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December 05, 2015

5th December 2015 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • Today (5th December) is World Soil Day.
    • Theme of 215 : Soils, a solid ground for life
    • Important Note : 2015 is declared as the International Year of Soils
  • Today (5th December) is International Volunteer Day.
    • This day is an international observance designated by the United Nations since 1985.
    • It offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to make visible their contributions - at local, national and international levels - to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
    • 2015 Theme : The world is changing. Are you? Volunteer!
  • Australia's parliament has passed legislation to strip dual nationals of their citizenship if they are convicted of terrorism offences or found to have fought with banned groups overseas, despite concerns about deporting jihadists.

National Affairs

  • The Delhi assembly has passed the Janlokpal Bill, 2015, incorporating suggestions of Anna Hazare, which provides for an ombudsman with powers to act against any government functionary including those of the Centre.
    • The house cleared the bill with two amendments.
      • The first amendment said a seven-member panel would select two members and chairperson in the institution of Jan Lokpal.
      • The second amendment said the Jan Lokpal would be impeached only after a high court monitored probe against the ombudsman.
      • Note : The legislation will not become law till the central government approves it.
  • In order to promote the array of bird species in Uttar Pradesh, the state government has launched its first International Festival on Birds. 
    • The northern state has been famous for hosting many indigenous and exotic migrant birds.
    • This festival was inaugurated by Akhilesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister) at the National Chambal Sanctuary.
  • From today (World Soil Day), soil health cards will be given to farmers under a nationwide drive.
    • About Soil Health Card Scheme :
    • The government's soil health card is an endeavour to improve the health of the soil and provide guidance to farmers on soil-related issues.
    • In February, Modi had launched the soil health card scheme in Suratgarh, Rajasthan with an aim of checking deteriorating soil quality and increase farm productivity. 
    • Under the scheme, soil health cards are proposed given to all 14.5 crore farmers in the country in the next three years. 
    • The cards will carry crop-wise recommendation of fertilisers required for farm lands, thereby helping farmers in identifying health of soil and judiciously use soil nutrients.  
  • Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal today announced setting up the Sixth Punjab Pay Commission for employees and pensioners of the state government.
    • The new pay commission would be mandated to give recommendations with regard to new pay scales for employees and revision in the pension for the pensioners/family pensioners of the state government.
  • According to the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2015, which was released recently, India's forest and tree cover has increased by 5,081 sq km, with the total forest cover going up by 3,775 sq m and tree cover by 1,306 sq km.
  • The Allahabad High Court today ruled that married daughters of deceased government employees should be considered for appointment on compassionate grounds under the Dying in Harness Rules.
    • It held that the state government’s existing policy of extending the facility to only unmarried or widowed female offspring was “unconstitutional” and violated fundamental rights.

Places in News
  • Goa has been featured in the lists of top 10 Best Winter Locations of World.
    • Atlas Choice, an international agency with extensive knowledge in tourist spots, has included Goa in World's Top 10 Winter Sun Locations.

  • Academy Award-nominated actor Robert Loggia (85) passed away.
    • He was best known for his characters in the movies Scarface and Big.

Business & Economy
  • The Reserve Bank of India today revised priority sector lending guidelines for Regional Rural Banks (RRBs).
    • As per the new norms released, rural banks will have to advance 18 percent of total outstanding towards agricultural activities. 
    • A target of 7.5 percent of total outstanding will be diverted towards micro enterprises and another 15 percent for weaker sections.
    • The new norms will be implemented from January 1, 2016 and will be monitored on a quarterly and annual basis. 
  • The Committee on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) headed by Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has recommended a revenue neutral rate range of 17-18 percent for the proposed GST.

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