Current Affairs Update – 16th December, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 16th December, 2015. These are very Important for the upcoming IBPS Clerk Mains and LIC AAO 2016 as well as Syndicate Bank Manipal 2016 exam.

Finance/Industry –

RBI Accountable to Disclose Information Under RTI Act: SC

  • The Supreme Court today held that RBI should take rigid action against those banks and financial institutions which have been indulging in "disreputable business practices" and said it cannot withhold information on defaulters and other issues covered under the RTI Act.
  • "We have surmised that many financial institutions have resorted to such acts which are neither clean nor transparent. The RBI in association with them has been trying to cover up their acts from public scrutiny. It is the responsibility of the RBI to take rigid action against those banks which have been practicing disreputable business practices," a bench comprising Justices M Y Eqbal and C Nagappan said.
  • The apex court clarified that Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cannot withhold information under the "guise" of confidence or trust with financial institutions and is accountable to provide information sought by general public.
  • "RBI and the Banks have sidestepped the general public's demand to give the requisite information on the pretext of 'Fiduciary relationship' and 'Economic Interest'. This attitude of the RBI will only attract more suspicion and disbelief in them. RBI as a regulatory authority should work to make the Banks accountable to their actions.
  • "Furthermore, the RTI Act under Section 2(f) clearly provides that the inspection reports, documents etc fall under the purview of 'Information' which is obtained by the public authority (RBI) from a private body," the bench said.

Union Ministry of Finance raised monetary limit for filing appeals in Courts

  • The Union Ministry of Finance on 15 December 2015 raised the monetary limit for filing appeals to 10 lakh rupees in Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) and 20 lakh rupees in High Courts. With this, the ministry seeks to reduce tax litigation by about 50 percent.
  • The Ministry also decided to withdraw appeals filed by I-T department in ITAT and High Courts for cases involving tax effect of below the new monetary limit. There are 75000 such cases pending in ITAT and HC.
  • However, he added the cases involving substantive question of law would be pursued irrespective of the monetary limit.

World Bank approved 1.5 billion US dollar loan to support Clean India Campaign

  • The World Bank on 15 December 2015 approved a 1.5 billion US dollar loan for the ambitious Clean India Campaign (Swachh Bharat Mission). The loan was granted to support the government in its efforts to ensure all citizens in rural areas have access to improved sanitation and end the practice of open defecation by 2019.
  • The loan will be used for Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Support Operation Project.

Highlights of the 1.5 billion US dollar World Bank program for SBM
  • The project will promote behaviour change among rural communities and help accelerate results in India’s states by giving them performance-based incentives.
  • A national sample-survey of rural sanitation will be conducted every year by independent third-party agencies.
  • Based on the survey findings, the World Bank will release funds to the Government of India.  The Union Government will in turn pass on the funds to the states, based on their performance on certain parameters every year.

TCS bags multi-million dollar deal from Lufthansa

  • The country’s largest software exporter TCS has been chosen by German aviation major Deutsche Lufthansa AG to set up a test factory to support its IT transformation initiative in a “multi-million dollar” deal.
  • TCS will provide testing services and help improve the quality of services of Lufthansa’s technology operations, the Tata Group company said in a statement.
  • It will pioneer and manage the enterprise testing services by setting up a test factory model across Lufthansa to streamline and standardise their testing processes, reduce capital expenditure and implement next generation services.

RIL-ONGC gas row: Govt sets up A P Shah Judicial commission to probe dispute

  • The government has set up a judicial commission headed by former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Ajit Prakash Shah to look into the findings of the international consultant DeGolyer & MacNaughton in the gas dispute between Reliance Industries (RIL) and state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
  • The consultant had said 11 billion cubic meter (bcm) of gas may have flown from ONGC’s Godavari PML and KG-D5 blocks to RIL’s KG-D6 block in the Krishna Godavari basin off the Andhra coast.
  • While D&M did not delve into the aspect of financial value of the gas migration, the volume of gas belonging to ONGC works out to around $1.7 billion (Rs 11,300 crore at current exchange rate) at a gas price of $4.2 per million british thermal units (mmbtu).

Snapdeal launched mobile website in Hindi, Telugu

  • Online marketplace on 15 December 2015 launched its mobile website in Hindi and Telugu language. With this platform, Snapdeal will now cater to 270 million users in India.
  • The multilingual platform will be made available to users on the mobile website only. This platform goes hand in hand with Snaplite platform, which allows users to access the mobile website in areas where internet connectivity is poor. Snaplite is Snapdeal’s website for mobile browser.
  • Based on the experience and customer feedback, the company will plan to roll the multilingual platform to other platforms such as the mobile app as well as its desktop website.

India –

ISRO’ PSLV-C29 successfully launched 6 Singapore satellites into space

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 16 December 2015 successfully launched 6 satellites of Singapore into Space. The satellites were launched using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C29 from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikotta in Andhra Pradesh.

Details of the launch
  • TeLEOS-One: It is the major payload and is a remote sensing satellite weighing 400 kg. It’s mission life is of five years and It can be put to use for disaster monitoring and urban planning for the city state.
  • Along with TeLEOS-1, the five co-passenger satellites launched are VELOX-CI (123 kg) micro-satellite; VELOX-II (13 kg) 6U-Cubesat technology demonstrator; Athenoxat-1, a technology demonstrator nano-satellite; Kent Ridge-1 (78 kg), a micro-satellite; and Galassia (3.4 kg ) 2U-Cubesat.
  • While the Velox-C1 and Kent Ridge-1 are the microsatellites, the remaining four are macro satellites.

SC banned registration of new diesel SUVs, luxury cars in Delhi till 31 March 2016

  • The Supreme Court (SC) on 16 December 2015 banned the registration of all diesel SUVs and luxury cars with engine capacity of 2000 cc or more in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) region till 31 March 2016. The landmark ruling was aimed at curbing the alarming pollution level in Delhi.

Highlights of the Ruling
  • All trucks not bound for the Delhi-NCR region must be diverted away to National Highway 8.
  • Those carrying goods for Delhi will have to shell out a steep environment compensation charge (ECC) that is 2600 rupees for big trucks and 1400 rupees for light commercial vehicles.
  • It also asked all the private cabs operating in the city to ply through Compressed Natural Gas or CNG by 1 March 2016.

Days –

Vijay Diwas observed across the country to commemorate India’s victory in 1971 war

  • Vijay Diwas was observed across the country on 16 December 2015. On this day, nation remembers martyrs, who laid down their lives during Indo-Pak War of 1971.
  • On this occasion, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Army Chief D S Suhag, Navy Chief R K Dhowan and Air Chief Arup Raha remembered martyrs and paid tributes at Amar Jawan Jyoti in New Delhi.
  • On 16 December 1971, General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, Chief of Pakistan forces along with 93000 troops had surrendered unconditionally to the allied forces after the defeat of Pakistan in the war.

Sports –

Shiva, Mandeep among four boxers to receive IOC Olympic scholarships

  • Four Indian boxers, namely Shiva Thapa, Mandeep Jangra, Gaurav Bidhuri and Sumit Sangwan on 15 December 2015 were selected by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) for a scholarship.
  • Under the scholarship, the boxers will get a sum of 800 US dollars (about 53 thousand rupees) every month till August 2016, provided they qualify for the Olympic Games. The will also get an additional 5000 US Dollars (about 3 lakh 34 thousand rupees) to cover their transportation cost for participation in the Olympic qualifying events.
  • Shiv Thapa is a World Championships' bronze-medalist in 56 kilogram segment and Mandeep Jangra is a Commonwealth Games silver-medalist in 69 kilogram segment.

Coal India to sponsor Hockey India League in 2016

  • The state-owned Coal India has become the title-sponsor for the next three editions of the Hockey India League beginning 2016. Promoted by Hockey India, the IPL-styled HIL had three editions in the past beginning 2013.
  • The tournament had six franchises teams from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai, Ranchi, Odisha and Punjab. Except Delhi and Punjab, the rest of the teams are from coal-bearing States.
  • According to a CIL release, the company sealed a deal with Hockey India to sponsor the 2016 edition of the league at a total consideration of Rs. 14.73 crore. This includes Rs. 13 crore sponsorship fee. The rest will go to prize money for best goal of the match, most valuable player and others.
  • The sponsorship fee will increase to Rs. 14 crore and Rs. 15 crore respectively for 2017 and 2018. Star Sports has broadcast rights for the tournament.

Indexes –

Green Peace India released report on National Air Quality Index of 17 cities

  • Green Peace India on 15 December 2015 released a report on National Air Quality Index (NAQI) of 17 cities. The report is the first analysis of air pollution levels in Indian cities carried out by Green Peace using the NAQI system.
  • As per the report, Delhi was listed as the most polluted city in the world, while 13 Indian cities were figured in the list of 20 most polluted cities on the planet. The 13 cities were among the 17 countries surveyed by the Green Peace.
  • The report is in addition to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report that estimated that outdoor air pollution caused 3.7 million deaths worldwide in 2012.
  • Delhi was most polluted followed by Patna.

Appointments –

Supreme Court appointed Virendra Singh as Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh

  • The Supreme Court on 16 December 2015 appointed a retired judge Justice Virendra Singh as Uttar Pradesh’s Lokayukta or anti-corruption ombudsman. A bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice NV Ramana examined a list of five nominees and ordered for the appointment right away.
  • It is the first time that the apex court exercised its powers to appoint a Lokayutka, after repeated orders to the state that it must appoint a new person in the position.  The Uttar Pradesh Government had given the present Lokayukta, Justice NK Mehrotra, multiple extensions, after his term ended more than a year ago.


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