1. RBI granted in-principle approval to NPCI to function as the central unit for Bharat Bill Payment Systems
i. The Reserve Bank of India on 24 November 2015 decided to grant in principle approval to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to function as the Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU) in Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS).
ii. The BBPS is an integrated bill payment system which will function as a tiered structure for operating the bill payment system in the country with a single brand image providing convenience of anytime anywhere bill payment to customers.
iii. As the central unit, NPCI will set necessary operational, technical and business standards for the entire system and its participants. Besides, NPCI will undertake clearing and settlement activities. The present scope of BBPS will include utility bill payments, such as, electricity, water, gas, telephone and Direct-to-Home (DTH).
iv. National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) was incorporated in December 2008 and the Certificate of Commencement of Business was issued in April 2009. It has been incorporated as a Section 25 company under Companies Act.
2. P Uday Bhaskar appointed as Chairman of Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission
i. P Uday Bhaskar was on 26 November 2015 appointed as the Chairman of Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC). The post has been lying vacant for quite some time now. There had been no permanent Chairman of the APPSC since 2014. Sivanarayana, who is one of the member of APPSC, had been the Interim Chairman but he retired in June 2015.
ii. Dr Uday Bhaskar is a professor of Civil Engineering and Director of Foreign Universities and Alumni Relations of the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Kakinada (JNTU-K).
iii. He is also the Director of evaluation at the JNTU-K. He worked at JNTU-K in various capacities including head of civil engineering, chief coordinator of several consultancy and research projects.
iv. He published more than 20 research papers in the national and international journals and conferences. Dr Uday Bhaskar did his Post Graduation and Doctoral degrees in Environmental Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.
3. Patricia Scotland appointed as Secretary General of Commonwealth of Nations
i. Dominica-born British lawyer Patricia Scotland was on 27 November 2015 appointed as the Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations. With this, Patricia become the first British citizen and first woman as well to hold the role in the 66-year history of 53-member Commonwealth.
ii. Scotland succeeds India's Kamalesh Sharma and will join the office on 1 April 2016. She will receive a salary of nearly 160000 British Pound as well as a four storey mansion in Mayfair. She was selected during the 24th biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta on 27 November 2015.
iii. Scotland was the first black woman to be made a Queen’s Council in 1991. Patricia Scotland is prominent lawyer and was created Baroness Scotland of Asthal in 1997. She became a member of House of Lords (Upper House) of the British parliament in 1997.
iv. The Commonwealth Secretary-General is the head of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the central body that has served the Commonwealth of Nations since its establishment in 1965. The Secretary-General can now serve a maximum of two four-year terms.
4. RBI granted in-principle approval to three applicants for setting up TReDS
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 24 November 2015 granted in-principle approval to three applicants to set up and operate Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS). The three organisations have been asked to set and operate TReDS in accordance to the Guidelines issued on 3 December 2014 under the Payment and Settlement System (PSS) Act 2007.
NSE Strategic Investment Corporation Limited (NSICL) and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI),
Mumbai. Axis Bank Limited, Mumbai
Mynd Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon, Haryana
iii. The in-principle approval granted will be valid for a period of 6 months, during which time the applicants have to comply with the requirements under the Guidelines and fulfill the other conditions as may be stipulated by the Reserve Bank.
iv. On being satisfied that the applicants have complied with the requisite conditions laid down by it as part of in-principle approval, the RBI would consider granting to them a Certificate of Authorisation for commencement of the business of TReDS.
5. UNESCO Fellini medal to be awarded at IFFI for the first time
i. The UNESCO Fellini medal will be awarded in India for the first time at the 46th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in collaboration with the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication (ICFT), Paris. The medal is given to a film that reflects UNESCO’s ideals.
ii. The Fellini medal was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1995. The medal holds a double significance - to honour Italian director Federico Fellini’s contribution to film as an art form, and to commemorate the centenary of the birth of cinema (1895-1995). Italian painter Valerio Adami designed the fragmented, interlocking images of the medal.
iii. The obverse side features a profile of Fellini with his signature hat, facing the inscription 8 1/2, the title of one of the most famous films in the history of cinema. The reverse is inscribed Fellini (1920-1993) UNESCO.
6. India to launch $1-b equity fund for renewable energy
i. India proposes to launch a $1-billion equity fund, with seed capital from public sector units, to support renewable energy companies.
ii. Addressing a ‘Talkathon’ ahead of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference or COP-21, Piyush Goyal Minister of State (Independent Charge) Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, said, “While we hope the Paris talks will help developed countries provide long-tenor low-cost funding, we are also preparing ourselves to see how we can finance our renewable energy thrust.”
iii. Goyal and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, were taking questions from the public which were being asked on the micro-blogging social network Twitter.
iv. Apart from the private equity fund, Goyal also said that the country expects to collect $4 billion a year in the next three-four years for the National Clean Energy Fund through a cess on coal mining. Since the Narendra Modi-led Government took charge last year, clean cess on coal mining has been quadrupled to Rs 200 a tonne.
v. Asked about the International Solar Alliance, Goyal said it will be launched on November 30 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande. The Minister said that the purpose of the International Solar Alliance is to forge a partnership in countries blessed with abundant sunshine.