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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Current Affairs Update – 29th December, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 29th December, 2015, 2015. These are important for the upcoming LIC AAO 2016, SIDBI Assistant Manager and Syndicate Bank Manipal PO.

Finance/RBI –

RBI released report of Deepak Mohanty Committee on Medium-term Path on Financial Inclusion

  • The Reserve Bank of India on 28 December 2015 released the Report of the Committee on Medium-term Path on Financial Inclusion. The committee was constituted on 15 July 2015 by the RBI with the objective of working out a medium-term (five year) measurable action plan for financial inclusion.
  • The 14-member committee was headed by RBI Executive Director Deepak Mohanty.

Salient recommendations of the committee
  • Banks have to make special efforts to step up account opening for females, and the Government may consider a deposit scheme for the girl child – Sukanya Shiksha - as a welfare measure.
  • Given the predominance of individual account holdings (94 per cent of total credit accounts), a unique biometric identifier such as Aadhaar should be linked to each individual credit account.
  • Account lined Aadhaar and the credit information should be shared with companies to enhance the stability of the credit system and improve access.
  • In order to increase formal credit supply to all agrarian segments, digitisation of land records is the way forward. This should be backed by an Aadhaar-linked mechanism for Credit Eligibility Certificates to facilitate credit flow to actual cultivators.
  • A scheme of ‘Gold KCC’ (kisan credit card) with higher flexibility for borrowers with prompt repayment records, which could be dovetailed with a government-sponsored personal insurance, and digitisation of KCC to track expenditure pattern.

HDFC Bank cuts lending rate by 0.05%

  • Following SBI, country's second largest private sector lender HDFC Bank has reduced base rate or the minimum lending rate by 0.05 per cent to 9.30 per cent.
  • The reduction in base rate will bring down interest rate on all loans.
  • The revised rate, one of the lowest in the industry, became effective yesterday.
  • HDFC Bank had last reduced its base rate to 9.35 per cent in September this year.
  • Base rate is the lowest lending rate below which banks do not lend to their customers.
  • Following the status quo by the Reserve Bank in bi-monthly monetary policy review earlier this month, HDFC Bank is the first large bank to cut base rate.
  • RBI left repo rate, at which it lends to the system, unchanged at 6.75 per cent. The cash reserve ratio (CRR), or the amount of deposits banks park with RBI, was also retained at 4 per cent.

Report of Vijay Kelkar Committee on Revisiting & Revitalizing PPP Model released

  • The Union Ministry of Finance on 28 December 2015 released the report of the Committee on Revisiting and Revitalising Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model. The 9-member committee was headed by former Finance Secretary Vijay Kelkar and submitted its report on 19 November 2015.
  • The committee was constituted on 26 May 2015 to review the experience of PPP Policy and suggest measures to improve capacity building in Government for their effective implementation.
  • More importantly, the committee recognized the PPP Model in infrastructure as a valuable instrument to speed up infrastructure development in India.
  • Hence, it called for PPP contracts need to focus more on service delivery instead of fiscal benefits alone.
  • The recommendations of the committee are of relevance to the overall growth of the economy as PPP projects have become the preferred mode to develop large scale infrastructure projects.
  • At present, over 12007 PPP projects are under implementation across the country, involving about 7.2 lakh crore rupees worth of investment.

Bharat Petroleum commissioned Crude Distillation unit in Mumbai

  • Bharat Petroleum on 28 December 2015 commissioned a new 6-million tonne Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) at its Mumbai refinery, which will take the capacity of its oldest facility to 12 million tonne per annum.
  • The new state of the art CDU that came at a cost of 1419 crore rupees is a replacement of old Crude and Vacuum units of the refinery.

Features of new 6-million tonne crude distillation unit
  • The commissioning of the new CDU will ensure cleaner environment and efficient use of energy with lower emissions and reduction in energy consumption.
  • The sulphur dioxide emission from the new unit will be less than 10.5 mt/d - the lowest in the country amongst all the refineries.
  • Tightly heat integrated with furnaces of higher efficiency, the reduction in energy consumption in terms of Liquid Fuel Equivalent (LFE) is expected to be about 30 percent which results into estimated savings of 128 crore rupees per annum on fuel consumption.

India –

Civil Aviation Ministry gave clearance for four greenfield airports

  • The Civil Aviation Ministry on 28 December 2015 gave clearance for four greenfield airports. The three airports will be located in Andhra Pradesh and one international airport at Dholera, Gujarat.
  • The Ministry has also given its green signal for development of a greenfield airport in Nellore and Kurnool districts of Andhra Pradesh under a public-private partnership.
  • The site clearance, which is the first clearance, was given on 28 December 2015 for the Bhogapuram airport in Andhra Pradesh which is about 40 km from Vizag.
  • Two of the three airports proposed at Andhra Pradesh are likely to be no-frills one.

Appointments –

Amitabh Kant got additional charge of CEO of NITI Aayog

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 28 December 2015 gave Amitabh Kant the additional responsibility of being Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog, effective 31 December 2015.
  • Kant will replace the incumbent NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Khullar whose extended tenure will end on 31 December 2015.
  • The IAS officer of 1980 Batch of Kerala Cadre, Kant is currently serving as Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). He is set to superannuate on 28 February 2016.

Karan Adani appointed as CEO of Adani Ports and SEZ

  • Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) on 28 December 2015 appointed Gautam Adani’s son Karan Adani as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from 1 January 2016.
  • Karan will take over the post from outgoing CEO Sudipta Bhattacharya, who is moving to the US to take over a Group position as CEO, North America.
  • Karan is the eldest son of the Adani Group's founder chairman Gautam Adani. An economics graduate from Purdue University, US, Karan has been associated with the group's ports business since 2009.

World –

Guinea free of Ebola, WHO announces

  • Guinea was today declared Ebola free by the WHO two years after the virus' deadliest-ever outbreak began in the country, killing more than 11,000 people in the west African region.
  • A country is declared free of human-to-human transmission of the Ebola virus after it completes a two 21-day incubation period after the last confirmed case has tested negative a second time.
  • Guinea has successfully crossed the 42-day period and Guinea now enters a 90-day phase of heightened surveillance to ensure that new cases, if any, are quickly detected before they spread to other people.
  • The town of Gueckedou in Guinea was the ground zero for the deadly outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and was the last West African state to break the original chain of transmission which killed 11,300 people in the three states of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Sports –

Gujarat clinched maiden Vijay Hazare Trophy

  • Gujarat on 28 December 2015 clinched the Vijay Hazare Cricket Trophy. It is the first time that Gujarat won the trophy.
  • In the final of the limited overs tournament, Gujarat defeated Delhi by 139 runs at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.
  • The 2015–16 Vijay Hazare Trophy was the 14th season of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Obituaries –

Former Army Chief O P Malhotra Dies at 93

  • Former Army chief General (retired) O P Malhotra died due to old age complications at his residence here today. He was 93.
  • Malhotra was the 13th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army from 1978–1981, the Ambassador of India to Indonesia from 1981-1984 and Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh from 1990-1991.
  • Born in Srinagar in Kashmir on August 6, 1922, malhotra received his schooling first at Model High School, Srinagar and later at SP Higher Senior Secondary School. He attended Government College, Lahore, before being selected to join the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.
  • He was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery. He commanded different Artillery Regiments between November 1950 and July 1961, besides being an instructor at the Defence Service Staff College, Wellington.


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