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1. National - Union Government launches Lucky Grahak Yojana, Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana to promote digital payments
  • The Union Government has launched Lucky Grahak Yojana to encourage consumers and Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana to encourage merchants for transition to digital payments. These award based schemes were launched by the NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog, government's policy think-tank.
  • These schemes aim to give cash awards to consumers and merchants who utilize digital payment instruments for personal consumption expenditures.
  • They will specially focuses on bringing the poor, lower middle class and small businesses into the digital payment fold.
  • National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) will be the implementing agency for these schemes.
  • Transactions using USSD, UPI, RuPay and AEPS will only be covered under these schemes.
  • Digital payments made through credit cards and e-wallets won't be covered.
  • To ensure focus on small transactions incentives will be restricted to transactions within the range of Rs 50 and Rs 3000.
  • The winners shall be identified through a random draw of eligible Transaction IDs by software to be especially developed by NPCI for this purpose.
  • Lucky Grahak Yojana
  1. Under it, consumers making payment through digital mode will get chance to win minimum Rs 1000 each every day or Rs 1 lakh per week.
  2. 15,000 winners will get cashback prizes of Rs 1000 each every day starting on 25 December 2016 (Christmas) and ending on 14 April 2017 (Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanthi). In addition, there will be weekly awards worth Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000 for 7000 people. On last day of scheme mega prize winner award will be announced. He will get Rs. 1 crore award.
  • Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana
  1. This scheme is for the merchants across the country. Mandatory for merchants to have POS (Point of Sale) machines for undertaking cashless transactions.
  2. Under it, merchants doing business using POS are eligible to win Rs.50000 per week from 25 December 2016 to 14 April 2017.
  3. 3 Mega Prizes for merchants will be of Rs 50 lakhs, 25 lakh, 12 lakh for digital transactions between 8 November 2016 to 13 April 2017. It will be announced on 14 April 2017.

2. International - Prime Minister Narendra Modi was placed at 9th position among 74 of the world's most powerful people list released by the Forbes Magazine.
  • 2016 edition of the list was topped by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • This is for fourth consecutive year Putin has topped the list.
  • The first billionaire President of the United States was ranked second in the list.
  • In the 2015 edition of the list he was placed 72. Outgoing US President Barack Obama dropped from 2 to 48.
  • German Chancellor and backbone of the European Union Angela Merkel was ranked 3rd. She continues her reign as the most powerful woman on the planet for consecutive 11 years.
1 Vladimir Putin President of Russia
2 Donald Trump President of US
3 Angela Merkel Chancellor of Germany
4 Xi Jinping President of China
5 Pope Francis Pope of Roman Catholic Church, Vatican City
  • Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani (#38), Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (#51).
  • The list of World's Most Powerful People started in 2009 by Forbes magazine

3. National - The Union Cabinet has approved MoU between Ministry of Rural Development and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to improve effectiveness of rural development programmes in country.
  • The Inter-Governmental MoU on Joint Technical and South-South Cooperation will provide for collaboration on activities of common interest to support an integrated approach to rural poverty reduction through activities.
  • These activities will aim to promote economic empowerment of rural women, access of rural poor to natural resources.
  • It will facilitate South-South cooperation mechanisms around Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM)'s experience.
  • It will strengthen vertical upscaling of livelihoods of rural populations supported by DAY-NRLM, develop inclusive and sustainable value chains for key crops and agro-industrial products.
  • DAY-NRLM is a flagship rural poverty reduction program of Union Ministry of Rural Development.
  • It launched with an objective of social mobilization, financial inclusion and sustainable livelihoods promotion.
  • It aims at creating effective and efficient institutional platforms for rural poor by increasing household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improving access to financial services.
  • One of its major focus areas is promotion of existing livelihood portfolios of the rural poor in farm and non-farm sectors.

4. National - The Union Cabinet has approved the draft Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016 to replace the existing Major Port Trusts Act, 1963.
  • The bill aims to empower 12 major ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision-making.
  • The Bill is more compact in comparison to Major Port Trusts Act, 1963.
  • It has reduced number of sections to 65 from 134 by eliminating obsolete and overlapping Sections of previous Act.
  • 12 major ports are Kandla (Gujarat), Mumbai (Maharashtra), JNPT (Maharashtra), Marmugao (Goa), New Managlore (Karnataka), Cochin (Kerala), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Ennore (Tamil Nadu), V.O. Chidambarnar (Tamil Nadu), Visakhapatnam (Adhra Pradesh), Paradip (Odisha) and Kolkata (including Haldia, West Bengal)

5. Science and Technology - Pakistan Army has successfully test fired an enhanced version of an indigenously-designed Babur cruise missile.
  • It can hit targets located at 700 km with all kinds of warheads.
  • Thus, it brings many Indian cities within its range

6. National - The Union Cabinet approved India's approach to Climate Change Negotiations at the 22 Conference of Parties (COP) to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Marrakesh, Morocco in November 2016
  • Growth and development of a country are linked with Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions

7. Science and Technology - The Union Cabinet has approved MoU signed between ISRO and United States Geological Survey (USGS) for Cooperation in t exchange and use of US Land Remote Sensing Satellite Data
  • This MoU signed in July 2016 will enable ISRO to receive USGS's Landsat-7 and 8 in India.
  • It will also allow USGS to receive ISRO's Resourcesat-2 (AWiFS and LISS III) data of US region
  • ISRO is actively pursuing civilian space cooperation with many US organisations including National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States Geological Survey (USGS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for its interest
  • Recently in February 2013, USGS has launched Landsat -8 satellite.
  • ISRO expressed interest in direct reception of Landsat-8 data in India, while USGS expressed interest in obtaining data from ISRO's RESOURCESAT-2 satellite.

8. National - The Union Cabinet has approved memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and Kyrgyzstan on cooperation in field of agriculture and food related industry.
  • It includes exchange of information and experience in field of research, animal breeding, Avian Influenza and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), veterinary medicine
  • Kyrgyzstan is a part of CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries.
  • It is bordered by countries like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
  • India and Kyrgyzstan enjoys strong diplomatic and long economic relationship

9. National - Home Ministry cancels FCRA licences of Greenpeace, Teesta Setalvad's NGO
  • The Union Home Ministry has cancelled renewal of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licences of Greenpeace India and two NGOs run by activist Teesta Setalvad.
  • The move comes after the licences were inadvertently renewed for five years automatically online.
  • These three NGOs are accused of prejudicial affecting public interest of the country and violation of various provisions of FCRA.

10. National - Studentds to show Aadhar card as Identity proof in JEE Exam Students appearing for Joint Entrance Examination (Main) for engineering will have to show their Aadhaar card as proof of identity.
  • This decision aims to make use of Aadhaar number for the exam to prevent impersonation and ensure fair practice.
  • It was taken by the Joint Apex Board, which oversees conduct of JEE (Main) exam.
  • Students not having Aadhaar number can use 28 digit code printed on the Aadhaar Enrolment slip for applying for JEE exam.

11. State - The Mahila Police Volunteer initiative was recently launched in Haryana.
  • By launching the initiative in Karnal and Mahendragarh districts, Haryana became the first state to adopt this scheme.
  • Haryana has inducted the first batch of 1000 Mahila Police Volunteers.
  • These volunteers have already been trained by the state State Police Authorities on their role and responsibility.
  • Originally conceived by the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development, Mahila Police Volunteer is a joint initiative with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs
  • The Chief Secretaries/UT Administrators have been requested by the WCD Ministry to adopt the scheme in their respective States/UTs.

12. National - The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval of the MoUs signed in 2008 and 2011 and the renewal of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and College of Banking and Financial Studies (CBFS), Oman.
  • The ICAI is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament of India- The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India.

13. National - The government recently informed the Lok Sabha that it is looking for full membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as the current arrangement with the elite club carries "attendant risks".
  • The government's statement is significant as it is the first time that it has declared the waiver in such terms.
  • The NSG took a consensus decision in September 2008 to permit its members to engage in civil nuclear cooperation with India despite India not being a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
  • Since then, India has been trying to upgrade the "waiver" into a full member status and the government accordingly made two attempts this year to become member of the elite organisation. India has been engaging nuclear energy producing countries in civil nuclear deals since getting the waiver.
  • Full membership of the NSG would enable India to have enhanced and predictable global access to nuclear technology, fuel, materials and components required for our expanding civil nuclear programme.
  • It would advance energy security, contribute to India's growth strategy based on clean energy to combat climate change, and strengthen global nuclear non-proliferation.
  • The NSG will take up India's membership issue at its next plenary session in June 2017
  • Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials.
  • Interestingly, the NSG was set up in 1974 as a reaction to India's nuclear tests to stop what it called the misuse of nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes

14. Banking - Indian Railways ties up with SBI to install 10000 POS machines:
  • The move comes in support of the demonetisation step of central government.
  • This will help passengers book their tickets digitally (cashless transaction) with the help of their debit or credit cards at Public Reservation System counters

15. Person - Indra Nooyi, Elon Musk and Travis Kalanick to join Donald Trump's Advisory Council:
  • PepsiCo Chairperson, Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk,  and CEO and co - founder of Uber Technologies, Travis Kalanick will be a part of Donald Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum.
  • The appointment aims to help president-elect Trump in implementing his economic agenda

16. National - Interim Nationwide Ban Imposed On Manja For Flying Kites By NGT:
  • A ban was imposed by the National Green Tribunal on December 14, 2016 on the procurement, sale and use of glass powder coated 'manja' and other dangerous strings for flying kites.
  • The order was passed by the NGT bench, headed by  Chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar who said that the sharp string poses a danger to humans, animals and birds as well as causes harm to environment.

17. Banking - Vodafone launches e-wallet M Pesa Pay for retailers:
  • Vodafone India has launched Vodafone M Pesa Pay in a bid to enable merchants and retailers to receive payments from their customers.
  • The new feature replaces need for point of sale (PoS) machine since it is a face-to-face transaction where the merchant sends the request to the customer for making a payment.

18. Person - VG Kannan appointed CEO of Indian Banks' Association:
  • V G Kannan has been appointed as Chief Executive of the Indian Banks Association (IBA) on 14th December 2016.
  • He succeeds M V Tanksale who demitted office as Chief Executive on August 9, 2016.
  • Kannan had retired as Managing Director & Group Executive (Associates & Subsidiaries) of State Bank of India on July 31, 2016

19. Banking - Paytm launches 'Each one, teach one' to increase digital inclusion:
  • Paytm has announced a program to increase the digital inclusion in the country where in it is calling upon consumers and merchants across India to teach others on how to use Paytm to pay and accept money.
  • The campaign is aimed at transforming user behaviour and further accelerating the country's ongoing shift from cash to digital payments.
  • As a part of the drive, Paytm has also announced an incentive including Rs. 1 cr. grand prize along with additional prizes like motorcycles, smartphones, laptops and other exciting gifts.
  • All users transacting between 1st December 2016 and 31st March 2017 are eligible to win these prizes.

20. National - The Home Ministry has asked users to delete these apps for security reasons- Top Gun, Mpjunkie, Bdjunkie and Talking Frog

21. National - Company that tied up with Union Government for online River Water and Air Quality Monitoring (WAQM) systems- Intel

22. Award - Person conferred with the Golden Jubilee Lifetime Achievement Award by the Sports Journalists Association of Mumbai- Sunil Gavaskar

23. National - The Union Government is planning to develop 60 solar cities across the country. The population criteria for inclusion of a city in this project is - Between 50000 and 50 lakh

24. State - Sarbananda Sonowal, the Chief Minister of Assam inaugurated a Solar Battery Station at Bindhakata Tengapukhuri village in  Dibrugarh

25. Banking - The US Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percent, only the second increase in a decade and first in - 2016

26. Person -  This Indian artist is featured in two categories of the initial Oscar nomination list for the 89th annual academy awards- AR Rahman


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