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Current Affairs - 24 December 2016

General Affairs 

Uttarakhand: PM Modi to lay foundation stone of Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of the ambitious Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna on 27th December, 2016 at Parade Ground in Dehradun. The project aims at improving the connectivity to the Chardham pilgrimage in the Himalaya region, making journey safer, faster and more convenient.
    Here's what you need to know about the Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna
    1. The Chardham project includes developing 900 km of national highways in Uttarakhand at a total cost of Rs. 12000 crores. Work for 17 projects worth Rs 3000 crores have already been sanctioned and tendered.
    2. The entire length of the highways will be two-laned with paved shoulder and a minimum width of 10 meters.
    3. The programme included building of tunnels, viaducts, bridges, and bypasses in the entire state along with way-side amenities that will include helipad for emergency evacuation, parking facilities.
    4. A team of experts have been engaged to identify zones prone to landslides, and environment friendly techniques are being incorporated in the design to make these zones safer.
    5. Wayside amenities and public facilities will be constructed all along the Chardham route, including parking spaces and helipad for emergency evacuation.

Lalu Yadav's U-turn on Rahul Gandhi: Earlier, Congress leader was unable to put his views, now he's bigger than PM Modi
  • RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav seems to have taken a u-turn on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
    It was just this October that Congress' Rahul Gandhi criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi over surgical strikes on Pakistan and charged him of indulging in "khoon ki dalaali" over the death of soldiers killed in Uri terror attack. This comment of Rahul attracted strong reaction not only from the ruling BJP but also from RJD President Lalu Prasad who said that the Congress scion could not put his views to the media in a proper manner.
    Two months later, Lalu's views are witnessing a paradigm shift with the RJD president now calling Rahul a bigger leader than Prime Minister Modi.
    It's the angry young man avatar which Rahul has unleashed in the last 15 days against demonetisation along with stealing the momentum from West Bengal Mamata Bannerjee on the issue which has forced Lalu Yadav to change his views about the Congress leader.
    A couple of days back, Lalu Yadav showered lavish praise for Rahul Gandhi when the Congress vice-president launched scathing attack on PM Modi alleging him of taking bribe from Sahara group to the tune of Rs 40 crore.
    Two days later, Lalu is again in awe of Rahul and insinuating that he was becoming a statesman of sorts.
    Lalu Yadav took to Twitter to back Rahul Gandhi's tirade against PM Modi on demonetisation. The RJD chief said that Rahul has become a taller leader than PM Modi.
    "PM Modi is now appearing a smaller leader in front of Rahul Gandhi. PM Modi during Varanasi visit yesterday has proved that he was a smaller leader than Rahul", tweeted Lalu Prasad Yadav.
    "Rahul has correctly put that the opposition is of ideology and we will defeat them. Rahul was right to oppose anti-Narendra Modi chants in his rally asserting that Narendra Modi was after all the Pime Minister of the country and anti-PM chants was not right. PM mocked Rahul at his Varanasi event while Rahul, in his Jaunpur rally, stopped people from chanting anti-PM slogans. Who is a bigger and taller leader?", questioned Lalu Yadav in another tweet.
    The RJD chief said BJP used issue of Pakistan as a "patwaar" (rudder) whenever they are cornered in the country over any issue or are foreseeing any electoral defeat.
    Lalu demanded PM Modi to clarify on his relations with Pakistan. Lalu Yadav said Modi has a secret relation with Pakistan.
    "PM should explain his relations with Pakistan. Whenever they find themselves entrapped or foresee election defeat, they use Pakistan as a rudder. Modi should come out in open with his mysterious relation with Pakistan, how he lands his aircraft in the neighboring country at will, how he invites ISI agents in the country and when BJP finds itself trapped, uses Pakistan to save itself", tweeted Lalu.

Najeeb Jung to India Today: Offered to quit twice in the past. 2 days ago called PM again, he said go ahead
  • A day after he resigned, Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung today said he offered to quit at least twice in the past, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi stopped him.
    "In 2014, when PM Modi was sworn in, I met him and requested him that since I was a Congress appointee, I would like to resign. PM said no, please continue," he told India Today TV's Karan Thapar.
    The 65-year-old former bureaucrat said he had also offered again to resign earlier this year.
    "This July when I finished three years in office, I called the PM again to congratulate and expressed my desire to leave. PM again asked me to continue," Jung said.
    "Two days back, I spoke to the PM and expressed my desire yet again. This time PM told me to go ahead. I resigned within a few hours," he said.
    Jung met Modi today, but what transpired between the two was not immediately clear. Informed sources said Jung briefed Modi about the reasons behind his resignation.
    Jung, who was at the centre of the bitter Centre-Arvind Kejriwal standoff, quit on Thursday citing no reason. He said he would return to "his first love, which is academics".
    Earlier today, Kejriwal had an hour-long meeting with Jung over breakfast during which the latter reminisced their nearly two-year-long association in governing the city besides discussing other issues.
    The Delhi Chief Minister said he was invited by the Lt Governor for breakfast, a meeting that came a day after Jung's sudden resignation from his post.
    Sources said Jung and Kejriwal spoke about the bitter-sweet times and spent some light moments. Asked why Jung quit, Kejriwal said, "He resigned due to personal reasons."
    Though publicly Kejriwal had made stinging attacks on Jung on many occasions, both of them are known to share a cordial relationship at personal level.

BJP hits back at Rahul's allegations, asks why corporate loans of 36.5 lakh crore were waived by UPA govt
  • In a fresh attack on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, BJP has said that Congress talks more about Adani and Ambani than Sonia Gandhi but are silent on crucial facts.
    Responding to the the Rahul Gandhi's allegation that the BJP let Vijay Malaya escape to London and gave him a toffee of 12 thousand crore, BJP National Secretary Srikant Sharma hit back alleging that the Congress government is the one that needed to answer for misdemeanours.
    1. He said, "In 2012 SBI had frozen one account worth Rs 1450 crore of Vijay Malaya. Then on what basis was he was given a loan of 1500 crore from the same bank. How? Can Rahul Gandhi explain this. Now we are recovering those loans".
    2. He further added that if you look into the statement of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, it was clear that he had stressed the need to save Kingfisher. This clearly shows that UPA never cared about poor.
    3. He alleged that in December, BJP government will recover 800 crores from Vijay Malaya by auctioning his properties.
    4. Srikant Sharma also said that though Congress talks about our Corporate closeness, it ignores the fact that the UPA waived Corporate loans to the tune of 35.6 lakh crore. He said that percentage wise from 2004-05 to 2013-14, loan waiver increased by a whooping 32 per cent.
    5. He further added that because of BJP's campaign against black money ever since the new government was formed, Congress party is extremely rattled along with the likes of Mamta, Akhilesh and Kejrival.
    6. He added that despite their relentless campagin against demonetisaiton, the scheme has proven successful due to the fact that people of this country believe that PM Modi is very honest.
    7. Further, taking a pot shot at the Congress, Srikant Sharma said that we are moving towards a cashless society but Congress doesn't want cash to end as when cash stops, commission stops and when commission stops ,then Congress stops.
    8. Dismissing the allegation leveled by Rahul Gandhi against PM Modi, he said that even the courts have dismissed his accusations and if the Congress whose super PM was Rahul was serious about this, then he had CBI with him in 2013. He asked, " Why no action was taken then? Basically till now scams committed during UPA era is coming out and nobody can accuse this government of any scam".

Agusta Westland case: Decision on former IAF chief SP Tyagi's bail on Dec 24
  • Agusta Westland chopper scam accused former Indian Air Chief SP Tyagi, cousin Julie Tyagi and lawyer Khaitan's bail decision has been kept on hold. The Patiala House court in Delhi today has asked the CBI counsel to present 'incriminating evidence' that it claims to have against the Tyagis by 11 am on the 26th of December when the court hearing resumes upon which whether they will be granted bail will be decided.
    1. Until then, the trio will continue to remain in judicial custody.
    2. It was a tough day for the CBI at the Patiala House Court where the bail hearing of Agusta accused SP Tyagi, his cousin Julie Tyagi and lawyer Khaitan was going on. CBI not only had to face some tough questions from the Defense counsels but also from the magistrate.
    3. The defense argued that in the last many years, CBI had never been able to present or confront the former Air Chief with any evidence to suggest that he received bribe. The defense also alleged that in so many years, all that the CBI could translate was 36 thousand pages. So how long will it take the premier investigative agency of the country to translate more than 2 lakh pages, the defense counsels asked.
    4. If that was not all, the magistrate asked the CBI counsel if indeed they had incriminating evidence to nail Tyagi's role, they should present it. The court has granted the CBI counsel time till 26th of December when the matter will be decided.
    5. The CBI on December 11 had arrested former Air Chief S P Tyagi in the Agusta Westland chopper deal case.
    6. The Enforcement Directorate had summoned the former Air Chief in April in connection with the money-laundering probe. The CBI alleged that Tyagi had accepted kickbacks for exercising his influence illegally.

Business Affairs 

Amid cash crunch, PM calls NITI Aayog meet to review economy: Report
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called a high-level meeting at NITI Aayog on Tuesday to take stock of the economy and other important issues particularly the currency crunch post demonetisation.
    PM Modi has called the meeting to seek feedback of NITI Aayog members, economists and top officials of various concerned ministries particularly Finance and Commerce & Industries, a highly placed source in the Prime Minister's office said.
    The source said that the government is keen to chalk out a strategy to deal with adverse impact of currency crunch on the economy particularly on unorganised sector where people lost jobs because of currency crunch prevailing since November 8, 2016. 
    The meeting assumes significance in view of various multilateral agencies and RBI lowering growth forecast for the current fiscal. RBI has reduced the economic growth forecast to 7.1 per cent from 7.6 per cent in its monetary policy review earlier this month.
    Multilateral funding agency ADB too lowered growth projection to 7 per cent for the current fiscal from its earlier projection of 7.4 per cent due to the impact of demonetisation on economic activities.
    Indian economy expanded by 7.1 per cent and 7.3 per cent in the first and second quarters of 2016-17.
    The economists including former Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has expressed opinions that the demonetisation will disrupt the economy and will pull down the GDP growth rate for the current fiscal by up to two percentage points.
    The source said that Prime Minister will also take stock of various initiatives of the NITI Aayog to promote the digital economy like Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana for incentivising digital payment.
    The estimated expenditure on the first phase of the scheme (up to April 14, 2017) is likely to be 340 crores.

GST Council meet: States blame Centre for loss in revenue collections. Note ban puts GST at risk
  • The prospects of introducing a goods and services tax (GST) in India next April, its biggest tax reform, faded on Friday after central and state finance officials postponed talks on how to administer the tax after a two-day meeting.
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who aims to push the tax reform to replace various central and state levies with one tax, is facing resistance from states after his surprise decision last month to scrap high-value currency notes.
    Many states including West Bengal and Kerala have said Modi's decision to scrap 86 percent of the cash in circulation had hit their revenue collections, as they collect value-added tax on goods and other duties.
    The finance ministry and state finance officials have broadly agreed on a national sales tax and are making "reasonable headway" on a few contentious issues, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday.

Nusli Wadia files criminal defamation case against Tata Sons and Ratan Tata
  • A day after Tata Motors shareholders voted in favour of his removal as director, Industrialist Nusli Wadia on Friday filed a criminal defamation case against Tata Sons and Ratan Tata for allegedly defaming him.
    Nusli Wadia in his complaint said Tata Sons, Ratan Tata and the board had individually and collectively defamed him by printing, publishing and circulating "false, frivolous, baseless, incorrect, libellous and defamatory material" with the sole intention of tarnishing his reputation.
    According to reports, Ishaat Hussain had accused Nusli Wadia of acting in concert with Cyrus Mistry. Hussain also said that all the allegations made by Wadia in the past were baseless.
    Today's development comes two days after the Tata Steel members voted to remove Nusli Wadia from the office of the director of the company.
    According to Mint, the directors against whom complaints have been filed are Ajay Piramal, Amit Chandra, Ishaat Hussain, Nitin Nohria, Ranendra Sen, Vijay Singh, Venu Srinivasan, Ralf Speth, N Chandrasekaran and FN Subedar.

Sensex, Nifty snap seven-day losing streak, Divi's Labs hits 52-week low
  • The market on Friday snapped seven-day losing streak and closed mildly in the green.
    While the Sensex closed 61 points higher at 26,040 level, Nifty rose 6.65 points to 7,985 level.
    The Sensex which opened in the negative territory at 25959 level recovered ground and hit an intra-day high of 26,143 level and intra day low of 25,872 level.
    The Nifty closed below the crucial psychological level of 8,000 for the second straight session.
    MMTC (3.05 percent) and Bajaj Finance (5.55 percent) were the top gainers on the BSE.
    Divi's Laboratories (21.87 percent)  and Bharat Financial Inclusion (6.27 percent) were the top losers on the BSE.
    The Divi's Laboratories stock fell amid news the BSE has sought clarification from Divis Laboratories with reference to news appeared in CNBC TV 18 dated December 23, 2016. 
    The stock which opened at 1,101 level hit a low of Rs 821, its 52-week low, and recovered later to close at Rs 866.10 level, down 242 points or 21.87 percent for the day. 
    On the 30 stock Sensex, 16 stocks closed in the green against 14 ending lower.
    Axis Bank (2.23 percent) and ONGC (1.20 percent) were the top losers on the index.
    Market breadth was marginally negative with 1,258 stocks closing in the green against 1,304 ending in the red. 
    Global markets
    The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.9 percent to 3,110.15 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng retreated 0.3 percent to 21,574.76. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was off 0.3 percent to 5,627.90 and Seoul's Kospi declined a fraction of a point to 2,035.90. India's Sensex added 0.4 percent to 26,077.96. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. Benchmarks in New Zealand and Bangkok advanced. Taiwan and other Southeast Asian markets declined.
    The Dow shed 23.08 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,918.88. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 4.22 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,260.96. The Nasdaq composite dipped 24.01 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,447.42.

Amid cash crunch, Nigerian held with Rs 54 lakh. All in new notes!
  • A Nigerian national has been apprehended at Coimbatore airport with about Rs 54 lakh in new notes today.
    He took off from the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here and was intercepted by CISF officials.
    Officials said the incident was reported at about 2:30 AM when CISF personnel intercepted the Nigerian, identified as T C Chuwutebelu, who reached the airport here to travel to Coimbatore.
    "He was allowed to travel after information was shared with Income Tax department officials. They apprehended him at Coimbatore airport.
    "A total cash of over Rs 58 lakh was detected with the Nigerian, with Rs 53.78 lakh being in new currency and Rs 4.29 lakh in old notes," they said.

General Awareness

North America Continent Countries & Capitals,Currency with Code

  • NameCapitalCurrencyOfficial language
    AnguillaThe ValleyEast Caribbean dollar(XCD)English
    Antigua and BarbudaSt. John’sEast Caribbean dollar (XCD)English
    ArubaOranjestadAruban florin(AWG)Papiamento
    BahamasNassauBahamian dollar (BSD)English
    BarbadosBridgetownBarbadian dollar (BBD)English
    BelizeBelmopanBelize dollar (BZD)English
    BermudaHamiltonBermudian dollarc (BMD)English
    BonaireKralendijkUnited States dollar(USD)Dutch
    British Virgin IslandsRoad TownUnited States dollar(USD)English
    CanadaOttawaCanadian dollar (CAD)French
    Cayman IslandsGeorge TownCayman Islands dollar(KYD)English
    Clipperton IslanduninhabitedEuro(EUR)French
    Costa RicaSan JoséCosta Rican colón(CRC)Spanish
    CubaHavanaPeso (CUP)
    Convertible peso(CUC)
    CuraçaoWillemstadNetherlands Antillean guilder(ANG)Papiamento
    DominicaRoseauEast Caribbean dollar (XCD)English
    Dominican RepublicSanto DomingoDominican peso (DOP)Spanish
    El SalvadorSan SalvadorUnited States dollara (USD)Spanish
    GreenlandNuukDanish krone (DKK)Greenlandic
    GrenadaSt. George’sEast Caribbean dollar (XCD)English
    GuatemalaGuatemala CityGuatemalan quetzal(GTQ)Spanish
    HaitiPort-au-PrinceHaitian gourde(HTG)French
    HondurasTegucigalpaHonduran lempira(HNL)Spanish
    JamaicaKingstonJamaican Dollar(JMD)English
    MexicoMexico CityMexican peso(MXN)Spanish
    MontserratPlymouth (official)East Caribbean dollar(XCD)English
    Navassa IslandInsular area of the United States of AmericaUnited States Dollar(USD)English
    NicaraguaManaguaNicaraguan cordoba(NIO)Spanish
    PanamaPanama CityBalboa(PAB),
    United States dollar (USD)
    Puerto RicoSan JuanUnited States Dollar(USD)English
    SabaThe BottomUnited States Dollar(USD)Dutch
    Saint BarthélemyGustaviaEuro (EUR)French
    Saint Kitts and NevisBasseterreEast Caribbean dollar(XCD)English
    Saint LuciaCastriesEast Caribbean dollar(XCD)English
    Saint MartinMarigotEuro(EUR)French
    Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint-PierreEuro(EUR)French
    Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesKingstownEast Caribbean dollar(XCD)English
    Sint EustatiusOranjestadUnited States Dollar(USD)Dutch
    Sint MaartenPhilipsburgNetherlands Antillean guilder(ANG)Dutch
    Trinidad and TobagoPort of SpainTrinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD)English
    Turks and Caicos IslandsCockburn TownUnited States Dollar(USD)English
    United StatesWashington, D.C.United States Dollar(USD)Many,
    National language – English
    United States Virgin IslandsCharlotte AmalieUnited States Dollar(USD)English

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