Saturday, 19 December 2015

Current Affairs December Nineteen, 2015

Government lowers FY16 GDP growth forecast to 7-7.5%

  • India is expected to grow by 7-7.5% in 2015-16, slower than the previous estimate of 8.1-8.5% as weak exports, sluggish farm sector and private investment weighed on faster expansion, the government’s mid-year review showed.
  • In the Economic Survey of 2014-15, the finance ministry had forecast a growth of 8.1-8.5% for the current fiscal which ends in March. While RBI estimated growth to be about 7.4% this year, private economists and multilateral agencies said the Indian economy will expand close to 7.5%.
 Govt plans mega health insurance cover for unorganized sector
  • The government plans to cast the social security net much wider and include around 30 crore workers and their families across 393 districts to avail medical benefits under the Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), a move aimed at extending health cover to those in the unorganized sector.
  • The NDA government decided to widen the geographic coverage of ESI scheme to all areas of the 393 districts by December 2016.

Obama signs Omnibus spending bill into law; raises H1B visa fee

  • U.S. President Barack Obama  signed into law a USD 1.8 trillion spending package which among other things introduces a hefty USD 4,000 fee for certain categories of H-1B visa and USD 4,500 for L1 visa.
  • The law comes as a shock for the Indian IT companies as they would have to pay millions of dollars while applying for H-1B visas, as they heavily rely on this work visa for highly skilled IT workers to get their work done in the U.S.

Afghanistan’s WTO membership approved after 11 years of talks

  • Afghanistan has become the 164th WTO member and the 36th least developed country (LDC) to join the global trade body.
  • The World Trade Organisation (WTO) formally approved Afghanistan’s membership at its 10th ministerial conference in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
  • Afghanistan has become the 164th WTO member and the 36th least developed country (LDC) to join the global trade body after 11 years of negotiations, Xinhua reported.

World’s refugees and displaced exceed record 60 million

  • The number of people forcibly displaced worldwide is likely to have “far surpassed” a record 60 million this year, mainly driven by the Syrian war and other protracted conflicts, the United Nations.
  • The estimated figure includes 20.2 million refugees fleeing wars and persecution, the most since 1992, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a report.
  • Nearly 2.5 million asylum seekers have requests pending, with Germany, Russia and the United States receiving the highest numbers of the nearly one million new claims lodged in the first half of the year.

Justice Virendra Singh appointed UP Lokayukta

  • Bringing the curtains down on a prolonged controversy, which featured a heated standoff between Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Governor Ram Naik, Uttar Pradesh finally has a new anti-corruption ombudsman.
  • Justice (retd.) Virendra Singh was appointed the new Lokayukta. The 66-year-old former Allahabad High Court judge will take oath.

Former Defence Secretary R.K. Mathur appointed CIC

  • Former Defence Secretary R.K. Mathur has been appointed the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), breaking away from the convention of appointing the head from among the serving information commissioners.
  • A total of 33,724 complaints and appeals are pending before the commission, according to official data. Mr.Mathur will serve in the post for about three years, till he attains the age of 65.
About Mr.Mathur
  • A retired IAS officer of Tripura cadre, Mr.Mathur was made the Defence Secretary for a fixed two-year term on May 28, 2013.
  • The selection committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had finalised Mr.Mathur’s name.

Nissan India appoints Sanjay Gupta as Vice President Marketing

Nissan India  announced the appointment of Sanjay Gupta as Vice President – Marketing, Nissan Motor India Pvt Ltd, with effect from December 21, 2015. Gupta will report to the Managing Director, Arun Malhotra.

Dhanda becomes first Indian-origin player to sign Liverpool contract

  • Yan Dhanda became the first player of Indian heritage to sign a professional contract with English football giants Liverpool.
  • The England youth international recently turned 17 and signed a two and a half year contract with the club, according to the BBC official website.

National Tennikoit Championship at Kanhangad

  • The National Sub-Junior Tennikoit Championship will be held at Sadguru Public School, Kanhangad, from December 20.
  • The four-day sporting event, organised under the supervision of Kerala Tennikoit Association, would be inaugurated by Central University of Kerala Vice-Chancellor G. Gopakumar.

Brendon McCullum breaks AB de Villiers’ record of most consecutive Tests played since debut

  • New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum  turned up for the 99th successive time since making his Test debut to break AB de Villiers’ record.
  • The record for playing most number of consecutive Tests since debut was previously held by South African de Villiers.
About Mr.McCullum
  • McCullum, 34, achieved feat while appearing in the second Test against Sri Lanka at Seddon Park, Hamilton, of the two-match Test series.
  • In his 99th Test, the Dunedin resident won the toss and put the visitors into bat. At Stumps on Day 1, Lankans were 264 for seven with skipper Angelo Mathews not out on 63.

Indian men break 11-year gold drought

  • With top-seeded Singapore out of the way, India put up a confident display to outplay England 3-1 in the men’s final of the Avadh 20th Commonwealth table tennis championships.
  • The Indian men’s team last won the title in 2004 in Kuala Lumpur, with Sharath Kamal, Soumyadeep Roy and Subhajit Saha forming the core of the team.
  • With the last edition in New Delhi in 2013 being a disappointment in the sense that India couldn’t win gold despite bagging a record nine medals, the gold would have come as a major relief.

Writer, theatre artiste Chatla Sriramulu no more

  • Noted writer and theatre artiste Chatla Sriramulu (84) passed away in Secunderabad. A railway employee hailing from Vijayawada, Sriramulu was awarded ‘Best Actor’ twice by the Andhra Nataka Kala Parishad.
About Chatla Sriramulu
  • He was also a recipient of the Central government’s Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1982.
  • He was the first artiste from Andhra Pradesh to receive the Emeritus Fellowship from the Human Resources Department of the Government of India.
  • He was awarded the Certificate of ‘Producer and Teacher’ by the British Drama League, London in 1970.

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