By: D.K Choudhary
Good Governance Day being observed to mark Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Birthday
I. Good Governance Day is being observed today (25th December 2016) to mark the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who has turned 92. From today, Good Governance campaign will be undertaken for 100 days during which Ministers and Members of Parliament will travel across the country and attend programmes highlighting the government’s key initiatives.
II. The endeavour of the government is to improve delivery systems, to promote digital transformation and take forward the connectivity revolution in all sectors.
Obama signs USD 618 bn defence bill; boosts security cooperation with India
I. US President Barack Obama has signed into law the USD 618 billion defence budget for 2017, which enhances security cooperation with India and conditions nearly half of the funding to Pakistan on a certification that it is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network.
II. Obama has signed the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017, which asks Defence Secretary and Secretary of State to take steps necessary to recognise India as America’s “major defence partner”.
Sri Lanka claims world’s tallest artificial Christmas tree
I. Sri Lanka has unveiled a towering Christmas tree, claiming to have surpassed the world record for the tallest artificial Christmas tree. The 73-meter (238-foot) tree, built in capital Colombo, is 18 meters taller than the current record holder. The tree’s steel-and-wire frame is covered with a plastic net decorated with natural pine cones, 600,000 LED bulbs and topped by a 6-meter-tall (20-foot) shining star.
II. Their tree beat the existing Guinness record held by a Chinese firm that put up a 55-meter (180-foot) tree-like tower in the city of Guangzhou last year (2015).
DRDO successfully flight tests Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon
I. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully flight tested the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) at the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur off Odisha coast. Capable of engaging ground targets with high precision covering a range of around 100 km, SAAW precision-guided bomb is an indigenous designed and developed class smart weapon weighing 120 kg.
II. Scientific Advisor to RM and DG (Missile and Strategic Systems), DRDO, Dr G. Satheesh Reddy, lauded the scientific community of the DRDO for their efforts towards the design and development of this state-of-the-art smart weapon within the set time frame.
Google India, Consumer Affairs Ministry join hands for online consumer protection
I. Aiming to raise awareness about online safety, Google India in collaboration with Ministry of Consumer Affairs has announced a nationwide ‘Digitally Safe Consumer campaign, as part of a larger effort to help better protect consumer interest online.
II. As part of this collaboration, Google along with the Department of Consumer Affairs will undertake a year long campaign focused on building capacities of consumer organisations, personnel of consumer affairs department and counsellors of National Consumer Helpline on Internet safety and related issues.
After the US, Facebook received most data requests from Indian govt in 6 months
I. Social networking giant Facebook received 6,324 requests from Indian government agencies for 8,290 users/accounts in the first half of 2016. This is the second highest after the US, which made 23,854 requests for 38,951 users/accounts during January-June 2016, according to Facebook’s Government Requests Report.
II. Requests from India have increased, a trend seen globally as well from the previous period. Indian agencies had made 5,561 requests for 7,018 users/accounts in July-December 2015 period.
Govt launch mobile App ‘Smart Consumer’ & OCMC to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances
I. The government has launched a host of online initiatives including a mobile App ‘Smart Consumer’ and an ‘Online Consumer Mediation Centre (OCMC)’ to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances.
II. The initiatives were unveiled by Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan at a function in New Delhi on the occasion of National Consumer Day (24th December 2016). A helpline 14404 was also launched for conusmer related grievances.
Pakistani Hindus can register for Indian citizenship with fee as low as Rs 100
I. The registration fees for Hindus and other minority community people from three neighbouring countries including Pakistan as Indian citizens have been drastically reduced to as low as Rs 100 from Rs 15,000. In a gazette notification, the home ministry said the new rules will be applicable to minority communities Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and living in India on long term visa.
II. However, for minority community people from countries other than the three, the fees will be Rs 10,000 for registration in India and Rs 15,000 if registered elsewhere.
Virat Kohli leads Lord’s Cricket Ground list of top 20 players of 2016
I. After the release of ICC and Cricket Australia’s list of best players of 2016, Lord’s Cricket Ground have followed the trend and selected top 20 players for this calendar year.
II. Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli bagged was honored with No. 1 spot after experiencing a sensational run in 2016 across all the formats of the game. Virat brought an end to his perfect year with Player of the Series award in the recently concluded Test series with England. Englishman Jonny Bairstow followed the Indian Test captain while ICC No.1 Test bowler Ravichandran Ashwin came in third ahead of Sri Lankan spin wizard Rangana Herath.