Current Affairs December 2019: General Awareness Section can be the easiest and qualifying section in most competitive exams with the right focus. To bag a good score in these sections one must follow the current affairs for at least a few minutes on a daily basis. Current affairs are vastly diversified with topics from politics, finance, sports, etc and getting lost in this vastness might be confusing sometimes. It is essential for the candidates who are preparing for competitive exams to know what topics to focus on instead of wandering. GK can be divided into static and dynamic. Static GK will involve topics from Indian History, Geography, Indian Polity, Indian Economy, etc and these topics can be grasped by various general knowledge-based books. Dynamic GK, on the other hand, will be based on daily happenings around the world and following them regularly will aid in cracking the competitive exams. For dynamic GK, start by reading news from quality outlets. You can start right away by bookmarking this article.
Current Affairs December 2019 is specifically designed to provide you with the information on top happenings around the world to make sure your limited and precious time is well spent. Whether you are preparing for a written test or an interview of any competitive exam, you have come to the right place to enhance your GK knowledge.
Current Affairs December 2019
Top Current Affairs for 19th December 2019
Promotion Of Scientific And Technological Research: MoU Signed Between CSIR and CNRS, France
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India’s Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), and France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) to work out a framework to cooperate between the two institutes. This MoU will seek to promote and support scientific and technological research.
- Both the institutes, CSIR and CNRS will explore strengthening their cooperation towards joint innovation and transfer of technologies applicable to India and France as well as to other countries.
- This will include promoting technology transfer, sharing good practices and enhancing industry-academia cooperation.
- The main research areas of interest to both include environment and climate change studies, health research, biotechnology, material science and technology, engineering science, and water research.
- CNRS is Europe’s largest fundamental research organization it was founded in 1939.
- CNRS is a public research organization carrying out research in many disciplines under the administrative supervision of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.
- It boasts of 22 Nobel Laureates and 12 Field medal recipients, which makes CNRS rank among the leading global research institutions for its excellent research and innovation achievements.
- CNRS carries out research in various areas and performs fundamental research on applied objectives with French companies in France and also abroad.
- It has set up 4 such co-funded centers with industry partners in Japan, Singapore, and China to address local needs.
- CSIR is the largest publically funded multi-disciplinary industrial Research & Development organization in India.
- It was set up in 1942 as an autonomous body and is now under the administrative supervision of Union Ministry of Science and Technology.
- The R&D institutes of CSIR conduct research on a wide range of science and technological field.
- CSIR India caters to the technological needs of Indian industries, and of Foreign industries based in India and abroad.
- India and France have been partners in many fields, the CSIR and CNRS have had been cooperating relations from 1975.
- The CSIR labs- CSIR-IICT (Indian Institute of Chemical Technology) and CSIR-NCL (National Chemical Laboratory) are currently implementing joint programs with CNRS.
- These have brought out several joint publications, patents, and Ph.Ds.
- The new MoU is expected to boost cooperation even further between CSIR and CNRS.
- This will contribute in many critical areas like health, water, energy, and climate change. and contribute to addressing global challenges.
Ellyse Perry Wins Rachael Heyhoe- Flint Award At The ICC Annual Awards
The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the Australian all-rounder Ellyse Perry as the winner of the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Award. The 29-year-old won the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year and has also been named as ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year.
- Ellyse Perry the Australian star cricketer won the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Award for the 2nd time in three years.
- She became the first-ever winner of the award in 2017.
- She has been an outstanding player in 2019 across every format, with three centuries, including one in the Ashes Test Series.
- She also became the first player to complete 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in T20 cricket.
- Her current run average is 73.50 from 12 ODIs in 2019, where she has also taken 21 wickets, including a national record 7 wickets for 22 runs
- Ellyse Perry (Australia) gets the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year.
- Ellyse Perry (Australia) also was awarded the ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year.
- Alyssa Healy (Australia) who is the wicketkeeper and a batsman won the ICC Women’s T20I Player of the Year. She was named T20I Cricketer of the Year for the second year running.
- Chanida Sutthiruang (Thailand) was awarded the ICC Women’s Emerging Player of the Year. She helped her country qualify for their first ICC World Cup as they have not played earlier.
- Among the Indian Players: Indian opener Smriti Mandhana was named in both ODI and T20 teams this year. Along with Smiriti, Shikha Pandey, Jhulan Goswami, and Poonam Yadav were also named in the ODI team of the year and all-rounder Deepti Sharma in T20 side.
- Australian Meg Lanning was chosen as captain of both ODI and the T20 team.
GEM Launches National Outreach Program-GEM Samvaad
The Government e-commerce portal GeM has launched a national outreach program named ‘GeM Samvaad’. This will allow local sellers a platform to sell their products. The outreach program will start from 19th Dec 2019 to 17 Feb 2020 and will cover all States and Union Territories (UTs) of the country. It was launched by the Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan in New Delhi. The GeM Samvaad outreach program will involve local sellers and stakeholders across India and will help them come on-board the local sellers on this marketplace platform. This will also cater to the specific requirements and procurement needs of the buyers. The GeM Samvaad marketplace will also help to receive feedback from users which would be used for making improvements and advancements in the system.
- It is the national public procurement portal that offers end to end solutions for all procurement needs of Central and State Government Departments, autonomous institutions, Public Sector Units (PSUs) and local bodies.
- The GeM was launched on 9 August 2016 and since its start, it has transformed public procurement in India by the use of technology and making procurement contactless, paperless, and cashless.
- It has been just three years and already it has over 15 lakh products and nearly 20,000 services.
- Moreover, more than 3 lakh registered sellers and service providers are using it and over 40,000 Government buyer organizations.
- GeM has processed more than 28 lakh orders worth Rs.40,000 crores in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) out of which 50% has been transacted by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Tripura Gets First SEZ: To Focus On Agro-based Food Processing
The Government of India approved the first SEZ (Special Economic Zone) at Sabroom, Tripura in October 2019. The SEZ will primarily focus on agro-based food processing it was announced recently. The Government of India is expected to invest around Rs 1550 crore in this project
- The SEZ will be developed by the Tripura Industrial Development Corporation.
- The SEZ will focus on rubber-based industries like threads, tyres, the bamboo industry, textile and apparel industries, and agri-food processing industries.
- As per the SEZ rules, a minimum of 25 hectares of land is required to set up a new SEZ in the North Eastern States.
- But at present only 16.35 hectares have been acquired from the state government and an additional 10.99 hectares of land aligning to the existing land is awaiting approval.
- The SEZ is expected to generate 12,000 skilled jobs.
- The SEZ will attract a lot of private investments as its location is near Chittagong Port.
- Also, access to the zone will increase after the construction of a bridge across the Feni river in South Tripura.
- GoI also announced that a 100% income tax exemption will be provided on export income for the first 5 years on SEZ units. The exemption is being given under Section 10AA of the Income Tax Act.
- For the next 5 years, a 50% exemption is to be given.
December 18: Celebrated In India As Minorities Rights Day
The day aims to remember the rights of the minority communities and to educate people on the subject. It focuses on religious harmony, respect and a better understanding of the minority communities. On 18th December 1992, the United Nations adopted the Individual’s rights belonging to religious, linguistic and religious minorities. The organization also stated that it is the responsibility of the state to improve minority conditions and create awareness about their linguistic, national, cultural and religious identity.
- The Minority Day Programme was organized by the National Commission for minorities in New Delhi.
- The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi addressed the program.
- At this event, the ministry announced that more than 8 lakh people belonging to minority communities have so far benefitted from the GoI schemes such as Nai Manzil, Gharib Nawaz Employment Scheme, Nai Raushni, Seekho aur Kamao, etc.
- Miss Irmim Shamim, the first Gujjar woman of J&K to qualify medical studies at AIIMS was also felicitated at the program
- The commission was established under the National Commission for Minorities act, 1992.
- The act notifies 5 religious communities namely Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians and Buddhists under the act
- In 2014, Jains were added to this list. The major function of the commission is to protect the interests of the minorities.
First Biosimilar Medicine To Treat Breast Cancer: Launched By WHO
18th December 2019, the World Health Organization(WHO) launched its first biosimilar medicine to treat breast cancer. The WHO intends to make expensive cancer treatment and, life-saving treatment affordable for women all over the world.
- WHO launched a biosimilar medicine “Trastuzumab” in order to treat breast cancers. It is an antibody that shows high efficacy in curing the early stages of breast cancer. It was included in the WHO Essential Medicines List in 2015.
- In women, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer.
- Around 2.1 million women are affected by breast cancer, says the UN data of 2018
- . Treatment of breast cancer using “Trastuzumab” is an essential treatment for about 20% of breast cancer treatment.
- WHO also estimates that by 2040 the number of women with breast cancer will reach 3.1 million.
- The Essential Medicines according to the WHO, are the medicines that satisfy priority health care needs.
- It was launched in 1977 and is updated every in two years.
- The list of medicines is for both adults and children. The current list was published in April 2019
- Biosimilar medicines are produced from biological sources like cells and not a product of synthesized chemicals.
- They are important to treat cancers and other non-communicable diseases.
- They cost less and are as effective as generic medicines.
- The trastuzumab is already in use in many markets. But this is the first time that WHO is approving the medicine.
- Biosimilar medicines are produced from biological sources like cells and not from synthesized chemicals. They are important to treat cancers and other non-communicable diseases. They are less expensive and give the same effect as that of generic medicines. The trastuzumab is already in use in several markets. But this is the first time, WHO is approving the medicine.
International Migrants Day: 18th December
The United Nations observes International Migrants Day since 1990 in order to protect the rights of the migrants. The day was adopted after the organization passed a resolution at the International Convention on the Protection of the rights of migrant workers. As per the UN charter, one-seventh of the world population amounting to 1 billion are migrants. This day became more important after international organizations like the International Organization for Migration joined to mark the day in 1997. This year’s International Migrants Day theme is: Social Cohesion, Celebrating the integration of migrants into communities around the world’.
- The International Conference of Migration was held in Bangkok by the International Labour Organization.
- Along with ILO, the conference was co-hosted by Chula Global Network and the Institute of Asian Studies.
- The conference was the continuation of last year’s conference with the same theme of ‘Migration and SDGs: ASEAN and Beyond-A pathway to 2030 agenda’.
- It aims to integrate institutes and organizations dealing with migration issues.
- It also aims at setting up a clear message that migration is a major issue among ASEAN countries and also globally and so it cannot be ignored.
- The United Nations Global Compact on Migration is an inter-governmental pact and not a treaty.
- It is non-abiding under international law. It aims for safety for migrants and orderly and regular migration.
- It was signed on 19 December 2018. The compact makes it a duty for the states to frame their national migration policy.
- It also gives pointers as to how the countries can abide, in order to protect the rights of the migrants.
Top Current Affairs for 18th December 2019
Lt General Manoj Mukund to be the Next Army Chief
Lt General Manoj Mukund Naravane has been appointed as the next chief of the Indian army.It is a three-year term. He will replace the current Army Chief Bipin Rawat whose tenure ends on 31st December 2019. The Government of India is yet to announce the name of the first Chief of Defense Staff as announced by PM Modi in his Independence Day speech. The CDS is considered as one of the biggest reforms of the Indian military as he will be the head of all three services and will possess nuclear arsenal powers.
About Lt Gen Naravane
- Lt Gen Narvane is the current Vice Chief of the Army.
- He is heading the Eastern Command of the army that guards India’s 4,000 km border with China.
- He has also commanded infantry brigades in the eastern front and Rashtriya Rifles Battalion in J&K.
- He was a special appointee to the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment in 1980.
Awards and Recognitions
- The General has been honoured with “Sena Medal” for effectively commanding his J&K battalion.
- He was also awarded “Vishisht Seva Medal” for his services in leading the Assam Rifles in Nagaland.
- He has also been given the “Ati Vishisht Seva Medal” for commanding the strike corps.
Sridhar Patra will step in as the CMD Of NALCO
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appointed Sridhar Patra as the new Chairman Managing Director (CMD) of National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO). He has been appointed as CMD of NALCO till the date of his superannuation, which falls on 31st October 2024. At present, he is the Director of Finance in NALCO.
- NALCO was established on 7 January 1981, with its office in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
- It is one of the largest integrated Bauxite-Alumina-Aluminum-Power-Complex in India.
- It is a Navratna group ‘A’ Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE) under the Union Ministry of Mines.
- At the moment the Government of India holds 52% equity of NALCO.
- As per a report submitted by Wood Mackenzie, NALCO achieved the distinction of being the lowest-cost producer of bauxite in the world for the year 2018.
Amitabh Bagchi bags 2019 DSC Prize For South Asian Literature
Amitabha Bagchi the author of the novel ‘Half the Night is Gone’, has been awarded the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019. It is Bagchi’s third novel. Most of the novel is based in the old-forgotten world of scheming zamindars, people of dubious morals and a man expressing deep anguish over lost opportunities. His attention to details makes sure that the reader is transported to that era and can literally, smell the grime and dust. Bagchi ensnares the reader to listen to the creaking sound made by rusted doors.
- This year’s winner for the DSC Prize was announced at the IME Nepal Literature Festival in Nepal.
- Author Amitabha Bagchi was given the prize by Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali.
- This year’s international jury panel was chaired by Harish Trivedi.
- One of the noticeable points for this year’s award was that among 90 entries received, 37 of them were by first-time authors.
- There was also a significant presence of women writers, with 42 novels written by them and 6 women involved as translators.
- The Far Field- written by Madhuri Vijay (which also won JCB Prize for Literature)
- The City and the Sea- by Raj Kamal Jha
- There’s Gunpowder in the Air- by Manoranjan Byapari (Translated by Arunava Sinha)
- The Empty Room- by Sadia Abbas
- 99 Nights in Logar- by Jamil Jan Kochi
DSC Prize For South Asian Literature
- It is a prestigious international literary prize.
- It is awarded annually to writers of any ethnicity or nationality writing about South Asia themes such as culture, history, people or politics.
- South Asia is defined as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Maldives, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
- It is given for an original full-length novel written in English or translated into English.
- The DSC Prize is worth the US $25,000 and is awarded for novels published in the year preceding judging of the prize.
- The awards are in its ninth year. This year the award received 90 entries and the submissions came from 22 publishers, pointing to increased interest and variety in South Asian writing. The entries served as a timely marker of trends in South Asian fiction writing.
A loan of $277 million secured by India From Germany To Develop An Energy-Efficient Housing Program
A loan agreement has been signed between the State Bank of India and the KfW Development Bank of Germany for the amount of $ 277 million. India has secured this loan (about Rs.1,900 crore) from Germany to establish an energy-efficient housing program in the country. The program shall be part of Indo-German Development Co-operation, guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG).
- The financial cooperation pact was signed between the Government of India and the Government of Germany in October 2019.
- The aim of the SBI-KfW program is that both the homebuyers and the builders will be financed for purchasing or developing energy-efficient residential projects.
- The target is set so that at least 25% of energy savings are achieved in comparison to the standard construction of buildings.
- There is hope that this program will contribute to India’s policy of energy conservation in the residential building sector as well as a reduction in GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions.
- In addition to the US $277 million loan, the KfW will also extend a grant of 1.5 million euros (about Rs.12 crore) as a technical assistance package.
- These technical assistance funds will be used for supporting SBI in preparation, implementation, and monitoring of the program.
- An additional investment grant of 10 million euros (about Rs.791 crore) has also been provisioned, to give incentives to builders to develop housing projects that achieve higher levels of energy savings ( at least 40% savings).
- The arrangement of loan and grant facilities will be facilitated by SBI Capital Markets Ltd., which is SBI’s investment banking subsidiary.
First Global Refugee Forum to be held in Geneva
The first Global Refugee Forum is being held in Geneva, Switzerland. This Forum will be held on 17-18 December 2019. It is being hosted by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) along with the Government of Switzerland. At GRF the international community will showcase and exchange good practices at national, regional or global levels. The objective of this exercise is to give impetus to efforts to achieve compact objectives and translate international solidarity into concrete action.
- There are six thematic concerns which this event will focus on.
- Arrangements for burden and responsibility-sharing, Solutions, Energy and Infrastructure, Protection, Jobs and Livelihoods, and Education.
- A successful GRF will see more states and other players joining in the response to the refugee situations as donors, hosts, and partners.
- GRF also hopes to enlist the ‘missing middle’, referring to those states that could either contribute more or host more refugees.
- GRF will be convened at the ministerial level and participants will gather to address the current refugee situation.
- It will be a high-level gathering of states and other stakeholders including UN member states, together with private businesses, nonprofits, and non-government organizations (including Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)).
- High-level delegations from the host country Switzerland and from other partnering countries like Germany, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Turkey, and Pakistan.
- The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is scheduled to attend the forum.
- The first Global Refugee Forum meeting implementation of the 2018 Global Compact on Refugees laid the framework that represents the political will and ambition of the international community as a whole.
- It calls for strong cooperation and solidarity with refugees and affected host countries.
- United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) affirmed the Global Compact on Refugees in New York in December 2018.
- GCR aims to improve the world’s response to refugee situations by making sure that refugees and nations hosting them receive the support they need.
- The four objectives of GCR are to share responsibilities more equally and give support to refugee self-reliance.
- Expand access to third-country solutions (i.e., permanent resettlement or other opportunities such as scholarships or work permits).
- Support conditions in countries of origin for safe, voluntary, dignified repatriation
ADB Issues $ 250 million Loan To India To Expand Energy Efficiency Investments
The Asian Development Bank(ADB) and the Government of India have signed a loan agreement of $ 250 million to give to the Public Sector company Energy Efficiency Services Limited(EESL). This is to expand energy efficiency investments in India. This will benefit agricultural, institutional and residential consumers. In 2016, ADB had approved a US $200 million loans to EESL for demand-side energy efficiency sector projects that focused on efficient lighting and appliances.
- In addition to a US $250 million loan, the additional US $46 million financings will be provided from Clean Technology Fund (CTF) that will be administered by ADB.
- Besides this loan amount, technical assistance of US $2 million will be given to support EESL in implementing the project.
- This project will identify new business opportunities, a gender action plan, mobilizing private sector participation in energy efficiency services.
- It will also help in transferring knowledge about successful models.
- EESL, an energy service company of the Central government will also explore business models to generate greater public demand for e-vehicles and for supporting India’s current push for electric vehicles.
- It is a regional development bank that was established in 1966
- The headquarters are in Manila, Philippines and is owned by 68 members- 49 from the region.
- ADB is committed to achieving inclusive, resilient, prosperous and sustainable Asia and Pacific regions.
- While keeping with its efforts to eradicate poverty.
- In 2018, ADB made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion.
Star named After Indian Woman Scientist by International Astronomical Union
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) named a white-yellow star in the Sextans Constellation as “Bhibha” and its planet as “Santamasa”. The star has been named Bhibha honouring Indian Woman Scientist Bhibha Choudhury who discovered subatomic particle pi-meson.
- Bhibha means a bright beam of light in Bengali.
- The name Santamasa means clouded in Sanskrit. The name is appropriate as the planet has a clouded atmosphere.
- The IAU that celebrated its 100th birth anniversary on July 28, 2019, allowed every country to give a famous name to a selected pair of exoplanet and its host star.
About Bhibha Star
- Bhibha is an ageing star that is 6.2 billion years old and Santamasa is it’s only planet.
- The mass of the planet is approximately to be 1.5 times that of Jupiter and is very hot.
- Santamasa completed its revolution around its star in just about 2.1375 days
- In particle physics, pi meson or pion is a subatomic particle.
- They are unstable and existing with positive, negative and neutral charges.
- It means that they are present in proton, neutron, and electron of an atom.
Top Current Affairs for 17th December 2019
India Slips To Rank 112 In Gender Gap World Economic Forum Report 2019
WEF has recently released the Gender Gap Index-2019 that shows India has slipped to position 112th. India has moved down four places in terms of gender equality and there is an increasing disparity of women’s participation in the development of the country. The country is ranked in the bottom five on health and economic fronts. The WEF Gender Gap Index states that India has a meager (13.8) women representation on company boards. The report has also highlighted that in such a situation the workplace inequality will not be erased till 2276.
- The report also mentions that opportunities for women in India are very low.
- India ranked below countries like Bangladesh (50th), Indonesia (85th), Brazil (92nd), Nepal (101st), Sri Lanka (102nd), China (106th).
- India was in the 108th position in 2018.
- Its performance went lower in the year 2019, according to the report.
- India’s performance was found wanting in three out of four metrics used for ranking the countries.
- India slipped to 150th rank in health and survival, 149th in economic participation, 112th in educational attainment.
- India’s ranking improved to 18th place in the field of political empowerment.
- The WEF published its first report in 2006. Since then the performance of India has gone down further.
- In 2006, India was ranked in 98th place. Opportunities for women in the country are only 35.4%.
- The sex ratio of India was low as compared to other countries there are only 91 girls for every 100 boys
- Iceland was ranked at the top as the most gender-neutral country.
- Next to Iceland, other Countries like Norway, Finland, and Sweden were the top performers.
- In the top 10, countries like Nicaragua (5th), New Zealand (6th), Ireland (7th), Spain (8th), Rwanda (9th) and Germany (10th). The United States continued to decline and came down to 53rd place.
CII Organizes: “Steeling India-2019”
The Confederation of Indian Industry organized the “Steeling India 2019” conference on 16th December 2019. It is a move to increase metal intensity in key sectors. Union Minister for Steel, Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan participated in the conference.
- The event focused on industries like the automobile industry, infrastructure, railway, water, irrigation, and housing.
- The strategies to promote steel intensive structures and to increase steel consumption was also discussed at the conference.
- Steel producers, consumers and policy advisors attended the conference.
- The conference developed a road map to increase steel consumption intensity in key industry sectors.
- CII organized the conference with the aim of increasing steel production.
- The conference will help India to achieve its target of 300 MT of production by 2030 as per the National Steel Policy.
- The World Steel Association predicts steel demand in India to reach 103 MT (Million Tonnes) in 2019.
- Experts believe that in the future, the rural market of India will play an important role in the steel sector.
- This will happen mainly because the demand for fast-moving consumer goods like two-wheelers, mobile phones, etc. in rural markets is increasing at a fast rate.
India celebrates Vijay Diwas
India celebrated its victory over Pakistan in the war of 1971. It was on 16th December 1971 that India fought against Pakistan helping Bangladesh attain its freedom and won the war. The same day, Bangladesh celebrates its independence.
- In order to commemorate India’s victory and to pay homage to the soldiers who fought in the war and who lost their lives.
- The three Defense Chiefs reached the war memorial in Delhi.
- They paid tribute to the brave soldiers who lost their lives in the war. PM Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and other senior leaders also paid tributes to the soldiers.
- It was on 16th December that, the Pakistan army surrendered to India with 93,000 soldiers
- .India and Pakistan faced each other with their military forces over the freedom of Bangladesh for 13 days between 3rd December 1971 and 16 December 1971.
- The armies clashed with each other in the eastern and western borders.
- Both the armies signed the Instrument of Surrender declaring Bangladesh as a new nation once the Pakistan army surrendered.
- The government of India seals the date of NRC of Assam as the 24th of March 1971.
- This has been done because the war officially started on this particular date.
- On 24 March 1971, Pakistan Army opened fired in Rangpur, Chittagong, and Syedpur, killing more than 1000 people.
- After this, the influx of refugees from Bangladesh into Assam and other nearby states increased.
- That is why the date of NRC is kept 24 March 1971.
Gujrat Becomes 7th State To Receive President Colours
The Gujarat police were presented the ‘President’s Colours’ by Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu at a ceremony held in Karai Police Academy in Gandhi Nagar on 15 December 2019. Gujarat becomes the seventh state to receive the President’s Colours, also called as Nishaan. It is an emblem which all police officers will wear on the left-hand sleeve of their uniform. A new logo has also been designed for the Gujarat Police. This was also unveiled and the force was also awarded a specially designed flag and an emblem.
- The presentation of the President’s Colors is in recognition of the tireless, longstanding and meritorious service, gallantry and dedication of the Gujarat Police.
- Also, the officials and personnel of Gujarat Police are equipped with modern technology, skills, and training to improve its efficiency in maintaining law and order and peace.
- Gujarat police was established on 1 May 1960, when the state was formed.
- President’s Colours is a recognition of Gujarat police’s good track record, gallantry and achievements in the past 59 years.
- With the strength of more than 1.06 lakh personnel, Gujarat police is the 8th largest police force in the country.
- In 2019, the Gujarat police had made a proposal for this decoration and presented it to the Union Home Ministry for approval.
- A committee of seven DGP rank officers evaluated the Gujarat Police proposal and confirmed that it is eligible to get this symbol of excellence.
- So, in March 2019 President granted his approval to present the President’s Colours to the Gujarat police.
International Geological Congress 2020
India will play host to the 36th International Geological Congress (IGC) in New Delhi in the first week of March 2020. The theme for next year’s conference is ‘Geosciences: The Basic Science for a Sustainable Development’. Almost 5000 to 6000 Geoscientists are expected to attend the event. This is a prestigious event that is held every 4 years.
- The 36th IGC is expected to provide a platform for international cooperation in all major fields of geosciences.
- It will look to the launching collaborative programs, search investment opportunities in environmental management, mineral exploration, mining, and related fields.
- It would also help in dealing with problems of sustainability, energy crisis, water crisis, climate change, environmental issues and the management of resources.
- The Geological Survey of India is the nodal agency for organizing the IGC 2020.
- The event will be funded by the Ministry of Mines, the Ministry of Earth Sciences, and the Indian National Science Academy along with the National Science Academies of Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
- India gets to host this event a second time. India first hosted it in 1964 which was the 22nd IGC.
- At that time the event was inaugurated by the then President of India Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
- The IGC is coming back to India after 56 years.
Air Marshal Choudhury: The New Commandant Of National Defence College
Air Marshal D Choudhury became the new Commandant of National Defence College. He took over the charge from Vice Admiral Srikant. Before this appointment, Air Marshal Choudhury was a senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters of Western Air Command in New Delhi.
- He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA).
- He served in the Fighter stream of India Air Force (IAF) starting from 22 December 1983.
- He has also studied at the Royal College of Defence Studies, UK.
- Completed his Post Graduation in Strategy and International Security from King’s College London and also holds an M.Phil degree in Defence and Strategic Studies.
- He has vast flying experience on all types of MiG-21, MiG-27, MiG-29 and Su-30 aircraft.
- He is an Instrument Rating Examiner and Fighter Combat Leader
- He has commanded a frontline fighter Squadron and two frontline fighter bases and also headed the prestigious Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment and Composite Battle Response and Analysis (COBRA) Group.
- NDC is a prime Institution under the Union Ministry of Defence.
- It is an important institute for strategic education in the country.
- It has an annual Course of 47 weeks duration on ‘National Security and Strategic Studies’ and is in great demand nationally and internationally.
- It presently has an Alumni strength of about 4000 including Four Heads of State.
- Many Chiefs of Armed Forces in India and abroad, and a large number of high ranking military and civilian officers, statesmen and public servants.
Top Current Affairs for 16th December 2019
World Design Protopolis to be launched by World Design Organization In Bengaluru
The World Design Organization(WDO) has announced the launching of its global program ‘World Design Protopolis’.The announcement to launch the World Design Protopolis was made at 3-day Kochi Design Week (KDW), India’s largest design conclave that kicked off atBolgatty Island in Kerala. The event, which ended on 14th December 2019. The event saw the coming together of. policymakers, government officials, design professionals from India and abroad, architects, interior designers, heads of various companies, thought leaders, and the general public.
- The Project is aimed at implementing holistic progress in big cities across the world and making them sustainable.
- The project also aims to measure the progress of cities, to attract investments and solve the problems of these cities it becomes a better city for its citizens.
- Through this project, the WDO is trying to create a prototype of a futuristic city.
- WDO has selected Bengaluru as the first city in the world to implement this project, which is meant only for big cities.
- WDO’s other program World Design Capital was for 1 year, whereas this new program is for 5years.
- It stresses on measurability.
- WDP will also measure what WDO did in the city and how the city benefitted over a period of 5 years.
The third edition of Military Literature Festival Organised In Chandigarh
The Military Literature Festival (MLF), third edition was held from 13 to 15 December 2019 at the UT Lake Club, Chandigarh. The military literature festival was inaugurated by the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shri VP Singh Badnore. The festival brought together the finest men from the battlefield and literary fields to discuss the information on defense issues. The Chief Minister of Punjab Capt Amarinder Singh led the fest.
- Punjab has borne the brunt of invaders since times immemorable.
- Thus to honor and commemorate the bravery and sacrifices of people of Punjab, the Military Literature Festival is organized every year
- The Clarion Call theatre events which included special audio-visual shows on ‘Josh’, ‘Jazbaaa’ and ‘Junoon’ of being part of armed forces were organized for all the 3 days.
- The presence of litterateur Sir Mark Tully, historian Pushpesh Pant, Ramon Magsaysay awardee Ravish Kumar as well as for the gallantry award winners and defense experts added to the glitter of the event.
- At the event, discussions were held on subjects like war, cybersecurity military history, etc.
- Stories were also shared by attendee’s about experiences on the battleground, these were told by gallantry award winners, and which will be shared during Samvad.
Angela Merkel bags first spot on 2019 Forbes List Of World’s Most Powerful Women
The 65-year-old German Chancellor Angela Merkel has topped the Forbes’ 2019 edition of 100 World’s Most Powerful Women for the 9th year in a row. She was hailed for standing up to the US President Donald Trump and for allowing over a million Syrian refugees into Germany. Forbes magazine releases a wide-ranging list intended to celebrate 100 most influential women.
- In this year’s list, Angela Merkel was followed by Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank (ECB) and has earlier served as MD of International Monetary Fund(IMF).
- Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, stood at number 3 as the highest-ranking and most powerful female elected official in American political history.
- Ursula Von Der Leyen, President of the European Commission stood at number No. 4 and Marry Barra, CEO of General Motors stood at number 5.
- The Indian Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman was placed at 34th spot, followed by Queen Elizabeth 11 at 40th place, whereas Ivanka Trump, wife of Donald Trump to her place at the 42nd spot.
- The Swedish teenaged environmentalist Greta Thunberg, who was recently named Time’s Person of the Year, stood at 100th spot on 2019 Forbes’ list.
National Energy Conservation Day observed on 14th December
The National Energy Conservation Day is celebrated every year on 14 December. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), under the Ministry of Power, organizes celebrations every year. These celebrations have been going on since 1991. National Energy Conservation week was observed from 9th to 14th of December 2019. This is done to spread awareness about the conservation of energy and to promote energy efficiency.
- It is to showcase India’s achievements in energy efficiency and conservation.
- Each year on this occasion a National Energy Conservation Awards Programme is also organized to recognize the efforts of various organizations, who have managed the efficient utilization and conservation of energy.
- The award is also given for energy efficiency achievements in 56 sub-sectors across many industries.
- Also to establishments and institutions including zonal railways, railway workshops and stations, municipalities, thermal power stations, electricity distribution companies, State Designated Agencies, hospitals, hotels, shopping malls and manufacturers of BEE Star labeled appliances or equipment.
- Awards are also given to the National Painting Competition on Energy Conservation, by BEE, after holding a painting competition.
- This is to spread awareness among children on the benefits of energy conservation.
International Tea Day observed on 15th December
International Tea Day is observed every year on 16 December. This day is being celebrated since 2005. The day is celebrated in most tea producing countries like India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, and Malaysia.
- The first International Tea Day was celebrated in New Delhi in 2005, and later celebrations being organized in Sri Lanka in 2006 and 2008.
- International Tea Day celebrations and Global Tea Conferences are jointly organized by trade unions.
- These are done to draw the attention of governments and people to impact of world tea trade on workers and growers, as well as requests for price support and fair trade.
- The Indian government moved a proposal at the Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) Inter-governmental Group(IGG) on Tea to expand the observance of International Tea Day through UN FAO.
- The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has now accepted India’s proposal and designated May 21 as International Tea Day.
- The month of May was selected as it is considered the quality tea manufacturing season in most tea producing countries.
- UNGA has invited all Members and observers of UN, organizations other international and regional organizations and other stakeholders to participate.
- These also include civil society, private sector, and academia, to observe International Tea Day.
- This is being done so as to ensure rural development and sustainable livelihoods in the tea industry.
- This will work in favor of sustainable production and consumption of tea and also raise awareness of its importance in fighting hunger and poverty.
- IGG will help examine and formulate appropriate policies under guidance from FAO and study the effect of these policies on current and prospective markets.
Toni-Ann crowned Miss World 2019
Jamaica’s Toni-Ann Singh was crowned as Miss World 2019 at a beauty pageant held in London, UK. She won the Miss World title after beating other contenders, Ophely Mezino from France and Suman Rao from India. Mexico’s 2018 Miss World winner Vanessa Ponce de Leon crowned the Jamaican Miss World winner Toni-Ann.
- France’s Ophely Mezino was adjudged first, runners-up.
- India was represented at the Miss World Contest by Suman Rao. She was declared second runners-up.
- Suman Rao, who is from Rajasthan, had earlier won Femina Miss India World 2019 title in June. She is a Chartered Accountant student.
- India had won the last Miss World title was in 2017, when Manushi Chillar represented the country.
About Toni Ann
- The 23-year-old Toni-Ann Singh is born to Indo-Caribbean father Bradshaw Singh and African-Caribbean mother Jahrine Bailey.
- She is studying psychology and women’s studies at Florida State University, US and aspires to be a doctor.
- She was the president of the Caribbean students association at the university.
- He is the fourth Jamaican to win the beauty pageant.
- The Caribbean island has previously won Miss World titles in 1963, 1976 and 1993.
Lahore-Wagah Shuttle Train Service restarted after 22 Years
The shuttle train service between Lahore and Wagah railway station resumed operation on 15 December 2019 after a gap of 22 years. The train will run thrice in a day, meaning it will complete three round trips daily. On these trips, about 1,000 passengers will travel on these three trips. The train service was operational between Wagah to Lahore from 1947 till 1997 but was closed due to certain operational and security reasons.
- The shuttle train service would give trouble-free travel experience to hundreds of visitors intending to visit Jallo Park, a Wildlife Park in Lahore or witness flag hoisting and lowering ceremony at Wagah.
- The fare has been fixed at Pakistani Rupee (PKR) 30.
- This step ensures the Pakistan government’s efforts to restart the connection between Lahore metropolitan city and its suburbs through rail routes.
- Lahore-Wagah is the first step in this direction and will be followed by another train from Lahore to Raiwind in the coming days.
Top Current Affairs for 14th & 15th December 2019
Parliament Approves International Financial Services Centre Authority Bill 2019
The International Financial Services Centre Authority bill was passed by Rajya Sabha on the 13th of December 2019. The bill proposes to set up an authority to regulate financial services in the International Financial Services Centres in India. As per the bill, the authority will consist of nine members along with the chairperson. Among the nine members, two will be from the Ministry of Finance and one each from SEBI, RBI, IRDA, PRFDA.
- The authority will regulate financial products like contracts of insurance, financial institutions, and services, deposits and securities that were previously approved by regulators such as SEBI, RBI, and IFSC.
- It has been authorized to regulate services offered by financial bodies as notified by the Union Government.
- This makes it independent from the government and to function autonomously.
- The authority will constitute a Performance Review Committee that will look into the functioning of the authority.
- It will submit the findings in a report every year.
- The committee will consist of at least two members of the authority
International Financial Service Centre Authority Funds
- The bill proposes to set up an International Financial Service Centre authority funds
- The charges and the fees collected will be taken by the authority from different sources and credited to the fund.
- The funds will also be used in paying salaries and allowances to the employees and other expenses of the authority.
Disha 2019 Bill Approved by Andhra Pradesh Cabinet
The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet cleared the Disha Bill on 11th December 2019 it proposes harsh punishment for crimes against women. Disha bill is also known as the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) bill. The act proposes harsh punishments to those who commit heinous crimes against women.
- The Act was passed with keeping in mind to protect women and children against crime.
- The cabinet also approved the setting up of special courts for crimes against women and children under the Women and Children Act, 2019.
- The courts will also deal with cases under the Protection of Children under the Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO)
- The act states that the judgment for every case registered should be pronounced within 21 days.
- Special attention should be given to cases such as rape, acid attacks.
- Under the act, the guilty will be tried under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code.
- The punishment has been increased for these types of crimes involving women and children.
- Accused persons with charges of sexual attack on children will be imprisoned for 10 to 14 years.
- The act also includes strict actions against anyone uploading questionable or degrading posts against women on any social media platform.
- In such cases, the first-time offenders will be given 2 years of jail term and the second-time offenders will be punished with four years of jail term.
- The act proposes the death sentence for heinous crimes against women.
- This act was drafted to hasten the trial process of crimes against women and children.
- Presently the time period given to law enforcement authorities to solve these cases in the state is 4 months.
- This new act has reduced this time period to 21 days.
- The punishment for crimes towards sexual offenses against children has been increased to 10 years as compared to 3-5 years earlier.
6th Indian Ocean Dialogue XI hosted by MEA in New Delhi
The Ministry of External Affairs hosted the 6th Indian Ocean Dialogue (IOD) and Delhi Dialogue XI at the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi. on 13th December 2019. This was for the first time that these two dialogues, which are key elements of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), and India-ASEAN calendars were held consecutively and on similar Indo-Pacific themes. The theme of this Indian Ocean Dialogue is:’ Indo Pacific-Re-imaging the Indian Ocean Through an expanded Geography’. The 6th IOD was organized in collaboration with The Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA).
The theme for the Delhi Dialogue 2019 was set as ‘Advancing Partnership in Indo-Pacific’. This was organized in collaboration with the Research and Information System(RIS), a Delhi based autonomous policy research institute. This was held on 13th and 14th December 2019.
- Dialogues between the academia and the officials on issues and concerns under the forum of The Indian Ocean Rim Association(IORA).
- The member states held discussions on IORA’s role in the Indo-Pacific region
- The summit was followed by the 25th Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group (IORAG) that took place on 12th December 2019.
- IORAG wants to promote collaboration between academics and experts on Academic, Science and Technology Cooperation, this has been prioritized in the IORA Action Plan 2017-2021
- The IOR region is one of the world’s most important regions in terms of energy, global commerce, environmental and geopolitical stability.
- Nearly 50% of the world’s container ships and two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments pass through here, which is home to around 2.7 billion people.
Greta Thunberg bestowed with TIME’s Person Of The Year Title
Greta Thunberg has been selected as ‘Person of the Year’ 2019, by Time magazine. She received this honor at the youngest age. She has been in the limelight for her influential and aggressive speeches. Greta Thunberg also gave a speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit this year. The speech was appreciated worldwide. Time magazine said that she has influenced people of the world and the global movement on climate change.
- Time Magazine said that she has emerged as the most influential voice on the biggest issue of the earth.
- Greta in her speech demanded action.
- She gave a moral call to those authorities in positions to work and expressed outrage at those who were not ready for it.
About Greta Thunberg
- She is a Swedish environmental activist on climate change.
- The magazine announced that the 16-year old Swede teenager as its choice among other 2019 finalists.
- Her campaigning movement ‘Fridays for Future’, prompted millions of people in about 150 countries to act on behalf of the planet’.
- She had been nominated for a Nobel peace prize, recognized for her mobilization of students due to this campaign.
BEE Organized International Workshop On Energy Efficient Cooling
A two-day international workshop was organized as part of ‘Energy Conservation Week’ being celebrated from 9- 14 December 2019. The Union Ministry of Power conducted an International Workshop on 12-13 December 2019 on ‘Energy Efficient Cooling’ at Scope Convention Centre in New Delhi. It was organized under the Bureau of Energy Efficiency(BEE), a statutory body under the Ministry of Power.
- To chart a road map towards the fast development and deployment of efficient cooling appliances, equipment, and systems.
- To explore innovation, technologies, business models, policies and new approaches for better cooling systems.
- To reduce energy consumption in the country, and by optimizing energy demand and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) which are responsible for global warming and climate change.
- It was organized by BEE in association with International Energy Agency (IEA).
- It was organized under the Super-Efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment initiative of Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC).
- It was attended by delegates such as policymakers, Govt. officials, regulatory bodies, PSUs, from across the world.
- The officials and experts from different international bodies related to Energy Efficient Cooling also were part of the celebration
- The convention promised .to adopt new technologies and policies for an Energy-Efficient cooling environment.
- It also presented itself as a platform for global experts, industries, and policymakers to explore opportunities to hasten the deployment of energy-efficient systems.
- Action plans and policies were highlighted.
- Innovations and knowledge sharing help in framing better policies
- India has committed to reducing 33-35% of GHG emissions by 2030 as part of a document submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
2020 Crystal Award announced by World Economic Forum
The Winners of the 26th Annual Crystal Award for the year 2020 were announced by the World Economic Forum(WEF). The Crystal Awards are given for leadership qualities and sustainable change influencers. It is given to leading artists and cultural figures. Every year the awards are hosted by the World Economic Forum’s, World Art Forum.
- China’s media personality Jin Xing is being awarded for her leadership in shaping inclusive cultural norms.
- Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates is recognized for his leadership in creating sustainable communities.
- Lynette Wallworth, the Australian artist has won the award for her leadership in creating inclusive narratives.
- Deepika Padukone, the Indian Actress is being awarded for her role played in raising mental health awareness. She is the only Indian artist to have won this award.
- The awards will be presented at Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, on 21-24 January.
- The theme of this annual meeting is, ‘Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World’.
- The leaders from international organizations, government, civil society, culture and media, business, experts and the young generation from all over the world come together for this WEF meeting.
India Expands Indo-Pacific Policy
India is planning to expand its Indo-Pacific policy. Until now, the Indo-Pacific covered the Indian Ocean and the Arabian sea. With the expansion, the region will now include the Gulf states and Africa. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the External Affairs Minister officially announced this at the conclusion of the joint Indian Ocean Dialogue, held in New Delhi.
About INDO – PACIFIC Policy
- US construct Indo-Pacific region falls between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
- It ranges from the eastern shores of Africa to the western shoreline of the US.
- This was done by the US to limit China’s military expansion in the region.
- In June 2018, PM Modi outlined India’s vision on the Indo-Pacific region in his speech at the Shangri-la-Dialogue.
- The expansion will help India in its Act East Policy
- It also sets out the message that India’s focus is on the Indian Ocean region of the Indo-Pacific more than the Pacific Ocean element.
- With this expansion of the Indo-Pacific arena, ASEAN becomes the focal point of a larger area and forms the center of the Indo-Pacific region.
Top Current Affairs for 13th December 2019
FSSAI and NASSCOM Partners To Develop App To Prevent Food Wastage
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) and NASSCOM a trade association of IT in India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop an app to prevent food wastage and encourage food donations. This sort of collaboration is significant in using technology to find solutions for social problems.
- FSSAI and NASSCOM combine forces to develop a 24*7 helpline number and an Application named ‘Food Donation in India’.
- This will help food donations to the needy.
- Donors who have surplus food will be able to connect with food distribution organizations.
- Food Distribution Organizations will be able to register themselves on this platform.
- Initially, 81 such organizations from across the country, will be available on the platform, known as the Indian Food Sharing Alliance(IFSA).
- This collaboration will help in getting these organizations due recognition, get food to the needy, and prevent food wastage.
- This platform will give easy accessibility to caterers, hoteliers, food businesses, and individuals and facilitate food donation in any part of the country.
Vikas Swarup appointed as the Secretary West MEA
Vikas Swarup, a senior diplomat has been appointed Secretary(West) in the Ministry of External affairs. His appointment has been approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet(ACC). Vikas Swarup is a 1986 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer. As Secretary West, he will be responsible for India’s affairs with the UK and other European countries.
- Swarup, a 1986 cadre IFS officer served as High Commissioner in Canada till November this year.
- In Canada, he was in charge as the Secretary(Consular, Passport, Visa, and Overseas Indian Affairs)till November 21, 2019.
- Vikas Swarup served in the External Publicity Division.
- He is also a well-known author.
- He was also the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs from April 2015 to February 2017.
Sanjay Bhattacharyya, a 1987 batch IFS officer has been appointed as Secretary of Consular, Passport, Visa and Overseas Indian Affairs. He is currently serving as India’s Ambassador in Turkey.
Peter Handke Receives Nobel Literature Prize
The Nobel Prize in Literature for the year 2019 was given to Peter Handke, an Austrian Author. The announcement was made at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm on 10th October 2019. The Permanent Secretary Mats Malm presented the awards. The Polish Author Olga Tokarczuk received the Nobel Prize in Literature for the year 2018, as last year the Swedish Academy had suspended the award due to a sexual assault scandal. The Nobel prize has been awarded to Peter Handke for his influential work that explores the specificity of human experience.
About Peter Handke
- PeterHandke was born in 1942 in a southern Austrian village called Griffin.
- Peter Handke is a translator, novelist, and playwright.
- He has won many awards like the International Ibsen Award in 2014, the Mulheimer Dramatikerpreis in 2012, and the Franz Kafka Award in 2009 among many more.
- He has written scripts for movies like ‘The Goalkeeper’s Fear of Penalty’, The Wrong Move, Left-handed Woman, The Absence, etc.
NHAI Authorised by Union Cabinet To Set Up Infrastructure Investment Trust
The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the National Highways Authority of India(NHAI) Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to set up an Investment Trust(InvIT) according to the guidelines issued by the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India(SEBI). This will enable NHAI to monetize completed National Highways that have been collecting Toll Tax for at least one year and the NHAI reserves the right to levy a toll on identified highways.
- The InvIT will be under the Indian Trust Act 1882 and SEBI Regulations 2014.
- The objective of this trust will be to invest in infrastructure projects as defined by the Ministry of Finance.
- It may hold assets directly or through Special Purpose Vehicles(SPV) or a holding.
- InvIT will provide greater flexibility to investors.
- It will ensure the generation of Specialized and Maintenance(O&M) Concessionaires.
- It will attract investments for 20 to 30 years by investors who are interested in stable returns and would like to invest in infrastructure and Indian highways projects.
- Domestic savings and the corpus of mutual funds, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority(PFRDA) and such will be invested in the infrastructure sector through InvIT.
- Well developed highways will give a boost to the economy as they are the lifeline of a country.
- The development of highways will facilitate trade and enhance economic development.
- In October 2017 the Indian government had launched its flagship highway development program called Bharatmala Pariyojna making 24,800km of highways at a cost of Rs 5,35,000 crores.
UNESCO To Train 4,000 Indian Teachers In Digital Technology
UNESCO in collaboration with Dell Technologies will start a new education program in which they will train 4000 Indian teachers in Artificial Technologies. This program will help the Government of India in introducing Artificial Intelligence as a subject in schools.
- The program will be carried out in three phases. In the first phase teachers of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka will be trained.
- The trainers will use technologies like FramerSpace, ICT, and Frontier technologies.
- FramerSpace is a digital platform that will help teachers implement and monitor learning programs for students.
- Preference will be given to teachers who already have been certified by Dell’s Aarambh program.
- The second phase will consist of familiarization in face to face interactions.
- In the final phase, teachers will be given a 12-month training.
- This program will help the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4.7.
- Building peaceful and sustainable societies is the goal of the United Nations program.
- The UN aims to provide 100% free education to children under its SDG 4 all over the world.
- The UN also seeks to increase scholarships substantially by 2020.
Actor Sunil Shetty Appointed Brand Ambassador For NADA
The National Anti Doping Agency(NADA) has appointed actor Sunil Shetty as its brand Ambassador. The agency feels that his celebrity status will help clean up the doping menace in the area of sports.
- NADA is India’s anti-doping agency which monitors sports persons.
- It was formed by the government of India under the Societies Registration Act.
- It has scientists and representatives from the Indian Olympic Association(IOA).
- NADA controls, monitors, and coordinates the anti-doping program in sports.
- It deals with adopting and implementing anti-doping rules in conformation with the World Anti Doping Agency(WADA).
- It works to coordinate with all anti-doping agencies in the world in sports.
- WADA had suspended NADA earlier this year.
- Now all samples collected to test for doping will have to be sent outside of India.
- Concerns are being raised whether India will be able to test enough athletes before the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Indian Culture Web Portal
The Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Shri Prahlad Singh launched the Indian Culture web portal on 11th December 2019. The portal was developed by a team from IIT-Bombay and the Indira Gandhi Open University(IGNOU), New Delhi.
- A single platform will give the knowledge and cultural resources of various organizations of the Ministry of Culture and will present it in the public domain.
- This is the first government-authorized portal of its kind.
- This portal is a part of Prime Minister Modi’s Digital India Initiative.
- Documents, audio-video files, images, and data from museums, archives, academies, and libraries from across India will be posted on the portal.
- Information on more than 90 lakh items, is currently available on the portal.
- There is a collection of rare books, manuscripts, e-books, artifacts from museums, archives, photo-archives, gazetteers, Indian National Bibliography and such, on the portal
- UNESCO Musical instruments of India and many more can be found on the portal.
- The content is available in two languages, namely in Hindi and English.
Top Current Affairs for 12th December 2019
World’s First Electronic Flight Takes Off From Canada
The world’s first-ever fully electronic flight completed its test flight successfully on 10th December 2019. The flight will operate from Vancouver, Canada to nearby islands. The flight lasted for 15 minutes.
- The 6-seater seaplane was retro-fitted with an electric motor.
- It was a zero-emission completely electronic flight.
- The electrical flight was designed by a company called Harbor Air.
- India also has a sizable electric vehicle program.
- India promotes and advocates the use of electric vehicles to help environmental issues.
- The FAME-India Scheme(Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India), is implemented by the Department of Heavy Industry.
- This encourages the use of electric vehicles.
- The government of India supported 2.8 lakh hybrid vehicles by giving incentives of around Rs 359 crores and saving 50 million liters of fuel.
- This, in turn, helped in reducing 124 million kg of carbon dioxide.
- The government has reduced GST on electric vehicles to 5%.
- The Ministry of Power allowed the sale of electricity for charging these vehicles.
- This has helped in increasing the infrastructure of charging.
- Under FAME- scheme, 500 charging stations have been sanctioned.
- 230 of these stations have become functional.
- The government through its Ministry of Heavy Industry is inviting bids for installing 1000 charging stations.
NAVARMS-19; International Seminar On Naval Weapon Systems
The Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis(IDSA), Development Enclave, New Delhi will hold the fourth edition of International Seminar cum Exhibition on Naval Weapon Systems. This is the NAVARMS-19 scheduled to be held on 12th and 13 December 2019. The theme of the 2019 edition is ‘Make in India-Fight Category; Opportunities and Imperatives.’
- The two-day interaction will help in exchanging ideas, create awareness and identify prospects for Indian and International defense industry in the realm of Naval weapons systems.
- NAVARMS-19 will be held in 5 plenary sessions.
- The first session will focus on ‘Opportunities for Industry in Naval Weapon Systems-2030’ in all three dimensions air, surface, and underwater.
- The second session will focus on ‘Needs and Concerns of User and Industry’, prevailing policies and issues will be addressed in this session of both sides.
- The third session will be about- Naval Weapon Systems-Modern Trends and Technology in Upgrade and Upkeep.
- The fourth session will be an interactive session of Panel Discussion on Government Policy Imperatives to Encourage Indigenisation.
- The fifth and the last session will be on ‘Building of Indigenous Capability through Collaborative approach between Industry, R&D Organisations and the Indian Navy.
Brief about NAVARMS
- NAVARMS is the only International seminar of its kind on the Naval Weapons System to be held in India.
- It invites all the stakeholder and life cycle management of Naval Weapons to share issues and concerns.
- The past three editions of NAVARMS were held in 2007, 2010, and 2013.
- These were attended with enthusiasm and active participation of industry, Union Ministry of Defense, Defense Research and Development Organisation(DRDO), and the users.
Abu Dhabi Selected As The World’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination
Abu Dhabi wins the World’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination for the 7th time in a row. This time this prestigious award was given at the 26th edition of World Travel Awards(WTA), held in Muscat, Oman. Abu Dhabi won many prestigious accolades in 2019 which included being selected as Best City Break at UK’s Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards and West Asia’s Leading Business Tourism Destination at West Asia edition of World Travel Awards. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and has been great strides in promoting sports tourism by developing sports facilities and holding sporting events.
- The Department of Culture and Tourism of Abu Dhabi had announced a 5-year partnership with Ultimate Fighting Championship(UFC) for hosting annual premier fixtures as part of the ‘Abu Dhabi Showdown Week’.
- The 2020 FINA Short Course Championship is also slotted to take place there.
- Some of the world’s top sporting events have been hosted by Abu Dhabi, like the FIFA Club World Cup 2017-18.
About WTA (World Travel Awards)
- The World Travel Awards were established in 1993.
- They are annual awards selected by an international jury of hospitality experts.
- These experts belong mainly to the World Travel and Tourism Council(WTTC).
- The awards are in two categories of world level and then of 8 international region level.
- All key sectors of hospitality, travel, and tourism are considered before giving the award.
- The United Nations World Travel Organisation has labeled Sports Tourism as the fastest growing sector.
The Arms (Amendment )Bill 2019 Passed By Parliament
The Arms Amendment Bill 2019 was passed by the Parliament. The Bill seeks to amend the Arms Act 1959. The bill looks to add new categories of offenses and also seeks to decrease the number of licensed firearms per person. The bill also seeks to increase penalties for some offenses under the act.
- The bill reduces the number of licensed firearms under the Arms Act 1959 from 3 to 1, including licenses on inheritance basis.
- A time period of one year is given to deposit excess firearms to the Officer-in-charge at the nearest police station.
- They can be deposited with a licensed firearms dealer.
- The extra firearms will be de-licensed within 90 days of the expiry of the 1-year period.
- The bill increases the validity of the licensed firearm from 3 years to 5 years.
- The bill prohibits the acquiring of un-licensed firearms.
- Converting one category of forearms to another without a license is also prohibited.
- There is an increase in punishment between 7 years to life imprisonment for several offenses.
- These will be applicable to dealing, selling conversion, transfer, buying of un-licensed firearms.
- The import-export of banned firearms is prohibited.
- Increased punishment for acquisition, possession or carrying of prohibited ammunition will invite punishment between 7 years and 14 years and fine.
- However, the court may give punishment lesser than 7 years with recorded reasons.
- The bill adds new offenses and punishments, like;
- Forcefully taking a firearm from police or armed forces will get punishment for 10 years of life with a fine.
- Using gunfire in celebratory gunfire endangering human life and the life of others will invite imprisonment up to 2 years or fine up to 1 lakh rupees.
- Offenses committed by organized crime or crime syndicates will be punishable between 10 years and life and fine.
- This will be applicable to buying, selling, manufacturing, importing-exporting, or carrying an unlicensed firearm for any crime syndicate.
- The illicit trafficking of firearms into India or from India will be punishable with imprisonment up to 10 years or life and fine.
- The central government may make rules to track firearms and ammunition from manufacturer to buyer to detect, investigate to track illicit manufacturing and trafficking.
Bougainville Gains Independence From Papua New Guinea
The world gets a new country named Bougainville. On 11th December 2019, the Archipelago of Bougainville voted to gain independence from Papua New Guinea. Around 98% of the votes out of 1,81,067 voters voted to get independence from PNG (Papua New Guinea).
- Bougainville is the largest island in the Solomon Islands Archipelago.
- The island has the world’s largest copper deposits.
- The language spoken in this new nation is Halia.
- The new country needs to get recognition from the United Nations.
- By international law, it also needs to get recognition from other countries.
- The recognition can be proved by the new country through the United Nations resolution.
- If the majority of other nations vote in favor of the new country enters the world map and begins to exist legally.
- The United Nations charter has 195 countries that have been recognized by it.
Kailasa By Godman Nithyananda
- In India, the Godman Nithyananda is said to have built a new nation ‘Kailassa’.
- He is said to have built Kailasa near Ecuador in South America.
- The country is said to have a new flag, passport, national animal, entry visa and currency.
- However, it is necessary to get diplomatic recognition to become a new country.
- Apart from diplomatic recognition the countries of North America and South America assent on the Montevideo Convention.
- It is a treaty that was signed in 1933, it defines the rights and duties of statehood.
- The convention lists the criteria for a country to become independent and declare its sovereignty.
- According to the convention, it prohibits the use of military power to attain sovereignty.
Cabinet Gives Green Signal To Indo-Japan Pact In Steel Sector
The Union Cabinet approved the signing of Memorandum of Cooperation(MoC) between India and Japan to strengthen cooperation in the steel sector. The Union Cabinet was chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The MoC will be between the Government of India and the Government of Japan to constitute ‘India-Japan Steel Dialogue. This MoC will help in capacity building for manufacturing high-grade steel in India.
- The dialogue aims to examine all aspects of cooperation between the two countries, in the steel sector.
- It also aims at the enhancement of mutual understanding to secure sustainable growth in this sector.
- The dialogue envisages the promotion of investment in high-grade steel manufacturing and new avenues of steel usage in India.
- Few Japanese companies are already cooperating with Indian steel manufacturers like Nippon India.
- This new MoC will enable more production and development and will add value to the steel sector in India.
- More ventures will come forth in the coming years after this MoC.
New Delhi Hosts BIMSTEC, International Seminar On Climate Smart Farming Systems
BIMSTEC, a three-day international seminar on climate-smart farming systems is being held in New Delhi. The seminar is organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. It was inaugurated on 11th December 2019. The seminar is being attended by all seven BIMSTEC countries.
- The focus of the seminar is on adopting scientific and technological interventions in smallholding farming.
- Attention will also be paid to targets set by BIMSTEC member countries to reduce emissions to mitigate agricultural situations.
- The aim of the seminar is to enable the improvement of smallholder farming systems in the tropical region.
- These improvements will provide resilience to climate change and give greater productivity.
- The government of India is organizing the seminar as an initiative at the fourth BIMSTEC summit held in Kathmandu in August 2019.
- All BIMSTEC countries lie in the area near the Bay of Bengal therefore, all have similar climates. The solutions arrived at these seminars will be more suitable and reliable for all BIMSTEC countries.
- There are a total of seven BIMSTEC countries namely; Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Thailand, and Myanmar.
- Climate-smart agriculture is an approach that reorients agricultural practices toward food security in changing climate according to FAO.
- FAO also hosts Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture.
- The alliance has aspirations of improving farming techniques and make it changing climate-resilient, food security, and reduce greenhouse gases due to agriculture.
Top Current Affairs for 11th December 2019
International Mountain Day Observed On 11th December
The United Nations marked 11th December as International Mountain Day in the year 2003. The United States and Japan celebrate it as National Mountain Day. The United States has had National Mountain day since 1877, much before the UN proclaimed it. In Japan, it is being celebrated since 2014 and is a national holiday.
- The theme for 2019 mountain day is – Mountains matter for youth
- According to the UN, 15% of the world population lives in the mountains.
- The mountains are under threat due to overexploitation and climate change.
- The day highlights that living in the mountains is difficult. It focuses on the youth living in the mountains and also highlights opportunities for them.
- The importance of education, livelihood opportunities, access to markets, training and public services, are all highlighted.
- International Mountain Day focuses on migration from the mountain areas.
- Many people leave hilly terrain for cities away from the mountains in search of jobs.
- This leads to abandoned agriculture, loss of cultural values of that region.
- The day seeks to find solutions to these problems.
- The idea of the International Mountain Day was framed in the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992.
- It was introduced in Article 21 which is- ‘Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development’.
Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development
- The Mountains of the world are the most fragile and important ecosystems and they need maximum attention.
- Conservation of the mountains is important for sustainable development, most of the fresh drinking water comes from the mountains.
- As per Goal 15 of the UN conservation of the mountains is important.
- The Sustainable Development Goal 15 of the UN charter focuses on, ‘Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems’.
World Anti-doping Agency Imposes 4 Year Ban On Russia
The long-standing doping scandal has forced the World Anti Doping Agency(WADA) to impose a 4-year ban on Russia. The ban is for all international sports events. This ban includes the summer Tokyo Olympics, starting 24th July 2020, and 2022 Beijing Winter Games. However, the Russian anti-doping agency can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for SportCAS) to rethink this decision within 21 days.
- The sanctions on the Russian state authorities are the harshest punishment, they were accused of tampering with the database of a Moscow Laboratory.
- Evidence showed that the Russian authorities corrupted data from the lab that the security agency had already sealed.
- These facts were investigated by WADA and the International Olympic Committee(IOC).
- The result of this tampering by Russian authority was that hundreds of potential doping cases were deleted and false evidence planted to shift the blame on the whistleblowers.
- The ban will also mean that the Russian flag, Russian National Anthem, and name will not appear in the Tokyo Olympics Games.
- The country could also be stripped of hosting any world championships in any Olympic games.
- Though Russian athletes can participate in major events if they can show that they did not test positive in doping or that their data was not manipulated.
- For the soccer World Cup 2022, as per the WADA ruling the Russian team will play in its name in qualifying leagues in Europe, but if it qualifies to play in Qatar, the team name must be changed to something neutral and cannot have the word, Russian.
China-Pakistan; Secure CPEC Sea Route
China and Pakistan have signed a deal to secure the CPEC Sea route. Under this deal, the two countries will build Drones with a maximum payload of 480kg, with a top speed of 370 km per hour and the capacity to fly for 20 hours. The drones have been named Loon11. These drones are similar to the US developed MQ-9 Reaper drones.
- Initially, China and Pakistan have agreed to build 48 drones in Pakistan.
- The deal is to be implemented by Pakistan’s Aeronautical Complex and Aviation Industry Corporation of China.
- This is considered the biggest sale of drones by China to any country.
- Pakistan is already operating the Chinese made Loong1 drone.
- China has sold these Loong1 drones to Kazakhstan, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates.
- Drone systems and Laser weapons are largely being built by China to catch up with the US on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle(UAV).
- These technologies work on spoofing techniques that prevent sending false information to UAVs.
- China, Russia, and the United States are involved in an arms race.
- These concerns have been raised by many countries, involving issues of the trade war, repeated sanctions, the imposition of taxes, space war, and the arms race.
- The China Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir area. This raises concern in India as to growing armed presence in the region.
- With escalated tensions between India and Pakistan and attacks like Pulwama, Balakot strikes and abrogation of Article 370 from Kashmir, India views these developments between Pakistan and China as added worry.
The History Of The Constitution Of India; Digital Exhibition In New Delhi
The ‘Digital Exhibition on History of the Constitution of India was held in New Delhi on the 9th and 10th December 2019. The exhibition was inaugurated by Shri Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for North Eastern Region, Prime Minister’s Office, Public Grievances and Pensions Department, Atomic Energy and Space Department.
- The exhibition is showcasing a replica of the Constitution, photographs of the constituent assembly members.
- Also presented are audios of the debates in the constituent assembly, quotes, and speeches.
- A movie on the making of the constitution is also being shown.
- Posters on the Preamble of the making of the constitution, the fundamental duties of citizens, and directive principles are on display.
- The first sitting of the constituent assembly was held on 9th December 1946, the day has historical importance for India.
- 2019 marks the 70th year of the adoption of the Constitution.
- The constitution was adopted on 26th November 1949 and all members appended their signatures to it on 24th January 1950.
- A total of 284 members signed the constitution.
- The Constitution of India came into force on 26th January 1950.
- The day the constitution was adopted is celebrated as ‘Constitution Day, ‘Republic Day’ all over India.
International Human Rights Day-10th December
10th December is celebrated as International Human Rights Day every year all around the world. The theme for the 2019 Human Rights Day is ‘Youth Standing up for Human Rights’. The theme is to encourage youth as agents of change so they raise their voice against hate speech, discrimination, racism, and bullying. Amplify their voice for climate justice and engage with a global audience to promote and protect human rights.
- In 1948 on 10th December, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR) was adopted and proclaimed as the standard yardstick to protect human rights across the world by the United Nations General Assembly(UNGA).
- UDHR was the first enunciation of human rights.
- It recognized that inherent dignity, equality and inalienable rights of mankind are the bedrock of justice, freedom, and peace globally.
- Human Rights Day was formally established when UNGA at it’s 317th Plenary Meeting on 4th December 1950 declared resolution 423(V) inviting all member states and organizations to adopt and celebrate 10th December as Human Rights Day.
- In 1993 UNGA declared to celebrate 10th December International Human Rights Day every year.
Maharashtra Has Highest Employable Talent: India Skills Report
The Confederation of Indian Industry(CII) and the All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE), United Nations Development Program(UNDP) and Association of Indian University (AIU) jointly released the India Skills Report on 9 December 2019. The report brings to light the employability of people living in various states of the country. The report also ranked the cities of different states on the availability of employment. The report was prepared on the basis of a survey done that assessed 300,000 candidates from 35 educational institutes across 28 states and 9 union territories. As per the report Maharashtra topped the list with the highest employable talent.
- As per the report Maharashtra topped the list with the highest employable talent.
- Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh followed Maharashtra in the list of available employable talent.
- In cities Mumbai topped followed by Hyderabad and Pune.
- Hyderabad entered the top ranks for the first time since the launch of the report.
- According to the report MBA holders were at the top of the employability chart with a score of 54%.
- In 2018 the top employable category was of engineers.
- Degree and diploma holders in Pharmacy followed the MBA category.
- Commerce candidates were placed third and arts candidates at fourth in the ranking of employability.
- Employability increased by 15% in all these categories.
- The employability of males was 46% and that of females 47% in 2019.
- Whereas in 2018 the scores of males and females were 48% and 46% respectively.
- The report suggested that women were more employable than men.
- The overall employable rate of the country was placed at 46%.
Top Current Affairs for 10th December 2019
18th India-Myanmar Foreign Office Consultations
The 18th India-Myanmar Foreign Office Consultations were held in New Delhi on 6th December 2019. Foreign Secretary Shri Vijay Gokhale headed the Indian Delegation. The Myanmar delegation was headed by Permanent Secretary U Soe Han. Discussions were held on India’s ongoing projects in Myanmar, Capacity building initiatives, trade between the two countries, and border cooperation.
- Bilateral relations between India and Myanmar were reviewed.
- Discussions were held on India’s ongoing projects in Myanmar.
- Emphasis was laid on capacity building initiatives, the trade between both the countries, border cooperation between India and Myanmar.
- Enhancing bilateral agreements between the two countries.
- India reaffirmed its priority for the partnership with Myanmar which is at the intersection of ‘Neighborhood First And Act East Policy’.
- India and Myanmar ties were based on historic and civilizational contact, Myanmar reaffirmed high priority relations with India on the basis of these points.
- India’s support in capacity building and assistance in the development, especially in recent years, was appreciated.
ISRO to launch Duchifat 3 – Satellite Built By Israeli Students
Three teenagers Alan Abramovich, Meitav Assulin and Shmuel Aviv Levi from Sha’ar HaNegev High School in Israel built the Duchifat 3 – Satellite, which will be launched by ISRO. They will be traveling to India to launch the Satellite they have named Duchifat3. These three students have designed and built the Satellite themselves. The launch will be done aboard PSLV C48 from the Sriharikota launch site of ISRO(Indian Space Research Organization) on 11 December 2019. Along with Duchifat 3, the PSLV C48 will carry and place India’s RISAT-2BR1, and 8 other Foreign satellites as payload. India enjoys a successful space program, this is the reason India was chosen to launch Duchifat 3 and also good relations between the two countries also played a major role in choosing India as launching ground.
Key Features of Duchifat 3
- Duchifat 3 is a remote sensing and photo satellite which will be used for ecological research of earth from space.
- The thought behind designing this was to serve children to carry out experiments through earth observation.
- Earlier two more satellites were built by Israeli students.
- The size of Duchifat 3 is 10*10*30cm (3U) and it weighs 2.3kg.
- The satellite will provide a platform to study air pollution, water source pollution, monitoring forests, and provide help in agriculture.
- It has been jointly built by Herzliya Science Centre and Sha’ar HaNegev High school.
- It took almost two and a half years to build it.
Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is an expendable medium-lift launch vehicle made by ISRO
- It will place India’s RISAT-2BR1 a radar imaging earth observation satellite, with a life of 5 years into an orbit of 576km.
- Other payload includes 9 foreign satellites from Israel-Duchifat 3, from Italy Tyvak-0092, Japan QPS-SAR, from the USA Lemur 4 satellites, 1HOPSAT, Tyvak-0129.
- These international customer satellites are being launched under a commercial agreement with NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL) under the Department of Space.
The Constitution(126th) Amendment Bill Introduced in Lok Sabha On December 9, 2019
The Constitution (126th) Amendment Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by Home Minister Amit Shah on 9th December 2019. The bill seeks to extend the reservation provided to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes by 10 years. The reservation provided to SC, ST, and the Anglo-Indian community will end in January 2020.
- The bill has been introduced to continue the reservation provided to SC, ST for another 10 years, till January 25th, 2030.
- The reservation has been included in Article 334 of the Constitution, the bill presented in the Lok Sabha seeks to amend this article.
- In 1949 the reservation clause was added to Article334 and states that this reservation will end in 40 years.
- Thus the special reservation status to the Anglo-Indian community, SC, ST will end on 25th January 2020.
- After 40 years the article is being amended to be extended for another 10 years.
- The constitutional amendment means making changes in the constitution.
- Article 368 of the constitution states there are two types of amendments namely, amendment effected by a special majority and amendment effected by a special majority and ratification by at least by one-half of state legislatures.
- The special majority requires ratification by two-thirds of the members present during voting.
- During voting for amendment in the constitution, more than 50% of the total strength of the house should be present.
Zozibini Tunzi From South Africa Bags Miss Universe Crown For 2019
This year’s Miss Universe Crown was bagged by Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi. Zozibini Tunzi was declared the winner at an event held in Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, The United States of America. The crown was presented by Miss Universe 2018, Catriona Gray. Zozibini is 26 years old. India was represented by Vartika Singh. She, however, failed to enter the top 10 of the contest in 2018.
Miss Universe 2019
- The top two contenders for the Miss Universe title were Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi, and Miss Universe Puerto Rico Madison Anderson.
- Miss Tunzi won the title after beating the Puerto Rican and the Mexican finalist.
- There were 90 contestants from around the world.
- Vartika Singh from India did not qualify in the top ten finalists.
- Lara Dutta won the last Miss Universe title for India in 2000.
- Other Indian beauties who have won the Miss Universe title are Sushmita Sen in 1994, and Lara Dutta in 2000.
- Miss Universe is an annual beauty pageant that is run by the United States-based Miss Universe Organization.
MoU Inked Between NSIC And Aramco Asia For Development In Oil And Natural Gas
India’s National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) and Saudi’s Aramco Asia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for developing Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises(MSME) ecosystem in the oil and natural gas sector in India. This MoU will lead the way for accredited MSMEs to find a foothold in the Global space. The MoU was signed on 5th December 2019. Shri P.Udayakumar, Director (P&M) from NSIC and Mohammed Al Mughirah, President Aramco Asia inked the MoU.
- Saudi Aramco or Saudi Arabian Oil Company is based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
- It is Saudi Arabia’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Company.
- It is the world’s largest Oil and Gas company in terms of revenue generated.
- National Small Industries Corporation is The flagship Mini Ratna public sector undertaking under the Ministry of MSME.
- NSIC facilitates the business environment for MSMEs in India.
- It was established in 1955 as a government of India agency.
- Later it was made into a fully government-owned corporation.
New Delhi Hosts India And Australia 2+2 Dialogue
India and Australia held Secretary level 2+2 dialogue on 9th December 2019 in New Delhi. This was the third dialogue meeting between the two countries. Defense Secretary Ajay Kumar and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale led the Indian side. Australia’s Defense Secretary Greg Moriarty and Foreign Secretary Frances Adamson headed the Australian side. The two Defense Secretaries of India and Australia held a bilateral meeting ahead of the 3rd 2+2 dialogue. The Indian side expressed satisfaction on the ongoing defense engagements of the armed forces of the two countries. They also reaffirmed India’s commitment to further enhance cooperation with Australia, both in scope and complexity.
- The two sides discussed bilateral defense engagements.
- Enhancing cooperation in the field of the defense industry, defense technology as well as prevailing regional security concerns.
- This year the 2 plus 2 dialogue is important as they come months after India, Australia, Japan, and the United States have decided to upgrade their interactions in ‘Quadrilateral Security dialogue’, format to ministerial level in September 2019.
- Security and Strategic relations are the main focus, whereas all aspects of bilateral issues will be reviewed.
- The main target of this 2+2 dialogue is to watch the outcome of Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s visit to India in January 2020.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited Prime Minister Morrison to deliver the inaugural address at Raisina Dialogue.
India’s 2+2 Concept
- India has come up with the 2+2 dialogue effort at the official level or Ministerial level with may key partners. These partners include Japan and the United States.
- The first India-Japan 2+2 dialogue was held in New Delhi.
- The United States and India are to hold their 2+2 Ministerial dialogue on 18th December 2019 in Washington, US.
NITI Ayog’s Atal Innovation And Russia’s SIRIUS Deep Technology And Learning Mission Ends
The second phase of NITI Ayog’s Atal Innovation Mission with Russia’s SIRIUS Deep Technology and Learning ended on 9th December 2019. This joint program was carried out between the two under an MoU between SIRIUS and AIM. The event was held between 28th November and 8th December 2019.
- 50 Russian and Indian students participated in the event.
- The students shared the best contemporary innovation practices in the field of biotech, clean energy, IT and Data Analysis, Remote Earth sensing, Robotics, and Drones.
- To achieve effective management of cropland the students created a classification of farmland on the Data available from satellite and neural networks.
- For the model of clean energy, the students created a free energy island prototype that can provide energy to 600 people.
- An automated machine to collect tea leaves was created under the Robotics and Drones category.
- SIRIUS stands for Scientific International Research In Unique Terrestrial Station. It was started in 2017.
- SIRIUS is a series of experiments that investigate flights to the moon.
- Joint SIRIUS experiments were conducted by the USA and Russia in 2017. It was called SIRIUS 17.
- The scientists conducted experiments toward preventive measures and technology and to protect the health of scientists during a space flight.
- SIRIUS 19 was conducted in march 2019, under this 80 experiments were carried out that simulated man’s visit to the moon.
Top Current Affairs for 9th December 2019
International Anti-Corruption Day Observed On December 9, 2019
International Anti-Corruption Day is observed on the 9th of December. The day is observed to raise awareness about corruption and how it can be fought.
The theme for the year 2019 is ‘United Against Corruption’. The theme was decided by the UN to support the 2030 Agenda. The UN manages the celebration around the world.
- United Against Corruption campaign focuses on corruption as it is one of the main hurdles in achieving the SDG.
- Corruption has been defined as the use of powers by government officials or contacts for illegitimate personal gains.
- Patronage, bribery, graft, influence peddling, extortion, nepotism, and cronyism are said to be part of the corruption process.
- A UN report says that every year at least $1 trillion is paid in bribes.
- At least $2.6 trillion is stolen annually through corruption.
- The amount that is exchanged through bribes is equivalent to more than 5% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
- In developing countries, the amount that is lost in bribery is estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.
- United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against corruption on 31 October 2003.
- A resolution was passed designating 9th December as the International Anti-corruption Day.
- The day was designated to campaign against corruption, create awareness against it. In combating and preventing it. This was also the designated role of the convention.
Rafale Jets Tail Numbers To Honour Ex-IAF Chief
The Indian Airforce fighter Jets Rafale is to fly with the tail sign ‘BS’. This is to honour the retired chief Birendra Singh Dhanoa. The tail number initials are unique. It is an identification number on an aircraft. Every aircraft that flies in the country is given a tail number. These are allocated according to the norms of International Civil Aviation. The first set of Rafale Jets is to arrive in India in May 2020.
- According to the convention, the civil aircraft should be registered with the National Aviation Authority.
- The convention was also known as the Chicago Convention.
- The registration number is the tail number of the aircraft.
- International Civil Aviation established the International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO).
- This is a special agency of the UN that is responsible for coordinating international air travel. This convention was signed in1944 in Chicago.
National Aviation Authority
- The National Aviation Authority maintains an aircraft register.
- The authority also oversees the approval and regulation of civil aviation.
- Aircraft maintenance, conditions of their manufacturing, aircraft design, pilot licensing, and air traffic control all fall under the jurisdiction of this authority.
Birendra Singh Dhanoa
- BS Dhanoa served as the Air Chief Marshal in the Indian Air Force.
- He has been awarded several medals namely Param Vishisht Sewa Medal, Yudh Sewa Medal, Ati Vishisht Sewa Medal.
- BS Dhanoa served in the Kargil war, and he, along with his squadron devised innovative methods of night bombing which had not been tried before.
- He was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal and Yudh Sewa Medal for his contributions.
Only Aadhaar Authenticated Bank Accounts To Get PM-Kisan Payments
The government of India has notified that the fourth installment of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi(PM-Kisan) income support scheme which is due in December 2019 will be transferred into accounts which are Aadhaar authenticated bank accounts. There are more than 50 million beneficiaries of this scheme. The government insisting on Aadhaar authentication is coming for the first time since the launch of the scheme in February 2019.
- The December 2019 to March 2020 installment will be transferred in the Aadhaar authenticated bank account in one go.
- The department has authenticated 50million bank accounts already.
- The government is expected to disburse around Rs 10,000 crore in one day.
- This will be the largest payment made in one day under the scheme since its launch.
- In December 2018 and March 2019 the government had disbursed money to over 10 million farmers.
- It is anticipated that this step will boost the sagging rural economy at a time when GDP growth has hit rock bottom.
- This scheme is being funded by the Central Government up to 100%.
- As per the PM-Kisan Yojana, the government will provide income support of Rs 6000 to all farmer families of the country.
- This support will be provided in installments of Rs 2000 every four months.
- The scheme has defined a farmer’s family as husband, wife, and minor children.
- The responsibility of the identification of beneficiaries rests on State Governments and Union Territory governments.
Sanna Marin Becomes World’s Youngest Serving Prime Minister
Sanna Marin is to become the Prime Minister of Finland. The 34-year-old Sanna Marin was selected by her Social Democratic Party of Finland to become the country’s youngest ever Prime Minister. She will take over from the outgoing leader Antti Rinne. Sanna will be the youngest head of state in the country’s history. She has earlier served as Minister of Transport in Finland.
- Sanna also becomes the world’s youngest serving Prime Minister once she takes office in a few days.
- It is expected that Finland’s parliament is to formally swear in the new Prime Minister on 10th December 2019.
- Sanna Marin beats the Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Hancharuk who is currently 35.
- Sanna’s party is the largest in a five-member governing coalition.
- She won the vote by a narrow margin to replace Antti Rinne who resigned after losing the confidence of the coalition partner Center Party over his handling of a postal strike.
- In the Indian scenario, Rajiv Gandhi was the youngest prime minister who took the post when he was 40 years old.
7 December: Armed Forces Flag Day
Every year India celebrates 7 December as Armed Forces Flag Day. The day is observed to collect funds from the people of India for the welfare of the Armed Forces. This day is being observed since 1949. The main purpose of this day is to rehabilitate battle casualties, resettlement and welfare of ex-servicemen, their families, and also serving personnel and their families.
- Carnivals and shows are arranged on Flag Day.
- All three Defence services participate to arrange these shows and dramas showcasing their efforts to ensure the security of the nation,
- On Flag day car-flags and other small flags are distributed to collect donations.
- These flags are in deep blue, red and light blue colours representing the three services.
- With a large defence force the need arose to manage the welfare of that force.
- In 1949 a committee was set up to observe the Flag Day on 7 December every year.
- The day is very important as it is considered that it is the responsibility of every citizen of this country to participate in the welfare of our armed forces.
7 December: GST Stakeholder Feedback Diwas
The Centre and state authorities organized GST(Goods and Services Tax) Stakeholders Feedback Day on 7 December 2019. This was done with the aim to get an instant response, feedback and suggestions to the new system of filing GST return to be introduced from the next fiscal year. The new return form is being made mandatory from April 2020. The program was organized in 125 cities across the country to get instant responses and suggestions on the new system.
- Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) estimated that around 7500 trade associations, stakeholders participated in the program.
- Apart from them a large number of taxpayers, all major chambers of commerce and industry, compliance managers, and tax practitioners also participated.
- All participants were asked to upload GST return (ANX1-2) and give feedback on the ease of compliance, problems faced, suggestions on improvements and also uploading issues.
- The response received from the GST stakeholders was overwhelming and a lot of useful insight and suggestions were made by them.
- The focus of the day was to check assessing ease, compliance, and uploading of these new returns so that taxpayers and traders do not face hurdles when returns are made mandatory.
- Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had directed the Central Goods and Services Tax and State Goods and Services Tax authorities to organize a countrywide interaction with the GST Stakeholders to get first-hand feedback on new GST returns that will be rolled out in April 2020.
- On 16th November the Finance Minister held a meeting with select taxpayers, Chartered Accountants and tax practitioners to get their views on the same subject.
- Then again during the first National Conference on GST held on 25th November, Secretary for Revenue had asked the state GST authorities to hold similar stakeholder meetings in areas falling under their jurisdiction to take part in these feedback sessions in the nearest CGST or SGST office across the country.
Human Library Event Held In Mysuru
Karnataka conducted a Human Library Event in Mysore on 8th December 2019. The concept of the Human Library is to break long standing prejudices and stereotypes and to create a safe framework by using the analogy of a library where people are books.
- The registration and participation for the event were free of cost.
- One reading session lasted for about 30-45 minutes.
- The readers of the human library were provided with an opportunity to borrow Human Books and to engage in conversation with the books. If they had any doubt they can clarify them there itself.
- The event had the power to address the need for a change in societal attitudes and encourage social reforms.
- It was the first Human Library event held in India.
About the Human Library
- This International movement was first started in the year 2000 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
- The first-ever event was held at Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark.
- The first permanent Human Library was set up in Lismore. Australia, in 2006.
- The organization is active in over 70 countries around the world.
- Human Library is present in many cities in India namely Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru.
Top Current Affairs for 7th & 8th December 2019
National Florence Nightingale Awards 2019
The Florence Nightingale Awards 2019 were presented to 36 nursing personnel on 5 December 2019 at a function held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The awards were presented by President Ram Nath Kovind on occasion of International Nurses Day. The President reiterated at the ceremony about the significant role played by nurses in giving quality healthcare for the community as a whole. Nurses are a symbol of Sewa, Shushrusha, and Karuna and also the face of healthcare services for patients and their families. The President suggested that training programs for caregivers need to be developed as they are not professionally trained nurses. But could benefit from taking care of the elderly, as this was a rising demand in society.
The World Health Organization declared the Year 2020 as the ‘Year of Nurses and Midwives’. The year 2020 also commemorates the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale after whom the awards have been named. The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harshvardhan and Minister of State Shri Ashwini Choubey were also present on the occasion.
- This was first awarded in 1973 by the Government of India.
- The awards were given to 36 nursing professionals including midwives, nurses, and women’s health visitors from across the country.
- One award was conferred posthumously to honour a nurse, Lini Sajeesh from Kozhikode who passed away while caring for a Nipah virus patient in Kerala. Her husband Sajeesh received the award.
- N.Sobana who played a crucial role in taking care of Nipah virus patients for over a month as head of nursing staff in Calicut Medical College was also honoured with the award.
- Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy in May 1820 and died in August 1910 in England.
- Florence Nightingale was an English social reformer and statistician and founder of modern nursing.
- She came into prominence as a trainer of nurses and a Manager during the Crimean War during which she organized the care of wounded soldiers.
First Meeting Of The Consultative Committee Of The Ministry Of Petroleum
Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan chaired the First meeting of the Consultative Committee of the Ministry on 5th December 2019. The Minister highlighted the role and importance of the Consultative Committee in guiding and forming policies for the Ministry.
- The committee announced that the government of India was working towards a transformative change in the energy sector.
- The government is planning to increase the share of Natural gas in the energy sector from 6.2% to 15% by 2030.
- The Committee has advocated a major thrust to the policy to support natural gas enabling infrastructure.
- The Committee also recommended the increased contribution and usage of Biofuels.
Government’s initiative for Biofuels
- To reduce the import of oil and dependency on it Government of India introduced the Ethanol Blended Programme.
- This was done to address environmental concerns and boost the agriculture sector.
- The government re-introduced a mechanism for price administration.
- The government also amended industries (Development and Regulation) Act 1951.
- It also reduced GST rates on Ethanol from 18% to 5%.
- In the current scenario, public sector units like Indian Oil Corporation are establishing Ethanol Bio-refineries. 12 such refineries in 11 states are being set up already.
- At the moment bio-fuels in the country are produced in accordance with the National Biofuel Policy 2018. The target is to blend 5% of biodiesel with diesel by 2030.
- Under the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation, around 5000 Compressed biogas plants are to be completed by 2023. The purpose of this is to generate 15 million metric tonnes of biogas every year.
Exercise Hand-in-Hand: India-China Joint Training
The 8th India-China joint training exercise -Hand in Hand is being carried out in Umroi Meghalaya from 7th to 20th December 2019. The exercise is being conducted with an aim to counter terrorism under the United Nations mandate.
- The exercise is being conducted with an aim to practise joint planning and conduct counter-terrorism operations in semi-urban areas.
- It will be focusing on various lectures and drills connected with special heliborne operations.
- Handling of counter-terrorism operations and firing with each other’s weapons are also part of the exercise.
- To understand case studies of many anti-terrorist operations is also included.
- A 130 strong contingent of the Tibetan Military Command will participate from the Chinese side.
- Similarly, a 130 strong contingent will be from the Indian side in the 14-day long exercise.
- Respective Battalion Headquarters will be controlling the training.
- Counter-Terrorism and Humanitarian and Disaster Relief are the two tactical exercises.
- In 2018 this exercise resumed after the freeze in relations between the two countries over Doklam Stand-off. It was the 7th edition.
7 December: International Civil Aviation Day
7th December is celebrated as International Civil Aviation Day across the world. This day is marked to generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of International Civil Aviation to social and economic development. The aim is to highlight the unique role of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The organization helps member nations to cooperate with one another and realize a truly global rapid transit network to the benefit of all mankind.
- The First International Civil Aviation Day was celebrated on 7 December 1994 at the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation by the ICAO.
- In 1996 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed that 7 December was to be International Civil Aviation Day.
- ICAO is a UN body taking care of international standards for aviation safety.
- Every five years the ICAO Council adopts an anniversary theme for International Civil Aviation Day. This time the theme is History and Significance.
- During this ICAO organizes seminars, events, activities, educational sessions, and news announcements on international civil aviation topics.
- ICAO manages to garner support from governments, corporations, and even individuals.
- Agenda 2030 was adopted by the UN and world nations to focus on sustainable development globally
- The ICAO logo has a pair of aircraft wings superimposed on the UN logo.
- The ICAO logo is generally associated with promotional and marketing material for this celebration.
4th India Water Impact Summit Held In New Delhi
Ministry for Jal Shakti, Government of India and Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies led by IIT-Kanpur organized the 4th India Water Impact Summit from 5-7 December 2019 at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. The Minister for Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Shekhawat inaugurated the Summit. The 2019 Summit is to focus on integrated management of water resources in urban and rural areas. Experts from various fields discuss all the problems associated with water.
- The Summit will hold the second Finance Forum, which will bring the focus on global financial investors and institutions together.
- This event will also bring to light water impact in smart cities and delivering on Jal Jeevan Mission.
- During the event, the Ministry of Jal Shakti will also release a report on river restoration and conservation.
- The focus of the summit is to observe and study the usage of water and its impact.
- The need to keep close tabs on water usage and impact arises because India holds only about 4% of global freshwater whereas it has 18% of the total world population.
- Estimates say that by 2030 urban Indian population will have a strength of 600million people, this will put tremendous stress on rivers and other water bodies.
- The Government of India has launched several initiatives to control the impact of human activity on water resources and to reduce water scarcity.
- These initiatives include; Environment Flow and Urban River Management Plan, Ganga River Basin Management Plan, Jal Jeevan Mission, National Mission for Clean Ganga among many other initiatives.
Girish Chandra Appointed As The New Chairman Of NSE
The National Stock Exchange(NSE) has appointed Girish Chandra Chaturvedi as its new chairman. He was appointed chairman after the approval of markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The post of NSE Chairman was lying vacant since January 2019 due to the fact that the then incumbent chairman of NSE Ashok Chawla had to resign as charges of corruption were levelled against him in the Aircel-Maxis case. This is a case of alleged corruption in the grant of the Foreign Investment and Promotion Board(FIPB) clearance in the Aircel-Maxis deal.
About Girish Chandra Chaturvedi
- Girish Chandra is a former bureaucrat retired from the Indian Administrative Services(IAS) in 2013.
- He was serving as Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas at the time of his retirement.
- He is currently serving on the board of ICICI Bank. He is also a member of the government-appointed board of Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Limited(IL&FS).
- He has also served on the boards of Canara Bank, IDFC Ltd, Bank of Baroda, IDBI Ltd, GIC of India, United India Insurance Ltd, Agriculture Insurance Company of India, New India Assurance Company Ltd, National Insurance Academy, and Institute of Banking Personnel selection.
Lok Sabha Passes 2019 Recycling of Ships Bill
The Lok Sabha passed the Recycling of the Ships Bill 2019 on 3rd December 2019. The Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya presented the bill in Lok Sabha. The bill proposes to restrict the use of hazardous materials in ships and regulate the recycling of ships. The use of hazardous materials in ships will call for a fine of Rs 5lakh or will be punishable with imprisonment of up to three months.
- The bill seeks to regulate the recycling of ships keeping international norms in mind.
- This will benefit the recycling industry and also help in generating more jobs.
- The bill prohibits the use of hazardous materials of recycled ships.
- The National Authority will be the administrating nodal agency that will supervise and monitor recycling.
- Ship recyclers need to make a recycling plan and get it approved by the competent authority.
- Once they get the approval certificate, it is only can they recycle the ship.
- The bill is applicable to all existing and new ships registered in India.
- A ship entering a port or a terminal or Indian territorial waters.
- This bill will also be applicable to government-run ships, warships, etc.
Top Current Affairs for 6th December 2019
2nd Startup India Global Venture Capital Summit 2019 begins in Goa
The Global Venture Summit will be held in Goa from 6-7 December 2019. This is the second edition of the summit. The summit will showcase India’s opportunities in the sectors of MedTech, Enterprise Software, E-mobility, FinTech EdTech, Genomics, and Life Sciences. The aim of the summit is to support Fund Managers and Limited Partners of top Global Venture Capital Firms. It is being organized by the Department of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry in partnership with the government of Goa.
- The aim is to provide the opportunity to Indian Start-ups to meet Top Global Investors and get guidance.
- The theme of the 2019 summit is India Opportunity-Investing in Tomorrow Together.
- The summit aims to mobilize global capital for innovation in India.
- Discussions will be held for investments to flow in for Indian start-ups.
- It will showcase high-quality tech and non-technical start-ups to the global investor as also the ease of doing business.
- More than 350 representatives of Global Venture Capital Firms, Limited Partners, High network Individuals, Government of India Officials, Top Corporates and select innovative start-ups are participating in the summit.
- In 2018, the first edition of the Startup India Global Venture Capital Summit was held in Goa.
- Around 250 participants from over 9 countries showcased venture capital opportunities in India as well as facilitated a rich exchange of ideas on various aspects of the investor world.
India 5th Worst Country In Terms Of Invasive Use Of Biometric Data
A tech research firm Comparitech, based in Britain reported that India is the fifth-worst country in terms of extensive and invasive use of biometric data. China, Malaysia, Pakistan, and The US stand before India in this category. Indonesia, Taiwan, and the Philippines shared the 5th position with India. A high score secured by a country shows extensive and invasive use of biometrics and surveillance, India scored 19 out of 25.
- The researchers analyzed data from 50 countries to find out as to where the biometric data was taken, the reason behind the collection of biometric data and the process of storage of biometric data.
- The scores were given out of 25 to each country.
- High scores garnered by any country showed extensive and invasive use of biometrics and surveillance.
- Low scores showed better restrictions and regulations regarding biometric use and surveillance.
- The protection of biometric data used by a country was also researched.
- The report also said that despite the sensitivity of biometric data many countries accepted the use of biometrics
- India scored 19 out of 25 and ranked much lower in the list despite a high score. India does not permit law enforcement to get access to the biometric database known as Aadhaar.
- European Union (EU) countries scored better than non-EU countries due to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations, which protects the use of biometrics at the workplace to some extent.
- The best countries in terms of data storage, rules and regulations are Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus, The United Kingdom, and Romania.
RBI 5th Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Released
The Reserve bank of India released its fifth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement for the year 2019-20, on the 5th of December 2019. The repo rate remained unchanged at 5.15%. Last time it was cut by 135 base points to a nine-year low.
- According to the release, the repo rate remained unchanged at 5.15%.
- The reverse repo rate stood at 4.9% and the bank rate at 5.4%.
- The CPI projection was increased from 4.7% to 5.1%.
- RBI is currently following target inflation at 4%.
- The Monetary Policy Committee said that the global economic activity has been subdued since its last meeting.
- Among other emerging markets, the growth of China has decelerated in Q3 and its exports have declined due to trade tensions with the US.
- Whereas GDP growth of Russia and China has accelerated in Q3, mainly due to agricultural output and industrial activities.
Data Protection Bill Approved By Cabinet
On 4th December 2019, the Cabinet approved the Data Protection Bill to be tabled in Lok Sabha. The bill lays down the legal framework to preserve sanctity in data sharing. The draft of the bill was released by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in 2018.
- The bill lays down rules for data collection, storage, and handling of personal data.
- It provides regulations in the processing of personal data of individuals incorporated in India and abroad.
- The bill makes it compulsory for the data collecting authority to store the data within the territory of India.
- The bill provides exemptions processing of data that is related to legal proceedings or in the interest of national security.
- A Data Protection Authority(DPA) is scheduled to be set up according to the bill.
- The bill divides data into three categories, namely-critical, general and sensitive.
- Sensitive data is related to passwords, finances, religion, health, biometric and sexual orientation.
- The bill allows sensitive data to be processed outside India with the consent of the provider.
- Critical data is one that the government uses once in a while and is to be processed within the country.
- The rest of the data that is non-critical and non-sensitive have been categorized as general.
Exercise Indra: Joint TRi-service Exercise Between India And Russia
The Joint tri-service exercise between India and Russia-INDRA 2019 will be held between 10-19 December 2019 in Pune, Maharashtra. Army, Navy and Air Force of both countries will be participating in the event. The exercise has been planned for 10-days.
- The exercise will be held simultaneously in Pune and Goa
- Fighter Aircraft, company-sized mechanized contingents and ships of both the countries will take part in the exercise.
- The forces will be trained in tactical operations.
- Drills to handle and neutralize improvised devices, arms smuggling prevention, and anti-piracy measures.
- The event will be followed by a 72-hour validation exercise.
- The series if INDRA exercises between India and Russia began in 2003. But the tri-service exercise began in 2017.
- The defence relations between India and Russia exist for many years now.
- However close ties between these two countries took a hit due to Russia’s close ties with China and India’s LEMOA and COMCASA 2+2 dialogue with the United States.
- India is trying to balance relations with both countries.
Cabinet Approves Bharat Bond Exchange Traded Fund
The Cabinet approved the launch of the Bharat Bond Exchange Traded Fund(BBETF), on December 4, 2019. This was done in order to allow investors to buy government debts. The fund will allow easy and low-cost access with the lowest amount of Rs 1000.
- Initially, the BBETF will hold baskets of bonds issued by the public sector undertakings and other government organization bonds.
- The bonds will have a maturity period of 3-10 years and will be allowed to be traded on stock exchanges.
- Not just bank financing, BBETF will act as an additional financial source for government organizations.
- An increase in investor base will help in increasing demand for their bonds.
- This will help in inculcating discipline in Central Public Sector Enterprises(CPSE) and borrowings in CPSE.
- This step will deepen the corporate bond market and will increase retail participation.
- It will provide safety, liquidity and predictable tax-efficient returns.
- As compared to previous bonds, the BBETF is tax efficient.
- This is because long term capital gains on bond funds are taxed at 20%.
Top Current Affairs for 5th December 2019
World Soil Day
World Soil Day is observed on 5th December every year. In 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations endorsed this day. This was done after the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) adopted a resolution in 2002 to mark 5 December as World Soil Day. This was done to celebrate the importance of soil which is a critical component of the natural system and a vital contributor to the well being of human life.
December 5th is the birthday of Bhumibol Adulyadej, the late king of Thailand. He was the main proponent of the initiative. Therefore December 5 was chosen as World Soil Day.
- The 2019 soil day focuses on challenges in soil management. It encourages communities, organizations, and governments to work towards improving soil health.
- World Soil Day is celebrated every year on the 5th of December at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO) headquarters in Rome.
- It is also celebrated in other regional offices of the UN through national and local events.
Fourth Phase Of UDAN Scheme Launched
The government launched the fourth phase of the Regional Connectivity Scheme(RCS) to stimulate affordable air connectivity. Ministry of Civil Aviation has invited bids for the fourth round of the Regional Connectivity Scheme(RCS) UDAN. This scheme is part of the government’s vision to give air connectivity to smaller cities and towns and to operationalize over 100 airports.
- The scheme aims to introduce connectivity to areas like the Northeastern states, UT Jammu, Ladakh, other hilly regions and islands.
Regional Connectivity Scheme
- The scheme was launched in 2017.
- RCS is also known as UDAN or ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik’.
- The airlines will compete to win subsidies operate flights that connect small airports with big airports of the country.
- Operating helicopters and seaplane will also be allowed in the fourth phase.
- The fourth phase of the scheme also allows for short-haul routes.
- The government will develop airports and operationalize the routes that were auctioned in the previous phase of RCS.
- Currently, only 232 routes across 43 cities have been connected with 137 small cities, but the plan is to connect at least 688 routes.
GOI Halts Online Drugs Sale
The sale of online drugs has been halted by the Government of India, as it is in the process of framing rules and guidelines for the sector. The stopping of the online sale of medicines has adversely affected the sector.
- The order to stop online selling of medicines came after the Delhi High Court passed a judgment in response to a petition filed by Dermatologist Dr. Zaheer Ahmed.
- The Court order states that sales of medicines online are in violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
- The order of sale prohibition was initiated by Drugs Controller General of India V.G Somani.
- The E-Pharmacy rules are still at the drafting stage.
- The draft includes registration of E-Pharmacies, the privacy of customers, to check unauthorized and expired drugs.
- It also includes periodic inspection by governing authorities.
- At the moment retail stores contribute 99% whereas online medicine business is only 1% of the sales.
Winner Of 2019 Ballon d’Or Awards
Lionel Messy was named the best player and awarded the 2019 Ballon d’Or in Paris. He created a world record by winning the award for the sixth time. He broke the record set by Cristiano Ronaldo, who the Ballon d’Or five times.
Ballon d’Or Awards
- Ballon d’Or is a prestigious award given out annually.
- It is awarded to the world’s best men’s football player.
- Ballon d’Or is considered the world’s most prestigious honor in Football.
New Zealand Wins 2019 Christopher Martin Jenkins Spirits Of Cricket Awards
The national cricket team of New Zealand was awarded the Christopher Martin Jenkins Spirit of Cricket award for the year 2019. Captain of the New Zealand cricket team Kane Williamson was given the award during the second Test Match between New Zealand and England, which resulted in a draw.
- New Zealand’s team has been recognized for its sporting conduct after a dramatic defeat by England in ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 at Lords.
- Even though England lifted the trophy on boundary count as runs were tied in both 50 over match and Super over.
- The New Zealand team won praise for their humility despite losing the tournament.
- Their off the field display during World Cup final earned them this award.
- Kumar Sangakkara, President of the Marylebone Cricket Club, who is also one of the creators of this award described New Zealand Team as worthy winners of the award.
- The award was created in 2013 in memory of Martin-Jenkins, the former president and BBC Test Match Special commentator.
- This is to honor his long standing passion and desire to see the game played in the right spirit.
Pacific Air Chiefs Symposium 2019 Being Held In Hawaii
The Chief of Indian Air Force(IAF) Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria will be participating in Pacific Air Chiefs Symposium (PACS 2019) that is being held at Joint Base Pearl Harbour-Hickam, Hawaii. The theme of the 2019 symposium is ‘A Collaborative Approach to Regional Security’.
- To strengthen already existing cooperation between participating Air Forces.
- Also to enhance interaction in the future.
- The United States of America is hosting the symposium.
- Air Chiefs from 20 countries will be participating.
- The participants will provide a perspective on the challenges faced.
- The focus will be on topics like Domain Awareness, Interoperability and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief(HADR).
- The peace and security of the Pacific region will also be discussed.
- Participation of Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria in PACS 2019 will help highlight regional challenges and reaffirm India’s commitment towards peace, prosperity, stability, and security in the Indo-Pacific region.
MadhoApo; Odisha Government Launches Smart Learning App
The Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik launched a smart learning app called ‘Madhu’, for school children of the state. The app was launched on Tuesday and is named after Utkal Gourab Madhusudan Das. The app has been developed by the Ganjan District administration in accordance with the 5T initiative of the state government. The Chief Minister interacted with children of 22 blocks of Ganjam district via video conferencing.
- The app aims to help school children to learn their lessons through videos and tutorials available on the app.
- The video lessons have been designed to be interesting and self-explanatory.
- The lessons have been designed by subject experts and educationists in Odia language.
- The app consists of study material in Mathematics and Science subjects from classes 5 to 8.
- The students will be able to download the app from Google Playstore.
Top Current Affairs for 4th December 2019
Kharif Crop Production To Dip By 12%
A private weather monitoring company, Skymet released a report on 3 December, on the Kharif crop outlook. As per the report, barring cotton the Kharif crop is expected to witness a drop in production by 4% to 12% as compared to 2018-19.
- Crops such as groundnut, soybean tur, and urad dal were adversely affected, especially in Maharashtra.
- This was mainly due to excess rainfall in some areas, where they witnessed rainfall deficit and in some regions, crops were affected due to delayed monsoon.
- The report also said that rain which continued till the end of September delayed the maturity process.
- Kharif crops are grown at the onset of south-western monsoon.
- Rice, Jowar, Maize, cotton, moong, groundnut and jute are some of Kharif crops.
- The Indian Coastal regions yield the highest quantity of Kharif crops.
- Kharif crops also include Millets in Madhya Pradesh, paddy from West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, pulses from Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
Punjab Creates Land Banks To Boost Industrial Production
On December 2, 2019, the Punjab Cabinet approved the amendment of Punjab Village Common Land(Regulation) rules 1964. This aims at creating land banks in rural areas to boost industrial development in the state.
- The amendment has included Rule 12-B that provides special provisions to transfer common land for the development of industrial projects.
- Common land includes areas that do not come under cultivation or habitation. It is those that are consolidated landholdings which are held by the state government for common use.
- As per the amendment, the Gram Panchayat can transfer the ‘shamlat’ or common land to industries after approval from the state government.
- Land Banks will be set up under Gram Panchayat which in return will implement the amendment.
- As an initial step, 1000 acres of Panchayat land has been identified and integrated across five villages.
- This will be used to develop a Global Manufacturing and Knowledge park at Rajpura in Patiala district. This project is a part of the Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor.
- The amendment allows the transfer of land to industries or State-owned Punjab Small Industries Export Corporation(PSIEC).
- The bill will help to hasten infrastructure development projects.
- The amendment aims at promoting ease of doing business.
Lok Sabha Clears Taxation(AMENDMENT) Bill 2019
Lok Sabha passed the Taxation Laws(Amendment) Bill 2019, on 2 December 2019.
The bill provides an option for domestic companies to pay taxes at 22%.
- The bill replaced the ordinance promulgated by the President in September 2019.
- The bill aims to amend the Income Tax Act 1961 and Finance Act 2019.
- This new bill provides for domestic companies to pay taxes at 22%.
- This can be availed only if the companies are not claiming deductions under the income tax act.
- At the moment companies with an annual turnover of Rs 400 crores are paying a tax of 25% and companies and if the turnover is higher than they were paying at the rate of 30%.
- Concessions are provided to the companies that started after September 2019 and started manufacturing from April 1, 2023. These companies will be taxed at 15% provided they are taking deductions from other laws and rules.
- Companies that opt for new tax rates need not pay Minimum Alternate Taxes (MAT).
- The aim of the bill is to promote growth and investment in the domestic sector.
- To pull up the economy government also reduced the corporate tax rate by up to 10%.
- It was the biggest reduction in the last 28 years.
Prithviraj Singh Roopun Elected As The New President Of Mauritius By Parliament
The National Assembly of the Republic of Mauritius has unanimously elected Prithvirajsing Roopun as the President of the nation. He was earlier the Minister for Arts and Culture. This was presented by the Prime Minister, Home Affairs and Communications, Minister of Defence, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity. In Mauritius, the President is the head of the state but has no executive powers and is considered the guardian of the constitution.
- Prithvirajsing Roopun succeeded Ameenah Gurib-Fakim who resigned in march 2018.
- Mauritius held elections in which incumbent Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth won a new five-year term.
- Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth presented a motion for election of Marie Cyril Eddy Boissenzon as the new Vice-President.
- The swearing-in ceremony for both Vice President and President were held at the statehouse.
- Prithvirajsing Roopun is a lawyer by profession and was first elected to the National Assembly in the year 2000, he is 62 years of age and held the post of Minister for Art and Culture.
Labour Ministry Celebrating Pension Week
The Ministry of Labour and Employment has designated 30 November 2019 to 6 December 2019, to be celebrated as Pension week. The week-long initiative of the government is towards enrolments under Pradhan Mantri Shramyogi Maandhan(PM-SYM) and National Pension Scheme for Traders and Self-employed Persons(NPS-Traders). Minister of State for Labour and Employment Shri Santosh Gangwar, inaugurated the enrollment process.
- Pension schemes and initiatives run by the government are simple and hassle-free.
- To enroll and avail the pension, only Aadhaar card and savings bank account or Jandhan account is required.
- The pension week awareness program will be organized among 10 crores Ayushman beneficiaries, 11 crore MGNREGA workers,4-5 crore building and other construction workers.
- 2.5 crore Self-Help Group members, 40 lakh Anganwadi workers, and 10 lakh Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers.
- This kind of campaign will help spread awareness about pension schemes.
Bhartiya Poshan Anthem
The Bhartiya Poshan Anthem was launched by the Vice President Shri Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi. This aims to carry forward the message of ‘Malnutrition Free India’ to every corner of the country. The Vice President hoped that the ‘poshan anthem’ will help in achieving a malnutrition free India by the year 2022. The anthem was conceptualized by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the lyrics were penned by Prasoon Joshi and sung by Shankar Mahadevan.
About National Nutrition Mission Or Poshan Abhiyan
- It is a flagship program of the government to improve nutrition in children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers.
- ‘Poshan’ stands for ‘Prime Ministers Overreaching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition’.
- The scheme was launched by the Prime Minister on 8 March 2018.
- A report suggests that 34.7% of children below the age of 5 have stunted growth in India.
- More than 12 crore women, 6 crore men and 13 crore children were reached through various activities undertaken during the ‘Poshan Maah’ in September 2018.
Top Current Affairs for 3rd December 2019
VATAVARAN 2019 Awards
Shri Ravi Agarwal, Additional Secretary Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate change presented the first-ever Centre for Media Sciences(CMS) VATAVARAN 2019 awards at New Delhi. The awards were presented at the end of a four-day event where all the short-listed films were shown.
- The Jury comprised of Ramesh Sippy, Manju Borah, Rahul Rawail and Agnimitra Paul.
- The shortlisted films of MoEFCC 2019 Short Film Competition and Festival on the environment were screened at the festival.
- The award was presented in three categories- School Student Category – 345 films entered and 35 were nominated.
- Amateur and College Student category -173 films entered and 42 were nominated.
- Professional Category – 82 films were entered and 35 were nominated.
Indigenous Faith Day
Indigenous Faith Day was celebrated on 1 December 2019 in Tezu, Arunachal Pradesh. IFD aims to preserve the rich culture and identity of Arunachal Pradesh. A program was organized by the Indigenous Faith and Cultural Society of Arunachal Pradesh(IFCSAP) of Tezu. The event was presided over by Tezu Legislator Karhiko Kri.
- The different tribes of the area displayed their different culture in a colorful program.
- The IFCSAP calendar was launched on this day.
- The program ended with a prayer song by the Amik and Ringya group.
Government Intensified Mission Indradhanush(IM) 2.0
The Government has launched Intensified Mission Indradhanush(IMI) 2.0 on 2 December 2019. It will be carried out between December 2019 and March 2020 and will cover vaccines for whooping cough, tetanus, Diphtheria, Poliomyelitis, Measles, tuberculosis, meningitis and Hepatitis B.
Aim (IM) 2.0
- The aim is to ensure children under 2years of age and pregnant women are immunized against these 8 diseases that can be prevented through vaccination.
- IMI 2.0 targets full immunization coverage in 272 districts across 27 states.
- In some vulnerable areas, vaccines for Japanese Encephalitis(JE) and Haemophilus Influenza will also be provided.
International Day Of Persons With Disabilities
December 3 is observed as the International Day of Persons with Disability since 1992 by the United Nations. The aim is to promote the well being of disabled people and increase awareness of their situation in social, political, cultural and economic ways.
- The United Nations is organizing a one-day event at its headquarters.
- The organization will launch new initiatives under the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy.
- The initiative will focus on achieving the SDG 17 which pledges ‘leave no one behind’.
- The strategy was launched in June 2019, it provides a foundation for transformative and sustainable progress on disability inclusion.
- It supports the convention of upholding the rights of a disabled person.
- Its first approach to the strategy is the Twin Track approach aims at considering disability across all the works of the UN also works under pre-determined targets.
- Secondly-Intersectionality factors like age, gender, and location.
- Thirdly – the Coordination strategy aims at a coherent approach to accelerate progress and achieve inclusion.
20th Nagaland Hornbill Festival
The Nagaland Hornbill festival began at the Naga Heritage Village Kisama, Nagaland, on 1 December 2019. The 20th edition of the Hornbill Festival coincides with Nagaland Statehood Day. The festival was celebrated, blending culture, and tradition with a modern twist. The ten-day festival began with a traditional blessing pronounced by ‘Mongtei’ of Aniashu village, while Chief Host Nagaland Governor and Host Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio opened the festival by sounding the traditional gong. This year’s festival is set to become bigger with a new global partner and a mantra of zero-waste.
Nagaland Hornbill Festival
- It is also known as the ‘Festival of Festivals’ and is named after the Hornbill Bird.
- The festival symbolizes, ‘Respect and Folklore’ among the Naga people.
- It showcases the northeastern states’ tradition and rich cultural heritage.
- The festival promotes tourism and is organized by the State government of Nagaland.
- There will be performances by tribes of Nagaland and other Northeastern States, games, night carnival and a colorful display of Naga Culture named ‘Colors of Nagaland’.
- A display of Sukhoi Fighter Aircraft, flying over Kisama was also organized.
- Nagaland Government has also partnered with Airbnb to boost tourism.
First Night Trial Of Long Range Nuclear-Capable Agni-111
The first night trial of Nuclear capable Agni-111 was carried out at Integrated Test Range(ITR) at APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha. Agni-111 is a surface-to-surface ballistic missile. The missile’s night trial ended in failure. This was not the first failure of Agni series missiles.Agni-1 and Agni11 also failed at the development stage and trial phase.
- The missiles night trial failed as it tumbled into the sea at the first phase separation.
- The missile traveled about 115 km on its flight trajectory when things went wrong and it deviated from its flight path forcing the mission team to terminate it midway.
- Preliminary investigations attributed the failure to either manufacturing defect or metallurgical defects.
- The trial was conducted as part of user training exercise by the Indian Army’s Strategic Forces Command(SFC) and the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) provided all logistical support.
- The test was considered crucial to reconfirm its readiness to handle weapons at night hours.
- The flight trajectory was set for nearly 2800km.
- It is developed by DRDO and has been inducted in Indian armed forces in 2011.
- The missile’s range covers all major cities of Pakistan and China.
- The missile has a two-stage solid propellant and can carry conventional and nuclear warheads weighing up to 1.5 tonnes.
- The missile is 17 meters tall and has a diameter of 2 meters it weighs around 50 tonnes.
Indian Organ Donation Day
The 10th National Organs Donation day was celebrated on 30th November. The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare presided over a function held in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The celebration was organized by NOTTO(National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization). Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had launched 6th World and first-ever Indian Organ Donation Day and Organ Donation Congress in 2010 in New Delhi.
- Union Government set up NOTTO as a mandate of the Transplantation of Human Organs(Amendment) Act 2011.
- As specified by the Act, NOTTO is performing the functions of Human Organs and Tissues Removal and storage networks.
- NOTTO is responsible for putting systems in place for organ donation.
- Carrying out activities of promotion of organ donation from deceased persons
- NOTTO is also responsible for the procurement and sharing of organs obtained from deceased persons.
- It also sets up networking among hospitals and tissue banks at the national level, while ROTTO(regional organ and tissue transplant organization) at the regional level and SOTTO(state organ and tissue transplant organization) at the state level carry out the same function.
- The networking of transplant or retrieval with hospitals is done so that no donated organ goes waste.
- India performs the 2nd highest number of transplants in the world after the USA.
- But India has a dismal 0.6% per million population(PMP) organ donation rate, which needs to improve.
Top Current Affairs for 2nd December 2019
World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day is observed on 1st December every year. The day is observed to raise awareness about AIDS, in the public and to motivate people suffering or already infected with the disease.
- The 2019 theme on World AIDS Day is ‘Communities Make The Difference’.
- The theme provides an opportunity to recognize the important role played by communities and continue to play in the AIDS response at local, national and international levels.
- Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome(AIDS) is a pandemic disease caused due to infection of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus(HIV). This causes damage to the immune system of a person.
- The first World AIDS Day was observed in 1988.
- The Joint Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS(UNAIDS) took the lead in campaigning for World AIDS Day from1994 to 2004.
- A study revealed that 37.9 million people were living with HIV and 23.3 million were accessing antiretroviral therapy, globally.
- The report also said that 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV every year and that 7,70,000 people died of AIDS-related diseases each year.
National Pollution Control Day
2nd December is celebrated as National Pollution Control Day. The day is observed to honor the people who lost their lives in the Bhopal gas tragedy. Many programs are organized by the National Pollution Control Department.
- To spread awareness among people about pollution, the damage it causes and measures to control it.
- The day also creates awareness about problems caused by increasing pollution.
- The Bhopal gas tragedy happened between the night of 2nd and 3rd December 1984, where the gas was released from the Union Carbide Plant in Bhopal.
- Thousands of people died in that tragedy.
Preventive Measures By The Government
- The Government of India launched many programs to control and prevent pollution.
- This includes the Water Act of 1974, Air Act 1981, Environment Act of 1986, Ozone Depleting Substances Rules-2000, Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2006 among many more.
- Pollution can be controlled by treating sewage and managing solid waste.
- Treating electronic waste.
BSF Celebrates The 55th Raising Day
Border Security Force(BSF) celebrated its 55th Raising Day on 1st December. It was attended by Minister of State of Home Affairs Shri Nityanand Rai. He reviewed the passing out parade on the occasion. Prime Minister Modi greeted BSF Personnel on the occasion.
Border Security Force(BSF)
- BSF was formed on 1 December 1965.
- It ensures the security of the borders of India.
- It acts as the first line of defence against smuggling, infiltration and military attack.
- BSF is the world’s largest border guarding force.
- It functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Indian Navy Successfully Tested Brahmos Cruise Missile
The Indian Navy successfully test-fired the Brahmos Cruise missile from Navy’s Stealth Destroyer INS Kochi. The supersonic missile successfully hit a decommissioned target ship in the Arabian Sea. The second ship of Project 15-A ‘Kolkata Class’ guided-missile destroyer test-fired advanced missile during a naval drill in the west coast.
- It has been jointly deployed by India and Russia and has been in service with the Indian Navy since 2005.
- It is the world’s fastest cruise missile and has a strike range of 290 km.
- It successfully hit a decommissioned target ship after performing extremely complex maneuvers.
- The missile has a supersonic speed of Mach 2.8. It also has a very low cruising altitude of 10 meters at the terminal phase.
- Brahmos can strike targets at a long distance thus making the destroyer a lethal warship.
- INS Kochi was commissioned on 30 September 2015. It is a 7,500-ton warship indigenously designed and constructed.
- INS Koch can carry 16 Brahmos missiles.
The South Asian Games Begin In Kathmandu
On December 1, 2019, the President of Nepal Bidya Devi Bhandari opened the South Asian Games in Kathmandu. The games will go on for 10 days. Around 487 athletes are participating from India.
About The Games
- The South Asian Games are a biennial multi-sport event.
- It is being conducted since 1983.
- A total of 8 members are there, including India, Nepal, Sri Lanka Bhutan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bhutan, and the Maldives.
- The governing body is the South Asia Olympic Council.
- This council was formed in 1983 in Islamabad, Pakistan.
- The country hosting the South Asian Games holds the presidentship of the council.
- The council holds the South Asian Beach Games and South Asian Winter Games which include athletics, skating, swimming, etc.
Akkithanam Namboodiri Has Been Chosen For 55th Janapith Award
Malayalam Poet Akkithanam Namboodiri will be awarded the 55th Jnanpith Award. The 93-year-old poet is considered to have brought modernism to Malayalam poetry. Akkithanam is the 6th Malayalam writer to be given the award after G.Sankara Kurup, Thakazhi, SK Pottekkat, MT Vasudev Nair and ONV Kurup.
- Akkithanam has written more than 43 literary works in Malayalam.
- His works include Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam(The legend of the twentieth century).
- He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2017.
- His other awards include Kerala Sahitya Academy Award in 1971 and Sahitya Academy Award 1973, also the Vayalar Award 2012.
- This award was instituted in 1961.
- It is sponsored by Bhartiya Jnanpith.
- It recognizes contributions by authors in literature.
- Jnanpith is the highest award in the literary field.
DHFL Taken To NCLT
The Reserve Bank of India has referred Dewan Housing Finance Corp Limited to The National Company Law Tribunal(NCLT) for insolvency proceedings, making it the first financial services company to go to NCLT for debt resolution. DHFL has a debt of Rs 83,873 crore. A statutory inspection of DHFL conducted by National Housing Finance, DHFL showed serious deterioration in its finances, from Rs 10,166.72 crores in March 2018 down to Rs 6188 crores in July 2019.
- RBI has filed an application for corporate insolvency against DHFL.
- This will initiate the process under Section 227 of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code(IBC)2016, read with rules 5 and 6 of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Rules 2019.
- R.Subramaniakumar the RBI appointed administrator for DHFL will take over lenders affairs once his appointment is approved by NCLT.
- RBI has been granted new powers by the government, where it can take over administration of privately held financial services company, remove auditors, call for an audit and ensure timely resolution for large NBFCs with significant public investments.
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