Current Affairs



CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 18th DECEMBER

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY



1. ARIANE 5 ROCKET LAUNCHES COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITES FOR INDIA, EUTELSAT INTO GTO FROM FRENCH GUIANA, SOUTH AMERICA

Arianespace, French Company launched a pair of communication satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) as its first launch in 2020 through Ariane 5 rocket, consisting of ISRO(Indian Space Research Organization) communication satellite GSAT-30(Geosynchronous Satellites) and EUTELSAT KONNECT for the European satellite operator Eutelsat (European Organization of Telecommunication by Satellite S.A) from Guiana space center, French Guiana, South America (SA). Aim is to provide high quality television, telecommunications and broadcasting services.

• The 3,357 Kg GSAT-30 derives its heritage from ISRO’s earlier INSAT/GSAT (Indian National Satellites/Geosynchronous Satellites) satellite series and will replace INSAT-4A in orbit equipped with 12 C(covers Gulf countries, Asian and Australian countries) and 12 Ku band(covers Indian mainland and island) transponders. The mission life of GSAT-30 is more than 15 years specifically designed to maximize the number of transponders (to transmit and receive signals). The satellite supports VSAT(Very Small Aperture Terminal) for ATMs, Stock Exchange, television uplinking and teleport services, Digital Satellite News Gathering(DSNG), DTH (Direct-to-Home) television services, cellular backhaul connectivity etc.

ISRO :

Founded:  15 August 1969.

Headquarters:  Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Chairman:  Kailasavadivoo Sivan.

ArianeSpace:

Founded: 1980.

Headquarters:  Courcouronnes, France.

Chief Executive Officer:  Stephan Israel.


2. RUSSIA S-400 MISSILES AIR DEFENCE SYSTEMS TO BE DELIVERED TO INDIA BY 2025

Russian Deputy Chief of Mission Roman Babushkin all S-400 air defence missile systems will be delivered to India by 2025.

• Asserting that the S-400 air defence missile systems are among best in the world, the diplomat said they will significantly bolster India's air defence mechanism.



SPORTS



1. SANIA MIRZA & NADILA KICHENOK WINS WTA DOUBLES TITLE IN AUSTRALIA

Sania Mirza lifted the WTA Hobart International trophy with partner Nadiia Kichenok after edging out No.2 seeds Shaui Peng and Shuai Zhang in the final. The unseeded Indo-Ukrainian pair piped the second seeded Chinese team 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 21 minutes. It is Sania's 42nd WTA doubles title and first since Brisbane International trophy in 2017 with American partner Bethanie Mattek Sands.

• Saraswati Samman a literary recognition given annually by the KK Birla Foundation. Saraswati Samman carries a cash award of 15 lakh rupees, a citation & a plaque. Besides the Saraswati Samman, two other awards have been instituted by the KK Birla Foundation- the Vyas Samman (for Hindi works by Indian citizens) & Bihari Puraskar (for Hindi/Rajasthani works by Rajasthani writers) - a literary & cultural organisation.



DEATH



1. FORMER ALL-ROUNDER BAPU NADKARNI PASSED AWAY

Former India all-rounder Bapu Nadkarni, best known for bowling a record 21 successive maiden overs in a Test match against England, passed away at the age of 86.Nadkarni, a left-handed batsman and slow-left arm orthodox bowler, played 41 Tests in which he scored 1414 runs and grabbed 88 wickets with 6/43 as his best bowling figures.

• Nadkarni was a Mumbai stalwart having played 191 first-class match and taken 500 wickets and scored 8880 runs.


2. WORLD SHORTEST MAN KHAGENDRA THAPA MAGAR DIES

The world's shortest man who could walk, as verified by Guinness World Records, died at a hospital in Nepal. Khagendra Thapa Magar, who measured 67.08cm (two feet and 2.41 inches), died of pneumonia at a hospital in Pokhara, 200km (124 miles) from Kathmandu, where he lived with his parents.



CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 17th DECEMBER

EXERCISE



1. SAHYOG-KAIJIN-INDIA-JAPAN JOINT EXERCISE FOR COAST GUARDS

• India & Japan took part in a joint exercise called Sahyog-Kaijin.The exercise was held between the Coastal guards of the countries at Chennai Port. The Japanese ship Ehigo & 4 ships of Indian Coast Guard participated in the exercise. The exercise was conducted based on agreement signed by the Coast Guards of the countries in 2006.


INDIAN STATES IN NEWS



1. INDIA-WORLD BANK SIGN 88 MILLION US DOLLAR TO IMPLEMENT ASSAM INLAND WATER TRANSPORT PROJECT

• The Government of Assam, Government of India & World Bank signed 88 million US dollar agreement. The agreement aims to modernize Assam’s Ferry transport service on the Brahmaputra river.


2. HISTORY BRU-REANG REFUGEE AGREEMENT SIGNED-34,000 DISPLACED TO SETTLE IN TRIPURA

Government of India, Bru-Reang representatives, Government of Tripura & Mizoram signed an agreement in New Delhi to end refugee crisis of Bru-Reang community. Home Minister Amit Shah presided over the event. Under the agreement, around 34,000 Bru Refugess are to settle in Tripura. The centre will offer their rehabilitation helps with an allocation budget of Rs 600 crores. With this, the refugees are now eligible to enjoy social welfare schemes of States & Central governments.


3. ARUNACHAL PRADESH INKED A MOU WITH IUCN TO RED-LISTING OF ORCHIDS

Arunachal Pradesh inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) to red-listing of orchids. Arunachal Pradesh has become the 1st state in the country to initiate the IUCN’s red listing at the state level.

Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh: Pema Khandu

Governor of Arunachal Pradesh: B.D.Mishra



AWARD



1. NOTED WRITER VASDEV MOHI TO BE HONOURED WITH 29TH SARASWATI SAMMAN

Noted Sindhi writer Vasdev Mohi will be honoured with 29th Saraswati Samman. He has been selected for his short stories collection: - Chequebook, published in 2012. This short stories collection talks about the agonies and sufferings of marginalized sections of the society. He has authored 25 books of poetry, stories & translations. He has also received the Sahitya Akademi Award.

• Saraswati Samman a literary recognition given annually by the KK Birla Foundation. Saraswati Samman carries a cash award of 15 lakh rupees, a citation & a plaque. Besides the Saraswati Samman, two other awards have been instituted by the KK Birla Foundation- the Vyas Samman (for Hindi works by Indian citizens) & Bihari Puraskar (for Hindi/Rajasthani works by Rajasthani writers) - a literary & cultural organisation.


2. INDIAN SCIENTIST SAKYA SINGHA SEN AWARDED MERCK YOUNG SCIENTIST AWARD2019

A senior scientist Sakya Singha Sen from National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL) Pune, has been awarded Merck Young Scientist Award 2019 for doing remarkable research in chemical science.

• Sen & his research team specializes in main group chemistry & involves in the synthesis of compounds with main group element & their catalytic application. All the catalysts currently used mostly belongs to precious metals platinum, palladium, iridium etc. These are very expensive & their abundance in the earth is very less. The award is instituted by Merck, a science & technology company operating worldwide. Merck Young Scientist Award is given to researchers with less than ten years of experience with expertise in solving some of the toughest problems in chemical sciences.


APPOINTMENTS



1. NATIONAL BOOK TRUST APPOINTED LT COL YUVRAJ MALIK AS DIRCTOR

Lt Col Yuvraj Malik has been appointed as the Director of the National Book Trust on deputation from the Indian Army. He will replace Sahitya Akademi-awardee writer Rita Chowdhury. He has served with the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs, Raj Bhawan in Jammu & Kashmir, United Nations missions in Africa and several operational areas. National Book Trust came under the Ministry of Human Resource Development.



CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 16th DECEMBER

News



1. HENLY PASSPORT INDEX

• Recently, Henley Passport Index was launched. The index was launched based on the data collected from International Air Transport Association (IATA). The Index is based on the number of destinations their holders can access without visa.

• According to the index, Japan has the world strongest passport. Japan has been has been holding top rank positions for the past three years. According to the 2020 index, the citizen of Japan can access 191 destinations without the necessity of obtaining visa in advance.

• Japan was followed by Singapore, Germany, South Korea at second, third and fourth places respectively.India ranked closer to the bottom at rank 84


AWARDS



1. ICC AWARDS 2019

Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy :  Ben Stokes (England)

Test Cricketer of the Year :  Pat Cummins (Australia)

ODI Cricketer of the Year :  Rohit Sharma (India)

T2oI Performance of the Year :  Deepak Chahar (India)

Emerging Cricketer of the Year :  Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)

Associate Cricketer of the Year :  Kyle Coetzer (Scotland)

Spirit of Cricket Award :  Virat Kohli (India)

David Shepherd Trophy for Umpire of the Year :  Richard Lingworth

Fan’s Moment of the Year 2018 :  India wins U19 Cricket World Cup 2018

Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year :  Ellyse Perry (Australia)

Icc Women’s ODI Player of the Year :  Ellyse Perry (Australia)

Icc Women’s T20I Player of the Year :  Alyssa Healy (Australia)

Icc Women’s Emerging Player of the Year:  Chanida Sutthiruang



SUMMIT AND FESTIVALS



1. 1ST EVER FOOD PROCESSING SUMMIT HOSTED BY LADAKH

Union Territory Ladakh is hosting the 1st-ever Food Processing Summit to attract investors to the region. The summit is organized by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry & the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, the UT Administration of Ladakh. Ladakh has vast scope for investment in food Processing Industries in horticulture products like Apricot, Apple & agricultural produce like buckwheat & barley. The event is aim at encouraging the entrepreneurs to begin a Startup to tap the potential in the Food Processing Industries in Ladakh.

Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh :  Radha Krishna Mathur


2. 5TH SCIENCE FILM FESTIVAL STARTS IN GOA

The 5th edition of Science Film Festival of India (SCI-FFI 2020) was started in Goa’s capital city Panaji. The aims of the festival are instilling the knowledge of science among the youth with the help of exhibitions, master classes, workshops & other activities. Films that have been selected to be screened at the event are Mission Mangal, Antariksham 9000 KMPH, Everest, Aamorie, and Terminator: Dark Fate, Geostorm & Virus among others. A special workshop titled Million SoUL will also be conducted by IIT Bombay on training about making solar lamps. The workshop is aimed at empowering people from backward communities. The workshop is also aim at teaching participants about the health, educational & environmental benefits of solar energy.

Chief Minister of Goa: Pramod Sawant

Governor of Goa:Satya Pal Malik


3. 7TH EDITION OF COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION CONFERRENCE 2020

The 7th Conference of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) India Region will start in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will inaugurate the conference. The main theme of the conference is the Role OF Legislators. In the Conference, delegates will discuss the Capacity Building of Legislators for Scrutinizing Budgetary Proposals & Ehancing Focus of Legislators on Legislative Business.

Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh: Yogi Adityanath

Governor of Uttar Pradesh: Anandiben Patel



CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 31st DECEMBER

National News



1. Gen Bipin Rawat named as country’s 1st Chief of Defence Staff

Indian Army General Bipin Rawat has been named as the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). The Chief of Defence Staff will be a 4-star General, the principal military advisor to the defence minister, and will head the new Department of Military Affairs.

• The Chief of Defence Staff will ensure the jointness in training, logistics and procurement of the three services. General Rawat is the first officer to hold the post of the Chief of Defence Staff

• The Defence Ministry had also amended the army, air force and navy rules by bringing in a new clause that allows the CDS to serve upto a maximum age of 65 years.

• The CDS will administer all tri-services organisations, but their command will be with the Chief of the service which has a predominant role in their functioning.


International News



1. Christina Koch records longest single spaceflight by woman

NASA Astronaut Christina Koch has created a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman. She has surpassed the earlier record of 288 days in space which was previously established by NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in 2017.

• She would return to Earth in February 2020. Till then, she would have spent more than 300 days in the space. She is onboard the International Space Station since 14th March 2019.

• The world record for the single longest mission by any space explorer whether man or woman, is held by cosmonaut Valery Polyakov, who spent 438 consecutive days on board Russia’s former space station Mir from January 1994 to March 1995.



State News



1. Hemant Soren sworn as CM of Jharkhand

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Hemant Soren was sworn in as the 11th Chief Minister of Jharkhand.

• Governor of Jharkhand Droupadi Murmu has administered the oath of office and secrecy to Soren, in the presence of senior political leaders and chief ministers from across states.

• This will be the 44-year-old JMM leader’s second stint as Jharkhand Chief Minister. In the just-conducted Assembly elections, the JMM, Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) alliance triumphed over the BJP, winning 47 seats in the 81 member House.


Summits & Conferences



1. New Delhi hosts 49th Border Coordination Conference between BSF & BGB

49th Border Coordination Conference between border guarding forces of India and Bangladesh was held in New Delhi. The Indian delegation was headed by DG Border Security Force Vivek Kumar Johri and the Bangladesh delegation was headed by DG of Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) Md Shafeenul Islam.

• The conference focused on co-operation in Border Guarding and Border Management between the two forces. During the conference, both forces agreed to make all possible efforts to curb the menace of cattle smuggling or any other criminal activity and to ensure tranquility on the borders.



Banking & Economy News



1. Finance Minister launches an e-auction platform “eBkray”

Finance Minister has launched an e-auction platform “eBkray“. The platform will enable online auction of attached assets by banks. The platform provides navigational links to all PSB e-auction sites, property search feature.

• It also presents single-window access to information on properties up for e-auction, comparison of similar properties, and also contains videos and photographs of the uploaded properties.

• Indian Banks Auctions Mortgaged Properties Information (IBAPI) portal is an initiative of Indian Banks Association under the policy of the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance was launched to provide a platform to give details of mortgaged properties to be auctioned online by Banks, starting with PSBs.


2. SBI to implement OTP-based ATM cash withdrawals from January 1 2020

State Bank of India will introduce One Time Password (OTP)-based ATM cash withdrawals. The step has been taken to reduce the occurrences of unauthorised transactions happening at ATMs. SBI will introduce one-time password for every cash withdrawal of Rs 10,000 and above between 8 am and 8 pm.

• The OTP-based cash withdrawal will be effective from January 1, 2020 across all SBI ATMs. When an SBI cardholder will enter the amount of cash he/she wishes to withdraw, a screen will appear asking for the OTP. The customer will then have to put the OTP that the bank will send to the registered mobile number.

• OTP is a system-generated string of numeric characters that allow users to make a single transaction. The facility will not be applicable at other banks’ ATM as this functionality has not been developed in National Financial Switch (NFS).



Business News



1. HDFC Life partners with Paytm to expand its distribution

HDFC Life Insurance has partnered with Paytm to expand its distribution. The partnership is aimed to enable customers of Paytm to purchase insurance products from HDFC Life. HDFC Life Insurance is constantly exploring opportunities to create and sustain new partnerships to strengthen its distribution network.

• With the partnership, HDFC Life Insurance aims to increase insurance penetration in India and to simplify the customers experience right from the purchase to the claim process.


2. Mastercard signs agreement to acquire RiskReckon

Mastercard has announced an agreement to acquire RiskRecon. RiskRecon is one of the leading providers of data analytics solutions and artificial intelligence focused on cyber-risk and security and offering solutions to mitigate cyber risks faced by the companies.

• The acquisition would enhance the cyber-security systems for MasterCard which offers payment processing services on a global scale.


Obituaries



1. Vishwesha Tirtha Swami of Pejawar Mutt passes away

The pontiff of Pejawar Mutt, Vishwesha Tirtha Swami passed away in Udupi. He was born at Ramakujna in Dakshina Kannada district on April 27, 1931.

• He was ordained as a monk at the age of eight in 1938, as the 33rd seer in the linage or ‘guru parampara’ of the Pejawar Mutt.

• Vishwesha Tirtha Swami made history by becoming the only seer among the seers of the Ashta Mutts (eight mutts) of Udupi, which propagate the Dwaita philosophy, to have performed five biennial Paryayas.


Defence



1. Home Minister lays foundation stone of CRPF Headquarters in New Delhi

Union Home Minister laid the foundation stone of Directorate General Building of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in New Delhi.

• The new building at a cost of Rs 280 crore will have all modern facilities and green amenities. It will also have effective control and command system with modern training modules for 3.5 lakh strong force to enhance their operational capability.

• The Home Minister also launched a new logo “Garud” for those engaged in providing security to the common man and VIPs.


Sports News



1. Australia paceman Peter Siddle retires from international cricket

Australian pace bowler Peter Siddle has announced his retirement from International Cricket. In his career of 11 years, he represented Australia in 67 Tests, 20 ODIs and 2 Twenty20 matches.

• He took 221 wickets in 67 Test matches. He started his International Cricket career against India in 2008.


2. Kohli & Bumrah named in Wisden’s T20I Team of the decade

India skipper Virat Kohli and pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah were the only Indians in Wisden’s T20 International team of the decade.

• Australia’s limited overs skipper Aaron Finch was named captain of the Wisden’s T20 International team of the decade.

• Here is the complete Wisden’s T20I team of the decade: Aaron Finch (c), Colin Munro, Virat Kohli, Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell, Jos Buttler, Mohammad Nabi, David Willey, Rashid Khan, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga.


3. Koneru Humpy becomes women’s World Rapid champion

Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy wins the World Women’s Rapid Chess Championship held in Moscow, Russia. She won the title after drawing the Armageddon game against Lei Tingjie of China. Humpy lost the first tie-break game and then won the second to reach the Armageddon game.

• China’s Lei Tingjie won the silver and Ekaterina Atalik of Turkey settled with bronze. Humpy is only the second Indian to win the rapid gold in the current format after Vishwanathan Anand who won it in 2017.



CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 30th DECEMBER

National News



1. “National Symposium of Poets 2020” organized by All India Radio

All India Radio organized the National Symposium of Poets 2020. Select poets of all 22 languages recognized in the constitution participated in the symposium.

• It is being held every year since 1956. The poets from all corners of the country gave their presentations and captivated the hearts of the people during the symposium.

• The symposium will be broadcasted on the eve of Republic Day and at all the centers of AIR.


International News



1. China launches its largest carrier rocket “Long March-5”

China has successfully launched its largest carrier rocket “Long March-5“. The rocket was launched from Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China’s Hainan Province. The rocket is also known as CZ-5. It was China’s third attempt to launch the rocket.

• The Chinese rocket carried the Shijian-20 satellite, a communication satellite and placed it into its designated orbit. The Shijian-20 satellite will lay the foundation for the development of highly sensitive space probes.

• It is China’s heaviest and most advanced communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit.



Agreements



1. Federal Bank ties up with Magicbricks

Private sector lender Federal Bank has tied up with online real estate platform Magicbricks for listing and e-auctioning of immovable properties repossessed by it in recovery proceedings.

• The move is aimed at speedy recovery of the bank’s impaired assets while helping customers get the best rate in the market for their properties.


2. Russia deploys its 1st Avangard Hypersonic missile system

Russia’s 1st missile unit equipped with Avangard Hypersonic glide vehicle enters into service. Russia’s defence ministry stated that a new hypersonic weapon with latest strategic missiles of intercontinental range has became operational.

• The nuclear-capable missiles can travel more than 20 times the speed of sound. They have a “glide system” that affords great manoeuvrability and could make them impossible to defend against.

• The Avangard can carry a nuclear weapon of up to 2 megatons. Avangard is designed using new composite materials to withstand temperatures of up to 2,000 Celsius resulting from a flight through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds.


State News



1. Mandu Festival begins at Mandu, Madhya Pradesh

The first edition of Mandu Festival begins at Mandu, picturesque fort city of Madhya Pradesh. The event is organized by Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board. The festival will witness a celebration of the historic heritage blended with the modern vibrancy of the city culture.

• The Mandu festival will offer an eclectic mix of performing arts, workshops, art installations, nature trails, walks, food, architecture and music to the visitors during the festival. The festival is based on the idea of “Khojne Me Kho Jao”.

• The Mandu festival will redefine the essence of the city & bring about the joy of establishing a new tourism hub in the state.



Banking & Economy News



1. RBI directs large UCBs to report exposures above Rs 5 cr to CRILC

The Reserve Bank of India has directed large cooperative banks to report all exposures of Rs 5 crore and more to the Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC).

• The move is aimed at early detection of financial distress. The aggregate exposure will include all fund-based and non-fund based exposures like partial credit enhancement, including investment exposure on the borrower.

• As per the new rules, Urban Cooperatives Banks are required to submit CRILC report on quarterly basis with effect from December 31, 2019.

• The CRILC was created by the Reserve Bank of India. CRILC constitutes commercial banks, all India financial institutions and certain non-banking financial companies with multiple objectives, which, among others, include strengthening offsite supervision and early recognition of financial distress.



Obituaries



1. Veteran Political cartoonist Vikas Sabnis passes away

Veteran Political cartoonist Vikas Sabnis has passed away recently. He recently completed 50 years of illustrious career in 2018. He was inspired by Bal Thackeray and RK Laxman.

• He has also worked as a staff cartoonist at various newspapers, including the Times of India and the Mid-day. He made caricatures and political cartoons on various subjects and issues. These ranges from local to international levels.


Defence



1. IAF bids farewell to the iconic “MiG-27” fighter aircraft

The Indian Air Force bids farewell to the iconic “MiG-27” with a decommissioning ceremony at the Jodhpur air base. The Mig 27 is a soviet origin aircraft that was built under licence by HAL and became a part of the IAF strike fleet in 1985.

• The jet contributed significantly in wars and peace-keeping operations and also emerged as the real hero in the 1999 Kargil war. It’s contribution in the Kargil war earned it the title ‘Bahadur’.

• Indian Air Force was founded on 8 October 1932.

• Headquarters of IAF: New Delhi.


Miscellaneous



1. Raksha Mantri launches DefExpo 2020 mobile app

Raksha Mantri has launched the “DefExpo 2020” mobile app of the forthcoming DefExpo 2020. The app has been developed by Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence (MoD).

• It provides detailed information about the daily events, participating exhibitors, Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), guest speakers of seminars/webinars, publications, and directions of the venues and city weather. The main features of the app constitutes inform, engage and feedback.


Books and Authors



1. A book titled “Politics of Opportunism” released by S Gurumurthy

Noted Economist and Political Analyst S Gurumurthy released a book titled “Politics of Opportunism: Regional Parties, Coalitions, Centre-State Relations In India”.

• The book is authored by R P N Singh. The book throws light on the subject related to rise of regional parties and Centre-States relation.

• RNP Singh is a former officer of the Intelligence Bureau, Government of India. He has also earned the coveted Presidents Police Medal, Indian Police Medal, the Sukriti and Kautilya awards for his distinguished services.



CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 28th DECEMBER

National News



1. HRD Minister launches five documents developed by UGC

The Union Human Resource Development Minister launched the 5 documents developed by UGC covering the 5 verticals of Quality Mandate in New Delhi.

• These 5 documents cover evaluation reforms, eco-friendly and sustainable university campuses, human values & professional ethics, faculty induction and academic research integrity.

• These 5 documents help to improve the quality in Higher Educational Institutions, University Grants Commission has adopted the Higher Education Quality Improvement Programme Mandate.

• The quality mandate aims at evolving higher education system to equip country’s next-generation with vital skills, knowledge and ethics for leading a rewarding life.


2. Health Minister inaugurates 2nd edition of “Eat Right Mela”

The Union Health Minister has inaugurated the 2nd edition of “Eat Right Mela” in New Delhi. The Eat Right Mela of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is a commendable effort and outreach activity for citizens towards eating right.

• The Union Minister launched ‘The PURPLE Book’ a handbook on diets for diseases. The book provides general guidelines for hospitals on suitable diets for common medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, gut disorders and so on in a simple format and has been developed and vetted by experts in the field of food and nutrition. This book is available for free download on www.fssai.gov.in.

• The Union Minister also launched NetSCoFAN (Network for Scientific Co-operation for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition), a network of research & academic institutions working in the area of food & nutrition along with the NetSCoFAN directory, covering detailed information of various heads/Directors and lead scientists of lead and associated partnering institutions.

• The NetSCoFAN would comprise of eight groups of institutions working in different areas viz. biological, chemical, nutrition & labelling, food of animal origin, food of plant origin, water & beverages, food testing, and safer & sustainable packaging.


3. CSMT gets ‘Eat Right’ station certificate

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station in Mumbai has been conferred with ‘Eat Right Station’ certification with the five-star rating by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for food safety and hygiene.

• CSMT has been judged on the basis of compliance of food safety and hygiene, availability of healthy diet, food handling at preparation, food waste management, promotion of local and seasonal food and creating awareness on food safety and healthy diet.

• ‘Eat Right Station’ initiative is a part of the ‘Eat Right India’ movement launched by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and a Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) major which is aimed at promoting food safety and hygiene at the static catering units at railway stations.


4. 5th round of India-Japan Maritime Affairs Dialogue

The 5th Round of India-Japan Maritime Affairs Dialogue was held in Tokyo, Japan. The two sides exchanged views on various topics of mutual interest in the maritime domain and identified the means for further strengthening their maritime cooperation.

• Both sides reiterated the importance of the Dialogue as an important mechanism between the two countries for consultations on issues of mutual interest in maritime affairs and agreed to hold the next round of the Dialogue on a mutually convenient date in India. The first round of India-Japan Maritime dialogue was held in New Delhi in 2013.


Awards



1. AAO bestows Life Achievement honour to Dr Santosh G Honavar

Dr Santosh G Honavar, India’s ophthalmologist is conferred with the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s (AAO) highest award Life Achievement honour that is given to its members.

• He is the first Indian chosen for the honour. American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye specialists.



Agreements



1. Federal Bank ties up with Magicbricks

Private sector lender Federal Bank has tied up with online real estate platform Magicbricks for listing and e-auctioning of immovable properties repossessed by it in recovery proceedings.

• The move is aimed at speedy recovery of the bank’s impaired assets while helping customers get the best rate in the market for their properties.


Banking & Economy News



1. GoI to infuse Rs 8,655 crore into Allahabad Bank, IOB & UCO Bank

The Government of India has approved the release of Rs 8,655 crore as fresh capital to three public sector banks. The list includes Allahabad Bank, Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) and UCO Bank. The infusion will be done for preferential allotment of shares.

• Fresh capital amounting to Rs 2,153 crore will be allocated to Allahabad Bank, Rs 2,142 crore to UCO Bank and Rs 4,630 crore to Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) for preferential allotment of shares.


2. RBI caps lending on P2P platforms at Rs 50 lakh

The Reserve Bank of India has capped the permissible exposure limit of a lender on a Peer-to-Peer lending (P2P) platform for all borrowers. The aggregate exposure has been set at Rs 50 lakh at any given point of time. The step has been taken to protect the consumers interest.

• The lender investing more than Rs 10 lakh across P2P platforms has to produce a certificate to P2P platforms from a practising Chartered Accountant certifying minimum net-worth of Rs 50 lakh.

• The central bank also stated that the “Escrow accounts” to be operated by bank promoted trustee for transfer of funds need not be mandatorily maintained with the bank which has promoted the trustee. It also mandates that all the transactions through bank accounts, and cash transaction are strictly prohibited.


3. AIIB to give $210 million loan for irrigation & solar energy projects

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has announced a loan of $210 million for irrigation and solar energy projects in India. The bank will lend $145 million to improve irrigation services and strengthen flood risk management in West Bengal.

• The irrigation project in West Bengal is co-financed by the World Bank and is expected to strengthen the management of the Damodar Valley Command Area irrigation scheme. The bank will also lend $65 million for a 250-megawatt (MW) solar project in Rajasthan.


4. RBI launches new PPI for small digital transactions

The Reserve Bank of India has introduced a new semi-closed prepaid payment instrument (PPI) which can be used for the transaction of goods and services up to a limit of Rs 10,000.

• The loading facility of the instrument will be linked only from a bank account. This direction has made under Section 18 read with Section 10(2) of Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.

• PPIs are instruments that facilitate the purchase of goods and services, including financial services, remittance facilities, etc., against the value stored on such instruments. There are currently three kinds of PPIs allowed by RBI: closed system, semi-closed and open PPIs.The PPIs may be issued as cards, wallets, and any such form/instrument which can be used to access the PPI and to use the amount therein. PPIs in the form of paper vouchers shall no longer be issued.



Obituaries



1. American songwriter Allee Willis passes away

The American songwriter Allee Willis passed away recently. She penned the iconic “I’ll Be There For You” track for the long-running television show “Friends”.

• She has several other hits under her name like Earth, Wind and Fire, which was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018. She won a Grammy in 1985 for her work on the soundtrack for "Beverly Hills Cop".


2. ‘Colours of the Mountain’ author Da Chen passes away

China’s brilliant storyteller, Da Chen, who created the critically acclaimed memoir “Colours of the Mountain” passed away recently.

• In “Colours of the Mountain” he recounted the abuses he and his family suffered during the latter years of the country’s Cultural Revolution. The book was published in seven languages. His last book which was published recently was "Girl Under a Red Moon".



Sports



1. Abhinav Lohan wins Bengaluru Open Golf Championship

Abhinav Lohan has won the Bengaluru Open Golf Championship 2019 powered by Karnataka Tourism. This was Lohan’s first title on the TATA Steel PGTI. Karandeep Kochhar finished the championship as runner up.

• With the victory, Lohan has become the 4th Indian golfer to register his maiden title on the TATA Steel PGTI.

• Abhinav Lohan was part of the Indian team that won the silver medal at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.


2. Virat Kohli named in Wisden cricketers of the decade list

Indian skipper Virat Kohli is one of the five players named in the Wisden Cricketers of the Decade. Kohli, who has scored 5,775 more international runs than anyone else in the last 10 years, has arguably been the best batsman over the last decade.

• Kohli joins Australian batsman Steve Smith, and South Africans, Dale Steyn, and AB de Villiers. Australian all-rounder Ellyse Perry is the only female cricketer in the list.


Miscellaneous



1. Finance minister releases stamp to commemorate DRI’s role

Finance minister of India released a postage stamp to commemorate distinguished service and glorious contribution of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in protecting the nation.

• DRI plays an immense role to counter smuggling and preserve cultural heritage and environment of the country.

• It is essential for DRI to keep pace with technologies such as data analytics to fight against contraband items such as gold and narcotics. Contraband is good that is against the law to trade or to import or export.


2. Indian railway launches ‘Him Darshan Express’

Indian Railways started a glass-enclosed vistadome “Him Darshan Express” train on the heritage Kalka-Shimla route, with glass rooftop to have a panoramic view of the hilly region.

• This train will have seven coaches, including one first-class sitting cum luggage room coach (FCZLR) and six first-class AC vistadome coaches.


3. Government of India will launch “Digital Radio” in 2024

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar has announced that the Central government will launch the “Digital Radio” in 2024.

• The announcement was made during the annual Akashvani Awards function held in New Delhi. The minister stated that “All India Radio is an institution which is a part of people’s lives, be it music, news or entertainment”.


Books and Authors



1. Book to chronicle India’s Olympic journey

A book titled “Dreams of a Billion: India and the Olympic Games” author by Boria Majumdar with Nalin Mehta released. The book will be published by HarperCollins India in January 2020.

• The book comprises of all the wins, the misses, the star sportspersons, their stories, and the challenges and possibilities that lie ahead of India to make its mark in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

• The book provides an inside view of what goes on backstage in the Indian Olympics world alongside a quick history of how India has fared at the Olympics over the past century and a look at how the Indian Olympics world has changed in the last decade.



CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 27th DECEMBER

National News



1. Petroleum Minister unveils India’s first long distance CNG bus

• Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister unveiled India’s first long-distance CNG bus fitted with CNG cylinders in New Delhi. It can travel around 1000 kilometres in a single fill.

• The first long-range interstate CNG bus will ply from Delhi to Dehradun.

• This type of buses will soon ply between Delhi to Jaipur, Chandigarh and Agra.

• The project has been executed by Indraprastha Gas Limited, the largest CNG distribution company in the country.


2. Rohtang tunnel in Himachal Pradesh named as Atal tunnel

Prime Minister Narendra Modi named Rohtang passageway in Himachal Pradesh as Atal Tunnel to mark the 95th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

• The tunnel has been named as a tribute to the former Prime Minister who took the historic decision of constructing this strategic tunnel.

• It will provide all-weather connectivity to remote areas of Lahaul and Spiti Valley and also reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 Kilometres.


International News



1. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg steps down

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has stepped down as the company is facing tough period following two fatal crashes.

• He will be replaced by Chairman David Calhoun effective January 13, 2020.

• He became the CEO of the world’s largest aerospace company in July 2015.

• The company’s best selling commercial jet was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after two fatal crashes killed 346 people.



State News



1. PM Modi unveiled Atal Bihari Vajpayee statue in Lucknow

Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a statue of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Lok Bhawan in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

• He also laid the foundation stone for the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Medical University in the Uttar Pradesh capital.

• The state government has given 50 acres of land for the varsity.


2. Hemant Soren to take oath as Jharkhand CM on Dec 29

In Jharkhand, Grand Alliance leader Hemant Soren will take oath as Chief Minister on the 29th of this month.

• He was formally elected the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) legislature party leader.

• He was projected as the chief ministerial candidate by the JMM, Congress and RJD Alliance that gained the majority in the recently concluded Assembly polls.



Appointments



1. Niranjan Hiranandani takes over as Assocham president

Niranjan Hiranandani has taken over as the new president of The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (Assocham), the country’s apex organisation of industry and trade.

• He will succeed Balkrishan Goenka, the Welspun Group Chairman.

• Niranjan Hiranandani is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Hiranandani Group of Companies.



Awards



1. Kamareddy wins Unicef-2019 Award for Swachh Bharat implementation

Kamareddy district of Telangana has secured the United Nations International Children’s and Education Fund (Unicef)-2019 Award.

• The district has won the award for effective implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission in water sanitation and hygiene sectors.

• Kamareddy district was on top in the country among other districts in construction of individual sanitary lavatories, swachh darpan wall paintings, swachh survekshan, swachh sundar shouchalay and many other activities.


Summit and Conferences



1. Atal Bhujal Yojana launched by Government of India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL) which aims to improve groundwater management.

• The scheme has been designed with the principal objective of strengthening the institutional framework for participatory groundwater management.

• It aims to bring behavioral changes at the community level for sustainable groundwater resource management in seven States.

• The 7 states includes Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

• The scheme will promote panchayat led ground water management and behavioural change with primary focus on demand side management.

• The Government has outlaid Rs. 6000 crore for the scheme. Out of the total outlay of Rs. 6000 crore to be implemented over a period of 5 years (2020-21 to 2024-25), 50% shall be in the form of World Bank loan, and to be repaid by the Central Government.

• The remaining 50% shall be through Central Assistance from regular budgetary support. The entire World Bank’s loan component and Central Assistance will be passed on to the States as Grants.


Ranks and Reports



1. Tamil Nadu tops ‘Good Governance Index’ launched by GoI

The Central Government has released the “Good Governance Index” on the occasion of Good Governance Day.

• The “Good Governance Index” was launched to assess the state of governance in Indian States and Union Territories.

• The prime objective of the GGI is to provide quantifiable data to compare the state of governance in all states and Union Territories, enable them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for improving governance and shift to result oriented approaches and administration.

• The Index was launched by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, and the Centre for Good Governance.



Sports



1. Meiraba Luwang wins Bangladesh Junior Int’l Badminton Series

India’s shuttler Maisnam Meiraba Luwang has won the Men’s singles Bangladesh Junior International Badminton Series 2019 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

• Top-seeded Meiraba, who hails from Manipur, beat Ken Yong Ong 21, 14, 21-18 in the final.


The GGI takes into consideration ten sectors. These ten Governance Sectors are measured on total 50 indicators. The 10 sectors are:

  • Agriculture and Allied Sectors
  • Commerce & Industries
  • Human Resource Development
  • Public Health
  • Public Infrastructure & Utilities
  • Economic Governance
  • Social Welfare & Development
  • Judicial & Public Security
  • Environment
  • Citizen-Centric Governance

  • The states and UTs are divided into three groups:

  • Big States
  • North-East & Hill States
  • Union Territories


  • Some key results of the day:

    • Among the “Big States“, Tamil Nadu topped the Good Governance Index. The poor performers are Odisha, Bihar, Goa, and Uttar Pradesh with Jharkhand finishing last in the group.

    • Among the “North-East and Hill States“, Himachal Pradesh topped the index, followed by Uttarakhand, Tripura, Mizoram and Sikkim.

    • The worst performers in this group are Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, with Arunachal Pradesh finishing last in the group.

    • Among the “Union Territories“, Puducherry topped the index followed by Chandigarh and Delhi. Lakshwadeep is the worst performing UT.


    Sports



    1. South African seamer Vernon Philander announces retirement

    South African all-rounder Vernon Philander announced international retirement from all forms of cricket after the conclusion of the upcoming Test series against England.

    • He has played 97 matches across all three formats, taking a combined 261 wickets with 1784 runs in his international career.

    • He also took 51 wickets in his first seven Test matches which earned him the 2012 SA Cricketer of the Year award.

    2. MS Dhoni named captain of CA’s ODI team of the decade

    Former India skipper and wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni been named captain of Cricket Australia’s (CA) ODI team of the decade and the line-up features three Indian players.

    • Apart from Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have made the cut in CA’s team.

    • CA’s ODI team of the decade: Rohit Sharma, Hashim Amla, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Shakib Al Hasan, Jos Buttler, MS Dhoni (c), Mitchell Starc, Trent Boult, Lasith Malinga, Rashid Khan.


    3. Leander Paes to retire from Tennis in 2020

    Indian tennis ace Leander Paes has announced that 2020 will be his last year as a professional tennis player.

    • Leander, who made his Olympic debut in 1992, will look for one final flourish at Tokyo Olympics next year.

    • He has won eight doubles and ten mixed doubles Grand Slam titles.



    Obituaries



    1. England World Cup winner Martin Peters passes away

    Former West Ham and Tottenham midfielder Martin Peters, who scored England’s second goal in the 1966 World Cup final against West Germany, passed away.

    • He joined West Ham in 1959 as a 15-year-old, made his debut in 1962 and was a key player in the side who won the 1965 Cup Winners Cup final at Wembley.

    2. Renowned Hindi author Ganga Prasad passes away

    Renowned Hindi author Ganga Prasad Vimal passed away in a road accident in Sri Lanka.

    • He was born in 1939 in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand. He wrote more than a dozen poetry collections, short story collections and novels.

    • His last novel, Manushkhor, was published in 2013. He received several Hindi literary awards.



    Important Days



    1. Good Governance Day: 25 December

    Good Governance Day is observed in India annually on the 25th of December.

    • In this day nation celebrates the birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna and former-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

    • Good Governance Day was established in 2014 to honour Prime Minister Vajpayee by fostering awareness among the Indian people of accountability in government.

    • In keeping with this principle, the Good Governance Day has been declared to be a working day for the government.

    • Atal Bihari Vajpayee served as the Prime Minister of India for three times.

    • His first term was for only 13 days in 1996.

    • He served his second term for a period of thirteen months from March 1998 to April 1999 and then a full term from 1999 to 2004.

    • His first entry into parliament was in 1962 through the Rajya Sabha. He was elected to the Lok Sabha seven times.

    • In 2015, Mr Vajpayee was conferred the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.

    2. National Consumer Day: 24th December

    • Every Year 24th December is observed as National Consumer Day with a specific theme in India.

    • The theme of this year is “ alternate consumer grievance/dispute redressal”.

    • The objective is to highlight the importance of the consumer movement and the need to make every consumer more aware of their rights and responsibilities.

    • On this day the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted.

    • The Act aims to provide consumers with effective safeguards against different types of exploitation, such as defective goods, deficiency in services and unfair trade practices.



    CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 24th DECEMBER

    National News



    1. India constructs Girls’ Hostel for Nepal Armed Police Force

    The Govt. of India has constructed Girls’ Hostel for Nepal Armed Police Force School, Kirtipur, Nepal.

    • Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, Dr Ajay Kumar inaugurated hostel building.

    • Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) School is an academic institution created under the APF Welfare Service Centre of Nepal Armed Police Force.

    • The school was established in 2005 and it has over 21 per cent of girls students.

    • The new infrastructure constructed with the Government of India’s grant assistance of 40.42 million Nepali Rupees is a two-storied girls’ hostel.

    • It comprises 32 rooms including a dormitory, warden room, bathroom, sanitation facilities for girls on each floor and furniture.


    International News



    1. Emergency protocols activated in the Galapagos Islands after fuel spill

    Ecuador has activated the emergency protocols in the Galapagos Islands.

    • The emergency protocol was activated to contain the environmental impact of a fuel spill in the Galapagos Islands.

    • The step was taken after a barge carrying 600 gallons of diesel fuel sank.

    • The accident occurred in a port on San Cristobal Island when a crane collapsed while loading a container onto the barge.

    • The falling container destabilized the ship, causing it to sink.

    • The Galapagos archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of the most fragile ecosystems on the planet.


    2. Eight West African nations rename common currency to Eco

    Eight West African countries have agreed to change the name of their common currency to Eco and severed their earlier currency CFA Franc’s links to former colonial ruler France.

    • Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo currently use the currency.

    • All the countries are former French colonies with the exception of Guinea-Bissau.

    • The CFA franc, created in 1945, was seen by many as a sign of French interference in its former African colonies even after the countries became independent.



    State News



    1. Sikkim CM laid the foundation stone two IPUs of Sikkim IFFCO

    Chief Minister, Sikkim laid the foundation stone of two Integrated Organic Food Processing units of Sikkim IFFCO Organics Ltd. in Rangpo, East Sikkim.

    • Sikkim IFFCO Organics Limited is a joint venture between the world’s biggest fertilizer Cooperative, IFFCO and Government of Sikkim.

    • Its aim is to promote and market the organic produce of the country and especially from Sikkim and other north-eastern states of India.

    • The major commercial crops in which Sikkim IFFCO will operate are ginger, turmeric, large cardamom and buckwheat.



    Appointments



    1. Cuba names Manuel Marrero Cruz to be first PM since 1976

    In Cuba, President has appointed Manuel Marrero Cruz as the country’s first prime minister in more than 40 years.

    • Marrero, who has served as tourism minister for 16 years and is an architect by trade, helped boost Cuba’s economy by making tourism one of the engines of growth.

    • The post of prime minister was scrapped in 1976 by the then-revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.


    2. Monisha Ghosh named 1st woman CTO at FCC in US

    Indian-American Dr Monisha Ghosh has been appointed as the first woman Chief Technology Officer at the US government’s powerful Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

    • She will advise Indian-American Chairman of the FCC Ajit Pai and the agency on technology and engineering issues, and work closely with the Office of Engineering and Technology.

    • Dr Ghosh will take charge on January 13. She replaces Dr Eric Burger.



    Awards



    1. Nadal and Barty named 2019 ITF World Champions

    Ashleigh Barty and Rafael Nadal were named International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) World Champions in singles for 2019.

    • This awards will be given at the 2020 ITF world champions 2nd June, in Paris.


    CATEGORY WINNER
    Men Singles Rafael Nadal (Spain)
    Women Singles Ashleigh Barty (Australia)
    Women Doubles Timea Babos (Hungary) and Kristina Mladenovic (France)
    Men Doubles Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (Colombia)
    Men’s Wheelchair Gustavo Fernandez (Argentina)
    Women’s Wheelchair Diede de Groot (Netherland)
    Quad Dylan Alcott (Australia)
    2. Malayali boy Aditya bags top bravery award

    Aditya K. of Kozhikode, Kerala has become the first child from the State to bag the Bharat Award for bravery.

    • The most prestigious of the National Bravery Awards, given away by the Indian Council for Child Welfare.

    • The Bharat Award has gone to Aditya for rescued 20 people from a bus carrying members of the Calicut University Pensioners’ Forum and their families when it caught fire coming down a steep mountain road.

    • Two more children from the State are also recipients of the awards. Muhammed Mohsin has been given the award posthumously for saving the lives of three children.

    • Fatah gets the award for rescuing a woman and a girl from an approaching train. Both belong to Kozhikode.


    3. Indian Archaeologist honoured in Bangladesh

    Noted archaeologist R. Nagaswamy was honoured at the Silver Jubilee International Conference of Art in Dhaka by Bangladesh.

    • He is an Indian historian, archaeologist and epigraphist.

    • He served as the founder-director of Tamilnadu Archaeology Department.

    • In 2018 he was awarded India’s third highest civilian award Padma Bhushan.


    Summit and Conferences



    1. India-Iran 19th Joint Commission meeting held in Iran

    External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar co-chaired the 19th Joint Commission meeting with Foreign Minister of Iran. The Joint Commission meeting was held in Tehran, Iran.

    • The meeting reviewed the entire gamut of the cooperation and agreed to accelerate work on the strategic Chabahar project.

    • The Chabahar port is jointly being developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan.

    • It is located on the Indian Ocean in the Sistan and Baluchestan province of Iran.


    Books and authors



    1. Vice Prez released book ‘Turbulence and Triumph: The Modi Years’

    The Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu released a book titled ‘Turbulence and Triumph: The Modi Years’ in New Delhi.

    • The book is jointly authored by Rahul Agarwal and Bharathi S Pradhan and is published by Om Books International.

    • The book is about the life journey of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi from his days as a young boy rin Gujarat till becoming the Prime Minister of India.



    Sports



    1. Meiraba Luwang wins Bangladesh Junior Int’l Badminton Series

    India’s shuttler Maisnam Meiraba Luwang has won the Men’s singles Bangladesh Junior International Badminton Series 2019 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

    • Top-seeded Meiraba, who hails from Manipur, beat Ken Yong Ong 21, 14, 21-18 in the final.


    Important Days



    1. National Mathematics Day: 22 December

    National Mathematics Day is celebrated on 22nd December every year to mark the birth anniversary of legendary mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan and his contributions in the development of modern mathematics.

    • This year nation celebrates his 132nd Birth Anniversary.

    • Ramanujan had a wealth of ideas that have transformed and reshaped 20th-century mathematics.

    • These ideas continue to shape mathematics of the 21st century.

    • The main objective behind the celebration of National Mathematics Day is to make people aware of the development of mathematics and its importance in the growth of humanity.


    Miscellaneous



    1. EChO Network was launched in New Delhi

    Prof. Krishnasamy VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Govt of India launched a national program called “EChO Network” in New Delhi.

    • The EChO network provides a template for cross-disciplinary leadership in India.

    • The purpose of this programme is to bring citizens, govt etc to solve problems in the areas of research knowledge, and awareness of Indian ecology and the environment.

    2. Integral Coach Factory produces 3000 Coaches in record 215 days

    Integral Coach Factory (ICF) of Indian Railways has produced its 3000 Coaches in record 215 days.

    • The 64-year-old production unit beat its own record by reducing the number of working days to achieve the target of making 3,000 coaches in 289 days in 2018-19 to 215 days this year and retained its position as the largest coach- maker in the world.



    CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 22nd DECEMBER

    International News



    1. Ethiopia launched its first space satellite

    Ethiopia launched its first satellite, a landmark achievement for the country’s space program that caps a banner year for the African space industry.

    • The launch of the Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite (ETRSS) took place at a space station in China.

    • The launch makes Ethiopia the 11th African country to put a satellite into space. Egypt was the first in 1998.

    • Data provided by Ethiopia’s satellite is expected to paint a fuller picture of the country’s agriculture, forestry and mining resources and improve responses to flooding and other disasters.


    2. Indian-American computer scientist to lead National Science Foundation in USA

    US President Donald Trump has picked Indian-American computer scientist Sethuraman Panchanathan to lead the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) in USA.

    • The NSF is a US government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Panchanathan would succeed France Cordova when her six-year term as the NSF Director ends in 2020.

    • Panchanathan is currently the Executive Vice President and the Chief Research and Innovation Officer at Arizona State University.

    • He is also the Founding Director of the Centre for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing at the ASU.


    Banking



    1. Google searches for ‘Operation Twist’ surge in India

    Google searches for “Operation Twist” surged in India after the central bank announced its version of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s unconventional monetary policy.

    • Most searches for the term came from Delhi followed by Maharashtra.

    • The central bank will buy long-term bonds, while simultaneously selling short-term government securities in an effort to cheapen long-term borrowing and boost bank lending.

    • The Reserve Bank of India will buy longer-tenor bonds while selling shorter debt.

    • The concept is similar to Operation Twist used by the Fed in 2011-2012 in an effort to cheapen long-term borrowing and spur bank lending.


    2. RBI to buy and sell govt bonds worth Rs 10,000 crore

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will simultaneously purchase and sell government securities worth Rs 10,000 crore under a special Open Market Operation (OMO).

    • On a review of the current liquidity and market situation and an assessment of the evolving financial conditions, the Reserve Bank has decided to conduct simultaneous purchase and sale of government securities on December 23, 2019.

    • The purchase will be for government securities worth Rs 10,000 crore for the instrument ‘6.45 per cent GS 2029’.

    • The Reserve Bank reserves the right to decide on the quantum of purchase/sale of individual securities and to accept bids/offers for less than the aggregate amount.


    Defence



    1. 5th Edition of ARTECH to be held in New Delhi

    The 5th edition of ARTECH is being organised by Indian Army on ‘Technologies for Non-Contact Warfare’ which will be organised on 23 December 2019 at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantonment.

    • The seminar is the flagship event of the Indian Army which sets the agenda for focus areas of harvesting indigenous capabilities in the Defence sector.

    • ARTECH Seminar was launched in 2016 as part of the overall vision of ‘Make in India’ of Hon’ble Prime Minister and is conducted every year as part of events leading to Army Day celebrations.

    • ARTECH platform provides an opportunity to practitioners of military operations, policymakers in Ministry of Defence, industry and academia to put forth their contemporary Defence-related capabilities.

    • It is also a forum for innovators in uniform to showcase their products and offer these to industry to refine & productions.



    Summits and Conferences



    1. PM Modi addresses ASSOCHAM Annual Conference

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) annual conference in Delhi.

    • The theme of the event was ‘New India Aspiring for a USD 5 trillion economy’.

    • The event was organised on the completion of 100 years of ASSOCHAM.



    Sports



    1. Mirabai Chanu wins Gold in 6th Qatar International Cup

    Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu won the women’s 49kg category gold medal to open India’s account at the 6th Qatar International Cup in Doha.

    • She bagged gold with an effort of 194kg in the Olympic qualifying event, with the points which will come in handy when the final rankings for Tokyo 2020 cut are done.

    • She lifted 83kg in snatch and 111kg in clean and jerk to finish on top of the podium.


    2. Belgium crowned FIFA Team of the Year

    Belgium has been crowned FIFA ‘Team of the Year’ for the second successive time after a record-breaking year for the global ladder.

    • World champions France remains in the second place ahead of Brazil in third.

    • Besides accumulating the biggest points haul, Qatar has also jumped a year-high 38 places, followed closely by fellow climbers Algeria (up 32 ranks) and Japan (up 22 places).


    3. ICC continues partnership with UNICEF for Women’s World T20

    The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced that it has extended its partnership with UNICEF through to the Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 with the focus on empowering women and girls through cricket.

    • The partnership and public donations continue to bring positive change to children through the programs in cricket playing nations focused on empowering women and girls in cricket.

    • The money raised during the Women’s World T20 will go to similar projects in cricket playing nations, including an innovative program to promote girls” participation in cricket in Sri Lanka and build peace in communities.

    • The ICC and UNICEF partnership commenced in 2015, as part of the ICC”s global community outreach program ”Cricket 4 Good”.

    • During the Men’s 50-over World Cup held in England and Wales earlier this summer, UNICEF raised $180,000 as part of ‘One Day 4 Children’ and this money will go directly to fund a girls’ cricket project in Afghanistan.


    Obituaries



    1. Former Kerala Minister Thomas Chandy passes away

    Nationalist Congress Party’s Kerala State President and former Minister Thomas Chandy passed away.

    • He represented Kuttanad constituency in Alappuzha district in the state Assembly.

    • He was forced to quit as Kerala Transport Minister from the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government in November 2017 after facing encroachment allegations.


    2. Writer and critic LS Sheshagiri Rao passes away

    Kannada writer and critic L.S. Sheshagiri Rao passed away. His first work was Idu Jeevana, an anthology of short stories was released in 1948.

    • He is best known for his book “Hosagannada Sahitya Charitre”.

    • He was best known for his critical works and an English-Kannada dictionary that he compiled.

    • Proficient in Kannada and English, many of his works were bridges between the two languages.



    CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 21st DECEMBER

    National News



    1. Afghanistan becomes 1st country to recognize Indian Pharmacopoeia

    The Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP) has been recognised formally by the National Department of Regulation of Medicines and Health Products of the Ministry of Public Health of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

    • With this Afghanistan has become the 1st country to recognize IP pursuant to the efforts of Department of Commerce and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

    • IP is an officially recognized book of standards as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules 1945 thereunder. It specifies the standards of drugs manufactured and marketed in India in terms of their identity, purity and strength.

    • To ensure the quality of medicinal products, the legal and scientific standards are provided by Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) in the form of Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP).


    2. Portugal announces Gandhi Citizenship Education Prize

    Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced the setting up of a Gandhi Citizenship Education Prize. Portugal will be launching a Gandhi Citizenship Education Prize, each year inspired by his different thoughts and quotes.

    • The first edition of this prize will be dedicated to animal welfare as Mahatma Gandhi said that the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.


    International News



    1. Donald Trump becomes 3rd US President to be impeached

    Donald Trump has become the third US President in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives. The impeachment will led to setting up a trial in the Senate that will decide whether Trump will remain in office or not.

    • The House of Representatives formally charged Donald Trump with abuse of power.

    • The Democratic-led House passed the abuse of power article of impeachment on a largely party-line 230-197 vote. Although, no President in the 243-year history of the United States has been removed from office by impeachment.

    • Only two previous presidents have been impeached in the US history. The House in 1998 impeached President Bill Clinton while President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868.



    State News



    1. Meghalaya Assembly to pass resolution to bring state under ILP

    The Meghalaya Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution urging the Government of India to implement Inner Line Permit in the state under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

    • The one-day special session was conducted with the sole intention to pass the resolution in view of the demand by the indigenous residents of the state for implementation of the ILP.

    • Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period.

    • It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside those states to obtain a permit for entering into the protected state. The document is an effort by the government to regulate movement to certain areas located near the international border of India.



    Awards



    1. Sahitya Akademi award 2019 released

    Sahitya Akademi announced its annual Sahitya Akademi Awards in 23 languages. Seven books of poetry, four of the novel, six of short stories, three of essays and one each of non-fiction, autobiography and biography have won the Sahitya Akademi Awards 2019. This time, the awards for the Nepali language will be announced later.

    • The complete list of winners in a different language and genre categories is given in the table below.


    S.No. Language Title and Genre Name of the Author
    1 Assamese Chanakya (Novel) Joysree Goswami Mahanta
    2 Bengali Ghumer Darja Thele (Essays) Chinmoy Guha
    3 Bodo Akhai Athumniphrai (Poetry) Phukan Ch. Basumatary
    4 Dogri Bandralta Darpan (Essays) Om Sharma Jandriari
    5 English An Era of Darkness (Non-Fiction) Shashi Tharoor
    6 Gujarati Mojma Revu Re (Essays) Ratilal Borisagar
    7 Hindi Climate activist Person of the Year
    8 Kannada Kudi Esaru (Autobiography) Vijaya
    9 Kashmiri Akh Yaad Akh Qayamat (Short Stories) Abdul AhadHajini
    10 Konkani The Words (Poetry) Nilba A Khandekar
    11 Maithili Jingik Oriaon Kariat (Poetry) Kumar Manish Arvind
    12 Malayalam Achan Piranna Veedu (Poetry) V Madhusoodanan Nair
    13 Manipuri EiAmadi Adungeigi Eethat (Novel) L Birmangol Singh (Beryl Thanga)
    14 Marathi Kadachit Ajoonahi(Poetry) Anuradha Patil
    15 Odia Bhaswati (Short Stories) Tarun Kanti Mishra
    16 Punjabi Antheen (Short Stories) Kirpal Kazak
    17 Rajasthani BareekBaat (Short Stories) Ramswaroop Kisan
    18 Sanskrit Prajnachakshusham (Poetry) Penna Madhusudan
    19 Santali Sisirkali (Short Stories) Kali Charan Hembram
    20 Sindhi Jeejal (Short Stories) Ishwar Moorjani
    21 Tamil Sool (Novel) Cho Dharman
    22 Telugu Septabhoomi (Novel) Bandi Narayana Swamy
    23 Urdu Sawaneh-E-Sir Syed: Ek Bazadeed (Biography) Shafey Kidwai

    • The Award in the form of a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, a shawl and an amount of Rs. 1,00,000/- towards cash content will be presented to the authors of these books at a special function to be held on 25 February 2020 at New Delhi during the Festival of Letters organized by Sahitya Akademi.


    Appointments



    1. Former HC Judge CV Ramulu appointed as Telangana Lokayukta

    Former High Court Judge Justice CV Ramulu has been appointed as the Lokayukta of Telangana. Former Law Secretary V Niranjan Rao has been appointed as Upa Lokayukta.

    • The governor also appointed another former judge Justice G Chandraiah as Chairman of the State Human Rights Commission.

    • This is the first time that the state government has constituted the Lokayukta and Human Rights Commission since the state was formed in 2014.


    2. Devesh Srivastava appointed GIC chief

    Devesh Srivastava has been raised to the position of Chairman and Managing Director (MD) at the General Insurance Corporation India (GIC Re).

    • Previously he was managing the departments of human resource and training, ReInsurance Worldwide (RIWW), corporate communications, CMD’s Secretariat and innovation centre, he was transferred to GIC in 1999.


    3. IPS officer Atul Karwal appointed as Director of National Police Academy

    The Union Government appointed a senior Gujarat Cadre IPS officer Atul Karwal, as Director of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad.

    • He is a 1988 batch IPS officer, is currently posted as Additional Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).


    Science & Technology



    1. International Astronomical Union names new star ‘Sharjah’

    The International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced the names of the newly discovered stars and planets, where the name “Sharjah” was chosen for a star with “Barjeel” being the name of one of its planets.

    • The Forbes 2019 list of ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ has been topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, followed by President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde in the 2nd spot and Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, ranked 3rd. Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also featured on the list on the 29th position.



    Economy



    1. ADB & India signs $490 Million loan to upgrade roads of Madhya Pradesh

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India has signed a $490 million loan. The loan is signed for public-private partnership (PPP) project through the hybrid-annuity model (HAM) to upgrade about 1,600 km of state highways and major district roads in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

    • An additional $286 million investment will be mobilised through private sector participation under the PPP modality.

    • The upgradation of these roads under the project will improve rural and peri-urban connectivity in the state and improve access to markets and better services.

    • The HAM is a mix of engineering, procurement, construction, and build-operate-transfer. This passes the responsibility of design, implementation, and operation and maintenance obligations to the private sector, while attracting some private sector financing.


    Sports



    1. Indian men’s football team ranked 108th in latest FIFA rankings

    The Indian men’s football team remained static at 108th spot in the year-ending FIFA rankings.

    • India lost 11 places throughout the year. With 1187 total points, India is placed at 19th spot among Asian countries headed by Japan 28th.


    Defence



    1. Upgraded version of Pinaka Rocket successfully test-fired off Odisha coast

    An upgraded version of the indigenously developed Pinaka-guided rocket system with enhanced strike range and guidance system was successfully test-fired from the DRDO’s Proof and Experimental Establishment firing test range off Odisha coast.

    • The system has a maximum range of 40 km for Mark-I and 75 km for Mark-II and can fire a salvo of 12 HE rockets in 44 seconds. It is mounted on a Tatra truck for mobility.

    • Pinaka is an indigenous multi-barrel rocket launch (MBRL) system, which has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Army.

    • The weapon system is equipped with state-of-the-art guidance kit comprising of an advanced navigation and control system.

    • While the all-weather tracked-chassis Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QR-SAM) also tested from a mobile launcher at a launch complex of the Integrated Test Range.


    Important Days



    1. International Human Solidarity Day: 20 December

    International Human Solidarity Day is organized across the world on 20th December. The General Assembly, on 22 December 2005, by resolution 60/209 identified solidarity as one of the fundamental and universal values.


    CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 20th DECEMBER

    National News



    1. GST Council fixes 28% uniform tax rate for lottery

    The Goods and Services Tax or GST Council has fixed a uniform tax rate of 28% on both state-run and private lottery.

    • It also decided to rationalise the GST rate on woven and non-woven bags to 18%.

    • It was for the first time that the GST Council resorted to voting to decide on an issue as it fixed a uniform tax rate on both state and private lotteries.

    • The GST Council also decided to exempt upfront amount payable for long term lease of industrial and financial infrastructure plots by an entity having 20% or more ownership of Central or State Government.


    2. 50% concession for ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ participants

    Indian Railways has decided to grant 50% concession for the youth participating in the “Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat” programme.

    • The concession will be given in basic fares of Second and Sleeper Class to youths with emoluments of not more than 5000 rupees per month for travelling from one State to another State to take part in the programme.

    • The concession has been granted as a special case and it is admissible only in the normal train services and not for booking of Special Trains or Coaches.

    • This concession will be provided on production of requisite certificate in the prescribed railway format from the Secretary of concerned Department of Human Resource Development of various States.


    3. Chennai Corporation launches India’s first waste exchange platform

    Chennai Corporation, Tamil Nadu launched India’s first waste exchange platform namely “Madras Waste Exchange” (www.madraswasteexchange.com) to buy and sell municipal solid waste online.

    • It will run on a pilot basis for the first three months. Based on the response from public and waste recyclers, more features will be added to the website.

    • The Madras Waste Exchange, which is both a web portal and an application, has been conceptualised by the Smart City Mission, with support from the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.


    4. India and US sign defence tech transfer pact during 2+2 dialogue

    India and the US have signed an agreement to facilitate the transfer of defence technology.

    • During a 2+2 dialogue held at Washington DC, the top foreign affairs and defence leaders on growing strategic relations between the world`s largest and most powerful democracies.

    • India and the US have a common vision of a free, seamless and peaceful Indo-Pacific region.

    • India has bought weapons worth more than $15 billion from the United States over the past decade as it seeks to replace its Russian-origin military and is in talks for helicopters, armed drones and a bigger Indian plan for local production of combat planes together worth billions of dollars.


    State News



    1. Odisha Govt. launches ‘Jalsathi’ programme

    Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has launched the ‘Jalsathi’ programme to ensure supply of safe drinking water to all households in the state.

    • The Odisha CM also launched the ‘JalSathi’ App on the occasion. The Water Corporation of Odisha (WATCO) signed a memorandum of understanding with the women federations in Bhubaneswar for the implementation of the programme.

    • The JalSathi initiative aims to ensure the supply of clean drinking water to consumers through piped water connections.


    Agreements



    1. Apple, Amazon & Google partners for ‘Connected Home over IP’

    “Amazon.com Inc”, “Apple Inc” and Alphabet Inc’s “Google” have announced a partnership to lay the groundwork for better compatibility among their smart home products.

    • Zigbee Alliance, whose members include IKEA and NXP Semiconductors among others, will also contribute to the project, titled ‘Connected Home over IP’.

    • The partnership aims to make it easier for device manufacturers to build products that are compatible with smart home and voice services such as Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.



    Defence



    1. Anti-hijacking exercise conducted in Kochi port

    The Indian Navy, in collaboration with Indian Coast Guard, Cochin Port Trust and all other concerned stakeholders, conducted a large-scale anti-hijacking exercise off the Port of Kochi.

    • The Exercise code-named “Apharan” saw the participation of multiple agencies, including more than 12 ships and helicopters of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Cochin Port Trust.

    • Apharan was aimed at streamlining the response mechanism/preparedness to thwart any attempt by anti-national elements to hijack a merchant’s vessel or attempt forced entry of a rogue/commandeered merchant vessel into the Kochi harbour.



    Business



    1. Infosys launches blockchain powered distributed applications

    • Infosys has announced the launch of three blockchain-powered distributed applications.

    • The applications will be dedicated for government services, insurance, and supply chain management domains.

    • The applications are equipped with predictive return on investment (ROI) analytics for business investments that can be tailored to meet numerous industry-specific needs.


    2. Peugeot SA and Fiat Chrysler signs merger agreement

    • French carmaker “Peugeot SA” and US-Italian “Fiat Chrysler” have signed an agreement to create the world’s fourth largest automaker.

    • The binding combination agreement provides a 50/50 merger of their businesses to create the 4th largest global automotive original equipment manufacturer by volume and third largest by revenue.

    • The combined revenue of the two entities will be close to 170 billion euros i.e. $190 million.

    • The combined entity will have a workforce of more than 4,00,000.

    • The combined group would be headquartered in the Netherlands.

    • Fiat Chrysler’s chief John Elkann will be the chairman and PSA’s Carlos Tavares chief executive of the new entity.


    Ranks and Reports



    1. HDFC Bank crosses $100 billion market capitalisation

    HDFC Bank has become the 3rd Indian firm to cross $100 billion mark in market capitalisation.

    • HDFC Bank has joined the league of Reliance Industries Ltd, which has a market cap of $140.74 billion, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) that has a market cap of $114.60 billion.

    • With this achievement, HDFC Bank is now ranked 110th in the list of world’s most valued companies.

    • Among the world’s most valued banks and financial companies which have a market cap of over $100 billion, HDFC Bank is ranked at 26th position.


    Summits and Conferences



    1. Dehradun hosts Conference of Presiding Officers of Legislative Bodies

    Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla inaugurated the 79th Conference of Presiding Officers of Legislative Bodies.

    • The conference was held in Dehradun. The presiding officers of all state legislatures participated in the conference.

    • Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla was also conferred the guard of honour during the conference.


    2. National conference on ‘Uniformed Women in Prison Administration’ begins

    Union Minister of State for Home affairs inaugurate a National Conference on ‘Uniformed Women in Prisons Administration’ begins in Central Academy for Police Training in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

    • In this Conference, uniformed women officers and staff of all the states from Jail Wardens up to Director Inspector Generals level, members of non-governmental organizations, representatives of academic institutions and officers of other government departments are taking part in the conference.

    • At present, there are more than 900 uniformed women government servants working in the state jail department.


    3. “Environmental Sustainability and Economic Development” Summit held in Delhi

    Summit on “Environmental Sustainability and Economic Development” was held in Delhi.

    • Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change addressed the summit with the concerns about the depleting ozone layer and the emission of Cfcs and Hfcs.

    • He stated that there is the need of the hour to call upon a meeting to control the minimum temperatures and to keep a check on the emissions.



    Sports



    1. S. Mandhana in ICC’s ODI and T20 team of the year

    India opener Smriti Mandhana was named in both the International Cricket Council’s ODI and T20 teams of the year.

    • She has Jhulan Goswami, Poonam Yadav and Shikha Pandey for the company in the ODI team of the year and all-rounder Deepti Sharma in the T20 side.

    • Mandhana has played 51 ODIs and 66 T20Is for India, besides a couple of Test matches. She has combined tally of 3476 runs in T20Is and ODIs.


    Books and Authors



    1. Thawarchand Gehlot launches Braille version of ‘Exam Warriors’

    Social Justice and Empowerment Minister launched the Braille version of the book “Exam Warriors” written by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

    • The braille version in English and Hindi has been printed by Rajasthan Netraheen Kalyan Sangh in Jaipur.

    • The book contains a detailed-design of the animated picture and various yoga asanas which will let students imagine the pictorial graphics with ease.

    • The book will surely benefit visually-impaired students who face mental stress during examinations. It will boost the confidence level of these students and help them get success in various competitive exams.


    Schemes and Committee



    1. Govt approves Rs 436 cr outlay for skilling 4 lakh persons

    The government announced Rs 436 crore outlay for skilling 4 lakh professionals in futuristic areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity over the next 3 years.

    • The ”Future Skills PRIME” programme will be jointly rolled out by the information technology ministry and industry body Nasscom and will seek to position the initiative as India stack for digital talent.

    • The programme will increase employability.


    CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 18th DECEMBER

    International News



    1. Sri Lanka formally releases ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor’

    Sri Lankan government has formally released its new National policy Framework titled ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor’.

    • The framework is meant to guide the government ministries and departments in implementing their policies.

    • It is aimed at achieving fourfold outcome of being a productive citizen, a contented family, a virtuous, disciplined and just society and a prosperous nation.

    • Maintaining GDP growth rate of 6.5% or higher under the macroeconomic programme, achieving a per capita income exceeding 6,500 US dollar during 2020 to 2025 are one of the key objectives of the framework.


    National News



    1. Madhya Pradesh CM to inaugurate International Film Festival in Khajuraho

    The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Kamal Nath will inaugurate the International Film Festival in Shilpkala village of Khajuraho.

    • Films from the country and abroad including Bundelkhandi will be screened at the Tapra Talkies made for the festival.

    • The International Khajuraho Film Festival is being organized by the Prayas Sanstha in collaboration with the State Government.

    • Events like interaction with film stars, film making workshop, mobile film making workshop, plays, programmes for promoting local art and culture, herbal forest fair, animal fair etc. are also organized during the Film Festival.


    2. Haryana Police became the first to introduce ‘Trakea’ software in FSL

    Haryana police have introduced a unique barcoding software “Trakea” to enable foolproof security of the samples collected in Forensic reports.

    • Haryana became the first state in the country to introduce this unique barcoding system.

    • Manohar Lal Khattar, Chief Minister (CM) of Haryana inaugurated the TRAKEA barcoding system of Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) at Madhuban, Haryana.

    • According to the police, Trakea ensures foolproof security of the samples collected from the scene of the crime, and the forensic analysis reports, and is different from traditional methods that the state police force has been following for decades.

    • The software was developed by a software engineer Amit Mishra.


    Awards



    1. UN Medal awarded to Indian peacekeepers to support the people of South Sudan

    Indian peacekeepers have been recognized for their strong contribution to building peace in conflict-affected South Sudan as well as for going above and beyond their duties to support local communities.

    • Almost 850 Indian troops received the United Nations Medal for their dedication and sacrifice serving so far away from home to protect civilians and build durable peace in South Sudan.

    • Currently, 2,342 Indian troops and 25 police personnel are deployed with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

    • The Indian troops were particularly praised for their efforts to support peace talks between Government and Opposition forces in the Upper Nile region and establishing the first-ever UNMISS base on the west bank of the Nile at Kodok.


    2. Union Rural Development Ministry selected UT of J&K for National award

    Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been selected for the national award by Union Rural Development Ministry for best performance in the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).

    • Union Rural Development Ministry has sanctioned 147 Road and Bridge projects under PMGSY-II covering a length of 783.88 kilometres at an estimated cost of 878.53 crore rupees for Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

    • The entire road length has been sanctioned for up-gradation of existing road infrastructure with 10-year maintenance.



    Appointments



    1. Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane to be next Army Chief

    Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane will be the next Chief of Army Staff of India.

    • He is currently serving as Vice Chief of the Army. Lt Gen Naravane will succeed Gen Bipin Rawat, who will retire on the 31st December.

    • He has served in numerous command and staff appointments in peace, field and highly active counter-insurgency environments in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.

    • In a distinguished military career spanning almost four decades, Lt Gen Naravane has the distinction of tenanting key appointments in active Counter Insurgency environments, both in the North East and in Jammu and Kashmir and was a part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka during Operation PAWAN.

    • He has been awarded the Sena Medal (Distinguished) for effectively commanding his battalion in Jammu and Kashmir.

    • He is also a recipient of the Vishisht Seva Medal for his services as the Inspector General Assam Rifles (North) in Nagaland and the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal for commanding of a prestigious strike corps.

    • He was honoured with Param Vishisht Seva Medal for his distinguished services as the General Officer Commanding in Chief of the Army Training Command.

    • Commander-in-Chief: President Ram Nath Kovind.


    2. IAS Ravi Mittal takes charge as new I&B Secy

    • IAS officer Ravi Mittal took charge as the new Secretary, Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

    • Mr Mittal took charge from Amit Khare who has been appointed as Secretary, Department of Higher Education.

    • Before this, Mr Mittal, a 1986 batch IAS officer of Bihar Cadre, was working as the Special Secretary in the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance.


    3. R N Ravi to hold additional charge as governor of Meghalaya

    Nagaland Governor R N Ravi has been given additional charge of Meghalaya.

    • The decision has been taken by the President of India in the wake of the “absence of leave” of Tathagata Roy, Governor of Meghalaya.


    Agreements



    1. ICAR & NABARD signed MoU to promote agriculture & farming systems research

    The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote sustainable agriculture and climate-resilient farming systems.

    • The research will be of active participation in climate-resilient practices, models and integrated and hi-tech farming practices in a participatory model.

    • The aim of this MoU was to promote sustainable agriculture and climate-resilient farming systems.


    Defence



    1. Exercise Surya Kiran-XIV held in Nepal

    A joint military training exercise “SURYA KIRAN-XIV” was held in Salijhandi, Rupendehi district of Nepal.

    • The exercise was conducted between the armies of India and Nepal.

    • Joint training exercise was based on counter insurgency operations in jungle and mountainous terrain and also practised response mechanism in the eventualities of natural and man made disasters.



    Summits and Conferences



    1. 5th EAC meeting of 15th Finance Commission held in New Delhi

    The 5th meeting of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) of the 15th Finance Commission was held in New Delhi.

    • In the meeting, possible macro assumptions related to real growth, inflation, ongoing structural reforms, tax revenue including GST, adherence to Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act and fiscal transparency were discussed.

    • Further, the Advisory Council was informed about the submission of the 2020-21 report and Commission’s next course of actions pertaining to the preparation of the report for 2021-26 period.


    Ranks and Reports



    1. India slips to 112th place on WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report

    India has slipped four places to rank 112th globally as per the Global Gender Gap Report 2020.

    • The report was released by World Economic Forum (WEF) headquartered at Geneva.

    • Iceland has topped the report and remains the world’s most gender-neutral country while Yemen was ranked the worst (153rd) in the report.

    • As per report, the most improved countries were Albania, Ethiopia, Mali, Mexico and Spain. Among regions, Western Europe has made the most progress on gender parity (standing at 76.7%).

    • As per WEF, the time it will take to close the gender gap has narrowed to 99.5 years in 2019 while the number was 108 years in 2018.

    • WEF stated that this year’s improvement can largely be ascribed to a significant increase in the number of women in politics. To Read More: Click Here


    Obituaries



    1. Veteran film actor Danny Aiello passes away

    • Veteran film actor Danny Aiello, known for his roles in the movies Do The Right Thing and The Godfather Part II passed away.

    • A veteran of stage and film, Aiello was best known for playing the pizza parlour owner Sal in Spike Lee’s 1989 Do the Right Thing.


    Miscellaneous



    1. Unesco removes ‘racist’ Belgian carnival from heritage list

    UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), has removed the ‘Carnival of Aalst’ of Belgium from its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List.

    • The 2019 carnival featured a parade float that included racist and anti-Semitic representations which mocked the Orthodox Jews.

    • The carnival was added to the Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2010.

    2. ITBP launches matrimonial site to help staff find ‘suitable matches’

    In a unique approach, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has started a dedicated matrimonial site for its staff. The website started will be managed by ITBP and only the staff will be able to access it.

    • This is the first-ever dedicated and well-managed matrimony portal among the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

    • There are more than 25,000 unmarried men in the Force while more than 1000 women personnel are also unmarried.

    • Keeping in view their duties and engagements after joining the service, finding suitable matches becomes an uphill task for the serving personnel.


    CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 17th DECEMBER

    National News



    1. FASTags becomes mandatory for all vehicles from 15th December 2019

    FASTags or prepaid rechargeable tags for toll collection have become mandatory for all vehicles from 15th December 2019.

    • The FASTags or prepaid rechargeable tags allows automatic payment of toll. The government launched the National Electronic Toll Collection System which provides for the collection of user fee through FASTag to save fuel and time, curb pollution and ensure seamless movement of traffic.

    • National Highways Authority of India has equipped all fee plazas with Electronic Toll Collection System.

    • With the help of a FASTag, drivers will not have to stop their vehicles at toll plazas to pay tax.

    • A FASTag uses radio frequency identification technology to enable direct toll payments from a moving vehicle.


    2. Bureau of Energy Efficiency organises 29th National Energy Conservation Awards

    Bureau of Energy Efficiency has organised the “29th National Energy Conservation Awards” under the guidance of Ministry of Power, Government of India.

    • India celebrates the National Energy Conservation Day every year on 14th December to recognise and celebrate the efforts towards energy conservation.

    • The day highlights the importance of energy conservation in Country’s sustainable development approach.

    • During the event, a Handbook for Implementation of Provisions of Energy Conservation Act 2001 was also released.


    International News



    1. Nuad Thai massage included in UNESCO heritage list

    Thailand’s famous 2000-year-old massage, Nuad Thai was added to UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) prestigious heritage list.

    • Nuad Thai is an intense form of massage in which the body is pulled and rotated well with the help of the thumb, elbow, knees and feet.

    • Thai massage originated in India and brought it to Thailand about 2,500 years ago by doctors and monks who carried its secrets for generations.


    2. Former PM Abdelmadjid Tebboune elected as the President of Algeria

    Abdelmadjid Tebboune, former Prime Minister (PM) of Algeria was elected as the President of Algeria succeeding Abdelkader Bensalah.

    • He served as the PM from May 2017 to August 2017, under the governance of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.



    State News



    1. Ministry of Coal to establish “Sustainable Development Cell” to promote clean mining

    The Coal Ministry will establish ‘Sustainable Development Cell’ (SDC) for promoting sustainable coal mining in the country.

    • It will address environmental concerns during the decommissioning or closure of mines.

    • The Cell will advise, mentor, plan and monitor the mitigation measures taken by the coal companies for maximizing the utilization of available resources in a sustainable way, minimizing the adverse impact of mining and mitigating it for further eco-system services.

    • Sustainable Development Cell will also formulate the future policy framework for the environmental mitigation measures including the Mine closure Fund.

    • The Sustainable Development Cell envisages to address the environmental mitigation measures in a systemic manner and to provide a better environment to people working and residing in the vicinity of Mines.



    Awards



    1. Toni-Ann Singh crowned Miss World 2019

    Tony-Ann Singh of Jamaica was announced as the winner of the Miss World 2019 beauty pageant held at the ExCeL London.

    • She was crowned by her predecessor Miss World 2018 Vanessa Ponce from Mexico.

    • Ophelia Mezino of France and Suman Rao of India were the first and second runners up of the beauty pageant respectively.

    • Miss World 2019 was the 69th edition of the contest and contestants from 120 countries competed for the title.


    Business



    1. Edelweiss AMC launches India’s 1st corporate bond ‘Bharat Bond ETF’

    Edelweiss Asset Management Company (AMC), a subsidiary of Edelweiss Capital Limited (ECL) has launched India’s 1st Corporate Bond ETF (exchange trade fund) called the Bharat Bond ETF.

    • The ETF is a government initiative and Edelweiss AMC was given the mandate to design and manage the product.

    • Edelweiss aims to raise an initial amount of Rs 3,000 crore through this bond from institutional players with a greenshoe option of Rs 2,000 crore in the 3-year maturity period (2023) and Rs 4,000 crore with a greenshoe option of Rs 6,000 crore in the 10-year maturity bucket (2030).

    • Small retail investors will have to invest at least Rs 1,000 in this fund.

    • After this, there is a facility for multiple investments. Here they can invest up to 2 lakhs.

    • At the same time, the minimum amount for anchor investors has been fixed at Rs 10 crore.


    Summits and Conferences



    1. Prime Minister chairs 1st meeting of National Ganga Council

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chaired the first meeting of the National Ganga Council.

    • The meeting was held in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The first meeting of the Council aimed at reinforcing the importance of a ‘Ganga-centric’ approach in all departments of the concerned states as well as relevant Central Ministries.

    • The Council has been given overall responsibility for superintendence of pollution prevention and rejuvenation of River Ganga Basin, including Ganga and its tributaries.

    • Prime Minister urged for a holistic thinking process where ‘Namami Gange’ evolves to ‘Arth Ganga’ or a sustainable development model with a focus on economic activities related to Ganga.

    • The income generated from encouraging eco-tourism and Ganga wildlife conservation and cruise tourism etc. would help to generate sustainable income streams for cleaning of Ganga.


    2. WDO to launch World Design Protopolis in Bengaluru

    The World Design Organization is all set to launch its new global programme World Design Protopolis in Bengaluru. It is aimed at implementing holistic progress in megacities across the world and thus making them sustainable.

    • The project also aims to measure the progress of the city, attract investments and solve problems so that the city becomes a better place for citizens.

    • The mega event, witnessed the convergence of policymakers and government officials, design professionals from India and abroad, architects, interior designers, heads of various companies, thought leaders, besides the general public.


    3. Rashtrapati Bhavan hosted university heads’ conference

    Rashtrapati Bhavan hosted a conference of 46 Heads of Central Universities and Institutes of Higher Learning in several fields including agriculture, pharmaceuticals, aviation, design, petroleum and energy.

    • Each of these institutes will be instrumental to the realization of the country’s socio-economic goals.

    • The Central Agricultural Universities can support the national goal of promoting sustainable agriculture, productivity and supporting farmers with useful research.

    • During the conference, different sub-groups comprising of heads of various institutes made presentations on issues such as the promotion of research, promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship among students and building industry-academia linkages.



    Books and Authors



    1. Viswanathan Anand launches his autobiography ‘Mind Master’

    Viswanathan Anand has launched his autobiography ‘Mind Master’. Anand’s autobiography is co-authored by sports journalist Susan Ninann.

    • It has been published by THG Publishing Private Limited. The book covers wonderful memories of Viswanathan Anand’s journey.


    Obituaries



    1. New Zealand three-times Olympic champion Peter Snell passes away

    New Zealand’s 3-times Olympic middle-distance champion Peter Snell passed away.

    • He was the last male athlete to have completed the 800m and 1500m double at an Olympic Games, which he achieved in Tokyo in 1964.

    • He also won 2 gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in 1962 in the 880 yards and one mile run in Perth.


    Important Days



    1. India celebrates Vijay Diwas: 16 December

    The nation celebrates 16 December as Vijay Diwas to commemorate India’s victory over Pakistan in 1971 war.

    • The Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 which began on December 3 lasted for 13 days and officially ended on December 16, after which Pakistan surrendered to India.

    • It was on this day in 1971, the chief of the Pakistani forces, General AA Khan Niazi, along with 93 thousand troops, had surrendered unconditionally to the allied forces consisting of Indian Army and Mukti Bahini.

    • The end of the war also resulted in subsequent secession of East Pakistan into Bangladesh.


    Miscellaneous



    1. Google Earth covers 98 percent of entire population

    Search engine giant Google has revealed that it’s powerful mapping service, Google Earth now covers more than 98 per cent of the world, and has captured 10 million miles of Street View imagery, a distance that could circle the globe more than 400 times.

    • Google Earth, the software that lets you browse the globe with 3D representation, right from the comfort of your couch, offers 6 million square miles of high definition satellite images, covering more than 98 per cent of the entire population.


    CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 16th DECEMBER

    State News



    1. Virtual Police Station inaugurated at Andhra University

    Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy inaugurated the Virtual Police Station at Andhra University. This is the first such facility in the State of Andhra Pradesh.

    • The AU facility is seen as a pilot project and will later be replicated at other educational institutions. The initiative is expected to help bridge the gap between students and the police department

    • The Virtual Police Station has been set up on the suggestion of Andhra University’s Vice-Chancellor to make it easy for students to report their grievances.


    Agreements



    1. Maldives signs contract with JV of Indian companies for development of Addu

    Maldives government has signed a contract with a joint venture of Indian companies. The contract aims to prepare project report and the development of Addu, which is the second biggest city in the island nation.

    • The contract was signed L & T engineering limited and Lea associates south asia for the Addu Road and Reclamation Project. The project includes land reclamation, construction of roads and storm water drainage system in Addu.

    • This will upgrade existing infrastructure and mitigate the flood situation in Addu.

    • Financing of the project will be done by EXIM bank of India through line of credit of USD 800 million.



    Summit and Conferences



    1. Defence Minister chairs Parliament’s meeting of Consultative Committee

    The subject of the meeting was Border Roads Organisation (BRO). During the meeting, BRO was appreciated for the in building border infrastructure and contributing to the improvement of lives of people residing in the border areas.


    2. National Symposium of Heads of Police Training Institutions held in New Delhi

    The 37th National Symposium of Heads of Police Training Institutions held in New Delhi. It Symposium was organized by Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D).

    • The theme of the Symposium was ‘Optimal Utilization of Resources-Through Sharing and Networking’.

    • A Directory of Indian Police Training Institutions (DIPTI) which has information on the resources of around 300 Police training institutions all over the country, was also released during the event.


    Sports News



    1. FIH unveils new world ranking system for 2020

    The International Hockey Federation unveiled a new world ranking system for 2020 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The new method will come into effect from the 1st January 2020.

    • The new ranking will be match-based instead of tournament-based calculation.

    • The new model is expected to remove the subjectivity surrounding continental weighing by creating a system which is fair to all. The outgoing world ranking system was in existence since 2003. It was originally devised to allocate teams into pools at tournaments.


    2. Rohit Sharma becomes brand ambassador of La Liga in India

    The top tier of Spanish club football “La Liga” has announced cricketer Rohit Sharma as its brand ambassador in India.

    • Rohit Sharma is the first non-footballer in the 90 year-old history of the league to have become a brand ambassador.

    • The top tier of Spanish club football has been ramping up its fan base in India through a series of initiatives. These initiatives includes grassroot development programme like La Liga Football Schools and a digital broadcast deal with Facebook.


    Obituaries



    1. Veteran Telugu actor and writer Gollapudi Maruti Rao passes away

    Former Nandi Award winner and renowned Telugu actor and writer Gollapudi Maruti Rao passed away recently. He enthralled people with his writings and acting for several decades and also acted in around 250 films in about four decades.

    • He was a multi-faceted personality as he was a journalist, playwright, writer, actor and television personality.

    • Some of his memorable films as an actor include ‘Intlo Ramayya, Veedhilo Krishnayya’, ‘Challenge’, ‘Samsaram oka Chadarangam’, ‘Aditya 369’ and ‘Leader’.



    Miscellaneous



    1. Amazon’s Audible launches app “Audible Suno” in India

    Amazon’s audiobook company Audible has launched a new app “Audible Suno” in India. This app features original audio series which aims to expand Audible’s reach in India’s highly competitive digital entertainment and streaming space.

    • The platform features hundreds of hours of Audible’s original audio series across a plethora of genres, steered by entertainers such as Amitabh Bachchan, Nawaazuddin Siddiqui, Anurag Kashyap, Tabu, Neena Gupta and Vir Das.


    CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 14th DECEMBER

    National News



    1. ISRO begins preparations for setting up 3rd rocket launchpad

    Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has begun preparatory works for setting up a 3rd rocket launchpad in the small coastal hamlet of Kulashekhrapattinam in the Thuthukudi district of Tamil Nadu.

    • At present, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has two launch pads at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

    • The demand for additional launch pads has arisen as a result of the increase in the number of satellite launches from India, both for domestic and international customers.


    2. National Tribal Dance Festival to be held in Raipur

    A National Tribal Dance Festival will be held in Chhattisgarh’s capital Raipur from December 27 to 29. In the event, international folk artists from 23 states and six other countries are expected to take part and portray their respective tribal folk culture.

    • Nearly 1,400 artists belonging to 151 art troupes from 23 states and guest artists from six countries including Sri Lanka, Belarus, Uganda and Bangladesh will participate in the three-day programme.


    International News



    1. US, Mexico, Canada sign USMCA trade deal

    • The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will now go to the countries’ legislatures for final approval.

    • The accord is meant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a deal in place since 1994.



    Awards



    1. Greta Thunberg named Time Person of the Year for 2019

    Sweden’s Greta Thunberg has been named as Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019.

    • Greta Thunberg is the Swedish schoolgirl who inspired a global movement to fight climate change and became popular with the "#FridaysForFuture".

    • She is the youngest person to be chosen by the magazine in a tradition that started in 1927.

    • TIME is also expanding Person of the Year to reflect the full range of subjects that TIME covers.

    • For the first time, TIME has chosen the most influential person in a range of fields


    S.No. Name Profession Category
    1 Greta Thunberg Climate activist Person of the Year
    2 Bob Iger Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Businessperson of the Year
    3 The Public Servants Federal workers of the US Guardians of the Year
    4 United States women’s national soccer team Women’s Soccer Athlete of the Year
    5 Melissa Jefferson (Lizzo) Singer Entertainer of the Year
    2. Rani Rampal, Saurabh Chaudhary Win Top Honours at FICCI India Sports Awards

    Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal and ace pistol shooter Saurabh Chaudhary won the Sports Person of the Year awards at the FICCI India Sports Awards 2019.

    • The FICCI India Sports Awards are an attempt by FICCI to acknowledge and recognise the contribution of sportspersons and various stakeholders who deliver excellent results throughout the year.

    • Rani played a crucial role in India’s qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, scoring the winning goal in the two-legged qualifier against the US in November.

    • Saurabh, on the other hand, is touted as India’s biggest hope for a medal in shooting in Tokyo. He won gold at the 2018 Asian Games and has since won a number of individual and team honours at shooting World Cups.


    Agreements



    1. Mongla and Chattogram declared as Ports of Call under the “Coastal Shipping Agreement’

    The Ministry of Shipping (MoS) announced that Mongla and Chattogram (Both in Bangladesh) have been declared as Ports of Call under “Coastal Shipping Agreement” between India & Bangladesh.

    • The Port of Mongla is declared as Port of Call under PIWT&T (Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade ) and Chattogram port is not part of PIWT&T.

    • An MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), agreement and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on the use of Chattogram Port & Mongla Ports for goods movement between India and Bangladesh has been signed between both the nations.

    • The Ports of Call in India are Kolkata (West Bengal), Haldia (West Bengal), Pandu, Karimganj (Assam), Silghat (Assam), Dhubri (Assam).


    Ranks and Reports



    1. Nirmala Sitharaman 34th among world’s 100 most powerful women: Forbes

    Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been ranked 34th by Forbes in ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’. HCL Corporation CEO and Executive Director Roshni Nadar Malhotra and Biocon Founder Kiran Mazumdar Shaw are two other Indians who also featured in the above list.

    • The Forbes 2019 list of ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ has been topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, followed by President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde in the 2nd spot and Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, ranked 3rd. Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also featured on the list on the 29th position.


    S.No. Name Country
    1 Angela Merkel Germany
    2 Christine Lagarde France
    3 Nancy Pelosi United States
    4 Ursula von der Leyen Belgium
    5 Mary Barra United States
    6 Melinda Gates United States
    7 Abigail Johnson United States
    8 Ana Patricia Botín Spain
    9 Ginni Rometty United States
    10 Marillyn Hewson United States
    34 Nirmala Sitharaman India
    54 Roshni Nadar Malhotra India
    65 Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw India
    100 Greta Thunberg Sweden

    Schemes and Committees



    1. Puducherry government unveils start-up policy

    The Puducherry government unveiled a start-up policy. The policy, launched by Minister for Industries M.O.H.F Shahjahan, aims to create a corpus fund of ₹10 crores to support the setting up of start-up incubators and to develop co-working spaces.

    • The department plans to provide a grant of ₹3 lakh to projects recommended by incubators established by the government/private sector/academic institutions as a start-up grant.

    • The committee of experts constituted by the government under the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Committee will approve of the projects and monitor their progress.


    Summits and Conferences



    1. International Seminar on Climate Smart Farming Systems begins in New Delhi

    The ‘International Seminar on Climate Smart Farming Systems’ for BIMSTEC countries began in New Delhi.

    • The objective of this International Seminar is to have experience sharing to enable improvement of tropical smallholder farming systems for greater productivity and resilience to climate change through ecological approaches.

    • Some of the success stories shall be shared as case studies for the benefit of the BIMSTEC countries.


    CURRENT AFFAIRS OF 13rd DECEMBER

    National News



    1. Department of Social Justice started a scheme

    Department of Social Justice and Empowerment has started the scheme of National award for outstanding service in the field of Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug abuse.

    • The scheme is applicable to institutions and individuals working in the field of prevention of alcoholism and drug abuse.

    • The national award will be presented to the awardees on the occasion of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26th of June 2020.


    2. Workshop on Bamboo cultivation to be held in Jammu

    In Jammu and Kashmir, a first of its kind workshop on Bamboo cultivation will be held on 19th and 20 of this month in Jammu.

    • Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh will inaugurate the exhibition.

    • The workshop will focus on the promotion of Bamboo cultivation in the potential Kandi areas of Jammu and its value addition as an economic activity and generate entrepreneurship and employment opportunities.


    International News



    1. World’s First commercial electric plane takes flight in Canada

    • The world’s first fully-electric commercial aircraft took its inaugural test flight, taking off from the Canadian city of Vancouver and flying for 15 minutes.

    • A 62-year-old six-passenger DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver seaplane re-fitted with a fully electric 750 horsepower motor was piloted by Greg McDougall, founder and chief executive of Harbour Air, a British Columbia-based charter airline that transport passengers between Vancouver.

    • MagniX designed the motor and worked in partnership with Harbour Air which ferries thousands of people a year between Vancouver, Whistler ski resort and nearby islands.



    Awards



    1. Priyanka Chopra honoured at Marrakech Film Festival

    Indian actress Priyanka Chopra was honoured at the Marrakech Film Festival held at the famous Jemaa el Fna square.

    • Priyanka Chopra was honoured for her 20 years of work and contribution in cinema.

    • Hollywood actor Robert Redford, Moroccan actress Mouna Fettou and filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier were among other people who were honoured at the festival.


    2. Odisha wins ‘World Habitat Award’ for OLHM- Jaga Mission

    Odisha won the bronze in ‘World Habitat Award’ for Jaga Mission also called Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission (OLHM), a slum land titling project executed for the benefit of millions of urban-poor people living in slums.

    • The award was given by the World Habitat, a UK (United Kingdom) based organization which gives the award annually to recognize innovative housing projects around the world.

    • The Jaga is a society under Housing and Urban Development Department (HUDD), Government of Odisha.

    • The OLHM-JAGA aims at transforming the slums into livable habitats and under which 52,682 urban poor families living in the slums have been granted land rights certificate.

    • The mission works under the Odisha Land Rights to Slum Dwellers Act passed in September 2017.


    Agreements



    1. Dell Technologies, UNESCO tie up to boost quality of education

    Dell Technologies announced a new partnership with UNESCO MGIEP (Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace) to enable school teachers to adopt technology in classrooms by using ICT tools.

    • The information and communication technology (ICT) tools have been developed by Dell Aarambh and FramerSpace platform.

    • The partnership would enable achieving the UN Sustainable Goal 4.7 towards education for building peaceful and sustainable societies and also UNESCO MGIEP in its mission of building social and emotional learning, innovative digital pedagogies and empowering youth.

    • The training would focus on teaching the teachers the use of ICT and frontier technologies with the objective of achieving quality education, as outlined under Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SGD 4) by the member-states of the United Nations.


    Defence



    1. International Seminar cum Exhibition on Naval weapon Systems : NAVARMS-19

    The 4th edition of International Seminar cum Exhibition on Naval Weapon Systems ‘NAVARMS-19’ begins in Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, Development Enclave, New Delhi.

    • The theme of the Exhibition is “Make in India – Fight Category: Opportunities and Imperatives”.

    • NAVARMS is the only international seminar and exhibition on Naval Weapon Systems conducted in the country.

    • It invites all the stakeholders in the life cycle management of Naval Weapons and provides a common platform to share their views and concerns.



    Economy



    1. ADB lowers India’s GDP growth forecast to 5.1% in FY20

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has lowered its forecast for India’s economic growth in fiscal year 2019-20 to 5.1%.

    • ADB has stated that the consumption was affected by slow job growth and rural distress was aggravated by poor harvest.


    Summit and Conferences



    1. Switzerland to be the country partner of BioAsia 2020

    Switzerland will be the country partner at the 17th edition of BioAsia2020 scheduled to be held from February 17-19, 2020 with the theme “Today For Tomorrow” in Hyderabad, Telangana.

    • Switzerland is making innovations in the world of medical healthcare and that many pharmaceutical companies have emerged as the center of Switzerland.

    • While the city of Hyderabad has become a hub in the field of health tech and will be introduced to the Switzerland Health Tech Ecosystem through the Bio Asia Summit.


    Sports News



    1. GS Lakshmi to become 1st Woman Match Referee to officiate men’s ODI match

    Indian match referee GS Lakshmi is set to become the first woman match referee to officiate a men’s ODI match.

    • She will oversee the third series of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2.

    • The opening match of the competition will take place between the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

    • Earlier in May 2019, she also became the first woman to get appointed onto the ICC International Panel of Match Referees.

    • Lakshmi has the experience of officiating in three women’s ODI matches, 16 men’s T20Is and seven women’s T20Is.


    Important Days



    1. International Day of Neutrality: 12 December

    International Day of Neutrality is a United Nations observance held on December 12 each year.

    • It was officially declared by a UN General Assembly resolution adopted in February 2017 and first observed on December 12 of the same year.

    • In international law, a neutral country is a sovereign state that abstains from all participation in a war between other states and maintains an attitude of impartiality toward the belligerents.

    • The belligerents, in their turn, recognize this abstention and impartiality.

    • A permanently neutral power is bound to be neutral in all future wars.

    • The rights and duties of a neutral country are defined in the Hague Convention of 1907.

    2. International Universal Health Coverage Day: 12 December

    International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) is celebrated globally on 12 December.

    • International Universal Health Coverage Day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage with multi-stakeholder partners.

    • The theme for the 2019 UHC Day is “Keep the promise”

    • In 2017 the United Nations proclaimed 12 December as International Universal Health Coverage Day by resolution 72/138.

    • Each year on 12 December, UHC advocates raise their voices to share the stories of the millions of people still waiting for health, champion what we have achieved so far, call on leaders to make bigger and smarter investments in health, and encourage diverse groups to make commitments to help move the world closer to UHC by 2030.



    Miscellaneous



    1. ASI has identified 138 monuments as “Must See” monuments in country

    Archaeological Survey of India has identified 138 numbers of monuments as Must-See Monuments and information thereof is made available on “Must See” portal of Archaeological Survey of India.

    • There are 38 World Heritage Sites in India, out of which 22 Cultural Sites including monuments/ buildings and caves are under the protection of Archaeological Survey of India.

    • The ‘Must See’ list of ASI features first-class Indian monuments and archaeological sites including those that feature on UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)World Heritage List.

    • Such monuments and sites showcase exceptionality in terms of art and architecture, planning and design.


    2. PUMA signs Sunil Chhetri as brand ambassador

    Indian men’s football team captain Sunil Chhetri has signed a 3-year deal with PUMA.

    • The Bengaluru FC skipper is currently the second-highest goal-scorer in international football after Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

    • He is the most-capped Indian player and is also the all-time top goal scorer for the Indian team.

    • He has been named as the AIFF Player of the Year six times.

    • He was also conferred with the Arjuna award in 2011 and Padma Shri in 2019.



    3. Pepsico appoints Salman Khan as Pepsi’s new brand ambassador

    PepsiCo has appointed actor Salman Khan as the new brand ambassador of its flagship Pepsi brand of carbonated beverage in India.

    • Brand Pepsi will base its summer 2020 campaign on Salman Khan’s upcoming movie “Dabangg-3”.

    • PepsiCo India will launch a 360 degree campaign to leverage the new association.

    • Salman Khan has also represented the Pepsico’s product “Thums Up” three years ago.


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