Current Affairs Update – 15th December, 2016

Hello and welcome to exampundit . Here are the important Current Affairs of 15 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 – 15th December, 2016

  1. Andhra Bank has pledged Rs 1,300-crore loan for first phase
    construction of Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project
    ,
    for which the Telangana government has been raising funds from banks and
    financial institutions.
  2. Paytm has announced a program to increase the digital inclusion in the country
    wherein it is calling upon consumers and merchants across India
    to teach
    others on how to use Paytm to pay and accept money.
  3. Airtel Payments Bank on Thursday launched its pilot services across
    12,000 retail outlets in Karnataka, in addition to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
    the southern market.
  4. The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered
    a ban on all liquor shops on national as well as state highways across the
    country and made it clear that licences of existing shops will not be renewed
    after March 31 next year
    .
  5. Sarbananda Sonowal, the Chief
    Minister of Assam, on 14 December 2016 inaugurated a Solar Battery Station at Bindhakata
    Tengapukhuri village in Dibrugarh
    .
  6. The Indian Ministry of Home
    Affairs in an alert on 13 December 2016 alleged that Pakistan intelligence agencies are
    spying on Indian security forces using four mobile applications
    .
  7. The Government of Haryana on 14
    December 2016 launched the Mahila Police Volunteer initiative for the safety of
    women
    . The initiative was launched by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar
    Lal Khattar.
  8. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) put a temporary nationwide ban on the
    use of manja on 14 December 2016.
  9. The Union Cabinet on 14 December
    2016 approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Indian Space
    Research Organisation (ISRO) and United States Geological Survey (USGS)
    for Cooperation in the use of US Land Remote
    Sensing Satellite Data.
  10. The Forbes’ magazine’s annual list of World’s Most Powerful People was
    released on 14 December 2016
    . Prime Minister Narendra Modi was ranked among the top 10
    most powerful people in the world
    . He was ranked at 9th place on the
    list of 74 people.

Finance/Economy –
Andhra Bank pledges Rs 1,300-cr loan for Telangana irrigation project

  • Andhra Bank has pledged Rs
    1,300-crore loan for first phase construction of Kaleshwaram lift irrigation
    project, for which the Telangana government has been raising funds from banks
    and financial institutions.
  • The consortium of lenders led by
    Andhra Bank has estimated the project cost in phase one to be about Rs 7,400
    crore, the government said.
  • Andhra Bank managing director
    Suresh N Patel today handed over the loan sanction letter to chief minister K
    Chandrasekhara Rao.
  • Andhra Bank is also extending Rs 1,935
    crore loan for Telangana government’s drinking water grid project( Mission
    Bhagiratha), Rs 1,000 crore to the state civil supplies corporation and Rs 400
    crore to the state seed development corporation, Patel informed on this
    occasion.

Paytm launches campaign to increase digital inclusion

  • Paytm has announced a program to
    increase the digital inclusion in the country wherein it is calling upon
    consumers and merchants across India to teach others on how to use Paytm to pay
    and accept money.
  • The campaign is aimed at
    transforming user behaviour and further accelerate the country’s ongoing shift
    from cash to digital payments.
  • As a part of the drive, Paytm has
    also announced an incentive including Rs one crore grand prize along with
    additional prizes like motorcycles, smartphones, laptops and other exciting
    gifts. All users transacting between December 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 are
    eligible to win these prizes.
  • The company has also announced Rs
    2100 in scholarship for 10,000 users who help increase digital inclusion and
    adoption of Paytm and certificates for one lakh further users across all major
    districts. The winners will be selected on the basis of their efforts to
    promote digital payments and onboard merchants for payments through Paytm.
  • The company has even waived off
    its one percent transaction fee for transferring money to the Bank for
    KYC-enabled merchants to facilitate this shift in merchant behaviour.

Airtel Payments Bank launches pilot services in Karnataka
  • Airtel Payments Bank on Thursday
    launched its pilot services across 12,000 retail outlets in Karnataka, in
    addition to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana the southern market.
  • 70% of these retail outlets,
    which are essentially banking points, are in rural areas, the company said.
  • Airtel Payments Bank, a
    subsidiary of the country’s leading mobile phone operator Bharti Airtel, rolled
    out pilot services across 10,000 Airtel retail outlets in Rajasthan in
    November. It facilitates cashless purchases of goods and services through mobile
    phones, giving an impetus to the digital payments ecosystem amid the cash crunch
    effected by demonetisation.
  • The payments bank offers basic
    banking services to customers by leveraging Airtel’s retail network. It offers
    highest annual interest rate of 7.25 per cent and an insurance of Rs 1 lakh per
    account
  • Customers opening a savings
    account with Airtel Payments Bank will also get one minute of Airtel mobile
    talk time for every Rupee deposited.

Amazon introduces Prime Video service in India
  • Amazon, the American e-commerce
    company, has introduced Amazon Prime Video Service in India, posing a tough
    competition to other online streaming services like Netflix and Hotstar.
  • Amazon Prime video will provide
    Amazon Prime users with the access to the largest collection of ad-free new
    releases including Bollywood and Hollywood movies, television shows and
    award-winning Amazon original series and kid’s programmes. The app is available
    for download on both Google Play store and Apple app store.
  • The decision was announced by the
    Director and Country Head of Amazon Video India, Nitesh Kripalani. The best
    part about this service is that it will be provided to the Prime members on top
    of the unlimited free one-day and two-day delivery options that they have
    already been given, with no extra charge. So, the Prime members can enjoy
    unlimited ad-free streaming by just paying Rs 499 annually.

India –
Supreme Court bans liquor shops on highways

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday
    ordered a ban on all liquor shops on national as well as state highways across
    the country and made it clear that licences of existing shops will not be renewed
    after March 31 next year.
  • A three-judge bench headed by
    Chief Justice T. S. Thakur also directed that all signages indicating presence
    of liquor vends will be prohibited on national and state highways.
  • The bench also comprising
    Justices D.Y.Chandrachud and L. Nageswara Rao said the existing licenses of
    liquor shops across the highways will not be renewed after March 31, 2017.
  • Last week, the apex court had
    expressed concern over 1.5 lakh fatalities every year in road mishaps, saying
    it may direct closure of liquor vends on national and state highways across the
    nation, besides removal of the signages indicating their location.
  • The apex court, while reserving
    verdict on December 7 on a batch of pleas seeking a direction to amend excise
    laws to ensure that no liquor is sold alongside highways, came down heavily on
    the Punjab government for seeking relaxation and permitting liquor shops near
    highways if they are “elevated” ones and the vend are under or near it.

Solar battery station inaugurated in Dibrugarh, Assam

  • Sarbananda Sonowal, the Chief
    Minister of Assam, on 14 December 2016 inaugurated a Solar Battery Station at
    Bindhakata Tengapukhuri village in Dibrugarh.
  • The Solar Battery Station, which
    is one of the biggest projects in Assam, would help in fulfilling the power
    requirements of 287 households of four villages of the area, namely Gerekigaon,
    Mulukghat, Mirigaon and Tengabri.
  • The project has installed two
    solar battery charging stations of 6-kilowatt capacity.
  • The two central battery-charging
    stations have been installed in two different buildings with a provision of two
    lights and one fan in each household along with one solar battery.

Pakistan’s Intelligence agencies spying on Indian security using 4 apps

  • The Indian Ministry of Home
    Affairs in an alert on 13 December 2016 alleged that Pakistan intelligence
    agencies are spying on Indian security forces using four mobile applications.
  • The Home Ministry stated that
    these intelligence agencies are sending malwares through gaming, music and
    entertainment apps like Top Gun, Mpjunkie, Bdjunkie and Talking Frog to steal
    confidential information.
  • The Ministry also added that when
    users having these apps use mobile banking on their smartphones, chances of
    cyber crime become higher. So, in order to prevent such a fraud these apps
    should be deleted immediately.
  • A similar alert was issued by
    Minister of State for Home Affairs, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary during Lok
    Sabha proceedings earlier in May this year. At the time, he had said that the
    Indian security forces have been made aware of such fraud applications and a
    set of guidelines have been issued to all ministries and departments to prevent
    such cyber attacks.

Haryana launched Mahila Police Volunteer Initiative

  • The Government of Haryana on 14
    December 2016 launched the Mahila Police Volunteer initiative for the safety of
    women. The initiative was launched by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal
    Khattar.
  • With this launch, Haryana has
    become the first State in the country to adopt the scheme. The scheme is a part
    of a number of initiatives taken up by the Union Government to achieve gender
    equality.
  • It is a joint initiative of the
    Union Ministry of Women and Child Development and Union Ministry of Home
    Affairs.
  • Its objective is to create a link
    between the police authorities and the local communities in villages.

Green Panel imposes interim ban on Manja

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT)
    put a temporary nationwide ban on the use of manja on 14 December 2016.
  • The order was passed by a bench
    chaired by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar, who said that the sharp glass
    coated manja used for flying kites poses a serious threat to humans, birds and
    animals alike. The panel stated that the ban would apply on nylon, cotton and
    Chinese manjas that are coated with glass and metal.
  • Apart from this, the Manja
    Association of India has been told to submit a report on the harmful effects of
    the kite strings to the Central Pollution Control Board.
  • The move followed a plea by senior
    advocate Sanjay Hedge and advocate Shadan Farasat on the behalf of the animal
    rights body -People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)-seeking a ban on
    the use of the kite strings, especially since Makar Sankranti is approaching
    and manja would be used then for flying kites.
  • The advocates also sought a ban
    on the manufacture, sale, import and use of the kite strings and referred to
    Allahabad High Court’s November 2015 order, which banned the use of Chinese
    manja in Uttar Pradesh, to support their case.

Union Cabinet approves MoU between ISRO and United States Geological
Survey
  • The Union Cabinet on 14 December
    2016 approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Indian Space
    Research Organisation (ISRO) and United States Geological Survey (USGS) for
    Cooperation in the use of US Land Remote Sensing Satellite Data.
  • This MoU is aimed at enabling
    ISRO to receive USGS’s Landsat-7 & 8 in India. On the other hand, USGS will
    receive ISRO’s Resourcesat-2 data of US region.
  • ISRO has always been pursuing space
    cooperation actively with many organisations of United States including
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States Geological
    Survey (USGS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Lists –
Forbes ranks PM Modi 9th among world’s 10 most powerful people

  • The Forbes’ magazine’s annual
    list of World’s Most Powerful People was released on 14 December 2016. Prime
    Minister Narendra Modi was ranked among the top 10 most powerful people in the
    world. He was ranked at 9th place on the list of 74 people.
  • The list was topped by Russian
    President Vladimir Putin for the fourth straight year. Putin is followed by
    President-elect of the US Donald Trump (2nd), German Chancellor Angela Merkel
    (3rd) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (4th).

10 Most powerful people
  1. Vladimir Putin (64) – Russia
  2. Donald Trump (70) – The United
    States
  3. Angela Merkel (62) – Germany
  4. Xi Jinping (63) – China
  5. Pope Francis (79) – Roman
    Catholic Church
  6. Janet Yellen (70) – The United
    States
  7. Bill Gates (61)  – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  8. Larry Page (43) – Alphabet
  9. Narendra Modi (66) – India
  10. Mark Zuckerberg (32) – Facebook

Awards & Honors –
A R Rahman in Oscar Race Again
  • Two-time academy award winner AR
    Rahman is in the Oscar race again for his work in the American biographical film
    ‘Pele: Birth of a Legend’.
  • The film directed and written by
    Jeff and Michael Zimbalist is based on the early life of the legendary
    Brazilian footballer Pele. The film’s score is entirely composed by the Indian
    music maestro Rahman.
  • According to the initial list of
    Oscar nominations released by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,
    the singer is in contention for the Academy Award nomination in two categories-
    Best Original Score and Original Song category. The list was released on the
    body’s official website on 13 December 2016.

Obituaries –
Nobel-winning economist Thomas Schelling dies at 95
  • Nobel Prize-winning economist
    Thomas Schelling, who used game theory to explain nuclear strategy, has passed away,
    according to a colleague.
  • Longtime friend and colleague
    Richard Zeckhauser says Schelling died Tuesday at his home in Bethesda,
    Maryland. The former Harvard University and University of Maryland professor
    was 95.
  • Schelling was awarded the Nobel
    Prize in economics in 2005 along with Robert Aumann. The Nobel committee said
    the economists’ work “enhanced our understanding of conflict and
    cooperation through game-theory analysis”.

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