Current Affairs Daily Digest: December 17, 2016

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for December 17, 2016 with important tid-bits on current affairs.

National Current Affairs

Parliament passes Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016

The Parliament has passed Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016 after it was passed by the Lok Sabha. The bill aims at securing and enhancing the rights and entitlements of persons with disabilities (PwDs). It also gives effect to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and related matters signed by India in 2007. The bill defines disability based on an evolving and dynamic concept. The types of disabilities have been increased from existing seven to 21. It includes mental illness, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions. It also empowers Union Government to add more types of disabilities to list. Read more

Government to deploy 600 young professionals to boost Swachh Bharat

Union Government is going to deploy 600 young professionals as Zila Swachh Bharat Preraks (ZSBPs), one in each district across the country to boost Swachh Bharat Abhiyan for a period of one year. These professionals will be geared to strengthen cleanliness capacities at district level, and provide them technical and management support to make them Open Defecation Free. ZSBPs will be to support the Collector/CEO/DDO to implement Swachh Bharat Mission by coordinating the various sanitation-related activities in the district. The cadre will be funded and recruited by the Tata Trusts, at no extra cost to the State government or the Union Ministry for Drinking Water and Sanitation.

Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation awarded Digital India Silver Award

The Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation in Tamil Nadu has been selected for Digital India Silver Award instituted by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. It will receive award in the category of “Most Innovative Citizen Engagement” and also for installing and implementing free WiFi Scheme in its various offices. The award was instituted for leveraging use of Information and Communication Technology to solicit active engagement of public in the process of governance.

State Governments can levy property tax on mobile towers: SC

Supreme Court has ruled that state governments can impose property tax on mobile towers as the levy was on the land and building and not on the use of the plant and machinery. With this ruling, the apex court set aside the 2013 verdict of the Gujarat High Court holding that the levy of property tax on mobile towers by state government was beyond its competence.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana comes into effect

The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) notified along with other provisions of Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 came into effect from 17 December 2016. It will remain open until March 31, 2016. Read more

Union Government issues Notification of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2016

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has issued the draft notification for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2016 to regulate pet shops. Read more

International Current Affairs

China seizes US underwater drone in South China Sea

Chinese Navy warship has seized an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) deployed by American oceanographic vessel in Subic Bay off Philippines coast in South China Sea (SCS). The UUV was deployed by USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic survey ship to test water salinity and temperatures to help in the mapping of underwater channels. Its seizure has triggered formal diplomatic protest from the US and a demand for its return. US has clearly mentioned that the UUV was in international waters in the SCS. It also adds to concerns about China’s increased military presence and aggressive posture in the disputed South China Sea, including its militarization of maritime outposts. Read more

Costa Rica scraps entry for EU Schengen, Japan visa holders

Tropical Central American country Costa Rica has changed its migration policy to stop visitors using visas for the European Union’s Schengen zone or for Japan from entering the country. These changes were based on international accords. Earlier, citizens from these countries did not required visa at all to enter Costa Rica. But now they may be required to seek a visa from a Costa Rican embassy or consulate.  The EU’s Schengen zone encompasses 26 countries, including some non-EU countries. Persons can cross internal borders within this zone without being subjected to border checks or visa.

UNSC extends peacekeeping mission in South Sudan

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has extended the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in South Sudan for a year till December 2017. In this regard, the council unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution. The extended mission will include a new regional force of 4,000 troops. South Sudan had descended into civil war in December 2013 leaving about tens of thousands casualties and 3 million people displaced. So far the UN has 14,000 peacekeepers serving in South Sudan.

Banking, Business & Economy Current Affairs

RBI lowers charges on debit card payments to promote digital transactions

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has capped the Merchant Discount Rates (MDR) for debit card transactions up to Rs. 1,000 at 0.25% and for transactions above Rs. 1,000 and up to Rs. 2,000 at 0.5% in order to incentivise greater adoption of digital payment methods. Moreover, RBI also has asked banks and prepaid payment instrument (PPI) issuing entities not to levy any charges for transactions upto Rs. 1000 settled using Immediate Payment Service (USSD) based *99# and Unified Payment Interface (UPI) systems.

Audi appoints Rahil Ansari as its India head

German luxury car manufacturer Audi has appointed Rahil Ansari as the head of Audi India. He will replace Joe King, who has been leading the company in India since 2013. Prior to this appointment, he was head of the Global Pricing for Audi Genuine Parts for Audi AG Aftersales.

Defence Current Affairs

India, Russia agree to extend Brahmos range beyond 300 km: Government

India and Russia have agreed to extend the range of Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles beyond the current 300 km range. This decision was taken after India became member of elite Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). BrahMos Missile is jointly developed by India and Russia. It is considered the only supersonic cruise missile in the world. The missile was first inducted in the India Navy in 2005. Earlier its range was restricted within 300 km due to restriction imposed by the MTCR. Read more

Indian Navy’s eight landing craft utility L-58 launched by GRSE

Indian Navy’s eight landing craft utility (LCU) L-58 was launched by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) in Kolkata, West Bengal. Read more

States Current Affairs

Rajasthan Government launches Annapurna Rasoi Scheme

Rajasthan Government has launched Annapurna Rasoi Scheme to provide quality meal at cheap price to poor and needy on lines with Tamil Nadu Government’s Amma canteens. Read more

Persons in News

ICFA presents ‘Global Agriculture Leadership Award 2016’ to Ratan Tata

Tata Sons interim Chairman Ratan Tata was presented with the prestigious ‘Global Agriculture Leadership Award 2016’ of the Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA). He was conferred with this award for his transformational role in scaling Tata Group as the globally admired group during his stint of two decades as Chairman.

Devendra Fadnavis, AS Kiran Kumar and John Ralston Marr selected for SIES- National Eminence Award

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar , UK-based scholar John Ralston Marr and Hari Katha exponent Kamala Murthy have been selected for SIES-Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati National Eminence Award. Read more

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