Current Affairs Update – 1 December, 2016

Hello and welcome to exampundit . Here are the important Current Affairs of 1 December, 2016. These are important for the upcoming IPPB PO Mains, NIACL AO Mains, IBPS Clerk Mains, IBPS RRB Office Assistant Mains and RBI Assistant Mains 2016-17.

Current Affairs at a Glance – 1 December, 2016

  1. The Central Statistical Office (CSO) on 30 November 2016 announced that India’s Gross Domestic
    Product (GDP) accelerated to 7.3 percent in
    the second quarter (July-September) of 2016-17 financial year
    from a
    provisional 7.1 percent expansion in the previous quarter.
  2. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority
    of India (IRDAI)
    has allowed
    insurance companies to invest in Additional Tier 1 (Basel III compliant) perpetual bonds.
    Earlier, there was no clarity on insurers investing in these instruments and
    they perceived it risky.
  3. Raj Bhawan of Himachal Pradesh on 30 November 2016 adopted the cashless system for all kind of
    payments
    . Governor Acharya Devvrat has directed Raj Bhawan’s
    official in Shimla to use a cashless system or cheque in all kind of payments.
  4. The Competition Commission (CCI) in the last week of November 2016 approved the merger of Bharatiya Mahila Bank Ltd (BMBL) with the
    country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI).
  5. The Union Cabinet on 30 November
    2016 approved the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) Phase-III.
    The estimated cost of project is Rs 8679 crore with completion cost of Rs 10947
    crore.
  6. India on Wednesday signed the Letter of Agreement and
    Acceptance (LOA) with the US to purchase 145 M777
    ultra-light artillery guns
    , through the foreign military sale (FMS)
    route.
  7. The World AIDS Day was on 1 December 2016 observed across the world
    with the theme Hands up for #HIVprevention.
  8. Magnus Carlsen won the 2016 World
    Chess Championship on 30 November 2016
    in New York City, USA.

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

  • The Central Statistical Office
    (CSO) on 30 November 2016 announced that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
    accelerated to 7.3 percent in the second quarter (July-September) of 2016-17
    financial year from a provisional 7.1 percent expansion in the previous
    quarter.
  • On the other hand, the Gross
    Value Added (GVA) increased to 7.1 percent. While GDP growth accelerated in the
    second quarter from the 7.1 percent seen in the April-June quarter, GVA growth
    slowed from the 7.3 percent registered in that period.
  • Both GDP and GVA growth were
    slower in Q2 of this financial year as compared with the Q2 of 2015-16. The Q2
    of 2015-16 showed a GDP growth of 7.6 percent and GVA growth of 7.3 percent.

Highlights
  • The agriculture sector maintained
    the overall growth by registering a 3.3 percent GVA growth rate in Q2 of this
    financial year in comparison with 2 percent in Q2 of 2015-16.
  • The manufacturing sector saw a
    significant slowdown as it registered a GVA growth of 7.1 per cent in Q2 of
    this financial year as compared with 9.2 percent in Q2 of 2015-16.
  • The mining and quarrying sector
    slowed down by 1.5 percent in Q2 compared with the contraction of 0.4 percent
    in the first quarter and a growth of 5 percent in Q2 of 2015-16.
  • Output in sectors such as
    manufacturing, electricity, mining, services and others show a fall in the
    September quarter because they are not supported by demand.
  • There was a drop in outputs
    across all sectors except for agriculture, construction and public
    administration.
  • Gross fixed capital formation was
    only 29 percent of GDP in Q2 of this financial year as compared with 32.9
    percent in Q2 of 2015-16.
  • On the other hand, Government
    final consumption expenditure was 13 percent of GDP in the second quarter of
    this financial year compared with 12.1 percent in the previous year.
  • Government final consumption
    expenditure (GFCE) grew 18.8 percent in Q1 of FY 2016-17 and 15.2 percent in Q2
    of FY 2016-17.
  • Union Government’s Capital
    Expenditure (Plan and non-Plan) declined 12.81 percent to Rs 124959 crore in the
    quarter against Rs 143329 crore in the year-ago period.

IRDAI allows insurers to invest in Basel III bonds

  • Insurance Regulatory and
    Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has allowed insurance companies to
    invest in Additional Tier 1 (Basel III compliant) perpetual bonds. Earlier,
    there was no clarity on insurers investing in these instruments and they
    perceived it risky.
  • In a circular issued to insurance
    companies today, IRDAI said that the rating of the AT1 bonds should not be less
    than ‘AA’. Further, it said that the aggregate value of the AT1 bonds held in
    any particular bank cannot exceed 10 per cent of the total outstanding AT1
    bonds at any time. These bonds will be a part of “equity” under
    investment regulations.
  • Insurers have been told that they
    cannot invest more than 10 per cent in AT1 bonds offered through IPO. Also, the
    regulator said insurers can only invest in AT1 bonds of those banks that have
    declared dividends for preceding two years.
  • Further, insurers cannot invest
    in AT1 bonds of their promoter group bank or where the bank is their corporate
    agent.
  • A perpetual bond is a financial
    instrument with no maturity date. These bonds are not redeemable but pay a
    steady stream of interest forever. Here, the price of a perpetual bond is, therefore,
    the fixed interest payment, coupon amount, divided by a constant discount rate,
    which represents the speed at which money loses value over time (partly because
    of inflation).

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

  • Raj Bhawan of Himachal Pradesh on
    30 November 2016 adopted the cashless system for all kind of payments. Governor
    Acharya Devvrat has directed Raj Bhawan’s official in Shimla to use a cashless
    system or cheque in all kind of payments.
  • The direction was issued after
    the Prime Minister’s appeal in this regard.
  • As per the reports, the payments
    of Raj Bhawan would be made online, through cheques or another mode of
    e-payments.
  • Apart from this, Governor Devvrat
    has also appealed students, teachers and NGO are to make common people aware
    about the cashless system.
  • Possibly, Himachal Rajbhawan is
    the first in the country to adopt these cashless techniques so promptly.
  • Besides, Andhra Pradesh is also
    planning to launch a mobile wallet with the name ‘AP Purse’ to help the public
    in the adoption of cashless payments. The plan was announced by Chief Minister
    N Chandrababu Naidu. He said that his government would be the first state in
    India to switch to digital transactions.

Competition Commission of India approves merger of Bharatiya Mahila
Bank with SBI

  • The Competition Commission (CCI)
    in the last week of November 2016 approved the merger of Bharatiya Mahila Bank
    Ltd (BMBL) with the country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI).
  • Summary of the deal
  • The combination is in the form of
    amalgamation whereby the business of BMBL, including its assets and
    liabilities, will be acquired by SBI.
  • While SBI has global presence,
    including offices in 37 countries, BMBL is a nascent bank set up in November
    2013.
  • In the case of BMBL, 44231510
    shares of SBI would be swapped for every 100 crore shares of face value of Rs.
    10 each.
  • Post merger of the six entities,
    including BMBL, the consolidated entity will add Rs. 8 lakh crore to SBI’s
    assets.

Background
On 17 May 2016, the SBI had
informed the Bombay Stock Exchange that it is seeking in-principle sanction of
the Union Government to enter into negotiation with its 5 subsidiaries and
Bharatiya Mahila Bank for acquisition.
The five subsidiaries are :
1. State Bank of Bikaner and
Jaipur
2. State Bank of Hyderabad
3. State Bank of Mysore
4. State Bank of Patiala
5. State Bank of Travancore
SBI first merged associate State
Bank of Saurashtra with itself in 2008. Two years later, in 2010, State Bank of
Indore was merged.
The board of SBI had cleared the
merger of BMBL and that of five associate lenders with itself in August 2016.
Union Cabinet approves Phase III
of Mumbai Urban Transport Project
  • The Union Cabinet on 30 November
    2016 approved the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) Phase-III. The
    estimated cost of project is Rs 8679 crore with completion cost of Rs 10947
    crore.
  • The project is expected to be
    completed in the next 5 years during 13th Plan period.


How Mumbai Urban Transport
Project (MUTP) Phase-III will be beneficial?
  • Western Railway is running
    suburban services on the existing busy double line between Virar-Dahanu Road
    which is a part of main line Mumbai–Ahmedabad or Mumbai–Delhi route.
  • Main line is already congested
    and there is no scope for supplementing suburban services on this line.
  • Construction of additional double
    line between Virar-Dahanu Road will address the demand of commuters in this
    region.
  • This will provide extension of
    suburban services from Churchgate to Dahanu Road.
  • While, Panvel-Karjat double line
    suburban corridor will cater to the significant urbanization and population
    growth.                

India –
India inks Rs 5000 crore deal with US for 145 M777 howitzers

  • India on Wednesday signed the
    Letter of Agreement and Acceptance (LOA) with the US to purchase 145 M777
    ultra-light artillery guns, through the foreign military sale (FMS) route.
  • The Cabinet on November 17
    approved the much-awaited deal, which would add tremendous firepower to the
    Indian Army, especially against China in eastern front.
  • The air portable 155mm/39 calibre
    gun, with maximum range of 30 km, is manufactured by BAE Systems.
  • The $737 million contract has a
    30 per cent offset clause worth around $200 million.
  • Out of 145 guns, BAE will deliver
    25 guns and rest 120 will be assembled in India by Mahindra.

Supreme Court orders Status Quo on Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal land
  • The Supreme Court on 30 November
    2016 ordered status quo on land acquired for the construction of the
    Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal’s stretch in Punjab.
  • Moreover, the court also
    appointed Union Home Secretary, Chief Secretary of Punjab and the Director
    General of Punjab Police as receivers in the dispute between Punjab and Haryana
    and sought a report from them by 15 December on the present status of land.
  • A bench comprising Justice Pinaki
    Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy also made it clear that receivers cannot
    take over the possession of the land meant for the SYL canal project. They have
    been appointed only for the purpose of submitting a report on the ground
    situation.

Garbage from Ghazipur Dump to be used for Highway Construction

  • Solid waste from the Ghazipur
    landfill site will now be used for highway expansion projects by the National
    Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
  • The announcement comes as a
    relief to the residents living around the area, as with the foul smell
    emanating from the decomposing garbage and frequent fires, the site had become
    a major cause of health concern.

Key Highlights
  • The project is being initiated
    under the new Solid Waste Management Rules.
  • It aims to remove, reuse and
    dispose of the solid municipal waste generated in the capital. 
  • The collected waste will be
    divided and then processed to make it usable.
  • It will be utilized for the
    expansion of National Highway 24 and other highways.
  • The leachate generated during the
    process will be transported for processing and disposal to a sewage plant in
    Ghazipur itself.

World –
UNESCO adds Cuban rumba and Belgian beer to list of world’s intangible
heritage
  • The United Nations Educational,
    Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 30 November 2016 added Cuba’s
    rumba dance and Belgian beer to its coveted list of “intangible” heritage.
  • In addition, the UN body also
    included Portuguese pottery and Ugandan traditional music into the list at the
    meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The Cuban delegation dedicated
    the rumba’s selection to Fidel Castro, who passed away recently.

United Nations launches strategy to minimise environmental footprint of
its peace operations
  • The United Nations Department of
    Field Support (DFS) on 29 November 2016 launched a new strategy to maximize its
    peace operations’ efficiency in the use of natural resources. The strategy will
    also help in minimizing peace operations’ risk to people, societies and
    ecosystems.
  • The step was taken to highlight
    the significance of environmental protection and management in the work of
    peacekeeping missions.

Key highlights of the strategy
  • The strategy’s aim is to reduce
    overall demand through increased efficiency, increase the proportion of energy
    from renewable sources such as solar arrays and reduce the level of pollution.
  • Also, the scheme aims at
    conserving water and reducing the level of risk to personnel, local communities
    and ecosystems from wastewater management practices.
  • The six-year long strategy is in
    line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Days –
World AIDS Day 2016 observed across the world

  • The World AIDS Day was on 1
    December 2016 observed across the world with the theme Hands up for #HIVprevention.
  • The campaign #HIVprevention
    explores different aspects of HIV prevention and how they relate to specific
    groups of people, such as adolescent girls and young women, key populations and
    people living with HIV.
  • On the 2016 World AIDS Day, the Joint
    United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) hosted a special event on 30
    November 2016 to commemorate the day and to reinforce the commitment to move
    forward together to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable
    Development Goals.

Sports –
Magnus Carlsen wins 2016 World Chess Championship
  • Magnus Carlsen won the 2016 World
    Chess Championship on 30 November 2016 in New York City, USA.
  • Carlsen defeated Sergey Karjakin
    to retain the World Chess Champion title. It’s the third time that Carlsen has
    won the championship. He has reigned as world champion since 2013.

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