Monday, December 26, 2016

Current Affairs Update - 24 - 26 December, 2016

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs of 24, 25 and 26 December, 2016. These are important for the upcoming RBI Assistant Mains, IPPB PO Mains, NIACL AO Mains and RBI Assistant Mains 2016-17.


Current Affairs at a Glance - 24 - 26 December, 2016
  1. All individuals in families whose total income is below Rs 5 lakh will be covered under a cashless health insurance scheme in Assam. Called ‘Atal Amrit Abhiyan’, the plan was launched on Sunday to coincide with the 92nd birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
  2. The Union Government on 25 December 2016 launched the Aadhaar Payment App with an aim to simplify the digital transactions. This app will do away with the need of carrying plastic cards and the point of sale machines.
  3. India’s largest private sector bank ICICI Bank on 23 December 2016 launched EazyPay mobile application for merchants as an all-in-one acceptance payment platform.
  4. The Union Government on 24 December 2016 launched ‘Smart Consumer’ mobile App to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances.
  5. The Government of Andhra Pradesh on 22 December 2016 allotted land for the construction of nuclear power plant at Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh.
  6. Aiming to modernise and indigenise the Army’s infrastructure capabilities as part of the Union government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, the Army has selected IIT Gandhinagar (IIT GN) as its research hub and will sign an agreement with IITGN to collaborate in identifying problems faced by the former and find technical solutions.
  7. India successfully test fired its home-grown long range intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-5. The missile was test-fired from the Abdul Kalam Wheeler Island off Odisha coast at 11:05 am on 26 December 2016.
  8. The Defence and Research Development Organization (DRDO) has successfully flight tested the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW), from an Indian Air Force aircraft.
  9. The Jnanpith Selection Board on 23 December 2016 conferred the 52nd Jnanpith Award on eminent modern Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh.
  10. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently declared that actor Sunny Leone is PETA’s Person of the Year.
  11. Indian actor Anupam Kher’s 500th film ‘The Big Sick’ has been selected for world premier at the Sundance Film Festival, to be held in the United States from 19 January to 29 January 2017.
  12. The 31st National Consumer Day was celebrated on 21 December 2016 across India with the theme Alternate Consumer Disputes Redressal.
  13. Good Governance Day is being observed across India on 25 December 2016. The day is observed to mark the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who has turned 92.
  14. Broking firm Geofin Comtrade today said it has appointed Vinodkumar Balakrishnan as its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
  15. Indian tennis player Yuki Bhambri on 25 December 2016 won the title of the $10000 ITF Hong Kong F4 Futures. It is the first singles trophy of the season. It was his 11th title on the ITF Pro Circuit.
  16. India on 23 December 2016 won the Asian Cricket Council Under-19s Asia Cup title. In the final played at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka, India defeated hosts Sri Lanka by 34 runs.


Finance/Banking/Economy –


Cashless health insurance for families earning below Rs 5 lakh in Assam


  • All individuals in families whose total income is below Rs 5 lakh will be covered under a cashless health insurance scheme in Assam. Called ‘Atal Amrit Abhiyan’, the plan was launched on Sunday to coincide with the 92nd birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
  • Under the scheme, cashless cards will be provided to eligible individuals, which they can use to avail treatment for as many as 437 diseases under six categories, at most major hospitals across the country. The six categories listed under the plan are: cardiovascular diseases, cancer, kidney diseases, neo-natal diseases, neurological conditions and burns. 
  • Assam’s health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who called it the biggest health plan, said it would cost the state exchequer Rs 200 crore a year, adding that the government was committed to make the amount available to ensure health for targeted people of the state. For the current fiscal, which ends in another three months, the outlay would be around Rs 50 crore, Sarma said.


Union Government launches Aadhaar Payment App to simplify digital transactions


  • The Union Government on 25 December 2016 launched the Aadhaar Payment App with an aim to simplify the digital transactions. This app will do away with the need of carrying plastic cards and the point of sale machines.
  • It will also do away with the additional fee payments for service providing card companies such as Mastercard or Visa.

Highlights of the Aadhaar Payment App
  • There are two sides to this Aadhaar Payment app, one is the consumer app and the other is the merchant app.
  • On the consumer front, the app is just like any mobile wallet which will be used to transfer money.
  • The customer needs to enter his or her Aadhar number into the app, select the bank through which the transaction will take place and then the biometric scan will work as a password for the transaction to be authenticated.
  • While, merchants will require two things to use this app, one is an Android smartphone and second is a fingerprint scanner.
  • This app can also be used by a person to make payments without any phone.
  • The app was developed by IDFC Bank along with UIDAI and National Payments Corporation of India.


ICICI Bank launches EazyPay app for merchants


  • India’s largest private sector bank ICICI Bank on 23 December 2016 launched EazyPay mobile application for merchants as an all-in-one acceptance payment platform.
  • The app will consolidate all the digital wallets, QR code, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Debit Card and Credit Card.
  • With this, ICICI Bank becomes the first bank to roll out all-in-one payments platform in the country. 

Highlights of the App
  • It is a sustainable payment mode in comparison with other digital applications.
  • It's open architecture makes it different from other digital platforms that are actually closed-loop prepaid instruments.
  • Customers can make payments by using this app through any bank account using UPI, internet banking or by entering credit or debit card details on a link forwarded by the merchant.
  • There is no issue of hitting the limit with this app as the money flows directly into the bank account of merchant.


Union Government launches 'Smart Consumer' mobile app


  • The Union Government on 24 December 2016 launched ‘Smart Consumer’ mobile App to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances.
  • Besides, the government also launched an Online Consumer Mediation Centre (OCMC) and a helpline number 14404 for redressal of consumer related grievances. These initiatives will benefit the consumers in the digital world.
  • The government also launched a microsite based on the theme 'Digitally Safe Consumer Campaign' to help consumers for being vigilant and not falling prey to cyber frauds.
  • All these launches were made on the occasion of National Consumer Day that is observed on 24 December every year. 

Highlights of Online Consumer Mediation Centre (OCMC)
  • The OCMC was launched in association with Bengaluru based National Law School of India University (NLSIU) to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances.
  • It will encourage consumers and companies to go for pre-litigation and will also provide them with an option to settle disputes harmoniously.


Andhra Pradesh allots land to NPCIL for Kovvada N-Plant

  • The Government of Andhra Pradesh on 22 December 2016 allotted land for the construction of nuclear power plant at Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh.
  • In this regard, the Government Order 1179 was issued giving advance possession of land under its control to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).
  • The GO facilitates the NPCIL to take possession of 1473 acres of government land and pay for it as per the value fixed by the Revenue Department.

About Kovvada N-Plant
  • The nuclear power plant will be set up at Kovvada in Ranasthalam block of the coastal district of Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh.
  • In 2009, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) of the Union Government gave an in-principle approval to the project.
  • The ambitious project will be executed at an estimated cost of Rs 60000 crore.
  • The 6600 MW project will be executed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). Russia is expected to join the NPCIL in design and implementation of the project.


India –

Army to ink MoU with IIT Gandhinagar for R&D


  • Aiming to modernise and indigenise the Army’s infrastructure capabilities as part of the Union government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, the Army has selected IIT Gandhinagar (IIT GN) as its research hub and will sign an agreement with IITGN to collaborate in identifying problems faced by the former and find technical solutions.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard will be signed on December 27.
  • Under this initiative, the IITGN will help in identifying problems faced by the Indian Army while operating in extreme weather conditions and border areas etc.
  • The institute will work towards addressing such issues through research and development activities and projects.


India successfully test-fires surface-to-surface ballistic missile Agni-5


  • India successfully test fired its home-grown long range intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-5. The missile was test-fired from the Abdul Kalam Wheeler Island off Odisha coast at 11:05 am on 26 December 2016.
  • As per an official release, this was the fourth developmental and second test-trail of the long-range missile. Unlike other missiles of Agni series, the Agni-5 is the most advanced missile with new technologies. The technologies incorporated in this version of Agni includes navigation and guidance, warhead and engine.

Agni-5 missile
  • It is a three-stage propellant missile with nuclear warhead carrying capacity of more than one tonne.
  • It is capable of striking a target more than 5000 kilometres.
  • It is about 17 meters long and 2 meter wide and has a launch weight of around 50 tonnes.
  • Agni-5 has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.


Odisha to launch malaria elimination programme named DAMAN in eight districts


  • The Odisha Government recently decided to launch a new malaria control programme, DAMAN, in remote tribal-dominated areas.
  • Odisha has 62 types of tribes including 13 primitive tribes that constitute 22.3 per cent of the state's population. The population is under the high risk of malaria infection.
  • The annual expenditure for the programme will be Rs 24 crore from the state budget. The drive aims at supplementing the routine malaria control activities and fill the gaps in case finding and treatment among the high risk population of inaccessible villages of high endemic areas.

Key highlights of the programme
  • DAMAN stands for Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (Malaria Control in Inaccessible Areas).
  • It will be implemented in 8000 villages of all 79 blocks of eight high malaria endemic southern districts. These districts are Koraput, Malkangiri, Kalahandi, Rayagada, Nabarangapur, Nuapada, Kandhamal and Gajapati.


DRDO successfully flight tests Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon system in Odisha


  • The Defence and Research Development Organization (DRDO) has successfully flight tested the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW), from an Indian Air Force aircraft.
  • In a statement, the DRDO said, the flight test was conducted at the integrated test range in Chandipur, Odisha. It was flight tested on 24 December 2016.
  • Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW)
  • Developed by DRDO, SAAW is an indigenously designed and developed the 120-kilogram class smart weapon.
  • This lightweight high precision-guided bomb is one of the world class weapons systems.
  • The system is capable of engaging ground targets with high precision up to a range of 100 kilometres.


Registration fee for Pakistani Hindus as Indian citizens reduced from Rs 15000 to Rs 100

  • The Union Government on 24 December 2016 notified that the registration fees for Hindus and other minority community people as Indian citizens have been reduced from Rs 15000 to Rs 100.
  • The new rules will be applicable to minority communities from three neighbouring countries Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh living in India on long term visa. These minority communities are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians.
  • For minority community people from countries other than Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the fees will be Rs 10000 for registration in India and Rs 15000 if they are registered elsewhere.


Awards & Honors –

Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh conferred with 52nd Jnanpith Award


  • The Jnanpith Selection Board on 23 December 2016 conferred the 52nd Jnanpith Award on eminent modern Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh.
  • An announcement in this regard was made at a meeting of the board chaired by noted scholar, writer and critic Prof. Namwar Singh.
  • With this announcement, the award returned to Bengal after a gap of 20 years. Before Ghosh, noted Bengali fiction writer and social activist Mahasweta Devi won the award in 1996.


Sunny Leone declared PETA's Person of the Year


  • The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently declared that actor Sunny Leone is PETA’s Person of the Year.
  • Leone will receive the award for her commitment for promoting the rescue of homeless dogs and cats, as well as her compassion for abused animals.
  • Earlier in 2016, Leone featured in PETA’s ad campaign, which encouraged people to "be an angel" and adopt a homeless dog.
  • In 2015, Kapil Sharma was chosen for the PETA’s Person of the Year award.


Anupam Kher’s film to Premiere at Sundance


  • Indian actor Anupam Kher’s 500th film ‘The Big Sick’ has been selected for world premier at the Sundance Film Festival, to be held in the United States from 19 January to 29 January 2017.
  • The Big Sick, which is an upcoming American romantic comedy film, has been directed by Michael Showalter. Apart from Kher, it stars stand-up comedians Kumail Nanjiani and Ray Romano and American actresses Holly Hunter and Zoe Kazan.
  • The screenplay has been written by Nanjiani himself along with his wife Emily V Gordon and it is based largely on their own relationship. The film traces the challenges faced by a Pakistani-born man (Nanjiani) and his American girlfriend (Kazan).


Days –

National Consumer Day celebrated with theme Alternate Consumer Disputes Redressal


  • The 31st National Consumer Day was celebrated on 21 December 2016 across India with the theme Alternate Consumer Disputes Redressal.
  • To mark this occasion, the Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution organised a special event at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.
  • The event was inaugurated and presided over by the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan.
  • In the event, the participants discussed on the theme Alternative Dispute Resolution, which is already being practiced in resolving civil disputes.


Good Governance Day being observed to mark Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Birthday


  • Good Governance Day is being observed across India on 25 December 2016. The day is observed to mark the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who has turned 92.
  • To mark the occasion, a Good Governance campaign will be undertaken for 100 days. During this campaign, ministers and members of Parliament will travel across India and attend programmes that highlight the key initiatives of the government.
  • Besides, six major initiatives will be launched by the  Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. 
The initiatives include
  • Immovable Property Return through Property Related Information System (PRISM)
  • Recruitment Rules Formation, Amendment Monitoring System (RRFAMS)
  • Announcement of E-Service Book
  • Mandatory online filing of APAR by all All India Services and Central Group A Service Officers
  • Launching of redesigned website of Department of Personnel and Training
  • The endeavour of the government is to improve delivery systems, to promote digital transformation and take forward the connectivity revolution in all sectors.


Appointments –

Geofin Comtrade appoints former HDFC Bank VP Balakrishnan as MD & CEO

  • Broking firm Geofin Comtrade today said it has appointed Vinodkumar Balakrishnan as its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
  • Balakrishnan previously worked as HDFC Bank’s vice president and cluster head in its branch banking division.
  • C P Krishnan, a whole-time member with Geofin, said that as MD and CEO, Balakrishnan “will help in broadly expanding our footprint across newer product domains and steer the organisation to greater growth trajectories“.
  • The Kochi-based brokerage deals in commodity futures.


Sports –

Yuki Bhambri clinches ITF Hong Kong F4 Futures title


  • Indian tennis player Yuki Bhambri on 25 December 2016 won the title of the $10000 ITF Hong Kong F4 Futures. It is the first singles trophy of the season. It was his 11th title on the ITF Pro Circuit.
  • The third seed from India defeated the tournament’s number two Shintaro Imai of Japan 6-4, 7-5.
  • Bhambri won 75% of his first service points and broke serve three times to lock victory in one hour and 54 minutes.
  • With the win, the world number 534 takes away $1440 in prize money along with 18 ATP ranking points.
  • On the other hand, Cheng-Peng Hsieh of Taipei and Pak Long Yeung from Hong Kong defeated Hong Kong’s Karan Rastogi and Jack Wong to win the doubles title 5-7, 6-3, 10-4.


India lifts Under-19s Asia Cup title beating Sri Lanka

  • India on 23 December 2016 won the Asian Cricket Council Under-19s Asia Cup title. In the final played at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka, India defeated hosts Sri Lanka by 34 runs.
  • Opting first after winning the toss, India Under-19s team posted a competitive score of 273 runs for a loss of eight wickets in their 50 overs. In reply to it, the Sri Lankan side was bowled out for a score of 239 in 48.4 overs.
  • Foundation of India’s total was based on the first five batsman, especially due to the score of 71 and 70 by Himanshu Rana and Shubham Gill respectively. Later, the fine bowling efforts by Indian spinners helped the Indian side in dismissing the Under-19 team of Sri Lanka and clinch the trophy.


Pankaj Advani won National title in 6-red Snooker

  • Pankaj Advani on 23 December 2016 bagged the National title in 6-red Snooker, the shorter format of the game, in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • Advani defeated Ishpreet Chadha in the final 7-4 to grab the title. Advani first won the title during the inaugural edition in Bangalore in 2010.
  • With this win, Advani has emerged as the strongest contender to represent India in the Asian and World Championships in 6-red Snooker in 2017.
  • The Indian player is the only player in the world to win all the titles, National, Continental and World, in 6-red Snooker.







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