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Important Current Affairs 19th January 2019

National News

Visit of the Prime Minister of Denmark to India for Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2019

The Prime Minister of Denmark, H.E. Mr Lars Løkke Rasmussen, is visiting India on 18-19 January, 2019 for "Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit-2019” where Denmark is participating as a Partner Country. Prime Minister Rasmussen is accompanied by a business delegation including CEOs of major Danish companies.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Rasmussen held bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar on 18 January 2019. The two Prime Ministers had earlier met during the first India- Nordic summit in Stockholm in April 2018.

Prayagraj Kumbh Mela becomes effective platform for Information dissemination on Welfare schemes

A number of exhibitions by Bureau of Outreach and Communication [BOC] of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and State Departments have been setup to Inform, Educate & Communicate about various Welfare schemes implemented by the Government.

BOC has set up a very high tech exhibition at Triveni Road in sector 1 at Kumbh's exhibition ground. Most of the panels are on Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat, Swatchh aur Samridh Bharat, Bapuaur Sardar Ke Sapno Ka Bharat etc. These exhibitions are digital and interactive in nature. Displays on lives of Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi and Iron Man of the country, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel are inspiring the visitors to go into details through digital panels. Some posters depicting achievements of Government are also exhibited with photographs.

India to host the 14th session of the Conference of Parties to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, India will host the 14th session of the Conference of Parties to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 2019 to address the issues of land degradation and desertification. The event will be participated by more than 100 countries and it is likely to be held in the month of October 2019.

Nagpur, the city of Oranges to host the 4-day 2nd World Orange Festival for the first time

 The 4-day 2nd world Orange Festival commenced in Nagpur, the city of oranges, for the first time. The festival will also showcase and brand the exquisite fruit in order to boost its export.

Appoints

Raja Krishnamoorthi is appointed as a new member of HPSCI for the 116th Congress (Appoints)

Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democratic lawmaker, has been appointed as a member of a Congressional committee on intelligence. He is the first South Asian to serve in the powerful body tasked to strengthen U.S.’s national security. Mr.Krishnamoorthi, 45, who represents Illinois’s 8th Congressional District in the House. Along with him Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida, Sean Patrick Maloney of New York and Peter Welch of Vermont has been appointed as new Democratic members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) for the 116th Congress. The HPSCI oversees the activities and budget of the 17 intelligence agencies of the U.S.

International News

India and Mongolia Sign a Powerful MoU at ICMEI 

The Embassy of Mongolia and International Chamber of Media and Entertainment Industry (ICMEI), India have further strengthened the relationship between India and Mongolia by signing a MoU in the field of art and culture. The MoU was signed in the presence of H.E. Gonchig Ganbold Ambassador of Mongolia to India and Dr. Sandeep Marwah, President ICMEI. The MoU will enable the two countries to work together on different segments including print, radio, television, cinema, animation, Performing and Fine Arts, tourism, hospitality, education, environment, solar energy, skill development, PR events and advertising, Fashion and Design, and Journalism. During the event, the deserving students from Mongolia were handed over the first scholarship of a short-term course of Asian Academy of Film and Television which also includes boarding and lodging for three months.
 

Defence 

India-Myanmar Joint Training Exercise Begins In Chandimandir

Second edition of the India-Myanmar bilateral army exercise, IMBEX 2018-19, commenced at Chandimandir Military Station, that houses the headquarters of the Western Command, Chandigarh.  The aim of this joint training programme, spread over six days, is to train the Myanmar delegation for participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations under the UN flag.

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Important Current Affairs 14th January 2019

International Relations

India, 5 Central Asian nations back inclusive peace process in Afghanistan 
•    India and the five Central Asia nations have backed an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan that is Afghan-owned and Afghan-led. The understanding was reached at the first ever India-Central Asia Dialogue in Uzbekistan capital Samarkand yesterday.
•    The Dialogue was chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov. It was attended by the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and the First Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan.
•    Ms Swaraj reiterated India's commitment to the economic reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan.
 

National News

Gujarat becomes 1st state to implement 10% quota to EWS
•    Gujarat Government has announced that the benefits of 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker sections of general category in educational institutions and government jobs will be applicable from midnight tonight.
•    However, it is pertinent to mention here that the benefits of the fresh quota will not be applicable for which the process had begun before January 14, 2019, like for which the process of written, oral, computer proficiency or preliminary tests have already been conducted.


Puducherry To Ban Single-Use Plastic From March 1
•    Puducherry government has decided to ban the production, sale and use of single-use plastic products in the Union Territory from March 1
•    Neighbouring Tamil Nadu government had announced in June, 2018 that it would ban the use of plastic items including non-biodegradable carry bags from January 1, 2019
 

Appointments

Jaideep Govind appointed Secretary General, NHRC 
•    Senior IAS officer Jaideep Govind has been appointed the Secretary General of National Human Rights Commission.
•    He was posted as Special Secretary and Financial Adviser in the Ministries of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation.
•    He has held various important posts in the Government of India, including the charge of Human Rights Division in the Home Ministry.
 

International News

UN experts urge Pakistan not to execute mentally ill prisoner
•    UN experts have urged Pakistan not to carry out arbitrary execution of mental illness prisoners. 
•    The execution of Khizar Hayat, sentenced to death in 2003 for killing a colleague, was suspended by Pakistan's Supreme Court on Saturday, just three days before the 55-year-old was due to be hanged.
•    The UN experts said, Hayat, who has spent more than 15 years in custody, has been kept in solitary confinement since 2012, urging the government to halt the execution and questioning the veracity of his conviction.
 

Sports

Bengaluru Raptors win Premier Badminton League title
•    Bengaluru Raptors have won their first ever Premier Badminton League title. 
•    In the title clash played at Bengaluru last night, Bengaluru edged out Mumbai Rockets, with a 4-3 win.
•    Star player Kidambi Srikanth, Vu Ji Trang and the Men's Doubles pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Satiawan won their matches for Bengaluru guiding them to victory.


Abhinav Shaw becomes youngest gold medallist in shooting 
•    At the Khelo India Youth Games in Pune today, ten year old Abhinav Shaw became the youngest gold medallist in shooting.
•    He teamed up with Mehuli Ghosh to help West Bengal win the 10m air rifle mixed team event. Delhi's Devanshi Rana bagged gold in Under-21 girls 25m pistol event.
•    Maharashtra once again dominated the gymnastics arena at the Games to wrap up the Under-21 category with a whopping nine medals on the last day of gymnastics events.
 

Awards

First-ever Philip Kotler Presidential award presented to PM 
•    The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today received the first-ever Philip Kotler Presidential award, at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg, in New Delhi.
•    The Award focuses on the triple bottom-line of People, Profit and Planet. It will be offered annually to the leader of a Nation.


Namita Gokhale wins Sushila Devi Literature Award 
•    Writer Namita Gokhale has won the Sushila Devi Literature Award for her novel "Things to Leave Behind".
•    She was awarded in the 'Best Book of Fiction Written by a Woman Author' category at the inaugural edition of Bhopal Literature and Art Festival (BLF)
 

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Important Current Affairs 10th January 2019

Rankings and Indices

India to become world's third largest consumer market by 2030: WEF 
•    A report by World Economic Forum today said that India is set to become the world's third largest consumer market behind only USA and China by 2030.
•    The report said consumer spending in India is expected to grow from 1.5 trillion US dollar at present to six trillion US dollar by 2030.
•    The report said that with the annual GDP growth rate of 7.5 percent, India is currently the world's sixth largest economy.
•    The report titled 'Future of Consumption in Fast-Growth Consumer Market - India' also noted that growth of the middle class will lift nearly 25 million households out of poverty.
 

International Relations

Sushma Swaraj meets Iranian counterpart
•    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday met her Iranian counterpart Javed Zarif
•    The two leaders held a wide-ranging discussion on important bilateral issues and shared perspectives on the regional situation.
•    On the sidelines of Raisina dialogue, Mrs Swaraj also met Foreign Minister of Mongolia Damdin Tsogtbaatar.
•    Mrs Swaraj had a productive meeting with her Mongolian counterpart and took stock of positive developments in a relationship in areas of energy, renewable energy, development partnership, capacity building and culture.


US-China talks to resolve trade war concludes in Beijing on positive note 
•    The extended US-China talks to resolve the trade war between the two greatest economy concluded in Beijing on a positive note on Wednesday.
•    After the talks concluded, Ted McKinney, US Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs said the discussions went just fine, without elaborating.
•    Meanwhile, confirming the conclusion of the trade talks, China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a media briefing that the extension of the talks indicates that both sides are serious about this consultation.
 

National News

Govt launches Web- Wonder Women Campaign 
•    The government launched Web- Wonder Women Campaign to celebrate the exceptional achievements of women who have influenced and impacted society through social media.
•    The Campaign aims to recognize the fortitude of Indian women stalwarts from across the globe who have used the power of social media to run positive campaigns to steer a change in society.
•    The Campaign invites entries from across the world till 31st of this month. Indian-origin women, working or settled anywhere in the world, are eligible for nomination.
 

Sports

Hockey India removed Harendra Singh as coach of India Men's Team 
•    Indian men's hockey coach Harendra Singh was sacked from the position and offered the task of helming the junior squad by the national federation.
•    Hockey India said that it will be inviting applications for the position of chief coach and in the interim the team will be overseen by Hockey India High Performance Director David John and current Analytical Coach, Chris Ciriello.
•    Harendra Singh was brought in as men's coach in May 2018 after Sjoerd Marijne was moved back to the women's camp
 

International News

US Secretary of State arrives in Baghdad to meet PM 
•    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday arrived in Baghdad on a surprise visit to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.
•    Pompeo also met other Iraqi officials, including the speaker of parliament Muhammad Al Halbusi.
•    The US Secretary of State's visit to Baghdad is part of his West Asia tour.
•    Mr. Pompeo plans to reassure allies about America's commitment to the region despite US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria.


Congo: Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi wins presidential election
•    In Congo, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi has won the long-delayed presidential election.
•    The electoral commission announced today that Tshisekedi has won with 38.57 percent of more than 18 million ballots cast.
•    If Tshisekedi’s victory is confirmed by the constitutional court, Democratic Republic of Congo will see its first peaceful democratic transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.
 

Appointments

N. Ram appointed president of Alliance for Media Freedom 
•    N. Ram, chairman, THG Publishing Private Limited, has been appointed president of the Alliance for Media Freedom (AFMF), a cross-media advocacy and action group of media organisations, promoters and journalists.
•    The Alliance, which is dedicated to work for the cause of media freedom, media independence and the safety of the last journalist, adopted a charter that underlines the importance of creating enabling conditions to safeguard free speech guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.
•    The Alliance which has been functioning informally for the last seven months in the cause of media freedom and independence, resolved to take steps to formalise and institutionalise its existence.
 

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Important Current Affairs 8th January 2019

National News

AAI bans single-use plastic items at 129 airports across country 
•    Airports Authority of India (AAI) has imposed a ban on single-use plastic items at its 129 airports across the country.
•    In a statement, the AAI said various steps have been taken to eliminate single-use plastic items at passenger terminals and city side.
•    The AAI said, on the basis of a third-party assessment carried out by Quality Council of India (QCI), 16 of its airports have been declared as Single-Use Plastic Free.
•    Single-use plastic items are used only once and then thrown in the trash.


Private FM channels to broadcast AIR News from today 
•    Private FM channels will be able to broadcast All India Radio News from today. Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore will launch the sharing of news at a function.
•    The Minister said, the radio has gained popularity again due to 'Mann Ki Baat' Programme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
•     Colonel Rathore said, AIR FM covers 50 per cent of population in the country and private FM channels are being given opportunities in different cities and towns.


Maharashtra to host 2nd edition of Khelo India Youth Games 
•    Maharashtra is all set to host the second edition of Khelo India Youth Games which will officially begin tomorrow in Pune.
•    More than 9000 players from different states will participate in 18 different games at Khelo India Youth Games.
•    It has already been announced that Youth Olympic Gold Medallist in shooting Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhari, as well as weight lifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga will be among the cream of India’s youth sporting talent competing at these games.


Navy’s new air base in north of Port Blair 
•    Later this month, the Indian Navy will commission a new airbase 100 miles north of Port Blair in the strategically located Andaman and Nicobar islands.
•    The base, INS Kohassa, will be commissioned by Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on January 24.
•    This will be India’s fourth air base and the third naval air facility in the archipelago, which are more closer to Southeast Asia than to the Indian mainland, overlooking key sea lanes of communication and strategic choke points.
 

Appointments

India born Gita Gopinath joins IMF as Chief Economist 
•    India born Gita Gopinath has joined International Monetary Fund as its chief economist.
•    She has become the first woman to occupy the top IMF post. 
•    Gopinath succeeds Maurice (Maury) Obstfeld as Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF's Research Department. Obstfeld retired on December the 31st.
•    She is the 11th Chief Economist of IMF.
 

International Relations

India secures extradition of bookie Sanjeev Chawla 
•    India secured another legal victory in the U.K. as a judge at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court has said that the extradition of alleged bookie Sanjeev Chawla can proceed, and referred the case to Home Secretary Sajid Javid for a final decision.
•    The extradition of businessman Vijay Mallya was ordered last month.
 

International News

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to step down on February 1 
•    In a surprise move, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Monday announced that he will step down from his position on February 1 - much before the end of his term in 2022.
•    Kim, 58, has been in this position for over six years now.
•    The president of the Washington-based World Bank has always been an American citizen nominated by the United States, which is the largest shareholder of this multilateral financial institution.
•    Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank CEO, will assume the role of interim President effective February 1.


Sheikh Hasina sworn in as Bangladesh Prime Minister for fourth term 
•    Sheikh Hasina was sworn in as Bangladesh’s Prime Minister for a record fourth term Monday after a crushing election victory marred by deadly violence and claims of widespread rigging.
•    Ms. Hasina, 71, has presided over record economic growth in the South Asian country of 165 million people but critics have accused her of creeping authoritarianism.
•    Her ruling Awami League party and its allies won the December 30 elections by a landslide, securing 288 seats in the 300-seat parliament compared to just seven for the main opposition.
 

Sports

Sunil Chhetri Becomes Second Highest International Goal-scorer 
•    On January 6, 2019, Sunil Chhetri made history by becoming the second highest international goal-scorer among active players with 67 goals from 105 matches.
•    He went past Argentine great Lionel Messi who has scored 65 goals from 128 matches. 
•    Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest scorer with 85 goals from 154 matches.
 

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Important Current Affairs 2nd January 2019

National

8th Global Kokan festival foresees vision 2025 for Kokan Development 
•    To facilitate the development of the region, Kokan Bhumi Pratisthan will be organaising the 8th Global Kokan Festival which will be held at Mumbai Exhibition Center in Mumbai.
•    This mega event will be inaugurated by Chief Guests Suresh Prabhu (Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Civil Aviation), Anant Geete (Union Cabinet Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Sector Enterprises) and Vinod Tawde (Minister Of Higher & Technical Education and Cultural Affairs).
•    Global Kokan festival is hosted by Jaykumar Rawal (Minister of Tourism) and Subash Desai (Minister for Industries and Mining), Deepak Kesarkar (Minister of State for Home (Rural), Finance and Planning), and Ravindra Chavan (Minister of State - Ports, Medical Education, Information and Technology, Food and Civil supplies, Consumer protection).
•    The inaugural day will see the announcement of launch of "Vision 2025" for Kokan region, a special white paper documenting the issues faced by people of Kokan region. The detailed report will be launched after 3 months with full study of the region in term of infrastructure, Business, tourism, etc.


1st January - DRDO day 
•    The DRDO was established in 1958 with just 10 laboratories to enhance the research work in defence sector.
•    DRDO Chairman Dr G Satheesh Reddy said that the country is self-reliant in areas of missiles, radars, sonars and torpedoes and many other systems.
•    Mr Reddy said, the Organisation has been working over the years to develop state of the art weapon system for the country's armed forces.


PM Modi renames Ross, Neil & Havelock Islands in Andaman and Nicobar 
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the renaming of three islands of Andaman and Nicobar on the occasion of 75th anniversary of Tricolour hoisting by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in Port Blair.
•    Ross Island has been renamed as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, the Neil Island would now be known as Shaheed Dweep and the Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep.
•    Mr Modi also released a commemorative stamp, its first-day cover and a 75 rupees coin on this special day. He also announced setting up of a deemed university after Netaji Bose.

Economy and Banking

RBI offers relief to MSMEs; allows restructuring of debt up to Rs 25 crore 
•    Reserve Bank has allowed a one-time restructuring of existing debt of up to 25 crore rupees for the companies which have defaulted on payment but the loans given to them have continued to be classified as standard assets. 
•    The decision will help the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which are facing cash crunch in the wake of demonetisation and GST implementation.
•    To be eligible for the scheme, the aggregate exposure, including non-fund based facilities of banks and NBFCs, to a borrower should not exceed 25 crore rupees as on January 1, 2019, and the restructuring has to be implemented by 31st of March 2020.


RBI Financial Stability Report 
Indian banking sector has begun to show improvement in asset quality of scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) during July-September quarter this year.
•    This positive sentiment was attributed to a host of factors including credit growth of banks coupled with improvement in the asset quality of the banks.
•    The FSR reflects the collective assessment of the Sub-Committee of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) on risks to financial stability, as also the resilience of the financial system.
•    According to the report, credit growth of scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) has improved between March 2018 and September 2018, driven largely by private sector banks.
•    The report also projected that GNPA ratio may decline to 10.3 per cent in March 2019, from 10.8 per cent in September 2018


Moody's downgrades Yes Bank ratings 
•    Moody's Investors Service on Tuesday downgraded Yes Bank's ratings to non-investment grade and changed outlook to negative from stable on the back of various resignations from the Board.
•    The resignations, when seen in conjunction with RBI's September directive to restrict the term of the bank's MD & CEO Rana Kapoor, till January 31, 2019, have raised concerns over corporate governance
•    Moody's has downgraded foreign currency issuer rating to 'Ba1' from 'Baa3', and also the bank's baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA to 'ba2' from 'ba1'. The rating implies that these instruments are non-investment grade, speculative.
•    Headquartered in Mumbai, Yes Bank had total assets of Rs 3.7 lakh crore at September 30, 2018.
•    On November 14, Yes Bank non-executive chairman Ashok Chawla resigned as his name figured in a CBI chargesheet filed in the Aircel-Maxis case. Another independent director Vasant Gujarathi too tendered his resignation on the same day.

Appointments

LIC MD to officiate as chairman 
•    Life Insurance Corporation of India MD Hemant Bhargava has been given the additional charge of the chairman after V.K. Sharma retired
•    Mr. Bhargava took charge as MD in February 2017.

Sports

ICC Test ranking: Virat Kohli, Kagiso Rabada tops 2018 
•    It turned out to be a glorious 2018 for India captain Virat Kohli and South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada as both maintained their respective pole positions in the year-end ICC Test Player Rankings.
•    Kohli, who attained a career-high 937 points during the year, which is the highest ever by an India batsman, scored 1322 runs in all. He overtook Steven Smith in August and has now held the top position for 135 days.
•    Rabada, who split the top ranking with England’s seasoned fast bowler James Anderson during the year, is just six points ahead of his adversary.
 

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Important Current Affairs 29th December 2018

National

Centre gives nod to draft Bill on Indian medicine 
•    The Union Cabinet has approved the draft National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2018. The NCIM will promote “availability of affordable healthcare services in all parts of the country”.
•    The draft Bill will enable the constitution of a National Commission with four autonomous boards for the purpose of conducting overall education in Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Sowarigpa.
•    To assess the standard of teachers before appointment and promotions, the Bill proposes a common entrance and an exit exam.


Cabinet approves Indian Human Spaceflight programme 
•    Union Cabinet has approved the Gaganyaan Programme with a demonstration of Indian Human Spaceflight capability to low earth orbit for a mission duration ranging from one orbital period to a maximum of seven days
•    A human-rated GSLV Mk-lll will be used to carry the orbital module which will have necessary provisions for sustaining a 3-member crew for the duration of the mission.
•    The total fund requirement for the Gaganyaan Programme is within 10,000 crore rupees and includes the cost of technology development, flight hardware realization and essential infrastructure elements.
•    Two unmanned flights and one manned flight will be undertaken as part of Gaganyaan Programme.


Centre brings booklet on cyber safety for school children
•    Home Ministry has brought out a booklet on cyber safety for school children to inform them about different aspects of cyber safety.
•    The booklet, titled 'A Handbook for Students on cyber Safety', also deals with the problems of cyber bullying, cyber grooming and email fraud. 
•    It advises teenagers against accepting friend requests from unknown people on social media.
•    The booklet explains various kinds of cyber-crimes like identity theft, job fraud, email spoofing and how children can overcome them.
 

International

Bhutan PM Dr. Lotay Tshering calls on President Kovind
•    Prime Minister of Bhutan Dr. Lotay Tshering today called on President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
•    During the meeting, Mr Kovind reiterated India's commitment to partner in the socio-economic development of Bhutan and to support its 12th Five Year Plan, based on Bhutan priorities.
•    The President said that India welcomed the successful conduct of the third general elections in Bhutan and congratulated the Prime Minister of Bhutan on DNT's victory in the elections.


India to provide Bhutan Rs 400 Cr transitional trade support
•    India will give a transitional Trade Support Facility of 400 crore rupees to Bhutan over a period of five years to strengthen bilateral trade and economic linkages.
•    In a joint statement in New Delhi on Friday after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bhutan Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen co-operation in all areas of mutual interest.
•    Mr Modi and Dr. Tshering also discussed Bhutan’s priorities in the health sector. 
•    Prime Minister Modi stated that in line with Government of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, India is firmly committed to partner Bhutan in its quest for development and economic prosperity.
•    They reiterated their commitment to jointly develop 10,000 MWs of hydropower generating capacity in Bhutan and in this regard discussed the Sankosh Hydropower Project.


India sends 3 observers for paliamentry elections in Bangladesh 
•    India has sent three observers for parliamentary elections in Bangladesh. Chief Election Commission of Bangladesh had sent an invitation to New Delhi in this regard.
•    Bangladesh will go to polls on Sunday to elect a new parliament
•    This will be the eleventh general election in Bangladesh. Over ten crore nationals are eligible to cast their votes to elect 299-member Parliament. More than 1,800 candidates are in the fray.
 

Appointments

CA Kuttappa takes over as India's chief boxing coach 
•    Dronacharya awardee C A Kuttappa has taken over as India's chief boxing coach at the ongoing national camp.
•    Star pugilist Vikas Krishan (75kg) was left out from the post following his professional plunge.
•    The 39-year-old Kuttappa is credited with shaping some of the country's most successful boxers such as Vijender Singh, M Suranjoy Singh and Shiva Thapa, among others.
 

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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 15th December 2018

National news

Tamil Nadu CM urges PM Modi to withdraw Dam Safety Bill
Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to instruct the Union water resources ministry to withdraw the Dam Safety Bill, 2018, introduced in the Lok Sabha. 
Main Concerns are:
National Dam Safety Authority will act as the State Dam Safety Organisation for a dam that is owned by another state.
Industries extracting groundwater including mining-dewatering units and those that use groundwater for packaged drinking water would also need to apply for a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the government. 


Industries must pay for using groundwater
The Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has notified a water conservation fee (WCF) that industries will need to pay on groundwater extraction starting from June.
Industries extracting groundwater including mining-dewatering units and those that use groundwater for packaged drinking water would also need to apply for a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the government. 
The government has a list of groundwater blocks, called assessment blocks. These are classified as ‘safe,’ ‘semi-critical,’ ‘critical’ and ‘over-exploited’ depending on the groundwater draft.


Kevadia Railway Station
The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, laid the foundation stone of the Kevadia Railway Station in district Narmada, Gujarat.
It would lead to an increased flow of tourists from across the country and beyond and make their travel to the ‘Statue of Unity’ faster as well as more convenient. He said that building the Kevadia Railway Station is a tribute by Indian Railways in honour of Sardar Patel.


Mahila Kisan Awards programme launched by DD Kisan
DD Kisan today launched a first-of-its-kind reality show 'Mahila Kisan Awards'. To be telecast from 17th December, the show will see participation of women farmers from across the length and breadth of India, including from Jammu & Kashmir, all the states of North Eastern Region.
The format of the show will include two woman farmers talking about their achievements in each episode. Judges will score these contestants based on their assessment. 


Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to dedicate Raebareli-Fatehpur-Banda section of NH-232 to the nation this week
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will dedicate to the nation the Raebareli-Fatehpur-Banda section of NH-232 at an event in Raebareli on Sunday, the 16th of December. The 133 km project has been completed at a cost of about Rs 558 crore. It is an important link between the mining areas of Bundelkhand, pilgrimagecentreChitrakoot, the state capital Lucknow  and the Purvanchal districts of the state. 
After renovation, the travel time between these two cities has come down to just 2.5 hours

National Medical Devices Promotion Council to be set up under DIPP
To give a fillip to the medical device sector, which is a sunrise sector, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, announced setting up of a National Medical Devices Promotion Council under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry. 
Commerce Minister was speaking at a programme on the occasion of 4th WHO Global Forum on Medical Devices, at Andhra Pradesh Medtech Zone, in Vishakhapatnam.

Appointments


Shri Ashok Kumar Singh assumes charge of secretary
Shri Ashok Kumar Singh, Lok Sabha Secretariat Service, Additional Secretary, Lok Sabha Secretariat has assumed charge as Secretary, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) .

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Important Current Affairs 14th December 2018

National news

Kamalnath  new CM of Madhya Pradesh
The Congress on Thursday announced that nine-term Member of Parliament from Chhindwara, 72-year-old Kamal Nath, will be the next Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. 
The announcement on who will lead the government in Rajasthan will be made in Jaipur on Friday.


Dhubri-Phulbari Bridge Over Brahmaputra
The DPR for construction of  Dhubri-Phulbari Bridge over river Brahmaputra has been finalized.
The project is being funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and loan agreement has been signed in October, 2018.

National Register of Citizens
The Supreme Court on December 12, 2018 extended the deadline for the submission of claims and objections by individuals excluded from the first draft of the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) to December 31, 2018.
The Assam government on July 30, 2018 released the second and final draft of the state’s National Register of Citizens (NRC). The draft includes the names of Indian citizens who have been residing in Assam before March 25, 1971.

Appointment

BP Singh to be the new President of FTII Society and Chairman of Governing Council
Shri BP Singh is an FTII alumnus (1970-73) who specialised in film cinematography andhas earned repute as Producer- Director of popular TV serial CID which recently completed a record 21 years unbroken run on SONY TV. 
In 2004 he made it to the Limca Book of Records for taking a single continuous shot of 111 minutes to mark the completion of six years of CID.

International news

India – Russia marked 18th IRIGC-MTC Meeting
The 18th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) was held here today. The meeting was co-chaired by Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation General Sergei Shoigu.
In the framework of the bilateral Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership, the IRIGC-MTC meeting discussed a wide range of issues relating to defence equipment, industry and technological engagement between India and Russia as well as after sales support/upgradation of military equipment of Russian origin.
The inaugural meeting of the IRIGC-MTC is proposed to be held in Russia in 2019 on mutually convenient dates.


President Inaugrates ‘Enterprise India’ Exhibition in Yangon
President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated 'Enterprise India' exhibition, bringing in the best of Indian products, services, innovation and know-how to business partners, start-ups, incubators and customers in Myanmar.
This exhibition has been set up by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), including about 45-50 Indian companies ranging from very large companies to small enterprises, to showcase Indian manufacturing capabilities and industrial technology.


U.K. Backtracks on Suspension of ‘Golden Visas’
Days after saying that it was about to suspend a controversial visa program that gives wealthy investors a fast track to British residency, the government said on Wednesday that the program remained in force, without providing an explanation.
The visas, introduced in 2008, have been especially popular among wealthy people from Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates. They contributed to a flood of money that has buoyed British real estate and financial markets.
Under the program, a foreign national who invests 2 million pounds, about $2.5 million, in assets in Britain can apply for permanent residency after five years in the country. Investing £5 million allows a person to apply after three years, and £10 million permits application after two years.

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Important Current Affairs 8th December 2018

National News

State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART) Project
Over 49 companies including the Tata Group, Amazon, ITC, and Patanjali, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government’s ‘State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART)’ project, assisted by World Bank, to revamp the agricultural value chain and improve the price realisation for the farmer.
Project SMART entails an investment of Rs. 2,000 crore, of which World Bank contributed Rs. 1,500 crore while the State government contributed Rs. 430 crore. The balance Rs. 70 crore was raised by Village Social Transformation Foundation (VSTF) through its partners.
Significance
•    The project is giant step towards transformation of rural economy and empowerment of farmers and also sustainable agriculture through public-private partnership (PPP) model. 
•    It seeks to ensure higher production of crops and create robust market mechanism to enable farmers to reap higher remunerations for the yield. 

Appointments


It unites agriculture-oriented corporates and farmers by providing them common platform.
Ex-Diplomat Elected To UN's Socio-Economic, Cultural Panel 
Former senior Indian diplomat Preeti Saran has been elected unopposed to an Asia Pacific seat on the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) of the UN. Ms Saran will begin her four-year term on January 1, after another former Indian diplomat, Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, completes his third term on the CESCR at the end of this year.
About Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR):
•    The CESCR was set up in 1985 by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.
•    It was constituted with an aim to monitor on its behalf the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR), which has been ratified by 169 countries.
•    The countries that are parties to the covenant are required to submit reports to the CESCR every five years on how they protect the economic, social and cultural rights.

Science and Technology


China Launches 1st Mission to Land on the Far Side of the Moon
China has launched the first mission to land a robotic craft on the far side of the Moon. The Chang'e-4 mission will see a static lander and rover touch down in Von Kármán crater, located on the side of the Moon which never faces Earth. The payload blasted off atop a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The mission will pave the way for the country to deliver samples of Moon rock and soil to Earth.
Von Kármán crater is of interest to scientists because it is located within the oldest and largest impact feature on the Moon - the South Pole-Aitken Basin. This was probably formed by a giant asteroid impact billions of years ago.The landers will characterise the region's geology and the composition of rock and soil.
The mission is part of a larger Chinese programme of lunar exploration. The first and second Chang'e missions were designed to gather data from orbit, while the third and fourth were built for surface operations.

International News

UN launches new framework to strengthen fight against terrorism
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has launched a new framework to combat the scourge of international terrorism and coordinate efforts across the peace and security, humanitarian, human rights and sustainable development sectors. 
Termed the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact, the framework is an agreement between the UN chief, 36 organizational entities, the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the World Customs Organisation, to better serve the needs of Member States when it comes to tackling the scourge of international terrorism.

2023 is international year of millets: FAO 
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has decided to observe 2023 as the International Year of Millets, upon the request from the Indian government. 
This decision was taken at the 160th session of FAO Council, currently underway in Rome, which also approved India’s membership to the Executive Board of the World Food Program (WFP) for 2020 and 2021, it said.

Awards

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy conferred Skoch Award for National Significance

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India has been conferred the Skoch Award for National Significance at an event held recently in New Delhi. The award was received by Secretary, Ministry of New Renewable Energy Shri Anand Kumar.
The award has been conferred on the Ministry considering its purpose and critical role played in installing about 73 GW renewable energy capacity in the country. With 21 per cent of total installed capacity, within the year renewable energy grossed a magic figure of providing one billion units of electricity in the country.
Today, India ranks 4 in the world in wind energy capacity and 5th in solar & total renewable energy capacity installed in the world. India has played a critical role in setting up of international solar alliance. Further, India moved a resolution during the first meeting for making it a global initiative.



 

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