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Current Affairs Today – December 15 2015

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Current Affairs Today 15 December 2015


Rajasthan becomes the first state to submit smart city plan

Rajasthan has become the first state to submit smart city plans for three selected cities.

Selected citiesUdaipur, Kota and Ajmer

  • Smart city Proposals were submitted by Manjit Singh, (Rajasthan’s princial secretary of urban development) to Samir Sharma (Additional secretary of urban development).

Goa govt green signal to Panaji Smart City proposal

The Goa government has approved the Rs 981.11 crore proposal for Panaji Smart City which was submitted to the Union Urban Development Ministry.The proposal has major thrust on eco-mobility, public transport system and improvement of conservation zones.

Approval given by

  • The High Powered Coordination Committee (HPCC) on Smart City headed by Chief Secretary R K Srivastava granted its final approval to proposal and it was submitted to the Centre today.Panaji in the list of first 19 cities which will receive funds this year.

Fund Information :

  • Rs 304.22 crores share by Central and State government respectively over next five years. Another Rs 299.98 crore is expected to be funded through public private partnership (PPP).
  • Of the total 304.22 crore state share, the entire amount would be contributed by the Goa government, as the financial position of the CCP (Corporation of the City of Panaji) does not allow it to take up such huge proposal.

Key points :

  • Goa Capital : Panaji
  • Goa CM : Laxmikant Parsekar
  • Goa Governor : Mridula Sinha


For non-market factors – 4 indices launched by Asia Index

The Asia Index Private Ltd, a JV between S&P Dow Jones Indices and BSE has launched 4 new indices as part of its attempt to enable investors to invest based on parameters like valuation and volatility.

The four new indices launched under the umbrella of S&P BSE Factor Indices are:

  • S&P BSE Enhanced Value Index
  • S&P BSE Low Volatility Index
  • S&P BSE Momentum Index
  • S&P BSE Quality Index

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

World Bank released a report “Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty”. The report examines the relation between climate change and poverty and concludes that climate change is one of the primary contributing factors for growing poverty scenario across the world.

  • As a remedy to situation, the report 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.

India up 5 spots, ranks 130th in Human Development Index: UNDP

As per United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on account of rise in life expectancy and per capita income, India has been ranked among 130 among 188 countries in 2014 in Human Development Report 2015 comparing to 135 in 2014 report.

  • The 2015 Human Development Report (2015 HDR) was on “Rethinking Work for Human Development”.
  • Between 1980 and 2014, India’s HDI value increased from 326 to 0.609 showing an increase of 68.1% or an average annual increase of about 1.54%.

ToppersNorway topped followed by Australia and Switzerland.

FICCI and UN Women sign MoU to advance gender equality and women empowerment

FICCI and UN Women Multi Country Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in New Delhi to strengthen collaboration on advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in the business sector.

  • Dr. Rebecca Tavares, Country Representative, UN WomenIndia MCO and Dr. Jyotsna Suri, President FICCI who is also the Chairperson and Managing Director of Bharat Hotels signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations.

Objective : To achieving the common goal of realizing the rights of women and girls as critical preconditions for effective and sustainable development.

Highlights of MoU :

  • This MoU will enable us to identify, facilitate and influence business practices that promote gender equality and women empowerment.
  • The MoU will provide a framework to both the organizations, to promote research and advocacy on gender responsive policies in select sectorsand with the provisions of the recent Companies Act 2013.
  • UN Women will be collaborating with FICCI for the first ever FICCI-FLO Film Festival on women’s empowerment along with a Global Symposium on ‘Gender in Media’ presented by the Geena Davis Institute of Gender Studies in Mumbai in February next year.
  • Through this partnership UN Women and FICCI will also work towards furthering UN Women’s global solidarity movement on Gender Equality, “HeForShe“.


DCB Bank cuts base rate by 15 bps to 10.7 pc

Maharashtra headquartered Development Credit Bank (DCB) has announced a cut in its base rate by 15 basis points from 10.85% to 10.7%.

  • The private sector bank also trimmed its former benchmark lending rate by 15 basis points from 18.10% to 95%.
  • Both the rate cuts are effective December 14.

DCB Tagline – We value you
DCB CEO – Mr. Murali M. Natrajan

World Bank Group, FIRST Initiative launched Principles for Public Credit Guarantee Schemes

The World Bank Group and the FIRST Initiative announced the launch of a new tool to help governments implement public credit guarantee schemes (CGS).

Aim : To unlock finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The World Bank Group estimates that 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.

Credit guarantee schemes :

The CGS was launched in 2008 with the aim of making it easier for financial institutions to borrow money. The Scheme was closed in 2012.

About FIRST(Financial Sector Reform and Strengthening Initiative):

  • These schemes are gaining popularity because they usually combine a subsidy element with market-based arrangements for credit allocation, thereby leaving less room for distortions in credit markets.
  • It can serve as a global reference for the design, execution, and evaluation of public CGSs around the world.
  • It promotes robust and diverse financial sectors in developing countries by providing rapid, targeted support.
  • It leverages the technical expertise of the World Bank Group and IMF to encourage financial sector development through technical assistance projects.

SEBI links commodity trade data with its surveillance systems

For better surveillance of commodities derivatives market, regulator SEBI has integrated trading data flow from various commodity exchanges to its own integrated surveillance and intelligence systems. After merging FMC, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has become the unified regulator for the entire securities market.

  • Data acquisition equipment have been installed and connectivity was established with major national commodity derivatives exchanges — NCDEX and MCX — thereby integrating trading data with IMSS (Integrated Market Surveillance System) and DWBIS (Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence System) surveillance systems of SEBI.

Data integration has been facilitated in generation of commodity market reports and alerts in DWBIS and IMSS systems. Data from NMCE (National Multi-Commodity Exchange of India) and regional exchanges are also being received in electronic form through e-mails on a daily basis.


Natco Pharma gets DCGI nod to sell hepatitis C treatment drug

Natco Pharma Ltd. has received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to launch in the country the generic version of Ledipasvir + Sofosbuvir combination for treatment of chronic Hepatitis C.

  • The combination drug is to be launched under its brand name Hepcinat LP and through strategic partners in India.
  • Cost – 25,000 (for a bottle of 28 tablets)

A two-drug fixed-dose combination product, containing 90 mg of Ledipasvir and 400 mg of Sofosbuvir in a single tablet, Ledipasvir + Sofosbuvir is sold globally by Gilead Sciences Inc. under its brand Harvoni. The drug is indicated for the treatment of chronic Hepatitis C (CHC) genotype 1 infection in adults.

  • Earlier this year, company had signed a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences to manufacture and sell generic versions of the chronic Hepatitis C medicines including generic version of Harvoni.
  • Natco became the first licensed company to launch the generic version of the combination drug in Nepal.

Besides in India, this agreement is for 100 other developing countries.

Infosys invests USD 3 mn in sports startup WHOOP

IT major Infosys has invested USD 3 million (Rs 20 crore) in U.S. based wearable device startup firm WHOOP to pick up a minority shareholding in the company.

  • WHOOP’s system includes a device worn by athletes on their wrist that continuously measures key strain and recovery variables and actionable analytics powered by proprietary algorithms that generate intensity and recovery scores.

This enables athletes and coaches to gain visibility into the drivers of high performance, guide training and make optimal game day decisions.


2016 Genesis Prize conferred upon Violinist Itzhak Perlman

The legendary 16 Grammys award winner Israeli-US violinist Itzhak Perlman has been awarded the 2016 Genesis prize for his accomplishments as a musician, teacher and advocate for people with disabilities.

  • The $1m (£660,000) prize aka Jewish Nobel is given annually to an individual who has achieved professional success, contributed to humanity and shown a strong commitment to Jewish causes and the state of Israel.

Bappi Lahiri and Kumar Sanu with Lifetime Achievement Awards

Bappi Lahiri and Kumar Sanu with Lifetime Achievement AwardsWest Bengal government honoured veteran music composer Bappi Lahiri and singer Kumar Sanu with the Lifetime Achievement awards.

  • The award was presented by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the Sangeet Samman award function in Kolkata.

Other Awards:

  • Bollywood musician Shantanu Moitra was felicitated with the Sangeet Mahasamman award along with Mohammad Aziz, Kumar Bose and Shibaji Chattopadhyay.
  • Vocalists Nachiketa and Ajoy Chakrobarty were given special Sangeet Samman.
  • Bishesh Sangeet Samman was awarded to Dwijen Mukhyopadhyay, Ajoy Chakraborty and Sandhya Mukherjee.

Sangeet Mela will be held for the next 10 days at different venues where 5,000 artists will participate. Folk culture festival would be organised at Lal Dighi from December 23.


Indian-origin politician Designated to Chair S Africa’s FinMin

Widely respected South Africa’s finance minister (2009-2014) and 66-year-old Veteran Indian-origin politician Pravin Gordhan has been appointed South Africa’s new Finance Minister by President Jacob Zuma.

  • He will replace David van Rooyen who was appointed on 10 November 2015.
  • Gordhan’s appointment raised the Rand up almost 5%.

Gordhan would be responsible to ensure fiscal discipline in government spending and work with the financial sector to bring about stability.


Mahindra Group acquired Italian auto design firm Pininfarina

Mahindra group will acquire Italian automotive and industrial design firm Pininfarina for an overall outgo of over 50 million Euros (nearly Rs 370 crore) after months of negotiations.

  • Tech Mahindra and M&M will purchase 76.06 per cent of Pininfarina shares from the current controlling shareholders Pincar srL at a price of Euro 1.1 per share.
  • The cost of acquiring 76.06 per cent in Pininfarina by the SPV will be Euro 25.3 million, which would be funded by Tech Mahindra and M&M in the ratio of 60:40.

Pininfarina Spa Chairman : Paolo Pininfarina
Mahindra Group  Chairman :Anand Mahindra 


Pakistan test-fires nuclear-capable Shaheen-1A

Pakistan successfully test-fired a nuclear capable ballistic missile Shaheen-1A in the Arabian Sea with a range of 900 kilometres and days after testing a similar missile capable of hitting targets as far as 2,750 kilometres away bringing many Indian cities under its range.

  • Shaheen-1A is capable of delivering different types of warheads to a range of 900 kilometres.
  • The launch was witnessed by senior officers from Strategic Plans Division, strategic forces, scientists and engineers of strategic organizations.
  • Last week, Pakistan had test-fired the medium-range Shaheen-III surface-to-surface ballistic missile which can carry nuclear warheads up to 2,750 kms.

Key points :

  • Pakistan Capital : Islamabad
  • Pakistan Currency : Pakistani Rupee
  • Pakistan PM : Nawaz Sharif


“Tennis Queen” Serena named as Sportsperson of 2015

After conquering her illness and injury, Serena Williams, the star of tennis world now has been named Sports Illustrated‘s 2015 Sportsperson of the Year.

  • The winner of 3 Grand Slam titles (Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon before losing at the U.S. Open) dominated women’s tennis this year. Williams is the first individual woman to be selected to the honor since track champion Mary Decker in 1983.

Anand finishes 9th in London Classic

Anand finishes 9th in London ClassicFormer world champion Viswanathan Anand played out a draw with Anish Giri of Holland to finish ninth in the London Classic.Anand faced the Berlin defense from Giri on the least day.

  • Reigning world champion Carlsen beat Russian Alexander Grischuk won the Grand Chess Tour after winning the Classic on a final day.
  • Anand ended the Classic on 3.5 points out of a possible nine, winning one, losing three and drawing the remaining five games in the 10-player round-robin tournament.

Winner List


Chawrasia jumps 26 places in World golf ranking

Chawrasia jumps 26 places in World golf rankingIndia’s S.S.P. Chawrasia jumped 26 places to be 211th in the world golf rankings after riding on the tied seventh finish in the Thailand Golf Championship last week.
Chawrasia(37) from Kolkata is the second highest ranked Indian in the world.

  • The United States’ Jordan Spieth continues to top the rankings, followed by Australian Jason Day and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy.
  • Tiger Woods, 14-time Major champion Tiger Woods dropped two places to be 413th.

Other Indians :

  • Anirban Lahiri who received his Asian Tour Order of Merit crown, also moved up a place to be 41st.
  • Rashid Khan dropped eight places to be 288th, while Chiragh Kumar gained three places to be 306th.
  • Former Asian Tour champion Jyoti Randhawa moved two places down to be 397th, while Rahil Gangjee slipped three places to be 422nd.
  • Veteran Arjun Atwal –Asian Tour champion in 2003,jump of 43 spots to be 508th.
  • Two-time Asian Tour champion Jeev Milkha Singh was 889th, a drop of three places.

Peshawar sign Andy FLower as mentor for PSL

Peshawar sign Andy FLower as mentor for PSLFormer England coach Andy Flower has been signed on as the batting consultant and mentor of the Peshawar franchise in the upcoming Pakistan Super League.

  • Pietersen has already made his intention of participation in the PSL clear via a video message and it will be among a top favourite for the five franchises in the T20 competition.
  • The PSL is  to be held in Dubai and Sharjah in February and the Peshawar franchise has announced former Pakistan bowling coach Muhammad Akram as their head coach and Flower as their batting consultant and mentor.

Ashwin, Jadeja in top-5 of ICC all-rounders’ rankings

Ravichandran Ashwin held in top 2nd spot, while Ravindra Jadeja held in 8th spot in the latest ICC Test rankings.However, no Indian found a place in the top-10 of batsmen’s rankings list

Rankings of Test batsmen :

  • Kane Williamson stood just two steps away from the top spot ,rise to third place in the rankings for Test batsmen.
  • Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum has moved up two places to 17th, while his Sri Lanka opposite number Angelo Matthews has marked the visiting side’s presence in the top 10 batsman rankings, down one place to seventh.
  • Over in Hobart, Australia skipper Steven Smith has tumbled three places to fourth and he is now just 11 points ahead of his team-mate David Warner.
  • Voges’ knock has vaulted him 19 places to a career-high 15th place in the latest rankings.
  • Marsh has risen 17 spots to a career best 37th in the batsman rankings.
    West Indies Darren Bravo has been rewarded for being the lone centurion from his side, moving up two spots to 25th.

Rankings for Test bowlers :

  • Australia’s Josh Hazlewood has entered the top 10, rising up four spots after claiming seven wickets in Australia’s win over the West Indies
  • Off-spinner Nathan Lyon has moved up two spots into 15th after a three-wicket haul in Hobart.