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Daily Current Affairs (24th December - 2016)

National

http://iasplanner.com/civilservices/images/Elections.jpgBihar-style grand alliance buzz in U.P.

  • Sitting side by side were Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Sharad Pawar, Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel, Rashtriya Lok Dal’s (RLD) Ajit Singh, Indian National Lok Dal’s Dushyant Chautala, Janata Dal (S) leader H. D. Deve Gowda, Samajwadi Party’s Amar Singh and their host Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav.
  • It was, however, the context of the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh that dominated the air, with news that the Congress, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the RLD had more or less agreed on a seat-sharing pact.
  • Of the 403 seats going to polls in U.P., senior sources in the both the SP and RLD said the Congress was to be offered 78 seats, while the RLD 22. “The offer is that the SP contests the lion’s share of 300 seats in what could be a Bihar-style mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) in U.P. ,” said a Congress source. This talk, however, leaves out the JD(U), which is currently in alliance with the RLD for the U.P. polls.
  • Former JD(U) president Sharad Yadav told The Hindu that the unity of the parties that had broken off from the erstwhile Janata Party was the need of the hour. “We were the stronger political force than the Jan Sangh [erstwhile BJP], and, the decline of the importance of the politics of the countryside, the rural areas is all related to the break-up of socialists. Jab Janata Party tooti toh andolan bhi khatam ho gaya (when the Janata Party broke up, the mass movement with it also ended),”

http://iasplanner.com/civilservices/images/Passport.jpgPassport rules changed to help single mothers, orphaned children

  • In a move to speed up and simplify the passport delivery process, the government on 23-12- 2016 announced a series of steps that would help single mothers, orphaned children, and sadhus obtain passports with ease.
  • The new rules for online application require the applicant to provide the name of father or mother or legal guardian. “This would enable single parents to apply for passports for their children and facilitate issue of passports where the name of either the father or the mother is not required to be printed at the request of the applicant.
  • The passport application form does not require the application to provide the name of her/his spouse in case of separated or divorced persons. Such applicants would not be required to provide even the Divorce Decree.
  • Holy men can now apply for a passport with the name of their spiritual guru, instead of biological parents. However, they would have to provide a document such as voter ID, which records the name of the guru against the column for parent’s name.
International

http://iasplanner.com/civilservices/images/Piers-Sellers.jpgPiers Sellers: Climate scientist, Nasa astronaut dies at 61

  • British-born astronaut Piers Sellers has died of pancreatic cancer, aged 61, Nasa has said.
  • Sellers, a climate scientist and former astronaut gained fame late in life for his eloquent commentary about the earth’s fragility.
  • The British-born space scientist, who flew on three space shuttle missions between 2002 and 2010, died on Friday in Houston, Texas, the BBC reported.
  • Nasa Administrator Charles Bolden described Sellers as “a tremendous public servant who was dedicated to Nasa, the nation and the world.
  • Nasa said Sellers was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in 2015.
Economy

http://www.iasplanner.com/civilservices/images/Arun-Jaitley.jpgGST Council moves a step closer to finalising draft laws

  • The Goods and Services Council has moved a significant step closer to finalising the draft Central GST and State GST laws that must be passed in Parliament — along with two other laws — to bring GST into implementation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley .
  • The Council will meet again on January 3-4 and will discuss the contentious issue of cross-empowerment, the only main issue that is lacking consensus, Mr Jaitley added, saying that the next session will also see the CGST and SGST laws being framed in legal language and placed before the states.
  • Regarding the Compensation Law, the Finance Minister said that a few issues are left to be settled — such as the source of the compensation fund — but that the law will be placed for approval, along with the CGST and SGST laws, in legal language in the next meeting of the Council. The GST council seems to have made some good progress, in terms of approving the CGST and compensation laws,” Pratik Jain, Partner and Leader Indirect Tax, PwC India said. “The most contentious issue of "dual control" or "cross empowerment" is to be discussed in the next meeting in early January. If there is an agreement on the issue, then GST laws can be passed in the budget session.
  • Despite the fact that the government failed to table and pass the draft GST laws in the Winter session of Parliament, Mr Jaitley said he was trying his best to meet the government’s deadline of April 1, 2017 for the rollout of GST.
In the News

http://iasplanner.com/civilservices/images/Chetan-Ramarao.jpgChetan Ramarao

  • Veteran Kannada film actor Chetan Ramarao (76) passed away on 23-12- 2016 night.
  • Ramarao had acted in more than 350 films in his career spanning almost five decades.
  • He has acted in films featuring several leading actors including Rajkumar, Vishnuvardhan and Ambarish.
  • Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has condoled the death of Ramarao.