DAILY GK UPDATE - 1 TO 50 DECEMBER 2015 -- BANKERSADDA
i. The United Nations (UN) Chief Ban Ki-moon along with the agencies of the UN system on 30 November 2015 launched initiative titled Anticipate, Absorb, Reshape to build climate resilience in the world’s most vulnerable countries.
ii. The initiative was launched during the United Nations climate change conference (COP21) in Paris. The initiative was launched in the wake of economic losses that have increased by more than half over the past decade. Ecosystems, and food and water supplies are under increasing pressure.
iii. It will strengthen the ability of countries to anticipate hazards, absorb shocks, and reshape development to reduce climate risks. It is expected to address the needs of the nearly 634 million people, or a tenth of the global population who live in at-risk coastal areas just a few meters above existing sea levels.
iv. It will also help those living in areas at risk of droughts and floods. It will mobilize financing and knowledge; create and operationalize partnerships at scale, help coordinate activities to help reach tangible results, catalyze research, and develop new tools over the next five years.
2. IMF approved China's Yuan as Elite Reserve Currency
i. International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 30 November 2015 included China's Yuan into its elite reserve currency basket. Yuan's entry into the basket takes effect from 1 October 2016.
ii. Yuan also known as the Chinese Renminbi (RMB) was included in the basket after it met the existing criteria for its inclusion. The action was taken after the executive board at IMF completed the regular five-yearly review of the basket of currencies that make up the Special Drawing Right (SDR).
iii. Yuan will be a freely usable currency and will be included in the SDR basket as a fifth currency, along with the US Dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen and British Pound. Launching the new SDR basket on 1 October 2016 will provide sufficient lead time for the Fund, its members and other SDR users to adjust to these changes.
iv. The inclusion of the RMB will enhance the attractiveness of the SDR by diversifying the basket and making it more representative of the world’s major currencies. Inclusion of Yuan in the SDR is considered as a big political victory for China as Yuan’s desirability as a reserve currency for investors will increase and undermine the hegemony of the dollar as a global reserve currency.
v. The SDR basket, upon which the SDR’s value is based, is typically reviewed every five years by the IMF’s executive board. It is reviewed to ensure that it reflects the relative importance of currencies in the global trading and financial systems.
3. World leaders launched Mission Innovation for accelerating clean energy revolution
i. World leaders on 30 November 2015 launched Mission Innovation for accelerating clean energy revolution across the world. The mission was launched by 20 participating countries, including India, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Paris-Le Bourget, France.
ii. As part o
f this initiative, the participating countries double their clean energy research and development funding by 2020. And, it was launched alongside Bill Gates led Breakthrough Energy Coalition that aims at reducing demand for fossil fuels.
iii. It aims to reinvigorate and accelerate global clean energy innovation with the objective to make clean energy widely affordable. It will augment the efforts to provide affordable and reliable energy for everyone and to promote economic growth.
iv. Working with existing international institutions, participating countries will cooperate and collaborate to help governments, private investors and technology innovators. The collaboration will cover areas such as- sharing of data, technology expertise and analysis in order to promote commercialization and dissemination of clean energy technologies.
4. Hinduja Brothers received lifetime achievement award at Asian Business Leadership Forum 2015
i. Hinduja Brothers on 29 November 2015 were honoured with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Asian Business Leadership Forum (ABLF) Series in Dubai. The prestigious award recognizes the most powerful and influential business leaders.
ii. ABLF Series' Royal Patron and the UAE's Minister of Culture Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan presented the award to Gopichand P Hinduja, Co-Chairman, Hinduja Group of Companies, The Hinduja Group, UK.
iii. The Asian Business Leadership Forum (ABLF) Series is Asia’s most prestigious annual business leadership event series. The ABLF enjoys royal patronage in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
iv. The ABLF is headed by the Governors’ Board who are responsible for shaping and projecting the vision, path and broad scope of the ABLF. The ABLF Series has two distinct arms: The ABLForum and the ABLF Awards.
5. Dr Abdul Kalam IGNITE award presented by President Pranab Mukherjee
i. President Pranab Mukharjee on 30 November 2015 presented Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE awards 2015 to a total of 40 school students of 27 districts from 18 states. The awards were given away for 31 grass root innovations at the prestigious Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A). At present, President is on a three day visit to Gujarat.
ii. Besides, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel instructed Gujarat government and IIMA to implement some of its innovations targeted to ease out the work of farmers and hawkers in the state.
iii. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE Award is a national competition of original technological ideas and innovations by children up to class 12 or those out of school up to the age of 17 years.
iv. The competition is organized by National Innovation Foundation (NIF) in association with Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Honey Bee Network, other State Educational Boards and other partners every year to promote creativity and originality among children.
v. The awards of IGNITE competition are announced every year on 15 October, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's birthday, which is celebrated as the Children's Creativity and Innovation Day by NIF.
6. Robert Lewandowski awarded with four Guinness World Record certificates for scoring five goals in nine minutes
i. Polish professional footballer Robert Lewandowski’s nine-minute, five-goal haul for German Football Club Bayern Munich against Wolfsburg was officially recognised on 30 November 2015 by Guinness World Record.
ii. Lewandowski was presented with four separate official Guinness World Records certificates for his goal scoring spree during a special press conference which took place at Bayern Munich’s ground.
iii. On 22 September 2015, the Polish star scored five goals during the league encounter with Wolfsburg in nine minutes, the fastest in any major European football league since records have been kept.
iv. He broke a series of records including Fastest Bundesliga hat-trick (3 minutes 22 seconds), Fastest Four Goals in a Bundesliga Match (5 minutes 42 seconds), Fastest Five Goals Scored in a Bundesliga Match (8 minutes 59 seconds), Most Goals Scored by a Substitute in a Bundesliga Match (5 goals).
v. Lewandowski started his career at Varsovia, where as a teen he played for seven years. Soon, he moved to Delta Warsaw where he managed to play in the first team, scoring four goals. On 3 January 2015, he signed a five-year contract with Bayern Munich. He was officially presented as a Bayern Munich player on 9 July 2014.
7. Union Government launched IPV injection as part of Global Polio Endgame Strategy
i. The Union Government on 30 November 2015 launched the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) as part of its commitment to the Global Polio Endgame Strategy.
ii. The IPV injection was launched in New Delhi by Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda. It is part of next step in India's universal immunization programme to fight against polio in the country.
iii. The first phase this vaccine will be introduced in six states, viz Assam, Gujarat, Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. IPV injection will be given to children below one year of age along with the third dose of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) at the routine immunization sessions free of cost.
iv. New evidences now clearly show that IPV and OPV together will further strengthen the children’s immune system and will provide double protection against polio. The introduction of IPV in routine immunization is as per recommendation made in World Health Assembly in May 2015 and endorsed by Global Polio Endgame Strategy.
v. IPV will roll-out to 126 countries which are only using OPV in the National program and it will be the largest and fastest globally-coordinated vaccine introduction project in history.
8. NMPT holds trade meet in Mysore
i. New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT), in association with Mysore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Nanjangud Industries Association, organized a trade meet in Mysore recently.
ii. A press release by NMPT said here on Monday that the exporters of commodities such as textiles, tyres, automobile parts, machinery, agarbathis, pharmaceuticals, etc., and mainline container operators attended the meet.
iii. The purpose of the meet was to interact with importers and exporters of Karnataka, especially from the Mysore-Nanjangud region, where a large volume of container cargo is generated.
iv. PC Parida, Chairman of NMPT, requested the trade and industry to make use of New Mangalore Port, which is close to Mysore, for moving their cargo. He also explained about the infrastructure and ongoing developmental works at the port.
v. Suresh P Shirwadkar, Deputy Chairman of NMPT; AS Satish, President of Mysore Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Ram Prasad, Secretary of Nanjangud Industries Association, spoke on the occasion.
9. Russian film-maker Eldar Ryazanov died
i. Eldar Ryazanov, one of the most popular Russian film directors of the Soviet era, died on 30 November 2015 following the prolonged illness. He was 88.
ii. Born in Samara, Russia in November 1927, Ryazanov began his studies at Moscow’s prestigious Gerasimov film school (VGIK). He became an overnight sensation after his first feature comedy film Carnival Night in 1956.
iii. He directed some of the most popular Soviet Era comedies such as Irony of Fate, The Garage and Office Romance. In 1984, he received one of the top Soviet artistry title People's Artist of the USSR and received the USSR State Prize in 1977.
10. Union Government launches GIAN Scheme to boost higher education
i. Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has launched Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) Scheme to boost the quality of higher education in India. It was launched by Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus.
ii. GIAN Scheme aims at improving the quality of higher education in the country through international collaboration. Facilitate participation of high quality international academicians for delivering short-term courses and programs in Indian institutions.
iii. Initially 500 international faculties will be engaged in conducting courses and later in subsequent years 1000 faculties would be engaged under GIAN throughout India. Under this scheme, academicians will cover 13 disciplines and 352 courses to be taught in 68 national institutions.
iv. These courses will vary in duration from one to three weeks depending on the subject and will be free for students of the host institution and available for nominal fees for others. These courses will be webcasted live for students across the country through web portal www.gian.iitkgp.ac.in designed by IIT Kharagpur.
11. International Day for the Abolition of Slavery Observed globally
i. The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery was observed globally on 2 December 2015. The day is observed to focus on the elimination of human trafficking, child labour and other forms of modern-day slavery.
ii. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are currently an estimated 21 million forced labour victims worldwide, creating 150 billion US dollars in illegal profits in the private economy each year.
iii. To tackle with the situation, ILO has adopted a new legally binding Protocol designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour and which will enter into force in November 2016.
iv. International Day for the Abolition of Slavery marks the date of adoption of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others by UN General Assembly on 2 December 1929.
v. The day focuses on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, and the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
12. India, France launched International Solar Alliance
i. India and France on 30 November 2015 launched the International Solar Alliance in Paris. The alliance was launched jointly by PM Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande during the United Nations climate change conference (COP21).
ii. The alliance also invited all countries located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join the group. It will function from the National Institute of Solar Energy in India, Gurgaon.
iii. It aims to bring 121 tropical countries together to tap solar energy. The Alliance will enable solar-rich developing countries to make the best use of an abundant, free natural resource. It seeks to share collective ambitions to reduce the cost of finance and technology that is needed to deploy solar power widely.
iv. It would adapt the generation and storage technologies to the individual countries’ needs. Among the tasks that the Alliance would pursue are, cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures.
13. Delhi Development Authority awarded with E-India Award
i. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) was on 1 December 2015 awarded with the E-India Award for adopting technology to serve the public better and using resources efficiently through mobile applications.
ii. The award was received by VS Tomar, Director (Systems) DDA during the e-INDIA SUMMIT 2015 in Mumbai.
iii. It bagged the award under the category of Digital India IT initiatives for extraordinary IT initiatives in the field of land protection and engineering projects. It was awarded for the vacant land photo uploading system app wherein officials of the land and engineering department upload photographs of vacant land to keep a check on encroachment.
iv. The second award winning app of DDA was the Measurement Books for e-filing of measurement of engineering projects for exact estimation of parameters and project requirements.
14. Renowned violinist L Subramaniam to be honoured with ITC Sangeet Samman
i. Renowned violinist Lakshminarayana Subramaniam will be honoured with the Sangeet Samman at the ITC Sangeet Sammelan 2015 beginning on 4 December 2015 at the Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata. The ITC Sangeet Research Academy Executive Director Rabi Srinibasan on 1 December 2015 announced the name of the artist for the award.
ii. Born on 23 July 1947, Subramaniam was trained in the classical Carnatic music tradition and Western classical music. The artiste is known for his virtuoso playing techniques and compositions in orchestral fusion.
iii. The violinist has also composed the film scores for the films like Salaam Bombay and Mississippi Masala directed by Mira Nair.
iv. Subramaniam has been awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Limca Book of Records in 2012. He also won the President's Award for Best Violinist, All India Radio in 1963. In 2001, the renowned violinist was honoured with the Padma Bhushan.
15. Sarangi maestro Ustad Sabri Khan passed away
i. Renowned sarangi player Ustad Sabri Khan died on 30 November 2015 in New Delhi due to breathing problems. He was 88. Born on 21 May 1927 in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, Khan belonged to the Sainia Gharana, which traces the tradition of its music back to Tansen.
ii. The sarangi maestro was initiated into Sarangi by his grandfather Ustad Haji Mohammed Khan. Later, Sabri Khan continued his training under his father Ustad Chajju Khan.
iii. For his contribution to the Classical Music of India, Ustad Sabri Khan had received numerous honours and awards, including the Sahitya Kala Parishad Award, UP Sangeet Natak Academy iv. Award, National Sangeet Natak Academy Award. The Government of India also honoured him with the prestigious Padma Shree Award in 1992 and Padma Bhushan Award in 2006.
16. President gave nod to Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2015 to allow women to work in night shifts
i. President Pranab Mukherjee on 1 December 2015 gave assent to Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2015 of Maharashtra. Among other things, the bill amends Section 66(1)(c) of the Factories Act, 1948 that restricts women from working at a factory between 7 PM and 6 AM.
ii. The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was passed by the Maharashtra legislature in July 2015. Later, it was reserved for consideration of the President by the State Governor C Vidyasagar Rao under article 200 of the Constitution.
iii. The other proposed changes to the Factories Act, 1948 include
(a) Workers to be eligible for paid leave after working for 90 days in a year instead of the existing 240 days or more.
(b) It would not be mandatory for workers to take the management's permission for overtime, the limit for which in three months will be increased to 115 hours from the current 75.
(c) It will prevent inspectors from filing cases on petty matters against factories and consequently, will help in curbing corruption and harassment from factory inspectors.
(d) If a factory inspector has to file a case, he has to take prior permission from the chief factory inspector.
iv. The decision of the state government to change the 67-year-old existing law will bring a much needed help for workers working in more than 14000 factories across the state.
17. Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan assumed Presidency of the Royal Society.
i. Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan on 1 December 2015 assumed Presidency of the Royal Society in London. He was elected to the office in March 2015 by the society’s council and will serve for up to five years.
ii. With this appointment, he became the 61st president of the society. And, he joined the elite club that has included Christopher Wren, Samuel Pepys, Isaac Newton, Joseph Banks, Humphry Davy, and Ernest Rutherford.
iii. He studied how genetic information is translated by the ribosome to make proteins and the action of antibiotics on this process. The Indian-American scientist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009 with Tom Steitz and Ada Yonath. He was awarded a knighthood in 2012
iv. He has a B.Sc in physics from Baroda University, India and a PhD from Ohio University in the USA. He studied biology at the University of California, San Diego and worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University. Subsequently, he was a biophysicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and professor of biochemistry at the University of Utah before he moved to the UK in 1999.
18. India’s Thakur Anoop Singh won gold medal in World Bodybuilding and Physique Championships
i. India’s Thakur Anoop Singh on 28 November 2015 won gold medal in the 7th WBPF World Bodybuilding and Physique Championships.
ii. He won the medal in the fitness physique category. Overall, India won 11 medals in the championships that saw participation from 47 nations. The championships were held in Bangkok, Thailand.
iii. Along with him, Arambam Boby (Manipur) also won gold in the championship. For him, it was the 4th world title in his career.
iv. 0Also, Thingbaijam Sarita who had won a silver medal in Asian Bodybuilding Championships 2015 also bagged a bronze medal in the event.
19. Justice Tirath Singh Thakur sworn in as 43rd Chief Justice of India
i. Justice Tirath Singh (TS) Thakur was on 3 December 2015 sworn in as 43rd Chief Justice of India (CJI) by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. Thakur succeeded incumbent Justice H L Dattu who retired on 2 December 2015.
ii. He will have the tenure as CJI for over one year and will retire on 4 January 2017. Born on 4 January 1952, Justice Thakur enrolled as a Pleader in October 1972. He was designated as a senior advocate in 1990.
iii. In February 1994, he was appointed as an additional judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and was transferred as a judge of the Karnataka High Court in March 1994. He was appointed as a permanent judge in September 1995 and transferred to the Delhi High Court in July 2004.
iv. He was appointed as acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court in April 2008 and in August 2008, he took over as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court on 17 November 2009.
20. Industrialist MAM Ramaswamy died
i. Industrialist, founder of Chettinad Group, former parliamentarian MAM Ramaswamy passed away on 2 December 2015 in Chennai due to prolonged illness. He was 84.
ii. Popularly known as MAMR in political, business and sports circles, Ramaswamy was born on 30 September 1931 into a respected family in the Nattukottai Chettiar community, also known as The Rajah Family.
iii. MAMR’s grandfather Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar and his father Rajah Sir MA Muthiah Chettiar along with his uncles MRM Ramanathan Chettiar and MA Chidambaram Chettiar built the Chettinad Group into a business empire in Tamil Nadu.
iv. MAMR transformed the Annamalai University in Chidambaram, founded by his family in 1929, into an institution with 48 departments.
v. The industrialist also served as the Member of the Parliament of India representing Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha.
21. Adidas India’s Pulin Kumar won prestigious INBA Award
i. Pulin Kumar, Group Senior Legal and Compliance Director of Adidas India, on 26 November 2015 was conferred with the Indian National Bar Association's (INBA) General Counsel of the year 2015 - Retail Award in New Delhi.
ii. Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani presented the award to Kumar on the occasion of INBA's Annual International Conference-66th National Law Day. The Indian National Bar Association has constituted 12 awards categories for general counsel in the field of technology, infrastructure, real estate, retail, corporate, privacy and data protection, law firm and insurance.
iii. INBA Awards also acknowledge top women lawyers, young women general counsel, young emerging lawyers and global general counsel. Every year, INBA invites nominations for the awards. The jury panel for consideration of the awards constitute renowned people from the legal field.
22. Union Cabinet approved signing of MoU between India and Iran on visa facilitation
i. The Union Cabinet on 2 December 2015 approved the signing of the agreement between India and Iran on visa facilitation for Diplomatic, Official/Service and Ordinary passport holders.
ii. As per the agreement, upon presentation of an official note by the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with the visa application, the resident Diplomatic Missions in the host country would, within 20 working days, issue a gratis visa valid for 90 days for the holders of valid Diplomatic/Official/Service passports, assigned on long-term missions to the Diplomatic Missions or the Consulates General.
iii. Appropriate gratis visas of three months' validity for visiting close family members (blood relations such as parents, siblings, adult children as well as in-laws) and visas for other close relatives of the assignees, on the payment of visa fees due would be issued.
iv. The agreement says that on presentation of an official note by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating the purpose of the visit, a non-extendable gratis entry visa will be issued within three working days, with a validity of up to fifteen days, to political authorities and officials travelling for specific bilateral purposes or to participate in a conference or seminar.
v. This Agreement can be amended at any time as decided and mutually agreed upon in writing by the Parties. Any dispute arising out of the interpretation, implementation or application of any provision of this Agreement shall be settled amicably through consultation or negotiation between the Parties.
23. Navy inducts decoy system Maareech
i. A fully indigenous decoy system, that can divert underwater torpedo attacks on ships and submarines, has been developed by Visakhapatnam-based Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL).
ii. The torpedo defence system, Maareech, was recently inducted into the Indian Navy. Maareech has been termed a complete package involving sensors and decoys for defence against torpedoes.
ii. Maareech is a joint project of the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory, Kochi, and NSTL. Sources said two production-grade Maareech systems have been developed and user evaluation trials were completed onboard two Indian Navy ships.
iv. Maareech is capable of diverting incoming torpedoes and is an advanced version of the regular decoys. While submarines use decoys as anti-torpedo systems, the system has been developed for the first time for surface ships.
v. Maareech has been termed “an excellent model of synergy between the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), Indian Navy, and public and private industries.”
24. Brazil entered longest recession since 1930s
i. Brazil’s economy contracted by 1.7 percent during July-September 2015 compared to April-June period in 2015. An announcement in this regard was made by the government on 1 December 2015.
ii. It was Brazil's third consecutive quarter of contraction starting from January 2015 and thus, making it the country's longest recession since the 1930s.
iii. Inflation rose to over 10 percent, the highest in 12 years, in October 2015. Unemployment rate was pegged at 8.9 percent during July-September 2015 up from 6.8 percent in 2014-15. Due to lower earnings, household spending fell by 4.5 percent during July-September 2015.
iv. Real, Brazil's currency was down about 31 percent against the dollar between January-November 2015. Bovespa, Brazil's main stock index, has been decelerated by about 27 percent since September 2014. Foreign and domestic investments in Brazil have declined for nine straight quarters.
v. Primary reasons for recession in Brazil are multiple. They range from continuing global economic slowdown, shrinkage in exports and unprecedented scandal at the government-run oil company Petrobras.
25. Union Government approved setting up of 6 new IITs
i. The Union Cabinet on 2 December 2015 approved setting up of six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Andhra Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Goa, Jammu, Kerala and Karnataka.
ii. The Cabinet also approved the operationalisation of these IITs by forming Societies under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 in order to give a legal status to them till the amendment for their incorporation in The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 is enacted.
iii. Each new IIT will have an initial intake of 180 students in its first year from temporary / transit which would increase to 450 in the second year and to 928 in the third year of their operation. The new IITs will be operated from their temporary campuses for the initial period of three years before shifting into their permanent campuses in the 4th year.
iv. Each IIT will have a sanctioned strength of faculty members with a faculty-student ratio of 1:10. The total cost for running these IITs is 1411.80 crore rupees and will be incurred between 2015-16 and 2018-19.
26. Indian-American Dr Vijay M Rao named as Chairperson of RSNA
i. Indian-American Dr Vijay M Rao was named as the chairperson of the prestigious Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Board of Directors on 2 December 2015.
ii. As the chairperson at RSNA, Dr Rao brings her expertise in health services and policy matters to bear in a shifting healthcare landscape of increasing complexity and declining reimbursements.
iii. At the time of appointment in RSNA, Dr Rao was the David C Levin Professor and Chairperson of Radiology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.
iv. She is a graduate of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. She remained on the faculty at Jefferson ever since completing her residency there in 1978. She was appointed associate chair for education in 1989 and vice chair for education in 2000.
v. The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) is an international society of radiologists, medical physicists and other medical professionals with more than 54000 members from 136 countries across the globe.
27. Vijay Kumar Choudhary elected as Bihar Assembly Speaker
i. Senior Janata Dal (United) leader Vijay Kumar Chaudhary on 2 December 2015 was unanimously elected new Speaker of the Bihar Legislative Assembly. Chaudhary was elected to the post after consensus was generated on his name among all political parties of the state, including the opposition.
ii. The pro-tem Speaker and Congress MLA Sadanand Singh announced the election of Chaudhary as the new Speaker.
iii. Chaudhary debuted in politics after untimely demise of his legislator father in 1982. In the same year, he won the subsequent by-election from Dalsinghsarai on a Congress ticket.
iv. He joined JD(U) in 2005. In 2010, he won the subsequent legislative assembly elections from Sarairanjan and was rewarded with the crucial Water Resources ministry in the newly formed cabinet.
28. Union Cabinet approved DTAC agreement with Japan
i. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2 December 2015 approved signing and ratification of Protocol between India and Japan for amending the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) in order to facilitate tax-related exchange of information.
ii. DTAC was signed between the two countries in 1989 for avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion through a protocol.
iii. The protocol will facilitate exchange of information as per accepted international standards on tax matters, including bank information and information without domestic tax interest.
iv. There is a further provision in the Protocol for sharing any information received from Japan, with authorization of the competent authority in Japan and vice versa, in respect of a resident of India, with other law enforcement agencies.
v. The Protocol also has a provision for India and Japan to lend assistance to each other in collection of revenue claims, as well as for exemption of interest income from taxation in the source country, with respect to debt-claims insured by the Government or Government-owned financial institutions.
29. Axis Bank launches country's first 'display variant' debit card
i. Country's third largest private sector lender Axis BankBSE 0.70 % today said it has launched a 'display variant' debit card which does away with the hassles of generating one time password (OTP) over SMS while transacting.
ii. The card, which is being made available for high-value NRE customers, has an embedded EMV chip, a display screen and a touch-sensitive button which helps generating the OTP on the card itself.
iii. "This OTP, in conjunction with the user ID and password, allows the customer to transact on internet banking without having to wait for OTP delivery via SMS or email," a bank statement said, adding that it is the first lender in the country to offer the facility.
iv. The card comes with free ATM access across the world, offers on lounge access, loyalty points on transactions and an air accident insurance of Rs 25 lakh and a personal accident insurance of Rs 5 lakh. Details on the charges or the minimum balance requirements were not immediately available.
30. ICBC to become Tata Group’s strategic banking partner
i. Tata Sons Ltd and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) have formed a long-term partnership, under which ICBC will become a strategic banking partner to the Tata group. Tata Sons is the principal investment holding company of $108 billion Tata Group and promoter of Tata companies.
ii. Under the alliance, ICBC will provide the Tata group with financing products, global cash management, consulting, international trade finance business, investment banking, foreign exchange, derivatives trading, and other global financial services, Tata Sons said in a statement on Wednesday.
iii. ICBC will also create a global service team which will support Tata group’s strategic development plans, it said. The alliance will be a global one with the geographies covered, including India, China, Singapore, Europe, the US, and South America.
iv. As a natural fall out of this alliance, the Tata group will consider proposals from ICBC and solicit its participation on bilateral transactions and tender offers.
v. A team of Tata executives, led by Tata Group chairman Cyrus P. Mistry, met with Jiang Jianqing, chairman of ICBC, and his team to formalise the engagement. Tata group operates in more than 100 countries across six continents.
31. Himachal Pradesh became first state to launch Rotavirus vaccination project
i. Himachal Pradesh on 3 December 2015 became the first state of India to launch Rotavirus vaccination project. The vaccine will help in controlling the child mortality rate (under five years of age) due to diarrhoea.
ii. Rotavirus vaccines are administered orally to infants in three dose course at ages of six, ten and fourteen weeks and are part of Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). The project was launched by the state Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh at Dharamsala in Kangra district. Singh administered the Rotavirus drops to children aged under five years.
iii. International Clinical Epidemiological Network will provide technical assistance and will also bear the entire cost of the vaccines. The project will soon be launched in Vellore in Karnataka and Pune in Maharashtra.
iv. It is a most common causative agent of moderate-to-severe diarrhoea (MSD) among infants below 11 months age group in India. It is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridae. It spreads from person to person due to bacterial agents that are primarily transmitted through contaminated food or water.
32. Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation announced
i. A broad coalition of nations, river basin organizations, business and civil society on 2 December 2015 announced the creation of the international Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation.
ii. The announcement was made at the Water Resilience Focus event held under the Lima to Paris Action Agenda on climate change. And, the event was held on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Paris, France.
iii. Its objective is to make water systems – the very foundation of sustainable human development - more resilient to climate impacts. Almost 290 water basin organisations are engaged under the Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation. It involves a wide geographic coalition of national and cross-border river basin organisations, overnments, funding agencies, local governments, companies and civil society.
iv. It encompasses individual commitments to implement adaptation plans, strengthening water monitoring and measurement systems in river basins. It promotes financial sustainability and new investment in water systems management.
v. Major collaborative projects under the pact represent over 20 million US dollars in technical assistance and potentially over 1 billion US dollars in financing.
33. Lok Sabha passed bill to establish BIS as National Standards Body
i. The Lok Sabha on 3 December 2015 passed the Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015 to establish the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as a National Standards Body. The bill seeks to establish harmonious development of standardization and assessment and quality assurance of goods, processes and services.
ii. The bill broadens BIS’ ambit, and allow the Union Government to make it mandatory for certain notified goods, articles and processes to carry the standard mark. It allows multiple types of conformity assessment schemes in tune with best global practices.
iii. It contains provision to make misuse of Standard mark as a cognizable offence. Contravention of provisions of the law will attract imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine of at least one lakh rupees.
iv. The fine and imprisonment may go up further depending on the value of goods produced or sold or applied with standard mark including hallmark.
34. First India International Science Festival began at IIT-Delhi
i. The first India International Science Festival (IISF) began on 4 December 2015 at IIT-Delhi. The five day festival will explore ways to translate academic research into industrial applications benefiting the common man and encourage culmination of scientific temperament among youngsters, especially school children.
ii. Exposing the fruits of Science & Technology to the masses. Building strategy to instill scientific temper among the masses. Showcasing Indian contributions in the field of Science and Tech over the years. Providing platform to young scientists for exchange of knowledge & ideas
iii. Supporting flagship programs like Make in India, Digital India, Start-ups, Smart Villages, Smart Cities, etc. initiated by the Govt. of India
iv. The five-day festival that will conclude on 8 December 2015 was jointly organised by Ministry of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Union Government. The event was organised with an aim to create a Guinness World Record of the highest number of students conducting an experiment at the same venue in which 2000 students are expected to take part.
35. NTC signed Integrity Pact with Transparency International India
i. National Textile Corporation (NTC) Limited on 3 November 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Transparency International India (TII) for adopting Integrity Pact (IP).
With this signing, NTC became the 51st Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) and 49th Central PSU to sign a MoU with TII.
ii. Integrity Pact is a tool which ensures that all activities and transactions between a Company or Government Department and their Suppliers are handled in a fair, transparent and corruption-free manner. It also prohibits any kind of bribing, favour or any other unethical practice, which is closely monitored by honorary Independent External Monitors (IEMs).
iii. NTC is a Schedule-A Public Sector Undertaking engaged and entrusted with Management and operation of Sick Textile Undertakings taken over and nationalized through various Acts. From a sick corporation NTC Ltd has moved to a turnover of 12 billion rupees in the year 2013-14 and operation loss to Zero.
iv. Transparency International India (TII) is an accredited chapter of Transparency International, Berlin. TII has been working in the field of public procurement since 2005 with an aim to bring about transparency in the tendering process. Integrity Pact, a Transparency International conceptualized instrument, has been vital in promoting clean procurement.
36. US-India business meet
i. Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) will hold an interactive session on ‘US-India business: Opportunities and Challenges’ at 5.30 pm on December 4 at CR Board Room, BCIC Office.
ii. The session will be addressed by Ron Somers, Founder & CEO, India First Group of the US, and Clifford Samuel, SVP, Access Operations and Emerging Markets, Gilead Sciences in the US.
iii. The session will highlight on the strategic consulting based on extensive experience in the US-India business/government arena.
37. YouTube opens first video production studio in India
i. Stepping up its India focus, YouTube along with Subhash Ghai-owned film school Whistling Woods International, has opened its first video production studio in the country.
ii. Called YouTube Spaces, it has similar collaborations in Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, New York City, Sao Paulo, Paris and Berlin. The company said that the “watch-time” of its content in India was growing at 80 per cent on a year-on-year basis while the content uploaded to India has grown by 90 per cent.
iii. Through this collaboration, India’s popular up-and-coming YouTube creators, as well as their students, will have free access to Whistling Woods’ studios, high-end audio, visual and editing equipment, in addition to training programs, workshops and community events.
iv. Lance Podell, Director, Global Head of YouTube Spaces, said, in addition to physical studio space that is available to students and creators, YouTube and Whistling Woods are developing original courses to train filmmakers, especially to create content for the digital and online media.
v. Youtube, which has a billion in viewership, is seeing a huge surge in creator-based content. He said the company was also looking to step up the offline views.
38. GAIL, ISRO launch satellite-based portal to monitor pipelines
i. GAIL (India) Limited in collaboration with National Remote Sensing Centre, a unit of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), has launched a surveillance geo-portal – ‘Bhuvan-GAIL Portal’ – that utilises space technology for its pipeline safety application.
ii. The launch took place in the presence of B.C. Tripathi, Chairman GAIL (India) Ltd, V.K. Dadhwal, Director NRSC, ISRO and senior officials from GAIL and ISRO, according to a statement issued here.
iii. GAIL is deploying space technology to monitor the pipeline’s Right of Use (RoU). It has more than 13,000 km of pipeline network, wherein monthly monitoring of pipeline is presently done via helicopter surveys. By January 2016, GAIL will begin live satellite monitoring of its pipeline RoU. It is also seeking alternative methods such as advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), which can be integrated with this system.
iv. The company has developed a mobile application from which pictures of untoward incidents taken locally from any mobile showing the actual scenario can be uploaded instantly to the portal. A report system integrated with the Bhuvan-GAIL portal can send alerts to relevant executives via SMS and email regarding the changes noted along the pipeline as well as the arrival of any new satellite photos.
v. With recent progress in satellite-sensing technology, availability of new high-resolution satellites, object-oriented image analysis, there is the possibility to introduce space technology for pipeline monitoring applications.
vi. This R&D pilot project for monitoring of the 610-km-long Dahej–Vijaipur pipeline is one such effort to keep pace with technological advancements enabling time and cost-effective solutions. The Bhuvan-GAIL portal is operated via manual as well as auto-change analysis options to monitor changes along the natural gas pipeline.
39. Uttar Pradesh Government launches first International festival on Birds
i. Uttar Pradesh Government has launched International festival on Birds in a bid to promote state as an international bird-watching destination. The first-of-its-kind festival was inaugurated by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS).
ii. It has been jointly organised by the State Forest department in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). The three-day international festival (from 4 to 6 December 2015) on birds will be held the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS) in Agra. Over 80 Indian ornithlogists and around 25 top international bird experts and are participating in the first-of-its-kind festival.
iii. NCS was set up in 1979 as a riverine sanctuary along the Chambal River. It is managed by the Wildlife wing of the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department and its head-quartered are located at Agra.
iv. The sanctuary is the main area for the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), a fresh water crocodile species reintroduction programmme in the Chambal River. The river supports the largest population of the Gharial in the wild in the country. It also supports more than 320 resident and migrant birds.
40. RBI bars 56 NBFCs from conducting business
i. The Reserve Bank of India has cancelled the certificate of registration of 56 non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), including ABNL, Future Ventures India and Bajaj Finserve.
ii. Following the cancellation of registration certificate, these companies cannot transact in the business of an NBFC as laid down under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. A Bajaj Finserv spokesperson said since Bajaj Finance is already an NBFC and Bajaj Finserv is now a core investment company, the NBFC registration for the latter would not have served any purpose.
iii. ABNL Investment’s share in Aditya Birla Nuvo’s net profit was miniscule at 0.17 per cent. Future Ventures India has now metamorphosed into Future Consumer Enterprise, a sourcing-to-supermarket food company of the Future Group.
iv. According to Section 45I-A of the RBI Act, among others, the central bank may cancel a certificate of registration granted to an NBFC if it ceases to carry on the business of an NBFC; or fails to comply with any condition subject to which the certificate of registration had been issued to it.
v. The RBI statement did not specify any reason for cancellation of the registration certificate.
41. Centre to support rural entrepreneurs under MUDRA
i. In an effort to support rural entrepreneurs of India, the Centre on Saturday said it would think of giving loans under the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Yojana of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
ii. Speaking on the ‘e-Commerce Services: Enhancing Rural Entrepreneurship through Common Services Centres (CSCs), Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that he would request the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the purpose.
iii. “CSCs need to be funded, and being small-time entrepreneurs, they are fully qualified to get banking assistance under the MUDRA scheme. I will take up the matter with the Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister as CSCs will play a major role to make Digital India successful,” Prasad said.
iv. The Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) was launched in April, under which the overall loan disbursement target has been set at around ₹1.22 lakh crore for this financial year.
v. He said the CSCs are very small-scale initiatives and MUDRA is for such institutions and therefore, people who want to start such service points but do not have any funding, MUDRA can help them start their micro-ventures.
vi. CSCs are information and communications technology enabled service delivery points at the village level for delivery of government, financial, social and private services such as applying online passports, land record, digital locker and Aadhaar cards.
vii. The Minister also launched a Handbook on e-Commerce through CSCs and asked the e-Commerce companies to help linking CSCs as far as possible because 60 per cent of online markets are served in rural areas.
42. 44th Navy Day observed on 4 December
i. 44th Navy Day was observed on 4 December 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended greetings to naval personnel and commended their dedication to protect the maritime interests of nation. The occasion saw screening of Navy Telefilm 2015 titled Empowering India Through Maritime Security and Indigenisation on DD National.
ii. The Navy day is celebrated every year to commemorate the success of Operation Trident of Indian Navy on Karachi Harbour during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
iii. In one-night attack the Indian Navy sank three vessels near the largest Pakistani port of Karachi. Operation Trident resulted in the first use of anti-ship missiles in the region.
43. RBI announced revised Priority Sector Lending norms for Regional Rural Banks
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced revised Priority Sector Lending (PSL) norms for Regional Rural Banks (RRBs).
ii. Among other things, the PSL target was increased to 75 percent of total outstanding from the existing 60 percent. The revised target will be effective from 1 January 2016. The PSL norms have been revised considering the growing significance of RRBs in pursuit of financial inclusion agenda.
iii. As on March 2015, there were 56 RRBs operating in the country with a network of 20059 branches. They cover 644 notified districts in 26 states and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
iv. Medium enterprises, social infrastructure and renewable energy were included under PSL category.
v. Loans to individual farmers, for the purpose of PSL, was increased to 50 lakh rupees from the present 10 lakh rupees against pledge/ hypothecation of agricultural produce (including warehouse receipts) for a period not exceeding 12 months.
vi. The RBI has lowered the quantum of loans that will qualify as PSL. Against the earlier limit of 25 lakh rupees, loans to individuals up to 20 lakh rupees only are considered as PSL as per revised guidelines. Housing loans to banks’ own employees will be excluded from this limit.
44. International Volunteer Day observed globally
i. The International Volunteer Day (IVD) was on 5 December 2015 observed across the world with the theme The world is changing. Are you? Volunteer!.
ii. This year's theme challenges everyone to be a part of implementing the newly launched Global Goals, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Through volunteerism the person can impact the sustainable development agenda by mobilizing and engaging governments and communities.
iii. The day is viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, government authorities and the private sector.
iv. The day also pays special tribute to volunteers working to implement the new global goals. The International Volunteer Day (IVD) was established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly through its Resolution 40/212 on 17 December 1985.
45.Delhi Assembly passes Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015
i. The Delhi Assembly has unanimously passed the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015 for establishment of statutory anti-corruption ombudsman.
ii. The Bill provides powers to Lokpal to act against any government functionary including those of the Centre and in the national capital territory (NCT) of Delhi through its own investigation wing.
Key provisions of Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015 Composition:
- Janlokpal will be a three member body with Chairperson and two members. They would be appointed by on recommendation of selection committee consisting of Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition and Speaker of Delhi Legislative Assembly.
- Jurisdiction: On receiving corruption complaints from the government or from members of public Janlokpal is empowered to investigate an allegation of corruption in the NCT including the Chief Minister’s office.
46.China 1st manned electric aircraft gets licence for production
i. China has granted a license for production of first manned two seater electric aircraft RX1E known as RX1E by the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
ii. The aircraft has been designed by Shenyang Aerospace University and Liaoning General Aviation Academy in northeastern Liaoning province.
- RX1E electric light-sport aircraft and it is China’s first manned electric light aircraft. This plane is powered by lithium batteries and is capable of flying a maximum altitude of 3000 meters.
- The plane has a 47-foot wingspan and has a charging time of 90 minutes enables it to fly for 45 to 60 minutes.
- The plane can take the maximum takeoff weight of 480 kg.
47.India's forest & tree cover increased by 5,081 sq km: ISFR 2015
i. According to the recently released India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2015, India’s forest and tree cover has been increased by 5081 Square kilometre.
ii. The report was released by the Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar in New Delhi.
48.South Western Railway Zones introduces Biodiesel for trains
i.The South Western Railways (SWR) Zone with headquarters in Hubli, Karnataka has introduced biodiesel for trains, operating under its zone.
ii. In this regard, SWR’s first train Hubballi-Bengaluru Janshatabdi Express powered by five per cent biodiesel blended with High Speed Diesel was flagged off from Hubli.
iii. The main aim of the initiative is to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) emission and carbon footprint and also to make fuel consumption more efficient.
iv. To meet its biodiesel demand, SWR zone has set up Biodiesel filling centres at Hubli, Bengaluru and Hospet. In next one year all the 13 railway depots within the zone will have their own filling units and the biodiesel blending will be gradually increased to ten percent.
49.CEA Dr Arvind Subramanian Committee suggests GST rate of 17-18%
i. Chief Economic Advisor Dr Arvind Subramanian led Committee has recommended standard rate for Goods and Services Tax (GST) at 17 to 18 per cent.
ii. The Committee has submitted its report to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi.
Recommendations of Dr Arvind Subramanian Committee
- Standard GST rate of 17 to 18 per cent. It is the rate at which most products would likely be taxed. Not to specify GST rate in Constitutional Amendment Bill.
- Revenue-neutral rate of 15 to 15.5 per cent. It is a single rate at which there will be no revenue loss to the centre and states in the GST regime. Eliminate all taxes on inter-state trade including one per cent inter-state tax on transfer of goods.
- Two options for states: Single rate of 1 per cent or a range of 17-18 per cent. Allocation to states will depend on revenues raised by Centre and states. Three-tier GST rate structure: Essential goods will be taxed at a lower rate of 12 per cent.
50.Himachal Pradesh becomes 1st state to launch Rotavirus vaccination project
i. Himachal Pradesh has become the first state in the country to start Rotavirus vaccination project under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).
ii. The project was launched by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh from Dharamsala in district Kangra by administering the Rotavirus vaccine drops to the children aged less than 5 years.
iii. Rotavirus vaccination project is based on the analogy of the polio vaccine. Under it Rotavirus drops would be administered to the children at 6, 10 and 14 weeks after birth. The vaccination project will help in controlling the deaths amongst small children due to Diarrhoea.
DAILY GK UPDATE - 1 TO 50 DECEMBER 2015 -- BANKERSADDA Reviewed by sambasivan srinivasan on 3:09:00 PM Rating: