Current Affairs Update – 9 to 11 December, 2016

Hello and welcome to exampundit . Here are the important Current Affairs of 9 to 11 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 – 9 to 11 December, 2016

  1. After a TV channel and a website
    to promote digital payments, a
    nationwide toll-free helpline number
    ‘14444’ will be launched soon to educate
    people and provide support related to cashless mode of transactions.
  2. The India-UK Conference on Ease of Doing
    Business concluded on 10 December 2016 in New Delhi
    . This conference
    on Ease of Doing Business would act as an opportunity to enhance the strategic
    bilateral partnership between the two nations to the next level.
  3. Union Information and Technology
    Minister Ravishankar Prasad in December 2016 launched Digishala TV Channel. Digishala TV
    is a free-to-air channel
    which will educate people about digital payment
    and is available on DD free DTH service.
  4. To enhance the bilateral ties
    between the two nations, India and Vietnam on 9 December 2016 signed a civil
    nuclear cooperation agreement
    . The agreement was signed in New Delhi
    in presence of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and visiting President of
    Vietnam’s National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.
  5. India on 8 December 2016 was
    formally designated as a ‘Major Defence Partner’ of the United States.
    It was announced in the India-US joint statement on US Secretary of Defence
    Ashton Carter’s visit to New Delhi.
  6. The Human Rights Day 2016 was on 10 December 2016 observed across the
    world. 
  7. The International Anti-Corruption Day 2016 was observed across the
    world on 9 December 2016 with the theme United against corruption for
    development, peace and security.
  8. The 2016 World Power Language Index (PLI) in
    the first week of December 2016 announced that English language is the most
    powerful language in the world. The index was published by World Economic Forum
    (WEF).

Finance/Banking –
Helpline number 14444 for digital payments support soon

  • After a TV channel and a website
    to promote digital payments, a nationwide toll-free helpline number ‘14444’
    will be launched soon to educate people and provide support related to cashless
    mode of transactions.
  • The service is expected to be
    operational within a week.
  • “The government had sought
    Nasscom’s help in providing support on a mass scale to people. We had requested
    for a single nationwide helpline, which is now assigned by the DoT as 14444. We
    are putting call centre support at the back-end. It is fairly in the advanced
    stage of operation,” IT body Nasscom President R Chandrashekar said.
  • “The helpline will assist
    people at the first level to zero in on the option which is most suitable for
    them, depending on the availability of feature phone, Aadhaar number and bank
    account of the person,” Chandrashekhar added.
  • To educate people on digital
    transactions, Ministry of Electronics and IT on Friday launched free-to-air
    channel DigiShala which will be available on Doordarshan’s DTH platform and
    ‘CashlessIndia’ website to educate people about digital transactions.

India-UK Conference on Ease of Doing Business concluded in Delhi

  • The India-UK Conference on Ease
    of Doing Business concluded on 10 December 2016 in New Delhi. This conference
    on Ease of Doing Business would act as an opportunity to enhance the strategic
    bilateral partnership between the two nations to the next level.
  • The two-day conference was
    jointly inaugurated by Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary of Ministry of Commerce and
    Industry and Dominic Asquith, the British High Commissioner.
  • This partnership on Ease of Doing
    Business of the two nations is important because it will play a role that the
    business environment plays in encouraging trade, investment, innovation and
    economic growth.
  • The conference that included
    discussion on regulatory reform, inspection reform, tax administration and
    trade facilitation also brought together officials from state and central
    Government with UK experts.

Ravishankar Prasad launched Digishala TV Channel to promote cashless
India

  • Union Information and Technology
    Minister Ravishankar Prasad in December 2016 launched Digishala TV Channel.
    Digishala TV is a free-to-air channel which will educate people about digital
    payment and is available on DD free DTH service.
  • The channel was launched with an
    aim to encourage people for digital payment in their everyday life. It will be
    airing shows targeted at the rural and suburban population to inform them of
    various aspects of going digital like UPI, e-wallet, AADHAAR, USSD and usage of
    cards through talk shows and demonstrations.
  • Apart from Digishala TV Channel,
    the minister also launched Digi Dhan Abhiyan. The Abhiyan seeks to enable every
    citizen, small traders and merchants to adopt digital payments in their
    everyday financial transactions. During the campaign, the citizens will be
    informed about various modes of digital payments. People will be educated to
    download, install and transact digital payments via their mobile.
  • While launching Digishala TV
    Channel and Digi Dhan Abhiyan, the minister said digital mode of payment has
    witnessed an unprecedented upsurge from four hundred to one thousand percent.
    According to him, since demonetisation, the e-wallet has gone up to 63 lakh
    from 17 lakh transaction per day after demonetization. Transactions through
    Rupay cards have also gone up from 3.85 lakh to 16 lakh per day.

Union Government announces package for promotion of Digital and
Cashless Economy

  • The Union Government on 8
    December 2016 announced the package of incentives and measures for promotion of
    digital and cashless economy in the country.
  • The move came following the
    cancellation of the legal tender of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes,  as since then, there has been a surge in the
    digital transactions through use of credit/debit cards and mobile phone
    applications and e-wallets.

Highlights of the Package
  • The Petroleum PSUs will offer
    incentive by providing a discount at the rate of 0.75 percent of the sale price
    to consumers on purchase of petrol/diesel, if the payment is made through
    digital means.
  • To expand digital payment
    infrastructure in rural areas, NABARD will extend financial support to eligible
    banks for deployment of 2 POS devices each in 1 Lakh villages with population
    of less than 10000.  This will benefit
    farmers of one lakh village covering a total population of nearly 75 crore.
  • NABARD will also support Rural
    Regional Banks and Cooperative Banks to issue Rupay Kisan Cards to around 4.32
    crore Kisan Credit Card holders to enable them to make digital transactions at
    POS machines/Micro ATMs/ATMs.
  • Railways, through its sub urban
    railway network, will provide incentive by way of discount of up to 0.5 percent
    to customers for monthly or seasonal tickets from January 2017, if payment is
    made through digital means.
  • Passengers buying online ticket
    will be given free accidental insurance cover of up to Rs 10 lakh. With this,
    nearly 11 lakh passengers will be covered in a day under the accidental insurance
    scheme.
  • Railways will provide a discount
    of 5 percent for paid services like catering, accommodation, retiring rooms
    etc., if payment is made through digital means.

India –
Civil nuclear cooperation agreement signed between India and Vietnam

  • To enhance the bilateral ties
    between the two nations, India and Vietnam on 9 December 2016 signed a civil
    nuclear cooperation agreement. The agreement was signed in New Delhi in
    presence of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and visiting President of
    Vietnam’s National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.
  • Ngan is the first woman to head
    the National Assembly of Vietnam.
  • The MoU on civil nuclear
    cooperation was inked by Secretary of Department of Atomic Energy Sekhar Basu
    and Deputy Minister of Science and Technology of Vietnam Pham Cong Tac.
  • This is the second nuclear pact
    signed by India within a month. Earlier in November 2016, India signed a
    similar civil nuclear agreement with Japan.

Liquor banned in three Uttarakhand districts

  • The Uttarakhand High Court has
    directed the state government to impose a blanket ban on the sale and
    consumption of liquor in three districts of the state.
  • The ruling came in response to a
    writ petition filed by Udit Narayan Tiwari, seeking a ban on a bar serving
    liquor in Haridwar, stating that it violated the government order passed in
    February 2002.The order had prohibited the sale and consumption of liquor in
    Haridwar given its religious prominence.
  • The PIL was heard by a division
    bench comprising Justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh who ordered a complete
    ban on liquor in Rudraprayag, Chamoli, and Uttarkashi districts, effective from
    next fiscal year.

CM Pinarayi Vijayan launches Haritha Keralam Mission

  • The Chief Minister of Kerala
    Pinarayi Vijayan on 8 December 2016 launched the Haritha Keralam Mission in
    Thiruvananthapuram. It is a comprehensive programme to make the state clean,
    protect its water sources and soil.
  • The Mission aims at creating new
    development perspectives by maximum utilization of opportunities through waste
    management, water resources and agricultural development.
  • Eminent Carnatic vocalist and
    playback singer K J Yesudas is the Brand Ambassador of the mission.

US designates India as Major Defence Partner

  • India on 8 December 2016 was
    formally designated as a ‘Major Defence Partner’ of the United States. It was
    announced in the India-US joint statement on US Secretary of Defence Ashton
    Carter’s visit to New Delhi.
  • Indian Defence Minister Manohar
    Parrikar had invited US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to India. It marked
    the seventh interaction between the two leaders.
  • The designation is a status
    unique to India and institutionalizes the progress made to facilitate defence
    trade and technology sharing with India to a level at par with that of the
    United States’ closest allies and partners.

Days –
Human Rights Day 2016 observed across the world

  • The Human Rights Day 2016 was on
    10 December 2016 observed across the world. 
  • The day aims at promoting and
    raising awareness of the two Covenants of Human Rights Day. They are:
    International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the
    International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
  • For the year 2016, the day calls on
    everyone to stand up for someone’s rights. To commemorate the day, a campaign
    “Stand up for someone’s rights today” was launched to encourage, support
    and amplify what one does in one’s everyday life to defend human rights.

International Anti-Corruption Day 2016 observed across the world

  • The International Anti-Corruption
    Day 2016 was observed across the world on 9 December 2016 with the theme United
    against corruption for development, peace and security.
  • The day was observed to raise
    public awareness about corruption and what people can do to fight it.
  • On the occasion of the
    International Anti-Corruption Day, all the Governments, the private sector,
    non-governmental organizations, the media and citizens around the world joined
    forces to fight the crime.
  • The 2016 joint international
    campaign focuses on corruption as one of the biggest road blocks to achieving
    the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

World –
World Bank cancels $100 million loan for Pakistan
  • The international financial
    institution, World Bank has cancelled a $100 million loan to Pakistan that was
    meant to be for a natural gas efficiency project.
  • The loan was cancelled, as the
    gas distribution company that was responsible for the project, failed to make
    any progress in achieving its developmental objectives and showed very less
    interest in the project overall.
  • The company in question is Sui
    Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and it was supposed to initiate the project in its
    distribution areas located in Karachi, Balochistan, and interiors of Sindh. The
    main aim of the project was to increase the supply of natural gas in the
    designated areas by reducing gas loss in the pipeline system.
  • However, it failed to complete
    its procurement process in time due to bureaucratic processes and the
    management of SSGC stated that delay in the procurement process led to the
    failure of the project.

English most powerful language in the world: World Economic Forum

  • The 2016 World Power Language
    Index (PLI) in the first week of December 2016 announced that English language
    is the most powerful language in the world. The index was published by World
    Economic Forum (WEF).
  • The Index ranked English first in
    the top 10 most powerful languages in the world. Hindi language was ranked 10th
    in the 2016 PLI.
  • Four of the 10 most competitive
    economies have English as an official language. The remaining six have high
    shares of English speakers and/or a high proficiency in English, with the
    exception of Japan.

Awards & Honors –
President Pranab Mukherjee presents Shilp Guru Awards, National Awards
to master craftspersons
  • President Pranab Mukherjee on 9
    December 2016 presented the Shilp Guru Awards and National Awards to master
    craftspersons for the year 2015 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The recipient of the
    award included nine Shilp Gurus and 19 National Awardees.
  • The awards are given in
    recognition of excellent craftsmanship and the major role played by them in
    continuing craft as a vital part of the traditional heritage.

Obituaries –
Astronaut John Glenn, the 1st American to Orbit Earth, dies at 95
  • Former US astronaut John Glenn,
    the first American to orbit Earth, died on 8 December 2016. He was 95. The
    ex-Marine and Senator had been in hospital in Columbus, Ohio, for more than a
    week.
  • John Glenn was best known for
    circling the earth in 1962. He circled the planet aboard the Friendship 7 space
    capsule. This achievement of Glenn marked the moment the US caught up with the
    Soviet Union in manned space exploration.
  • After returning to Earth, Glenn
    was elected in 1974 as a Democrat to the US Senate, where he served for 24
    years.

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