Current Affairs Update – 12-14th December, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 12th, 13th and 14th December, 2015. These are Important for the upcoming IBPS Clerk Mains and LIC AAO as well as Other Insurance Exams.

Finance/Industry –

Justice Narasimha Reddy to head committee on OROP

  • Sidestepping the demand by ex-servicemen for a five-member judicial commission with representatives from military fraternity, the government on Monday appointed Justice L. Narasimha Reddy, former Chief Justice of Patna High Court to head the one-man judicial committee, which will look into the implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.
  • The committee is as per the points of the notification issued by the government on November 7 for implementing OROP. A statement issued by the Defence Ministry states that the terms of reference for the committee shall be “to examine and make recommendations on references received from the government…”
  • These include: measures for the removal of anomalies that may arise in the implementation of the OROP as notified by the government on 07 November 2015, measures for the removal of anomalies that may arise out of inter-services issues of the three forces due to its implementation, implications on service matters and any other matter referred by the Central Government on implementation of the OROP or related issues.
  • The committee, based in Delhi, will submit its recommendations within six months of the date of its constitution, however, it can give interim reports to the government on matters related to its terms of reference.

Infosys invests USD 3 mn in sports startup WHOOP

  • IT major Infosys has invested USD 3 million in U.S.-based wearable device startup firm WHOOP to pick up a minority shareholding in the company.
  • In a regulatory filing, Infosys said it “has made an investment of USD 3 million (about Rs 20 crore) in WHOOP, an early stage company offering performance optimisation system for elite professional sports teams.”
  • Infosys said with through this transaction it will acquire “minority shareholding, not exceeding 20 per cent of the outstanding shareholding of the company.”
  • Infosys said 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.

Rajasthan first state to submit smart city plan

  • Rajasthan has become the first state to submit smart city plan to the Urban Development Ministry.
  • Manjit Singh, Principal Secretary (urban development) of Rajasthan submitted smart city proposals of three cities - Udaipur, Kota and Ajmer - to Urban Development Additional Secretary Samir Sharma at Nirman Bhawan here today.
  • Urban Development Secretary Madhusudhan Prasad complimented Rajasthan government for being the first state to submit smart city proposals.
  • Investment outlays proposed for developing these three cities as smart cities are Kota - Rs 1,493 crore, Ajmer - Rs 1,300 crore and Udaipur - Rs 1,221 crore.

India –

India and Japan exchanged 16 documents; Reached Agreement on Civil Nuclear Energy

  • India and Japan on 12 December 2015 exchanged 16 bilateral documents including agreement on civil nuclear energy cooperation. The documents were exchanged in New Delhi during the state visit of Prime Minister of Japan to India.
  • Besides, both the sides issued Joint Statement on India and Japan Vision 2025: Special Strategic and Global Partnership Working Together for Peace and Prosperity of the Indo-Pacific Region and the World.

Following is the list of documents exchanged:
  1. Agreement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation: Memorandum concerning the Agreement on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy
  2. Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) on High Speed Railways: Between Mumbai and Ahmedabad with financial and technical assistance from Japan
  3. Agreement concerning transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation
  4. Agreement concerning security measures for the protection of classified military information
  5. Agreement on Amendment Protocol of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement
  6. MoC between Ministry of Railways and MLIT on Technological Cooperation in Rail Sector
  7. MoU on technological cooperation between Research Designs and Standards Organization (RDSO) and Japan Railway Technical Research Institute (JRTRI)
  8. Letter of Intent on the Strategic International Cooperative Program between Department of Science and Technology of India and the Japan Science and Technology Agency
  9. Letter of Intent toward establishing a young researcher’s exchange program between the DST, India and the Japan Society for the promotion of Science
  10. MoC on Medical Products Regulation Dialogue and Cooperation Framework
  11. MoC in the field of Education
  12. Statement of Intent between NITI Aayog and Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ)
  13. MoU on cooperation between State Government of Andhra Pradesh and Toyama Prefecture
  14. MoU between State Government of Kerala and Lake Nakaumi, Lake Shinji & Mt. Daisen area Mayors Association
  15. MoU between Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) and National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
  16. MoC in the field of forests and forestry

India and Japan inked three agreements for cooperation in Railway Sector

  • India and Japan on 12 December 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation and assistance in the Mumbai – Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project (Bullet Train project).
  • Both the countries on 11 December 2015 also entered into two comprehensive technological cooperation agreements for modernization and upgradation of Indian Railways.

MoU on cooperation and assistance in the Mumbai – Ahmedabad HSR Project
  • Japan offered an assistance of over 79000 crore rupees for the project.
  • The loan is for a period of 50 years with a moratorium of 15 years, at an interest rate of 0.1 percent.
  • The project is a 508 Kilometer railway line costing a total of 97636 crore rupees.
  • The project will be implemented in a period of seven years.
  • Shinkansen Technology will be adopted for the project. 
  • The cooperation of Japan will be fixed on transfer of technology and Make in India.
  • Japan will assist India in training of personnel for HSR.

Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between Ministry of Railways and MLIT, Japan on technological cooperation
  • Any other areas jointly determined by both Sides within the scope of this MoC

MoU on technological cooperation between RDSO and Railway Technical Research Institute Japan
  • The main directions of cooperation between the parties will be the development of rail-related technical cooperation in which the parties may have mutual interest, performance of consultation and other services.

Government of India signed MoU to establish three IIITs on PPP mode

  • The Union Government on 12 December 2015 signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and documentation for establishing three Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIITs) at Ranchi, Nagpur and Pune.
  • These IIITs are operated on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode with participation of State Government and Industry, apart from the Union Government.
  • The IIITs are expected to bring out high quality IT manpower required for building up IT industry in India.
  • The agreement was signed between Vinay Sheel Oberoi, Secretary, Department of Higher Education from the Union Government side and Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors.

Losar, the biggest Tibetan Buddhist Festival, began in Ladakh region

  • Losar, the biggest Tibetan Buddhist Festival began on 12 December 2015 in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. The festival marks the beginning of New Year for Buddhists.
  • The annual festival is celebrated by people of the area with traditional and religion fervor. The festival begins with illumination of religious and residential places.
  • Buddhists of Ladakh celebrate Losar as their new year. Before the rule of Jamiang Namgyal (1555 to 1610) this day was celebrated on the first day of Ladakhi Buddhist Year which is based in the moon and sun (quite similar to Hindus).

National Commission for Safai Karamcharis recommended to make it a Permanent and Statutory Body

  • National Commission for Safai Karamcharis presented its Annual Report 2014-15 to the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot on 11 December 2015.
  • In its Annual Report, the Commission has made following important recommendations:
  • Make the Commission a permanent and statutory body with powers of Civil Court to lend it more credibility
  • The Contract system should be abolished and ensure payment of minimum wages for Safai Karamcharis
  • Death victims among Safai Karamcharis should be compensated with a minimum 10 lakh rupees as has already been ordered by the Supreme Court

UNESCO designated Varanasi and Jaipur as members of Creative Cities Network

  • Two Indian cities, Varanasi and Jaipur, on 11 December 2015 have made it to the Creative City Network of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the first time ever.
  • Varanasi and Jaipur made it to the network in the categories, City of Music and City of Crafts and Folk Art respectively.
  • UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, announced the designation of 47 cities from 33 countries as new members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
  • India had applied for the first time to UNESCO in these categories in 2015.
  • Varanasi was advocated as a perfect example of India's intangible cultural heritage as a combination of a temple city with its rich tradition in music.

The Government of Rajasthan nominated Jaipur under the Creative Cities Network for its art and craft.

Sports –

Mascot and Logo of 2016 South Asian Games unveiled

  • Orgnaising committee of 12th South Asian Games (OC-SAG) on 13 December 2014 unveiled mascot of the games and logo at ITA Cultural Center Machkhowa in Guwahati, Assam.
  • The mascot Tikhor is a one horned rhino and is the brand ambassador of the games carries the message of peace, stability, amity and progress in the South Asian region. On the other hand, the logo has eight petals representing the countries participating in the mega event.
  • The mega event will be jointly held in Guwahati and Shillong from 6 February to 16 February 2016.

Japan's Nozomi Okuhara, Kento Momota won singles titles at World Dubai Superseries Finals

  • Japanese shuttlers Kento Momota and Nozomi Okuhara on 13 December 2015 won Men's singles and Women’s singles title respectively at the BWF World Superseries finals held at the Hamdan Sports Complex, Dubai.
  • Okuhara defeated China’s Wang Yihan by 22-20, 21-18 to grab the women’s singles crown. Not much later, Momota crushed Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen by 21-15, 21-12 and clinched the Men’s singles title.

Vijay Kumar won gold in the 59th National shooting championship

  • Vijay Kumar on 13 December 2015 won the centre fire pistol gold in the 59th National shooting championship at the Dr Karni Singh Range in Tughlakabad in New Delhi. The 15 day event began on 1 December 2015.
  • To win the gold, Vijay Kumar scored 588 points to pip Gurpreet Singh by two points. Vijay Kumar won the silver medal in the 25m rapid fire pistol event in 2012 Olympics held in London.

Elizabeth Susan Koshy clinched gold in 59th National Shooting Championships

  • Kerala’s Elizabeth Susan Koshy on 11 December 2015 won the Women's 50m Rifle 3 Positions Gold at the 59th National Shooting Championships held at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting range in New Delhi.
  • Haryana’s Anjum Moudgil won the silver medal and Gaayathri N of Tamil Nadu fetched the bronze in the championship.
  • On the other hand, Commonwealth Games gold medalist Tejaswini Sawant along with veteran Anjali Bhagwat and Priyal Keni won the team gold for Maharashtra in the event, in which the Railways won silver and Haryana won bronze.

Indian cyclist Deborah Herold became World No. 4 Cyclist

  • Indian cyclist Deborah Herold on 11 December 2015 became the first Indian female cyclist to be ranked fourth in the World Elite Women Ranking for the 500m time trial event. The ranking was issued by cycling world body International Cycling Union (UCI).
  • Besides, the Indian team also improved its world ranking to 13th. India is the highest ranking Asian country in 500m time trial. China fetched the 15th spot in the ranking.

Indexes –

Quick Estimates of IIP and Use-Based Index for October 2015 released

  • Quick Estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and Use-Based Index with the base year 2004-05 for the month of October 2015 were released on 11 December 2015. It was released by Central Statistics Office (CSO) of the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • Main highlights of Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
  • IIP for October 2015 stood at 181.3, which is 9.8% higher as compared to the level in October 2014. In September 2015 (month-on-month), IIP growth rate stood at 3.6 percent.
  • The cumulative growth for the period April-October 2015-16 over the corresponding period of the 2014-15 stood at 4.8%.
  • The IIP for the Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity sectors for October 2015 stood at 130.0, 188.1 and 201.6 respectively, with the corresponding growth rates of 4.7%, 10.6% and 9.0% as compared to October 2014.

India ranks 130th on Human Development Index in 2014

  • India’s ranking on Human Development Index (HDI) rose by a notch in 2014 — to 130th from 131st a year earlier — according to the 2015 edition of the Global Human Development report, released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Monday. From 2009 to 2014, the country moved six positions up in the HDI ranking.
  • With a score of 0.609 on HDI, India stands well below the average score of 0.630 for countries in the medium human development group. But it is marginally above the South Asian countries’ average score of 0.607. According to the latest ranking, India stands higher than neighbours Bangladesh and Pakistan but lower than countries like Namibia, Guatemala and Tajikistan, even Iraq. Norway tops the HDI ranking, followed by Australia, Switzerland and Denmark. The latest ranking is based on data from 188 countries.
  • The Human Development Index is based on assessing progress on three dimensions of human development. First, a long and healthy life measured through life expectancy of the population. Second, access to knowledge measured by mean years of education among the adult population, and access to learning and knowledge measured by expected years of schooling for children of school-entry age. And last, standard of living measured by the country’s per-capita gross national income (GNI).

Awards & Honors –

Legendary actor Dilip Kumar conferred with Padma Vibhushan

  • Dilip Kumar, Indian cinema’s one of the greatest actors, was conferred with the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian honour, on 13 December 2015.
  • The 93-year-old actor received the award from Home Minister Rajnath Singh at his residence in Mumbai.
  • The Padma Vibhushan award for Dilip Kumar was announced on the Republic Day of 2015 for his exceptional and distinguished service. However, the acting legend could not attend the special function held in Rashtrapati Bhavan in April 2015 due to his ill health.

Indian-origin writer J M Sali won 2015 South East Asian Write Award for Singapore

  • Indian-origin Tamil writer Jamaludeen Mohamed Sali on 11 December 2015 was declared as the winner of the prestigious South East Asian Write Award for Singapore.
  • Sali will receive the award for literary excellence on 14 December 2015 at a ceremony in Bangkok.

Wipro won 2015 Aegis Graham Bell Award for innovation in IoT

  • Global software giant Wipro on 11 December 2015 announced that it won the 2015 Aegis Graham Bell Award for developing a solution for the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Wipro’s IoT solution, Universal Data Parser (UDP), fetched the prestigious award.
  • The Aegis School of Business established the Aegis Graham Bell Awards as a tribute to the father of the telephony, Sir Alexander Graham Bell.

World –

Myanmar launched its first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Inle Lake

  • Myanmar on 11 December 2015 launched its first UNSECO Biosphere Reserve Inle Lake in Shan state. The Inle Lake was designated as UNESCO Biosphere reserve in Paris in June 2015.
  • With this, Myanmar fulfilled its commitment to bio-diversity and eco-system conservation under the UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Prorgamme.
  • The inscription of Inle Lake as one of the world natural heritage sites by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) came after that of Myanmar's three Pyu ancient cities in June 2014.

Alibaba agreed to buy 112-year old newspaper South China Morning Post of Hong Kong

  • Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on 11 December 2015 announced that it has agreed to buy the 112-year old English newspaper South China Morning Post (SCMP) for an undisclosed amount.
  • The agreement includes acquisition of SCMP Group's other media assets, such as licenses to the Hong Kong editions of Esquire, Elle, Cosmopolitan and Harper's Bazaar.
  • The acquisition of the Hong Kong's flagship English-language newspaper is the most politically sensitive acquisition by the e-commerce giant to date.

Appointments –

Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed appointed as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

  • Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on 11 December 2015 appointed Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed as the Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He is expected to take up his assignment shortly.
  • His appointment to the post will fill the vacancy which was lying vacant since retirement of Hamid Ali Rao in April 2015.
  • Javed, a 1980-batch IPS officer from Maharashtra Cadre, is scheduled to retire on 31 January 2016.
  • With this, Javed became the 20th Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He is also the fourth IPS officer to be appointed as an Ambassador, which is generally is a domain of Indian Forest Service officers.

Obituaries –

Renowned agro-economist and farmer’s leader Sharad Joshi died

  • Renowned economist, agriculturist, prolific journalist and stalwart farmer leader Sharad Joshi passed away on 12 December 2015 in Pune. He was 80.
  • Joshi is survived by his daughters Shreya Sahane and Gauri Joshi.
  • He was also the Founder Leader of Kisan Coordination Committee (KCC) composed of sister organisations from 14 states.
  • He was also a founder of the largest organisation of rural women, Shetkari Mahila Aghadi (SMA), known for its work for women's property rights.


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