Saturday, December 31, 2016

Current Affairs Update - 31 December, 2016

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs of 31 December, 2016. These are important for the upcoming IPPB PO Mains, NIACL AO Mains and RBI Assistant Mains 2016-17.


Current Affairs at a Glance - 31 December, 2016
  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 30 December 2016 launched an Aadhaar-based mobile app, Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM). The app is named after the main architect of Constitution of India, Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
  2. The tiny Union Territory along the Arabian Sea coast, Daman and Diu, has become the first cashless region of the country.
  3. The Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved closure of Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (IDPL) and Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (RDPL). The strategic sale approval is just the second in over 12 years. In September, the Cabinet had cleared the strategic sale of Bharat Pumps and Compressors Ltd.
  4. Value investor Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. won regulatory approval to buy 51 per cent of Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd., marking the first time India’s central bank is allowing a foreign investor to purchase a majority stake in a domestic lender.
  5. Private sector lender DCB Bank on Friday launched its own mobile and tab based digital wallet Cippy Wallet app to encourage consumers to experience cash free purchases from the mobile phone for day-to-day needs.
  6. The trial run of India's first 700 MW pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) coming up at Kakrapar is expected to take place in mid-2017, said a senior official of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).
  7. India's first AYUSH university will be set up in Kurukshetra's Fattupur village as the local panchayat has donated 100 acres for the purpose. AYUSH is the acronym for alternative medicine streams ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy.
  8. Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani dedicated India's first laser technology-based advanced AVMS RTO check-post at Shamlaji of Aravalli district on Friday.
  9. India’s first transgender school opened in Kochi on Friday. The school, named Sahaj International, was inaugurated by transgender activist, writer and actor Kalki Subramaniam at Thrikkakara in Kerala’s Ernakulam district.
  10. Social-democrat Sorin Grindeanu was on 30 December 2016 named as the Prime Minister of Romania. Romania's President Klaus Iohannis signed the official decree naming Grindeanu as the new Prime Minister.



Finance/Banking –

PM Modi launches Mobile App-BHIM for Aadhaar-based digital payment


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 30 December 2016 launched an Aadhaar-based mobile app, Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM). The app is named after the main architect of Constitution of India, Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
  • The app BHIM will facilitate digital cash transactions with a thumbprint after the bank account is linked with Aadhaar gateway. It was launched at Digi Dhan Mela at Talkatora stadium in New Delhi.
  • While addressing Digi Dhan Mela PM Modi said, the power of technology will help in empowering and uplifting the poor, which was the mantra of Dr Ambedkar. He also said that once an illiterate was associated with the thumb but with the launch of this app the thumb has turned up to be an identity of people as well as the bank.
  • The Prime Minister also said that the government is working to empower BHIM and its security is being worked on.
  • Apart from this, the Prime Minister who on this occasion also felicitated winners of Lucky Grahak Yojana had urged citizens to adopt digital currency from the New Year that is January 2017.


Daman & Diu becomes India's 1st cashless region


  • The tiny Union Territory along the Arabian Sea coast, Daman and Diu, has become the first cashless region of the country.
  • Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir has commended the UT administration for taking the initiative to make Daman and Diu as the first cashless region of the country.
  • During a recent visit to the Union Territory, Ahir lauded the painstaking efforts of the UT administration in successfully making Daman and Diu a cashless region.
  • At least 190 teams of trained volunteers visited over 25,000 households spread across the UT to educate their members about the benefits of cashless transactions, an official statement said.
  • The administration has introduced free Wi-fi services in the Union Territory recently and 3,500 GB Data was used by over 32,000 tourists and local people during the last 45 days.


Union Cabinet approves sale of India's first pharmaceutical firm


  • The Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved closure of Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (IDPL) and Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (RDPL).
  • The strategic sale approval is just the second in over 12 years. In September, the Cabinet had cleared the strategic sale of Bharat Pumps and Compressors Ltd.
  • These will be the first privatisation since the sale of Jessop and Co in 2003-04 under the NDA government headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • BCPL and HAL are among the public sector units that NITI Aayog has identified for sale of government’s majority stake to private companies in order to bring in greater efficiency and professionalism in their functioning.
  • At today’s meeting, Cabinet “approved the sale of surplus land of HAL, IDPL, RDPL and BCPL, as would be required, to meet their outstanding liabilities,” an official statement said.


Fairfax Financial first to win approval to buy majority stake in an Indian bank


  • Value investor Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. won regulatory approval to buy 51 per cent of Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd., marking the first time India’s central bank is allowing a foreign investor to purchase a majority stake in a domestic lender.
  • Catholic Syrian, based in Thrissur in south India’s Kerala state, received notification of the approval Thursday from the Reserve Bank of India, director T.S. Anantharaman said in a phone interview. The 96-year-old Indian lender must now send a list of valuation companies, which can produce an estimate of Catholic Syrian’s worth, to the central bank for their selection before proceeding with discussions, he said Friday.
  • The lender’s board can then negotiate a deal price with the Canadian investment firm based on the valuation report, Catholic Syrian Director S. Santhanakrishnan said by phone. The parties will need to reach a final agreement within three months of the valuation company being chosen, according to Anantharaman.


DCB Bank launches its own mobile wallet Cippy


  • Private sector lender DCB Bank on Friday launched its own mobile and tab based digital wallet Cippy Wallet app to encourage consumers to experience cash free purchases from the mobile phone for day-to-day needs.
  • The app offers a ‘Split-Bill’ feature which allows any payment that is either paid using Cippy Wallet app or other modes such as card or cash can be easily split between groups with a single click on the mobile phone!
  • Cippy enables cash free payments by using the mobile phone camera to scan the mVisa QR code at the retailer or service provider The Cippy Wallet user can scan, select the amount to be paid and use their Cippy password to authorize payment. The digital payment is made to the bank account selected by the shop keeper or service provider while applying for mVisa QR code from their respective bank.


Trial run of India's first 700 MW reactor in 2017

  • The trial run of India's first 700 MW pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) coming up at Kakrapar is expected to take place in mid-2017, said a senior official of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).
  • India's atomic power plant operator NPCIL is building four 700 MW PHWRs—two each at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) in Gujarat and Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) in Rajasthan.
  • The project cost for the two 700 MW units is around Rs 11,500 crore, Kumar said.
  • For NPCIL that has been building 220 MW and 540 MW pressurised heavy water reactors, it is a major jump to go in for 700 MW PHWRs.
  • Concrete was first poured in November 2010 for the 3rd unit at KAPS and in March 2011 for the fourth unit.
  • According to Pathak work at the 7th and 8th units (700 MW) at RAPS are also progressing well with the erection of major components.


India –

India’s first AYUSH university to be set up in Kurukshetra village


  • India's first AYUSH university will be set up in Kurukshetra's Fattupur village as the local panchayat has donated 100 acres for the purpose. AYUSH is the acronym for alternative medicine streams ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy.
  • Thanesar MLA Subhash Sudha said a proposal has been sent to the government and the process to start the university just awaits President's signed notification. He further said the proposal of land has already been accepted by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and health minister Anil Vij and the work was expected to start in a few weeks.
  • Shri Krishna Government Ayurvedic College (SKGAC) is already operational in Sector 8, Kurukshetra, and would continue at the same place. AYUSH University will be established in Fattupur, which is about 5km from SKGAC.
  • The Union government had released grant-in-aid of Rs 3 crore under the centrally sponsored scheme for quality control of ayurvedic drugs for establishment of the laboratory and state ayurvedic pharmacy on SKGAC campus. Though the construction of both buildings was completed in 2008-09 and machinery and equipment were also purchased, these were not put to use.


Gujarat CM dedicates India’s first laser technology-based check-post

  • Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani dedicated India's first laser technology-based advanced AVMS RTO check-post at Shamlaji of Aravalli district on Friday.
  • The check-post is equipped with advanced ray technology with a cost of Rs 4.72 crore.
  • Along with this programme, Rupani also laid foundation stones of various developmental works worth Rs 30 crore in tribal area of Aravalli district.
  • On the occasion Transportation Minister Vallabhbhai Kakadiya said that state government has made 125 people oriented decisions within just 100 days of ruling. We can witness the experience from Shamlaji check-post itself to fulfill the goal of our Chief Minister to make government transparent and corruption-free, he added.
  • Principal Secretary to Transportation Department Vipul Mitra briefed people about the would-be benefits to vehicle owners as initiations of AVMS RTO check-post. While, Commissioner of Transportation Department and Secretary In-charge to Aravalli District RM Jadav gave welcome speech.


India’s first transgender school opens in Kerala


  • India’s first transgender school opened in Kochi on Friday. The school, named Sahaj International, was inaugurated by transgender activist, writer and actor Kalki Subramaniam at Thrikkakara in Kerala’s Ernakulam district.
  • This alternative learning centre works in collaboration with National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).
  • The school, the first of its kind in the country, is expected to go a long way in ensuring equal opportunities for transgenders who have dropped out from school. The new learning centre will help them continue their education and appear for Class X and XII examinations.


World –

Sorin Grindeanu appointed as Prime Minister of Romania

  • Social-democrat Sorin Grindeanu was on 30 December 2016 named as the Prime Minister of Romania. Romania's President Klaus Iohannis signed the official decree naming Grindeanu as the new Prime Minister.
  • By doing so, Iohannis turned down the appointment of Sevil Shhaideh, an economist who could have become the first female Muslim PM of Romania.
  • He will now face a confidence vote in the Romanian Parliament on his programme and cabinet nominees. Once his appointment is approved, he will be given 10 days to name the government ministers.








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