101 t0 150 DAILY GK DECEMBER 2015 BANKERSADDA
101. UNESCO designated Varanasi and Jaipur as members of Creative Cities Network
i. Two Indian cities, Varanasi and Jaipur, on 11 December 2015 have made it to the Creative City Network of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the first time ever. Varanasi and Jaipur made it to the network in the categories, City of Music and City of Crafts and Folk Art respectively.
ii. UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, announced the designation of 47 cities from 33 countries as new members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. India had applied for the first time to UNESCO in these categories in 2015.
iii. Varanasi was advocated as a perfect example of India's intangible cultural heritage as a combination of a temple city with its rich tradition in music. The Varanasi School of Music or the Benaras Gharana is named after the holy city of Varansi. Semi classical genres like Hori, Chaiti, Tappa, Daadra trace city’s rich musical heritage.
iv. The Government of Rajasthan nominated Jaipur under the Creative Cities Network for its art and craft. The city identifies 36 varieties of crafts including the ones related to Sculpture, Pottery Textiles and Jewellery making. Right from King Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur in 18th Century to his successors, the city has been nurtured as a centre of artistic excellence.
102. National Commission for Safai Karamcharis recommended to make it a Permanent and Statutory Body
i. National Commission for Safai Karamcharis presented its Annual Report 2014-15 to the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot on 11 December 2015.
ii. It recommended make the Commission a permanent and statutory body with powers of Civil Court to lend it more credibility. The Contract system should be abolished and ensure payment of minimum wages for Safai Karamcharis. Death victims among Safai Karamcharis should be compensated with a minimum 10 lakh rupees as has already been ordered by the Supreme Court
iii. National Commission for Safai Karamcharis was constituted on 12 August 1994 for a period of 3 years under the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993. It was constituted to promote and safeguard the interests and rights of Safai Karamcharis.
iv. The Commission comprises of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and five Members. All the members of the Commission are nominated from amongst the persons of eminence connected with the socio-economic development and welfare of Safai Karamcharis, by the Central Government. It also provides that at least one of the Members shall be a woman.
103. Prakash Kumar Singh is new SAIL chairman
i. After remaining headless for over three months, state-run Steel Authority of India (SAIL) on Thursday got a new chairman in 57-year-old Prakash Kumar Singh.
ii. The task of the new chairman would be daunting considering the current state of affairs of the industry and the company which has reported a net loss for the first two quarters of the current fiscal and is set to report a net loss after a gap of 13 years.
ii. SAIL has incurred a net loss of R1,378 crore in H1, FY16 which includes a net loss of R1,056 crore during the second quarter. The situation of the industry is unlikely to change in the immediate future in the face of galloping imports and subdued consumption. Though the government has tried to rein in inward shipment through various trade barriers, these are yet to beard desired results.
iii. From a management trainee appointed in 1980, P K Singh was chosen to become the chairman of the country’s largest steelmaker in the public sector by government head-hunter Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) recommended in September the name of Singh.
iv. The post of permanent chairman in the company has been lying vacant since incumbent CS Verma was refused an extension by the government in June.
104. India, Japan sign deals on bullet train, defence, civil nuclear energy
i. Taking their robust bilateral ties to a new level, India and Japan on Saturday inked a number of pacts in key areas of defence and nuclear energy as well as building of first bullet train network between Mumbai-Ahmedabad at a cost of about Rs 98,000 crore.
ii. The strategic pacts were inked after the summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe during which they also discussed international and regional issues of mutual importance including UN security reforms.
iii. Addressing a joint press meet with Abe, Modi said, “No friend will matter more in realising India’s economic dreams than Japan” while describing Abe as “a personal friend and a great champion of India-Japan partnership”.
iv. The bullet train network will link the India’s financial hub Mumbai with Ahmedabad, the capital of Modi’s home state, Gujarat. Bullet train between the two cities will cut travel time on the 505 kilometre route from eight hours to around three. The approx. cost of the project is estimated to be around Rs 98,000 crore.
v. The two sides also inked agreements - one concerning the Transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology and another related to Security Measures for Protection of Classified Military Information.
105. Salman Rushdie honoured with Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement
i. India-born author Salman Rushdie on 10 December 2015 was awarded the prestigious Mailer Prize for lifetime achievement. American experimental performance artist Laurie Anderson presented the award to Rushdie at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York City. The prestigious Mailer Prize honours writers who fully exercise their freedom of creativity and thrive on dialogue and debate.
ii. Rushdie is the author of famous books like, Booker Prize winner Midnight’s Children, and controversial The Satanic Verses. His most recent novel, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, was published in the English language in September 2015.
iii. He is a Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature. He has received the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel (twice), the Writers’ Guild Award, the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature, the London International Writers’ Award and a US National Arts Award.
iv. The Mailer Prize is an American literary award established in 2009 by The Norman Mailer Center and The Norman Mailer Writers Colony. The prize is named after renowned American writer Norman Mailer, considered among the most influential writers of the second half of the 20th century.
v. The prize is given to writers whose work over the years has challenged readers’ perspectives on the world around them.
106. India and Japan signed protocol to amend double taxation avoidance pact
i. The Government of India and the Government of Japan on 11 December 2015 inked a protocol for amending the existing convention for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
ii. The existing convention was signed in 1989. The protocol was signed by Dr Hasmukh Adhia, Revenue Secretary on behalf of India. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan signed the protocol on behalf of the Government of Japan.
iii. The protocol provides for internationally accepted standards for effective exchange of information on tax matters including bank information and information without domestic tax interest.
iv. It provides that the information received from Japan in respect of a resident of India can be shared with other law enforcement agencies with authorisation of the competent authority of Japan and vice versa.
v. It also provides that India and Japan will lend assistance to each other in the collection of revenue claims. It provides for exemption of interest income from taxation in the source country with respect to debt-claims insured by the Government/Government owned financial institutions.
107. Wipro won 2015 Aegis Graham Bell Award for innovation in IoT
i. Global software giant Wipro on 11 December 2015 announced that it won the 2015 Aegis Graham Bell Award for developing a solution for the Internet of Things (IoT). Wipro’s IoT solution, Universal Data Parser (UDP), fetched the prestigious award.
ii. The Aegis School of Business established the Aegis Graham Bell Awards as a tribute to the father of the telephony, Sir Alexander Graham Bell.
iii. The award is intended to promote innovation, entrepreneurship in the field of Telecom, Internet, Media & Edutainment (TIME) and to provide recognition for outstanding contributions in this field in India.
iv. The awards are organized with support of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), and Telecom Centres of Excellence (TCOE) India.
108. Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma inaugurates India-Laos conference in Delhi
i. India values its relations with Laos as the two countries share a long history of cultural relations over centuries, Union Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said today.
ii. Inaugurating an international conference on 'India-Laos: Inter-Cultural Relations', he said, "Laos is a peace-loving country and we value our relation with Laos in a big way. We have a long heritage and cultural relations over centuries."
iii. Stating that India has several cultural linkages in Indonesia, Laos and other East Asian countries such as sculptures and temples, Sharma said, "A lot needs to be done with regard to existence of our cultural heritage present in those parts of the world." The event organised by Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts was attended by delegates from Laos, Cambodia, France, Vietnam as well as scholars from various parts of the country.
iv. Ambassador of Lao People's Democratic Republic Southam Sakonhninhom narrated the elements of cultural linkages between his country and India as he appreciated the organisers for holding the seminar on the subject.
v. Prof Sachchidanand Sahay, who gave the keynote address at the seminar, highlighted the rich cultural linkages between India and many other South East Asian countries, including linguistic and architectural.
109. Myanmar launched its first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Inle Lake
i. Myanmar on 11 December 2015 launched its first UNSECO Biosphere Reserve Inle Lake in Shan state. The Inle Lake was designated as UNESCO Biosphere reserve in Paris in June 2015. With this, Myanmar fulfilled its commitment to bio-diversity and eco-system conservation under the UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Prorgamme.
ii. The inscription of Inle Lake as one of the world natural heritage sites by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) came after that of Myanmar's three Pyu ancient cities in June 2014.
iii. The Inle Lake is spread in an area of 489721 hectares and located in Nyaungshwe township, Taunggyi district in Myanmar's eastern Shan state. The lake gets funding from the government of Norway under the framework of the Inle Lake Conservation and Rehabilitation project.
iv. The wetland ecosystem of this freshwater lake is home to 267 species of birds, out of which 82 are wetland birds, 43 species of freshwater fishes, otters and turtles. The Inle Lake is reported to be the nesting place for globally endangered Sarus crane.
110. Elizabeth Susan Koshy clinched gold in 59th National Shooting Championships
i. Kerala’s Elizabeth Susan Koshy on 11 December 2015 won the Women's 50m Rifle 3 Positions Gold at the 59th National Shooting Championships held at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting range in New Delhi. Haryana’s Anjum Moudgil won the silver medal and Gaayathri N of Tamil Nadu fetched the bronze in the championship.
i. On the other hand, Commonwealth Games gold medalist Tejaswini Sawant along with veteran Anjali Bhagwat and Priyal Keni won the team gold for Maharashtra in the event, in which the Railways won silver and Haryana won bronze.
iii. Born on 10 May 1994, Koshy made her international debut at the Junior meet in Germany in 2011. In 2011, she won five gold medals in Thiruvananthapuram at the State championship.
iv. She won silver in the Asian Shooting Championships and represented India in the 2013 and 2014 World Cups. She won gold in the 2015 National Games women's 50m Rifle Prone event, the first for Kerala.
111. Indian cyclist Deborah Herold became World No. 4 Cyclist
i. Indian cyclist Deborah Herold on 11 December 2015 became the first Indian female cyclist to be ranked fourth in the World Elite Women Ranking for the 500m time trial event. The ranking was issued by cycling world body International Cycling Union (UCI).
ii. Besides, the Indian team also improved its world ranking to 13th. India is the highest ranking Asian country in 500m time trial. China fetched the 15th spot in the ranking.
iii. 20-year-old Deborah is a tribal girl from Andaman and Nicobar Islands who survived the 2004 Tsunami that devastated the islands. She was trained at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Andaman and emerged as one of the rising stars of Indian cycling.
iv. In October 2015, Deborah became the first ever Indian to win five medals at the Taiwan Cup Track International Classic, including a gold, three silver and a bronze. In November 2014, the Indian cyclist had won four gold medals at the Track Asia Cup Cycling Championship 2014.
112.Dilip Kumar gets Padma Vibhushan award
i. Legendary actor Dilip Kumar was today presented the Padma Vibhushan by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the thespian’s residence in suburban Bandra.
ii. Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, were among other dignitaries present at the actor’s home when he received the award.
iii. The announcement to honour Bollywood veterans Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and a few others with the prestigious Padma Vibhushan award was made by the government on the eve of Republic Day on January 25, 2015.
iv. However, Kumar, due to ill-health, could not attend the special function held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in April when other Padma awardees were honoured by President Pranab Mukherjee.
v. Born as Muhammad Yousuf Khan in Peshawar, Kumar made his debut as an actor in the film “Jwar Bhata” in 1944 produced by Bombay Talkies.
vi. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan award in 1991, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 and the Padma Vibhushan earlier this year, for his exceptional and distinguished contribution to the Indian cinema.
113.NGT bans registration of new diesel-run vehicles in Delhi
i. National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered ban on registration of new diesel-run vehicles in Delhi to curb the growing menace of air pollution in the capital city.
ii. This ruling was given by NGT bench headed by Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar and also questioned Delhi government’s odd-even formula for vehicles to check pollution in the city.
- The ban on registration of new diesel vehicles will be valid till 6th January 2016 as interim steps i.e. till the next date of hearing of NGT on Delhi pollution.
- NGT also ordered the central and state government to stop buying diesel cars in Delhi.
- On Delhi government’s odd-even formula for vehicles, the tribunal mentioned that might encourage people to buy two cars.
- Presently around 23 per cent of the cars registered in Delhi are running on diesel. The cars running are likely to emit 7.5 times more particulate matter (PM) compared to petrol cars. As per WHO, emissions from Diesel cars produce more toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and may cause cancer.
- Earlier in April 2015, NGT had banned diesel vehicles over 10 years old in the national capital which has been labelled as one of world’s most polluted city. In November 2015, Delhi government had decided that private vehicles with odd and even registration numbers will ply on odd and even dates from 1st January 2016 for two week.
- About National Green Tribunal
114.Renowned agro-economist Sharad Joshi passes away
i. Renowned agro-economist and veteran leader of farmers Sharad Anantrao Joshi passed away in Pune, Maharashtra. He was 81.
ii. He was founder of Shetakari Sanghtana (farmers’ Organisation) an NGO dedicated to the cause of farmers in Maharashtra.
About Sharad Joshi
- Sharad Joshi was born in 1935 in Satara district of Maharashtra. Prior to establishing Shetakari Sanghtana in 1979 he had worked with Pune University as lecturer of Economics and Statistics and later worked with United Nations (UN).
- He had served as a member of Advisory Board of the World Agricultural Forum (WAF).
- Joshi had spearheaded numerous agitations, protests, fasts throughout the state to highlight the issue of reasonable prices for agricultural produce.
- He was Rajya Sabha member from 2004 to 2010. He was the sole MP in Upper House to vote against the bill providing 33% reservation for women in Parliament and assemblies.
115.Union Govt inks MoU for establishing IIITs at Ranchi, Nagpur & Pune
i. The Union Government has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for establishing three Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIITs) in the country.
ii. The agreement to this effect was signed between Department of Higher Education (DoHE) and private agencies including Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Tata Motors, ADCC Infocad and Hubtown.
- These IIITs are being set up at Ranchi (Jharkhand), Nagpur and Pune (Maharashtra).
- Apart from the Central Government, these institutions will be operated on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode with participation of state government and industry.
- These IIITs are expected to bring out high quality Information Technology (IT) manpower required for building up IT industry in the country.
- The admission process in all the three IIITs will be done through Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)-2016 and shall have intake of 120 students in each institutions.
- With this, the total number of IIITs in the PPP mode has gone up to 16.
116. COP 21 under UNFCCC adopted Paris Agreement on Climate Change
i. Conference of the Parties 21 (COP 21) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 12 December 2015 adopted the Paris Agreement on Climate Change which was attended by 192 parties. India was represented by Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar.
ii. The agreement facilitates enforcement of global green house emission reduction measures in the post-2020 (post Kyoto Protocol) scenario. It was prepared based on consensus among the parties incorporating Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of the respective parties including that of India.
iii. And, the agreement took into account the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in the light of different national circumstances.
iv. The primary objective of the protocol is to limit the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. Efforts will be made to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels so that it will be possible to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
v. The global environmental protocol took into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) to ensure climate justice which has been advocated by India for a long time. It strikes the right balance between national developmental needs of developing and small island nations and global environmental necessities by incorporating the INDCs under which countries will publicly outline what post-2020 climate actions they intend to take.
vi. It was adopted in the light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in particular its goal 13 that advocates for urgent action to combat climate change.
117. Losar, the biggest Tibetan Buddhist Festival, began in Ladakh region
i. Losar, the biggest Tibetan Buddhist Festival began on 12 December 2015 in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. The festival marks the beginning of New Year for Buddhists. The annual festival is celebrated by people of the area with traditional and religion fervor. The festival begins with illumination of religious and residential places.
ii. Buddhists of Ladakh celebrate Losar as their new year. Before the rule of Jamiang Namgyal (1555 to 1610) this day was celebrated on the first day of Ladakhi Buddhist Year which is based in the moon and sun (quite similar to Hindus). However, the day was advanced by two days after Jamiang Namgyal decided to invade Skardu before the New Year.
iii. Since then, Losar is celebrated on the last two days of the 10th Bodhi month that coincides with December of Christian calendar.
iv. During this, people of Ladakh specially remember ancestors of their family. On this day, people visit graveyards of their family members and pray for peace of the departed soul. Apart from this, people also visit each other houses for exchange of Losar greetings.
118. Saudi voters elected women candidates for first time in Municipal council polls
i. Saudi Arabian voters on 12 December 2015 voted to elect women in at least 18 municipal council seats. This was a historic local elections in Saudi Arabia in which women were allowed to vote and run for office for the first time. This event occurred for the first time in the history of the country. The results of the election were declared on 13 December 2015.
ii. The winners hailed from different parts of the nation, ranging from largest city to the small village near Islam’s holiest site. The conservative capital of Riyadh saw the most women candidates win, with four elected. Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi was elected to the council of Madrakah, a region in Mecca.
iii. Though there are no quotas for female council members, an additional 1050 seats are appointed with approval by the king who could use his powers to ensure more women are represented. Women are still not allowed to drive and are governed by guardianship laws that give men final say over aspects of their lives like marriage, travel and higher education.
iv. The women were allowed to vote and contest in the municipal election in accordance to the royal decree issued in 2011. As per the decree, only 978 women were registered as candidates on 284 councils, however many were barred from registering by the authorities.
119. Construction work of TAPI Gas Pipeline started
i. Construction work on the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) Gas Pipeline project started in Turkmenistan on 13 December 2015. The work started after the button to begin the welding process of the project was pressed.
ii. The button was pressed by Vice President of India Hamid Ansari along with Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimohamedov.
iii. The TAPI project is intended to deliver Caspian Sea natural from the energy-rich former Soviet republic Turkmenistan to three South Asian countries.
iv. The pipeline will carry the gas from the Dauletabad gas field in Turkmenistan to the Indian town of Fazilka, in the Punjab near the Pakistan-India border. The pipeline will cross the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar as well as Pakistan cities of Quetta and Multan.
v. Turkmenistan will lead the consortium to build the project and the remaining members will invest according to the techno-commercial viability, shareholders agreement and investment agreement.
vi. The abbreviation TAPI comes from the first letters of those countries. Proponents of the project see it as a modern continuation of the Silk Road.
120. Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed appointed as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
i. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on 11 December 2015 appointed Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed as the Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He is expected to take up his assignment shortly.
ii. His appointment to the post will fill the vacancy which was lying vacant since retirement of Hamid Ali Rao in April 2015. Javed, a 1980-batch IPS officer from Maharashtra Cadre, is scheduled to retire on 31 January 2016.
iii. With this, Javed became the 20th Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He is also the fourth IPS officer to be appointed as an Ambassador, which is generally is a domain of Indian Forest Service officers.
iv. IPS officer Julio Ribeiro, who was Mumbai Police Commissioner from 1982 to 1985, also served as Indian Ambassador to Romania.
121. Mascot and Logo of 2016 South Asian Games unveiled
i. Orgnaising committee of 12th South Asian Games (OC-SAG) on 13 December 2014 unveiled mascot of the games and logo at ITA Cultural Center Machkhowa in Guwahati, Assam.
ii. The mascot Tikhor is a one horned rhino and is the brand ambassador of the games carries the message of peace, stability, amity and progress in the South Asian region. On the other hand, the logo has eight petals representing the countries participating in the mega event.
iii. The mega event will be jointly held in Guwahati and Shillong from 6 February to 16 February 2016.
122. Security expo in Capital concludes
i. UBM India recently concluded its 9th International Fire & Security Exhibition and Conference (IFSEC) India Expo 2015 in the Capital. It was inaugurated by Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia.
ii. Sisodia said, “We need better security systems this is somewhat mandatory in the current scenario. Such shows allows us to choose from a wide spectrum under one roof. I could sense that there is interesting equipment displayed that could be seriously considered for home security and public safety net.”
iii. The event showcased security solutions by over 300 companies from 20 countries from December 10 to December 12. The expo was supported by the Asian Professional Security Association, ASIS International, British Security Industry Association, and Electronic security Association of India.
iv. The sessions centred around security in public transport, cybercrime, disaster prevention, and Internet of Things, among others.
123. Indian-origin writer J M Sali won 2015 South East Asian Write Award for Singapore
i. Indian-origin Tamil writer Jamaludeen Mohamed Sali on 11 December 2015 was declared as the winner of the prestigious South East Asian Write Award for Singapore. Sali will receive the award for literary excellence on 14 December 2015 at a ceremony in Bangkok.
ii. Born in Madras in 1939, J M Sali was invited to Singapore at the age of 25 to be an assistant editor at the Tamil Murasu newspaper by its founder, the late G Sarangapani. Sali worked for local broadcasting station, Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, as a broadcast journalist.
iii. He produced books on famous people including martial art icon Bruce Lee and legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. He retired in 2000 from journalism to do full-time writing and translation work. His famous short stories and novels are Vellai Kodugal (White Lines) and Alaigal Pesuginrana (The Sound of the Waves). They are now studied by Tamil literature students in Singaporean and Indian universities.
iv. Since 1979, the Southeast Asian Write Awards (S.E.A. Write Awards) is presented annually to poets and writers of Southeast Asia. The awards are given to the writers from each of the countries that comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, though not all countries in ASEAN are represented every year. The award is sometimes given for a specific work by an author, or it could be awarded for lifetime achievement.
124. Japan's Nozomi Okuhara, Kento Momota won singles titles at World Dubai Superseries Finals
i. Japanese shuttlers Kento Momota and Nozomi Okuhara on 13 December 2015 won Men's singles and Women’s singles title respectively at the BWF World Superseries finals held at the Hamdan Sports Complex, Dubai.
ii. Okuhara defeated China’s Wang Yihan by 22-20, 21-18 to grab the women’s singles crown. Not much later, Momota crushed Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen by 21-15, 21-12 and clinched the Men’s singles title.
iii. Born 1 September 1994, Kento Momota is known for his explosive movements on court and his unpredictable style of play. He was the winner all of the matches he competed in Japan's maiden Thomas Cup victory in 2014. He was the first Japanese player to win the Singapore Open. He was the first Japanese player to win a medal in BWF World Championships 2015 held in Jakarta.
iv. Born on 13 March 1995, Nozomi Okuhara is a female Japanese badminton player who is a singles specialist. In 2011, she became the youngest women's singles champion ever at the Japanese National Badminton Championships. In 2012, she won her first Grand Prix title at the 2012 Canada Open Grand Prix.
125. Vijay Kumar won gold in the 59th National shooting championship
i. Vijay Kumar on 13 December 2015 won the centre fire pistol gold in the 59th National shooting championship at the Dr Karni Singh Range in Tughlakabad in New Delhi. The 15 day event began on 1 December 2015.
ii. To win the gold, Vijay Kumar scored 588 points to pip Gurpreet Singh by two points. Vijay Kumar won the silver medal in the 25m rapid fire pistol event in 2012 Olympics held in London.
126. Maharashtra Government constituted a task force for setting up an IFSC in Mumbai
i. The Maharashtra government on 11 December 2015 constituted a task force for setting up an International Financial Service Centre (IFSC) in Mumbai. The task force will be headed by Union Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha.
ii. The task force includes, Union Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha (chairman), Lok Sabha MP from Mumbai North Central Poonam Mahajan (deputy chairman), Maharashtra Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshtriya, MMRDA Commissioner UPS Madan, Principal Secretary Urban development Nitin Kareer, A representative from the Department of Economic Affairs, Union Government, OSD in the Chief Ministers Office (CMO) Kaustubh Dhavse will be Member Convenor.
iii. The task force will be required to plan and oversee the development of designated areas at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). They will also review the process of all stakeholders, take various decisions and issue directives to departments of the state and the Union Government.
iv. Apart from this, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will also assist the task force in arranging meetings with various groups and site visits. Logistics shall be provided by MMRDA as required by the committee.
v. As per plan, the IFSC will be developed within the BKC in suburban Bandra. Developing a designated area in BKC is one of the most ambitious projects of the Maharashtra Government.
Earlier in the first week of December 2015, the state government issued a Government Resolution (GR) to make sure that the initiative is completed within time.
127. United Nations Human Development Report 2015 released
i. The United Nations Human Development Report 2015 was released on 14 December 2015 with the title Work for Human Development in Ethiopia. As per the report, 2 billion people lifted out of low human development in last 25 years.
ii. The report urges governments to act to ensure no one is left behind in the fast-changing world of work. It calls for equitable and decent work for all.
iii. In the 2015 report, India with a score of 0.609 has been ranked 130 out of 188 countries in terms of Human Development Index (HDI). In the 2014 report, India was ranked 135 out of 187 countries.
iv. The report proposes a three-pronged action agenda for creating work opportunities and ensuring workers’ well-being. The agenda A New Social Contract between governments, society, and the private sector, to ensure that all members of society, especially those working outside the formal sector, have their needs taken into account in policy formulation.
v. It encourages governments to look beyond jobs to consider the many kinds of work, such as unpaid care, voluntary, or creative work that are important for human development. It calls to reduce the inequality between men and women, societies need new policies, including better access to paid care services.
128. Mahindra Group acquired Italian auto design firm Pininfarina
i. Tech Mahindra and Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, part of the Mahindra Group, on 14 December 2015 acquired Italian car designer Pininfarina SpA for 165 million US dollars in an all-cash deal. Pininfarina is well-known for designing cars for Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls-Royce and Cadillac.
ii. For the acquisition of Milan-listed Pininfarina, Tech Mahindra and Mahindra and Mahindra have formed a 60:40 joint venture. The joint venture will acquire 76.06 percent in Pininfarina from its controlling shareholder Pincar Srl at a price of 25.3 million euros.
iii. The joint venture will buy out the remaining 23.94 percent ordinary shares of Pininfarina through an open offer. The JV will also infuse 20 million euros into Pininfarina by way of a rights issue, which would be executed before the end of 2016.
iv. Tech Mahindra and Mahindra and Mahindra have also signed definitive agreements with the lenders and creditors of Pininfarina to restructure the existing debt. It will also provide a corporate guarantee not exceeding 114.5 million euros to the lenders, creditors and lessors of Pininfarina.
129. West Bengal Government honoured Bappi Lahiri and Kumar Sanu with Lifetime Achievement Awards
i. The West Bengal Government on 14 December 2015 honoured music composer Bappi Lahiri and singer Kumar Sanu with Lifetime Achievement Awards. State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee handed over the awards at the inauguration of the annual Bangla Sangeet Mela.
ii. Besides, Bollywood musician Shantanu Moitra was awarded with the Sangeet Mahasamman Award. The Bishesh Sangeet Samman was awarded to Dwijen Mukhyopadhyay, Ajoy Chakraborty and Sandhya Mukherjee.
iii. Vocalists Nachiketa, Sriradha Bandyopadhyay, Dileep Kumar Bose and Fakir Alamgir were honoured with Special Sangeet Samman.
iv. In addition, it was announced at the function that Sangeet Mela will be held for the next 10 days at different venues where 5000 artists will participate. A monthly honorarium of 1000 will be given to 50000 folk artists.
130. Union Government appointed L Narasimha Reddy to head Judicial Committee on OROP
i. The Union Government on 14 December 2015 appointed Justice L Narasimha Reddy, retired Chief Justice of Patna High Court, to head the Judicial Committee which will look into the implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme for the ex-servicemen.
ii. The Committee has been given a six-month deadline for submission of its recommendations. It may give interim reports to the Government on any of the matters related to its terms of reference.
iii. In making its recommendations, the Committee shall take into account the financial impact of its recommendations. The Committee will devise its own procedure and may call for such information and take such evidence, as may be considered necessary. Ministries and Departments of Government of India will furnish such information and documents and other assistance as may be required by the Committee.
iv. The Committee will have its headquarters in Delhi. All administrative support to the committee will be provided by Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Ministry of Defence.
131. Operation Smile-II to start from 1 January 2016
i. Union Government on 14 December 2015 requested the states and Union Territories (UT) to start Operation Smile-II from 1 January 2016. The operation will end on 31 January 2016.
ii. In this regard, the Union Home Secretary, Rajiv Mehrishi has written a letter to the Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories for participation in Operation Smile-II in their respective State/UT.
iii. Operation Smile-II is a campaign to rescue/rehabilitate the missing children. It is a follow up of the exercise Operation Smile that helped in rescuing and rehabilitating 9146 missing children.
iv. All children residing in shelter homes, platforms, bus stands, roads, religious places and others will be screened by trained police personnel. Before 1 January 2016, the Police Personnel from each state will be properly trained in methodology to extract information from such children tactfully without their getting intimidated.
v. The police personnel will also be trained about various provisions like Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) JJ Act, Protection of Child Right Act and others.
132. Indian-origin politician Pravin Gordhan becomes South Africa’s Finance Minister
i. An Indian-origin politician, Pravin Gordhan has been appointed as South Africa’s new Finance Minister. With this he becomes country’s third Finance Minister in a week. He replaces David van Rooyen who was appointed on 10 November 2015. Earlier President Jacob Zuma had sacked incumbent Nhlanhla Nene from Finance Ministry.
ii. Born 12 April 1949 in Durban. He is trained and worked as a pharmacist in Durban He was one of the main negotiators in the drafting of South Africa’s democratic constitution from 1991-1994.
iii. He had served as a commissioner in South Africa’s revenue service (SARS) from 1999-2009 Gordhan had served as Finance Minister from 2009-2014 and was widely respected for his work.
iv. Prior to this appointment he was serving as Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
133. GIFT City Phase-2 work launched
i. Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) on Monday announced the launch of the Phase-2 development, which will be focused on International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) to be set up in GIFT SEZ.
ii. With the launch of Phase-2 development, GIFT City has invited proposals from developers to build office towers in SEZ and non-SEZ areas, an official statement said here.
iii. GIFT City’s Phase 1 has received overwhelming response from realty developers as well as leading BFSI and IT players. So far, allotments of over 14 million square feet of built up area (BUA) has been made in the SEZ and Non-SEZ area for development of office towers, residential apartments and social facilities to be developed at an estimated investment of around Rs. 9,600 crore.
iv. GIFT IFSC has already made allotment to around 20 institutions, including leading names such as SBI, IDBI Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and YES Bank. GIFT has also signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with various leading Capital Market players namely, BSE, NSE, MCX and DMCC.
v. India’s first IFSC is already operational with the commencement of IFSC banking units by Yes Bank & Federal Bank in November 2015.
134. Anirban Lahiri wins Order of Merit crown of Asian Tour
i. India’s star golfer Anirban Lahiri (28) has won the coveted Order of Merit crown of Asian Tour for year 2015. In the 2015 season world No. 41, Lahiri has earned $1,139,084 a way ahead of second-placed Scott Hend of Australia who has earned $491,631.
ii. With this he became only the fourth Indian golfer to win this coveted award after Jeev Milkha Singh (2006, 2008), Arjun Atwal (2003) and Jyoti Randhawa (2002). Anirban Lahiri has won twice on the Asia’s premier Tour to be ranked into the world’s top-50 golfers.
iii. He has posted a top-five finish in a Major (PGA Championship) that helped him to mak his maiden appearance at the Presidents Cup and earning his PGA Tour card. Earlier in 2015 Season, Lahiri had won the Malaysian Open and the Indian Open within a span of three weeks in February 2015. He recorded five other top-10 finishes around the world in the season.
135.Vijay Diwas observed across the country to commemorate India’s victory in 1971 war
i. Vijay Diwas was observed across the country on 16 December 2015. On this day, nation remembers martyrs, who laid down their lives during Indo-Pak War of 1971.
ii. On this occasion, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Army Chief D S Suhag, Navy Chief R K Dhowan and Air Chief Arup Raha remembered martyrs and paid tributes at Amar Jawan Jyoti in New Delhi.
136.World Bank approved 1.5 billion US dollar loan to support Clean India Campaign
i. The World Bank on 15 December 2015 approved a 1.5 billion US dollar loan for the ambitious Clean India Campaign (Swachh Bharat Mission). The loan was granted to support the government in its efforts to ensure all citizens in rural areas have access to improved sanitation and end the practice of open defecation by 2019.
ii. The loan will be used for Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Support Operation Project.
137.Combined Commanders Conference held on INS Vikramaditya off Kochi coast
i. Combined Commanders Conference, an annual tri-services event chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was held on board INS Vikramaditya about 50 kms off Kochi coast. This is the first time when the conference was held outside New Delhi.
ii. It was attended by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, all three services chiefs and other senior officers of three armed services.
- The Conference is also known as the Unified Commanders’ Conference (UCC).
- During this conference India’s defence policy, doctrine and operational challenges are discussed in detail.
- Prime minister also reviewed exercise like firing of surface-to-surface missile by INS Nirghat during this conference.
- Prior to conference PM revived the tri-services guard of honour at Southern Naval Command.
138.SC appoints Virendra Singh as Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh
i. The Supreme Court has appointed Justice (Retd) Virendra Singh as new Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh.
ii. The Court exercises its right under Article 142 of the Constitution to make the appointment while regretting that its several orders have not been "heeded" by the Constitutional functionaries — the Chief Minister, the leader of opposition and the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.
iii. In an unusual order, the Supreme Court on Wednesday exercised its Constitutional authority and appointed former High Court judge, Justice Virendra Singh, as Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh after the State government failed to comply with its directives.
iv. The Supreme Court observed that
- The failure of constitutional functionaries to comply with the orders of the apex court of the country is deeply regretted and astonishing.
- Expressed displeasure that Chief Minister, leader of opposition and Chief Justice of High Court failed to comply with its order.
139.Supreme Court bans registration of new diesel SUVs, luxury cars in Delhi
i. Supreme Court has banned the registration of all diesel SUVs (Sports Utility Vechiles) and luxury cars in the entire National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi.
ii. The ban will be valid to SUVs, luxury cars with engine capacity of 2000 cc or more till March 31, 2016. The SC ruling aims at curbing the alarming pollution level in Delhi.
iii. Presently, over 23 percent (around 8.5 million) of the vehicles on Delhi roads run on diesel and more than 1,400 new cars are added every day. These diesel vehicles produce much more carcinogenic nitrogen oxide than petrol cars and are one main source of Particulate Matters.
140.Pakistan successfully tests nuclear-capable Shaheen-IA ballistic missile
i. Pakistan has successfully tested the nuclear-capable Shaheen-IA ballistic missile with a range of 900 km.
ii. The test of the missile was aimed at re-validating several design and technical parameters of the weapon system. However the location of the test was not disclosed by Pakistan Government.
iii. It is second nuclear capable missile test to be undertaken by Pakistan in December 2015. Earlier Shaheen-III surface-to-surface ballistic missile with a range of 2,750 km was tested.
141.Saudi Arabia announces 34 nations Islamic coalition to fight terrorism
i. Saudi Arabia has launched Islamic Military Coalition, a new military alliance of 34 nations mainly Muslim nations to fight terrorism.
ii. It has been established in pursuance of the objectives and principles of the charter of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). It calls for all member states to cooperate to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
142.IAEA ends 12 year Iran Nuclear Weapon probe
i. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has ended its 12-year investigation into concerns that Iran might be developing nuclear weapons.
ii. In this regard, IAEA Board of Governors have passed a resolution ending its long-running inquiry against Ian but allowing inspectors to continue to police the country’s nuclear programme.
iii. Earlier IAEA has concluded that Iran had conducted nuclear weapons-related research until 2003 and to a lesser extent until 2009, but found no evidence was found.
iv. The move is seen as a key step towards lifting UN, EU and US sanctions and a symbolic victory for Iran.
143.Arun Kumar Jain appointed as Chairman of CBDT
i. Senior revenue service officer Arun Kumar Jain appointed Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
ii. His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
144.Arctic Region hits record high temperature over land: NOAA
i. The average temperature over Arctic land for the year ending in September 2015 was the highest on record indicating that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as other parts of the Earth.
ii. It was revealed by the annual Arctic Report Card of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a federal agency of US for monitoring condition of the oceans and the atmosphere.
iii. The temperatures in areas at latitude 60 degrees north and higher i.e. over Arctic were 1.3 degrees Celsius above average for the year ending in September 2015.
145.Renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman won 2016 Genesis Prize
i. Renowned Israeli-US violinist Itzhak Perlman on 14 December 2015 was announced as the 2016 Genesis Prize Laureate for his accomplishments as a musician, teacher and advocate for people with disabilities.
ii. Perlman will receive the award on 23 June 2016 from Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at a ceremony in Jerusalem.
146.Lok Sabha passed Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015
i. The Lok Sabha on 14 December 2015 passed the landmark Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The bill seeks to overcome difficulties encountered in the setting up of new nuclear projects and enhancement of nuclear power generation.
ii. The bill was passed with a voice vote from both treasury as well as opposition benches. It will now be referred to Rajya Sabha for ratification.
147.Apurvi Chandela wins gold medal at National Shooting Championship
i. Apurvi Chandela from Rajasthan has won a Gold medal in the 59th National Shooting Championship in Delhi.
ii. She won the gold medal in 10-metre Air Rifle event in women’s category by shooting 207.8 score in the finals.
iii. She was followed by Geetakshi Dixit (Rajasthan) at second spot and Anjum Moudgil (Haryana) at third spot.
148. ISRO’ PSLV-C29 successfully launched 6 Singapore satellites into space
i. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 16 December 2015 successfully launched 6 satellites of Singapore into Space. The satellites were launched using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C29 from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikotta in Andhra Pradesh.
ii. For the PSLV, it was the 32nd flight overall, and 31st consecutive successful launch. It was also the 50th launch of a big rocket from the SDSC since the launch of SLV-3 on 10 August 1979.
iii. On the technical front, the PSLV-C29 is significant for the ISRO. In this launch, the rocket engine was switched off for some time and then switched on successfully in the space. This mid-space switch on & off facility is very crucial for a launch vehicle to place on-board satellites into different orbits.
iv. With the present launch, ISRO has put into orbits 57 foreign satellites belonging to 20 countries successfully. Significantly, the list of countries includes scientifically advacned countries like the USA, the UK, France and Germany among others.
149. Union Cabinet approved MoU with BRICS for energy conservation
i. The Union Cabinet on 16 December 2015 gave its ex-post facto approval to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) for strengthening energy efficiency cooperation.
ii. The MoU provides for Joint scientific and technological research and Conferencing and holding of lectures and seminars. Capacity building and technology transfer and Technology development, sharing policies and best practices was also included in the MoU. It also included Encouragement of use of energy efficient and energy saving approaches and instruments in the work of the business entities of the BRICS countries, carried out within the BRICS countries in Consultation with the host country.
iii. Under the present MoU, the BRICS countries intend to examine the practicability of development of the comprehensive programme of cooperation in energy saving and energy efficiency promotion that includes specific common projects, applicable methods and instruments of energy saving and energy efficiency increase in their economies.
150. Justice Reva Khetrapal took oath as Delhi's Lokayukta
i. Former Delhi High Court judge Reva Khetrapal on 17 December 2015 took oath as Delhi's new Lokayukta. The post of the anti-corruption ombudsman was vacant since November 2013, when retired Justice Manmohan Sarin renounced the office.
ii. A four-member panel comprising Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court G Rohini and Leader of Opposition leader in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta had unanimously chosen Justice Khetrapal in October 2015 for the post. Her name was officially recommended by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to the President of India Pranab Mukherjee in October 2015.
iii. The Delhi Government recommended Khetrapal’s name along with retired Chief Justice of Orissa High Court Bilal Nazki and retired Chief Justice of Haryana and Punjab High Court Jasbir Singh to the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court in July 2015.
iv. Reva Khetrapal was born in Shimla and studied at Miranda House College and the Law Faculty of the Delhi University. She worked as the additional judge in the Delhi High Court between 28 February 2006 and 22 September 2014. She also acted as the Additional District and Sessions Judge in 1991 and was posted as Special Judge (Narcotics) in 1994.
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