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Important Current Affairs 21st December 2019

National

5th Edition of ARTECH to be held in New Delhi

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

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

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

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

• Chief of the Army Staff: General Bipin Rawat.

• The motto of Indian Army: “Service Before Self”.

• Headquarters: New Delhi.

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

Uddhav announces Mahatma Jyotirao Phule loan waiver scheme of up to Rs 2 lakh for Maharashtra farmers

• The Maharashtra government has announced a loan waiver scheme named “Mahatma Jyotirao Phule loan waiver scheme” under which farmers in Maharashtra will get a loan waiver of upto Rs two lakh.

• The cut-off date for the scheme is September 30, 2019.

Wipro, NASSCOM jointly launch ‘Future Skills’ to boost engineering teaching

• Wipro has partnered with the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) to launch the ‘Future Skills’ platform to enhance the quality of engineering education.

• ‘Future Skills’ platform is a part of Wipro’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme, TalentNext and aims to target 10,000 students from over 20 engineering colleges in India.

Banking and Economy

RBI Announces special Open Market Operation (OMO) Purchase and Sale of Government of India Dated Securities

• The Reserve Bank has decided to conduct simultaneous purchase and sale of government securities under Open Market Operations (OMO) for ₹10,000 crores each.

• This has been done after a review of the current liquidity and market situation and an assessment of the evolving financial conditions.

• The RBI will buy ₹10,000 crore of 6.45% government bonds maturing in 2029 and simultaneously sell ₹10,000 crore of short-term bonds maturing in 2020.

Science & Technology

Ethiopia launched its first space satellite

• Ethiopia has launched its first satellite named Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite (ETRSS)-1 which took place at a space station in China.

• The Chinese Long March 4B rocket (CZ-4B) carried the ETRSS-1 from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China.

Sports

Rafael Nadal, Ashleigh Barty named ITF World Champions for 2019

• Ashleigh Barty (Australia) and Rafael Nadal (Spain) have been named as the ITF’s world champions for 2019 women’s and men’s respectively.

• They have been named the champions as they finished at the top in their respective category rankings.

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Important Current Affairs 20th December 2019

National

Andhra Pradesh tops in organising ‘Fit India school week’

• Andhra Pradesh has topped the charts among states in India in organising the Fit India week. 13,839 schools of Andhra Pradesh took part in the state.

• Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh are ranked at second and third place respectively.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid a foundation to the Fit India movement which was launched on August 29 this year.

Indian Coast Guard conducts ‘Swachchh Samundra NW-2019’

• The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) conducted a regional level pollution response exercise named ‘Swachchh Samundra NW-2019’. It was held at sea off Vadinar in Gulf of Kutch.

• The exercise was held from December 17 to December 18, 2019 with an aim to validate and reinforce the response mechanism for oil pollution incidents and enable the Indian Coast Guard to fine-tune the actions required in such eventualities.

Anand Mahindra to step down as Mahindra Group Executive Chairman from April 2020

• Mahindra Group has annouced that Anand Mahindra will step down as Executive Chairman from April 1, 2020.

• Pawan Goenka will be re-designated as Managing Director and Chief Executive from April 1.

• This is in accordance with the Sebi guidelines. However, Anand Mahindra will continue to serve as Non-Executive Chairman of the company.

Banking and Economy

Fitch reduces India’s GDP growth forecast to 4.6% in FY20

• Fitch Ratings has cut its GDP growth forecast for India to 4.6% for the 2019-20 fiscal from its earlier prediction of 5.6%.

• Fitch has reaffirmed India’s rating at ‘BBB-‘ with a Stable Outlook.

• In FY2020-21 the growth rate is predicted at 5.6 per cent and 6.5 per cent in FY2021-22 as per Fitch.

Awards

Virat Kohli tops Forbes India’s 2019 Celebrity list

• Indian Cricketer Virat Kohli has topped the Forbes India’s 2019 Celebrity list.

• The celebrity ranks are based on an aggregate of the estimated earnings and their calculated fame quotient, via print and social media reach.

• Actor Akshay Kumar is ranked second, followed by Salman Khan on third. Alia  Bhatt is the top ranked female in the list and is ranked 8th.

Sahitya Akademi award 2019 released

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

S.No

Language

Title and Genre

Name of the Author

 1

Assamese

Chanakya (Novel)

Joysree Goswami
Mahanta

 2

Bengali

Ghumer
Darja Thele (Essays)

Chinmoy
Guha

 3
  

Bodo

Akhai
Athumniphrai (Poetry)

Phukan
Ch. Basumatary

 4

Dogri

Bandralta
Darpan (Essays)

Om
Sharma Jandriari

 5

 English
  

  An
  Era of Darkness (Non-Fiction)
  

  Shashi
  Tharoor

  6

Gujarati

Mojma
Revu Re (Essays)

Ratilal
Borisagar

 7

  Hindi

Chheelate
  Hue Apne Ko (Poetry)

  Nand
  Kishore Acharya

 8

Kannada

Kudi
Esaru (Autobiography)

Vijaya

 9

Kashmiri

Akh
Yaad Akh Qayamat (Short Stories)

Abdul
AhadHajini

10
  

Konkani

The
Words (Poetry)

Nilba
A Khandekar

11

Maithili

Jingik
Oriaon Kariat (Poetry)

Kumar
Manish Arvind

12

Malayalam

Achan
Piranna Veedu (Poetry)

V
Madhusoodanan Nair

13

Manipuri

EiAmadi
Adungeigi Eethat (Novel)

L
Birmangol Singh (Beryl Thanga)

14

Marathi

Kadachit
Ajoonahi(Poetry)

Anuradha Patil

15

Odia

Bhaswati
(Short Stories)

Tarun
Kanti Mishra

16

Punjabi

Antheen
(Short Stories)

Kirpal
Kazak

17
  

Rajasthani

BareekBaat
(Short Stories)

Ramswaroop
Kisan

18

Sanskrit
  

  Prajnachakshusham
  (Poetry)
 

  Penna
  Madhusudan

 19

Santali

Sisirkali
(Short Stories)

Kali
Charan Hembram

 20

Sindhi

Jeejal
(Short Stories)

Ishwar
Moorjani

 21

Tamil

Sool
(Novel)

Cho
Dharman

22

Telugu

Septabhoomi
(Novel)

Bandi
Narayana Swamy

 23

Urdu
  

  Sawaneh-E-Sir
  Syed: Ek Bazadeed (Biography)
  

  Shafey
  Kidwai

Appointment

Devesh Srivastava appointed GIC chief

• Devesh Srivastava took charge as the Chairman and Managing director of General Insurance Corporation of India on December 18.

• His name was recommended by Banks Board Bureau in August 2019.

• General Insurance Corporation India founded: 22 November 1972.

• General Insurance Corporation India Headquarters: Mumbai, India.

Retired HC judge CV Ramulu named Telangana Lokayukta

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

• CM of Telangana: K Chandrashekhar Rao.

• Capital of Telangana: Hyderabad.

• Governor of Telangana: Tamilisai Soundararajan.

IPS officer Atul Karwal appointed as Director of National Police Academy

The Union Government appointed a senior Gujarat Cadre IPS officer Atul Karwal, as Director of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad. He is a 1988 batch IPS officer, is currently posted as Additional Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

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Important Current Affairs 19th December 2019

National

GST Council fixes 28% uniform tax rate for lottery effective from March 2020

• The 38th meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was held in New Delhi on December 18, 2019.

• Some of the important decisions taken during the meeting are as follows:

• Uniform GST tax rate of 28 percent on both state and private lottery. Currently, lotteries run by state-government attract 12% GST and those authorized by them and sold outside the state are taxed at 28%.

• GST rate on woven and non-woven bags rationalized to 18 percent, compared to 12% at present.

• The new rates will be effective from March 2020.

Odisha Govt. launches ‘Jalsathi’ programme

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

• Under the ‘Jalsathi’ programme, about 5,000 women, known as Jalsathi, will be engaged for supplying safe drinking water. They have been provided with water quality testing kits and POS (point of sale) machines.

•  ‘Jalasathis’ will be responsible for water quality testing, facilitating new water connections, regularising connections, reassessment of demands, meter reading, bill generation, bill delivery, collection of water charges and facilitating complaints redressal.

50% concession for ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ participants

Indian Railways has decided to grant 50% concession for the youth participating in the “Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat” programme. The concession will be given in basic fares of Second and Sleeper Class to youths with emoluments of not more than 5000 rupees per month for travelling from one State to another State to take part in the programme.

Braille Edition of Exam Warriors: Book written by PM Modi released

• Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot released the Braille Edition of the book “Exam Warriors” authored by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

• The Braille Edition of the book has been published in Hindi and English.

• It has been prepared in the Braille Press of Rajasthan Netraheen Kalyan Sangh.

International

Apple, Amazon & Google partner to make smart home devices more compatible

• Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc. are all set to form an alliance to make smart-home devices more secure, reliable, and seamless to use.

• These three biggest providers of smart-home and voice-assistant technology are teaming up for the project, titled “Connected Home over IP”.

• They will work with the Zigbee Alliance (a foundation that promotes standards for the “internet of things), and its members including Samsung Electronics Co., Somfy SA and IKEA, on a new standard that will ensure their products work with one another.

Portuguese PM, Antonio Costa, on two-day visit to India

• Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa is on a two-day visit to India from December 19-20, 2019.

• This is Mr Costa’s first bilateral visit outside Europe after being re-elected as Prime Minister on 6 October, 2019.

• Portugal Capital: Lisbon; Currency: Euro

Donald Trump becomes third US president in history to be impeached

• Donald Trump has become the third US President in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives, bringing him a step closer to being removed from office.

• The House voted the President on two charges: one that he abused his power and other that he had obstructed Congress.

Banking and Economy

HDFC Bank crosses $100 billion market capitalisation

• HDFC Bank has become the 3rd Indian firm to cross $100 billion mark in market capitalisation. HDFC Bank has joined the league of Reliance Industries Ltd, which has a market cap of $140.74 billion, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) that has a market cap of $114.60 billion.

• Managing Director of HDFC Bank: Aditya Puri; Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.

• Reliance Industries Ltd (market cap of $140.74 billion), and Tata Consultancy Services (market cap of $114.60 billion) are the only top companies in the country in the list.

• Globally, HDFC Bank now ranks 110th as most valued companies in the worlds which have market cap of over $100 billion.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Reliance Industries Surpasses state-owned Indian Oil Corporation to top 2019 Fortune India 500 list

• Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has displaced state-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) as India’s largest company in the Fortune India 500 list 2019.

• RIL is the first privately-held company to become the largest corporation in India and has ended IOC’s 10-year reign as India’s largest company. IOC is second on the list.

• RIL’s 2018-19 revenue stood at Rs 5.81 lakh crore, which was 41.5 percent more than previous year.

• IOC’s revenue stood at Rs 5.36 lakh crore, with a growth of 26.6 percent.

Sports

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

• India opener Smriti Mandhana was named in both the International Cricket Council’s ODI and T20 teams of the year. She has Jhulan Goswami, Poonam Yadav and Shikha Pandey for the company in the ODI team of the year and all-rounder Deepti Sharma in the T20 side.

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

• ICC CEO: Manu Sahney; Headquarters: Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Ranking

India Emerges as World’s 3rd Largest Producer Of Scientific Articles

Based on the statistics compiled by the US-based National Science Foundation (NSF), India has emerged as the world’s third largest publisher of science and engineering articles.

• As per the report, in 2008, India published 48,998 science and engineering articles which increased to 1,35,788 articles in 2018. Now India accounts for 5.31 percent of the total world publications in science and engineering.

• China is on top of the list with the number of global scientific publications increased from 2,49,049 in 2008 to 5,28,263 in 2018 (growth rate of 7.81 percent per annum).

• United States stands second with the total global publications in science and engineering articles grew at a rate of 0.71 percent from 3,93,979 in 2008 to 4,22,808 in 2018.

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Important Current Affairs 18th December 2019

National

Govt launches National Broadband Mission; to invest 7 trillion in 4 years

• The Government of India has launched the National Broadband Mission (NBM) to fast track growth of digital communications infrastructure, bridge the digital divide and provide affordable and universal access of broadband for all.

• The main objective of the NBM is to provide broadband access to all villages by 2022.

• The mission is part of the National Digital Communications Policy, 2018.

• The mission envisages

• Rs 7 lakh crore investment in next 3 to 4 years.

• Taking optical fibre connectivity to 50 lakh kilometres from the current 22 lakh kilometres.

• Deploy 10 lakh mobile towers from the present 5.65 lakh sites in next 3-4 years

• 10% of the funds would come from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) and the balance will come from industry in the form of towers and other assets

GEM launches national outreach programme ‘GeMSamvaad’

• Government e-commerce portal GeM has launched a national outreach programme, GeMSamvaad, to bring on-board more local sellers.

• The outreach programme will take place with stakeholders across the country and with local sellers to facilitate on- boarding of local sellers on the marketplace.

• The programme was launched by Commerce Secretary AnupWadhawan in New Delhi.

• The programme will take place from 17th February next year and will cover all the States and Union Territories of the country.

Banking and Economy

Moody’s Further Lowers India’s FY20 growth forecast to 4.9%

• Moody’s Investors Service has lowered its GDP growth projection for India for the fiscal year 2019-20 to 4.9 percent from 5.8 percent.

• The major factors responsible for weakening economic growth are rural financial stress, low job creation and liquidity constraints.

• The US ratings multinational has also lowered the growth forecast for FY 2020-21 to 6.3 percent from an earlier prediction of 6.6 percent.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

ADB & India Signs USD 250 million loan to expand energy efficiency investments

• The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India has signed a $250 million loan to Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) on 16 December 2019 to expand energy efficiency investments in India.

• In addition to the above, USD 46 million financing will be provided from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), to be administered by ADB.

• ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.

Obituary

MohunBagan president GitanathGanguly passes away

• MohunBagan president and retired justice GitanathGanguly died following a cardiac arrest.

• Ganguly took over as the club president after the SwapanSadhan Bose-led panel swept the elections in November last year.

Veteran actor ShreeramLagoo passes away aged 92

• Veteran actor and theatre personality ShreeramLagoo passed away on Tuesday aged 92 in a private hospital in Pune.

• Lagoo had worked in over 100 Hindi and Marathi films, over 40 Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati plays and also directed over 20 plays in Marathi.

• He won the 1978 Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for the Hindi film Gharaonda.

Sports

Australian all-rounder Ellyse Perry named ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year

• Australian all-rounder Ellyse Perry has been named ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year for the second time in three years.

• Perry also won the ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year award. Perry has scored 441 ODI runs and taken 21 wickets this year.

• Australia wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy won T20I Women’s Cricketer of the Year award the second straight year.

Appointment

Cyrus Mistry restored as Executive Chairman of Tata Sons

• The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has restored Cyrus Mistry as Executive Chairman of Tata Sons and ruled that his ouster in 2016 was illegal.

• Mistry had taken over as Tata Sons’ sixth chairman in 2012 after Ratan Tata announced his retirement.

• The Mistry family is the single largest shareholder in Tata Sons, with an 18.4% stake.

Sridhar Patra appointed NALCO CMD

• Sridhar Patra was appointed as the chairman-cum-managing director of NALCO, a Personnel Ministry order said.

• Patra is at present Director (Finance) in the National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO).

• He has been appointed as the CMD of NALCO till the date of his superannuation, i.e. October 31, 2024, the order said.

Ranking

India slips 4 ranks to 112th on WEF’s gender gap report

• World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2020 has ranked India at 112th out of 153 countries.

• India has moved down from its 108th position last year.

• The report also stated that India has “abnormally low sex ratios at birth” with 91 girls for every 100 boys.

• Iceland (87.7%) remains the world’s most gender-equal country, India ranked lower than many of its international peers, and some of its neighbours like China (106th), Sri Lanka (102nd), Nepal (101st), Brazil (92nd), Indonesia (85th) and Bangladesh (50th)

• Yemen is ranked the worst (153rd), while Iraq is 152nd and Pakistan 151st.

• The first WEF Gender Gap Index was published in 2006 when India was ranked at 98th position.

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Important Current Affairs 17th December 2019

NATIONAL NEWS

Reliance Industries Overtakes Indian Oil As Highest Ranked Indian Company On Fortune 500 List

• Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) ended Indian Oil Corporation Limited’s 10-year reign as India’s largest company on Fortune India 500 list.

• With revenue of 5.81 lakh crore in 2018-19, the Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate also became the first privately-held company to become India’s largest corporation, Fortune India said.

• ONGC was ranked third, the same as in 2018.

TOP 10 COMPANIES (with revenue):

1.         Reliance Industries: 580,553.00

2.         Indian Oil Corporation: 535,793.18

3.         Oil & Natural Gas Corporation: 436,057.04

4.         State Bank of India: 330,687.36

5.         Tata Motors: 303,227.41

6.         Bharat Petroleum Corporation: 302,806.71

7.         Rajesh Exports: 175,830.66

8.         Tata Steel: 159,835.46

9.         Coal India: 152,271.30

10.       Tata Consultancy Services: 150,774.00

India’s Suman Rao crowned Miss World Asia 2019

• Jamaica-based and Indian origin, Toni Ann Singh was crowned Miss World 2019 on December 11, 2019.

• Vanessa Ponce of Mexico crowned her successor Toni-Ann Singh in the event.

• Earlier, on December 8, South Africa’s 26-year-old Zozibini Tunzi was crowned as Miss Universe 2019.

• India’s Suman Rao was crowned as 2nd runner-up and as Miss World Asia.

• Miss France Opélie Mezzino was the first runner-up. Before this event, Suman Rao was also crowned Miss India 2019

WEF Gender Gap Index: India slips to 112th rank, in bottom 5 on health, economic fronts

• The first WEF Gender Gap Index was published in 2006 when India was ranked at 98th position.

•  WEF uses four metrics to give overall ranking that worsened India’s ranking from very next year.

• Now, India has slipped to 150th place on health and survival, 112th on educational attainment and 149th in economic participation.

• It was said in the report that there are very few economic opportunities for women in India. It is 34.5 per cent in India, 32.7 per cent in Pakistan, 27.3 per cent in Yemen and 22.7 in Iraq.

• The Report also highlights that India has a very low (13.8 percent) women representation on company boards.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane appointed as next Army chief

• Lieutenant General Manoj Mukund Naravane, who is currently Vice Chief of Army Staff, has been named as next Indian Army Chief.

• An alumnus of National Defence Academy, the Lieutenant General was part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka.

• In his 39-year military career, he has commanded a Rashtriya Rifles battalion, raised an infantry brigade and headed the Army Training Command.

• Naravane will replace General Bipin Rawat, who became Army Chief on December 31, 2016.

COO Sanjiv Kapoor quits Vistara, succeeded by Vinod Kannan.

• Vistara’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Sanjiv Kapoor has resigned from his position over ‘personal reasons’, the Tata Group airline said in a statement.

• The last working day for Kapoor, who joined Vistara in 2016, will be December 31, the statement added.

• The airline’s Chief Strategy Officer, Vinod Kannan, will take over as the new CCO.

About Vistara:

• Founded: 2013

• Company slogan: Fly the new feeling

• Parent company: Tata Sons

• Headquarters: Gurgaon

IAS Ravi Mittal replaces Amit Khare as new I&B secretary

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

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

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

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (India):

• Headquarters: New Delhi

• Minister of Information and Broadcasting: Prakash Javadekar

OBITUARY

Anna Karina, an icon of French New Wave cinema, has died at the age of 79.

• Danish-French veteran actress-singer Anna Karina, who became a symbol of French New Wave film movement, passed away in Paris at the age of 79.

• Condoling Anna’s death, her agent Laurent Balandras tweeted, “A legend, an icon…died yesterday (Saturday) of cancer.”

• The actress-director, who also wrote four novels, passed away in company of American director and her fourth ex-husband Dennis Berry.

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Important Current Affairs 16th December 2019

National

India celebrates Vijay Diwas: 16 December

• In India, Vijay Diwas (Victory Day) is celebrated every year on December 16 to commemorate the service, valour, and sacrifices of the gallant men of the Indian Armed Forces victory over Pakistan in 1971 war.

• 2019 marks 48th Vijay Diwas and was celebrated at the National War Memorial.

• On 16 December 1971, the Indian Armed Forces won the 13-day long decisive war against the Pakistan Army and state for the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistan.

Prime Minister chairs 1st meeting of National Ganga Council

• The first meeting of the National Ganga Council was held in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh on December 14, 2019.

• The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi to reinforce the importance of a ‘Ganga-centric’ approach in all departments of the concerned states as well as relevant Central Ministries.

• The Council is responsible for the management of pollution prevention and rejuvenation of River Ganga Basin, including Ganga and its tributaries.

• Tthe Central Government had made commitment of Rs. 20,000 crores for the period 2015-20 to the five states through which Ganga passes, to ensure adequate as well as uninterrupted water flows in the river.

Ministry of Coal to set up Sustainable Development Cell to address environmental concerns

• The Ministry of Coal is set to establish a Sustainable Development Cell (SDC) to promote environmentally sustainable coal mining in the country and address environmental concerns during the decommissioning or closure of mines.

• The SDC will act as nodal point at Ministry of Coal level in this matter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International

Google Earth covers 98 percent of entire population

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

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

‘Nuad Thai massage included in UNESCO heritage list

The traditional “Nuad” Thai massage from Thailand has been recognized by UNESCO as part of its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

• This massage was originated in India but is practiced in Thailand for centuries. It was popularized when a specialty school was opened in the 1960s to train massage therapists from around the world.

• Nuad Thai Massage is one among over 20 elements that have been chosen for inclusion in the 2019 list.

• The UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list includes 13 items from India till date.

• The most recent addition was made in 2017 when KumbhMela was added to the list.

• The first three entries in the list were made in 2008, when Vedic chanting, Ramlila and Sanskrit theatre Kutiyattam were added.

World’s First Liquid Hydrogen Carrier Ship ‘Suiso Frontier’ launched in Japan

• Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries has launched the first of its kind, world’s first marine carrier that transports liquefied hydrogen, in a bid to establish green energy supply chain.

• The 116 meters long ship, named as Suiso Frontier, will carry up to 1,250 cubic meters of compressed, supercooled liquid hydrogen between the south coast of Australia and an unloading terminal under construction in Kobe, Japan.

Awards and Recognition

England cricketer Ben Stokes wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2019

• The 28-year-old, England cricketer Ben Stokes has been named BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2019.

• He became the first cricketer to win the prize after Andrew Flintoff, who won in 2005.

• The BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2019 was held on 15 December 2019 in Aberdeen, United Kingdom

• Other award winners at Sports Personality 2019

SPORTS

Kento Momota & Chen Yufei Lifts 2019 BWF World Tour Finals

• The 2019 BWF World Tour Finals (HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2019) was the final badminton tournament of the 2019 BWF World Tour. It was held from 11 to 15 December 2019 in Guangzhou, China.

List of Winners

1. Men’s Single – KentoMomota (Japan)

2. Women’s Single – Chen Yufei (China)

3. Men’s Double – Mohammad Ahsan and HendraSetiawan (Indonesia)

4. Women’s Double – Chen Qingchen and JiaYifan (China)

5. Mixed Double – ZhengSiwei and Huang Yaqiong (China)

Obituary

Veteran Actress Gita Siddharth Passes Away

• The legendary Bollywood actress and a social worker Gita Siddharth has passed away.

• Gita made her debut in Gulzar’s 1972 film, Parichay.

• She was best known for her role in M.S. Sathyu’s 1973 classic ‘GarmHava’.

• Sholay, Trishul, Disco Dancer,are some of the major films done by Gita.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Viswanathan Anand launches his autobiography ‘Mind Master’

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 15th December 2019

NATIONAL

FASTags mandatory for all vehicles comes into effect from December 15, 2019

• The facility of FASTags for all vehicles, private and commercial, has become mandatory with effect from December 15, 2019. Earlier the deadline was December 1.

• FASTags are prepaid rechargeable tags for vehicle toll collection that allow automatic payment deduction from the FASTag. They are normally affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle.

• The National Electronic Toll Collection System will enable the collection of user fee through FASTag, thus saving fuel and time, curb pollution and ensure seamless movement of traffic as the drivers will not have to stop their vehicles at toll plazas to pay tax.

• A FASTag uses radio frequency identification technology to enable direct toll payments from a moving vehicle.If anyone goes into an electronic toll collection lane without a FASTag, he or she has to pay double charges.

India expands Indo-Pacific Policy; includes Gulf and Africa

At the end of the joint Indian Ocean Dialogue held in New Delhi, External Affairs Minister officially announced that India is planning to expand its Indo-Pacific policy. So far, the Indo-Pacific covered Indian Ocean and the Arabian sea. With the expansion, the region will now include Gulf states and Africa.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Walmart to train 50,000 MSME entrepreneurs

• US retail major Walmart will train 50,000 entrepreneurs from the micro, small & medium enterprises (MSME) sector. The objective will be fulfilled by opening 25 institute hubs in India in next five years which would train the MSME entrepreneurs.

• The institutes will be opened under the ‘WalmartVriddhi Supplier Development Programe‘ across the nation.

• These institutes would be strategically located near the manufacturing clusters and will be the part of Walmart’s “long-term commitment to India”

• For the development of these institutes, Walmart has partnered with a local NGO Swasti which would also have academic support from the local universities.

BEE organized International workshop on Energy Efficient Cooling

• The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), a statuary body under Union Ministry of Power, conducted an International Workshop on 12-13 December 2019 on ‘Energy Efficient Cooling’ at Scope Convention Centre in New Delhi. The two-day international workshop was organised as part of ‘Energy Conservation Week’ being celebrated from 9- 14 December 2019.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Jamaica’s ‘Tony-Ann Singh’ crowned as ‘Miss World 2019

• The Miss World title for the year 2019 has been won by Toni-Ann Singh of Jamaica, at the annual beauty pageant in London, UK on December 14.

• The 23-year-old Toni-Ann Singhis a women’s studies and psychology student at US’ Florida State University.

• France’s OphelyMezino came second.

• SumanRao, who represented India in the annual beauty pageant, came in third.

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty Wins WTA Player of the Year 2019

• The WTA Awards are given by the Women’s Tennis Association to players for outstanding achievements during the season or their career.

• The winners of 2019 WTA Awards are given below:

• WTA Player of the Year 2019: Ashleigh Barty (Australia)

• WTA Doubles Team of the Year: TimeaBabos (Hungary) / Kristina Mladenovic (France)

• WTA Most Improved Player of the Year: Sofia Kenin (United States)

• WTA Newcomer of the Year: Bianca Andreescu (Canada)

• WTA Comeback Player of the Year: Belinda Bencic (Switzerland)

• WTA Jerry Diamond ACES Award: Kiki Bertens (Netherlands)

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Important Current Affairs 14th December 2019

National

7th Economic Census Completely Digital; Expected to End by March 2020

• The 7th Economic Census is being conducted across the country.

• West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat are the only states were the census is yet to start.

• The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) has tied up with CSC e-Governance Service for the 7th Economic Census.

• It is expected to be completed by March 2020.

37th National Symposium of Heads of Police Training Institutions Held in New Delhi

• The 37th National Symposium of Heads of Police Training Institutions was held in New Delhi on December 13-14, 2019.

• The event was organised by the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D).

International

Former PM of Algeria, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Elected New President

• Algeria’s former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune has been elected as the country’s new President.

Banking and Economy

Maruti Suzuki ties up with Federal Bank for dealer and retail car financing

• Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) has joined hands with Federal Bank to provide dealer finance and customised auto retail financing solutions to customers.

• In August, MSIL had inducted Federal Bank as an approved partner for dealer inventory funding. The latest tie-up for retail financing to customers will further offer comprehensive loan access facilities to Maruti Suzuki dealers as well as customers.

About Maruti Suzuki:

• Founded: 1981

• Founder: Sanjay Gandhi

• Headquarters: New Delhi, India

• Chairman: R. C. Bhargava

• Managing Director & CEO: Kenichi Ayukawa

About Federal Bank:

• Founder: K.P Hormi

• Headquarters: Kochi, Kerala, India

• MD & CEO: Shyam Srinivasan

Awards and Recognition

Salman Khan appointed as Pepsi’s new brand ambassador

• Food and beverage giant PepsiCo has roped in Bollywood actor Salman Khan as the new face of its flagship Pepsi brand of carbonated beverage in India.

• To note, the actor has been the face of rival Coca-Cola’s popular ThumsUp brand for years and was recently seen promoting Parle Agro-backed soft drink Appy Fizz.

• In 2020, we look forward to building the brand’s Har Ghoont Mein Swag proposition with Salman in 2020,” said a PepsiCo India spokesperson.

Deepika Padukone Wins WEF’s Crystal Award For Raising Mental Health Awareness

• Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone has been honoured with the World Economic Forum’s 26th Annual Crystal Award for raising mental health awareness.

• She is the only Indian actress to feature in Davos 2020 winners list which includes total four winners.

Ranking

FIH Unveils New World Ranking System to be Effective from January 2020

• The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has unveiled a new world ranking system to be followed from 2020.

• The new system will come into effect from 1 January 2020.

• It will be a match-based instead of tournament-based calculation to have better reflection of current performances.

Important Day

National Energy Conservation Day : 14 December 2019

• The National Energy Conservation Day is celebrated every year on 14 December by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), under Ministry of Power to showcase India’s achievements in energy efficiency and conservation as well as holistic development for overall effort towards climate change mitigation.

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Important Current Affairs 13th December 2019

National

FSSAI and NASSCOM Foundation Partners to Develop Mobile App ‘Food Donation in India’ to Reduce Food Wastage

• In order to prevent food wastage, Food regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Nasscom Foundation have signed an MoU on December 13, 2019 to develop a mobile application and set up a 24×7 helpline number.

• The mobile app named ‘Food Donation in India’ will connect donors with surplus edibles to food distribution organisations to donate food to the needy and hence reduce the wastage of food in the country through food donation.

Banking and Economy

Moody’s Reduces India’s GDP Rate for FY20 to 5.6 Percent

• Moody’s Investors Service has lowered its 2019 GDP growth forecast for India to 5.6 percent based on slow employment growth weighs on consumption.

• GDP For 2019-20 – 5.6%

• GDP For 2020-21 – 6.6%

• GDP For 2021-22 – 6.7%

Awards and Recognitions

Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma becomes first non-footballer to be named La Liga brand ambassador

• One of international cricket”s premier batsmen, Rohit Sharma was named the first-ever India brand ambassador of top Spanish football club Real Madrid.

• He is the first non-footballer in the history of the La Liga league to have become a brand ambassador.

• Rohit comes on board following a series of major initiatives by La Liga in India since 2017.

• The current ICC World No. 2, is the only batsman in the history of the game to have scored three double hundreds in the 50-overs format including a world record 264.

Merkel tops Forbes’ list of World’s Most Powerful Women for 9th straight year

• German Chancellor Angela Merkel has topped Forbes’ list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women for the ninth straight year.

• European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has been placed second on the list.

• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, ranked at 34, is among the 23 newcomers in the Forbes’ 2019 list of World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

• HCL Technologies Vice Chairperson Roshni Nadar Malhotra was ranked as 54th most powerful woman while Biocon Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw was at 65.

World Habitat Award’ for Odisha’s JAGA Mission

• Odisha has won the ‘World Habitat Award’ for its ambitious initiative- Jaga Mission.

• It aims at transforming the slums into liveable habitat with all necessary civic infrastructure and services at par with the better off areas within the same urban local body and to continuously improve the standard of the infrastructure and services and access to livelihood opportunities.

World Habitat Award:

• This award is given by World Habitat, in partnership with United Nations Habitat, every year, in recognition of innovative, outstanding, and revolutionary ideas, projects, and programmes from across the world in the field of housing.

Science & Technology

Kepler partners SpaceX for launch of own satellite constellation

• Canada-based small satellite startup Kepler Communications has teamed up with SpaceX to launch its own nanosatellite constellation for high-speed data transfers and low-power IoT connectivity.

• SpaceX will carry two separate batches of nanosatellites from Kepler aboard its Falcon 9 launch vehicles.

• Notably, SpaceX has requested approval to send 42,000 satellites for its own Starlink constellation.

Appointment

Ashok Leyland names former JCB India chief Vipin Sondhi as MD and CEO

• Chennai-based commercial vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland appointed Vipin Sondhi as its Managing Director and CEO for a period of five years.

• Sondhi was the MD and CEO of JCB lndia for about 14 years.

• Prior to Sondhi, the Hinduja Group company was being led by Vinod Dasari, who quit to join Royal Enfield as CEO in April.

About Ashok Leyland:

• Industry: Automotive Commercial

• Founded: 7 September 1948

• Headquarters: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

• Parent: Hinduja Group

Obituary

Veteran Telugu actor, writer Gollapudi Maruti Rao passes away

• Renowned Telugu actor and writer Gollapudi Maruti Rao, who enthralled people with his writings and acting for several decades, passed away.He was 80.

• Rao, who acted in around 250 films in about four decades, passed away in Chennai following a cardiac arrest.

• Rao, a multi-faceted personality, had been a journalist, playwright, writer, actor and television personality, all rolled into one.

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Important Current Affairs 12th December 2019

NATIONAL NEWS

The 107th edition of the Indian Science Congress (ISC) will be inaugurated by PM Modi on 3rd January.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the five day 107th session of the Indian Science Congress on January 3, Karnataka Minister for IT-BT, Science and Technology Dr C Ashwath Narayan said.

• The 107th edition of Indian Science Congress (ISC) will be held at the University of Agricultural Sciences here from January 3 to 7, 2020.

• Themed “Science and Technology: Rural Development”, the event will bring together more than 15,000 delegates from the scientific fraternity and academia, Research& Development institutes, defence, government, PSUs and corporate houses.

• The ‘Pride of India Expo 2020’, organised concurrently with the ISC, will be a confluence of new ideas, innovations and products surrounding the entire canvas of scientific world will also be inaugurated simultaneously, the organisers said in a statement.

Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (CAB): All you need to know about.

• The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (CAB) is a bill amending the Citizenship Act of 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India on or before 31 December 2014, eligible for Indian citizenship.

•  Under the Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalization is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years.

• The Bill relaxes this 11-year requirement to five years for persons belonging to the same six religions and three countries.

• The bill exempts the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura, included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution from its applicability.

• As per the citizenship bill, a foreigner may register as an OCI under the 1955 Act if they are of Indian origin.

• It entitles the OCI cardholders to benefits such as the right to travel to India, and to work and study in the country.

• The new bill amends the Act to allow cancellation of OCI registration if the person has violated any law notified by the Central government.

Need:

• In the 2019 election campaign, the BJP’s manifesto reiterated its commitment to bring in the Bill.

• The National Register of Citizens (NRC) was updated in Assam state in 2019, leaving out 1.9 million residents, a majority of whom were Hindus, without citizenship.

• This matter brought urgency to the bring in the Bill.

Legislative History:

• The Union Cabinet cleared the Bill on 4 December 2019. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on 10 December 2019 and, subsequently, in the Rajya Sabha on 11 December 2019.

• Now the Bill will go to the President for his assent. As many as 125 lawmakers voted in the favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and 99 against it.

Political parties involved:

• The CAB was supported by BJP, JD(U), SAD, AIADMK, BJD, TDP and YSR-Congress. The Shiv Sena did not participate in the voting.

How much of Northeast does the Bill cover?

• CAB won’t apply to areas under the sixth schedule of the Constitution – which deals with autonomous tribal-dominated regions in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

• The bill will also not apply to states that have the inner-line permit regime (Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram).

Why is Assam angry about it?

• Among the states in the Northeast, the outrage against CAG has been the most intense in Assam.

• While a chunk of these states have been exempted from the legislation, CAB overs a large part of Assam. 

• The protests stem from the fear that illegal Bengali Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, if regularised under CAB, will threaten cultural and linguistic identities of the state.

Isn’t it the same like the NRC?

• The National Register of Citizens or NRC that we saw in Assam targeted illegal immigrants.

• A person had to prove that either they, or their ancestors were in Assam on or before March 24, 1971.

• NRC, which may be extended to the rest of the country, is not based on religion unlike CAB.

Inauguration of Navarms 2019 4th International Seminar Cum Exhibition on Naval Weapon Systems held in New Delhi.

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

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

• NAVARMS is the only international seminar and exhibition on Naval Weapon Systems conducted in the country. It invites all the stakeholders in the life cycle management of Naval Weapons and provides a common platform to share their views and concerns.

Puma Signs Sunil Chhetri as Brand Ambassador for 3 Years

• The German multinational brand PUMA has roped in Indian national football team’s captain Sunil Chhetri as the brand ambassador under a three-year deal.

• The 35-year-old Bengaluru Football Club skipper now joins global players like Antoine Griezmann, Romelu Lukaku, Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero among others to be Puma’s brand ambassador.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Greta Thunberg named Time Person of the Year for 2019

• Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl who inspired a global movement to fight climate change, has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2019.

• The 16-year-old is the youngest person to be chosen by the magazine in a tradition that started in 1927.

• Speaking at a UN climate change summit in Madrid before the announcement, she urged world leaders to stop using "creative PR" to avoid real action.

• The next decade would define the planet's future, she said.

• Last year, the teenager started an environmental strike by missing lessons most Fridays to protest outside the Swedish parliament building. It sparked a worldwide movement that became popular with the hashtag #FridaysForFuture.

• Since then, she has become a strong voice for action on climate change, inspiring millions of students to join protests around the world. Earlier this year, she was nominated as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

• At the UN Climate Conference in New York in September, she blasted politicians for relying on young people for answers to climate change. In a now-famous speech, she said: "You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. We'll be watching you."

SPORTS

Graeme Smith: Former captain named South Africa acting director of cricket

• South Africa have appointed former captain Graeme Smith as acting director of cricket for three months, taking in England's four-match Test series starting later this month.

• Smith will take charge until the Indian Premier League starts in March, where he will take up a commentary position.

• The 38-year-old initially withdrew his application for the role last month.

• Smith's appointment comes at a difficult time for Cricket South Africa, with chief executive Thabang Moroe currently suspended after allegations of misconduct.

• Smith made his South Africa debut in 2002 and succeeded Shaun Pollock as captain the following year, becoming the Proteas' youngest ever skipper at the age of 22.

• He went on to play in 177 Test matches, 197 one-day internationals and 33 Twenty20 internationals before retiring in 2014.

Rohit Sharma Becomes 1st Indian To Hit 400 Sixes In International Cricket

• Opener Rohit Sharma has become the first Indian batsman to smash 400 sixes in international cricket.

• The 32-year-old achieved the feat by smashing his first six in the third T20I against West Indies in Mumbai.

• Overall, Rohit is the third cricketer to reach the milestone after Chris Gayle (534) and Shahid Afridi (476).

Rani and Saurabh honoured at FICCI India Sports Awards

• Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani and Asian Games gold medallist shooter Saurabh Chaudhary won the top honours at the FICCI India Sports Awards 2019.

• The awards are an attempt by FICCI to acknowledge and recognise the contribution of athletes and various stakeholders.

• Odisha’s sports minister Tusharkanti Behera and the state’s sports secretary Vishal Kumar Dev presented the awards to the winners.

• The FICCI India Sports Awards 2019 have been conferred by a jury headed by Mukul Mudgal, Retired Judge, Delhi High Court, and Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Former Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan has been reappointed as the skipper across all the three formats of the game.

• Asghar was replaced with Rahmat Shah, Gulbadin Naib and Rashid Khan as Test, ODI and T20I captains, respectively in April this year.

• However, following the team’s poor run in the World Cup, leg-spinner Rashid Khan was named the captain across formats.

• The 32-year-old Asghar has represented Afghanistan in 111 ODIs, 66 T20 Internationals and 4 Test matches.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Paytm's founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has resigned as the director of Paytm Financial Services.

• Vijay Shekhar Sharma has resigned as the Director of Paytm Financial Services, citing “other preoccupations” as the reason.

• Replacing him is Rohit Lohia, who is currently Vice President of Paytm’s lending business and came on board the financial services company in July 2019.

• Sharma will continue as Founder and CEO of Paytm and Paytm’s parent company, One97 and also as the Chairman of Paytm’s financial entity.

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