Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs of 27 December, 2016. These are important for the upcoming RBI Assistant Mains, IPPB PO Mains, NIACL AO Mains and RBI Assistant Mains 2016-17.
Watal panel on digital payments calls for separate payment regulatory board, 24x7 RTGS, NEFT
- A high powered panel to recommend measures to boost digital payments has called for a Payments Regulatory Board and has also urged the government to accept and promote such payments.
- “The vision of the committee is to set a roadmap for digital payments to grow substantially over the next three years from the current level of about five percent of personal consumption and twenty per cent of all transactions,” said the report of the Committee on Digital Payments.
- It also wants to halve India’s cash to GDP ratio from 12 per cent to 6 per cent over the next three years.
- The Finance Ministry has sought comments from the public on the report in the next 15 days and indications are that some of its recommendations would find a place in the Union Budget 2017-18.
- The committee, chaired by Ratan Watal, special adviser NITI Aayog and former Finance Secretary, has suggested that the regulation of payments should be made independent from the function of central banking by the Reserve Bank of India. The Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems should be given a statutory status over the next 30 days.
- It has also said that the Government should promote digital payments and receipts by adopting digital payments for all its needs and withdrawing all charges levied by departments and utilities on digital payments and bear the cost of such transactions.
- It has also called for mandating government departments and agencies to provide option to consumers to pay digitally as well as incentivise consumers to make payments (including payment of fines and penalties) to Government electronically by giving a discount or cash back.
- To protect consumer interests, it has also called for updating the current Payments and Settlements Systems Act, to include explicit mandates for data protection and security, regulatory governance and consumer protection including penalties and independent appeal mechanism.
- Further, payment systems like RTGS and NEFT should also be updated to ensure that they work on a 24x7 basis.
- The committee has also called for promoting Aadaar based eKYC and paperless authentication including in cases where Permanent Account Number has not been obtained. It said this should be done over the next 60 to 90 days and pursued actively by the Finance Ministry, RBI, UIDAI and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
- Mobile number and Aadhaar based fully inter-operable payments should be prioritised and the National Payments Corporation of India should enable this on its platforms over a period of 60 days.
India, Bhutan sign MoU for green construction
- India has signed an agreement with Bhutan for assistance in green and sustainable construction of infrastructure in the Himalayan kingdom.
- According to a statement, an MoU was signed between Central Public Works Department (CPWD), under India's Ministry of Urban Development and the Department of Engineering Services, under Bhutan's Ministry of Works and Human Settlements for the purpose in Thimpu.
- "Under the MoU for bilateral technical cooperation in infrastructure engineering, CPWD will assist in promoting sustainability in the built environment, capacity building through training of Bhutanese manpower, bench-marking in building and road sectors besides deputing engineering experts to Bhutan," said the statement.
India’s first Digi Dhan Mela held in Gurugram to promote cashless transactions
- India’s first Digi Dhan Mela was held on 26 December 2016 in Gurugram, Haryana. The mela is a first of its exercise in the country and is meant to promote cashless transactions in the post-demonetisation period.
Highlights of Digi Dhan Mela
- The mela (fair) showcased the government’s efforts to promote digital financial transactions.
- It educated the people on how to use mobile phones and AADHAR for making payments online.
- Dedicated counters were set up to issue AADHAR cards.
- In the mela, 15000 winners of the Lucky Grahak Yojana daily reward were also drawn.
- The winners were being identified through a random draw of the eligible Transaction IDs which are generated automatically as soon as the transaction is completed by software developed by National Payments Corporation of India.
Union Government releases funds of Rs 1981 crore for Polavaram irrigation project
- Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti on 26 December 2016 released the funds of Rs 1981 crore for Polavaram irrigation project to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
- These funds were issued by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). Other than Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra were also sanctioned 463 crore and 830 crore rupees respectively.
Highlights of Polavaram Project
- Polavaram Project is also known as Indira Sagar Project.
- Polavaram project is aimed at irrigating additional 80 Lakh hectares of agricultural land.
- It is a multi-purpose project with an assessed Cultural Command Area of 2.91 lakh hectares and power generation potential of 960 Mega Watt(MW) .
- It also has a provision to supply 23.44 thousand Million Cubic Feet (TMC) of water as drinking water supply to Vishakhapatnam city and other areas.
- An inter basin transfer of 80 TMC water annually to Krishna River Basin was also envisaged.
- The project was given investment clearance by the Planning Commission of Rs 10151.04 crore in 2009. The current cost of the project at 2010-11 level is Rs 16010.45 crore.
- The project was under construction with Central Assistance under Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP).
Madhya Pradesh Cabinet approves DPR for Metro rail in Bhopal, Indore
- The Madhya Pradesh Cabinet has approved the detailed project reports (DPRs) of the Metro rail projects for Bhopal and Indore, costing ₹14,485.55 crore.
- “The state Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, today approved the DPRs for the development of the Metro rail projects in Indore and Bhopal. These projects would cumulatively cost ₹14,485.55 crore,” Public Relations Minister Narottam Mishra told reporters after the Cabinet meeting here this morning.
- The state and Central governments would provide ₹2,897.10 crore each. The remaining ₹8,691.35 crore would be arranged through loan from multilateral/ bilateral funding agencies.
- Two Metro corridors of 27.87 km will be laid in Bhopal. The first corridor of 14.99 km will be from Karond to AIIMS (Saket Nagar). The second corridor of 12.88 km will be from Bhadbhada Square to Ratnagiri.
- There will be one corridor of 31.55 km from Rajwada to Nainod in Indore.
- Mishra said work on the projects in both the cities will begin in the next financial year.
Foundation stone for India’s first 2G Ethanol Bio-refinery laid in Bathinda, Punjab
- The foundation stone ceremony for setting up the first Second Generation (2G) Ethanol Bio-refinery in India was held on 25 December 2016 at village Tarkhanwala, Bathinda in Punjab.
- Harsimarat Kaur Badal, Union Minister of Food Processing Industries, Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State (I/C) Petroleum & Natural Gas, and Sardar Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, jointly laid the foundation stone.
- The approximate investment for setting up of the refinery is Rs 600 crores. The project will be set-up by the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL).
- The production of 2G Ethanol from agricultural residues is encouraged to provide additional sources of remuneration to farmers, address the growing environmental concerns and support the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme for achieving 10 per cent Ethanol Blending in Petrol.
- The proposed Bathinda bio-refinery will be utilizing agriculture residues for production of 100 KL per day or 3.20 crore litres per-annum of ethanol. This per-annum production may be sufficient to meet the 26 per cent of the ethanol blending requirement of the Punjab.
- With the setting up of the bio-refinery, employment for about 1200 -1300 persons will be generated in the biomass supply chain. It will also generate an additional income of approximately Rs 20 crores per annum for the farmers through purchase of their agriculture residues.
Wi-fi services to be provided in 100 Haryana villages
- The government of Haryana on 25 December 2016 connected 100 villages in the state with Wi-Fi services. It also decided to rename all common service centres (CSC), which have been opened in urban and rural areas, and E-disha centres as ‘Atal Seva Kendras’ at district headquarters.
- This decision was announced by the state’s Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar during the launch of 53 new IT services concerning six departments on the occasion of ‘Good Governance Day’, which is celebrated every year to mark the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- The minister also conducted a lucky draw of the digital transaction award scheme, which was. aimed at promoting cashless transactions in the state. A total of 65 people were declared winners with five winning a cash prize of Rs 10000 each, 10 winning a prize of Rs 5000 each and 50 winning a cash prize of Rs 1000 each. All were rewarded for actively using cashless transactions.
- With the introduction of the new IT services, the residents of the villages would be able to access 170 e-services through the ‘Atal Seva Kendras’.
- All the CSCs in rural areas would be shifted to Gram Sachivalyas so that all facilities are made available to the people under one roof.
- With this, facilities available at CSCs will also be made available at E-disha centres.
Delhi Government to slash bus fares by 75 per cent
- The Delhi government has decided to reduce the fares of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses by almost 75%, starting 1 January 2017.
- This move has been made in order to encourage more people to opt for public transport. Along with this, the government has also decided to make DTC bus travel completely free for students till the age of 21 years.
- The government’s plan includes introducing a flat fare of Rs 5 for non-AC buses and Rs 10 for AC buses on trial basis for a month.
- The new rate will be far cheaper from the current one, which stands between Rs 10-25 for AC buses and Rs 5-15 for non-AC buses.
- The rates of the monthly and daily bus passes have also been proposed to be brought down.
- The daily bus passes, which are currently available for Rs 40 for non-AC service and Rs 50 for AC service will be brought down to Rs 20 for one month.
Union Government releases special stamp on freedom fighter Gaya Prasad Katiyar
- The Department of Posts under the Union Ministry of Communications on 26 December 2016 released the special stamp on freedom fighter Gaya Prasad Katiyar.
- Moreover, the government also released a set of eight Commemorative Postage Stamps on 'Personalities Series: Bihar'. The postal department also launched a Commemorative Postage Stamp on Hardayal Municipal Heritage Public Library to honor it as a one of the few oldest library of the country.
The Ministry released the postage stamps on these following eight personalities of Bihar:
- Sachchidananda Sinha
- Karpoori Thakur
- Dashrath Manjhi
- Kailashpati Mishra
- Kunwar Singh
- Phanishwar Nath Renu
- Krishna Sinha
Tata Motors signs up Akshay Kumar as brand ambassador
- Tata Motors today roped in Bollywood star Akshay Kumar as brand ambassador for its commercial vehicle (CV) business unit.
- “Indian cinema’s ‘original Khiladi’ will make his blockbuster entry in this new role at the launch of Tata Motors’ latest offering in commercial vehicles, slated in January 2017,” the company said in a statement.
- Tata Motors’ association with Kumar for commercial vehicles will be supported by a multi-media campaign, beginning in the first week of January 2017, it added.
- Besides products and solutions, he will be actively involved in a host of innovative marketing and customer experience initiatives to be rolled out by Tata Motors.
First biological pacemaker developed from human stem cells
A group of scientists from the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine developed the first functional pacemaker cells from human stem cells.
The invention will help in paving the way for alternate, biological pacemaker therapy.
The study was published in December 2016 the journal Nature Biotechnology.
Dinanath Bhargava, man who designed National Emblem, passes away
- Dinanath Bhargava, the man who designed the National Emblem, passed away on 24 December 2016 following a prolonged illness. He was 89. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
- He was the man who sketched and illuminated the National Emblem and extracted its motto 'Satyameva Jayate' (Truth alone triumphs) from Mundaka Upanishad in 1948 after an extensive research.
- He ended up making the first 30 pages of the Constitution by the end of 1948.
- He was also instrumental in weaving the double decker loom and designing new Chanderi saris.
- He started the carpet-making industry in Gwalior during the time of late Congress leader Madhav Rao Scindia.
Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake passes away
- Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, passed away on 27 December 2016 in Colombo. He was 83.
- Wickremanayake served as the Prime Minister in the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government in the year 2005.
- Wickremanayake earlier held the position of Prime Minister from August 2000 to December 2001, succeeding the then Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike.