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2012 December 17 to 22 Current Affairs


International Issues 

The Bangladesh government signed an agreement with the Asian Development Bank for providing 160 million US Dollar loan to help Bangladesh develop sustainable urban public transport systems in greater Dhaka areas. 



Minorities Rights Day is observed on Dec 18, 2012. The day reminds us of the true rights of Minorities. In order to strengthen the cause of the minorities, the United Nations promulgated the "Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities" on 18th December 1992. 

It proclaimed that states shall protect the existence of the National or Ethnic, Cultural, Religious and Linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity. In India , several programmes are being organised to mark the occassion. 



A report by World Health Organisation, WHO, says India will see a decrease of 50-75 per cent in malaria cases by 2015. The WHO's World Malaria Report 2012 said, a concerted effort by endemic countries, donors and global malaria partners during the past decade has led to strengthened malaria control around the world. 


National Issues 

Government has launched Census Info India Software in New Delhi. The specially developed software is an innovative and flexible database technology used for the dissemination of population and housing Census results. It was launched by Registrar General and Census Commissioner, C. Chandramouli on December 17, 2012. 

The software has been developed by the United Nations Statistics Division, in partnership with UNICEF and UNFPA, to help countries disseminate their census results at any relevant geographical level. This powerful data dissemination tool will not only reduce the burden of statistical drudgery, but also make using census data an enjoyable experience. 



The Communication and Information Technology Minister Mr Kapil Sibal inaugurated National Data Centre at Delhi IT park. 



Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar released a book titled 'For the Grains' written by Food Minister K V Thomas at a function in New Delhi. 



The Government has decided to set up 113 Real Time Water Quality Monitoring Stations along the river Ganga. Environment and Forests Minister Jayanti Natarajn said these stations will be set up in the next five years. They included eight in Uttarakhand, 57 in Uttar Pradesh, 13 in Bihar and 35 in West Bengal to monitor the water quality in the river. The Minister said funds to a tune of 100 crore have been earmarked by the National Ganga River Basin Authority for the project. 



The Lok Sabha has passed the Companies Bill 2011. The Bill, aimed at improving corporate governance, contains provisions to strengthen regulations for corporates as well as auditing firms. The Bill passed makes it mandatory for profit-making companies to spend two percent of their profit for community welfare as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. 

In case, a company fails to meet its social obligations, it will have to explain the reasons for the shortfall. Introducing the Bill, Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot termed the Bill as forward looking stating that it will protect small investors from corporate frauds. 



Ministry of Tourism announced setting up of a Southern Zonal Tourism Council to facilitate development of tourism and related products in Southern India. The Council comprises of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. 



December 20 is International Human Solidarity Day. The day is observed to raise public awareness on the importance of solidarity in fighting poverty. Solidarity is one of the fundamental values of international relations in the 21st Century, wherein those who benefit least, deserve help from those who benefit most. 



In West Bengal Nationalized Banks have launched a pilot project in Six Districts of the State to start Electronic Benefit Transfer System. 



The Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill 2011 was introduced in order to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1970/1980. The said Bill has been passed by both the Houses of Parliament during its just concluded Winter Session. This Bill would strengthen the regulatory powers of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and to further develop the banking sector in India. 

The salient features of the Bill are as follows: 

• To enable banking companies to issue preference shares subject to regulatory guidelines by the RBI; 

• To increase the cap on restrictions on voting rights; 

• To create a Depositor Education and Awareness Fund by utilizing the inoperative deposit accounts; 

• To provide prior approval of RBI for acquisition of 5% or more of shares or voting rights in a banking company by any person and empowering RBI to impose such conditions as it deems fit in this regard; 

• To empower RBI to collect information and inspect associate enterprises of banking companies; 

• To empower RBI to supersede the Board of Directors of banking company and appointment of administrator till alternate arrangements are made; 

• To provide for primary cooperative societies to carry on the business of banking only after obtaining a license from RBI; 

• To provide for special audit of cooperative banks at instance of RBI by extending applicability of Section 30 to them; and 

• To enable the nationalized banks to raise capital through “bonus” and “rights” issue and also enable them to increase or decrease the authorized capital with approval from the Government and RBI without being limited by the ceiling of a maximum of Rs. 3000 crore under the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1970/1980. 



The Government has merged Janashree Bima Yojana (JBY) and Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana (AABY) into one scheme, since both the schemes have similar structure of benefits, premium and target group and are being implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). 

The schemes were merged for better administration and services in providing life insurance cover to the economically backward sections of the society. It will also avoid any duplication of coverage of lives under the two schemes and thus allow more accurate claim experience. 

The objective of the merger of the two schemes is not to increase the savings but to ensure better administration and services under the schemes and also avoid any duplication of coverage of lives under the two existing schemes. 


Bilateral Issues 

India has assumed the Presidency of Colombo Plan Council for a period of one year. India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Mr. Ashok K. Kantha assumed the Presidency of the Colombo Plan Council from Bangladesh. The Colombo Plan is a regional Inter-governmental Body with Secretariat located in Colombo. 

It was established in 1951 by Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom and currently has expanded to include 26 member countries. It is a partnership in mutual-help for socio-economic development of its member countries. 



India and the 10-member Southeast Asian nation - ASEAN have agreed to strengthen cooperation in strategically crucial areas of maritime security. India has urged ASEAN for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes in accordance with international law. 

A vision document said south-east asian nations have agreed to promote maritime cooperation, which include sea piracy, search and rescue at sea, maritime environment, maritime security, maritime connectivity, freedom of navigation, fisheries, and other areas. India and the ASEAN have finalised a free trade agreement in services and investments which targeted an ambitious two-way commerce of 200 billion USD by 2022. The move would give Indian professionals like accountants, engineers and doctors access to the 800 million Southeast Asian market. 


Persons 

Mr. Ajay Chadha has been appointed as the Director General of Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). 



Park Geun-hye has become South Korea's first female president. 



American Olivia Culpo has been crowned Miss Universe 2012 , beating out beauties from around the world to claim the coveted title. The pageant, held this year in Las Vegas, saw 89 contestants compete in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview. 


Awards 

Finance Minister P Chidambaram has conferred with the best administrator in India award for his contribution in pushing up the economic reforms as Finance Minister and strengthening the internal security system when he held the Home portfolio. 


Sports 

The 56th National Shooting Championship began at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Ranges in New Delhi on Dec 19, 2012. 


Defence 

India on Dec 20, 2012 successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile with a strike range of 350 km from a test range at Chandipur near Balasore in Odisha. The surface-to-surface missile was test fired from a mobile launcher in salvo mode from launch complex-3 of Integrated Test Range at about 9:21 AM. 

The Prithvi-II missile, developed by the DRDO, is already inducted into the Indian Armed forces. Prithvi, the first missile developed under India'sprestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1000 kg of warheads and thrusted by liquid propulsion twine engines, uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory. 



A powerful new telecommunications satellite for the UK military has blasted into orbit. The five-tonne Skynet-5D platform was sent up on an Ariane rocket from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. It complements three others already in operation, enabling British forces to stay connected over most of the globe. 

The Skynet system, which includes the radio equipment deployed on ships, on vehicles and in the hands of troops, is the UK's single biggest space project. The first three spacecraft in the Skynet series were launched in 2007-2008. They all match the sophistication of the very latest civilian platforms used to pass TV, phone and internet traffic, but have been hardened for military use. 


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