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Important Current Affairs 28th December 2018

National News

Lok Sabha passes Triple Talaq 
•    The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, after a heated debate.
•    The Bill to make the practice of triple talaq among Muslims a penal offence was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 17 to replace an ordinance issued in September.
•    Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void, and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. The fresh bill is proposed to supersede an earlier bill passed in the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha


Centre extends deadline to update NRC
•    The Centre has given an extension of six months to complete the ongoing exercise for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam by June 30.
•    In a notification, the Registrar General of India Sailesh said the decision was taken as the exercise to enumerate citizens in the NRC, a list of Assam’s residents, could not be completed within the specified date of December 31, 2018.
•    On December 6, 2013, the government issued the first notification setting a deadline of three years for completion of the entire NRC process. Since then, five extensions have been given by the government. 
•    The draft NRC was published on July 30 and included the names of 2.9 crore people of the total 3.29 crore applicants.


Nitin Gadkari lays foundation stone of 11 projects for Yamuna rejuvenation
•    Union Minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone of 11 projects for Yamuna Rejuvenation under Namami Gange Programme in New Delhi.
•    Most of the projects are for the sewerage infrastructure and are at various stages of implementation.
•    These projects under Yamuna Action Plan III are located in three drainage zones namely Kondli, Rithala and Okhla in Delhi.


Niti Aayog releases second Delta Ranking of Aspirational districts
•    Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant today released the Second Delta Ranking of the Aspirational Districts Programme. The ranking details the incremental progress achieved by the districts during June to October this year across six key development sectors.
•    Virudhunagar district in Tamil Nadu has shown the most improvement overall, followed by Nuapada district in Odisha, Siddarthnagar in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar's Aurangabad and Koraput in Odisha. These districts have championed the development narrative in fundamental parameters of social progress.
•    Nagaland's Kiphire district, Jharkhand's Giridih, Chatra in Jharkhand, Hailakandi in Assam, and Pakur in Jharkhand have shown least improvement.
•    The districts have been ranked in a transparent basis on parameters across various performance indicators like Health and Nutrition, Education, Skill Development and Basic Infrastructure among others.
•    The rankings are based on the data that is publicly available through the Champions of Change Dashboard, which includes data entered on a real-time basis at the district level. 
•    The Aspirational District Programme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January this year with the aim to rapidly transform the districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas.

Economy and Banking

Bimal Jalan to head six-member panel on RBI’s economic capital framework
•    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in consultation with the government, has set up a six-member committee to review the economic capital framework of the central bank.
•    Former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan will be the committee’s chairman and former Deputy Governor Rakesh Mohan deputy chairman.
•    The other members are Economic Affairs Secretary Subash Chandra Garg, RBI Deputy Governor N.S. Vishwanathan and two board members of the RBI — Bharat Doshi and Sudhir Mankad.
•    Dr. Jalan was the Governor of the RBI between November 1997 and September 2003.
•    The committee would submit its report within 90 days from the date of its first meeting, the RBI said in a statement on Wednesday.
•    The terms of reference of the committee would be to review status, need and justification of various provisions, reserves and buffers presently provided for by the RBI, keeping in mind ‘public policy mandate of the RBI, including financial stability considerations.’
•    The committee will also review best practices followed by the central banks globally in making assessment and provisions for risks, to which central bank balance sheets are subjected.

RBI launches survey to capture retail payment habits in 6 cities 
•    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will capture payment habits of individuals in six cities, including four metropolitan towns. For the purpose, the central bank has launched a 'Survey on Retail Payment Habits of Individuals (SRPHi)'.
•    the survey will cover a sample of 6,000 individuals from various socio-economic backgrounds across six cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Guwahati. 
•    The survey seeks qualitative responses from individuals on their payment habits. The findings may provide some idea about awareness and usage habits of digital payment products.
•    The central bank further said that Sigma Research & Consulting Pvt Ltd has been engaged to conduct the fieldwork of the survey on behalf of the RBI.

International News

UAE resumes Damascus embassy in Syria after 6 years of suspension 
•    United Arab Emirates has resumed its diplomatic service at Damascus in Syria after six years of suspension signaling a thaw in the relations between the two countries, as also with the Arab world.
•    The Charge d'Affaires of the UAE Embassy began discharging his duty yesterday.
•    This move will also prevent the dangers of regional interference in Syrian affairs.
•    UAE had closed its Embassy in the early years of the Syrian conflict.

Sports


Former Australia captain Ponting inducted into ICC Hall of Fame
•    Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was formally inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame
•    To mark the occasion, Ponting received his commemorative cap from compatriot ICC Cricket Hall of Famer, Glenn McGrath, during the tea break on the opening day of the third Test against India at the MCG.
•    Ponting was named in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame along with former India captain Rahul Dravid and England woman wicketkeeper-batter Claire Taylor during the ICC Annual Conference in Dublin in July.

Persons


Colin O’Brady - first person to complete a solo trek across Antarctica
•    An American adventurer has become the first person to complete a solo trek across Antarctica without assistance of any kind.
•    Colin O’Brady, 33, took 54 days to complete the nearly 1,600 km journey, crossing the frozen continent from coast to coast.
•    Mr. O’Brady and an Englishman, Louis Rudd, 49, set off individually on November 3 from Union Glacier in a bid to be the first to complete a solo, unassisted crossing of Antarctica.
•    His voyage was tracked by GPS, and live updates of the trip were provided daily on his website colinobrady.com
•    In 1996-97, a Norwegian polar explorer, Borge Ousland, made the first solo crossing of Antarctica but he was wind-aided by kites on his voyage.

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Important Current Affairs 27th December 2018

National

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to have separate HCs
•    Following a Supreme Court order to the Centre to notify the bifurcation of the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Courts by January 1, President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday ordered the separation of the “common” Hyderabad High Court into the two separate High Courts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
•    Both will function separately from January 1, 2019.
•    The principal seat of the Andhra Pradesh High Court is Amaravati, the capital of the State. The High Court in Hyderabad will function separately as the High Court of the State of Telangana.
•    Sixteen HC judges, including Justice Ramesh Ranganathan, who is now the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court, shall become judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court from January 1.
•    The new Telangana High Court will have a strength of 10 judges.
•    The Presidential notification quoted Article 214 of the Constitution which provides that there shall be a High Court for each State.


Boogibeel Bridge – India’s Longest Rail-Road Bridge
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated India's longest rail-road bridge in Assam as part of efforts to boost defence along the border with China.
•    The bridge, near the city of Dibrugarh, will enable the military to speed up the dispatch of forces to neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China.
•    With the opening of the bridge, the rail journey from Dibrugarh to the Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar has been cut by 750 km. The bridge has been designed to bear the weight of India's heaviest 60 tonne battle tanks and so that fighter jets can land on it. 
•    Construction of the Bogibeel bridge was agreed by the government as part of a 1985 agreement to end years of deadly agitation by Assamese nationalist groups.
•    India opened its longest bridge, the 9.1 kilometre Dhola-Sadiya bridge, in 2017 to connect Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, also to boost tactical defences.
•    The 4.9 kilometre long Bogibeel bridge over the Brahmaputra river has taken nearly two decades and $800 million or Rs. 5,600 crore to complete.


Aadhaar Not Mandatory for School Admissions : UIDAI
•    Aadhaar issuing body UIDAI has asserted that schools cannot make the 12-digit biometric identifier a pre-condition for student admission and warned that doing so will be against the recent order of the Supreme Court.
•    In the verdict which upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, SC had emphasised that Aadhaar would not be mandatory for school admissions, for examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Examination, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for medical entrance and the University Grants Commission.


Coast Guard Deploys Faster Vessels in Sir Creek 
•    The hovercraft operate at high speeds between 30-40 knots (around 50-60 kilometres) per hour and can be highly useful in hot pursuit of any suspicious boat or individuals in the waters around there. 
•    Since the hovercraft can operate on both sea and shores, it would be easy for the troops deployed there to catch any rogue elements there
•    The Coast Guard chief also interacted closely with the fishermen community based around the new facility and sought to integrate them with the Coast Guard to enhance its eyes and ears in the sea for keeping an eye on any suspicious activity.
•    Traditionally, the Sir Creek area in the Kutch district of Gujarat has been used by the infiltrators from Pakistan to enter the Indian Territory. 
•    The Creek has been a contentious issue between India and Pakistan and the 1965 war with Pakistan also saw action here.


Draft IT Rules out for Public Feedback 
•    The Union Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) announced Monday that it will hold public consultations on the draft Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2018, which are meant to replace the rules notified in 2011.
•    The Ministry said in a statement that the “consultation process is underway”, which started with inter-ministerial consultations, followed by discussions with major social media platforms like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and WhatsApp, and associations representing intermediaries. 
•    It said the government “intends to consult all stakeholders” and that MeitY “has commenced public consultation” for which submissions must be sent by January 15, 2019.
•    Social media platforms are required to end the complete encryption system and remove any “unlawful content” for the sake of the country’s security.
•    The draft rules define intermediary as any platform that has more than 50 lakh users in India or is in the list of intermediary as notified by the government. Social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and others fall under the definition of intermediary.
•    Whenever the government issues an order, within “72 hours of communication”, information or assistance concerning “security or cybersecurity” must be provided.
 

International

Mount Etna Volcano Triggers 4.8-Magnitude Quake in Sicily
•    Italy’s Mount Etna volcano erupted on 24th December 2018 resulting in more than 130 earthquakes of up to 4.3 in magnitude. 
•    The volcanic lava and ash spewed from a new fracture near its south-eastern crater for the first time in a decade and was visible for miles.
•    Mount Etna is Europe’s highest and most active volcano outside the Caucasus. Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy. The last major eruption was in 1992.


Tsunami Triggered by Mount Krakatau Volcano
•    Indonesia on Thursday raised the alert level for the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano to the second-highest, and ordered all flights to steer clear, days after it triggered a tsunami that killed at least 430 people.
•    A crater collapse on the volcanic island at high tide on Saturday sent waves up to 5 metres (16 feet) high smashing into the coast on the Sunda Strait, between the islands of Java and Bali.
•    The volcano has been rumbling on and off since July but has been particularly active since Sunday, spewing lava and rocks, and sending huge clouds of ash up to 3,000 metres into heavily overcast skies.
 

Awards

Rafi Award Conferred to Late Music Composer Laxmikant and Singer Usha Timothy
•    The Mohammed Rafi Award, instituted by an NGO headed by Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar, was Monday bestowed upon late music composer Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and playback singer Usha Timothy.
•    Kudalkar, of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo, was given the Mohammed Rafi Lifetime Achievement Award consisting of Rs 1 lakh and a trophy. The award was received by his daughter.
•    Timothy was honoured with the Mohammed Rafi Award and Rs 51,000 at a programme held in suburban Bandra Monday evening.
•    The awards, instituted by the NGO Spandan Arts, were handed over by Shelar.
 

Economy and Polity

Centre Tightens Norms for e-Commerce Companies for Sale of Products
•    Tightening norms for e-commerce firms having foreign investment, the government on Wednesday barred online marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon from selling products of companies where they hold stakes and banned exclusive marketing arrangements that could influence product price.
•    The revised norms are aimed at protecting the interest of domestic players, who have to face tough competition from e-retailers having deep pockets from foreign investors.
•    The policy would be effective from February 2019.
•    The policy says a vendor will not be permitted to sell more than 25% of its products on an online platform of a single e-marketplace firm.

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Important Current Affairs 26th December 2018

National

Maharashtra govt approved Rs 4,089 crore for Tembhu irrigation scheme
The scheme is about constructing barrages on the river Krishna near Tembhu village and lifting 22 billion cubic feet water to irrigate 80,000 hectare areas in seven talukas - Karad, Kadegaon, Tasgaon, Khanapur, Atpadi, Kavathe-Mahankal and Sangola - spread across Satara, Sangli and Solapur districts. 
The project was conceptualised way back in 1996 at a cost of Rs 1,416 crore.


Indian Coast Guards has deployed two new hovercrafts
Indian Coast Guards has deployed two new hovercrafts to enhance its surveillance capabilities and to protect against any filtration bids from the Pakistan Side. The two hovercrafts would operate from the Jakhau facility in Gujrat.
The two new hovercrafts together with three interceptor vessels will be responsible for the round the clock surveillance in the contentious area around Sir Creek.


Manipur Assembly passed anti-mob violence bill
Manipur Assembly led by CM N Biren Singh passed the 'Manipur Protection from Mob Violence Bill' to reduce the number of mob lynchings in the state. The bill recommends life imprisonment for those involved in mob violence if it results in the death of a victim. The assembly also passed the Manipur Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018 unanimously.


PM Modi inaugurates Bogibeel Bridge 
PM Modi inaugurated the Bogibeel Bridge on the birth anniversary of the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee i.e. December 25 which is observed as “Good Governance Day”. This 4.9 km-long bridge is the nation’s only fully welded bridge and for the first time European codes and welding standards were adhered to and it has a life of about 120 years.


National Consumers Day 
The Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution celebrated the National Consumer Day 2018 on 24th December at the Kothari Auditorium, DRDO Bhawan, New Delhi. The theme of the 2018 National Consumers Day was “Timely Disposal of Consumer Complaints”.

The National Consumers Day is celebrated on the 24th December because it was on the 24th December 1986 the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had received the assent of the president.


P. V. Bharathi appointed as MD and CEO of Corporation Bank
According to an order issued by the Personnel Ministry on 24th December 2018, P.V Bharathi has been appointed as managing director and chief executive officer of the Corporation Bank. P.V. Bharathi is currently working as the Executive Director in the Canara Bank. She will take charge on or after 1st February 2019, and remain in the post till March 31, 2020.


55th anniversary of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)
The 55th anniversary of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) was held in New Delhi. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, was the chief guest and he witnessed the raising day parade along with delegates from Nepal and Bhutan on the occasion.
In his address Kiren Rijiju said, in addition to border guarding duty, SSB is also playing important role in activities such as civic action, perception management and skill development programmes and he also spoke on the contribution of the SSB in disaster management operations with 2 battalions serving in National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
 

International

US and Turkey agreed on avoidance of power vacuum in Syria
US president Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan agreed to prevent a power vacuum in Syria after the pullout of American forces. According to an official statement by Turkish Presidency, the both of the leaders in a conversation yesterday, agreed to ensure coordination between countries’ military and other officials to avoid a power vacuum which could result into abuse of the withdrawal and transition phase in Syria.

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Important Current Affairs 25th December 2018

National News

‘Bharat Ratna Atal Bihar Vajpayee International Schools’ 
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has launched the ‘Bharat Ratna Atal Bihar Vajpayee International Schools’ for students in rural areas on the occasion of 94th birth anniversary of the late prime minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee. Initially, 13 Zilla Parishad (ZP) schools would be part of the international board and it would be expanded in the coming years.


Bharat Ratna Atal Bihar Vajpayee International Schools
The schools are affiliated to the Maharashtra International Education Board (MIEB), set up by the state government with an aim to achieve higher education standards.


Haryana: Child Care Institutes being run in the state renamed as ‘Jagannath Ashrams’
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on 25th December 2018 has announced the renaming of Child Care Institutes being run in the state as Jagannath Ashrams. The announcement was made by the chief minister at the during a dance competition organised by women wing of All India Vaish Federation.

Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines [Amendment] Rules), 2018
Ministry of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has released draft Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines [Amendment] Rules), 2018.


About
•    The social media platforms are also required to trace out the originator of information on its platform as may be required by the government agencies if the authorised functionaries demand so.
•    Social media platforms are required to end the complete encryption system and remove any “unlawful content” for the sake of the country’s security.


Sadaiv Atal dedicated to the Nation
Sadaiv Atal, the Samadhi of Atal Bihari Vajpayee was dedicated to the Nation on the birth Anniversary of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

To emphasise on the unity in diversity, stones from various parts of the country have been used in the construction of Samadhi near Rajghat in New Delhi.  The Samadhi has a central platform comprising of nine square blocks, capped with a Diya in the centre. The number nine represents the navarasas, navaratras and navagrahas. The placement of the nine square blocks is in a circular lotus shaped pattern.


B V P Rao elected as president of Archery Association of India
B V P Rao was elected as the President of Archery Association of India(AAI),the election was held under the Supervision of former Chief Election Commissioner S. Y. Quraishi. Maha Singh was elected as secretary of Archery Association of India,D K Vidyarthi was elected as the treasurer. Sunil Sharma was elected senior vice-president and Rajendra Singh Tomar and Purnima Mahato will be the vice presidents.

Seven day 37th Senior National Rowing Championship held in Pune
The seven days 37th Senior National Rowing Championship concluded at Army Rowing Node, College of Military Engineering in Pune. The competition consisted of categories of: 2000 meters and 500 meters. It was inaugurated by Lt General Michael Mathews. The Army Team emerged as the champions in 2018 and was followed by the Services team that came in second.

Delhi records 2nd Highest Pollution Level in 2018
Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data showed the overall air quality index (AQI) at ‘severe’ level of 450, the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) showed a higher level at 471. This is the second highest pollution level this year. The highest was recorded on November 8, a day after Diwali, when the AQI touched 571. An AQI between 100 to 200 comes under the 'moderate' category, 201 and 300 is considered 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', while that between 401 and 500 is 'severe'.
 

Awards

Mohammed Rafi Awards conferred
Mohammed Rafi Award instituted by the NGO Spandan Arts was bestowed upon late music composer Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and playback singer Usha Timothy.
The Mohammed Rafi Lifetime Achievement Award consisting of Rs 1 lakh and a trophy was conferred to Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar. The Mohammed Rafi consisting of Rs 51,000 and a trophy was conferred to Usha Timothy.
 

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Important Current Affairs 24th December 2018

(National News)

10 Indian news firms selected for Google News Initiative Funding 

Google has selected 87 news organisations from 23 countries for funding under its Global News Initiative (GNI). Of these 87 organisations selected, 10 are from India. The funding aims at helping the organisations in building video capabilities and experiment with new formats for video journalism.

Google News Initiative

Google has become a go-to site for getting information about a wide range of topics and Google aims to build a more informed world. This is closely interlinked with reporting of journalists and news organizations. Google search and YouTube are dependent on a healthy ecosystem of publishers producing great digital content. But the growing fake news and rapidly changing business models for journalism has become a challenge to the news industry.

Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR)

The Defence Minister of India formally inaugurated the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) Indian at the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram on 22nd December 2018. The IFC for Indian Ocean Region has the primary objective of jointly monitoring the vast Indian Ocean Region.

IFC-IOR will provide a way to tackle these challenges through collaborative and cooperative efforts.The Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram was sanctioned in March 2012 and became operational in November 2014.

Vedangi Kulkarni: Indian woman becomes fastest Asian to cycle the Globe  

A 20-year-old Pune woman Vedangi Kulkarni has become the fastest Asian to cycle the globe. She has completed the 29,000 km distance required to qualify as bicycling across the globe. She has spent 159 days peddling up to 300 km a day in 14 countries.The world record is in the name of British adventurer Jenny Graham (38) who had cycled the globe in 124 days in 2018.

India overtakes Germany to become seventh largest Stock Market 

India's stock market has overtaken Germany's to become the seventh-largest in the world with a market capitalisation of $2.08 trillion. This is the first time in seven years that India moved past the equity market of Europe's largest economy, according to Bloomberg. At $27.07 trillion, US is world's biggest stock market, followed by China ($5.46 trillion) and Japan ($5.41 trillion).

(International News)

Volcanic Tsunami 

Indonesia was hit by a Tsunami. As the giant tsunami waves crashed into coastal towns on the islands of Sumatra and Java, at least 281 people were killed and 1,016 were injured.

About Tsunami

Tsunami refers to a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake.

Tsunamis are different from the normal sea waves. Normal waves are generated due to the wind and Tides are generated due to the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun, whereas Tsunami is generated by an abrupt movement on the ocean floor due to the triggering points like Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, underwater explosions, landslides, glacier calving or meteorite impacts.

The new capital of Burundi 

The government of Burundi has declared Gitega as the country’s new political capital on 22nd December 2018. Bujumbura, the previous capital of Burundi, will serve as the economic capital of the country. The government has decided to hold future Cabinet meetings in Gitega and to establish five ministries in Gitega from the start of 2019. Gitega’s population is around 30 000  as compared to Bujumbura’s 1.2 million.

China launched its First Satellite for Space-based Broadband Services 

China has launched its first communication satellite on 22nd December 2018 to offer broadband internet services to users worldwide. The communication satellite was launched using a Long March 11 carrier rocket which took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in north-western China.

Aim

The satellite aims to rival Google and other companies which have similar plans for providing Internet services worldwide.

(Space News)

Nuclear Capable Agni-IV successfully test-fired 

India has successfully test-fired nuclear-capable long-range ballistic missile Agni-IV from the Dr Abdul Kalam Island in Odhisa. It was the 7th trial of Agni-IV missile. DRDO had positioned Radars and electro-optical systems along the coast of Odisha for tracking and monitoring all parameters of the missile and two naval ships were anchored near the target area to witness the final event.

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Important Current Affairs 23th December 2018

(National News)

Government approved Mahindras Rs.1,900 crore tourism plan

The Maharashtra State government has approved a film-centric entertainment destination to be developed by the Mahindra Group in Kandivali, with an investment of Rs.1,900 crore in Mumbai. According to a recent Government Resolution (GR), the Bollywood theme-based tourism project will be developed on 82,950.5 sq.m. belonging to the Mahindra Group. Earlier this year, a high-powered government committee accorded it the ultra mega project status.

CMRL to launch mobile app to book a ride 

Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) is to soon offer its commuters a facility to book a ride through its mobile app, for travelling to areas around stations. For this project, CMRL has tied up with a firm to offer the service. The firm’s icon for this service will be created in the Chennai Metro Rail mobile app and when commuters touch the icon, it will direct them to the firm’s vehicle booking page and they can hire a car.

Tripura government plans fresh literacy survey 

The Tripura government has planned to conduct a fresh survey on the literacy rate in the State. A survey conducted in 2014 had recorded 95% literacy rate in the State. This survey was conducted by the Indian Statistical Institute. About Tripura: Formation: 21 January 1972 Capital City: Agartala Governor: Kaptan Singh Solanki Chief Minister: Biplab Kumar Deb Deputy Chief Minister: Jishnu Deb Burman Legislature: Unicameral (60 seats) Official languages: Bengali, English, Kokborok.

(International News)

‘Hand-in-Hand’ counter-terrorism military exercises concluded 
India and China concluded the ‘Hand-in-Hand’ military exercise on 22nd December 2018 in China’s Chengdu city. This was the 7th edition of the ‘Hand-in-Hand’ military exercise. The  ‘Hand-in-Hand’ military exercise did not take place last year due to prevailing tensions between both sides after 73-day military standoff at Doklam.
This year’s exercise, which began on 11th December, focused on urban terrorism in which Indian and Chinese armies conducted the drills while living and dining together to build up a sense of camaraderie.

(Awards News)

40 workers conferred Prime Minister Shram Awards 2017

The Union Government has announced to confer the Prime Minister’s Shram Awards 2017 to 40 workers across country. These awardees have been selected among the workers of Departmental Undertakings & Central and State Government PSUs and Private Sector companies having 500 or more workers.

About Prime Minister Shram Awards 2017:

  • This year, no one was awarded the prestigious Shram Ratna Award.
  • Three nominations were chosen for the Shram Bhushan Award which carries a cash prize of Rs. 1,00,000/- and a ‘Sanad’. Smt. Myneni Sharada from BEL, Shri B.B.V. Prasada Rao from Naval Dockyard and Sh. Sudip Pachhal from Tata Steels have been selected under this category.
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Important Current Affairs 22th December 2018

(National News)

National Mathematics Day 

India celebrated 22nd December 2018 as the National Mathematics Day honouring the 131st birth anniversary of famous Indian Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Since 2011, 22nd December is celebrated as National Mathematics Day every year. The Indian government had also declared 2012 as the National Mathematics year. The National Mathematics Day is celebrated to honour his contribution to the field of Mathematics and also to keep his legacy alive to inspire the future mathematicians.

NITI Aayog releases Sustainable Development Goals Index 

The NITI Aayog has released a first-of-its-kind Sustainable Development Goals index released on 21st December 2018. According to the SDG Index, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu have been ranked on top 3 positions and are on track to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The recently released Sustainable Development Goals Index aims to promote healthy competition among States by evaluating their progress in social, economic and environmental terms that will help India in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030.

Tata Motors partners with Zoomcar to deploy Tigor EVs in Pune 

Tata Motors has partnered with self-drive rental car firm Zoomcar to offer the electric version of its compact sedan Tigor in Pune city as part of the shared mobility plans. Under the partnership, Zoomcar expects to deploy 500 electric vehicles in over 20 cities with Tata Motors in the next one year. Tata Motors is committed to the Centre’s vision of driving electric mobility in the country.

Gujarat tops government's first-ever state startup rankings 

Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has awarded Gujarat as the best performer in Start-up Ranking 2018. Other states ranked top performers were Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, and Rajasthan. The laggards in the list of performers, categorised as ‘beginners’ include Chandigarh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Sikkim, and Tripura. ‘Emerging’ States, placed at a notch higher than the beginners include Assam, Delhi, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand.

10 Central Agencies authorised by Government to snoop on “any” 

The Union government has notified 10 Central Agencies giving them the power to intercept, monitor and decrypt all the data contained in “any” computer system in India. The Cyber and Information Security Division under the Home ministry issued this notification.

The 10 agencies authorised by the central government are the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, CBI, National Investigation Agency, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Research and Analysis Wing, Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in Jammu & Kashmir, the North-East and Assam) and the Delhi Police.

(International News)

US Defence Secretary James Mattis resigns from his post

The United States Defence Secretary James Mattis has resigned from his post on 21st December 2018. His resignation came after his disagreement with the US President Donald Trump over the withdrawal of US troops from Syria. James Mattis, however, will be occupying the position till February 28 so as to allow sufficient time for his successor to be nominated.

(Awards News)

Mamata Banerjee awarded the Skoch CM of the Year Award 

The Chief Minister of West Bengal has been awarded the Skoch Chief Minister of the Year Award for the year 2017. The award was given to Mamta Banerjee recognising her contribution in the overall development of West Bengal as West Bengal emerged as the best-performing state in the field of Governance. According to Skoch Group, Mamata Banerjee was chosen for the prestigious award keeping in mind the West Bengal’s  performance in governance, culture, finance, urban and rural development.

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Important Current Affairs 21st December 2018

National news

State’s Startup Ranking 2018 Announced
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) announced results of thefirst ever States’ Start-up Ranking 2018 at an event in New Delhi today. DIPP began this exercise from January, 2016.
States have been identified as leaders across various categories such as Start-up policy leaders, incubation hubs, seeding innovation, scaling innovation, regulatory change champions, procurement leaders, communication champions, North-Eastern leader, and hill state leader.
Best Performer – Gujarat
Top Performers - Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, and Rajasthan.
Beginners - Chandigarh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Sikkim, and Tripura.
About DIPP
Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion was established in the year 1995, and was reconstituted in the year 2000 with the merger of Department of Industrial Development. 
The department functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.


Government launches Conservation Projet for Asiatic Lions
Asiatic lions, that were once found in a range extending from Persia (Iran) to Palamau in eastern India, were almost driven to extinction by indiscriminate hunting and habitat loss.
According to the last census in 2015, there were 523 Asiatic Lions in Gir Protected Area Network spread over 1648.79 square km, comprising Gir National Park, Gir Sanctuary, Pania Sanctuary, Mitiyala Sanctuary adjoining reserved forests, Protected Forests, and unclassed forests. 
The ministry has already included Asiatic Lion in Gujarat in the list of 21 critically endangered species for recovery programme and financial assistance under the species recovery component of CSS-DWH.


NITI unveils ‘Strategy for New India@75’
The Niti Aayog has said average annual growth of 8 per cent during 2018-19 to 2022-23, with the concluding year yielding 9-10 per cent expansion, is needed to generate sufficient jobs and make India a $4-trillion (Rs 285 trillion) economy.
It is a detailed exposition across forty-one crucial areas, that recognizes the progress already made, identifies binding constraints, and suggests the way forward for achieving the clearly stated objectives.
The forty-one chapters in the document have been disaggregated under four sections: Drivers, Infrastructure, Inclusion and Governance.

Sports news

W.V.Raman appointed Women’s Cricket team Coach
W.V. Raman, the former India opening batsman who is at present a key member of the BCCI’s player-development programme, has been announced as the Indian women’s cricket team head coach

International news


Belgium PM Charles resigns
 Mr Michel lost the backing of the nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) over his support for a UN migration deal signed in Marrakesh last week.
Mr Michel, 42, took office in October 2014 after forming a right-wing coalition, becoming at 38 the country's youngest prime minister since 1841.


The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
Russia has confirmed that the United States of America has decided to cancel the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed between Russian and the USA in 1987.
Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a chilling warning Thursday about the rising threat of a nuclear war, saying "it could lead to the destruction of civilization as a whole and maybe even our planet."
About INF
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles) is a 1987 arms control agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union (and later its successor state the Russian Federation). Signed in Washington, D.C. by President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on 8 December 1987, the treaty was ratified by the United States Senate on 27 May 1988 and came into force on 1 June 1988.


Mattis resigning as Pentagon Chief
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned on Thursday, December 21, 2018, after clashing with President Donald Trump over the abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and after two years of deep disagreements over America’s role in the world.

Space news

NASA’s 1st flight to moon, Apollo 8, marks 50th anniversary
Fifty years ago on Christmas Eve, a tumultuous year of assassinations, riots and war drew to a close in heroic and hopeful fashion with the three Apollo 8 astronauts reading from the Book of Genesis on live TV as they orbited the moon.
The Apollo 8 crew is still around: Borman and Lovell are 90, Anders is 85.

Appointments 


Harsh Vardhan Shringla appointed as India’s Ambassador to US 
Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla has been appointed as the Ambassador of India to the USA on 20th December 2018. Presently, Mr. Shringla is serving as the High Commissioner to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and will take up the assignment soon. He will be succeeding Navtej Sarna as the ambassador to the United States of America.

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Important Current Affairs 20th December 2018

National News

State of Goa celebrates 57th Liberation Day
Goa celebrated the 57th Liberation Day on December 19, 1961 to mark getting independence from the 450-years of Portuguese rule. Every year 19th December is celebrated by India as on this day Operation Vijay was completed by the Indian Forces liberating Territories of Goa, Daman and Diu and the Anjadiv Island and from the Portuguese rule.


Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016
Lok Sabha has passed Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 on 19th December 2018 to protect surrogacy in the country. The bill has banned commercial surrogacy and allows only altruistic surrogacy. The bill protects the rights of the surrogate mother and the child born from surrogacy and promotes ethical surrogacy.


Provisions of Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016:
•    The bill is applicable to all the states of India except Jammu and Kashmir.
•    The bill provides the constitution of National Surrogacy board and State Surrogacy board for regulation of surrogacy process.
•    The bill is providing surrogacy to only Indian citizens. Thus, Foreigners, NRI and PIOs are not allowed.

BORI launched an e library of 1000 rare books in Pune
The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) launched an e-library of ancient religious and historical works. BORI houses one of South Asia’s largest and most invaluable agglomeration of rare manuscripts. Nearly 1,000 rare books and manuscripts in Sanskrit and its related languages are presently available for readers worldwide to savor in this first phase of digitization.

President rule has been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir from today
President’s rule is imposed in Jammu and Kashmir from 20th December as the Governor’s rule expired in the state on 19th December 2018, after six months. The Centre is learnt to have recommended President’s rule after a report by Governor Satya Pal Malik. Now, President Ram Nath Kovind will have to issue a proclamation declaring that the powers of the legislature of the state shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament.

NFAI and FTII sign MoU for transfer of land for construction of film storage facility
National Film Archive of India (NFAI) and Film & Television Institute of India (FTII) today signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for transfer of three acres of land for the construction of storage facility for films and film material. The land belonging to FTII at their Kothrud campus in Pune will be transferred to NFAI for this purpose. Shri Bhupendra Kanthola, Director FTII and Shri Prakash Magdum, Director NFAI signed the MoU today.

Ganga River Basin Management Plan 
The cleaning of rivers is an ongoing process and this Ministry is supplementing the efforts of the State Governments in addressing the challenges of pollution of river Ganga by providing financial assistance. Under Namami Gange Programme, variety of coordinated activities meant for cleaning of river Ganga including treatment of municipal sewage, treatment of industrial effluent, drain bio-remediation, river surface cleaning, rural sanitation, river front development, construction of ghats and crematoria, afforestation & biodiversity conservation, public outreach program etc have been taken up. So far a total of 254 projects have been sanctioned at an estimated cost of Rs. 24,672 crore to clean the Ganga river.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram in Identified Minority Concentration Areas
The Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram(PMJVK) earlier known as Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) is an area development programme implemented in identified Minority Concentration Areas (MCAs) of the country for the remaining period of 14th Finance Commission. These areas are identified as per Census, 2011 data related to backwardness indicators and population of all notified minority communities as a whole residing in the area.

Space News

Satellite GSAT-7A successfully launched by ISRO
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched the communication satellite GSAT-7A on 19th December 2018 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
About GSAT-7A Satellite:
•    ISRO’s GSAT-7A satellite is the heaviest satellite (2250 kgs) with an indigenously developed cryogenic stage that has been launched by GSLV.
•    GSAT-7A is a high-tech communication satellite having new technologies including a Gregorian Antenna.
•    GSAT-7A will offer services to the users in Ku-band over the Indian region.

Awards

Asma Jahangir is awarded the UN Human Rights Prize
Asma Jahangir, the late Pakistan lawyer, and human rights activist, has been awarded the UN Human Rights Prize for 2018. Her daughter Munizae Jahangir received the prestigious award on behalf of her mother. Jahangir was announced as one of the four winners of the quinquennial prize in October.

International News

Three day India-China Film Festival
In order to strengthen people-to-people connect and deepen cultural understanding between the two countries, an India-China Film Festival is going to be organized during the 1st India-China High Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges from 22nd to 24th December, 2018. The three day Festival will be organized at Siri Fort Auditorium II, New Delhi by the Directorate of Film Festivals, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.


 

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Important Current Affairs 19th December 2018

(National News)

Capital First merges with IDFC Bank to create IDFC First Bank

The IDFC Bank has merged completely with the non-banking financial company Capital First on 18th December 2018 into a new entity to be called as IDFC First Bank. The merger between IDFC Bank and Capital First was announced on 13th January 2018. V Vaidyanathan, who is the founder and chairman of Capital First Ltd, has been appointed as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the newly formed IDFC First bank.

‘Shiksha Setu’ Mobile App

Haryana Government has launched a mobile app named as ‘Shiksha Setu’ with an aim to help the students of the state. The ‘Shikhsa Setu’ App will help in bringing transparency in the Education Department and in the administration of colleges in the state.

Important

  • This mobile app will contain all the information related to attendance, fee, online admission and scholarships in all the Haryana government colleges.
  • The details of lecturers of government colleges and officers of the Directorate can be accessed through the mobile app.
  • The app will provide the students with instant information about assignments and updates of important notices, circulars and other programmes.

National Cancer Institute (NCI) opened in Jhajjar

India’s largest Cancer Institute, National Cancer Institute (NCI), has opened on 18th December 2018 in Jhajjar, Haryana for public services. The National Cancer Institute will be formally inaugurated in January 2019.

About

  • The National Cancer Institute (NCI) will act as the nodal institution for all cancer-related activities in India.
  • It will work towards evolving new cancer control strategies, which include new models of prevention, early diagnosis and therapy, for the developing nations.
  • Development of human resource in various branches of cancer management is another area where NCI will work.

India ranked 108th in WEF’s Gender Gap Index

India has come at 108th position in the recently released Gender Gap Index 2018 by World Economic Forum. India was ranked at the same position in 2017 rankings as well.

The Global Gender Gap Report is published annually by the World Economic Forum since 2006. The Global Gender Gap Index is an index that measures gender equality across four key pillars which are economic opportunity, political empowerment, educational attainment, and health and survival.

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