014 as Italy’s youngest prime minister, resigned in December after voters decisively rejected his plan to revamp Italy’s political

    General Bipin Rawat takes over as new Chief of Army Staff

    General Bipin Rawat on 31 December 2016 has taken charge as the new Chief of Army Staff.  General Rawat has tremendous hands on experience of serving in combat areas, and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades.  He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China, and in the North-East.   

    V K Sasikala takes charge as AIADMK General Secretary

    In Tamil Nadu, V K Sasikala has taken charge as  the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) general secretary.  She is the sixth person and the second woman to hold the post.  Sasikala Natarajan is a close confidante of Jayalalithaa, the late Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.  AIADMK : AIADMK is an Indian political party in the states of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. It is currently in power in Tamil Nadu and is the third largest party in the Indian Parliament. It is a Dravidian party and was founded by M. G. Ramachandran (popularly known as MGR) on 17 October 1972 as a breakaway faction of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). From 1989 to 2016, AIADMK was led by Late J. Jayalalithaa, who served as the Ex. Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on several occasions.

    RBI extends period of enhanced Prepaid Payment Instruments limit

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the period of enhanced Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) limit of Rs 20,000 as part of efforts to promote digital payments.  The limit has been extended till the completion of review of the PPI guidelines.  However, the balance in such PPIs cannot exceed Rs 20,000 at any point of time and the merchants can transfer funds from such PPIs to their own linked bank accounts up to Rs 50,000 per month, without any limit per transaction. PPIs are methods that facilitate purchase of goods and services against the value stored on such prepaid instruments.  These instruments can be issued as online wallets, mobile accounts, mobile wallets, smart cards, magnetic stripe cards, internet accounts, paper vouchers and any such instruments used to access the prepaid amount.  The value stored on such instruments represents the value paid for by the holder, by debit, by cash to a bank account or by credit card.At present, 47 non-bank entities and 45 banks are operating payment systems for PPI.  

    CBDT extends deadline of Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme

    The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has extended the last date for availing the Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme to January 31, 2017 from the earlier deadline of December 31, 2016. This extension aims to give companies one more month to accept its offer to settle retro tax disputes with Government. It comes against the backdrop of tepid response from companies to the scheme. Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme :  The scheme was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the 2016-17 Budget and came into force on June 1, 2016. It provides for waiving interest and penalties if the principal amount involved in retrospective tax cases is paid. It aims at releasing about Rs. 5.16 lakh crore, which is locked in about 2.6 lakh pending direct tax cases.  Under it, a disputed tax amount of up to Rs 10 lakh and the penalty will be forgone. However, in cases where the disputed tax amount is above Rs 10 lakh, a penalty of 25% will be levied. It waives of the interest and penalty for retrospective tax cases only if the company in question withdraws all appeals against the government at all judicial forums.  Through the scheme, the government hopes to settle major retrospective tax cases facing Cairn Energy of UK and Vodafone Group. It also expects a third of the other tax disputes to be settled.  

    CSL completes delivery of 20 FPVs to India Coast Guard

    The Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) has delivered ICGS AYUSH, the 20th Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) to the Indian Coast Guard.  With this, CSL has completed construction of 20 FPVs for the Indian Coast Guard. ICGS Ayush will be operated from the Coast Guard Station at Krishnapatanam.  It is last in the series (CSL Yard No BY 520) and was delivered three months ahead of schedule.Cochin Shipyard Limited was awarded the contract of constructing 20 FPVs in October 2010.  CSL had delivered the first vessel in September 2013 and subsequently delivered vessels at about two months interval.  CSL started delivering vessels ahead of schedule from the 13th vessel onwards. These vessels are 50 metre length and 7.6 metre beam. They are small in size compared to the large vessels that CSL had been building. The FPVs will help to secure Indian waters by patrolling within Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), coastal patrol. They will be used to carry out anti-smuggling, anti-piracy, search and rescue operations and for fisheries protection and monitoring. They will also play a secondary role of providing a communication link and escort coastal convoys in times of hostilities and war.

    India and Singapore ink 3rd Protocol for amending DTAA

    India and Singapore have signed a Third Protocol to amend DTAA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income. It was signed in line with India’s treaty policy to prevent double non-taxation, curb revenue loss and check the menace of black money through automatic exchange of information. The Third Protocol amends DTAA to provide for source based taxation of capital gains arising on transfer of shares in a company. It will come into effect from April 1, 2017 to provide for source based taxation of capital gains arising on transfer of shares in a company.  It also inserts provisions to facilitate relieving of economic double taxation in transfer pricing cases. It also enables application of domestic law and measures concerning prevention of tax avoidance or tax evasion.  This is a taxpayer friendly measure and is in line with India’s commitments under Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan to meet minimum standard of providing MAP access in transfer pricing cases.  Two year transition period from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2019 has been provided during which capital gains on shares will be taxed in source country at half of normal tax rate.

    Anil Baijal takes oath as Delhi Lieutenant Governor

    Anil Baijal took oath as new Lieutenant Governor of Delhi on 31 December 2016. His oath of the office and secrecy was administered by President Pranab Mukherjee in a ceremony held at Raj Niwas. Earlier, President Pranab Mukherjee approved his appointment. Baijal has succeeded Najeeb Jung, who earlier on 22 December resigned from the post of Delhi LG. He resigned 18 months short of his tenure. 70-year-old Baijal had served as Union Home Secretary under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. His appointment came after the sudden resignation of Najeeb Jung from the post. Anil Baijal : The former IAS officer of 1969 batch of Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre is associated with the Vivekananda International Foundation. During his tenure as Home Secretary, Kiran Bedi was removed from her post of the head of jails. Bedi was accused of breaking jail manuals.He served Delhi Development Authority (DDA) as its Vice-Chairman. He has served Indian Airlines as its Managing Director, Chief Secretary of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, CEO of Prasar Bharati, and Development Commissioner of Goa among others.In 2006, he retired as the Secretary of the Urban Development Ministry. He was also associated with the planning and implementation of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) that was launched by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.   

    Akhilesh Yadav expelled from party for 6 years

    Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has expelled his son, Akhilesh Yadav, who is also the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, from the party for six years. Mulayam also said that soon a new Chief Minister will be designated to will replace Akhilesh Yadav as the next Chief Minister. This expulsion was announced by Mulayam Singh Yadav at a hurriedly called press conference in Lucknow. In addition to this, Ram Gopal Yadav, who is a cousin of Mulayam Singh Yadav, the general secretary of the party, was also expelled for six years by the party chief. He was also stripped of all posts in the party. Prior to the expulsion, both, Akhilesh and Ram Gopal were served a show cause notice asking why a disciplinary action should not be taken against them. The notice was issued for releasing the list of candidates without Mulayam Yadav’s consent. Soon after his expulsion from Samajwadi Party, Ram Gopal has called an emergency meet on 1 January 2017 at the Ram Manohar Lohia University to chalk out a path for future. However, Shivpal Yadav, the younger brother of Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav, asked the party workers not to participate in the programme called by Ram Gopal Yadav. He said that strict action would be taken against anyone who attends the meet. Besides, Mulayam termed this call of the meeting as sheer indiscipline and said that that Ram Gopal has no power to call such meeting without the consent of national president of the party. After taking the action, Mulayam said that he had taken the action against Akhilesh and Ram Gopal to save the [arty, which was built through hard efforts.  

    State bank of India ties up with

    State Bank of India, the country’s largest bank has tied up with online classifieds portal, to conduct joint marketing activites and help rejuvenate the real estate sector.  To kick start the MOU, SBI and Magicbricks are launching the “Seal the Deal” campaign. Under Seal The Deal, SBI and Magicbricks will be hosting a mega online property show for SBI Approved Projects. This will be the first housing carnival in the industry at this scale.  Seal The Deal will showcase SBI Approved Projects on the Magicbricks platform. Builders are expected to provide great deals for the same which will in turn provide the much needed fillip to the real estate sector.  Magicbricks has been in this business since a decade. We understand this business. Seal The Deal is a mega event and SBIs strength and reach will only magnify the impact further .  

    Government sanctions Rs 200 crore for Tirupur dyeing industry

    The government has sanctioned Rs 200 crore to Tirupur dyeing industry which was on the verge of closure due to severe financial crisis.  The industry was facing problems on account of their huge investments in the first ever Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) projects in the country . The government has taken cognizance of this problem of the dyeing industry in Tirupur and on recommendation of the Ministry of Textiles, Finance Ministry has sanctioned Rs 200 crore to Tamil Nadu for the 18 CETPs (Common Effluent Treatment Plants) as an interest free loan to be converted into grant based on the performance of the CETPs . The move will help ailing CETPs and 450 dyeing units to recover from the financial crisis and help them to complete the project to achieve 100 per cent capacity utilization . More than 450 dyeing units in Tirupur had collectively set up 18 ZLD enabled CETPs with a total cost of Rs 1,013 crore.  However, being the first project of its kind it had several technical challenges and cost overrun which put them into financial crisis due to outstanding Bank loans and incomplete projects . Tirupur is a hub of the textile processing and knitting industry providing employment to over 5 lakh persons and contributes 22 per cent of the total garment export of the country.   

    Suresh Prabhu Inaugurates Series of Railway Projects in Andhra Pradesh

     The State Government of Andhra Pradesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Railways on December 30, 2016, for setting up a Joint Venture for taking up major Rail Projects in the state. The programme was attended by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu through a video link from New Delhi while Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Union Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju and others. As a part of the occasion, the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu laid the foundation stone for the railway project Nadikudi-Srikalahasti line via Video conference. The Nadikudi–Srikalahasti section falls under the administration of Guntur and Guntakal railway divisions of South Central Railway zone.

    Rishi Kapoor's autobiography to release on 15 January 2017

    Bollywood veteran Rishi Kapoor's autobiography titled "Khullam Khulla" will hit the stands on January 15 next year.  The book's title has been borrowed from the 64-year-old actor's famous song "Khullam Khulla Pyar Karenge Hum Dono". The 64-year-old tweeted: “My autobiography – Rishi Kapoor-uncensored ‘Khullam Khulla’ releases 15th January. 

    PM Modi launches Mobile App-BHIM for Aadhaar-based digital payment

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 30 December 2016 launched an Aadhaar-based mobile app, Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM). The app is named after the main architect of Constitution of India, Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar. The app BHIM will facilitate digital cash transactions with a thumbprint after the bank account is linked with Aadhaar gateway. It was launched at Digi Dhan Mela at Talkatora stadium in New Delhi. While addressing Digi Dhan Mela PM Modi said, the power of technology will help in empowering and uplifting the poor, which was the mantra of Dr Ambedkar. He also said that once an illiterate was associated with the thumb but with the launch of this app the thumb has turned up to be an identity of people as well as the bank. The Prime Minister also said that the government is working to empower BHIM and its security is being worked on. Apart from this, the Prime Minister who on this occasion also felicitated winners of Lucky Grahak Yojana had urged citizens to adopt digital currency from the New Year that is January 2017. The app that will allow people to go digital in terms of payment was the need of this hour, at least when the whole country is feeling the heat of demonetisation of India’s biggest banknotes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. This Aadhaar-based mobile payment application will allow people to make digital payments directly from their bank accounts.

    27th Southern Zonal Council meeting held in Thiruvananthapuram

    The 27th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council held was held on 28 December 2016 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The meeting was chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The Southern Zonal Council consists of Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry (UT) and Andhra Pradesh. Highlights of the meeting : In the meeting, several important issues were discussed. The council resolved 16 out of 22 items on agenda. The Council assessed the progress of implementation of various recommendations made in last meeting relating to Extension of High Speed Rail Corridor between Thiruvananthapuram up to Mangalore and Udupi. They also discussed on Peninsular Region Industrial Development Corridor, issues of fishermen, introduction of peninsular tourism trains in zone and Amendments to New Road Transport & Road Safety Bill. The council took up issues related to uniformity in allocation of funds for scholarships in proportion of population of SC/ST for all courses, revision of ceiling on profession tax by Union Government, prevention of communicable diseases, Naxalism, promotion of oilseeds and oil palm cultivation and development of Puducherry Airport.  Zonal Councils : Zonal Councils are advisory councils.These councils are made up of the states of India. They have been grouped into six zones to foster cooperation among them. Five Zonal Councils were set up under Part-III of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956. The North Eastern States' special problems are addressed by another statutory body known as The North Eastern Council. It was created by the North Eastern Council Act, 1971.

    Sorin Grindeanu appointed as Prime Minister of Romania

    Social-democrat Sorin Grindeanu was on  named as the Prime Minister of Romania. Romania's President Klaus Iohannis signed the official decree naming Grindeanu as the new Prime Minister. By doing so, Iohannis turned down the appointment of Sevil Shhaideh, an economist who could have become the first female Muslim PM of Romania. He will now face a confidence vote in the Romanian Parliament on his programme and cabinet nominees. Once his appointment is approved, he will be given 10 days to name the government ministers. Sorin Grindeanu : Grindeanu is a member of the Social Democratic Party that won the December 2016 elections. He is also the Chairman of the Timis county council.  Grindeanu is seen in Romania as a disciplined soldier within the Social Democratic Party ranks and had joined the party when he was very young to prove his leftist convictions. He graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics of Timisoara West University in 1997.  He also served as Minister of Telecommunications and Information Society in Victor Ponta's cabinet. The appointment of Sorin Grindeanu as the Prime Minister will now put an end to a political crisis that was sparked by the Iohannis's rejection of Sevil Shhaideh as the Prime Minister. The president offered no reasons for his rejection of Shhaideh.  However, there was speculation that it was due to her Syrian husband's background. He worked in the Syrian Agriculture Ministry for 20 years before emigrating to Romania in 2011. Shhaideh's name was proposed by the Social Democratic Party after its thumping poll victory on in December 2016 elections when it won 45 percent of the vote that was enough to form a majority coalition with its partners The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE).

30 December 2016 Current Affairs

  • Takam Pario likely to be next Arunachal Pradesh chief minister

    Peoples' Party of Arunachal (PPA) MLA Takam Pario is likely to be the next chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh. The final statement is yet to come out after the PPA meeting. Khandu, who became chief minister in July after exiting from the Congress along with 42 other MLAs to join the PPA in September.  

    CBDT inks 2 unilateral APAs with taxpayers

    The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) signed two unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers pertain to the Information Technology and automobile sectors. The international transactions covered in these two agreements include software development services, IT enabled services (ITES), manufacturing and business support services. With this, the total number of APAs signed by the CBDT has reached 117. This includes 110 Unilateral APAs and 7 bilateral APAs. In the current 2016-17 financial year, total of 53 APAs (4 bilateral and 49 unilateral) were signed. Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)  : The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 to provide a predictable and non-adversarial tax regime and to reduce litigation in case of transfer pricing. The ‘Rollback’ provisions were introduced in 2014.  The scheme aims to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and setting the prices of international transactions in advance. Boost to economy and ease of doing business. Strengthen Government’s mission of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime. Introduces certainty in tax law by reducing compliance costs and make tax regime investment friendly. Provides certainty to taxpayers regarding transfer pricing to avoid disputes between taxpayer and tax regulator.

    FIPB clears 6 FDI proposals worth Rs 1,200 crore

    The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has approved six Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proposals worth Rs 1,200 crore. Decision in this regard was taken by FIPB meeting headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das.  It has approved the proposals of, Star Den Media Services, Sanofi Synthelabo India, Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services, Menarini India, Boehringer Ingelheim India and Recipharm Participation. India allows FDI in most sectors through the automatic route, but in certain segments considered sensitive for the economy and security, then those proposals first have to be cleared by FIPB.  The Union Government has taken a slew of measures in the recent past to boost foreign direct investment into the country. The FDI in the country has grown to $40 billion in the financial year 2015-16 as against $30.94 billion in the previous FY 2014-15. Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB)  : The FIPB is inter-ministerial body that offers a single window clearance for applications on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that are under the approval route. The finance secretary is the chairman of the FIPB. It is housed in the Department of Economic Affairs, Union Ministry of Finance.  Presently, FDI proposals up to 3,000 crore rupees are cleared by the FIPB. However, those proposals involving FDI of more than 3,000 crore rupees are given final clearance by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

    President gives assent to Payment of Wages (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016

    President Pranab Mukherjee has given assent to Payment of Wages (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016, to enable industries to pay wages by cheque or credit into the bank accounts of workers. The ordinance amends the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 to encourage cashless transactions. With this assent the ordinance becomes law as per article 123 of the Constitution. Allows industries to pay wages to workers earning up to Rs. 18,000 per month, without taking their explicit consent as required under present Act. Empowers the Union and State governments to specify industries or establishments where wage payments can be made mandatory through banks. However, it is not mandatory for employers to make wage payments through the banking system and they can still pay in cash. The Union Government had decided to take the ordinance route because after demonetisation of the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 banknotes in November 2016 had led to a cash crunch, and employers were finding it tough to pay workers in cash. The Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2016, introduced in Parliament was also not able get passed during winter session of the Parliament.

    Government proposes setting up Financial Data Management Centre

    The Union Government has proposed setting up Financial Data Management Centre (FDMC) based on recommendation of a committee set up under the Department of Economic Affairs (DEC).  The Committee was headed by Ajay Tyagi, Additional Secretary in Union Finance Ministry and has submitted its report and a draft bill titled The Financial Data Management Centre Bill, 2016.  Standardise data from all financial sector regulators in a single database and provide analytical insights based on the data to ensure stability in the economy.  Take measures to standardise data from regulators, enable financial service providers to submit data in a standardised electronic format, analyse data and maintain a financial system database. Establish, operate and maintain the financial system database along with collecting financial regulatory data and providing access to it. Provide analytical support to the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) on issues relating to financial stability. In 2015, FSDC first had suggested the creation of such a body, after Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had objected to share company-specific data with FSDC.  RBI had given reason that FSDC is not a statutory bod in nature, and sharing such data would be a breach of confidentiality. To resolve this issue, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his 2016-17 Budget Speech announced setting up of statutory FDMC under the aegis of the FSDC to facilitate integrated data aggregation and analysis in the financial sector.

    Government meets PMUY target of 1.5 crore LPG connections

    The Union Ministry for Petroleum & Natural Gas has met the 1.5-crore target for LPG connections that were to be added under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in the 2016-17 financial year.  This Target was achieved within a span of less than eight months since the launch of the scheme which is implemented across 35 States/UTs. Since the launch of the PMUY, the LPG coverage across the country has increased to 70% as of December 1, 2016 from earlier 61% as of January 1, 2016. Top five States with highest number of LPG connections are: Uttar Pradesh (46 lakh), West Bengal (19 lakh), Bihar (19 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (17 lakh) and Rajasthan (14 lakh). These states constitute nearly 75% of the total connections released. 14 States/UTs with LPG coverage less than the national average. They are J&K, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and all North-East States. They have been identified as priority States for implementing PMUY. The households belonging to SC/ST constitute the large chunk of beneficiaries of this scheme with 35% of the connections being released to them.  Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)   : The scheme provides free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs. 1600/- per connection to an adult woman member of BPL family identified through Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data. It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2016 from Balia, Uttar Pradesh. PMUY is the first welfare scheme being implemented by the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.  The tagline of scheme is Swachh Indhan, Behtar Jeevan. It seeks to empower women and protect their health by shifting them from traditional cooking based on unclean cooking fuels or fossil fuels to clean cooking gas. It is being implemented over three years’ time frame i.e. in the FY 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 with budgetary allocation of allocated Rs, 8,000 crore announced in the Union Budget 2016.

    Hollywood actress Debbie Reynolds passes away

    Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, mother of actress Carrie Fisher, passed away on 28 December 2016 following a brief illness. She was 84. Her death came just one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher, who died on 27 December 2016 following a heart attack. Debbie Reynolds : She was born as Mary Frances Reynolds in April 1932. It was Warner Brothers who changed her name to Debbie.She made her feature acting debut in 1950 in The Daughter of Rosie O`Grady. She was signed by MGM in 1950 and that year, Reynolds performed the hit duet Aba Daba Honeymoon with Carleton Carpenter.  Reynolds rose to stardom in the film Singin` In the Rain in which she starred opposite Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Donald O`Connor, Fred Astaire, and Dick Van Dyke.  Her fame grew with leading roles in Susan Slept Here with Dick Powell, The Tender Trap with Frank Sinatra, Bundle of Joy with then-husband Fisher, It Started with A Kiss with Glenn Ford and The Pleasure of His Company with Astaire. She was nominated for Best Actress performance in Academy Awards for the 1964 musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

    Committee to review institutionalisation of Arbitration Mechanism in India constituted

    Union Government has constituted a High-Level Committee (HLC) to review institutionalisation of Arbitration Mechanism in India. The committee constituted in the Ministry of Law and Justice will be chaired by Justice BN Srikrishna, Retired Judge of Supreme Court. In addition to this, Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs will be the member secretary of the committee. The Committee will have to submit its report within a period of 90-days. Review and analyse the effectiveness of existing arbitration mechanism. Review the resources, facilities, funding and manpower of existing ADR institutions. Review working of the institutions that is funded by the Union Government for arbitration purposes.It will also assess the skill gaps in ADR and allied institution for both international and national arbitration. It will evaluate information outreach and efficacy of the legal framework for arbitration that exists at present. Based on the abovementioned, the committee will also : Suggest measures for the institutionalisation of arbitration mechanism, national and international, in India so as to make the country a hub of international commercial arbitration. To encourage International Commercial Arbitration (ICA), it will identify the required amendments in other laws that are needed. c) It will also formulate an action plan for implementation of the law to ensure speedier arbitrations. It will also recommend revision of institutional rules and regulations and their funding support. Advice on empanelment of international and national arbitrators for time bound arbitral proceedings will be given by the committee. It will also suggest a road map for strengthening of R&D (research and development) that impacts the domain. It will enlist the steps that are required for augmenting skill sets and professional manpower buildup for the sector.It will also recommend measures that are required to make arbitration widely available in curricula and study materials. It will have a focus on the role of arbitrations in matters that involve the Union of India like bilateral investment treaties (BIT) arbitrations and make recommendations where necessary. It will evolve an effective arbitration ecosystem that would expedite resolution of international and domestic commercial disputes. Other members of the committee include  Justice RV Raveendran, Retired Judge, Supreme Court Justice S Ravindra Bhat, Judge, Delhi High Court KK Venugopal, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court PS Narasimha, Addl Solicitor General of India Indu Malhotra, Senior Counsel, Supreme Court Araghya Sengupta, Director, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy Representative of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Representative of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)

    Beipanjiang Bridge, 'world's highest bridge' standing 1850ft above a gorge opens

    Beipanjiang Bridge, the world’s highest bridge that connects the province of Guizhou and Yunnan in the remote mountainous part of China was opened to traffic on 29 December 2016. The bridge spans 1850 feet (564 meters) above a gorge over the Beipan River. Build at an expense of about USD 146.7 million dollars Beipanjiang Bridge will help in reducing the road travel time between Xuianwei to Liupanshui from five hours to two. As per reports, the bridge surpassed the 1837-foot-tall Sidu River Bridge for its world record title. Beipanjiang Bridge : The bridge that hangs above the Beipan River was developed in three years.The 1341-meter long bridge is a four-lane roadway. The bridge is named after Beipan River over which it was developed. The bridge is a part of 2115 mile Hangrui Highway that will connect Hangzhou to the China-Myanmar border crossing in Ruili. As per reports, may be Beipanjiang is the highest bridge in the world, but France’s Millau viaduct remains the world’s tallest bridge at a height of 1125 feet. China is a home of eight of the world’s 10 highest bridges. Maximum of these bridges is available in the rural region of the country. List of top ten bridges of the world Beipanjiang Bridge, ChinaSidu River Bridge (was world's highest bridge since 2009 until opening of Beipanjiang bridge), China Puli Bridge, China Qingshui River Bridge, China Hegigio Gorge Pipeline Bridge, Papua New Guinea (It was World's highest bridge from 2005 to 2009 and at present; it is world's highest pipeline bridge) Baluarte Bridge, Mexico (It is highest cable-stayed bridge in the world and also the highest bridge in the Americas)Baling River Bridge, China Beipan River Guanxing Highway Bridge, China (it was world's highest bridge from 2003 to 2005)Liuchong River Bridge, China Dimuhe River Bridge, China Aizhai Bridge, China (It is world's highest tunnel-to-tunnel bridge)

    PPA suspends Arunachal CM, Deputy CM, 5 others from primary membership

    Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA) has suspended Chief Minister Pema Khandu along with six other MLAs from the primary membership of the party. They were suspended due to anti-party activities. With this suspension, CM Khandu ceased to be the leader of the PPA Legislature Party. Other suspended from the party includes Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and MLAs, namely Chow Tewa Mein, Passang Dorjee Sona, Jambey Tashi, Zingnu Namchom and Kamlung Mossang. In an order, PPA President Kahfa Bengia said they were placed under temporary suspension from the primary membership of the party with immediate effect. Disciplinary proceedings will be initiated against them. According to this suspension order, Khandu will not be exercising any of the powers that were conferred on him as the leader of the legislature party. As per reports, Bengia also said that the party would elect a new legislature party leader. On 17 July 2016, Khandu replaced Nabam Tuki as the Chief Minister of the state.  Pema Khandu, the son of the former CM late Dorjee Khandu, is one of the 42 former Congress leaders who rebelled from the party and joined PPA in mid-September 2016. The rebellion played a major role in ousting the congress government in the state. Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA) : PPA is a regional political party in Arunachal Pradesh. It was founded by Bakin Pertin and Tomo Riba in 1979. At present, the party is a member of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), a political coalition formed by the Bhartiya Janata Party along with several other regional parties.

    British cyclist Bradley Wiggins announces retirement

    Sir Bradley Wiggins, British former professional road and track racing cyclist, in the last week of December 2016 announced retirement from cycling. In his 16-year career as a professional, Wiggins won the Tour de France and a record eight Olympic medals. Bradley Wiggins : Born on 28 April 1980, Sir Bradley Marc Wiggins is a British former professional road and track racing cyclist.He competed professionally between 2001 and 2016.The cyclist has been nicknamed as Wiggo. He commenced his cycling career on the track. However, later he made the transition to road cycling. He is one of the few cyclists to gain significant success in both the forms of professional cycling. He is the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France and the time trial at the Olympic Games. He is the only cyclist to have combined winning both World and Olympic championships on both the track and the road, as well as winning the Tour de France. His first Olympic medal was a silver in the team pursuit in Sydney 2000. Later, he won three medals including the gold in the individual pursuit at the Athens 2004. At the Beijing 2008, he grabbed two golds in the individual and team pursuit. In June 2015, he set a new hour record with a distance of 54.526 km. In 2009, he was awarded a CBE, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. In 2012, he was honoured with the Vélo d'Or award for best rider of the year, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.In the 2013 New Year Honours, he was awarded the knighthood.

    Ranveer Singh becomes new ambassador of Thums Up campaign

    Coca-Cola India has signed Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh as brand ambassador for its Thums Up brand.  The company has launched new thematic campaign starring Ranveer Singh in its 'Toofani' series, Coca-Cola India said in a statement, nearly four months after ending association with Bollywood superstar Salman Khan. Coca Cola India and Khan had issued a joint statement confirming their parting of ways as the actor was committed to an existing relationship with a daily TV show, which this year happens to be sponsored by a brand that competes with the Coca-Cola India product portfolio . The new Thums Up campaign has been conceptualised by team Leo Burnett. 

    Thomas Bossert appointed as top Counterterrorism adviser by Donald Trump

    US’s next president Donald Trump appointed Thomas Bossert to his national security circle and a figure from the Trump Organization to make international deals. Bossert will work as an assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism He will work closely with Trump’s pick for national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.  He is currently president of the risk management consulting firm CDS Consulting. He previously served as deputy assistant to the president for homeland security under Bush.

    Chinese E-Commerce firm Alibaba to set up office in Mumbai

    Chinese major e-commerce entity, Alibaba is to set up its first Indian office at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai, to take the advantage of the growing e-commerce market in the city. The company has rented 3,221 sq ft of office space at Platina building owned by the TheWadhwa Group and would pay Rs 275 per sq ft on a monthly basis. The rent of the building is expected to be a little over Rs 1 crore per month. Alibaba’s biggest rival Amazon India too has a 30,000 sq ft head office in the same BKC area. Alibaba aims to have some share of the growing e-commerce market which is currently dominated by home-grown Flipkart, followed by Amazon and Snapdeal.

    Govt removes minimum export price of potato

    The government has removed the minimum export price (MEP) of potato, which was imposed in July, to boost shipments of the kitchen staple. Export of potatoes, fresh or chilled, should be permitted for exports without any MEP. In July, the government had imposed MEP of $360 (abour 24,000) per tonne on potato to increase domestic availability and cool prices.  Although India was the world’s second largest potato producer at 48 million tonnes (mt) in 2014-15, its exports were less than one per cent of the output.  India exported 0.18 mt  of potato in financial year 2015-16, which was lower than 0.30 mt in the previous year.

    BHEL commissions another 600-MW thermal unit in Telangana

    State-run power equipment maker BHEL has successfully commissioned another 600-MW coal-based thermal power plant in Telangana. The unit has been commissioned at the 2x600 MW Singareni Thermal Power Project (TPP) located in Adilabad district in Telangana. The project has been developed by Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL), India’s second largest coal mining company According to the statement, this is the second 600-MW unit commissioned by BHEL at Singareni TPP. The first unit of the project was commissioned in March 2016. BHEL-built 600-MW rating sets comprise a 4-cylinder turbine designed in-house. So far, the company has contracted 21 sets of 600 MW each, of which 17 have already been commissioned. A large number of similar sets ensure easy availability of spares and operator’s familiarity. The company is a major contributor to Telangana’s power sector with over 85 per cent of the coal-based power stations amounting to 5,740 MW. Reposing confidence on BHEL’s capability of setting up power plants, proven technological excellence and superior performance of equipment, the Telangana state utility has placed orders to the company for executing around 6,000 MW of thermal power projects in the State on a EPC basis. BHEL has established its engineering prowess by successfully delivering higher-rated units such as 600 MW, 660 MW, 700 MW and 800 MW thermal sets, having a high degree of indigenisation

    BoB signs MoU with HFL to provide dairy loans to farmers

    State-run Bank of Baroda and Heritage Foods Ltd (HFL) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide dairy loans to farmers through the lender's branches across the country.  Heritage Foods is in the business of procurement, processing and sale of milk and milk products. BoB and HFL will work jointly to provide dairy loans to the farmers which will benefit them in increasing their productivity and earnings under allied activities

    RBI Extends the Loan Repayment Period by 30 days

    To further provide some relief to people hit by demonetisation, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on December 28 gave borrowers another 30 days in addition to 60 days for repayment of housing, car, farm and other loans worth up to Rs 1 crore. RBI had provided additional 60 days for repayment of loans worth up to Rs 1 crore in November. So, borrowers together get 90 days to get relief from getting the account classified under non-performing asset (NPA) category. According to the notification, the exemption will apply to dues payable between 1st November and 31st December and the running working capital accounts or crop loans with the sanctioned limit of Rs 1 crore or less would be eligible for the benefit. Besides, term loans for business purposes with the same limit, loans by non banking finance companies and micro finance institutions can avail the benefit. Dues payable after January 1, 2017 will be covered by the instructions for the respective entities.

    India eases Visa Procurement Process for Bangladesh

    In an effort to ease the process of securing Indian Visas for Bangladesh visitors, the High Commission of India will now allow all Bangladesh travelers with confirmed air, train or bus travel tickets to submit their tourist visa applications directly without prior appointments from January 1, 2017. The initiative also includes that the date of journey should be after 7 days but within one month of submission of the visa application form. The Indian Visa Application Centre in Mirpur will receive walk-in tourist visa applicationsfrom confirmed travellers and senior citizens from January 1.

    Haryana Signs MoU with Andhra Pradesh to Prepare Citizens Database

    The state Government of Haryana signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Andhra Pradeshon December 29 to assist the state in compiling a centralised databaseof its population to ensure efficient and effective implementation of welfare programmes.  The MoU for State Resident Data Base (SRDB) was signed by Haryana Principal Secretary, Information Technology Devender Singh and Secretary Andhra Pradesh, Information Technology, Vijayen in the presence of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Andhra’s N Chandra Babu Naidu in Andhra Pradesh. Andhra already has such kind of database.  It is a comprehensive portal for managing demographic (name, gender, age, photograph and address) and biometric information for facilitating “Unique ID” based identity authentication.

    Haryana Government inaugurates the first digital investigation centre

    Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar inaugurated the Digital Investigation, Training and Analysis Centre (DIATC) on December 28 at a function at Gurugram toboost the state police’s capabilities to solve cyber crime cases. The centre has been set up in collaboration with the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) of Government of India. The centre has a state-of-the-art cyber forensic laboratory and a high-tech facility in its premises to train officers from the state and other police forces. Apart from this, the Centre has a social media monitoring lab for enhancing technological capabilities of the Haryana police.

    4-Day World Bhojpuri Conference begins in Varanasi

    The four-day World Bhojpuri Conference began in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on December 29, 2016 and will continue till January 1, 2017. High Commissioner of Mauritius to India, Jagdishwar Goburdhun informed that participants from over 18 countries are participating in the conference. ii. The Conference has been organised at a private school in Badalalpur where a large number of Bhojpuri speakers residing in different parts of the world will deliberate over culture, religion, language and business among other issues. To strengthen the links of the people of Indian-origin, who once belonged to the Bhojpuri-speaking belt in India and had migrated to different parts of the world. A museum would also be set up along with a library and a committee hall for the preservation and promotion of the language. During the conference, a ‘Bhojpuri Ratna’ award and ‘World Bhojpuri Karmayogi’ award will be conferred on over 25 people including Mauritius Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh, Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das, BJP MP and Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari, Bollywod actors Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha and other personalities.  

29 December 2016 Current Affairs

  • South Indian Bank unveils mobile banking app for NRIs

    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.

    Government launches IVRS platform to tackle call drops

    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.

    Government launches Swachh Swasth Sarvatra initiative

    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.

    Union Government approves ordinance to penalize possession of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes

    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.

    Union Government announced roadmap for early completion of PMKSY & AIBP

    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.

    SP Vaid appointed as Director General of J&K police

    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.

    World Bank approves USD 235 million for Bihar Rural Roads Project

    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.

    Haryana Government to set up country’s first Caterpillar Train

    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 rolls out Aadhaar Pay for cashless payments to merchants.

    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.

    Union Government gives nod for apex corridor development body

    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.

    Tribal development remains poor: Tribal Ministry report

    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.

    Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe seeks reconciliation with US at Pearl Harbour

    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.  

December Current Affairs 2016 Fresherslive

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What are the topics covered in December Current Affairs 2016

Fresherslive - Current Affairs of December 2016 covers all the general topics which are surely asked in the competitive exams as well as interviews.
    Topics covered in the 2016 December month Current Affairs are
  • International News,
  • National News (ie. Indian Affairs),
  • important events associated with Science & Technology, Environment,
  • Bills & Acts Passed by Government,
  • Defence News,
  • About important Persons, Places,
  • Banking & Economical News,
  • Awards & Honours,
  • Sports News,
  • Revolutionary Updates on Arts & Culture,
  • Obituary,
  • Summits & Conference,
  • Important Committee,
  • Schemes,
  • Appointments,
  • Important Days & its Theme for Current as well as upcoming Year,
  • Books & Its Authors,
  • Agreements & MoUs,
  • Budget, Taxes,
  • Various Important Lists & Indexes,
  • Visits by World Presidents, Prime Ministers,
  • Political affairs and all Current News.

Date-wise 2016 December Current Affairs Quiz

It is recommend to try Date-wise 2016 December Current affairs quiz, after going through these Date-wise current affairs news. Date-wise current affairs Quiz questions are designed in an endearing and better way to revise all the important points of current events of that particular date. Correct answers are shown at the end of each date’s current affairs Quiz to scale up the candidate’s grasping level of General Knowledge.

Enrich your GK with FreshersLive December Current Affairs 2016

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