by Avantika Sharma

Current Affairs (December)

ART and CULTURE

  • 1)Women transforming awards:-15 women entrepreneurs were given awards at the recently concluded Women Transforming India Awards 2018 in New Delhi. The Women Transforming India Awards are organised by NITI Aayog. It was 3rd edition of these awards.Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, the Vice-President of India, was the chief guest in this occasion. He also launched the upgraded version of the Women Entrepreneur Platform ‘web portal’ at this event called the Women Entrepreneur Platform 2.0 (WEP 2.0).
    The theme for WTI Awards 2018: “Women and Entrepreneurship”.
  • 2)PRIME MINISTER SHRAM AWARDS 2017-The Union Govt. has announced to confer the Prime Minister’s Shram Awards 2017 to 40 workers across the country. The awardees have been selected among the workers of Departmental Undertakings & Central and State Government PSUs and Private Sector companies having 500 or more workers.
    Categories of the award:
    i) 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. Prasad Rao from Naval Dockyard and Sh. Sudip Pachhal from Tata Steels have been selected ubder this categories.
    ii) Twelve nominations were selected for the Shram Vir/Shram Veerangna which carries a cash prize of Rs.60,000/- and a Sanad.
    iii) Sixteen nominations have conferred the Shram Shree/Shram Devi Award which carries a cash prize of Rs.40,000/- and a Sanad.
    iv) 23 awardees are from the public sector and 17 awardees are from private sector.

BANKING

  • 1.Capital First merges with 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 b/w IDFC Bank and Capital First was announced on 13th January 2018. The new bank i.e. IDFC First Bank will have a loan asset book of Rs.1.03 lakh crore.V.Vaidyanathan, who is the founder and Chairman of Capital First Ltd., has been appointed as the MD and CEO of the newly formed IDFC First Bank.

BILLS & ACTS

  • 1.Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016:-The Lok Sabha has passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 which seeks to empower the transgender community in the country by providing them a separate identity. The bill which was introduced in the parliament 2 years ago has been passed with 27 amendments.The primary objective of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 is to define Transgenders and prohibit discrimination against the transgender community.The Supreme Court in its recent judgement has held that the right to self-identification of gender is part of the right to dignity and autonomy and comes under Art.21 of the Constitution.
  • 2.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 child born from surrogacy and promotes ethical surrogacy. Surrogacy is defined as an agreement b/w a couple who can’t conceive and a surrogate mother to carry their child.
  • 3.Consumer Protection Bill,2018:-The Lok Sabha has passed the Consumer Protection Bill,2018 on 20th December 2018, which will replace the Consumer Protection Act,1986.The bill seeks to enforce consumer rights and to offer a mechanism for complaint redressal related to the deficiencies in goods and services.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

1.Strategy for New [email protected]:-The NITI Aayog has unveiled a strategy document called “Strategy for New [email protected]suggesting various reforms to make India a 4-trillion dollar economy by 2022-23. The strategy plan talks about various several economic reforms that should be taken in order to accelerate India’s economy to reach the 4 trillion USD mark.The main idea is to go for such reforms in the economy that will keep India growing at 8% annually that could be quicken to 9-10% by 2022-23 but ensuring that such growth of economy is clean, inclusive, formalised and sustainable.

  • 2.Efficiency gap in India’s power sector costs 4% of the GDP:-The World Bank recently released a report titled ‘In the Dark:How Much Do Power Sector Distortions Cost South Asia’.As per the report, Efficiency gap in India’s Power Sector costs the Indian Economy 4% every year, which is equivalent to $86 billion in 2016FY.India was at the 80th spot among 137 economies in the reliability of electricity supply as per the 2018 Global Competitiveness Report.

3.DIPP announces States’ Startup Ranking 2018:-The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion under Ministry of Commerce and Industry released the first eveR States’ Startup Ranking 2018 on 20th December 2018 in New Delhi.As per the Startup Ranking 2018, the state of Gujarat is the best-performing state in the country for Startups. Total 27 states and 3 UTs took part in this exercise.
Results of Startup Ranking:
i)Best Performer-Gujarat
ii)Top Performer – Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha and Rajasthan
iii)Leaders- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattishgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana
iv)Aspiring Leaders- Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal
v)Emerging States- Assam, Delhi, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttarekhand
vi)Beginners- Chandigarh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Sikkim and Tripura.

4.Decline in India’s For-ex Reserves:-India’s foreign exchange reserves declined in this week by USD 613.9 Million reaching USD 393.12 Billion. This decline has been attributed to the fall in foreign currency assets as per the RBI. The Forex reserves had been increased by USD 16.6 million to reach USD 393.734 billion in the previous week.As per the data, Gold reserves increased by USD 37.2 million to USD 21.187 billion this week.There was also a decline in the special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which reduced by USD 7 million to reach USD 1.45 Billion. The components of India’s Forex Reserves include Foreign Currency Assets(FCAs), Gold Reserves, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), and RBI’s Reserve position with IMF. Out of these FCAs constitutes largest component of India’s Forex Reserves.

DEFENCE

1.Fact Sheet : Indian Navy’s IFC-IOR:-The Indian Govt. will soon inaugurate the information fusion centre (IFC) to boost the maritime security and Information exchange in the for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).The IFC for the IOR will be set up by the Indian Navy at the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in GUrugram, Haryana.India has also signed the ascension agreement to the Trans Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN). It will allow information exchange on the movement of commercial ships in the high seas. The T-RMN agreement is being steered by Italy.

  • 2.47th Anniversary of Vijay Diwas:-India celebrated Vijay Diwas on 16th December 2018 marking the 47th anniversary of its victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war. Vijay Diwas is also known as the Victory Day, celebrated on 16th December every year in India.On this day in 1971, the chief of the Pakistani forces along with 93,000 troops, surrendered to the allied forces consists of Indian Army and Mukti Bahini in Dhaka after they got defeated in the war.
  • 3.Indra Navy-18:-Indra Nvay-18, a bilateral naval exercise, b/w India and Russia concluded on 16th December 2018. It was a 4-day maritime exercise that took place in the Bay of Bengal.The first edition of IND-RA Navy exercise was conducted in 2003 in India.

ENVIRONMENT

1.Factbox:Thoothukudi Sterlite Plant:-Thoothukudi Sterlite Plant is the largest copper smelter plant in India, in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu which is operated by Vedanta group. It started its operation in 1998 till 2018 when the plant was shut on the orders of Tamil Nadu Govt. in May 2018. The National Green Tribunal on 15th December 2018 had dismissed the state govt.’s order of May 2018 to shut down the plant permanently. Recently, the Tamil Nadu govt. has announced to approach the Supreme Court challenging the NGT’s order allowing reopening of Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi.

  • 2.COP24 IN KATOWICE:-The 2018 UN Climate Change Conference that took place b/w 2nd and 15th December 2018 in Katowice, Poland, is the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24). The Important Outcome of COP24:
    -The countries have agreed on rules for the implementation of 2015 Paris Agreement that will come into effect in 2020. This ‘rulebook’ can be called as the detailed “operating manual” of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
    -The members of the conference didn’t agree to “welcome” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on 1.5°C.
    -It was also agreed among members that future pledges should cover a “common timeframe” from 2031.
  • 3.Asiatic Lion Conservation Project:-The “Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” has been launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The main objective of this project is to work for the conservation of the world’s last ranging free Asiatic Lion population and the ecosystem associated with it.The project will be funded under the ‘Development of Wildlife Habitat (CSS-DWH)’ scheme which is Centrally Sponsored Scheme. The cost will be borne in the 60:40 ratio by the Central and State govt. Asiatic Lions are listed as endangered under the IUCN list. Its population is restricted to the state of Gujarat in India. As per the 2015 census, there were a total of 523 Asiatic Lions in Gir Protected Area Network.The Gir Protected Area Network includes Gir National Park, Gir Sanctuary, Pania Sanctuary, Mitiyala Sanctury and adjoining forests. It has an area of 1648.79 sq.km.

INDIA{Miscellaneous}

1.NRTI:-On 15th December 2018, Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has dedeicated India’s first railway university to the Nation in Vadodara.The Railway University will be first of its kind institution in the nation and the 3rd in the world after Russia and China. It is named as the National Rail Transportation University (NRTI).The chairman of Railways Board Sh.Ashok Lohani has been named the VC of the University.The university will host visiting faculty from renowned institutions like XLRI School of Management and Indian Business School, Hyderabad and others.The NRTI started its operation on September 5th earlier this year.

  • 2.Kaiga Atomic Power Station’s continuous operation for 941 days:-The Kaiga Atomic Power Station of Karnataka has created a new world record, with one of its units functioning continuously without any interruption for more than 940 days. The previous world record was held by Unit 2 of Heysham of the UK. It operated without any interruption for 940 days. The Kaiga Atomic Power Station is operated by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India. It has been functioning since 2000. It has four units of 220MW each.It is the 3rd largest nuclear power plant in India. Tarapur (1400MW) of Maharashtra is the largest and Rawatbhata (1180MW) of Rajasthan is the 2nd largest power plant of India.The Kaiga Atomic Nuclear Power Plant supplies electricity to Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
  • 3.NCI opened in Jhajjar, Haryana:-India’s largest Cancer Institute, National Cancer Institute (NCI), has opened on 18th December 2018 in Jhajjar, Haryana for public services. This will be formally inaugurated in January 2019.The National Cancer Institute has been established under a project of Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Dr G.K. Rath, head of Institute Rotary Cancer hospital at All India Instituet of Medical Sciences in Delhi, will head the NCI.
  • 4.Minorities Rights Day:-India observed Minorities Rights Day on 18th December 2018. Every year on 18th December, this day is observed to promote the rights of Minority Communities in India.The minorities in India includes Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis), and Jains. Minorities in India constitute about 19% of the total population. J&K, Punjab, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Lakshadweep are the only states where any notified minority is in majority. The Ministry of Minority Affairs, established in 2006, is the apex body in the Union Govt. to carry out various welfare, regulatory, and developmental programmes for the minority community. A National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has also been set up under the National Commission for Minorities Act,1992.UN, on 18th December 1992, promulgated the “Declaration of the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities” to discourage the countries to discriminates amongst people worldwide on the basis of religion, language, nationality or ethnicity.
  • 5.J&K under President’s Rule:-The state of J&K has come under President’s Rule from 20th December 2018 as Governor’s rule in the state completed its six months. It implies that now all the policy decisions related to J&K will be taken by the Union Cabinet.The state faced a crisis when 25-member BJP withdrew its support from Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition govt., reducing it to a minority govt. in the state. Thereafter, the Governor’s Rule was imposed in the state.Under Art.92 of the Constitution of J&K, in case of J&K, which have a separate constitution, six months govt. rule is mandatory before President’s Rule.Under Art.356 of the Indian Constitution, Union Govt. can take over the affairs of the state govt. when the state govt. is unable to function according to the constitutional provisions. This is called President’s Rule in the state. It can continue in the state for 6 months and can be extended with the approval of both the houses done every 6 months, for a maximum of 3 years.
  • 6.Sustainable Development Goals Index:-The NITI Aayog has released a first-of-its-kind Sustainable Development Goals Index 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 SDG by 2030.Front-Runner: Kerala & Himachal Pradesh with a score of 69Front-Runner (UTs): Chandigarh with a score of 68 Top to meet the goals of eradicating poverty and providing clean and affordable energy: Tamil NaduAssam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are at the bottom of the rankings in the NITI Aayog’s SDG Index.Front-Runner (Zero Hunger Sub-index): Goa, Kerala, Manipur, mizoram and Nagaland.
  • 7.National Mathematics Day :-India celebrate 22nd December 2018 as the National Mathematics Day honouring the 131st birth anniversary of famous Indian Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanuja. Since 2011, 22nd December is Celebrated as National Mathematician Day every year. The Indian Govt. had alos declared 2012 as the National Mathematics Year

INTERNATIONAL {Miscellaneous}

  • 1.West Jerusalem, capital of Israel:-On 15th December 2018, Australia recognised West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. With this, Australia has become one of the few countries that officially recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and as the seat of the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament).However, Australia has made it clear that it will not move its embassy from Tel Aviv until a peace settlement is reached b/w Israel and Palestine. Yet, it will settle Defence and Trade Office in Jerusalem. West Jerusalem is that part of Jerusalem which remained under Israeli control after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
  • 2.Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn-in as PM of Sri Lanka:-on 16th December 2018, Ranil Wickremesinghe has once again become the PM of Sri Lanka after the end of the weeks-long political crisis in the island-nation. He has been sworn in as PM for the 5th time which is a record in Sri Lanka.On 26th October 2018, Mr. Wickremesinghe was ousted as PM of Sri Lanka. He was replaced by Mahindra Rajapaksa as the PM. Mr. Rajapaksa resigned on 15th December 2018 as he failed to prove majority in the Sri Lankan Parliament.

3.Mount Soputan Volcano erupts:-Central Indonesia’s Mt. Soputan volcano erupted on 16th December 2018, sending ash about 7.5 km high in the sky. Mt. Soputan volcano is one of the most active volcanoes of Indonesia, it is located on the Sulawesi island of Indonesia. Indonesia has around 129 active volcanoes. The country is an archipelago which is highly prone to earthquakes and volcanoes as it is located on the “Pacific Ring of Fire”.The most active volcanoes of Indonesia are Kelud and Merapi, located in the Java island of the country.

  • 3. ‘Justice’ Word of the year:-Marriam-Webster has declared ‘Justice’ as the 2018 Word of the Year.Marriam-Webster, the American dictionary-publishing company,founded by George and Charkes Merriam in Springfield, Massachusetts in1828. Encyclopaedia Britannica,Inc. acquired Marriam- Webster in1964 as its subsidiary company.
  • 4.International Migrants Day :-The International Migrants Day 2018 observed on 18th December 2018 across the globe. In accordance with the Resolution 55/93 of UNGA, adopted by UN on 4th December 2000, the International Migrants Day is observed every year on 18th December.Resolution 45/158 focuses on the ‘International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families’ was adopted by UNGA on 18th December 1990.The Theme of International Migrants Day 2018 is “Migration with Dignity”.
  • 5.WEF’s Gender Gap Index:-India has come at 108th position in the recently released Gender Gap Index 2018 by World Economic Forum.This report is published by World Economic Forum annually since 2006. Iceland has been ranked no.1 in the WEF’s Gender Gap Index for the 10th consecutive year. Norway came at 2nd position, Sweden at the 3rd and Finland claimed the 4th rank, Nicaragua (5th), Rwanda (6th), New Zealand (7th), Philippines (8th), Ireland (9th) and Namibia (10th).

PERSONS IN NEWS

  • 1.Catronia Gray:-Catronia Gray from Philippines wins Miss Universe 2018 title, beating 93 contestants from other countries. She was crowned by Demi Leigh Nel-Peters from South Africa, the Miss Universe 2017 title winner. India was represented by Nehal Chudasama. After Lara Dutta had won the crown in 2000, no Indian contestants has been able to win the Miss Universe title in all these 18 years. This was the 67th edition of the Miss Universe peagant, held at in Nonthaburi Province, Thailand on 17th December 2018. For the first time the competition was judged by an all-women jury.
  • 2.Madhavi Divan:-The Union Govt. has appointed Advocate Madhavi Goradia Divan as the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) in the GOI. She will hold the office till 30th June, 2020 and will appear in SC on behalf of GOI. She is 3rd women to hold this position. Senior Advocate Indira Jaising was the 1st woman to hold this post. Pinky Anand was the 2nd women to become ASG. ASG is the 3rd- ranked law officer in Indian Govt. the seat of the ASG of India may be at New Delhi or Mumbai or Chennai or Allahabad as the govt. of India specifies.
  • 3.Pt. Arun Bhaduri:-Famous Classical singer Pt. Arun Bhaduri passed away on 17th December 2018 at the age of 75 years. He was born on 7th October 1943 in Murshidabad, W.Bengal. He was tutored by Mohammad A. Daud Khan. He was an exponent of Kirana and Rampur Gharana.
  • 4.Rajkumar Shukla:-The Dept. of Post has issued a Commemorative Postage Stamp on Rajkumar Shukla in New Delhi on 18th December 2018 to pay tribute to the contribution of Rajkumar Shukla in the launch of Champaran Satyagraha in the year 1917.
  • 5.Charles Michel:-Charles Michel has resigned from the post of PM of Belgium on 19th December 2018. He was the country’s youngest PM since 1841.
  • 6.Harsh Vardhan Shringla:-Shri Harsha Vardhan Shringla has been appointed as the Ambassador of India to the USA on 20th December 2018. He will be succeeding Navtej Sarna as the ambassador to the USA.Presently, Mr. Shringla is serving as the High Commissioner to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. He will be succeeded by Riva Ganguly Das, who’s presently the Director General of Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
  • 7.WV Raman:-BCCI has appointed WV Raman as Indian women’s cricket team coach on 20th December 2018.
  • 8.Mamta Banerjee:-The CM of W.Bengal has been awarded the Skoch Chief Minister of the Year Award for the year 2017.

SPORTS

  • 1.Hockey World Cup 2018:-Belgium Hockey Team won the first ever World Cup title on 16th December 2018 after they cdefeated the Netherlands. Hockey World Cup 2018 was held at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha from 28th November to 16th December 2018. It was the 14th edition of the cup. Belgium finished first, while the Netherlands and Australia finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.India Came at 6th place in the tournament. Arthur Van Doren, the Belgian Hockey player, was awarded as the Best Player of the Hockey World Cup 2018. Australia’s Blake Govers and Belgium’s Alexander Hendrickx scored most number of goals (7). Primin Blaak was the goalkeeper of the tournament and team of Spain was given Fair Play award.The Mascot for Hockey World Cup 2018 was Turtle “Olly”.
  • 2.BWF World Tour Title:-PV Sindhu, the 2016 Rio Olymoioc silver medallist, created history on 16th December 2018 as she became 1st Indian to win the BWF World Tour Finals. She defeated Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara, the 2017 world champion. This tournament was held from 12th to 16th December 2018 in Tianhe, Guangzhou, China.
  • 3.National Squash Women’s Single Title:Joshna Chinappa won the National Squash Women’s Singles title after she defeated Urwashi Joshi in the final match of the competition. Joshna Chinappa is the 1st Indian to win the British Squash Championship in2003.

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