Current Affairs Update – 27 December, 2016

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs of 27 December, 2016. These are important for the upcoming RBI Assistant Mains, IPPB PO Mains, NIACL AO Mains and RBI Assistant Mains 2016-17.

Current Affairs at a Glance – 27 December, 2016

  1. A high powered panel to recommend measures
    to boost digital payments has called for a Payments Regulatory Board

    and has also urged the government to accept and promote such payments. The
    committee, chaired
    by Ratan Watal
    , special adviser NITI Aayog and former Finance
    Secretary, has suggested that the regulation of payments should be made
    independent from the function of central banking by the Reserve Bank of India.
    The Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems
    should be given a statutory status over the next 30 days.
  2. India has signed an agreement
    with Bhutan
    for assistance in green and sustainable construction of infrastructure in the
    Himalayan kingdom.
  3. India’s first Digi Dhan Mela was held on 26
    December 2016 in Gurugram, Haryana
    . The mela is a first of its
    exercise in the country and is meant to promote cashless transactions in the
    post-demonetisation period.
  4. Union Minister for Water
    Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti on 26 December
    2016 released the
    funds of Rs 1981 crore
    for Polavaram
    irrigation project to Andhra Pradesh
    Chief
    Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
  5. The Madhya Pradesh Cabinet has
    approved the detailed
    project reports (DPRs) of the Metro rail projects for Bhopal and Indore,
    costing
    ₹14,485.55 crore.
  6. The foundation stone ceremony for
    setting up the first
    Second Generation (2G) Ethanol Bio-refinery in India
    was held on 25
    December 2016 at village Tarkhanwala, Bathinda in Punjab.
  7. The government of Haryana on 25 December
    2016 connected 100 villages in the state with Wi-Fi services.
    It also decided to rename all common service
    centres (CSC), which have been opened in urban and rural areas, and E-disha
    centres as ‘Atal Seva Kendras’ at district headquarters.
  8. The Delhi government has decided
    to reduce the fares of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster
    buses by almost 75%, starting 1 January 2017
    .
  9. The Department of Posts under the
    Union Ministry of Communications on 26 December 2016 released the special stamp
    on freedom fighter Gaya Prasad Katiyar.
  10. Tata Motors today roped in Bollywood star
    Akshay Kumar as brand ambassador
    for
    its commercial vehicle (CV) business unit.
  11. Dinanath Bhargava, the man who designed the
    National Emblem
    , passed away on 24 December 2016 following a
    prolonged illness.

Finance/Economy –
Watal panel on digital payments calls for separate payment regulatory
board, 24×7 RTGS, NEFT

  • A high powered panel to recommend
    measures to boost digital payments has called for a Payments Regulatory Board
    and has also urged the government to accept and promote such payments.
  • “The vision of the committee is
    to set a roadmap for digital payments to grow substantially over the next three
    years from the current level of about five percent of personal consumption and
    twenty per cent of all transactions,” said the report of the Committee on
    Digital Payments.
  • It also wants to halve India’s
    cash to GDP ratio from 12 per cent to 6 per cent over the next three years.
  • The Finance Ministry has sought
    comments from the public on the report in the next 15 days and indications are
    that some of its recommendations would find a place in the Union Budget
    2017-18.
  • The committee, chaired by Ratan
    Watal, special adviser NITI Aayog and former Finance Secretary, has suggested
    that the regulation of payments should be made independent from the function of
    central banking by the Reserve Bank of India. The Board for Regulation and
    Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems should be given a statutory
    status over the next 30 days.
  • It has also said that the
    Government should promote digital payments and receipts by adopting digital
    payments for all its needs and withdrawing all charges levied by departments
    and utilities on digital payments and bear the cost of such transactions.
  • It has also called for mandating
    government departments and agencies to provide option to consumers to pay
    digitally as well as incentivise consumers to make payments (including payment
    of fines and penalties) to Government electronically by giving a discount or
    cash back.
  • To protect consumer interests, it
    has also called for updating the current Payments and Settlements Systems Act,
    to include explicit mandates for data protection and security, regulatory
    governance and consumer protection including penalties and independent appeal
    mechanism.
  • Further, payment systems like RTGS
    and NEFT should also be updated to ensure that they work on a 24×7 basis.
  • The committee has also called for
    promoting Aadaar based eKYC and paperless authentication including in cases
    where Permanent Account Number has not been obtained. It said this should be
    done over the next 60 to 90 days and pursued actively by the Finance Ministry,
    RBI, UIDAI and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
  • Mobile number and Aadhaar based
    fully inter-operable payments should be prioritised and the National Payments
    Corporation of India should enable this on its platforms over a period of 60
    days.

India, Bhutan sign MoU for green construction

  • India has signed an agreement
    with Bhutan for assistance in green and sustainable construction of
    infrastructure in the Himalayan kingdom.
  • According to a statement, an MoU
    was signed between Central Public Works Department (CPWD), under India’s
    Ministry of Urban Development and the Department of Engineering Services, under
    Bhutan’s Ministry of Works and Human Settlements for the purpose in Thimpu.
  • “Under the MoU for bilateral
    technical cooperation in infrastructure engineering, CPWD will assist in
    promoting sustainability in the built environment, capacity building through
    training of Bhutanese manpower, bench-marking in building and road sectors
    besides deputing engineering experts to Bhutan,” said the statement.

India’s first Digi Dhan Mela held in Gurugram to promote cashless
transactions

  • India’s first Digi Dhan Mela was
    held on 26 December 2016 in Gurugram, Haryana. The mela is a first of its
    exercise in the country and is meant to promote cashless transactions in the
    post-demonetisation period.

Highlights of Digi Dhan Mela
  • The mela (fair) showcased the
    government’s efforts to promote digital financial transactions.
  • It educated the people on how to
    use mobile phones and AADHAR for making payments online.
  • Dedicated counters were set up to
    issue AADHAR cards.
  • In the mela, 15000 winners of the
    Lucky Grahak Yojana daily reward were also drawn.
  • The winners were being identified
    through a random draw of the eligible Transaction IDs which are generated
    automatically as soon as the transaction is completed by software developed by
    National Payments Corporation of India.

Union Government releases funds of Rs 1981 crore for Polavaram
irrigation project
  • Union Minister for Water
    Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti on 26 December
    2016 released the funds of Rs 1981 crore for Polavaram irrigation project to
    Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
  • These funds were issued by
    the  National Bank for Agriculture and
    Rural Development (NABARD). Other than Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra
    were also sanctioned 463 crore and 830 crore rupees respectively.

Highlights of Polavaram Project
  • Polavaram Project is also known
    as Indira Sagar Project.
  • Polavaram project is aimed at
    irrigating additional 80 Lakh hectares of agricultural land.
  • It is a multi-purpose project
    with an assessed Cultural Command Area of 2.91 lakh hectares and power
    generation potential of 960 Mega Watt(MW) .
  • It also has a provision to supply
    23.44 thousand Million Cubic Feet (TMC) of water as drinking water supply to
    Vishakhapatnam city and other areas.
  • An inter basin transfer of 80 TMC
    water annually to Krishna River Basin was also envisaged.
  • The project was given investment
    clearance by the Planning Commission of Rs 10151.04 crore in 2009. The current
    cost of the project at 2010-11 level is Rs 16010.45 crore. 
  • The project was under
    construction with Central Assistance under Accelerated Irrigation Benefits
    Programme (AIBP).

Madhya Pradesh Cabinet approves DPR for Metro rail in Bhopal, Indore
  • The Madhya Pradesh Cabinet has
    approved the detailed project reports (DPRs) of the Metro rail projects for
    Bhopal and Indore, costing ₹14,485.55
    crore.
  • “The state Cabinet, chaired by
    Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, today approved the DPRs for the development
    of the Metro rail projects in Indore and Bhopal. These projects would
    cumulatively cost ₹14,485.55
    crore,” Public Relations Minister Narottam
    Mishra told reporters after the Cabinet meeting here this morning.
  • The state and Central governments
    would provide ₹2,897.10
    crore each. The remaining ₹8,691.35
    crore would be arranged through loan from multilateral/ bilateral funding
    agencies.
  • Two Metro corridors of 27.87 km
    will be laid in Bhopal. The first corridor of 14.99 km will be from Karond to
    AIIMS (Saket Nagar). The second corridor of 12.88 km will be from Bhadbhada
    Square to Ratnagiri.
  • There will be one corridor of
    31.55 km from Rajwada to Nainod in Indore.
  • Mishra said work on the projects
    in both the cities will begin in the next financial year.

Foundation stone for India’s first 2G Ethanol Bio-refinery laid in
Bathinda, Punjab
  • The foundation stone ceremony for
    setting up the first Second Generation (2G) Ethanol Bio-refinery in India was
    held on 25 December 2016 at village Tarkhanwala, Bathinda in Punjab.
  • Harsimarat Kaur Badal, Union
    Minister of Food Processing Industries, Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State
    (I/C) Petroleum & Natural Gas, and Sardar Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief
    Minister of Punjab, jointly laid the foundation stone.
  • The approximate investment for
    setting up of the refinery is Rs 600 crores. 
    The project will be set-up by the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation
    Limited (HPCL).
  • The production of 2G Ethanol from
    agricultural residues is encouraged to provide additional sources of  remuneration to farmers, address the growing
    environmental concerns and support the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme
    for achieving 10 per cent Ethanol Blending in Petrol.

Key highlights
  • The proposed Bathinda
    bio-refinery will be utilizing agriculture residues for production of 100 KL
    per day or 3.20 crore litres per-annum of ethanol. This per-annum production
    may be sufficient to meet the 26 per cent of the ethanol blending requirement
    of the Punjab.
  • With the setting up of the
    bio-refinery, employment for about 1200 -1300 persons will be generated in the
    biomass supply chain. It will also generate an additional income of
    approximately Rs 20 crores per annum for the farmers through purchase of their
    agriculture residues.

India –
Wi-fi services to be provided in 100 Haryana villages

  • The government of Haryana on 25
    December 2016 connected 100 villages in the state with Wi-Fi services. It also
    decided to rename all common service centres (CSC), which have been opened in
    urban and rural areas, and E-disha centres as ‘Atal Seva Kendras’ at district
    headquarters.
  • This decision was announced by
    the state’s Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar during the launch of 53 new IT
    services concerning six departments on the occasion of ‘Good Governance Day’,
    which is celebrated every year to mark the birthday of former Prime Minister
    Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • The minister also conducted a
    lucky draw of the digital transaction award scheme, which was. aimed at
    promoting cashless transactions in the state. A total of 65 people were
    declared winners with five winning a cash prize of Rs 10000 each, 10 winning a
    prize of Rs 5000 each and 50 winning a cash prize of Rs 1000 each. All were
    rewarded for actively using cashless transactions.

Key Highlights
  • With the introduction of the new
    IT services, the residents of the villages would be able to access 170
    e-services through the ‘Atal Seva Kendras’.
  • All the CSCs in rural areas would
    be shifted to Gram Sachivalyas so that all facilities are made available to the
    people under one roof.
  • With this, facilities available
    at CSCs will also be made available at E-disha centres.

Delhi Government to slash bus fares by 75 per cent

  • The Delhi government has decided
    to reduce the fares of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses by
    almost 75%, starting 1 January 2017.
  • This move has been made in order
    to encourage more people to opt for public transport. Along with this, the
    government has also decided to make DTC bus travel completely free for students
    till the age of 21 years.

Key Highlights
  • The government’s plan includes
    introducing a flat fare of Rs 5 for non-AC buses and Rs 10 for AC buses on
    trial basis for a month. 
  • The new rate will be far cheaper
    from the current one, which stands between Rs 10-25 for AC buses and Rs 5-15
    for non-AC buses.
  • The rates of the monthly and
    daily bus passes have also been proposed to be brought down.
  • The daily bus passes, which are
    currently available for Rs 40 for non-AC service and Rs 50 for AC service will
    be brought down to Rs 20 for one month. 

Union Government releases special stamp on freedom fighter Gaya Prasad
Katiyar

  • The Department of Posts under the
    Union Ministry of Communications on 26 December 2016 released the special stamp
    on freedom fighter Gaya Prasad Katiyar.
  • Moreover, the government also
    released a set of eight Commemorative Postage Stamps on ‘Personalities Series:
    Bihar’. The postal department also launched a Commemorative Postage Stamp on
    Hardayal Municipal Heritage Public Library to honor it as a one of the few
    oldest library of the country.

The Ministry released the
postage stamps on these following eight personalities of Bihar:
  • Sachchidananda
    Sinha
  • Karpoori
    Thakur
  • Dashrath
    Manjhi
  • Vidyapati
  • Kailashpati
    Mishra
  • Kunwar Singh
  • Phanishwar
    Nath Renu
  • Krishna Sinha

Appointments –
Tata Motors signs up Akshay Kumar as brand ambassador

  • Tata Motors today roped in
    Bollywood star Akshay Kumar as brand ambassador for its commercial vehicle (CV)
    business unit.
  • “Indian cinema’s ‘original
    Khiladi’ will make his blockbuster entry in this new role at the launch of Tata
    Motors’ latest offering in commercial vehicles, slated in January 2017,” the
    company said in a statement.
  • Tata Motors’ association with
    Kumar for commercial vehicles will be supported by a multi-media campaign,
    beginning in the first week of January 2017, it added.
  • Besides products and solutions,
    he will be actively involved in a host of innovative marketing and customer
    experience initiatives to be rolled out by Tata Motors.

World –
First biological pacemaker developed from human stem cells
A group of scientists from the
McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine developed the first functional
pacemaker cells from human stem cells.
The invention will help in paving
the way for alternate, biological pacemaker therapy.
The study was published in
December 2016 the journal Nature Biotechnology.
Obituaries –
Dinanath Bhargava, man who designed National Emblem, passes away

  • Dinanath Bhargava, the man who
    designed the National Emblem, passed away on 24 December 2016 following a
    prolonged illness. He was 89. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
  • He was the man who sketched and
    illuminated the National Emblem and extracted its motto ‘Satyameva Jayate’
    (Truth alone triumphs) from Mundaka Upanishad in 1948 after an extensive
    research.
  • He ended up making the first 30
    pages of the Constitution by the end of 1948.
  • He was also instrumental in
    weaving the double decker loom and designing new Chanderi saris.
  • He started the carpet-making
    industry in Gwalior during the time of late Congress leader Madhav Rao Scindia.

Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake passes away
  • Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, former
    Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, passed away on 27 December 2016 in Colombo. He was
    83.
  • Wickremanayake served as the
    Prime Minister in the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government in the year 2005.
  • Wickremanayake earlier held the
    position of Prime Minister from August 2000 to December 2001, succeeding the
    then Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

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