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Current Affairs Today – December 2 2016

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cat-dec-2-2016INDIAN AFFAIRS

Union HRD Ministry Launched ‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’ for Cashless Economy.
Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Prakash Javadekar launched a campaign‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’ (VISAKA) in New Delhi on December 1, 2016
♦ The Campagin was launched through a Video Conference with all Higher Education Institutions at National Informatics Centre (NIC) to make people aware about the cashless economic system.
Highlights of Conference
i. Union Minister appealed to the faculty and students to come forward and join ‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’ to encourage, create awareness and motivate all people around them to use a digitally enabled cashless economic system for transfer of fund. He called upon young students to educate at home and in their surroundings to create digital financial literacy.Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan for Cashless Economy.
ii. HRD Minister launched a webpage where students can register themselves, give continuous feedback and suggestions on the initiative as well as upload the progress of their work.
iii. The Minister also appealed to higher education institutes to receive nothing in cash (fee/fines/deposits) and pay nothing in cash (wages/salaries/vendor payments) and develop a cashless campus (covering shops/canteens/services).
iv. He also suggested that NCC/NSS volunteers can spread awareness about these digital modes of transactions to shopkeepers, vendors in nearest market place.
v. During the presentation HRD Minister cited different modes of digital payment and appealed to all students to ‘Go Digital’. He also highlighted that these digital platforms are easy to use, convenient, secure and anytime accessible by anyone anywhere.

ICMR and ICAR inks MoU to Strengthen Mutual Cooperation
i. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) signed a MoU with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) on December 1, 2016, for cooperation in the area of zoonoses, anti-microbial resistance, nutrition and pesticide residues.
ii. The MoU was signed by Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Secretary (DHR) & Director General (ICMR) and Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & Director General (ICAR) to strengthen the ties between the two organizations and energize environment of mutual cooperation and collaboration.
iii. The MoU signing ceremony was presided over by Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste, MoS (Health and Family Welfare) among others.
iv. The Memorandum of understanding between ICMR and ICAR is an important step and will help to bridge the gap between human health and agriculture/veterinary research and will make India address high priority issues in a coordinated manner.
About Zoonoses
♦ Zoonoses can be defined as diseases and infections that are naturally transmitted between vertebrate animals and humans.
♦ Some zoonotic diseases have widespread potential, such as highly pathogenic avian influenza, Zika, Ebola, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Around 60% of all human diseases and around 75% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic however these are  not recognized or understood in developing countries like India.

Dhasi Becomes The First Cashless Village In Maharshtra
i. Dhasai village in Thane district of Maharashtra has become the first “cashless village” in the state on December 2, 2016 following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal for cashless transaction.
ii. All payments in the village are being done through plastic money. Traders, vegetable and fruit vendors and others providing goods and services in Dhasai are using swipe machines for cashless transactions.
iii. Dhasai, in Murbad taluka, around 70 km from Mumbai, has a population of around 10,000. Around 60 nearby small villages depend on Dhasai for trade and their daily needs.
iv. State finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar distributed 150 Point of Sale (PoS) machines to the local traders. Maharashtra Government has planned to transform the state into a cashless state by the end of March 2017.
v. The initiative to make this village cashless was taken by Bank of Baroda in collaboration with NGO Veer Savarkar Pratishthan. The NGO trained the villagers in using digital methods of transactions.
vi. Mungantiwar marked the beginning of the cashless transaction in the village by using his debit card to purchase rice.

Government Clarifies Exemption Limits to hold Gold
i. To carry out the search operations for black money, thegovernmenton December 1, 2016, has clarified the exemption limits for seizure of gold jewellery and ornaments.
ii. A reference to instruction No.1916 is also invited by the Finance Ministry which provides that during the search operations, no seizure of gold jewellery and ornaments to the extent of 500 grams per married lady, 250 grams per unmarried lady and 100 grams per male member of the family shall be made.
iii. Further, legitimate holding of jewellery up to any extent is fully protected. The   government clarification comes in response to apprehensions arising from the amendments to the tax laws proposed through the Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016, passed by the Lok Sabha to deal with the situation arising out of the November 8 demonetisation measure.
iv. The Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, proposes up to 85 per cent tax and penalty on undisclosed wealth that is discovered by tax authorities during search and seizure

Indian Railway give green light to go cashless
i. Indian Railways has taken steps to make railway travel bookings digital and asked the State Bank of India and ICICI Bank among others to provide around 15,000 point of sale (PoS) machines at reservation counters.
ii. About a thousand of these machines is supposed to be made available by Dec 31. Currently, the Railways do not provide POS service for debit and credit card payments at its ticket counters.
iii. Indian Railway has 12,000 ticket counters. All of them would be equipped with one or more POS machines depending on the daily transactions to make cash management easier.
iv. In the first phase, the machines will be installed at all counters of urban centers  like Mumbai, where there’s a huge sale of monthly passes. SBI has promised to provide 1,000 machines.
v. The railways ministry will also go cashless for paying vendors and contractors. A notification would soon be issued that payment for all expenses should be made cashless by all zonal and divisional railways.


Manohar Parikar Arrived Bangladesh on Two-Day Visit for Defence Ties
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on November 30, 2016 arrived in Dhaka on a two-day visit to Bangladesh to meet the top civil and military leadership to strengthen defence ties between the two countries.
♦ Parrikar is the first Indian defence minister to Bangladesh in the last 45 years, was greeted Manohar Parikar Arrived Bangladesh on Two-Day Visit for Defence Tiesby Bangladesh Defence Forces’ Principal Staff Officer Lt Gen Md Mahfuzur Rahman and other government officials.
♦ Aim:  To deepen security ties and Boost up a Defence Cooperation Agreement that is likely to be signed when Hasina visits India in December.
Important Highlights of the visit
i. The minister met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who also holds defence portfolio, on December 1, 2016 and discussed measures to strengthen military and security ties between the two countries.
ii. Parrikar, was accompanied by 11-member high-powered delegations and met President Abdul Hamid who assured India that it has “zero tolerance” policy against terrorism and sought expanded military ties.
iii. The President urged the Indian minister to send more military officials to Bangladesh for training to boost ties between the armed forces of the two countries.
iv.The Defence Minister also met Hasina’s security adviser Major General (Retd) Tariq Ahmed and discussed bilateral military and security cooperation.
Bangladesh :
♦ Capital: Dhaka
♦ Currency: Bangladeshi taka
♦ Prime minister: Sheikh Hasina

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn appointed new Thai King
i. 64 year old Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has become the king of Thailand, on December 1, 2016, 50 days after the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
ii. He will succeed his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned for 70 years, from 1946, through 10 military coups and dozens of prime ministers, until his death Oct. 13 at 88.
iii. The new king, Bhumibol’s only son, will be called His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, but as the 10th king of the 234-year-old Chakri dynasty, he can also be called King Maha X.
iv. However, the new king will not formally be crowned until after his father’s cremation, which is expected in 2017.
v. Thailand has been without a monarch since King Bhumibol’s death with the head of the king’s advisory council, Prem Tinsulanonda, 96, serving as regent.Maha Vajiralongkorn was given the title of crown prince, making him the official heir, in 1972.
♦ Capital: Bangkok
♦ Currency: Thai baht
♦ Prime Minister: Prayut Chan-o-cha


India projected to grow 7.6 per cent in 2017: UN report
i. According to a UN report, India’s economy is “slowly gaining momentum” and is projected to grow by 7.3 per cent in 2017.
ii. According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s (ESCAP) year-end Report ‘Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2016’, which was released on December 1, 2016
iii. India’s economic growth is expected to remain at 7.6 per cent in 2017 as investment regains momentum and the manufacturing base strengthens on the back of structural reforms.

Federal Bank ties up with Spice Digital
i. Kochi based Federal Bank has tied up with Spice Digital for cash management services through the bank’s e-collection facility.
ii. From now Spice Digital can remit its cash collection at the Federal Bank branches.
iii. This helps the outlets to get replenished its running limits on the spot enabling them to continue to serve the customers hassle-free.
Spice Digital Ltd:
Spice Digital Limited, previously known as Cellebrum Technologies Limited is a developer of Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS), Mobile applications and Internet products and services
♦ Headquarters : Noida
♦ Global CEO :  Saket Agarwal

Aditya Birla Financial Services Group launches health insurance arm
i. Aditya Birla Financial Services Group (ABFSG) launched new insurance arm under Aditya Birla Health Insurance (ABHICL)
ii. Aim: To be the most preferred customer partner by 2020
iii.The health insurer has two type of insurance
1.Retail offering with multiple variations catering to different needs,
Aditya Birla Financial Services Group launches health insurance arm2.Fixed benefit retail product
Aditya Birla Health Insurance (ABHICL) :
♦ ABHICL is a joint venture between the Aditya Birla Group and MMI Holdings Ltd. (MMI), a South African-based financial services group.
♦ The company was incorporated in 2015
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai


Ola Partners HPCL, IOCL For Payments Through Mobile Wallet
i. Indian online transportation network company Ola has partnered Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) to accept payment through ‘Ola Money’ in petrol pumps
ii. Ola driver-partners and Ola customers can now pay for their fuel with Ola on Verifone-enabled PoS devices in any of these fuel stations without having to use cash or their cards for payments.
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL):
♦ HPCL is a Government of India Enterprise with a Navratna Status, and a Fortune 500 and Forbes 2000 company.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
Indian Oil Corporation(IOC):
♦ Indian Oil Corporation (IndianOil) is is the highest ranked Indian company in the Fortune Global 500 listing, at the 161th position in 2016
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi


Forbes Asia Names Cheng Wei As Businessman Of The Year In 2016
i. Cheng Wei, Co-founder and Chief Executive of China’s largest ride-sharing service provider Didi Chuxing (Didi) is Forbes Asia’s Businessman of the Year for 2016.
ii. 33-year-old Cheng is also featured on the cover of the December issue of Forbes Asia Magazine.
iii. According to Forbes Asia, Didi has attracted 300 million users in 400 Chinese cities in just four years. The service, which lets consumers digitally hail and pay for taxis, private cars, limousines and commuter buses commands 85% of China’s ride-sharing market, which Beijing research firm Analysis International estimates will reach 122 billion yuan ($17.7 billion) by end of 2016 and 286 billion yuan in 2018.

Katy Perry honoured with humanitarian award at UNICEF event
i. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Katy Perry and Philanthropist Moll Anderson were honoured for their extraordinary commitment to put children first at the 12th Annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball in New York, USAKaty Perry honoured with humanitarian award at UNICEF event
ii. The event commemorated New York headquartered UNICEF’s 70th anniversary
iii. Hillary Clinton honoured singer Katy Perry with an Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian for her work as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
iv. Television personality, author, and philanthropist Moll Anderson received the Spirit of Compassion Award for her enduring commitment to make the world a better place for children
♦ Headquarters: New York City, United States
♦ President: Sven Jürgenson

AIFF Conferred with AFC Developing Member Association of the Year Award
All India Football Federation (AIFF) has won the AFC Developing Member Association of the Year Award at the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Annual Awards held in Abu Dhabi on December 1, 2016.
♦ AIFF President Praful Patel received the Award from AFC Vice-President Ali Kafashian at a glittering ceremony.In 2014, AIFF had won the AFC President’s Recognition Award for grassroots football.
The AFC Annual Awards
i. The AFC Annual Awards are awards given by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to the most outstanding performers of the Asian football season.
ii. The prestigious award is given to a Member Association in recognition of its professional administration and governance as well as its exceptional contribution to the development and promotion of the game at all levels within the country.
iii. Member Associations are assessed and awarded points on various association’s activities such as the organisation of courses and seminars, competitions, grassroots and youth development programmes, women’s programmes, social responsibility and special projects.
iv. Points are also given for Member Associations hosting of AFC qualifying and finals tournaments as well as their national and club teams’ ranking in AFC and FIFA competitions throughout the year.


Chitra Ramkrishna quits as CEO & MD of NSE, J Ravichandran to take charge for interim period
i. Chitra Ramkrishna, Managing Director (MD) and chief executive of the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) has resigned from her post, even as the country’s largest Chitra Ramkrishna quitsbourse is set to go public.
ii. The NSE board met on December 2, 2016 and accepted her resignation. The note added that Ramkrishna had tendered her resignation owing to personal reasons and expressed her desire to step down with immediate effect. Her tenure was supposed to end in March 2018.
iii. The board has set up a selection committee to find a replacement for Ramkrishna and has appointed group president J Ravichandran as interim chief executive officer (CEO).
About Chitra Ramkrishna
♦ Ramkrishna, 52, began her career with IDBI in 1983. She has been with the NSE since its inception in 1992 and last month itself she was named Chairperson of the board of World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), a global body of more than 200 market infrastructure providers, including exchanges.
♦ She succeeded Ravi Narain as the head of NSE, who also served in various leadership roles at the exchange since its inception.
♦ Both Ramkrishna and Narain were part of the initial leadership team selected by the Government to set up NSE, which got incorporated in 1992 and became operational in 1994.
♦ Ramkrishna also handled various operational and strategic aspects of the NSE and has often been named among the top women business leaders from the country in various rankings
NSE: The National Stock Exchange of India Limited is the leading stock exchange of India located in Mumbai. NSE was established in 1992 as the first demutualized electronic exchange in the country.

Asthana takes charge as new CBI Director
i. Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana elevated as the interim chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) on December 3, 2016. He will replace Anil Sinha who retired from the post.
ii. Asthana is currently working as the additional director in CBI.It is the first time in last 10 years, that no new CBI chief has been named to succeed an incumbent.
iii. Sinha was recently appointed as the special secretary of home ministry.The post of second special secretary was created for the first time in the ministry.
Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) :
♦ The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the foremost investigative police agency in India.
♦ Established : 1941
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi

Salman appointed ambassador of BMC’s Swachh Bharat Mission’
i. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC) has roped actor Salman Khan for it’s drive against open defecation and litter said by Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta
ii. Salman’s Being Human Foundation decided donate five mobile toilets to the BMC to be placed at Bandstand
iii. The BMC recently declared 12 out of Mumbai’s 24 wards open defecation free and promised that the rest will join the list by the end of this year.


Russia’s Spacecraft Progress MS-04 Crashed Seconds After Takeoff
i. The Russian Space Agency reported that Unmanned cargo spacecraft Progress MS-04, which was delivering 2.6 tonnes of supplies to the International Space Station crashed shortly after takeoff on December 1, 2016 due to a malfunction.
ii. Progress MS-04 was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and lost contact 383 seconds after the launch. Most of the debris burnt up in the atmosphere.
iii. The blast took place at an altitude of about 118 miles (190 km). The cause of the Russia’s Spacecraft Progress MS-04 Crashed Seconds After Takeoffaccident was not immediately known.
Roscosmos- The Russian Space Agency
♦ The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, commonly known as Roscosmos, is the governmental body responsible for the space science program of Russia and general aerospace research.
♦ Founded: February 25, 1992
♦ Headquarters: Moscow


Cyclone Nada Passed off Peacefully through the Karaikal coast.
i. Cyclone Nada passed off peacefully through the Karaikal coast of Puducherry at 5 am on December 2,2016.
ii. Later it made landfall near Nagapattinam at a speed of 50 km per hour, after weakening into a deep depression in the early hours.
iii. In Cuddalore, where there has been a steady drizzle since a day before cyclone, the administration has been instructed to evacuate people from low lying areas and cyclone shelters and emergency services have been readied.
iv. Cuddalore Collector Rajesh Kumar announced that 41 cyclone relief shelters had been identified and strengthened, and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams had already arrived in the city.
v. The Meteorological Department (Met) said Cyclone Nada would weaken in the next 12 hours into deep depression and under the influence of this system, rainfall is expected to occur at many places in the next two days, and fishermen are warned not to venture into sea.
vi. The cyclone will be of less intensity, but heavy rainfall is expected. The administration has taken proactive measures to face the challenge of the impending cyclone. NDRF teams are kept ready for eventuality and 179 relief centres are operational in Puducherry alone.


Pakistan to host first Davis Cup match in 12 years
i. International Tennis Federation (ITF) has given its approval to host a Davis Cup tie against Iran in Islamabad in February 3-5, 2017 announced by Pakistan Tennis Federation secretary Khalid.
ii. Pakistan host its Davis Cup tennis tie at home after 12 years while Pakistan last hosted a Davis Cup tie in Islamabad against New Zealand in 2004.
Davis Cup :
♦ The Davis Cup is the premier international team event in men’s tennis. It is run by the International Tennis Federation (ITF)
♦ The women’s equivalent of the Davis Cup is the Fed Cup.


Former Hockey Umpire Phulel Singh Sujlana Died
i. Former international hockey umpire and veteran administrator, Phulel Singh Sujlana, passed away on December 2, 2016 in Mumbai due to old age.
ii. Sujlana has served various positions in his long career. He was vice president of the Mumbai Hockey Association Limited MHAL from 1997 and secretary for four years from 2000-2004, , the technical director at the four-nation tournament in Brussels in 1993, the chairman of the IHF (Indian Hockey Federation) Umpires Board from 1985 to 1993 and chairman of its Technical Committee in 1985.


International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is observed every year on December 2 by the United Nations General Assembly since 1986 to raise awareness of the atrocities of modern slavery.
Highlights :
i. ILO has adopted a new legally binding Protocol designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour, which entered into force in November 2016.
ii. The 50 for Freedom campaign aims to persuade at least 50 countries to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol by 2018.

Border Security Force (BSF) celebrates 51st Raising Day
i. The Border Security Force (BSF) celebrated its 51st Raising Day at Chhawla camp in New Delhi.BSF Raising Day
ii. The day was marked by a parade by BSF troops being awarded the President Police Medal for Gallantry and Distinguished Service.
♦ The BSF with around 2,50,000 personal is the biggest border guarding force in the world
♦ The force is responsible for securing Indo-Pak and Indo-Bangladesh borders.
♦ Director General of BSF: KK Sharma

National Pollution Control Day
i. December 2nd is celebrated as National Pollution Control Day every year to honor thousands of people who lost their lives to Bhopal Gas Tragedy in 1984.
ii. Aim : To spread awareness among people and industries about paying attention towards the need of adhere to Pollution Control Acts.
iii. Celebration:
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Private Ltd reached the people to spread the message “Be the Solution to Pollution”.