Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Current Affairs Update - 26-29th November, 2016

Hello and welcome to exampundit . Here are the important Current Affairs of 25th November, 2016. These are important for the upcoming IPPB PO Mains, NIACL AO Mains, IBPS Clerk Mains, IBPS RRB OS-I Mains and RBI Assistant Mains 2016-17.


Current Affairs at a Glance - 26-29th November, 2016
  1. The Gujarat government signed an MoU with China’s Sany Group for the largest ever investment by a single state at $2 billion, staggered over the next five years, for infrastructure projects which also use those for green energy and for expediting mass housing projects.
  2. In an exclusive association, e-commerce giant Amazon is going to sell popular Indian dairy brand Amul’s products online in the United States.
  3. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 28 November 2016 relaxed the cash withdrawal limit from the bank accounts with an aim to spur the deposits. The depositors, who have made the deposits in the current legal tender notes, can now withdraw that amount over and above the weekly limit of Rs 24000.
  4. Amidst the confusion created by demonetization, the Indian state of Goa prepares itself to become the first state to operate cashless in the country from 31 December 2016.
  5. The Union Government in the last week of November 2016 announced the formation of new committee to form a strategy to accelerate the process of transforming India into a cashless economy. The committee will be headed by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
  6. Akodara village in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat recently has earned the title of becoming first digital village in India.
  7. Lt-General A K Bhatt was on 28 November 2016 appointed as the Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO).
  8. Former Prime Minister, Francois Fillon has won France’s conservative presidential primary, defeating opponent Alain Juppe by a landslide.
  9. Pink, the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Bollywood film, has been invited by the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations for a special screening at its headquarters in New York, USA.
  10. An aeroplane carrying 81 people on board including Brazilian first division soccer team crashed on its way to Medellin's international airport. The Brazilian soccer team was travelling to Colombia for a regional tournament final.
  11. The much-popular writer, storyteller Ruskin Bond has returned after a long sabbatical with a brand new collection of stories titled ‘Death under the Deodars: The Adventures of Miss Ripley-Bean’.
  12. The book titled Conflicts of Interest: My Journey through India's Green Movement was in news in the last week of November 2016 as it was acquired by Penguin India.
  13. Argentina on 27 November 2016 won its maiden Davis Cup title after defeating Croatia in the final.
  14. MC Mary Kom, the Olympic bronze-medal winning boxer from India, will receive the 'Legends Award' on 20 December 2016. She will receive the award from the International Boxing Association (AIBA) on its 70th anniversary.
  15. The National Milk Day was on 26 November.



Finance/Banking –

Gujarat government inks $2 billion MoU with China firm, largest ever by single state


  • The Gujarat government signed an MoU with China’s Sany Group for the largest ever investment by a single state at $2 billion, staggered over the next five years, for infrastructure projects which also use those for green energy and for expediting mass housing projects.
  • Ahead of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani met the Chinese delegation led by Liang Wengen, Chairman of Sany Group on Monday for nearly an hour. The meeting comprised over 10 senior government officials, including chief principal secretary K Kailashnathan, ACS PK Taneja, principal secretary S Aparna, principal secretary and industries commissioner Mamta Verma.
  • As per the MoU, Sany Group will invest in five different projects, including development of 1000 MW of wind power, 1000 MW of solar and wind power projects, setting up of facility for manufacturing of wind turbines beginning next year, developing at least one ‘small size’ smart city in line with the Centre’s smart city mission and setting up factory for housing through precast concrete for mass housing projects other than real estate projects.
  • Under this MOU, the Gujarat government will provide necessary support to SANY Group in obtaining necessary permissions, registrations, approvals, clearance, etc from the concerned departments of the state, said a release.


Amazon to sell Amul products online in the US


  • In an exclusive association, e-commerce giant Amazon is going to sell popular Indian dairy brand Amul’s products online in the United States.
  • The alliance is a part of Amazon’s Global Selling Programme, which was launched in India in May 2015. It will bring the brand’s products within reach of American consumers.
  • Initially, Amazon will only be putting up Amul Ghee and Gulab Jamun for sale but more would be following suit. Amul Ghee according to the website is one of the top stock units in its ‘butter and margarine’ category.
  • This would mark the dairy brand’s first official entry into the online space in the US. Though it is already selling its products there through traditional retail channels for the past 20 years, this move would expand its reach to a larger audience.


Union Government launches e-Pashuhaat portal to connect breeders and farmers

  • Radha Mohan Singh, Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, on 26 November 2016 launched e-Pashuhaat portal (www.epashuhaat.gov.in).
  • It is for the first time in the world that a portal has been specifically developed for connecting breeders and farmers regarding availability of bovine germplasm.
  • Through the portal breeders and farmers can sell and purchase breeding stock, can garner information on all forms of germplasm including semen, embryos and live animals with all the agencies and stake holders in the country that has been uploaded on the portal. 
  • The portal will also facilitate the farmers about the availability of quality disease free bovine germplasm with different agencies in the country. The portal will lead to propagation of high genetic merit germplasm.

Objectives of the portal
  • E-Trading Market portal for livestock germplasm and additional related services.
  • Connecting farmers with breeders - Central, State, Co-operative, Milk Federations, and private agencies.
  • Real time authentic certified information on availability of germplasm.


RBI relaxes cash withdrawal limits from bank accounts

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 28 November 2016 relaxed the cash withdrawal limit from the bank accounts with an aim to spur the deposits.
  • The depositors, who have made the deposits in the current legal tender notes, can now withdraw that amount over and above the weekly limit of Rs 24000.
  • This move comes as a relief for certain depositors who were hesitating to deposit their monies into bank accounts due to the current limits on cash withdrawals from accounts.
  • The withdrawals will be available in higher denominations bank notes of Rs 2000 and Rs 500. The move will also encourage small businesses and shopkeepers to deposit cash in legal tender which they can withdraw at the same point of time.


Goa to become India’s first cashless state


  • Amidst the confusion created by demonetization, the Indian state of Goa prepares itself to become the first state to operate cashless in the country from 31 December 2016.
  • This announcement was made by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is also the former Chief Minister of the state, during a rally at Sankhali on 25 November 2016. The plan includes making even small vendors selling perishable goods accustomed to mobile payment.

Key details
  • All vendors would be given Mobile Money Identifier (MMI) codes when they register at the bank.
  • Customers would be able to make the transaction by dialing *99# and following the instructions that appear on the screen.
  • The information to be filled by them would include their bank account details, the total amount that is to be transferred along with the MMI code of the vendor.
  • The mobile required to make the payment wouldn’t have to be a Smartphone.
  • There will be no minimum limit on the cashless transfer of money and these transactions will also be immune from any sort of fees.
  • This way the money will directly be debited from the sender’s account and credited to the receiver’s account. It will take away the hassle of installing swiping machines, especially in the case of small retailers and vendors.
  • A drive to educate people on the working of the same system has already been initiated in Mapusa and Panaji.


Amitabh Kant Committee constituted to push cashless transactions


  • The Union Government in the last week of November 2016 announced the formation of new committee to form a strategy to accelerate the process of transforming India into a cashless economy.
  • The committee will be headed by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. The other members of the committee are the Secretary of the Department of Financial Services, Secretary of Department Of Industrial Policy & Promotion and Secretary of Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, Secretaries of the IT and Rural Development Ministries, Managing Director of the National Payments Corporation of India and the Chairman of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
  • The task of the committee is to identify various obstructions affecting access of digital payments.
  • The committee was constituted following a directive from the Prime Minister’s Office to back up the demonetisation move.

Tasks of the committee
  • The committee will identify and operationalise in the earliest possible time frame user-friendly digital payment options in all sectors of the economy.
  • It will engage regularly with Union ministries, regulators, state governments, district administration, local bodies, trade and industry associations to promote adoption of digital payment systems.
  • It will attempt to establish and monitor an implementation framework with strict timelines. This will be done to ensure that nearly 80% of the transactions in India moves to the digital-only platform.


Union Government slaps safeguard duty on certain steel imports

  • To protect domestic manufacturers from cheap imports, the Union Government on 24 November 2016 slapped safeguard duty on import of certain steel products. Steel products on which the safeguard duty was slapped include hot-rolled flat sheets and plates (excluding hot-rolled flat products in coil form) of alloy or non-alloy steel.
  • As per Revenue Department notification, the effective duty rate will be calculated after deducting the value of the goods. The anti-dumping duty will become payable when the import price is below USD 504 per tonnes on CIF (cost insurance freight) basis.
  • The notification also said that in the first year, the duty arrived would be 10 percent and will gradually reduce to 8 percent in 2018 and 6 percent by 2019. It says, the 10 percent ad-valorem minus anti-dumping duty payable will be imposed on imports up to 22 November 2017. The same will be lowered to 8 percent between 23 November 2017 and 22 November 2018. Later, it will be reduced to 6 percent between 23 November 2018 and 22 May 2019.
  • Ad-Valorem tax is a tax whose amount is based on the value of a transaction or of property. This tax is imposed at the time of the transaction in form of sales tax or value-added tax (VAT).
  • Safeguard Duty is a duty that is imposed on any product that is imported into the country in increased quantities if it injuries the domestic industry. It is a temporary measure and is imposed after conducting an enquiry.


India –

Akodara in Gujarat becomes India’s first Digital Village


  • Akodara village in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat recently has earned the title of becoming first digital village in India.
  • The village, which sustains a total population of 1191 people, uses various cashless systems for payments of goods and services. All transactions in the village are carried out through digital modes like net-banking, SMS or debit cards.

Key highlights
  • Akodara, which is located some 90 km from Ahmedabad, was adopted and developed by the ICICI Foundation as a digitised village with a rural branch of the bank.
  • In the village, most transactions between Rs. 10 and Rs. 5000 are done via SMS. The payment goes directly into the shopkeeper’s bank account as the buyer and seller are both connected through their accounts in the same bank.
  • The village has its own website: http://akodara-digitalvillage.in.
  • Its wi-fi with high speed broadband connectivity has some 50 subscribers across 200-odd households.


Appointments –

Lt-General A K Bhatt appointed as Director-General of Military Operations


  • Lt-General A K Bhatt was on 28 November 2016 appointed as the Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO).
  • Lt-Gen Bhatt will succeed Lt-General Ranbir Singh, who declared at a press briefing that Army Special Forces had conducted surgical strikes against terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir on 29 September 2016.
  • While, Lt-Gen Ranbir Singh will now head the 1 Corps (headquarters at Mathura), which is one of four strike corps among the 14 corps of the 1.3 million strong Army. He will replace Lt-Gen Shokin Chauhan, who in turn has been appointed as the director-general of Assam Rifles.
  • General Dalbir Singh Suhag and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha will retire from their posts on 31 December 2016.


Francois Fillon wins France's Conservative Presidential primary

  • Former Prime Minister, Francois Fillon has won France’s conservative presidential primary, defeating opponent Alain Juppe by a landslide.
  • He will be up against National Front leader Marine Le Pen in the final presidential race, scheduled to be held in 2017.  His vote count amounted to about 69.5% in comparison to Juppe’s 30.5%.
  • While Fillon’s political campaign mainly revolved around the promise of radical economic reforms, Juppe was more on the moderate side and warned of encroaching populism.


Mariamma Koshy is new Hockey India President

  • Former Hockey player Mariamma Koshy on 25 November 2016 took charge of Hockey India as its president with immediate effect. Hockey India, during its 41st Hockey India Executive Board meet, announced that Koshy will head the national body.
  • Koshy, 63, succeeds Narinder Dhruv Batra, who in recent past was elected as the first ever non-European chief of the sport's governing body International Hockey Federation (FIH). Earlier in November 2016, Batra made history by becoming the first Indian and fifteenth president of FIH.
  • Batra served Hockey India as its secretary general from 2010 to 2014. He was serving the organsiation as its President since 2014.


World –

Pink invited for special screening at UN HQ


  • Pink, the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Bollywood film, has been invited by the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations for a special screening at its headquarters in New York, USA.
  • Directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and written by Ritesh Shah, the film- a modern Indian courtroom drama- highlights the issue of gender violence. It is by far being considered as one of the best works by the all-time Bollywood superstar- Amitabh Bachchan and one of the most successful releases of 2016.
  • The film was very well received by audience and critics alike from all across India for its extremely realistic narrative. It was released on 16 September 2016 under the U/A category with four verbal cuts. It was specially screened for the Rajasthan Police, in order to train them to become more sensitive towards women’s rights and dignity.
  • It completed a 50-day run in the theatres on 4 November 2016.


Bangladesh to honour 1668 martyrs of the Indian Army

  • Bangladesh will honour the families of 1668 martyrs of the Indian Army who fought in the 1971 India-Pakistan war, which resulted in the liberation of East Pakistan (Bangladesh), on the event’s 45th anniversary.
  • According to the Liberation War Affairs Minister A K M Mozammel Huq, families of all the martyred soldiers will receive Rs 5 lakh as a mark of respect. The amount would be handed over by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina during her visit to Delhi between 18- 20 December 2016.
  • The amount in question would be given in Indian currency.
  • According to Huq, Demonetization would not pose a problem to them. First Bangladeshi Taka would be converted into dollars and handed over to the Bangladesh High Commission in Delhi, who in turn will convert it into Indian currency and hand it over to the Prime Minister upon her arrival.


Plane carrying Brazilian first division football team crashes in Colombia


  • An aeroplane carrying 81 people on board including Brazilian first division soccer team crashed on its way to Medellin's international airport. The Brazilian soccer team was travelling to Colombia for a regional tournament final.
  • The cause of the incident is yet to be ascertained.
  • As per reports, about 25 bodies have been recovered from the site of the air crash, while five people were rescued alive. Three players are among the five survivors.
  • According to Medellin's airport officials, the aircraft, which embarked from Bolivia, was transporting the Chapecoense soccer team from southern Brazil, which was scheduled to play the Copa Sudamericana finals against Atletico Nacional on 30 November 2016 in Medellin.


'Xenophobia' is Dictionary.com's Word of the Year for 2016

  • The website Dictionary.com named the word 'Xenophobia' as the Word of the Year for 2016.
  • According to Dictionary.com, there was a massive surge in lookups for the word 'Xenophobia' that was larger than any of the peaks seen in 2016. This rise in lookups was connected to attacks on foreign workers and overall rising xenophobia in South Africa.
  • The largest spike in Dictionary.com’s data for the word was in the month of June 2016 with a 938 per cent increase in lookups.


Books & Authors –

Death Under the Deodars authored by Ruskin Bond released


  • The much-popular writer, storyteller Ruskin Bond has returned after a long sabbatical with a brand new collection of stories titled ‘Death under the Deodars: The Adventures of Miss Ripley-Bean’.
  • The book consisting of 8 fresh thriller stories is set in the popular holiday destination, Mussoorie, in the bygone era of 1960-70. Through the stories, the writer narrates a murder mystery featuring an elderly woman- Miss Ripley-Bean and her friends.
  • It has been published by Penguin India. It is, in fact, a product of numerous thoughts and conversation shared between Ruskin Bond and Udayan Mitra from Penguin India. Like any other Ruskin Bond book, these stories too are replete with humour and unique characters. The suspense is such that it can hook the attention of both children and adults alike.


Conflicts of Interest: My Journey through India's Green Movement authored by Sunita Narain

  • The book titled Conflicts of Interest: My Journey through India's Green Movement was in news in the last week of November 2016 as it was acquired by Penguin India.
  • The book is Narain’s personal account. The book includes an “environmental manifesto” in which she lays out an outline for the direction India must take, if it is to deal with the exigencies of climate change and environmental degradation.
  • In the book, Narain goes on to discuss how corporate lobbies and political interests often scuttle effective resolution of environmental issues.



Sports –

Argentina defeats Croatia to win 2016 Davis Cup

  • Argentina on 27 November 2016 won its maiden Davis Cup title after defeating Croatia in the final.
  • In the final match, Argentina’s Federico Delbonis defeated Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to give Argentina its first title.
  • As of 2016, the Argentina Davis Cup team has competed in the World Group since 2002 and reached the finals five times (1981, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2016). At present, Argentina is Number 1 on the Davis Cup ranking by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).


Aditi Ashok wins inaugural Qatar Ladies Open

  • Indian golfer Aditi Ashok on 27 November 2016 won the inaugural Qatar Ladies Open in Doha. With this, she recorded her second straight victory on the Ladies European Tour.
  • Ashok shot a final round of three-under 69 to card a total of 15-under. She finished three strokes ahead of Lydia Hall and Caroline Hedwall.
  • Nanna Koerstz Madsen ended in fourth place on 11-under-par. Annabel Dimmock ended in fifth and Nicole Garcia in sixth. Georgia Hall and Becky Morgan were joint seventh.


Sachin Singh wins gold at the AIBA Youth World Championships

  • Sachin Singh on 27 November 2016 became the third Indian boxer to bag gold medal at the AIBA Youth World Championships. In the summit clash at St Petersburg, Russia, Sachin recorded a stunning unanimous victory over Cuban national champion Jorge Grinan in the 49kg weight class.
  • Sachin defeated his rival 5-0 to record a rare Indian triumph over a Cuban boxer. 16-year-old Sachin has joined Thokchom Nanao Singh (2008) and Vikas Krishan (2010) in the Indian youth world championships gold club.
  • With this, India finished the tournament with one gold and a bronze. Naman had settled for a bronze Tanwar in the 91 kg after losing in the semifinal. In 2014 edition, India was able to secure just a bronze medal.


Awards & Honors –

47th IFFI Concluded in Goa


  • The 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which was inaugurated by noted filmmaker Ramesh Sippy on 20 November 2016, came to a close on 28 November in Goa, India.
  • The inauguration of the event was also attended by the Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting – M Venkaiah Naidu and South Korea’s Ambassador to India- Hyun Cho. The focus country this time was the Republic of Korea.
  • The festival saw the screening of over 300 films from as many as 90 countries across the globe and saw participation from several young filmmakers. It also hosted a special screening of award-winning films from the first-ever BRICS film festival and a series of 20 award-winning short films based on the ‘Swachh Bharat' campaign theme.
  • While Poland’s official entry to the 89th Academy Awards, ‘Afterimage’ by Andrzej Wajda opened the festival, South Korea’s official entry ‘The Age of Shadows’ by Kim Jee-Woon brought the curtains down.

Key Highlights
  • Legendary Korean filmmaker Im Kwon-Taek was honoured with ‘The Lifetime Achievement Award’. He has a lot of acclaimed pieces of work to his name including films like Chunhyang, Chihwaseon, and Mandala.
  • Iranian drama film ‘Daughter’ directed by Reza Mirkarimi beat 21 others to claim the Golden Peacock award for ‘Best film’. Along with the trophy, the film also won a cash prize of Rs 40 lakh.
  • The film’s male lead Farhad Aslani won the Silver Peacock for the best actor male.
  • Best actor female award went to Elina Vaska for her role in Latvian film – Mellow Mud.
  • Silver Peacock for best director went to Soner Caner and Baris Kaya, co-directors of Turkish film- Rauf. They also won a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakh.
  • Lee Joon-ik, South Korean director of film – 'The Throne' won the special jury award. He was honoured with the Silver Peacock and a cash prize of Rs.15 lakh.
  • The ICFT- Unesco Gandhi medal was given to the Turkish drama film- ‘Cold of Kalandar’- directed by Mustafa Kara. The film was chosen for such a prestigious award for its ethnic values and respect for the environment.
  • ‘The Apology’ by Toronto-based Tiffany Hsiung received a special mention in the Gandhi Medal competition.
  • The Centenary award for the ‘Best Debut Film of a Director’ went to Pepa San Martin for her Spanish film 'Rara' and the Centenary award for 'Indian Film Personality of the Year' went to actor and playback singer, S.P. Balasubrahmanyam.



Mary Kom to receive Legends Award on December 20

  • MC Mary Kom, the Olympic bronze-medal winning boxer from India, will receive the 'Legends Award' on 20 December 2016. She will receive the award from the International Boxing Association (AIBA) on its 70th anniversary.
  • At present, the Olympian and a five-time world champion is a Rajya Sabha MP. President Pranab Mukherjee nominated her as a member of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament in April 2016.
  • Mary Kom is also a multiple-time Asian champion and was named an AIBA brand ambassador during the 2016 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships.


Days –

National Milk Day observed in memory of Verghese Kurien

  • The National Milk Day was on 26 November 2016 observed across India to mark 95th birth anniversary of Dr Verghese Kurien, the Father of the White Revolution.
  • To observe the day, the dairy cooperatives across India conducted a mega activation in all markets of the country.


Obituaries –

Cuba's Fidel Castro dies aged 90

  • Fidel Castro, the revolutionary leader of Cuba, died on 25 November 2016. He was 90. News of his death was announced on national television by President Raul Castro.
  • The former Cuban President and leader of the Communist revolution ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century before handing over the powers to his brother Raul in 2008. His supporters praised him as a man who had given Cuba back to the people.


Noted Marathi author Anand Yadav passes away

  • Anand Yadav, the Sahitya Akademi awardee Marathi author, died on 27 November 2016 in Pune. He was 80.
  • He won the Sahitya Akademi award in 1991 for his autobiography 'Zombi'. During his illustrious career, Yadav faced a major controversy over his book 'Santsurya Tukaram', wrote on Sant Tukaram, a 17th-century saint poet from Maharashtra.




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