Monday, 12 December 2016 05:36




RMI'S Current Affairs - https://www.facebook.com/RMIS-Current-Affairs


03- DECEMBER - 2016




  • The annual conference is taking place amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan in the wake of the audacious terror attack on Nagrota Army base and there was no clarity on an Indo-Pak bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the conclave.
  • Being attended by nearly 40 countries and leading groupings like the European Union, the annual conference of the Heart of Asia —is deliberating on various challenges facing Afghanistan, including revival of a peace process in the conflict-ridden country.
  • Senior officials of all 14 countries, including India, China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan, and representatives of 17 supporting nations were deliberating on a vast range of issues facing the region including its complex security scenario and dealing with threat of terrorism, radicalisation and extremism.
  • Issues like enhancing Afghanistan’s connectivity with South and Central Asian countries to boost trade were being discussed at the senior officials’ meeting which was co-chaired by India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Hikmat Khaleel Karzai.
  • Pakistani Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz is representing Islamabad at the Ministerial conference on December 4, 2016, which will be jointly inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
  • The conference, whose theme is security and prosperity, will also deliberate on major connectivity initiatives including Chabahar project, a five-nation railway project.
  • There may be deliberations on TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline project.
  • The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was launched in 2011 and the participating countries include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.
  • The platform was floated to encourage security, political and economic cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours.
  • The countries which support the initiative are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Finland, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Britain and the U.S.
  • Amritsar, which is not very far from the Indo-Pak border, has been brought under a heavy security cover in view of the conference, a major international event being hosted by the city for the first time in many years.



  • Iceland's president invited the anti-establishment Pirate Party to form a government, after both the right and left-wing parties each failed in their bids.
  • President Gudni Johannesson made the announcement after meeting with the head of the Pirates parliamentary group, Birgitta Jonsdottir.
  • Iceland held snap legislative elections on October 29, in which none of the seven parties or alliances obtained a clear majority.
  • Giving the Pirate Party, which came third in the election, the chance to build a government has been seen as a bold move that is not guaranteed to be a success. With voters keen to see political change, the small and controversial Pirate Party had vowed during the election campaign to implement radical institutional reforms for more direct democracy and greater transparency in public life. It won 14.5 percent of votes, less than pollsters had predicted.


  • Ms. Kehkashan Basu is being honoured for the work done by her child-run organisation Green Hope, based in the United Arab Emirates, which now has more than 1,000 volunteers in 10 countries around the world.
  • The ambitious teen founded Green Hope at the age of 12 and within four years managed several successful environmental projects, including planting 5,000 trees in Colombia, France, Mexico, Nepal, Oman and the United States.
  • Ms. Basu, who was inspired by her grandmother's rooftop garden in Kolkata, India, received the prize from 2006 Nobel Peace laureate and anti-poverty campaigner Muhammad Yunus.
  • The prize is awarded annually "to a child who fights courageously for children's rights," KidsRights said. It also includes a 100,000 euro ($106,000) investment for projects in the winner's home country.
  • Past winners include Pakistani education campaigner Malala Yousafzai and the prize's first recipient, Nkosi Johnson, a South African boy who shone a light on the plight of children with HIV/AIDS.



  • Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Election Commission of India (ECI) needs to look into the proposal for state funding of elections to combat the influence of cash and black money in them.
  • Pointing out that the government had rescued exporters through incentives to address their problems stemming from weak external demand, she said while the government appreciates exporters welcoming the demonetisation policy, her Ministry now expects them to shift to non-cash modes for their transactions.
  • Ms. Sitharaman said Ministry officials were surprised when exporters recently informed them that many workers still did not have accounts.



The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added Cuba’s rumba dance and Belgian beer to its coveted list of “intangible” heritage.

In addition, the UN body also included Portuguese pottery and Ugandan traditional music into the list at the meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The Cuban delegation dedicated the rumba’s selection to Fidel Castro, who passed away recently.

The UNESCO stated that the rumba evokes “grace, sensuality and joy”. As the rumba sprang from poor communities in Cuba, the dance is an enduring “expression of resistance and self-esteem”. While for the Belgian beer, it said “making and appreciating beer is part of the living heritage... throughout Belgium”. The body stated that as Ugandan traditional music is dying out partly, it requires materials from endangered species, as intangible heritage “in urgent need of safeguarding”. For the Portuguese pottery, the UNESCO stated that the pottery is suffering from “waning interest from younger generations and popular demand for industrial alternatives”.

About UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

UNESCO lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage aims at ensuring the better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance.

The list was established in 2008 when the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage took effect.

The list now comprises 814 cultural sites, 203 natural ones and 35 with both natural and cultural qualities.

As of 2010, the programme compiles two lists. The longer is the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which includes cultural "practices and expressions that help demonstrate the diversity of this heritage and raise awareness about its importance." The shorter one is the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, which comprises cultural elements that concerned communities and countries consider require urgent measures to keep them alive.

List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in India

Koodiyattam, Sanskrit Theatre, Kerala

Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab

Mudiyett: a ritual theatre of Kerala

Sankirtana, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur

The Tradition of Vedic Chanting

Buddhist chanting of Ladakh: recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Ramlila: the Traditional Performance of the Ramayana

Chhau dance: a tradition from eastern India

Ramman: religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas

Kalbelia: folk songs and dances of Rajasthan


NITI Aayog, under the banner of the Union Government, constituted a 13-member committee to promote cashless economy. The committee will be headed by Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu.

The committee will be formed by Chief Ministers of various states representing different political parties to examine and promote the use of digital payment systems across the country.

Composition of the Committee

Chandrababu Naidu (Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh)


Naveen Patnaik (Chief Minister of Odisha)


Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh)


Pawan Kumar Chamling (Chief Minister of Sikkim)


V. Narayanasamy (Chief Minister of Puducherry)


Devendra Fadnavis (Chief Minister of Maharashtra)


Arvind Panagariya (Vice- Chairman of NITI Aayog)


Amitabh Kant (CEO of NITI Aayog)

Member Secretary

Nandan Nilekani (Former Chairman, UIDAI)

Special invitee

Janmejaya Sinha (Chairman, Boston Consulting Group)

Special invitee

Rajesh Jain (Managing Director, netCORE)

Special invitee

Sharad Sharma (Co-founder, iSPIRIT)

Special invitee

Jayant Varma (Professor (Finance) at IIM Ahmedabad)

Special invitee

Terms of Reference of the Committee

• The Committee will identify the best global practices for implementing an economy primarily based on digital payment.

• It will identify and outline measures for rapid expansion and adoption of the system of digital payments like cards (Debit, Credit and pre-paid), Digital-wallets, internet banking, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), banking apps, etc.

• It will develop an action plan to reach out to the public at large with the objective to create awareness and help them understand the benefits of switching over to digital economy.

• It will prepare a roadmap for the administrative machineries in the States to facilitate adoption of digital modes of financial transactions.

• It will identify and address problems and indicate solutions pertaining to adoption of the steps required to move towards a digital economy.

• It will associate with the key stakeholders for implementation of the suggested steps.

• It will examine and address any other associated issues which are not specifically mentioned and will devise its own procedures for conducting business, meetings or even constitution of sub-groups.


Magnus Carlsen won the 2016 World Chess Championship in New York City, USA.

Carlsen defeated Sergey Karjakin to retain the World Chess Champion title. It’s the third time that Carlsen has won the championship. He has reigned as world champion since 2013.

About Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen is a Norwegian chess grandmaster.

He became a chess Grandmaster in 2004, at the age of 13 years. This made him the third-youngest grandmaster in history.

In November 2013, he became World Champion by defeating Viswanathan Anand in the World Chess Championship.

On the May 2014 FIDE rating list, he reached his peak rating of 2882, which is the highest in history.

He successfully defended his title in November 2014 by defeating Anand once again.

In 2014, he also won the World Rapid Championship and the World Blitz Championship, thus holding all three world championship titles.

About World Chess Championship

The World Chess Championship is played to determine the World Champion in chess.

It is generally regarded to have commenced in 1886.

From 1948 to 1993, the championship was administered by the World Chess Federation (FIDE).

In 1993, the reigning champion (Garry Kasparov) broke away from FIDE, which led to the creation of the rival PCA championship. The titles were unified at the World Chess Championship 2006.


The Central Statistical Office (CSO) announced that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) accelerated to 7.3 percent in the second quarter (July-September) of 2016-17 financial year from a provisional 7.1 percent expansion in the previous quarter.

On the other hand, the Gross Value Added (GVA) increased to 7.1 percent. While GDP growth accelerated in the second quarter from the 7.1 percent seen in the April-June quarter, GVA growth slowed from the 7.3 percent registered in that period.

Both GDP and GVA growth were slower in Q2 of this financial year as compared with the Q2 of 2015-16. The Q2 of 2015-16 showed a GDP growth of 7.6 percent and GVA growth of 7.3 percent.

• The agriculture sector maintained the overall growth by registering a 3.3 percent GVA growth rate in Q2 of this financial year in comparison with 2 percent in Q2 of 2015-16.

• The manufacturing sector saw a significant slowdown as it registered a GVA growth of 7.1 per cent in Q2 of this financial year as compared with 9.2 percent in Q2 of 2015-16.

• The mining and quarrying sector slowed down by 1.5 percent in Q2 compared with the contraction of 0.4 percent in the first quarter and a growth of 5 percent in Q2 of 2015-16.

• Output in sectors such as manufacturing, electricity, mining, services and others show a fall in the September quarter because they are not supported by demand.

• There was a drop in outputs across all sectors except for agriculture, construction and public administration.

• Gross fixed capital formation was only 29 percent of GDP in Q2 of this financial year as compared with 32.9 percent in Q2 of 2015-16.

• On the other hand, Government final consumption expenditure was 13 percent of GDP in the second quarter of this financial year compared with 12.1 percent in the previous year.

• Government final consumption expenditure (GFCE) grew 18.8 percent in Q1 of FY 2016-17 and 15.2 percent in Q2 of FY 2016-17.

• Union Government’s Capital Expenditure (Plan and non-Plan) declined 12.81 percent to Rs 124959 crore in the quarter against Rs 143329 crore in the year-ago period.

GDP growth numbers for the first half of the current fiscal year revealed a good and consistent performance but lot of uncertainty remains on the outlook for the second half of the year with the implementation of demonetisation plan of PM Narendra Modi.

With the scraping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes as a part of the attack on tax dodgers and black money launderers, the outlook for upcoming quarters is not encouraging as this decision has removed 86 percent of the currency in circulation in a country where most of the transactions are done in cash.

Supply chains of all sectors have already crumbled up. Trucks are stuck with no money for fuel, farmers have run out of cash, workers and labourers are not loading goods for free and the distributors are unable to make payments. Moreover, the Wholesale markets in many cities are shut.

At this point of time when India remains the world’s fastest growing major economy ahead of 6.7 percent GDP of China, uncertainties hover over India's ability to hold on to the accelerating growth following the demonetisation drive.



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Last Updated on Monday, 12 December 2016 09:22