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December 2015 Current Affairs - Competitive Exams - GK Power Capsule December 2015

71. Afghanistan will become the 163rd WTO member.
72. Singapore replaced Mauritius as top source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into India during April-September of 2015-16 financial year.
73. RBI announced revised Priority Sector Lending norms for Regional Rural Banks. Among other things, the PSL target was increased to 75 percent of total outstanding from the existing 60 percent. The revised target will be effective from 1 January 2016. Loans to individual farmers, for the purpose of PSL, was increased to 50 lakh rupees from the present 10 lakh rupees against pledge/ hypothecation of agricultural produce (including warehouse receipts) for a period not exceeding 12 months.
74. CSO announced that India’s Gross Domestic Product grew by 7.4 percent in the second quarter (July-September) of 2015-16. The high growth rate became a possibility due to 10.6 percent registered by Trade, hotels and Transport and communication and services related to broadcasting sectors. The manufacturing sector also grew by 9.3 percent compared to 7.9 percent in Q2 of FY 2014-15.
75. The Reserve Bank of India decided to grant in principle approval to the National Payments
Corporation of India to function as the Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU) in Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS).
76. Government of Nepal decided to amend the Constitution to address two key demands of agitating
Madhesis regarding proportional representation and constituency delimitation.
77. The European Union extended its economic sanctions against Russia for six months over its involvement in the Ukraine crisis.
78. 10th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference concluded on 19 December 2015 in
Nairobi, Kenya. The conference concluded with the adoption of the Nairobi Package that is aimed at
benefitting organization’s poorest members. India was represented by Minister of State (Independent
Charge) for Commerce & Industry Nirmala Sitharaman.
79. The Senate of United States ratified reforms to boost the representation of emerging economies at the International Monetary Fund as part of Budget Bill. China's voting rights will rise to 6 percent from 3.8 percent and the nation will become the third-largest shareholder. As China's voting rights rise, the US will see its share drop from 16.7 percent to 16.5 percent. India's voting rights will also rise to 2.6 percent from the current 2.3 percent.
80. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution to increase sanctions against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) group and other terrorist groups.
81. The Federal Reserve System, the central banking system of the USA, increased interest rate by 0.25 percent. With this, the interest rates in the US are now in the range of 0.25 – 0.50 percent as compared to zero to 0.25 percent range earlier.
82. Pension fund regulatory body PFRDA has started using PAN instead of Aadhaar for validation of new customers who can now be registered online under the National Pension System (NPS) scheme.
83. The IMF approved nearly $500 million in its latest tranche of financial assistance to Pakistan.
84. Uttar Pradesh government became the first state to give its approval for turning around its ailing discoms by joining the Centre’s ambitious UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) scheme. So far, seven other  states have given an in-principle approval for the scheme. According to the scheme, loans of Rs 47,700 crore (till September 30, 2015) would be converted into bonds.
85. Housing prices increased by 13.7 per cent during July-September of this fiscal compared with year-ago period but the annual growth rate has slowed down,according to RBI report. Delhi witnessed the maximum rise with nearly 22 per cent increase in prices during the quarter over the last year.
86. US lawmakers have decided to increase the quota for H-2B visas meant for unskilled foreign workers by nearly 400 per cent.
87. The government lowered the economic growth forecast for the current fiscal to 7-7.5 per cent from previously projected 8.1-8.5 per cent mainly because of lower agricultural output due to deficit rains.
88. India has been ranked a low 97th out of 144 nations, behind Kazakhstan and Ghana, on Forbes’ annual list of the best countries for doing business in 2015.
89. The US Congress has imposed a special fee of up to USD 4,500 on the H-1B and L-1 visas popular among Indian IT companies.
90. The Supreme Court banned registration of diesel-run SUVs and cars having engine capacity beyond 2000 cc in Delhi and National Capital Region till March 31.
91. The Finance Ministry said banks will disburse credit to tune of Rs 1.22 lakh crore to small and marginal entrepreneurs during the current fiscal under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY).
92. The Goa government has approved the Rs 981.11 crore proposal for Panaji Smart City which would be submitted to the Union Urban Development Ministry.
93. Retail inflation scaled a 14-month high of 5.41% in November, while wholesale price inflation touched -1.99% during the month.
94. The Union Cabinet has cleared the Bill to regulate the real estate sector while mandating that developers must deposit 70 per cent of the project cost in a separate account.
95. A landmark climate change deal was clinched with the approval of India, China and the US, after days of tough negotiations with the legally-binding pact seeking to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and committing USD 100 billion a year from 2020 to help developing nations.
96. India and Japan signed an agreement to amend the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement which will help in reducing tax avoidance and act as a deterrent against tax evasion as well as accumulation of black money.
97. The National Green Tribunal has ordered the closure of Bhushan Steel and Strips Limited, declaring it to be a polluting industry.
98. National Green Tribunal directed that diesel-run vehicles will not be registered in Delhi with
immediate effect and asked the central and state government departments not to purchase diesel
vehicles. There will be no renewal of registration of diesel vehicles which are more than 10-year-old.
99. Govt imposed five-year anti-dumping duties on stainless steel imports from China, the European
Union and the United States, as the government tries to help local companies suffering from cheaper
imports.
100. Delhi recorded the highest per capita income among all states in the country at Rs 2,40,849 during financial year 2014-15, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.
101. A mechanism known as SETU to support all aspects of start-up businesses and other self- employment activities has been set up by the government.
102. Finance Ministry wants EPFO to retain 8.75 per cent rate of interest on PF deposits for 2015-16.
103. The Delhi Government announced a series of measures to curb the alarming rise in pollution in the national capital, including a proposal to close down the Badarpur Power plant which runs on coal.
104. The telecom wing of the Indian Railways, RailTel, has signed an agreement with the subsidiary of Google India to provide Wi-Fi facilities at 400 stations across the country.
105. The Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has raised Delhi MLA’s salaries by a whopping 400%.
106. The Asian Development Bank kept its economic growth forecast for India unchanged at 7.4 per cent for the current financial year and 7.8 per cent for the next fiscal.
107. Bihar has emerged as the fastest growing state in terms of gross state domestic product, clocking a growth rate of 17.06 per cent in FY 2014-15.
108. The government has collected Rs 16.69 crore as taxes and penalty till November 26 from those who have disclosed illegal wealth under the black money compliance window. 635 declarations worth Rs 4,160 crore of illegal wealth were made in the three-month compliance window, which ended on September 30.
109. The Asset Under Management under the National Pension System has crossed Rs one lakh crore, Pension fund regulator PFRDA said. 
110. The growth rate of eight core sectors industries slowed to 3.2 per cent in October from a year earlier on account of a sharp drop in crude oil and steel production.
111. India and Japan exchanged notes for Japan’s Official Development Loan Assistance (ODA) worth Rs 5,536 crore for Chennai and Ahmedabad metro rail projects.
112. The gold bond scheme has evoked “excellent response” with the government receiving 63,000
applications for purchase of bonds worth Rs 246 crore for 917 kg. Gold in the first tranche.
113. Indian companies could raise up to USD 5 billion over the next three years through issue of offshore rupee or masala bonds. In September, RBI had allowed nonbanking finance companies (NBFCs) and other corporates to issue masala bonds. Masala bond is used to refer to an instrument through which Indian companies can raise overseas funds in rupees, not foreign currency.
114. India is likely to see a jump of 11 per cent in imports of the metal to 1,000 tonnes this year, says All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation.
115. The finance ministry has cut its ambitious disinvestment revenue target by 57% to Rs 30,000
crore for the current fiscal as ‘strategic’ sales have failed to take off.
116. Bladimir Putin ordered state-of-the art air defence missile systems to be deployed at a Russian air base in Syria following the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey.
117. Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi declared a nationwide state of emergency and a curfew in the capital after a bomb attack on a presidential guard bus killed at least 12 people.
118. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament that the government was considering 33 per cent reservation for women in the paramilitary forces.
119. The government has extended the usage criterion of the RuPay debit cards in order to avail of the in-built insurance cover. Earlier, cardholders had to use the card within 45 days prior to claim the insurance claim. This has now been extended to 90 days.
120. A Japanese television channel has arrived to make a documentary on how students from the
underprivileged sections of society aspire to be at the Indian Institutes of Technology under the guidance of mathematician Anand Kumar and his Super 30 team.
121. Sri Lanka, India, Malta and Mauritius have come together to establish a Commonwealth Trade Finance Facility to boost trade and investment flows, particularly for developing nations of the
Commonwealth.
122. The government said it has advanced the date for implementation of the roll out of Bharat Stage (BS) stage V and VI norms for four-wheelers by three years. Now Ministry has decided to implement BS-V norms from April 1, 2019.
123. In a dramatic turn, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif met and spoke on the sidelines of the UNFCCC main event in Paris, shaking hands and sharing a sofa as they chatted easily for a few minutes in private.
124. India launched an International Solar Alliance at the CoP21 Climate Conference, with an announcement by Prime Minister Modi that the revolution in the field would bring power to all citizens, and create unlimited economic opportunity.
125. Russia has begun building two modern military compounds on the far eastern Kuril islands.
126. President Pranab Mukherjee has given assent to the contentious Labour Laws Bill of Gujarat, which has provisions to ban strikes in public utility services for up to one year.
127. Faulty equipment and the crew’s “inability to control the aircraft” caused an AirAsia A320 to crash into the Java Sea last year, killing all 162 people onboard, an Indonesian report said.
128. Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali will perform at two venues in Kerala State in January next year.
129. Vladimir Kazbekov, the Vice-President of the New Development Bank (NDB) of the Brazil-Russia-India- China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping, has welcomed the inclusion of the Chinese yuan in the IMF basket of reserve currencies Special Drawing Rights.
130. The government’s electronic intelligence monitoring system , the Central Monitoring System (CMS), will become operational by March 2016.
131. Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertook an aerial survey of the affected regions in Chennai and announced an additional Rs. 1,000-crore relief package.
132. Tamil star Dhanush’s song ‘Kolaveri di’ has surpassed 100 million views on Youtube since its release.
133. A three-day international festival on birds begins at the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS) in Agra. As many as 25 international bird experts and over 80 Indian ornithologists are expected to attend.
134. Lawmakers approved plans for Germany to take on a direct role in the battle against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.
135. Securities and Exchange Board of India will soon put in place norms to help entrepreneurs raise funds through ‘crowdfunding’. A SEBI-constituted committee, headed by Infosys co-founder N. R.
Narayana Murthy, to suggest ways for raising of funds through crowdfunding.
136. U.S. magazine Time named German Chancellor Angela Merkel as its “Person of the Year 2015,” hailing her leadership during Europe’s debt, refugee and migrant crises, as well as Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.
137. Bombay High Court acquitted him of all charges in the 2002 hit-and-run and drunk-and-drive case that killed one and injured four persons.
138. Pakistan successfully test-fired the medium-range Shaheen-III surface-to-surface ballistic missile which can carry nuclear warheads up to 2,750 km, bringing many Indian cities within its range.
139. India and the U.S. have identified 17 new areas for potential cooperation under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
140. Indian-origin writer Jamaludeen Mohamed Sali has been declared the winner of this year’s prestigious South East Asia Write Award.
141. Country’s largest lender State Bank of India will issue EMV chip and pin based debit cards to its new customers to ensure enhanced secure transactions.
142. Pakistan successfully test-fired a nuclear capable ballistic missile Shaheen-1A with a range of 900 kilometres.
143. India’s exports fell for the twelfth consecutive month in November, virtually shrinking by a quarter from a year earlier to $20 billion.
144. The government has made it mandatory to quote PAN for all transactions in excess of Rs.2 lakh. The new rule, effective from January 1, will cover purchases of all goods or services. In the case of immovable property, where quoting PAN is currently required for transactions of Rs.5 lakh, the government has decided to raise the monetary limits to Rs.10 lakh.
145. Annoyed with the lack of consensus among constitutional authorities in Uttar Pradesh, the
Supreme Court invoked its extraordinary powers to assume authority and appointed former high court
judge Justice Virendra Singh as Uttar Pradesh’s Lokayukta.
146. Supreme Court imposed a ban on the registration of diesel-run private cars of the capacity of 2000 CC and above and SUVs.
147. The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launched PSLV C-29 rocket with six Singapore satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
148. The National Highway Authority of India plans to raise funds up to Rs.1,000 crore through public issue of tax-free, secured redeemable non-convertible bonds.
149. China has summoned the U.S. envoy to protest Washington’s sale of warships to Taiwan, as part of a massive $1.8 billion arms package, Beijing said.
150. The Bihar government will ban liquor sale and consumption in phases from April 1.
151. A Delhi court granted unconditional bail to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the National Heraldcase of cheating and misappropriation.
152. State Bank of India will raise up to Rs.12,000 crore by issuing bonds that are Basel-III complaint.

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