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Sixth Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development Held in New Delhi
i. The sixth edition of Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) was held in New Delhi from December 14-December 16, 2016.The conference was inaugurated by Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
ii. Aim: The aim of the conference was to address issues ranging from crowded city centres to peripheral expansion, metropolitan based urban population growth, megacities and urban corridors among others.
iii. Theme of the conference: ‘Emerging Urban Forms – Policy Responses and Government Structures’.
iv. It was adopted at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (also known as “Habitat III” conference) held in Quito, Ecuador in September 2016 for the next 20 years.
v. Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on December 16, 2016, signed the New Delhi Declaration after it was accepted by all the member countries on the concluding day of the sixth edition of Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development in New Delhi.
Government announces Second Income Declaration Scheme ‘PM Garib Kalyan Yojana’
i. The government on December 16, 2017, announced a second income disclosure scheme named ‘The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana’ to give another chance to tax evaders to come clean after paying 50% tax on depositing junk currencies in bank account.
ii. Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia informed that the new scheme includes stricter rules and will start from December 17 and will run till March 31, 2017.
iii. The scheme will allow people to deposit money in their accounts by paying 50 per cent of the total amount. Out of the 50% tax paid, 30 per cent will be used as tax, 10 per cent as penalty and 33 per cent of the taxed amount that is 10 per cent as Garib Kalyan Cess.
India’s first interdisciplinary arts festival Serendipity begins in Goa
i. Serendipity, India’s first interdisciplinary arts festival, kicked off in the capital of Goa, Panaji on December 16, 2016.
ii. The eight day multi-disciplinary arts and culture festival will be held across seven landmark venues along the Mandovi River from December 16 to 23, 2016.
iii. The Festival aims at celebrating the diversity in art with a special focus on music, dance, theater, crafts, visual arts, culinary arts and photography.
iv. The 7 venues include the newly renovated Adil Shah Palace, Jardim Garcia d’Orta, the promenade, Old GMC Complex and Courtyard, Kala Academy, Bandodkar Ground and SAG Ground.
v. The eight-day festival will witness over 40 exciting projects including exhibitions performances and workshops, featuring 33 international artists like Kabi Raj Lama, Bandu Manamperi, Lisa Stertz, Escif, Billy Chang, S P Pushpakanthan and Paquito Gonzalees among other performers, writers, journalists, academicians, collectors and enthusiasts.
♦ Animal: Gaur
♦ Bird: Yellow-throated bulbul
♦ Tree: Matti
Haryana becomes First State to adopt Mahila Police volunteer scheme
i. Haryana on December 14, 2016 adopted the Mahila Police Volunteer initiative which is a joint initiative with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. It became the first state to adopt the scheme in two of its districts namely Karnal and Mahindergarh.
ii. The aim of the scheme is to have a gender responsive police service with increased presence of female personnel within the police force and in community outreach.
iii. The first batch of 1000 Mahila Police Volunteers were inducted at the induction ceremony of these women volunteers in Karnal in the presence of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Secretary, Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, Leena Nair.
iv. A Mahila Police Volunteer will serve as a public-police interface in order to fight crime against women. She will be tasked with reporting incidences of violence against women such as domestic violence, child marriage, dowry harassment and violence faced by women in public spaces.
v. These volunteers have already been trained by the State Police Authorities on their role and responsibility.
♦ Governor: Kaptan Singh Solanki ♦ Flower: Lotus
♦ Animal: Black Buck ♦ Tree: Peepal
♦ Bird: Black Francolin
Cabinet Approves 100% Disinvestment of Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd
i. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on December 15, 2016, announced the approval of the recommendation for the disinvestment of 100 percent stake of state-owned helicopter services provider Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd., based in New Delhi.
ii. CCEA has approved the recommendation for disinvestment of 100 percent shareholding of Government of India to strategic buyer identified through two-stage auction process in the central public sector enterprises (CPSEs).
iii. The CCEA had given in principal approval for strategic disinvestment of Public Sector Units (PSUs) during a meeting in the last week of October. Some of the PSUs that the Centre will entirely exit are Pawan Hans, Hindustan Newsprint, Ferro Scrap Nigam and Central Electronics, among others.
iv. At present, the Centre owns 51 percent stake in Pawan Hans, which was incorporated in 1985. Pawan Hans is a joint venture between the Central government and state-owned ONGC, having a fleet size of 46 helicopters.
v. Pawan Hans was set up with the primary idea of providing helicopter services to the oil industry for offshore exploration operations, providing services in remote and hilly terrains and offering charter flight services for promoting tourism, according to Pawan Hans’ website.
Gujarat Directs Ban on Hookah Bars
i. The Gujarat government on December 15, 2016, approved an order to ban hookah bars across the state. The decision was taken at a meeting of the State Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
ii .The state Home Minister, Pradipsinh Jadeja informed that the penalty for running the bar would be imprisonment of 1-3 years and fine between Rs Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 50,000.
iii. The government initiated the provision since many youngsters were falling prey to the habit and getting into debt along with adopting anti-social behaviour.
Gujarat Approves Making Liquor Law Tougher
i. Gujarat government on December 15, 2016, proposed an order to take more strict action against bootleggers, tipplers and unscrupulous officials who help criminals in escaping from situations of raids on liquor dens in the prohibited area.
ii. The ordinance, that seeks to make necessary amendments in the current Gujarat Prohibition Act, was approved at a Cabinet.
iii. Some of the key provisions include: penalty of 5 Lakh Rupees instead of 3 Lakh Rupees as under the current Act. along with jail term of upto 10 years for those involved in the purchase, sale and transportation of liquor.
iv. Similarly, the liquor den operators as well as those helping them will face imprisonment up to 10 years. The officials found guilty of helping bootleggers escape raids will attract a punishment of 7 years in jail and 1 lakh rupees fine.
v. People in drunken condition, who create ruckus or harass others, will face a jail term up to 3 years, but not less than 1 year. Currently, the punishment for such behaviour is just 1-3 months of jail and a fine of 200 to 500 rupees.
♦ Governor: Om Prakash Kohli ♦ Flower: Marigold
♦ Animal: Asiatic lion ♦ Fruit: mango
♦ Bird: Greater flamingo ♦ Tree: Banyan
♦ Sport: Kabaddi
India’s first transgender school to be inaugurated on Dec 30 in Kochi
i .Sahaj International School will be the first residential transgender school in the country. The school to be inaugurated with 10 transgenders by transgender rights activist and artist Kalki Subramaniam in Kochi on December 30, 2016
ii. Christian organisation pro-life sector and National Open School have provided their support for the this initiative.
iii. The school will be led by six transgenders working with the TransIndia Foundation. It will provide education and examination equivalent to Class X and XII.
Brexit, YouTuber are included in Oxford Dictionary
i. A political term Brexit, YouTuber, glam-ma, tombstoning and rag-doll are among the 500 new words added in the Oxford English Dictionary which is updated four times a year in March, June, September and December
ii. Brexit : The word Brexit , a portmanteau of “British exit” had developed from Grexit. Different forms of Brexit became key to the issue, with the addition of hard and soft creating new standalone terms.
iii. YouTuber:The word YouTuber is used to denote a person who frequently use YouTube to video-sharing, especially someone who produces and appears in videos on the site
iv. ‘Glam-ma’ : It refers to a glamourous grandma.
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI Imposes Restriction on Withdrawal and Deposit in Certain Bank Account
i. The Reserve Bank of India has imposed certain restriction on deposits and withdrawal made after November 9 to stop the misuse of banking channels to deposit unaccounted money.
ii. RBI on December 15, 2016, imposed restrictions on withdrawal & deposit if more than Rs 2 lakh has been deposited after November 9 in an account which has a balance of over Rs 5 lakh.
iii. As per a RBI notification, withdrawal or transfer of funds will not be permitted in accounts without giving PAN number or submission of Form 60 for those persons who do not have PAN.
iv. Besides, the RBI said the monthly limit for withdrawal and transfer from a small account will remain Rs 10,000. Basic Savings Bank Deposit Accounts which are not KYC compliant accounts will be treated as ‘small accounts’.
v. Also, an aggregate of all credits in a financial year cannot exceed Rs 1 lakh. The banks and Non-banking Financial Companies have to ensure compliance towards Know your customer.
vi. No debit transaction, transfer or otherwise shall be allowed in accounts which do not comply with these requirements.
♦ The Reserve Bank of India is India’s central banking institution, which controls the monetary policy of the Indian rupee.
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai, Maharasthra
♦ Founded: April 1, 1935,
♦ Governor: Urjit Patel
Paytm launches campaign ‘Each one, teach one’ to increase digital inclusion
i. To increase the digital inclusion in India, Paytm, a digital wallet, has announced a campaign, ‘Each one, teach one, under which consumers and merchants across the country with Paytm knowledge will be required to teach others to use Paytm.
ii. Aim: The aim of the campaign is to increase the use of digital wallet and shift the users from cash to digital payments mode. iii. Paytm has announced a grand prize of Rs. 1 core and many other prizes such as Motorcycles, smartphones, laptops for the users as the part of the programme.
iv. The users who will make transaction through Paytm between December 1 2016 to March 31, 2017 wil be eligible to win the prizes. Winner will be selected on the basis of their efforts to increase the digital inclusion and promoting Paytm.
v. Paytm has also announced the scholarship of Rs.2100 for 10000 users who will teach people to pay and accept the digital payments and certificates for one lakh further users across India.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
ICFA presents `Global Agriculture Leadership Award 2016` to Ratan Tata
i. The Global Agriculture Leadership Award 2016 was awarded to Tata Sons interim Chairman Ratan Tata by pioneer of India’s Green Revolution M.S. Swaminathan in Mumbai by Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA) on December 15, 2016
ii. The award was presented for his transformational role in scaling Tata Group as the globally admired group during his stint of two decades as Chairman.
ICAF Awards 2016:
♦ Best Agriculture State-2016 – Odisha
♦ Best Horticulture State 2016 – Haryana
Gujarat-born activist, Jayaben Desai on BBC’s most influential women of the past 70 years list
i. Jayaben Desai, a Gujarat-born activist, who led a campaign against low pay for women workers at a UK factory in the 1970s, has been named in the BBC’s most influential women of the past 70 years list which was released on December 14, 2016.
ii. She was a prominent leader of the two-year industrial dispute against the Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories in North London in 1976.
iii. The seven women list was topped by Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female Prime Minister.
iv. The seven women listed was chosen to mark the 70th anniversary of BBC Radio 4 ‘Woman’s Hour’.
v .The others included in the list of seven are Germaine Greer, an Australian writer; Beyonce, American singer and songwriter; Helen Brook, who set up the Brook Advisory Centres in 1964 offering contraceptive advice to unmarried women; Bridget Jones, Protagonist of the Helen Fielding novels and Barbara Castle, Labour MP for Blackburn who brought in the Equal Pay Act in 1970
vi. The list of seven powerful women was chosen through a judging panel, who aimed to select the women who had made the biggest difference to society.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Sunil Arora Appointed as Director General and CEO of IICA
i. Former Information and Broadcasting Secretary Sunil Arora has been appointed
as the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), a think tank that comes under the Corporate Affairs Ministry.
ii. IICA focuses on matters related with the functioning of corporates and works towards the capacity building with various stakeholders including regulators and professionals, among other activities.
iii. He has been appointed in the pay scale of Rs 80,000/- for a perio
d of five years or till attaining 65 years of age or until further orders, whichever is the earliest.
iv. A 1980-batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre, Arora retired as I&B Secretary earlier in 2016 and was also serving as an advisor at Prasar Bharati.
♦ The Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) is a capacity building organization and agency under the aegis and jurisdiction of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs of the Government of India, handling and dealing with various subjects, matters and affairs in the arena and spectrum of corporate affairs regulation, governance and policy.
♦ Headquarter: Manesar, Gurugram, Haryana
♦ Director General: Pritam Singh
Savita Vaidhyanathan elected as Mayor of Californian city
i. For the first time, an Indian-American woman, Savita Vaidhyanathan, on December 16, 2016 was elected the new mayor of Californian city Cupertino, globally famous for its Apple headquarters.
ii. She will replace Barry Chang who had served as mayor from 2015.
iii. Vaidhyanathan was working as a high school Maths teacher and an officer in a commercial bank.
Indian Vijay Sazawal Appointed To Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee
i. Indian-American Vijay Sazawal along with 38 members were appointed to the Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee of the US Department of Commerce by US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on December 16, 2016
ii. Sazawal is the only Indian-American in the advisory committee. He is an expert in India-US civil nuclear deal.
Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee:
♦ The Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee is formed to create the conditions to strengthen US competitiveness in this sector
Amina Mohammed appointed as UN Deputy Secretary-General
i. Nigeria’s Environment minister, Amina Mohammed, was appointed as the UN Deputy Secretary-General by the new UN Secretary-General António Guterres on December 15, 2016.
ii. Guterres also announced Brazilian Diplomat Maria Luzia Ribeiro Viotti as Chief de Cabinet and South Korea’s Kyung-wha Kang as special advisor.
iii. Guterres was recently sworn in as the 9th male UN Secretary. He pledged that gender parity would be top of his agenda as the UN scribe. He will succeed Ban, who leave the office on December 31, after a decade of two terms.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
China Launches 1st fully-owned overseas satellite ground station
i. China on December 15, 2016, launched its first fully-owned satellite ground station abroad near the North Pole.
ii. The facility, located in Sweden about 200 kms north of the Arctic Circle, would allow China to collect satellite data anywhere on Earth at speeds that was fastest in the world.
iii. Domestic ground stations in China needed up to seven hours to download the data from satellites orbiting the Earth in the past, but with the facility in Sweden the maximum delay for downloading data would be less than 3.5 hours.
iv. The shorter time is because the mapping, weather, reconnaissance and military satellites orbiting the North Pole are able to pass around the Earth about 12 times each day, while those flying over China can orbit the Earth only about five times each day.
v. The Arctic station would use the best and most sensitive signal receiving devices, including one with higher bandwidth, covering frequencies from 26.5 to 40 GHz, which had a download speed of 6 Gigabits (billions of bits) per second.
vi. The fully-owned overseas ground station in Sweden would give China much greater freedom and security to operate its space projects, some of which had military purposes.
vii. China has previously built ground satellite facilities in numerous foreign countries, mostly in Africa and South America, which are all joint ventures.
♦ Capital: Beijing
♦ Currency: Renminbi
♦ President: Xi Jinping
Landing Craft Utility LCU 58 launched at GRSE, Kolkata
i. The eighth and the last ship of LCU MK IV project, an amphibious ship, was launched at a ceremony at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE), Kolkata on December 16, 2016.
ii. The chief guest for the occasion was Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Hon’ble Union Minister of State Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (Independent Charge), Government of India.
iii. The ship was named ‘LCU-L58’ after performing the rituals and was finally launched for its first contact with water by Smt Neelam Pratap Singh Rudy, wife of Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
iv. LCU-L58 is the last vessel in the series of eight Landing Craft Utility Ships, designed and built by M/s GRSE for the Indian Navy.
v. The ship displacing 830 Tons, can be deployed for multiple activities like beaching operations for landing troops ashore, humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations and evacuation of personnel from distant islands.
♦ Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd, GRSE, is one of India’s leading shipyards to build and repair commercial and naval vessels.
♦ Headquarters: Kolkata
♦ Founded: 1884
8 mini-satellites launched by NASA for hurricane forecasting
i. Eight mini-satellites were launched by NASA on December 15, 2016 to measure the surface wind deep in the heart of hurricanes.
ii. The $157 million Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), is meant to improve hurricane forecasting.
iii. The plane carrying the satellites took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The satellite was released on Pegasus rocket
iv. The satellites have GPS navigation receivers to frequently measure the surface roughness of oceans, enabling scientists to calculate wind speed and storm intensity. Unlike weather satellites already in orbit, these spacecraft can also see through rain circulating in a hurricane.
♦ The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.
♦ Formed: July 29, 1958
♦ Headquarter: Wasington D.C
♦ Administrator: Charles Bolde
Suzie Bates 1st woman to win ICC ODI and T20I Player of Year
i. New Zealand cricketer Suzannah Wilson Bates became the first woman cricketer to win both the ICC Women’s ODI and T20I Player of the Year awards.
ii. Bates was selected based on performances between September 14, 2015 and September 20, 2016,
iii. She scored 472 runs in eight ODIs at an average of just over 94. She also took eight wickets at an economy-rate of 3.75.She was the leading run-scorer with 429 runs at an average of 42.90 and a strike-rate of over 115 runs per 100 balls.
iv. She had won the ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year award in 2013. She is named as the ICC Women’s T20I Player of the Year for the first time to join the list of England’s Sarah Taylor (2012 and 2013), Meg Lanning of Australia (2014) and West Indies’ Stafanie Taylor (2015).
‘Bewitched’ and ‘Titanic’ actor, Bernard Fox dies at 89
i. Bernard Fox, known for playing Dr. Bombay in Bewitched died of heart failure at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, California on December 14, 2016. He was 89.
ii. He was famous for his roles in The Mummy and Titanic among others.
iii. He began his acting career as a young child. He appeared in about 100 television and film during the course of his career.
45th anniversary of Vijay Diwas(Victory Day)
i. India celebrates the 45th Anniversary of the win of the Indian Army in the Indo-Pak war on December 16, 1971.
ii. Aim :To pay tributes to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the nation
iii. Indian army in alliance with Bangladesh Mukti Bahini led by General Jagjit Singh Aurora defeat the Pakistan army led by General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi
♦ Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar along with three service chief paid homage to martyrs of 1971 Indo-Pak war at Amar Jawan Jyoti on December 16, 2016