Current Affairs Today – December 29 2015

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Current Affairs Today 29 December 2015

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Civil Aviation Ministry gave clearance for 4 Greenfield Airports

In a bid to reduce air traffic load the Civil Aviation Ministry has given clearance for four Greenfield airports.
(Civil Aviation Minister – Ashok Gajapathi Raju)

  • The three other Greenfield airports are proposed to be set up in Andhra Pradesh, with two of them likely to be no-frills ones.
  • One airport worth Rs. 1,378 crore will be international airport at Dholera in Gujarat.
  • The Ministry has already given its nod for development of a Greenfield airport in Nellore and Kurnool districts of Andhra Pradesh under a public-private partnership.

Union Government links LPG subsidy to income

No LPG subsidy for taxpayers who earn over Rs 10 lakh annually. Union government is consideringto lift the subsidy on LPG cylinder for consumers whose annual income is above Rs 10 lakh.

Reason:Government has found many of illegal gas connections and is saving thousands of crore of rupees by stopping supply to those consumers.

  • Consumers whose income is above Rs 10 lakh, gas subsidy will not be given. So far, 30 lakh people have given up LPG subsidy. That subsidy will be given to poor people.
  • Currently, all households are permitted to 12 cylinders of 14.2-kg each at subsidised rate of Rs 419.26, while the market price of each cylinder is Rs 608.
  • In the assessment year 2014-15, a total of 26 lakh assesses were reported as having a taxable income above Rs 10 lakh.
  • The number of LPG consumers in the country fell from 35 crore to 14.78 crore after the start of Direct Benefit Transfer on LPG (DBTL) scheme that eliminated inactive customers and duplication in the rolls.

Key point:
Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas:Dharmendra Pradhan

Goa Governor pens song for “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”

Goa Governor MridulaSinha has written a song on ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ which would be pasted at the entrances of state government departments.

Objective: To create awareness among people about importance of cleanliness at all places.

  • Governor DrMridulaSinha, the brand ambassador nominated by Prime Minister for this programme.
  • She has written ‘what to do’ and ‘what not to do’regarding maintaining cleanliness.

These messages are being sent to members of the co-ordination committees which the Governor has constituted to makePanaji, Mapusa, Ponda, Margao and Vasco as model cities of cleanliness in Goa.

Key Points: Goa
Chief Minister: LaxmikantParsekar
Capitals: Panaji (Executive Branch), Porvorim (Legislature), Mumbai (Judiciary)
Largest city:Vasco da Gama
Official language:Konkani

Gujarat government to announce its 1st Medical Policy

Gujarat government is set to announce its 1st Medical Policy for providing subsidy to those who wish to set up new hospital in the state.

Main aim: To encourage as well as help doctors in setting up new hospitals and nursing homes, which is a costly affair.

Features of policy:

  • Subsidy and financial assistance to those who want to set up hospitals and nursing homes anywhere in the state.
  • Subsidy will be given for constructing the building and for purchasing specialised medical equipment that are very costly.
  • Subsidy will depend on the location of the hospital, treatments offered and number of specialised doctors offering services in the hospital.
  • Rates of subsidy will be different from a hospital being set up in urban area to another coming up in a small town.

Another objective: To encourage medical tourism as well as to provide infrastructure for new medical colleges.

Key Points:
Health Minister:Nitin Patel
Gujarat CM & Governor: Anandiben Patel,Om PrakashKohli
Capital: Gandhinagar

Report of the Committee on Revisiting & Revitalizing the PPP Model of Infrastructure Development

The Report of the Committee on Revisiting & Revitalizing the PPP model of Infrastructure Development chaired by Dr. V. Kelkar has been issued by Ministry of Finance.

Key Highlights of Report:

  • PPPs in infrastructure represent a valuable instrument to speed up infrastructure development in India.
  • Contracts under PPP should focus more on service delivery instead of fiscal benefits.
  • An assessment procedure should be laid down for efficiently managing the risks by the entity.
  • Government must amend the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 in order to appropriately distinguish between genuine errors in decision-making and acts of corruption.
  • An institution should be set up for providing guidance for a national PPP policy and develop a mechanism for collecting data for decision making in further developing the PPP.
  • The 3P-I institute for PPPs should be set up as soon as possible.

An institutionalized mechanism like the National Facilitation Committee (NFC) should be established to ensure speedy resolution of issues.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

18th India-Iran Joint Commission Meeting held in New Delhi

The 18th session of the India-Iran Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) was held in New Delhi.

  • The session was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister of India (EAM), Sushma Swaraj and Mr. Ali Tayebnia, Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

South Korea, Japan settle deal on wartime Korean sex slaves

The foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan signed a deal to resolve deadlockover Korean women forced into Japanese military-run brothels during World War II.

Deal: It includes an apology from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a 1 billion yen ($8.3 million) aid fund from Tokyo for the elderly former sex slaves, could reverse decades of animosity and mistrust between the thriving democracies, trade partners and staunch US allies.

  • Japan also offered to set up a new 1bn yen with the money, paid directly by the government, divided among the 46 former comfort women still alive, most of whom are in their late 80s and early 90s.

Key points: South Korea
Capital: Seoul
Currency: South Korean won

BANKING & FINANCE

Deepak Mohanty Committee Report on Medium-term Path on Financial Inclusion

14-member committee headed by RBI Executive Director Deepak Mohanty has submitted the report on Medium-term Path on Financial Inclusion, which has been recently released by RBI.

  • The committee was constituted in July 2015 by RBI with the objective of working out a medium-term (5 years) measurable action plan for financial inclusion.

The Committee has made several key recommendations to improve the governance system, strengthen the credit infrastructure and increase the personal disposable income of the poor which would put the economy on a medium-term sustainable inclusion path.

YES Bank commits $5 bn for climate action in India

Yes Bank has announced mobilisation of USD 5 billion towards its commitment to climate finance in India.

  • Goal: To limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degree Celsius through a common agreement.
  • Target: Funding 500 MW clean energy annually, which it had overachieved.
  • The bank’s USD 5-billion mobilisation target from 2015 to 2020 will be done through lending, investing and raising capital towards mitigation, adaptation and resilience.

To help achieve India’s target of meeting its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), the bank also set a number of its own targets for 2020:

  • Target funding of 5,000 MW of clean energy
  • Gradually increase percentage of renewable energy in the power portfolio, contribute towards creating a carbon sink by planting 2 million trees
  • Touch 100 million lives through its safe and clean drinking water program and offset carbon emissions of the bank’s operations.

Recent: YES Bank also signed anMoU with London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) to collaborate on bond and equity issuance, with focus on developing green infrastructure.

Yes Bank Keys:
India’s fifth largest private sector bank
CEO and managing director – Rana Kapoor
Headquarters – Maharashtra

APPOINTMENTS

Amitabh Kant appointed CEO of NITI Aayog

Amitabh Kant appointed CEO of NITI AayogPrime Minister-led Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed industry secretary Amitabh Kant as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NITI Aayog. He will succeed Sindhushree Khullar.

  • Amitabh Kant is presently a Secretary in Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
  • He will be responsible for implementation of industrial policy and strategies for industrial development, monitoring the industrial growth and performance of specific industrial sectors, formulation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy and promotion and facilitation of FDI, policies related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in the fields of Patents, Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications.

NITI Ayog:The National Institution for Transforming India Aayog is a Government of India policy think-tank established by Prime Minister NarendraModi to replace the Planning Commission.The aim for NITI Aayog’s creation is to foster involvement and participation in the economic policy-making process.

  • Formed: 1 January 2015
  • Vice Chairperson: ShriArvindPanagariya

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Reliance Jio launches 4G telecom service

On Reliance founder chairman Dhirubhai Ambani’s 83rd birthday anniversary, Reliance Jio(Telecom arm of RIL) launched 4G service for its employees under Jio brand name.

Brand ambassador of Reliance Jio 4G services: Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan

Features:

  • Jio TV service will accept voice command to change channels and subscriber will not require remote control to do so.
  • Download speed on 4G network of Reliance Jio during beta-test peaked at 70 megabit per second but remained in 15-30 mbps range on most occasions.

What is 4G?
Fourth generation technology standards allow to take advantage of more bandwidth and better output. So consumers with 4G devices can access high-speed data, high-definition voice and do real-time video conferencing. The network also offers superior latency for gaming.

Ministry of Women and Child Development launches e-office

Ministry of Women and Child Development launched e-office by digitizing more than 12,000 files. In this a file will take only 4-5 days for processing as compared to 30-40 days earlier and it will also be possible to locate the point at which it is held up.

Aim : To provide transparent, efficient and time-bound services to the public.

Highlights :

  • The project was initiated in July and over 12,000 files of the Ministry have been digitized.
  • Several modules of e-office are File Management System, Knowledge Management System, Leave Management System, Tour Management System, have been running under the e-office.
  • Personnel Information Management System (e-Service Book) is expected to start from the 1 January, 2016.

Minister of Women and Child Development: Maneka Gandhi

First chip that uses light for data transfer developed

A microprocessor chip that uses light rather than electricity to transfer data at rapid speeds while consuming minute amounts of energy has been developed by researchers of University of Colorado Boulder in US.   

  • The new chip has a bandwidth density of 300 gigabits per second per square millimetre, about 10 to 50 times greater than current packaged electrical-only microprocessors. Its length and width is just 3 millimetres by 6 millimetres.

Advantages

  • Light based communication is that multiple parallel data streams encoded on different colours of light can be sent over one and the same medium
  • This enables very dense packing of light communication ports on a chip, enabling huge total bandwidth.

China launches “most sophisticated” observation satellite

China successfully launched its “most sophisticated” observation satellite “Gaofen-4” as part of the country’s high-definition earth observation project from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the southwestern province of Sichuan aboard a Long March-3B carrier rocket.

  • It was the 222th flight of the Long March rocket series by the the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND).

About Gaofen-4 :

  • Gaofen-4 is China’s first geosynchronous orbit HD optical imaging satellite and the world’s most sophisticated HD geosynchronous orbit remote sensing satellite.
  • Gaofen-4 is located at the orbit 36,000 kilometers away from the earth and moves synchronously with the earth.
  • It will be used for disaster prevention and relief, surveillance of geological disasters and forest disasters, and meteorologic forecast

Key facts :
The Gaofen project aims to launch seven high-definition observation satellites before 2020. Gaofen-1, the first satellite of the project, was launched in April 2013.

SPORTS

Justin Langer to coach Australian ODI team in 2016

Justin Langer to coach Australian ODI team in 2016Former Australian Test opener Justin Langer will take over temporarily as coach of Australia in the tri-nation one-day international series in the West Indies in 2016 also involving South Africa.

  • Langer will replace Darren Lehmann and he is expected to be Cricket Australia’s preferred candidate to be Lehmann’s long-term successor.

Rakhi, Kavita finish on top in National Weightlifting

Rakhi Haldar and Kavita Devi finished on the top of the podium in their respective weight categories in the Senior National Weightlifting Championships held in Patiala.

Women’s Category

GoldRakhi(213kg)
SilverLalchhanhimi (210kg)
BronzeRajwant Kaur(201kg)

Men’s category

GoldV A Christopher (329kg)
SilverLaljit Singh(317kg)
BronzeRashpal Singh(317kg)

Gujarat clinched maiden Vijay Hazare Trophy

Gujarat clinched maiden Vijay Hazare TrophyGujarat has clinched the 14th season of Vijay Hazare 2015-16 Cricket Trophy by defeating Delhi by 39 runs at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.

  • It was contested between 27 domestic cricket teams of India.
  • Most runs have been achieved by Mandeep Singh of Punjab.
  • Most wickets have been taken by Jasprit Bumrah of Gujarat

About Vijay Hazare Trophy:
It is also known as the Ranji One Day Trophy, was started in 2002–03 as a limited-overs cricket domestic competition involving state teams from the Ranji Trophy plates.

  • It is named after the famous Indian cricketer Vijay Hazare.
  • Tamil Nadu has won the trophy 4 times.

OBITUARY

General Om Prakash Malhotra, Ex Chief of Army Staff Passed Away

General Om Prakash Malhotra, Ex Chief of Army Staff Passed AwayFormer chief of army staff General Om Prakash Malhotra passed away in Gurgaon on Tuesday. He was 93.

About Om Prakash Malhotra :

  • General Mahotra was the 13th chief of army staff of the Indian Army and served as the army chief for three years between 1978 and 1981.
  • He served as the Indian ambassador to Indonesia from 1981 to 1984 and was later appointed as the governor of Punjab from 1990-91 when militancy was at its height in the state.
  • He was the commander of a number of regiments and from August 1965 to January 1966 he was the commander of an artillery brigade.
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