General Studies & Current Affairs for Bank, SSC, CLAT, Civil Services and other Competitive Exams

   5  December 2014 National: No more subsidised kerosene through PDS Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has scrapped the...

GK & Current Affair Updates: December 5- 2014

   5  December 2014
No more subsidised kerosene through PDS
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has scrapped the supply of subsidised kerosene through the Public Distribution System (PDS). The Centre plans to write to States asking them to provide subsidised kerosene only to un-electrified households. States which have achieved near 100 per cent electrification will be incentivised to become kerosene-free. In the remaining States, un-electrified households will be given the choice between cash subsidy in lieu of kerosene allocation and upfront subsidy for greener solar lighting systems. This decision comes close on the heels of cuts in the Centre’s social sector spending allocations aimed at aligning plan expenditure with subdued revenue collections. The allocation of kerosene subsidy will now be in accordance with Census 2011 data, which shows that it’s no longer a fuel of choice for cooking but is used for lighting purposes. The Census showed that kerosene has been almost completely replaced by LPG in urban and semi-urban areas and biomass is the cooking fuel of choice in the rural areas. Less than 2 per cent of India’s rural households use kerosene as cooking fuel, according to the Census.

A voice for the poor and deprived fades away
The legendary jurist V.R. Krishna Iyer, who took up the cause of the poor and the underprivileged in his capacities as a Minister in Kerala, a Supreme Court judge, and post-retirement, a human rights activist, is no more. He was 99. Justice Iyer is known for a jurisprudence that stood out for its emphasis on reforming the criminal justice system, for landmark judgments, and for the environmental struggles.

Internet freedom in India improves slightly
In its ‘Freedom on the Net 2014’ report of Freedom House, an independent US-based watchdog group, ranked the countries on 21 categories under three broad heads – obstacles to access, limits on content and violations of individuals’ rights. The improvement in India’s score, from 47 out of 100 in 2012-13 to 42 out of 100 in 2013-14, is the largest by any country.


‘Gangnam Style’ forces YouTube to upgrade
 “Gangnam Style” was a big hit. The Internet literally was not ready to handle it. YouTube said the 2012 song by South Korea’s Psy, accompanied by a horse-riding-like dance that became a global sensation, this week reached the maximum number of views that its counter had imagined to be conceivable. The video-sharing site shows that the official version of the video has had more than 2.15 billion views — the equivalent of one-third of the world’s population, although, of course, many people watched it more than once. The problem: YouTube designed its counter with what is known in computer science as a 32-bit integer, meaning that the maximum number of countable views was 2,147,483,647. YouTube engineers anticipated the problem and upgraded to a 64-bit integer.

‘Godfather of DNA’ to sell Nobel Prize medal
Seven years after one of the godfathers of DNA, James D. Watson, lost some of his reputation through remarks about race, he is hoping for a measure of redemption by putting his Nobel Prize medal up for auction and donating much of the proceeds to educational institutions. Watson, with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, received the award in 1962 for the discovery nine years earlier of the double-helix structure of DNA, which revealed how genetic traits were transmitted through heredity. This has become the foundation of the now booming field of genomics, which has revolutionised the treatment of disease.

Ukraine, rebels agree to halt fire
Ukraine and the pro-Russian rebels said that they had agreed to halt fire across the eastern war zone on December 9 under the terms of a Kremlin-brokered truce. President Petro Poroshenko said the terms of the new truce were already included in an earlier peace deal concluded in Minsk on September. But the pact made no mention of a specific date on which the two sides were due to lay down their arms.

Business and Economy:

ONGC to acquire stake in two Siberian oilfields
Oil and Natural Gas Corp will sign a deal to acquire stake in two Siberian oilfields, including the strategic Vankor. ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL), the overseas arm of the state explorer, will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for acquiring the stake in Vankor and Yurubcheno-Tokhomskoye fields. The MoU is part of Mr. Putin’s energy engagement as he seeks to expand trade links with Asian nations to counter sanctions from the U.S. and its allies.

RBI asks banks to adopt easy norms for m-banking registration
The Reserve Bank of India asked banks to make the registration process for mobile banking services easy, and activate the services at the earliest to expand the reach of mobile banking. Releasing the operative guidelines for mobile banking transactions, the RBI said there is a slow pick-up of mobile banking services despite the high mobile density in the country. Banks should strive to provide options for easy registration for mobile banking services to their customers.

SBI MF puts off Sharia-compliant fund launch
SBI Mutual Fund has deferred its plan to launch a Shariah-compliant equity fund, which has run into a controversy amid opposition from religious bodies and targeted investors to the proposed structure of this scheme. SBI MF, which had earlier plans to launch this scheme, is now reviewing the structure of the product.


East reclaims Deodhar Trophy

East Zone proved to be a hard nut to crack and won the Deodhar Trophy after 11 seasons. The game swung back and forth in a tantalising manner, but East struck crucial blows in the closing stages of the match to beat West by 24 runs in the final at Mumbai.