Current Affairs December 2014
Current Affairs 1'st December 2014
1. Russian Film Leviathan adjudged best film of 45th IFFI
Russian film Leviathan has bagged the Golden Peacock at the closing ceremony of the 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
Key Highlights of 45th IFFI
Marathi movie Ek Haazarachi Note has bagged the centenary trophy for best film i.e. Silver Peacock.
The Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Hong-Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, known for his films like In the Mood for Love, Ashes of Time and Chungking Express.
The best actor award was shared by Russian actor Alexel Serebriakov and Indian actor Dulal Sarkar.
The best actress award was shared by two international stars they are Cuban actress Arina Rodriguez and Israeli actress Sarit Larry.
The festival also paid tribute to departed legends of cinema including Robin Williams, Richard Attenborough, Zohra Sehgal, Suchitra Sen and Farooq Shaikh by screening some of their works.
2. Former Indian football captain Baichung Bhutia was conferred with Asian Football Confederation
(AFC) Hall of Fame Award thus he became first Indian footballer to be conferred with this award. He received this award from FIFA president Sepp Blatter in Philippines at ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of AFC. Baichung who plays as a striker has earned big name and fame in Indian Football, he has played total 107 matches and has scored total 42 goals.
3. Second successive Macau Open title clinched by Ace Indian shuttler PV Sindhu
Indian badminton star P V Sindhu has won Macau Open Grand Prix Gold Badminton Title held in Macau. She defeated Kim Hyo Min of Korea in the womens singles finals by score of 21-12, 21-17.She has defended 120000 US dollar Macau Grand Prix Gold title which she had won earlier in 2013.
About P V Sindhu
P V Sindhu is two-time World Championship bronze medalist. Currently she is ranked World No. 11.
She had created history by becoming the first Indian to win two back-to-back medals in the World Badminton Championships.She was first Indian woman to win a medal in singles at the World Championships (Indias first singles medal since Prakash Padukone won bronze in 1983).
4. Noted theatre personality Veenapani Chawla passed away
Noted theatre personality Veenapani Chawla passed away on 30th November 2014 in Puducherry at the age of 67. She was actress, director, choreographer, writer and composer. She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar for her contribution to Indian theatre as a director.
5. Former Arunachal Chief Minister Jarbom Gamlin passed away
Former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Jarbom Gamlin passed away. He was 53 years old. He became the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh on 5th May 2011 after a accidental death of Dorjee Khandu in a chopper mishappening.Gamlin first joined the People's Party of Arunachal (PPA), later he switched over to Congress and became a member of the Lok Sabha from 1999-2004.
6. Earth's most abundant mineral named as Bridgmanite
Team of American geologists named Bridgmanite as the most abundant mineral on earth.Bridgmanite was named in the honour of physicist Percy Bridgman who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his fundamental contributions to high-pressure physics in the year 1946.
7. Super Victor will be the name of Mascot for the 2016 European football championship
Mascot for the 2016 European football championship was named as Super Victor. The name for the cartoon character boy dressed as a footballer in blue and white with a red cape and number 16 jersey was preferred to Driblou and Goalix.Euro 2016 is scheduled to take place in France from 10th June 2016 to 10th July 2016.
8. Oldest player to score a century in ODI is Khurram Khan of UAE
Khurram Khan who is captain of United Arab Emirates (UAE) became the oldest player to score a century in the One-Day International (ODI) by scoring unbeaten 132 runs against Afghanistan in Dubai. He made this record at the age of 43 years and 162 days.
Earlier this record was with Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka with a score of 107 against India in 2009 when he was 39 years old.
9. Uttar Pradesh government is going to introduce the countrys first highway patrol on NH-2 and NH-25 for which the personnel will be trained by New Zealand Police and the uniform will be designed by fashion designers. With financial aid to the tune of Rs. 250-crore from World Bank, a separate unit Uttar Pradesh Highway Patrol (UPHP) will be raised whose jurisdiction will be limited to the highways it patrols.
10. 40 Indian prisoners released by Pakistan
40 Indian prisoners were released by Pakistan and today they were repatriated by Pakistan government through Attari-Wagah route. Out of 40 prisoners, 35 were fishermen who inadvertently went into Pakistani waters through Arabian Sea while fishing and later they were held by the Pakistani coast guards for illegal fishing and other five were arrested in Pakistan as their travel documents were not complete.
11. Work has moved into top gear for finalizing the name and structure for the new institution that will replace the 64-year old Planning Commission and the same may be unveiled this December.
Besides, there have been reports about the new body being named as Niti Aayog or Policy Commission. The new institution, which is likely to be headed by the Prime Minister as was the case in Planning Commission, may have four divisions - Inter-state council, plan evaluation office, UIDAI and DBT. All the divisions would have experts from the Centre and state governments as also experts from the industry.
12. To further secure its position as the worlds aviation hub, Dubai Airports is building a whopping USD 32-billion greenfield airport at the upcoming Dubai World Central, 30 km off the present international airport which already is the second busiest in the world. The proposed new airport will become the worlds largest aviation facility on completion and will have five runways which all will be simultaneously operational, all A380-compatible with a length of 4.5 km each.
13. Indias first annual hemp conference held in New Delhi
Indias first annual hemp conference was held in New Delhi at Indian Habitat Centre (IHC). The aim of the conference was to provide an opportunity to international agencies get idea of Indias hemp agencies.This conference was organised by Indian Industrial Hemp Association (IIHA) in association with World Association for Small and Medium Enterprises (WASME), European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), Hemp Foods (Australia) and Hemp Age.
Hemp : It is the common name for plants of the entire cannabis. This term is often used to refer only to cannabis strains cultivated for industrial (non-drug) use.
Industrial hemp : It has many uses, including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food, fuel and hemp oil, wax, resin, rope and pulp.
Implications of hemp industry : Industrial hemp can bring a revolution in the industry as hemp fibre is the strongest one in the world. It has the potential to cure cancer and a next generation crop to bring revolution to our Indian economy.
14. Indias populous cities Mumbai and Kolkata are most vulnerable to loss of life and property due to flooding in the second half of the century, the government has said quoting a United Nations report ahead of a key global climate conference in Lima, Peru.
15. India has reviewed all aspects of its bilateral cooperation with resource-rich Mozambique and both sides agreed there was greater scope for bilateral economic cooperation, including enhancing Indian investments in the southeast African country. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met visiting Mozambique Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Oldemiro Baloi.
16. Retirement fund body EPFO has decided to become a registrar of the Unique Identification Authority of India to facilitate enrolment of its subscribers who dont have Aadhaar numbers. The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) wants to seed over 4.2 crore portable Universal PF Account Numbers issued by it, with the Aadhaar number of subscribers.
17. Dubai to build worlds largest airport
Dubai is planning to build worlds largest airport in order secure its position as the worlds aviation hub. It will be located at Dubai World Central at Al Maktoum, 30 km off the present Al Maktoum International airport which already is the second busiest in the world after Londons Heathrow airport.This project is expected to complete in 2020.
The cost of this airport will be USD 32-billion.
The proposed new airport will become the worlds largest aviation facility on completion.
It will have five runways which all will be simultaneously operational, all A380-compatible with a length of 4.5 km each.
In the first phase, it will be able to handle 120 million passengers, which will go up to 200 million when the project is completed.
Dubai is becoming global aviation hub due to its geographical location and the availability of cheap fuel.
This new airport will help to boost aviation industry of Dubai and will contribute USD 53.1 billion to its economy, which is 37.5 per cent to its GDP and will support over 750,000 jobs by the turn of 2020.
In 2013, aviation sector as a whole contributed USD 26.7 billion to the Dubais economy, which was almost 27 per cent of the national GDP and supported 416,500 jobs accounting for 21 per cent of Dubais total employment.
19. It has been decided by the government of India to withdraw the 20:80 scheme and restrictions placed on import of gold, the Reserve Bank said. The rule, along with the high customs duty of 10% raised in stages to that level last year had led to a rise in smuggling, besides distorting imports. The government said the current account deficit is no longer a concern so there is no reason to keep the curb in place.
20. Government adds 18 more coal blocks to fuel the power sector
Government has added 18 more new coal blocks exclusively for the power sector in order to revive the this sector which was facing hurdles due to poor supply of coal to thermal plants. These 18 coal blocks are added to the existing 74 reserves, which have been earmarked for e-auction as well as for allotment by March 16, 2015.With the inclusion, the total strength of blocks which would be offered by the Centre through auction as well as direct allotment route is 92.Top priority to the power sector: Government has given top priority to the power sector, as 59 out of these 92 blocks will be given out for it. Of these 59 blocks, 25 will be put up for e-auction while the remaining 34 will be allotted directly to Centrally-owned as well as State public sector undertakings.The PSUs, apart from being given blocks directly, also have the option of participating in the auction exercise, as per the Ordinance promulgated by the NDA Government in October 2014. The PSUs will be identified and given blocks (depending on the criticality of their demand) through the already in place Government dispensation route.Remaining 33 blocks will be offered to the steel and cement sectors.
Ramp up production of Coal India Ltd (CIL): Government is also planning to ramp up production of Coal India Ltd (CIL) which is the largest supplier of dry fuel in the country. For this government is aiming to increase CILs current production capacity of 460 million tons annually, to take it to 1 billion tons by 2019.To achieve the target, Government is planning to introduce modern coal evacuation as well as handling technologies within the next three to four years, as well as by expediting the environmental clearances to CILs nearly 200 projects.
21. Mark Strand, a Pulitzer Prize winner and former US poet laureate widely praised for his concentrated, elegiac verse, has died. He was 80. Strand, works has been translated into more than 30 languages.
22. 18 new Ayurveda colleges received government nod in 2014
NDA Government has given nod to 18 new Ayurveda colleges in 2014. Government by this decision is seeking to promote traditional forms of treatment and integrate them into the existing health care system.Among the 18 new Ayurveda colleges, 7 new colleges will come up in Uttar Pradesh, 3 in Maharashtra, 2 in Rajasthan and besides six others in as many states. The approval to these new institutes was given by Ayush Ministry which is in charge of Ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy.Earlier, then UPA government had granted the permission to only one college last year against proposals for 30 new colleges the previous government had received. No permission was given in 2011 and 2012.
Currently, there are 281 Ayurveda colleges in the country offering 15,057 graduate and 3,081 post-graduate seats.NDA government is pitching for integration of Ayurveda, yoga and other traditional forms of treatment in the existing health care system on the recommendations of committee to promote holistic health.The committee had recommended there is need to bring reforms in medical education, research and legal framework.Earlier in September, 2014, the government had notified National Ayush Mission (NAM) to lay down a detailed road map to shore it up as Ayush infrastructure is not satisfactory besides the industry being poorly regulated.NAM aims to improve Ayush education and provide better access to its service through increase in number of Ayush hospitals and dispensaries, besides offering quality drugs by increasing pharmacies, drug laboratories and improved enforcement mechanism.The Centre is also aiming to improve legislative framework to regulate Ayush practitioners and drugs with the help of states.
23. World AIDS Day Observed on December 1
World AIDS Day was observed in India and around the world. On this day, Indias Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Shri J P Nadda launched the National toll free AIDS helpline number 1097, and also the Digital Resource Centre and the Supply Chain Management System for AIDS awareness.The Helpline Number will be available 24*7 and in all regional languages. It has been developed in collaboration with USAID.The Health Minister also launched the District Epidemiological Factsheets which will be useful to the programme managers in the field.
About World AIDS Day
December is designated as World AIDS Day every year since 1987.It is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourning those who have died of the disease.Government and health officials, NGOs and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control.This day is one of the eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO)
Current Affairs 2'nd December 2014
1. Parliamentary Standing Committee asks Government to bring Bill on Indo- Bangla LBA
A Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs has asked the government to present Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 without any delay to give effect to the India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA).This Standing Committee was headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.The committee in its report has mentioned
Passage of this Bill is a national interest and will pave way for broader ties with the neighbouring country.
Coming into force of the pact may result in a modest demographic change in bordering areas and help to resolve the difficulties being faced by the people living in the enclaves of both the countries once the pact comes into force.
Security dimension due to influx of population should be considered seriously by the government.
After the enclaves are handed over to India by Bangladesh, government must keep ready a blueprint for development so that development work can be started immediately after the pact is ratified.
2. RBI decided to sell government bonds worth 2000 crore rupees.
These government bonds will be sold through Open Market Operations (OMOs) with an aim to squeeze the liquidity in the market.
3. The Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 aims to ratify the LBA between India and Bangladesh under the Indira-Mujib pact of 1974 to exchange areas and people on either side of the border.
As per the provision of pact, India will exchange 111 enclaves measuring 17,160 acres with Bangladesh and receive 51 enclaves covering 7,110 acres. Almost 51,000 people reside in these enclaves. The territories involved in the exchange are in Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Tripura.On 16th May 1974, soon after the independence of Bangladesh the LBA was signed between India and Bangladesh in order to find a solution to the complex nature of border demarcation. This pact was ratified by Bangladesh government in 1974.In 1974, in India Cabinet had granted approval to this pact but was not ratified as it involved cession of territory.
4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said all roads used for infiltration from Bangladesh to Assam will be plugged and the Centre will go ahead with the land swapping deal with the neighbouring country for a permanent solution to the long-pending problem.
5. PM inaugurates Nagalands Hornbill festival
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Hornbill festival of Nagaland. PM Modi by wearing a traditional Naga headgear and by beating the traditional Naga gong three times declared the festival open at the picturesque heritage village of Kisama, Kohima.
About Hornbill festival of Nagaland
Hornbill (name of a bird) Festival is celebrated in Nagaland every year in the first week of December. This festival is 10-day tourism promotional extravaganza which showcases rich culture of Naga tribes which includes shows of music and dance.
It was established on 1st December 1963 and was inaugurated by the then President Dr. S Radhakrishnan. The festival is organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments, at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama which is about 12 km from Kohima the state capital. Notably, it is also supported by the Centre as one of the biggest indigenous festivals of the country.
The Hornbill Festival provides a colourful mixture of dances, performances, crafts, parades, games, sports, food fairs and religious ceremonies. The festival both exposes the culture and tradition of tribal peoples, and reinforces Nagalands identity as a unique state in Indias federal union.
6. HAL- ISRO tie up to produce cryogenic engine
Defence PSU, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will tie up to work on the integrated cryogenic engine manufacturing (ICEM) facility. This facility will be joint venture of both PSUs.ICEM facility will have a built-up area of 5,560 sqm on the land belonging HALs and will be opposite to current HALs Aerospace Division. ISRO will fund Rs 139 crore for the facility.This facility will be established in next two years and help to come out with a strategy on indigenous engines for Indias future space missions.
The proposed ICEM unit will include rotary vacuum brazing facility, machineries for sheet metal forming, et al. The new facility is expected to have a turnover nearly Rs 9 crore per annum.
Earlier, HAL had partnered with ISRO throughout its journey by providing hardware for satellites, SLV, ASLV, PSLV, GSLVMKII and GSLV MKIII (LVM3).
7. Gujarat tops in e-transactions
Gujarat has become first state in to surpass the 1 billion mark in e-Transactions and to achieve landmark of 100 crore e-Transactions. It was revealed by e-Transaction Aggregation and Analysis eTaal, a National e-services Dashboard portal created by the Government of India.As per e-taal data, e-transactions in the last two years from January 1, 2013 to November 26, 2014 of top 4 states are :
Gujarat has topped with 100.21 crore e-transactions.
Madhya Pradesh with 62.21 crore e-transactions.
Maharashtra with 53.62 crore e-transactions
Andhra Pradesh with 31.95 crore e-transactions.
Gujarat accounts for making nearly 27 per cent of the total 373 core e-transactions in India.
The e-Taal portal was initiated by Government of Indias Information Technology Department during the UPA rule. The portal reflects transaction statistics periodically on near real time basis.The Union Government projects recorded 185 crore e-transactions since January 2013. Sectors such as agriculture (92 crore), common service centres (17 crore), judiciary (13 crore) and health (10 crore) contribute the maximum to the Centres e-transactions.
Gujarats contributing services for e-transactions are :
Major contributing services are Land Records, Utility Services & Bill Payments, Public Distribution System (PDS), Education, Health, Skill Development, Transport, Industry & Commerce, Court & Judiciary, Integrated Finance Management Services (IFMS) and Municipality Services etc.
Gujarat State Government also has started implementing mobile governance to expand its e-governance programme. In 2014, Gujarat registered over 58 crore cases of Government services being disbursed online.
8. Union Home Ministry approved appointment of OP Singh as Director General of NDRF.
Appointment of OP Singh as Director General of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was approved by Union Home Ministry.Mr. OP Singh is a 1983-batch IPS officer of UP cadre. Mr OP Singh succeeded Mahboob Alam at this post.New generation GLONASS-K navigation satellite launched by Russia.New generation navigation satellite GLONASS-K from the Plesetsk space centre was launched by Russia.This was the fifth launch of a Global Navigation Satellite System satellite (GLONASS) from the Plesetsk space centre. First launch was happened on 26th Feb 2011.
9. Noted music critic SV Krishnamurthy passed away
Noted music critic of The Hindu SV Krishnamurthy passed away at the age of 89.Fifth Bi-Monthly
10. Monetary Policy Statement 2014-15 announced by RBI
Among the Important Financial Current Affairs on 2nd December 2014, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced fifth Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement. RBI kept the policy rates unchanged.Based on the assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, the policy rates as on 2 December 2014 are:
Repo rate: 8 percent
Reverse repo rate: 7 percent
Marginal standing facility (MSF) rate: 9 percent
Bank Rate: 9.0 percent
Cash Reserve Ratio: 4 percent
Liquidity under overnight repos will continue to be provided at 0.25 percent of bank-wise NDTL at the LAF repo rate
Liquidity under 7-day and 14-day term repos will continue to be provided at 0.75 percent of NDTL of the banking system through auctions
Daily one-day term repos and reverse repos to smooth liquidity will be continued
11. Nuclear capable Agni-IV missile test fired
Nuclear capable AGNI IV missile was test fired from Integrated Test Range in Wheeler Island, Odisha by Strategic Force Command.(SFC) of Indian Army. It was the fourth successful trial in a series. Missile carrying one tonne war head splashed down near its pre-designated target point in Indian Ocean.
12. National Good Governance Day will be observed at the Birthday of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
At Bharatiya Janata Partry (BJP) Parliamentary Board meeting in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that 25 December will be observed as National Good Governance Day.
This day will be made symbolic of good governance by all BJP Member of Parliamentarians (MPs) and government officials.
13. Former Maharashtra CM A. R. Antulay passes a