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Thursday, December 01, 2016

Current Affairs Update - 1 December, 2016

Hello and welcome to exampundit . Here are the important Current Affairs of 1 December, 2016. These are important for the upcoming IPPB PO Mains, NIACL AO Mains, IBPS Clerk Mains, IBPS RRB Office Assistant Mains and RBI Assistant Mains 2016-17.



Current Affairs at a Glance - 1 December, 2016
  1. The Central Statistical Office (CSO) on 30 November 2016 announced that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) accelerated to 7.3 percent in the second quarter (July-September) of 2016-17 financial year from a provisional 7.1 percent expansion in the previous quarter.
  2. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has allowed insurance companies to invest in Additional Tier 1 (Basel III compliant) perpetual bonds. Earlier, there was no clarity on insurers investing in these instruments and they perceived it risky.
  3. Raj Bhawan of Himachal Pradesh on 30 November 2016 adopted the cashless system for all kind of payments. Governor Acharya Devvrat has directed Raj Bhawan’s official in Shimla to use a cashless system or cheque in all kind of payments.
  4. The Competition Commission (CCI) in the last week of November 2016 approved the merger of Bharatiya Mahila Bank Ltd (BMBL) with the country's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI).
  5. The Union Cabinet on 30 November 2016 approved the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) Phase-III. The estimated cost of project is Rs 8679 crore with completion cost of Rs 10947 crore.
  6. India on Wednesday signed the Letter of Agreement and Acceptance (LOA) with the US to purchase 145 M777 ultra-light artillery guns, through the foreign military sale (FMS) route.
  7. The World AIDS Day was on 1 December 2016 observed across the world with the theme Hands up for #HIVprevention.
  8. Magnus Carlsen won the 2016 World Chess Championship on 30 November 2016 in New York City, USA.



Finance –

India's GDP accelerated to 7.3% in Q2 of 2016-17: CSO


  • The Central Statistical Office (CSO) on 30 November 2016 announced that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) accelerated to 7.3 percent in the second quarter (July-September) of 2016-17 financial year from a provisional 7.1 percent expansion in the previous quarter.
  • On the other hand, the Gross Value Added (GVA) increased to 7.1 percent. While GDP growth accelerated in the second quarter from the 7.1 percent seen in the April-June quarter, GVA growth slowed from the 7.3 percent registered in that period.
  • Both GDP and GVA growth were slower in Q2 of this financial year as compared with the Q2 of 2015-16. The Q2 of 2015-16 showed a GDP growth of 7.6 percent and GVA growth of 7.3 percent.

Highlights
  • The agriculture sector maintained the overall growth by registering a 3.3 percent GVA growth rate in Q2 of this financial year in comparison with 2 percent in Q2 of 2015-16.
  • The manufacturing sector saw a significant slowdown as it registered a GVA growth of 7.1 per cent in Q2 of this financial year as compared with 9.2 percent in Q2 of 2015-16.
  • The mining and quarrying sector slowed down by 1.5 percent in Q2 compared with the contraction of 0.4 percent in the first quarter and a growth of 5 percent in Q2 of 2015-16.
  • Output in sectors such as manufacturing, electricity, mining, services and others show a fall in the September quarter because they are not supported by demand.
  • There was a drop in outputs across all sectors except for agriculture, construction and public administration.
  • Gross fixed capital formation was only 29 percent of GDP in Q2 of this financial year as compared with 32.9 percent in Q2 of 2015-16.
  • On the other hand, Government final consumption expenditure was 13 percent of GDP in the second quarter of this financial year compared with 12.1 percent in the previous year.
  • Government final consumption expenditure (GFCE) grew 18.8 percent in Q1 of FY 2016-17 and 15.2 percent in Q2 of FY 2016-17.
  • Union Government’s Capital Expenditure (Plan and non-Plan) declined 12.81 percent to Rs 124959 crore in the quarter against Rs 143329 crore in the year-ago period.


IRDAI allows insurers to invest in Basel III bonds


  • Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has allowed insurance companies to invest in Additional Tier 1 (Basel III compliant) perpetual bonds. Earlier, there was no clarity on insurers investing in these instruments and they perceived it risky.
  • In a circular issued to insurance companies today, IRDAI said that the rating of the AT1 bonds should not be less than 'AA'. Further, it said that the aggregate value of the AT1 bonds held in any particular bank cannot exceed 10 per cent of the total outstanding AT1 bonds at any time. These bonds will be a part of "equity" under investment regulations.
  • Insurers have been told that they cannot invest more than 10 per cent in AT1 bonds offered through IPO. Also, the regulator said insurers can only invest in AT1 bonds of those banks that have declared dividends for preceding two years.
  • Further, insurers cannot invest in AT1 bonds of their promoter group bank or where the bank is their corporate agent.
  • A perpetual bond is a financial instrument with no maturity date. These bonds are not redeemable but pay a steady stream of interest forever. Here, the price of a perpetual bond is, therefore, the fixed interest payment, coupon amount, divided by a constant discount rate, which represents the speed at which money loses value over time (partly because of inflation).


Himachal Pradesh Raj Bhawan adopts cashless system after PM’s appeal


  • Raj Bhawan of Himachal Pradesh on 30 November 2016 adopted the cashless system for all kind of payments. Governor Acharya Devvrat has directed Raj Bhawan’s official in Shimla to use a cashless system or cheque in all kind of payments.
  • The direction was issued after the Prime Minister’s appeal in this regard.
  • As per the reports, the payments of Raj Bhawan would be made online, through cheques or another mode of e-payments.
  • Apart from this, Governor Devvrat has also appealed students, teachers and NGO are to make common people aware about the cashless system.
  • Possibly, Himachal Rajbhawan is the first in the country to adopt these cashless techniques so promptly.
  • Besides, Andhra Pradesh is also planning to launch a mobile wallet with the name 'AP Purse' to help the public in the adoption of cashless payments. The plan was announced by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. He said that his government would be the first state in India to switch to digital transactions.


Competition Commission of India approves merger of Bharatiya Mahila Bank with SBI


  • The Competition Commission (CCI) in the last week of November 2016 approved the merger of Bharatiya Mahila Bank Ltd (BMBL) with the country's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI).
  • Summary of the deal
  • The combination is in the form of amalgamation whereby the business of BMBL, including its assets and liabilities, will be acquired by SBI.
  • While SBI has global presence, including offices in 37 countries, BMBL is a nascent bank set up in November 2013.
  • In the case of BMBL, 44231510 shares of SBI would be swapped for every 100 crore shares of face value of Rs. 10 each.
  • Post merger of the six entities, including BMBL, the consolidated entity will add Rs. 8 lakh crore to SBI's assets.

Background
On 17 May 2016, the SBI had informed the Bombay Stock Exchange that it is seeking in-principle sanction of the Union Government to enter into negotiation with its 5 subsidiaries and Bharatiya Mahila Bank for acquisition.
The five subsidiaries are :
1. State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur
2. State Bank of Hyderabad
3. State Bank of Mysore
4. State Bank of Patiala
5. State Bank of Travancore
SBI first merged associate State Bank of Saurashtra with itself in 2008. Two years later, in 2010, State Bank of Indore was merged.
The board of SBI had cleared the merger of BMBL and that of five associate lenders with itself in August 2016.


Union Cabinet approves Phase III of Mumbai Urban Transport Project

  • The Union Cabinet on 30 November 2016 approved the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) Phase-III. The estimated cost of project is Rs 8679 crore with completion cost of Rs 10947 crore.
  • The project is expected to be completed in the next 5 years during 13th Plan period.


How Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) Phase-III will be beneficial?
  • Western Railway is running suburban services on the existing busy double line between Virar-Dahanu Road which is a part of main line Mumbai–Ahmedabad or Mumbai–Delhi route.
  • Main line is already congested and there is no scope for supplementing suburban services on this line.
  • Construction of additional double line between Virar-Dahanu Road will address the demand of commuters in this region.
  • This will provide extension of suburban services from Churchgate to Dahanu Road.
  • While, Panvel-Karjat double line suburban corridor will cater to the significant urbanization and population growth.                


India –

India inks Rs 5000 crore deal with US for 145 M777 howitzers


  • India on Wednesday signed the Letter of Agreement and Acceptance (LOA) with the US to purchase 145 M777 ultra-light artillery guns, through the foreign military sale (FMS) route.
  • The Cabinet on November 17 approved the much-awaited deal, which would add tremendous firepower to the Indian Army, especially against China in eastern front.
  • The air portable 155mm/39 calibre gun, with maximum range of 30 km, is manufactured by BAE Systems.
  • The $737 million contract has a 30 per cent offset clause worth around $200 million.
  • Out of 145 guns, BAE will deliver 25 guns and rest 120 will be assembled in India by Mahindra.


Supreme Court orders Status Quo on Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal land

  • The Supreme Court on 30 November 2016 ordered status quo on land acquired for the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal’s stretch in Punjab.
  • Moreover, the court also appointed Union Home Secretary, Chief Secretary of Punjab and the Director General of Punjab Police as receivers in the dispute between Punjab and Haryana and sought a report from them by 15 December on the present status of land.
  • A bench comprising Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy also made it clear that receivers cannot take over the possession of the land meant for the SYL canal project. They have been appointed only for the purpose of submitting a report on the ground situation.


Garbage from Ghazipur Dump to be used for Highway Construction


  • Solid waste from the Ghazipur landfill site will now be used for highway expansion projects by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
  • The announcement comes as a relief to the residents living around the area, as with the foul smell emanating from the decomposing garbage and frequent fires, the site had become a major cause of health concern.

Key Highlights
  • The project is being initiated under the new Solid Waste Management Rules.
  • It aims to remove, reuse and dispose of the solid municipal waste generated in the capital. 
  • The collected waste will be divided and then processed to make it usable.
  • It will be utilized for the expansion of National Highway 24 and other highways.
  • The leachate generated during the process will be transported for processing and disposal to a sewage plant in Ghazipur itself.


World –

UNESCO adds Cuban rumba and Belgian beer to list of world’s intangible heritage

  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 30 November 2016 added Cuba’s rumba dance and Belgian beer to its coveted list of “intangible” heritage.
  • In addition, the UN body also included Portuguese pottery and Ugandan traditional music into the list at the meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The Cuban delegation dedicated the rumba’s selection to Fidel Castro, who passed away recently.


United Nations launches strategy to minimise environmental footprint of its peace operations

  • The United Nations Department of Field Support (DFS) on 29 November 2016 launched a new strategy to maximize its peace operations' efficiency in the use of natural resources. The strategy will also help in minimizing peace operations' risk to people, societies and ecosystems.
  • The step was taken to highlight the significance of environmental protection and management in the work of peacekeeping missions.

Key highlights of the strategy
  • The strategy's aim is to reduce overall demand through increased efficiency, increase the proportion of energy from renewable sources such as solar arrays and reduce the level of pollution.
  • Also, the scheme aims at conserving water and reducing the level of risk to personnel, local communities and ecosystems from wastewater management practices.
  • The six-year long strategy is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Days –

World AIDS Day 2016 observed across the world


  • The World AIDS Day was on 1 December 2016 observed across the world with the theme Hands up for #HIVprevention.
  • The campaign #HIVprevention explores different aspects of HIV prevention and how they relate to specific groups of people, such as adolescent girls and young women, key populations and people living with HIV.
  • On the 2016 World AIDS Day, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) hosted a special event on 30 November 2016 to commemorate the day and to reinforce the commitment to move forward together to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.


Sports –

Magnus Carlsen wins 2016 World Chess Championship

  • Magnus Carlsen won the 2016 World Chess Championship on 30 November 2016 in New York City, USA.
  • Carlsen defeated Sergey Karjakin to retain the World Chess Champion title. It’s the third time that Carlsen has won the championship. He has reigned as world champion since 2013.






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