Current Affairs Update – 15th December, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 15th December, 2015. These are Important for the upcoming IBPS Clerk Mains and LIC AAO Exam 2016.

PAN mandatory for all
transactions over
₹2 lakh from New Year

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said that to
    counter domestic black money, the Centre will make it mandatory to furnish PAN
    (Permanent Account Number) for cash dealings above ₹2 lakh.
  • The Revenue Secretary, Hasmukh Adhia, said later in the
    evening that the Finance Ministry has changed the reporting requirements of
    PAN, making it mandatory for all transactions of over ₹ 2 lakh effective January 1, 2016.
  • “This will include transactions through cash, cheque and jewellery,”
    he told newspersons.
  • In Budget 2015-16, Jaitley had proposed making PAN mandatory
    for all transactions over ₹1
    lakh, but Adhia said it has been revised upwards to “give
    some breathing time to people” based on
    discussions with stakeholders.
  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes has also amended the
    reporting requirement of PAN for other specified transactions. “Persons who do
    not hold PAN are required to fill a form and furnish any one of the specified
    documents to establish their identity,” said an official release.
  • Starting from the New Year, quoting of PAN will be mandatory
    for all transactions of immovable property of over ₹10 lakh, from the earlier threshold of ₹5 lakh. It will also be
    required for all term deposits of over ₹50,000
    in not only banks but also in co-operative banks, post offices, nidhis, and
    non-banking finance companies. Further, PAN will also be mandatory for opening
    an account (except basic account) in any bank, including cooperative banks.
  • Cash payments to settle hotel bills and for foreign travel,
    such as purchase of tickets or buying foreign exchange of over ₹50,000, will also require
    quoting of PAN, Adhia said, adding that the earlier limit was ₹25,000.
  • Opening of demat accounts, buying shares of listed companies
    which are worth more than ₹1
    lakh, or purchasing debentures, RBI bonds, life insurance policies, and mutual
    funds of over ₹50,000
    will also require PAN.
  • Quoting of PAN has also become compulsory for purchase of
    gift cards or cash cards of over ₹50,000
    Adhia said, adding that PAN will no longer be required for installation of
    telephone or cell-phone connections.

Japan’s SoftBank Wins
its First Solar Project in India

  • Marking its debut in the Indian solar industry post its
    investment announcement of $20 billion, Japan’s SoftBank won its first 350 Mw
    solar power project in Andhra Pradesh through its joint venture company – SBG
  • SBG Cleantech bid the lowest tariff of Rs 4.63 per unit to
    win the entire tendered capacity of 350 Mw. This is the lowest bid in this year
    for solar power. Last month, US SunEdison won 500 Mw solar power park in Andhra
    Pradesh at the same tariff rate.
  • Among the others who were in fray were Indiabulls’ Yarrow
    Infrastructure, Azure Power India, Reliance CleanGen, Goldman Sachs backed
    ReNew Power and two others.
  • SoftBank tied up with Foxconn and Bharti Enterprises in June
    this year to invest in the Indian solar energy sector committing a whooping $20
    billion. This is its second bid participation after AP solar park and the first
    win for any power project through its joint venture SBG Cleantech.

Mahindra Group
acquired Italian auto design firm Pininfarina

  • Tech Mahindra and Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, part of the
    Mahindra Group, on 14 December 2015 acquired Italian car designer Pininfarina
    SpA for 165 million US dollars in an all-cash deal.
  • Pininfarina is well-known for designing cars for Ferrari,
    Maserati, Rolls-Royce and Cadillac.

Highlights of the
  • For the acquisition of Milan-listed Pininfarina, Tech
    Mahindra and Mahindra and Mahindra have formed a 60:40 joint venture.
  • The joint venture will acquire 76.06 percent in Pininfarina
    from its controlling shareholder Pincar Srl at a price of 25.3 million euros.
  • The joint venture will buy out the remaining 23.94 percent
    ordinary shares of Pininfarina through an open offer.

Government constituted a task force for setting up an IFSC in Mumbai
  • The Maharashtra government on 11 December 2015 constituted a
    task force for setting up an International Financial Service Centre (IFSC) in
    Mumbai. The task force will be headed by Union Minister of State for Finance
    Jayant Sinha.

The task force
  • Union Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha (chairman)
  • Lok Sabha MP from Mumbai North Central Poonam Mahajan
    (deputy chairman)
  • Maharashtra Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshtriya
  • MMRDA Commissioner UPS Madan
  • Principal Secretary Urban development Nitin Kareer
  • A representative from the Department of Economic Affairs,
    Union Government
  • OSD in the Chief Ministers Office (CMO) Kaustubh Dhavse will
    be Member Convenor

World Bank Group,
FIRST Initiative launched Principles for Public Credit Guarantee Schemes
  • World Bank Group and FIRST Initiative on 14 December 2015
    launched Principles for Public Credit Guarantee Schemes (CGSs).
  • The principles provide a generally accepted set of good
    practices that can serve as a global reference for the design, execution and
    evaluation of public CGSs that serve small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
  • As per an estimate of the World Bank, up to 68 percent of
    formal SMEs in emerging markets are either unserved or underserved by financial
    institutions, with a resulting credit gap estimated to be close to 1 trillion
    US dollars
  • To fill the gap, the governments across the world have been
    launching CGS to provide third-party credit risk mitigation to lenders by
    absorbing a portion of the lender’s losses on loans made to SMEs in case of

ICICI Prudential Life
launches iProtect Smart
  • ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited, has launched
    ICICI Pru iProtect Smart – a single product that combines benefits of life,
    health and accident insurance.
  • It offers cover against death, critical and terminal
    illness, accidental death and disability due to an accident, said a press
    release issued by the company.
  • Customers can also increase their cover at various
    milestones in their lives, for instance, marriage, child birth, etc. The
    premium for critical illness cover is guaranteed to remain the same throughout
    the term of the policy. There is also the option to take death benefit as
    monthly income over 10 years, the release added.
  • The monthly premium for a non-smoker 30 year old male, for a
    30-year old policy is Rs 1,110 for death cover of Rs 50 lakh, plus accidental
    death cover of Rs 50 lakh plus critical illness cover of Rs 10 lakh.

26th Conference of
Southern Zonal Council held in Vijayawada
  • The 26th Conference of Southern Zonal Council (SZC) was held
    on 12 December 2015 at Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. The conference was chaired
    by the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
  • Along with the chairperson, the conference was attended by
    Chief Ministers of five states-Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka
    and Kerala and Puducherry.
  • The five states and Puducherry together form the Southern
    Zonal Council.
  • The conference deliberated issues of common interest to the
    members of the council such as peninsular region industrial corridor, coastal
    security, introduction of peninsular tourism trains and finalisation of
    inter-State reciprocal transport agreement.

Operation Smile-II to
start from 1 January 2016
  • Union Government on 14 December 2015 requested the states
    and Union Territories (UT) to start Operation Smile-II from 1 January 2016. The
    operation will end on 31 January 2016.
  • In this regard, the Union Home Secretary, Rajiv Mehrishi has
    written a letter to the Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories
    for participation in Operation Smile-II in their respective State/UT.
  • Operation Smile-II is a campaign to rescue/rehabilitate the
    missing children. It is a follow up of the exercise Operation Smile that helped
    in rescuing and rehabilitating 9146 missing children.

World Bank released
Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty report

  • World Bank in December 2015 released a report entitled Shock
    Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty. The report examines
    the two-way relation (interplay) between climate change and poverty and
    concludes that climate change is one of the primary contributing factors for
    growing poverty scenario across the world.
  • To remedy the situation, the report also provides guidance
    on how to create a win-win situation so that climate change policies contribute
    to poverty reduction and poverty-reduction policies contribute to climate
    change mitigation and resilience building.
  • By 2030, if both economic growth and climate change are
    present, an estimated 3.6 billion people could be at risk of malaria, including
    100 million because of climate change.
  • Overall impact: In a pessimistic development scenario,
    climate change could drag more than 100 million people into poverty by 2030.
  • To illustrate the vulnerability of poor people to natural
    hazards, the report pointed out that poor in Mumbai settle in flood prone areas
    due to lower land prices.
  • In India, the high-impact climate change scenario brings 2
    million people into poverty in the prosperity scenario (if the people are well
    off), compared to almost 50 million in the poverty scenario (if the people are
  • The estimated cost of ambient air pollution in terms of
    morbidity and mortality is around 1.9 trillion US dollars annually in China and
    India alone.

A.K. Jain appointed
new CBDT chief

  • Senior revenue service officer A.K. Jain was on Tuesday
    appointed Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex policy
    making body of Income Tax department.
  • Mr. Jain, a 1978 batch Indian Revenue Services officer, was
    made acting Chairman of the board following superannuation of Anita Kapur on
    November 30.
  • The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved the
    appointment of Jain as CBDT Chairman, an order issued by Department of
    Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.
  • He will have short tenure of two months, till January 2016,
    officials said.
  • Jain is also holding additional charge of Member (Personnel
    and Vigilance) in the CBDT.

NIIT Tech appoints
Amit Kumar Garg as CFO

  • Mid-tier IT services firm NIIT Technologies said it has
    hired Amit Kumar Garg, who headed finance at the South Asia arm of Intertek
    India as its chief financial officer.
  • Garg, a chartered accountant with an MBA from MIT Sloan
    school of management, Cambridge has over 20 years of experience in finance
    function at Fidelity International, American Express Financial Centre and
    PricewaterhouseCoopers. Garg replaces Amit Roy, who was the interim CFO for
    NIIT Technologies, the company said in a statement.

& Honors –
Renowned violinist
Itzhak Perlman won 2016 Genesis Prize

  • Renowned Israeli-US violinist Itzhak Perlman on 14 December
    2015 was announced as the 2016 Genesis Prize Laureate for his accomplishments
    as a musician, teacher and advocate for people with disabilities.
  • Perlman will receive the award on 23 June 2016 from Israel’s
    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at a ceremony in Jerusalem.
  • The Genesis Prize, also known as the Jewish Nobel, was
    founded in 2012 as a 1 million US dollar award.

West Bengal
Government honoured Bappi Lahiri and Kumar Sanu with Lifetime Achievement
  • The West Bengal Government on 14 December 2015 honoured
    music composer Bappi Lahiri and singer Kumar Sanu with Lifetime Achievement
  • State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee handed over the awards
    at the inauguration of the annual Bangla Sangeet Mela.
  • Besides, Bollywood musician Shantanu Moitra was awarded with
    the Sangeet Mahasamman Award.
  • The Bishesh Sangeet Samman was awarded to Dwijen
    Mukhyopadhyay, Ajoy Chakraborty and Sandhya Mukherjee.
  • Vocalists Nachiketa, Sriradha Bandyopadhyay, Dileep Kumar
    Bose and Fakir Alamgir were honoured with Special Sangeet Samman.

IPL 2016: Dhoni,
Ashwin to play for Pune; Raina, Jadeja for Rajkot

  • India’s limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on
    Tuesday emerged the top draw in the IPL draft with the Sanjeev Goenka-owned new
    franchise Pune opting to pick him first for the stipulated price of Rs. 12.5
  • In-form Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane was the second choice
    for Pune, while Rajkot opted for Ravindra Jadeja in the same position.
    Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was picked by Pune as their third choice. New
    Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was Rajkot’s choice.
  • Following the two-year suspension of the Super Kings and
    Rajasthan Royals after being found guilty of breaching IPL regulations, new
    franchises from Pune (owned by New Rising) and Rajkot (Intex) have been roped
    in for the next two editions.

Team Pune
  • M.S. Dhoni (Rs. 12.5 crore)
  • Ajinkya Rahane (Rs. 9.5 crore)
  • Ravichandran Ashwin (Rs. 7.5 crore)
  • Steven Smith (Rs. 5.5 crore)
  • Faf du Plessis (Rs. 4 crore)

Team Rajkot
  • Suresh Raina (Rs. 12.5 crore)
  • Ravindra Jadeja (Rs. 9.5 crore)
  • Brendon McCullum (Rs. 7.5 crore)
  • James Faulkner (Rs. 5.5 crore)
  • Dwayne Bravo (Rs. 4 crore)

Apurvi Chandela,
Chain Singh Strike Gold in National Shooting Championship

  • Apurvi Chandela gave a firm indication that her Rio
    preparations were on the right track when she won the Women’s 10M Air Rifle
    event on the last day of the 59th National Shooting Championship here today.
  • Chain Singh, also a Rio Olympic Qualifier like Apurvi,
    claimed the Men’s 50M Rifle 3 Positions Gold at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting
  • While Apurvi was clearly the woman to beat in her final,
    Chain had to fend off the challenge from Olympic medalist Gagan Narang who
    finished second.
  • It was a 1-2 for Rajasthan in the Women’s 10M Air Rifle as
    unheralded junior Geetakshi Dixit came second to go along with her three more
    Gold and another Silver medal in the day.
  • In the Men’s 50M Rifle 3 Positions, largely considered one
    of the toughest Olympic events, army man Chain shot 452.8 in the final round,
    comfortably ahead of Air India’s Gagan Narang who closed with 451.1.
  • Swapnil Kusale of the Railways, a talented youngster who has
    had a great year and great Nationals to boost, won a creditable Bronze with a
    final tally of 441.7 points.
  • Gagan had topped the qualifying with a score of 1170 while
    both Swapnil and Chain had registered scores of 1166.               

Serena Williams is
SI’s Sportsperson of the Year

  • Serena Williams is Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the
    Year — the first female athlete honoured on her own by the magazine in more
    than 30 years.
  • Williams came within two matches of tennis’ first
    calendar-year Grand Slam since 1988, a bid that ended with a semifinal loss at
    the U.S. Open.
  • In all, the 34-year-old American went 53-3 during 2015 with
    five titles, including at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.
    Williams was No. 1 in the WTA rankings all season.

Rory McIlroy wins
European Tour player award

  • Rory McIlroy has been voted European Tour’s
    Player-of-the-Year for 2015, winning the award for the third time in the past
    four seasons.
  • The 26-year-old Northern Irishman successfully defended the
    Race to Dubai title after winning the season-ending World Tour Championship in
    Dubai last month. He had two other victories — at the Dubai Desert Classic and
    the WGC-Cadillac Match Play.
  • McIlroy was granted special dispensation to play the
    European Tour’s Final Series. He had not fulfilled the standard membership
    criteria because of an ankle injury sustained midway through the year.

declares ‘ism’ as word of the year for 2015

  • Merriam-Webster has picked a small but powerful suffix as
    word of the year: ism.
  • But not just any ism. The top isms to earn high traffic
    spikes and big bumps in lookups on the dictionary company’s website in 2015
    over the year before are socialism, fascism, racism, feminism, communism,
    capitalism and terrorism.
  • Pinpointing reasons why words go on the run at
    Merriam-Webster is an educated guess. The dictionary company tracks
    corresponding news events to link lookups to real life.
  • And its researchers also crunch data in a way that filters
    out common words frequently looked up year after year after year when making
    their top annual choices.
  • Lookups for fascism corresponded to release of video in November
    showing a white police officer shooting a black teenager in Chicago, and the criminal
    charges that followed.


Team ExamPundit


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