Current Affairs 1st December, 2016

Current Affairs 1st December, 2016

Current Affairs 1st December, 2016

 

Union Cabinet approvals

Approves inclusion of 15 new castes in Central OBC list

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for inclusion of 15 new castes and modification in 13 other castes in the Central list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in respect of 8 states.

  • These states are Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand.

  • The Union Cabinet took this decision based on the recommendation of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).

  • The changes will enable the persons belonging to these communities/castes to avail the benefits of reservation in Government posts and services.

Approves India’s negotiating position adopted at Kigali conference to Montreal Protocol

  • The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the negotiating position adopted by India at the recent 28th Meeting of Parties (MoP) to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda.

  • The negotiations at Kigali meet held in October 2016 were aimed at including HFCs in the list of chemicals under the Montreal Protocol.

  • The Union Cabinet has approved baseline and freeze years proposal of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest (MoEFCC) over the issue of phasing down the climate-damaging refrigerants hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as negotiated in Kigali meet.

Approves Rehabilitation Package for displaced families from PoKJ, Chhamb

  • The Union Cabinet has approved Central Assistance of 2000 crore rupees for 36,384 displaced families from Pakistan occupied areas of Jammu & Kashmir (POJK) and Chhamb.

  • It was approved following an announcement of Prime Minister’s Development Package for Jammu & Kashmir 2015 announced in November, 2015.

  • As per the package 5 lakh rupees cash benefit per family will be disbursed to the displaced families.

  • This financial aid will enable them to earn an income and subsist their livelihood.

  • The amount will be disbursed through J&K state Government to eligible families through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

Approves simplification of Visa regime

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for liberalization, simplification and rationalization of the existing visa regime in India.

  • It has approved incremental changes in the visa policy as decided by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs with approval of Home Minister and in consultation with various stakeholders.

  • The approval will stimulate economic growth and ease travel for foreigners.


India ranked 102nd on enabling cross border trade: WEF

  • India has improved its ranking by four places to 102nd position among 136 economies in terms of enabling cross border trade according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

  • The ‘Global Enabling Trade Report 2016’ — published by WEF and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation — assesses the performance of 136 economies by way of Enabling Trade Index (ETI).

  • Singapore is leading the top ten economies that are enabling trade across borders followed by the Netherlands and Hong Kong SAR at second and third places, respectively.

  • Among the Brics nations, India, China and South Africa have improved their ranking from the previous edition.

  • While India’s position has jumped four slots to 102, that of South Africa has improved three places to 55 while that of China stood at 61 compared with the previous ranking of 63.


Bapu’s Charkha among 100 ‘Most Influential Photos of All Time’

 

  • A 1946 picture of Mahatma Gandhi with his Charkha (spinning wheel) in the foreground is among the 100 most influential images of all time, according to a compilation by Time magazine of “images that changed the world.”

  • The black and white photo of a bespectacled Gandhi taken by Margaret Bourke-White shows Gandhi sitting on a thin mattress on the floor, head bent down as he is reading the news while his spinning wheels sits in the foreground.

  • The picture was taken for an article on India’s leaders but less than two years later it was featured prominently in a tribute published after Gandhi’s assassination.


1 December: World AIDS Day

  • The World AIDS Day was on 1 December 2016 observed across the world with the theme Hands up for #HIVprevention.

  • The campaign #HIVprevention explores different aspects of HIV prevention and how they relate to specific groups of people, such as adolescent girls and young women, key populations and people living with HIV.

  • On the 2016 World AIDS Day, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) hosted a special event on 30 November 2016 to commemorate the day and to reinforce the commitment to move forward together to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.


India inks Rs 5,000 crore defence deal with US to buy 145 M777 howitzers

  • India has signed government-to-government (G2G) deal with the United States (US) to buy 145 M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers worth $750 million under the Foreign Military Sales programme.

  • The deal was signed at the two-day meeting of the 15th India-US Military Cooperation Group (MCG) held in New Delhi.

  • This is the first defence deal signed by India for purchasing artillery guns since the Bofors scandal in 1980s.

  • It was recently cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

  • Under this deal M777 howitzers manufacturer BAE Systems will conclude an offset agreement estimated at about $200 million.

  • 25 guns will come to India in a fly-away condition. Remaining 120 guns will be assembled at the proposed Assembly Integration and Test facility for the weapon system in India.


India’s GDP accelerated to 7.3% in Q2 of 2016-17: CSO

  • The Central Statistical Office (CSO) announced that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) accelerated to 7.3 percent in the second quarter (July-September) of 2016-17 financial year from a provisional 7.1 percent expansion in the previous quarter.

  • On the other hand, the Gross Value Added (GVA) increased to 7.1 percent.

  • While GDP growth accelerated in the second quarter from the 7.1 percent seen in the April-June quarter, GVA growth slowed from the 7.3 percent registered in that period.

  • Both GDP and GVA growth were slower in Q2 of this financial year as compared with the Q2 of 2015-16.

  • The Q2 of 2015-16 showed a GDP growth of 7.6 percent and GVA growth of 7.3 percent.


Morgan Stanley lowers India’s growth forecast by 40 bps to 7.3% for FY’17

  • American Morgan Stanley has lowered its growth forecast for FY’17 to 7.3% from 7.7% earlier on account of currency replacement programme.

  • But it expects investments and capacity expansion in 2018 after a gap of six years of weak trend.

  • It will affect domestic demand in view of disruption in cash transactions until the end of December.

  • Besides, there will also be anxiety from the government’s focus on investigating transactions funded by “black money”, which will potentially make households hold back spending on big-ticket items in the near term and property spending in the medium term.


Bharatiya Mahila Bank merger with SBI cleared

  • Paving the way for consolidation in the banking sector, the Competition Commission of India has approved the amalgamation of Bharatiya Mahila Bank into State Bank of India (SBI).

  • Both the banks offer various banking products to their retail and corporate customers.

  • However, while SBI has made deep inroads into the interiors of the country, Bharatiya Mahila Bank has only token presence with four to five branches in each State.


 


Industries should use recycled groundwater: Water Ministry

  • The Union Water Ministry is planning to impose restrictions on how industries, farmers and various groups can use groundwater by amending to a Bill on groundwater management.

  • It was announced by the Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti at a seminar organised by the Central Groundwater Board in New Delhi.

  • Earlier in 2016, the Water Ministry had made public a draft Bill that proposed significant changes to the way groundwater will be regulated.

  • The bill seeks to sharply regulate extracting pristine water from aquifiers which is currently the norm in much of the country.


Himachal Pradesh Raj Bhawan adopts cashless system after PM’s appeal

  • Raj Bhawan of Himachal Pradesh adopted the cashless system for all kind of payments.

  • Governor Acharya Devvrat has directed Raj Bhawan’s official in Shimla to use a cashless system or cheque in all kind of payments.

  • The direction was issued after the Prime Minister’s appeal in this regard.

  • As per the reports, the payments of Raj Bhawan would be made online, through cheques or another mode of e-payments.

  • Himachal Rajbhawan is the first in the country to adopt these cashless techniques so promptly.


Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography “Playing it my way” named Book of the Year

  • The autobiography of India’s batting legend Sachin Tendulkar “Playing it my way” has won the prestigious Crossword Book of the Year Award in the Autobiography category.

  • The book is penned by renowned cricket historian and Tendulkar’s close friend Boria Majumdar, who gives a rare insight into the life of a man who broke every possible batting record and captured the imagination of over a billion people.

  • The autobiography has in fact, also smashed various records in the publishing industry in India.

  • Earlier, it also had entered the Limca Book of World Records for being the best selling adult hardback across both fiction and non-fiction categories.

  • The book also holds the record for logging up Rs. 13.51 crore in retail value terms, with its cover price being Rs. 899.


ISRO to launch 83 satellites in one go in Jan. 2017

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch 83 satellites, 80 of them being foreign, in one go in January next year.

  • 80 satellites weighing 500 kg belong to five foreign countries — Israel, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Switzerland and the U.S.

  • These international customer satellites are being launched as part of the commercial arrangement between them and Antrix Corporation Ltd., the commercial arm and PSU under the ISRO.

  • The Department of Space comes under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

  • It will be the first of its kind mission in the ISRO’s space history.

  • The three Indian satellites are Cartosat-2 series weighing 730 kg as primary payload, INS-IA and INS-1B, totally weighing 30 kg.


ISRO drones help to map disasters in north-east

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is using drones to map disasters in north-eastern States by collecting land details and add it to data from remote sensing satellites.

  • In this regard, ISRO’s Shillong-based North-Eastern Space Applications Centre (NE-SAC) has tested unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to map various problems and disasters.

  • NE-SAC has taken the initiative for design and assembling of UAVs for various applications to assess several regional problems in the northeast region.

  • UAVs can perform efficient surveys for disaster-prone or physically inaccessible areas.

  • These drones providing ground-based details which are generally combined with data from ISRO’s remote sensing satellites.


NITI Aayog constitutes Chandrababu Naidu Committee

  • The NITI Aayog has constituted a 13 member Committee on promotion of cashless society and digital economy. It will be headed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.

  • Chief Ministers of Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Puducherry and Maharashtra representing different political parties are its members.

  • It been constituted in line with the Union Government’s thinking to promote financial inclusion, transparency and healthy financial ecosystem nationwide.

  • To give a boost to adoption of digital payments systems by people at grass root levels and small businesses.


UK scientists allow three-parent babies mitochondrial gene therapy

  • An independent panel of British scientists and experts has formally given nod to introduce so-called three-parent baby fertility treatments or mitochondrial gene therapy (MGT) procedures.

  • The panel tasked with reviewing the safety of MGT held that this practice should be cautiously adopted to prevent certain genetic diseases from being passed on to future generations.

  • Thus, it paves the way for the country to officially introduce the procedures.

  • Earlier in February 2016, British Parliament voted to legalise three-parent baby fertility treatments or MGT procedures.

  • It was first country in the world to legalise creation of In-Vitro Fertilisation babies with DNA from three people.

  • The world’s first three-parent baby boy was born in Mexico in April 2016 to a Jordanian couple with help of this new fertility technique which incorporates DNA from three people in embryo.


Magnus Carlsen wins 2016 World Chess Championship

  • Magnus Carlsen won the 2016 World Chess Championship on 30 November 2016 in New York City, USA.

  • Carlsen defeated Sergey Karjakin to retain the World Chess Champion title.

  • It’s the third time that Carlsen has won the championship.

  • He has reigned as world champion since 2013.

 

 

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