Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Dec 31, 2016

1)   Under whose chairmanship has Union Government constituted an HLC on 29th Dec to review institutionalizing of Arbitration Mechanism in India?

a. Justice BN Srikrishna
b. Justice CP Thakur
c. Justice Khehar Singh
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Justice BN Srikrishna

Union Government on 29th Dec 2016 constituted a High Level Committee to review institutionalization of Arbitration Mechanism of India.

The committee has been constituted by the Ministry of Law and Justice.

It will be chaired by Justice BN Srikrishna, retired SC judge.

Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs will be member secretary of the committee.

The Committee will have to submit its report within a period of 90 days.

Terms of reference of the committee are:

  • Review and analysis of the effectiveness of existing arbitration mechanisms.
  • Review the resources, facilities, funding and manpower of current ADR institutions.
  • Review working of the institutions that is funded by the Union government for arbitration purposes.
  • It will also assess skill gaps in ADR and allied institutions for national and international arbitration.
  • It will evaluate information outreach and efficacy of the legal framework for arbitration at is currently existing.
The committee will also suggest measures for the institutionalization of arbitration mechanism, national and international in India, to make the country a hub of international commercial arbitration.

To encourage the International Commercial Arbitration, it will identify required amendments in other laws that are needed.

It will also formulate an action plan for law implementation to ensure speedier arbitrations.

It will also recommend revision of institutional rules and regulations and their funding support.

Advice on empanelment of international and national arbitrators for time bound arbitral proceedings will be given by the committee.

It will also put forth a roadmap for R&D.

It will also enlist the steps needed for augmenting skill sets and professional manpower buildup for the sector. It will also recommend measures required to make arbitration widely available in curricula and study materials.

The committee will focus on the role played by arbitration in matters involving the State such as the bilateral investment treaties arbitrations and make recommendations when required.

It will also evolve an effective arbitration ecosystem to expedite resolution of international and domestic disputes of a commercial nature.

Other Members of the Committee
  • Justice RV Raveendran, Retired Judge, Supreme Court
  • Justice S Ravindra Bhat, Judge, Delhi High Court
  • KK Venugopal, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court
  • PS Narasimha, Addl Solicitor General of India
  • Indu Malhotra, Senior Counsel, Supreme Court
  • Araghya Sengupta, Director, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy
  • Representative of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)
  • Representative of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
This committee was formed in line with the Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Act 2015 passed by the Parliament in Dec 2016.

Committee was founded based on stress on the Justice Dispensing System of India and a huge pendency of cases in numerous courts.

Arbitration offers alternative dispute resolution.

2)   Where is the world's longest high speed railway?

a. Japan
b. Korea
c. China
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


China on 28th Dec 2016 commenced operations of Shanghai-Kunming line, the longest high speed railway in the world.

Link joins the prosperous east coast to the less developed southwestern part of the nation.

Launch of the Shanghai-Kunming line is an indication that China's high speed rail grid has taken shape and connects all provinces on most of the Chinese mainland.

The line is part of the China Railway High Speed's System of High Speed Rail Corridors, beginning in Shanghai and ending in Kunming.

China Railway High Speed is a high speed rail service operated by China Railway.

Hexie Hao is the designation for rolling stock operated for the service and CRH’s introduction was a major part of the sixth national railway speedup.

It was implemented on 18th April 2007 and every high speed train in commercial use in China is called CRH.

CRH1/2A/2B/2E/5 are expected to have a maximum speed of 250 km/h. CRH2C/3 have a maximum speed of 350 km/h.

The new trainsets CRH380A have a maximum test speed of 416.6 km/h. CRH380BL, the fastest trainset, attained a maximum test speed of 487.3 km/h.

Know More About the Shanghai-Kunming line

  • Length: 2552 km
  • Line is the longest east-west high speed railway in China.
  • It passes through 5 provinces of Zhejiang, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guizhou and Yunnn.
  • It completes the journey from Shanghai to Kunming in 11 hours as compared to 34 hours.
  • Maximum speed of the train is 330 km/hour.

3)   What is the name of the world's tallest bridge in China?

a. Beipanjiang Bridge
b. Xeipanjiang Bridge
c. Deipanjiang Bridge
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Beipanjiang Bridge

Beipanjiang Bridge is the world's highest bridge that connects the province of Guizhou and Yunnan in the mountainous part of China.

It was opened to traffic on 29th Dec 2016.

The bridge spans 1850 feet or 564 m over the gorge above the Beipan river.

Built at a total cost of USD 146.7 million dollars, the bridge will reduce road travel time between Xiunwei and Limpanshui from 5 hours to 2.

As per reports, the bridge surpassed the 1837-foot-tall Sidu River Bridge for its world record title.

While Beipanjiang Bridge is the highest in the world, the world's tallest bridge at the height of 1125 feet the French Millau viaduct has an unbroken record.

China is home to 8 of 10 highest bridges in the world. Most of these bridges are found in rural parts of the country namely:

  • Beipanjiang Bridge, China
  • Sidu River Bridge , China
  • Puli Bridge, China
  • Qingshui River Bridge, China
  • Hegigio Gorge Pipeline Bridge, Papua New Guinea (world's highest pipeline bridge)
  • Baluarte Bridge, Mexico (highest cable-stayed bridge in the world and also the highest bridge in the Americas)
  • Baling River Bridge, China
  • Beipan River Guanxing Highway Bridge, China
  • Liuchong River Bridge, China
  • Dimuhe River Bridge, China
  • Aizhai Bridge, China (world's highest tunnel-to-tunnel bridge)

  • Interesting facts about Beipanjiang Bridge

  • The bridge that hangs above the Beipan River was developed in three years.
  • The 1341-meter long bridge is a four-lane roadway.
  • The bridge is named after Beipan River over which it was developed.
  • The bridge is a part of 2115 mile Hangrui Highway that will connect Hangzhou to the China-Myanmar border crossing in Ruili.
  • As per reports, may be Beipanjiang is the highest bridge in the world, but France’s Millau viaduct remains the world’s tallest bridge at a height of 1125 feet.

4)   MP has embarked on a plant to develop 1,100 climate smart villages in how many agro-climatic zones of the state?

a. 10
b. 11
c. 12
d. 13
Answer  Explanation 


MP has started an ambitious plan to develop 1,100 climate smart villages with the aim to enable farmers to manage climate change risks and ensure good productivity.

The villages will be developed over a course of the next 6 years.

100 villages in each of the 11 agro climatic zones of the state will be taken up under the National Agriculture Development Programme and the Indian National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture.

The plan, which would incur a cost about Rs 150 crore every year, will encourage farmers to go for short duration variety of crops, in addition to using drought-resistance seeds.

Focus will be on integrated agriculture which comprises animal husbandry, fisheries and traditional farming.

Agro-forestry will also be adopted in these villages.

This will help in water retention and prevent soil erosion.

Integrated nutrients management would also be implemented to help in soil fertility and plant nutrients supply through optimisation of all possible sources of organic, inorganic and biological components.

In addition, the integrated pest management, zero tillage, raised bed gardening techniques and micro-irrigation would also be introduced in the climate smart villages. This would help farmers to increase the productivity amid all issues of climate change.

5)   India and Singapore on 30th Dec 2016 signed a protocol for amending which agreement?

c. Bonn Agreement
d. FTA
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


India and Singapore on 30th Dec 2016 signed the 3rd protocol for amending Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).

This revisiting of the treaty is important as it will help the government in its efforts to eliminate black money from India.

The DTAA was signed or avoidance of double taxation as well as for prevention of fiscal evasion in relation to the taxes on income.

It will come to an effect from 1 April 2017.

It provides for source-based taxation of capital gains arising on transfer of shares in a company.

This amendment will help in curbing the revenue loss as well as in preventing double non-taxation.

It will also streamline the slow of investments.

During the two years called as transition period (from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2019) the capital gains on shares will be taxed at half of normal tax rate (in source country), subject to fulfilment of conditions in Limitation of Benefits clause.

It also inserts provisions to facilitate relieving of economic double taxation in transfer pricing cases.

It enables application of domestic law and measures concerning prevention of tax avoidance or tax evasion.

However, the amendment grandfathers all investments in shares made before 1 April 2017.

The grandfathering will be subject to fulfilment of conditions in Limitation of Benefits clause as per 2005 Protocol.

The amendments are in line with India’s commitment under Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan.

Know More About BEPS

  • The OECD’s Action Plan on BEPS was published in July 2013 with a view to addressing perceived flaws in international tax rules.
  • The 40 page Action Plan was negotiated and drafted with the active participation of its member states.
  • It contained 15 separate action points or work streams, some of which were further split into specific actions or outputs.
  • The Plan was squarely focused on addressing these issues in a coordinated, comprehensive manner, and was endorsed by G20 leaders and finance ministers at their summit in St. Petersburg in September 2013.

6)   President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the 77th session of the Indian History Congress in which state?

a. Kerala
b. Karnataka
c. Tamil Nadu
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Kerala

President Pranab Mukherjee has inaugurated the 77th session of Indian History Congress (IHC).

It was inaugurated at University of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

Over 3,000 historians and research scholars are participating in the 3-day session of IHC.

The IHC is the largest professional and academic body of Indian historians with over 10,000 members.

Radha Champakalakshmi of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is current President of IHC.

7)   China has blocked UN proposal to list which terrorist under 1267 Sanctions Committee?

a. Masood Azhar
b. Burhan Wani
c. Ajmal Kasab
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Masood Azhar

China has once again blocked India’s proposal in United Nations to list Pathankot terror attack Mastermind Jaish-e-Muhammad’s Chief Masood Azhar as a global designated terrorist under 1267 Sanctions Committee.

This is third time China has put technical hold to declare Pakistan based JeM Chief global terrorist. China was the only member in the 15-nation UN Security Council (UNSC) to put a hold on India’s application.

All other 14 members of the UNSC supported India’s bid to place Azhar on the 1267 sanctions list that would subject freezing his assests and travel ban.

India has expressed concern over China move and mentioned that it confirms prevalence of double standards of China in the fight against terrorism.

Masood Azhar

  • Masood Azhar is the founder and leader of the UN-designated terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed.
  • It is active mainly in the Pakistani administered Azad Kashmir.
  • Born: July 10, 1968 (age 48), Bahawalpur, Pakistan
  • Organizations founded: Jaish-e-Mohammed, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen

8)   Oculus has acquired which eye tracking technology startup?

a. The Eye Tribe
b. Eye Sight
c. Eye Power
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: The Eye Tribe

Facebook’s virtual reality-focused Oculus division has acquired eye-tracking technology startup The Eye Tribe based in Denmark for an undisclosed amount.

The Eye Tribe startup was founded in 2011 by four students from the IT University of Copenhagen. It develops software that enables eye control on mobile devices and computers, allowing hands-free navigation.

The acquisition will benefit Facebook’s Oculus to integrate eye-tracking software to its Rift VR (virtual reality) headset, allowing users to control actions by moving their eyes.

Oculus, a virtual reality company, was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for 2 billion dollars. It had rolled out two new features - Parties and Rooms - for Samsung Gear VR.


CEO: Brendan Iribe

Founded: 2012, Irvine, California, United States

Headquarters: Menlo Park

Acquisition date: March 25, 2014

Founders: Jack McCauley, Brendan Iribe, Palmer Luckey

Head organization: Facebook, Inc.

9)   Who has been appointed spokesperson of the BJP Mumbai unit on 29th Dec 2016?

a. Tuhin Sinha
b. Chetan Bhagat
c. Amish
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Tuhin Sinha

Best-selling author and commentator Tuhin A. Sinha has been appointed a spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party's Mumbai unit on 29th Dec.

Ranked among the most prolific Indian writers experimenting with new genres, the 40-year-old Sinha has also dabbled with the entertainment industry, part-writing episodes of the seven-year-old teleserial 'Ye Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai'.

Among his books are:

  • A romance story "That Thing Called Love",
  • A cricket thriller "The Captain",
  • An offbeat romance story "Let the Reason Be Love".
  • He has also co-authored a book India Aspires with Union Minister for Shipping Nitin Gadkari.
The author has also collaborated with him for ministry road safety and other socially relevant initiatives.

He has also worked with Reliance as a creative consultant.

Sinha launched an NGO, the Ignited India Foundation with the online auction of 2 Madhubani paintings.

Know More About BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party is one of the two major political parties in India, along with the Indian National Congress.

President: Amit Shah

Founded: April 6, 1980

Newspaper: Kamal Sandesh

Ideology: Integral humanism, Social conservatism, Conservatism, Hindu nationalism, Gandhian socialism, Hindutva

Political position: Right-wing politics

Alliance: National Democratic Alliance