Current Affairs Update – 14th December, 2016

Hello and welcome to exampundit . Here are the important Current Affairs of 14 December, 2016. These are important for the upcoming IPPB PO Mains, NIACL AO Mains, IBPS Clerk Mains and RBI Assistant Mains 2016-17.

Current Affairs at a Glance – 14th December, 2016

  1. The Indian Railways on 13 December 2016 tied-up with the State Bank of India (SBI)
    to install at least 10000 Point of Sale (POS) machines
    using debit or
    credit cards at the Public Reservation
    System (PRS) counters of Railways
    .
  2. India on 13 December 2016 signed
    a Grant
    Agreement of USD 5.19 million with International Bank for Reconstruction and
    Development (IBRD) for Additional Financing for Financing Energy
    Efficiency at MSMEs Project- Programmatic Framework for Energy Efficiency
    .
  3. The 9th edition of Indra Navy exercise
    between Indian Navy and Russian Navy began
    on 14 December 2016 in the Bay
    of Bengal. This annual bilateral maritime exercise will continue till 21
    December 2016.
  4. The World Bank Group (WBG) on 13 December 2016 halted the two concurrent processes initiated by India and Pakistan
    under the Indus Water Treaty
    . The Bank
    initiated this move in order to protect the treaty.
  5. Pokemon Go, the game that has
    hooked the attention of millions of people worldwide since its launch in July
    2016, is finally going to make its debut in India.
  6. India has emerged as the most preferred
    destination for innovation in Asia and third biggest globally
    , with
    ‘Silicon Valley’ of East Bengaluru leading the charge, says a research by global
    consulting major Capgemini.
  7. V G Kannan on Wednesday took
    charge as Chief Executive of the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA)
    .
  8. Government today appointed V K Sharma
    as the Chairman of state-owned behemoth Life
    Insurance Corporation (LIC) for five years
    .
  9. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has granted Observer Status to
    the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

    — the world’s largest business organisation representing more than six million
    members in over 100 countries.

Finance/Economy –
Indian Railways, SBI tie-up to install 10000 POS machines at various
locations

  • The Indian Railways on 13
    December 2016 tied-up with the State Bank of India (SBI) to install at least
    10000 Point of Sale (POS) machines using debit or credit cards at the Public
    Reservation System (PRS) counters of Railways.
  • This tie-up was undertaken to
    promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to promote cashless
    transactions.

Key Highlights
  • In the first phase, 40 POS will
    be installed on priority at A1, A and B category stations in the division.
  • With this, passengers will be
    able to carry out cashless transactions while booking tickets. However, cash
    will also be accepted.
  • No extra fee will be charged from
    travellers, however, railways will pay 0.75 percent Merchant Discount Rate
    (MDR) through debit cards up to and above Rs 2000. This MDR will be 1.50
    percent and 2.50 percent respectively for transactions through credit cards and
    foreign cards.
  • Nagpur division of Central
    Railway installed around 15 POS machines in one go, out of which, 6 were
    installed in Nagpur, four in Ajni, two in Wardha and one each in Chandrapur,
    Sindhi and Ballarshah.
  • In Eastern Railways, PRS counters
    from Bihar’s Bhagalpur to the Bangladesh border will be covered, and all the
    unreserved ticketing system (UTS) counters will also be brought under the
    cashless system.
  • The West Central Railway (WCR)
    has already introduced PoS machines at four railway stations in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Southern Railway will install a
    total of 48 machines to give an option for travellers to make their advanced
    bookings through e-payment mode.

India signs Grant Agreement with IBRD for additional financing of MSMEs
Project

  • India on 13 December 2016 signed
    a Grant Agreement of USD 5.19 million with International Bank for
    Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) for Additional Financing for Financing
    Energy Efficiency at MSMEs Project- Programmatic Framework for Energy
    Efficiency.
  • The agreement was signed by Raj
    Kumar, Joint Secretary at Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of the Union
    Government and Junaid Ali Ahmad, Country Director of World Bank (India) on
    behalf of IBRD.
  • IBRD acts as an Implementing
    Agency of the Global Environment Facility.

Highlights of the agreement
  • The additional financing will be
    used to scale up the initiatives that were taken up under the parent project.
  • It will bridge the gap in
    understanding among different stakeholders mainly energy professionals or
    technology suppliers, banks and financial institutions.
  • It will be implemented through a
    three pronged approach- (i) Capacity building (ii) Direct involvement to
    augment EE investments at MSME level and (iii) Escalating the EE knowledge base
    to scale up and replicate the project initiatives such as by establishing key
    performance indicators.

Uttar Pradesh Cabinet approves recommendations of 7th pay commission
  • With assembly elections right
    around the corner, the Uttar Pradesh cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Akhilesh
    Yadav approved the recommendations of the seventh pay commission on 13 December
    2016.
  • The decision is expected to
    benefit around 24 lakh government employees and pensioners, who will see a
    15-20% hike in their income. The hike will be effective starting January 2017.
  • Yadav in his announcement stated
    that though the decision will put a heavy burden on the state exchequer, it was
    taken to benefit lakhs of government employees and these people will then help
    him form the government again with a complete majority so that they continue to
    get the benefits. He also added that the upcoming UP Assembly election will be
    historic.
  • A report recommending the same
    decision was submitted to the Uttar Pradesh CM earlier by a committee
    constituted by the state government. The committee was headed by retired IAS
    officer GB Patnaik.

India –
Rajya Sabha passed Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014
  • The Rajya Sabha on 14 December
    2016 passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 by voice vote.
    The proposed legislation will replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal
    Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 after its
    passage by the Lok Sabha and approval of the President.
  • It fulfills the government’s
    responsibilities under the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    to which India is a signatory. It will benefit around 2.8 crore disabled
    population in the country.

Highlights of Persons with
Disabilities Bill, 2014
  • The bill deals with a range of
    issues – rights, social protection, reservations, welfare schemes – for the all
    round development of disabled.
  • The bill identifies 19 conditions
    as disabilities against the seven disabilities identified by the existing Act.
  • Under the bill, persons with at
    least 40% of a disability will be entitled to reservations in education and
    employment and preference in government schemes.
  • The bill also provides for a
    disabled friendly environment in public spaces such as modes of transport,
    public offices, hospitals, etc. This provision will give legal safeguards to
    the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) of the Union Government.

Indo-Russian Bilateral Naval Exercise Indra Navy- 2016 begins

  • The 9th edition of Indra Navy
    exercise between Indian Navy and Russian Navy began on 14 December 2016 in the
    Bay of Bengal. This annual bilateral maritime exercise will continue till 21
    December 2016.
  • The main aim of this exercise is
    to enhance the inter-operability between the two navies and develop common
    understanding for maritime security operations.
  • The first edition of this
    maritime exercise between India and Russia was first held in 2003.
  • Its scope includes extensive
    specialized interactions in harbor phase and on the other hand a diverse canvas
    of operational activities at sea.
  • The Indian Navy will be
    represented by guided missile destroyer INS Ranvir, indigenous frigate INS
    Satpura and indigenous Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) corvette INS Kamorta.
  • Additionally, P8I Long Range
    Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer, Dornier Short Range
    Maritime Patrol Aircraft, a submarine and other integral rotary wing
    helicopters are also scheduled to participate in this bilateral exercise.
  • While, the Russian Federation
    Navy (RuFN) will be represented by Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhalov, Deputy Chief
    of Flotilla, Pacific Fleet and ships from the Pacific Fleet which are based at
    Vladivostok.

World Bank declares pause to protect Indus Waters Treaty

  • The World Bank Group (WBG) on 13
    December 2016 halted the two concurrent processes initiated by India and
    Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty. The Bank initiated this move in order to
    protect the treaty.
  • A communication in this regard
    was sent by the World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to finance ministers of
    both the countries. The Union Government welcomed this decision.
  • India planned to construct
    Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric power plants on Indus River System in Jammu
    Kashmir.
  • Pakistan raised objections
    against these projects claiming that they would alter the river flows and
    affect the Pakistan adversely.

Pokemon Go to make its India debut

  • Pokemon Go, the game that has
    hooked the attention of millions of people worldwide since its launch in July
    2016, is finally going to make its debut in India.
  • It will be entering the India
    market on 14 December 2016 in partnership with telecom operator Reliance Jio.
  • It will be available for download
    on Google Play and App store.
  • All the Reliance digital stores
    and a select of its partner locations will be designated as ‘PokeStops’ or
    ‘Gyms’.
  • Owners of Jio Sim will be able to
    download and play the game without paying any data charges till 31 March 2017.
  • Jio users will also have access
    to an exclusive Pokemon Go Channel through its social messaging app JioChat,
    which will enable the game’s users to collaborate and form a community of
    players.

Reports –
Innovation chart: India first in Asia, third in world

  • India has emerged as the most
    preferred destination for innovation in Asia and third biggest globally, with
    ‘Silicon Valley’ of East Bengaluru leading the charge, says a research by global
    consulting major Capgemini.
  • “India has been ranked as
    the No. 1 innovation destination in Asia and No. 2 in the world for new innovation
    centres,” the report said.
  • Bengaluru, which saw the opening
    of three new centres between March and October this year and an announcement by
    Apple to establish a startup accelerator, leads the Indian challenge on
    innovation and is ranked as the fifth hub at the global level.
  • Nine new innovation centres were
    opened in the country during the period, taking the total number of innovation
    centres to 25. The US leads the list with 146 centres, followed by Britain with
    29 and India is at the third place with 24 centres.
  • The report said there has been
    noticeable activity in tier-II cities when it comes to innovation, and added
    that apart from Pune, which already existed on the global map, Jaipur has also
    entered the list with two new centres.
  • The research, done by Capgemini
    Consulting’s Digital Transformation Institute in collaboration with Fahrenheit
    212 and in partnership with Brian Solis of Altimeter said efforts taken by the
    government are the prime moving factor for the emergence of the country in the
    list.

Appointments –
VG Kannan appointed CEO of Indian Banks’ Association

  • V G Kannan on Wednesday took
    charge as Chief Executive of the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).
  • He succeeds M V Tanksale who
    demitted office as Chief Executive on August 9, 2016 after being at the helm
    for three years.
  • Kannan had retired as Managing
    Director & Group Executive (Associates & Subsidiaries) of State Bank of
    India on July 31, 2016.
  • IBA is a self-regulatory
    organisation of banks. The 70-year old body has 237 members comprising public
    sector banks, private sector banks, foreign banks having offices in India,
    co-operative banks, regional rural banks, and all India financial institutions.

V K Sharma appointed LIC chief for 5 years

  • Government today appointed V K
    Sharma as the Chairman of state-owned behemoth Life Insurance Corporation (LIC)
    for five years.
  • Managing Director at LIC, Sharma
    was already acting as chairman since September 16 when the then chairman S K Roy
    was relieved of his duties.
  • Roy had resigned in June, nearly
    two years ahead of his retirement.
  • Sharma has been serving as LIC’s
    MD since November 2013.
  • Having joined the body as a
    direct recruit officer in 1981, Sharma has served as the chief executive of its
    mortgage subsidiary LIC Housing Finance and zonal manager in charge of the
    south zone.

World –
UN General Assembly grants Observer status to ICC
  • The United Nations (UN) General
    Assembly has granted Observer Status to the International Chamber of Commerce
    (ICC) — the world’s largest business organisation representing more than six
    million members in over 100 countries.
  • The decision — taken by 193
    members of the UN General Assembly during its on-going 71st session in New York
    — is the first time that a business organisation has been admitted as an
    Observer at the UN General Assembly. The list of UN observers is highly restricted
    and features principally intergovernmental organisations.
  • The new role for ICC means that
    business will, for the first time, have direct voice in the UN system. The
    decision paves the way for ICC to contribute directly to the work of the
    General Assembly and reflects the vital role the private sector will play in
    implementing the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Books & Authors –
Book Courts of India-Past to Present compiled by Supreme Court
Editorial Committee

  • The book titled Courts of India-
    Past to Present was in news on 12 December 2016. The purpose of the coffee
    table book is to introduce the complexities of the Indian Judiciary to common
    public in a simple and non-technical manner.
  • The primary focus of the book is
    on the evolution of higher judiciary in India in the colonial period.
  • The book remarks that the
    establishment of High Courts in Bengal, Madras and Bombay provinces in the 19th
    century is the real beginning of functional higher judiciary in India.
  • It covers important events like
    the establishment of Federal Court under the Government of India Act, 1935 and
    the historic trial of last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar.
  • It also covered important
    judgements of the Supreme Court like Kesavananda Bharati Case (1973), Indira
    Sawhney Case (1992), SR Bommai Case (1994), etc.
  • To maintain the simplicity,
    several photographs are included in the book that better illustrates the
    narrative in the book.

Sports –
Russia: Sochi will not host Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships
2017

  • Sochi, the Russian city that
    hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics, will not host the 2017 Bobsleigh and Skeleton
    World Championships.
  • The International Bobsleigh and
    Skeleton Federation (IBSF) that stripped Sochi as the host of the world
    championship said, it would not be prudent to hold the championships in Russia,
    a country accused of state-sponsored doping.
  • The decision came on the basis of
    a report that claimed that more than 1000 Russians benefitted from a doping
    cover-up between 2011 and 2015. The report published by Canadian law professor
    Richard McLaren on 9 December 2016.
  • The McLaren report described how
    the sport was ‘hijacked’ by Russia to win at the London 2012 and Sochi 2014
    Olympics and other global competitions. It said that mass doping helped it to
    win several medals in these events.

Obituaries –
Legendary horse jockey Walter Swinburn passes away
  • Walter Swinburn, one of the most
    renowned jockeys of his generation and rider of the Shergar, passed away on 12
    December 2016 following a prolonged illness. He was 55.
  • He was famously known for winning
    the Epsom Derby horserace three times in his career as a jockey.
  • He was nicknamed as the
    ‘Choirboy’.
  • Swinburn was just 19 when he rode
    Shergar, a brilliant British-trained racehorse, to a memorable 10-length
    victory in the 1981 Derby at Epsom.

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