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Important Current Affairs 16th December 2019

National

India celebrates Vijay Diwas: 16 December

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

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

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

Prime Minister chairs 1st meeting of National Ganga Council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International

Google Earth covers 98 percent of entire population

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

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

‘Nuad Thai massage included in UNESCO heritage list

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Awards and Recognition

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

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

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

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

• Other award winners at Sports Personality 2019

SPORTS

Kento Momota & Chen Yufei Lifts 2019 BWF World Tour Finals

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

List of Winners

1. Men’s Single – KentoMomota (Japan)

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

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

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

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

Obituary

Veteran Actress Gita Siddharth Passes Away

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

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

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

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

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Viswanathan Anand launches his autobiography ‘Mind Master’

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 15th December 2019

NATIONAL

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

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

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

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

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

India expands Indo-Pacific Policy; includes Gulf and Africa

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

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Walmart to train 50,000 MSME entrepreneurs

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

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

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

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

BEE organized International workshop on Energy Efficient Cooling

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

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

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

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

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

• France’s OphelyMezino came second.

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

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

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

• The winners of 2019 WTA Awards are given below:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 14th December 2019

National

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

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

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

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

• It is expected to be completed by March 2020.

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

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

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

International

Former PM of Algeria, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Elected New President

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

Banking and Economy

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

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

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

About Maruti Suzuki:

• Founded: 1981

• Founder: Sanjay Gandhi

• Headquarters: New Delhi, India

• Chairman: R. C. Bhargava

• Managing Director & CEO: Kenichi Ayukawa

About Federal Bank:

• Founder: K.P Hormi

• Headquarters: Kochi, Kerala, India

• MD & CEO: Shyam Srinivasan

Awards and Recognition

Salman Khan appointed as Pepsi’s new brand ambassador

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ranking

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

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

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

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

Important Day

National Energy Conservation Day : 14 December 2019

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

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Important Current Affairs 13th December 2019

National

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

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

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

Banking and Economy

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

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

• GDP For 2019-20 – 5.6%

• GDP For 2020-21 – 6.6%

• GDP For 2021-22 – 6.7%

Awards and Recognitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Habitat Award’ for Odisha’s JAGA Mission

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

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

World Habitat Award:

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

Science & Technology

Kepler partners SpaceX for launch of own satellite constellation

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

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

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

Appointment

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

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

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

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

About Ashok Leyland:

• Industry: Automotive Commercial

• Founded: 7 September 1948

• Headquarters: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

• Parent: Hinduja Group

Obituary

Veteran Telugu actor, writer Gollapudi Maruti Rao passes away

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 12th December 2019

NATIONAL NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need:

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

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

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

Legislative History:

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

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

Political parties involved:

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

How much of Northeast does the Bill cover?

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

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

Why is Assam angry about it?

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

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

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

Isn’t it the same like the NRC?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Puma Signs Sunil Chhetri as Brand Ambassador for 3 Years

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

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

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Greta Thunberg named Time Person of the Year for 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPORTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rani and Saurabh honoured at FICCI India Sports Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

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

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 11th December 2019

National

Odisha to set up 45 new fast track courts

• Aiming at expediting the trial of cases relating to women and children, the Odisha government said it will set up 45 new fast track courts.

• Of these, 21 courts would be dedicated for cases of rape and sexual harassment of women and the remaining 24 fast track courts will specifically deal with Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) cases, Law Minister Pratap Jena said.

• The fast track courts will function under Additional District Judges as per provisions of Orissa Civil Courts Act, 1984.

Switzerland is country partner of Bio Asia 2020

• Government of Telangana announced that Switzerland will serve as the country partner for the 17th edition of BioAsia.

• Consistently ranked number one, Switzerland Ais widely known for innovation in big pharma with the presence of eminent pharma and life-sciences companies like Novartis, Roche, Lonza and FerringPharma.

• With the theme ”Today For Tomorrow,” BioAsia 2020 is scheduled to be held from February 17 to 19.

International

Alberto Fernandez sworn in as president of Argentina

• Argentina’s Peronist leader Alberto Fernandez was sworn in as president, marking a shift to the left for Latin America’s third-largest economy, which is suffering rampant inflation, credit default fears and rising poverty.

• Fernandez takes over from conservative Mauricio Macri, who symbolically handed the incoming leader the presidential baton and sash.

Banking and Economy

ADB Lowers India’s GDP forecast to 5.1% for FY2019; 6.5% for FY 2020

• The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has lowered India’s economic growth forecast for FY 2019 to 5.1 percent from earlier estimate of 6.5 percent in its latest Asian Development Outlook 2019 Update.

• GDP forecast for 2019-20: 5.1%

• GDP forecast for 2020-21: 6.5%

Ranking

India among top 10 countries with higher climate performance: Report

• India, for the first time, ranks among the top 10 in this year’s Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) released at the COP25 climate summit in Spanish capital Madrid.

• The index is jointly presented by Germanwatch, NewClimate Institute and Climate Action Network.

• The current levels of per capita emissions and energy use in India ranked 9th in the high category showing that emissions are still comparatively low,

Awards

Infosys wins 2019 UN Global Climate Action Award in ‘Carbon Neutral Now’ category

• The Indian IT services major Infosys Ltd has been awarded with the United Nations Global Climate Action Award in the ‘Climate Neutral Now’ category at the ongoing 2019 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain.

• Infosys has been honored for its carbon neutral program, which delivers scalable, innovative and practical climate actions that address climate change and help drive progress on many other sustainable development goals

Science & Technology

Obituary

ICSSR Chairman BrajBihari Kumar Passes Away

• Dr BrajBihari Kumar, Chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), has passed away.

• BB Kumar was appointed as the chairman of the ICSSR in May 2017.

Sports

FICCI set to organize 9th Global Sports Summit “TURF 2019”

• After the successful execution of the previous 8 editions, FICCI returns with the highly prestigious Global Sports Summit “TURF” which is slated to be held at the FICCI, Federation house in the national capital on December 11.

• This will be the 9th edition of the Global Summit which will witness esteemed sports personalities, administrators and members from the Indian sports fraternity be a part of the event.

• These awards are an attempt by FICCI to acknowledge the contribution and felicitate sports achievers and the various stakeholders who co-create the evolving sports ecosystem. The event is powered by FIT INDIA, Partner State: Odisha Government, Summit Partner: Star India, Brand Partners: Tata Edelweiss.

13th South Asian Games concluded in Nepal

• India concluded the South Asian Games with their highest medal tally in the history of the tournament.

• The contingent was able to win 312 medals, which includes 174 gold, 93 silver, and 45 bronze medals.

• India had claimed 309 medals in the 2016 edition of the South Asian Games and by winning 312 this time around, the contingent has broken their record.

• Nepal concluded the tournament at the second position in the medal tally with a total of 206 medals. Sri Lanka and Pakistan are on the third and fourth spots respectively.

Indian Grandmaster R. Praggnanandhaa wins London Chess Classic FIDE Open 2019

• India’s young grandmaster R. Praggnanandhaa has won the London Chess Classic FIDE Open 2019 Championship.

• The 14-year-old finished joint first with Anton Smirnov of Australia, with a score of 7.5/9.

• The third seed scored a rating performance of 2699.

Appointment

National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) Ropes in Suniel Shetty as Brand Ambassador

• Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty was appointed as the brand ambassador of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).

• NADA along with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) recently conducted anti-doping awareness workshops for all footballers.

• The mass athlete awareness program against doping, which is a NADA educational programme, is set to be a regular fixture from 2019-20 onwards.

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Important Current Affairs 10th December 2019

Exim Bank provides USD 500 mn credit to Bangladesh for defence procurement

• India has provided USD 500 million (Rs 3,561 crore) line of credit to Bangladesh for defence-related procurement in the neighbouring country.

• Export Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) entered into an agreement on April 11 with Bangladesh’s Armed Forces Division for making available to the latter a Government of India-supported line of credit (LoC) of USD 500 million

• The LoC is for the purpose of financing defence-related procurement in Bangladesh

• “Out of the total credit by Exim Bank under the agreement, goods and services including consultancy services of the value of at least 75 per cent of the contract price shall be supplied by the seller from India,” it said.

• The remaining 25 per cent of goods and services may be procured by the seller for the purpose of the eligible contract from outside India, including Bangladesh.

• But, based on the nature of the procurement, the eligible goods and services up to the contract price to be supplied by seller from India may be further reduced from 75 per cent to 65 per cent and further reduction may be considered on a case-to-case basis.

• The agreement under the LoC is effective from November 7.

• The terminal utilisation period of the loan is 10 years from the date of signing of the agreement.

Arnab Goswami elected president of News Broadcasters Federation’s governing board

• The News Broadcasters Federation has elected journalist Arnab Goswami as the president of its governing board.

• The broadcaster’s body comprises of 78 news channels in 14 languages from 25 states.

• The members unanimously elected Goswami, who is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Republic TV, to be president of the governing board.

• The self-regulation mechanism of the body will be led by a chairperson, four eminent personalities and four editors.

Russia banned from global sports for 4 years over doping, to miss Olympics

• World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has handed a four-year suspension to Russian Athletics Federation from all major sporting events, which includes the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and World Championships.

• Russia’s anti-doping agency can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days.

• The ruling means Russian athletes will still be allowed to compete at the Tokyo Olympics as neutrals, but only if they can demonstrate that they were not part of what WADA believes was a state-sponsored system of doping.

• The Russian flag and national anthem have also been banned in global events.

• Earlier this year, WADA investigators and International Olympic Committee (IOC) had stated the Russian authorities tampered with a Moscow laboratory database to hide several potential doping cases.

Andreescu wins Canada’s athlete of the year award

• US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has become the first tennis player to win Canada”s athlete of the year award.

• The title is awarded each year to Canada”s top athlete, and Andreescu, 19, put together a strong case throughout her 2019 season, during which she won her first WTA title at the BNP Paribas Open — a Premier Mandatory tournament — and her second at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, a Premier 5 event that Andreescu grew up attending.

• The youngster later became the first from her country to win a Grand Slam singles title in the US Open,

Flamengo striker Barbosa wins Brazil’s Golden Ball

• Rio de Janeiro, Inter Milan loanee Gabriel Barbosa has won the Golden Ball for the best player in Brazil”s 2019 Serie A championship.

• He was one of seven Flamengo players named in the Serie A team of the year, joining goalkeeper Diego Alves, right-back Rafinha, midfielders Gerson, Willian Arao and Giorgian de Arrascaeta and forward Bruno Henrique.

• Others selected in Brazilian football”s ideal XI were Palmeiras defender Gustavo Gomes, Santos center-back Lucas Verissimo, Santos left-back Jorge and Palmeiras playmaker Dudu.

• Flamengo”s Portuguese head coach Jorge Jesus was named manager of the year and Corinthians forward Millene Fernandes was voted the outstanding women”s player.

• The best young footballer award went to 22-year-old Goias forward Michael Delgado.

Abu Dhabi selected as world’s leading sports tourism destination

• Abu Dhabi has been selected as the world’s leading Sports tourism Destination at the 26th edition of the World Travel Awards (WTA) being held in Muscat. This is the seventh time in a row that Abu Dhabi has been selected for this coveted award.

• The award is the latest in several prestigious accolades gained by Abu Dhabi this year, including being selected as the West Asia’s Leading Business Tourism Destination at the West Asia edition of WTA and Best City Break at the UK’s Selling Travel Agents’ Choice Awards.

• Abu Dhabi shined as a premium destination once again for sports tourism in 2019 after hosting some of the world’s top sporting events, such as the FIFA Club World Cup 2017 and 2018, the first edition of the UAE Tour, the AFC Asian Cup 2019, the Special Olympics World Games 2019, the UFC 242 showdown and the Brazil vs South Korea international friendly match.

• The UAE capital also continues to play host to annual acclaimed sports events including the Formula 1 Etihad Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi.

• Abu Dhabi has been making strides within sports tourism by developing sports facilities and events across the capital. Earlier this year, Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi had announced a five-year partnership with the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) to host annual premier fixtures in the capital as part of Abu Dhabi Showdown Week.

• The emirate has also recently won the rights to host the FINA Short Course World Championship in 2020.

• World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all key sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.

Paul Volcker, former Fed Chairman who curbed inflation, dies at 92

• Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve Chairman who helped tame inflation in the 1980s and carried out Wall Street reforms amid the global financial crisis, died at the age of 92.

• Volcker died due to complications from prostate cancer, said his daughter, Janice Zima.

• He was also an adviser to ex-Presidents Richard Nixon and Barack Obama.

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Important Current Affairs 9th December 2019

India ranks 129th in 2019 human development index; Top- Norway

• India has been ranked at 129th spot in the 2019 Human Development Index released by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Last year India was ranked 130th.

• As per the 2019 Human Development Report (HDR), the 2019 Human Development Index has been topped by Norway. Switzerland is on second while Ireland is on the third.

• South Asia was the fastest-growing region witnessing 46 Percent growth during 1990-2018.

Ex-Petroleum Secy Chaturvedi appointed NSE Chairman

• Former bureaucrat Girish Chandra Chaturvedi has been appointed as the Chairman of the governing board of the NSE.

• The development comes after NSE received regulator SEBI”s approval on Chaturvedi”s appointment. He held the post of Public Interest Director at the company.

• “The Board and the Management of National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE) welcomes Girish Chandra Chaturvedi, a retired IAS Officer and former Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, as the new Chairman of NSE,” the stock exchange major said in a statement.

India Among Top 10 in 2019 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI): Report

• The 2019 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) was presented at the ongoing COP25 climate summit in Madrid, Spain on December 10, 2019.

• India has for the first time emerged among the top 10 countries with higher climate performance.

• It has been ranked at 9th spot in the index for its Climate Policy performance among 57 countries and European Union.

• However, the first three places of the ranking remain unoccupied, since none of the countries is on a path compatible with the Paris climate targets, to implement strategies to limit global warming below 2 or even 1.5°C.

• Sweden (4th) and Denmark (5th) were the top rankers in the index.

• The ranking takes into consideration various criteria’s such as

• country’s energy use,

• its per capita emissions,

• its emission reduction targets for 2030,

• its national and international climate policy,

• renewable energy deployment and

• past trends of emissions.

Finland elects Sanna Marin, the youngest-ever Prime Minister

• Finland’s Social Democrats elected a 34-year-old former transport minister to the post of the prime minister, making her the youngest head of government in the country’s history.

• Sanna Marin narrowly won vote to replace outgoing leader Antti Rinne, who resigned after losing the confidence of the coalition partner Centre Party over his handling of a postal strike.

• At 34, Marin also becomes one of the world’s youngest state leaders, ahead of Ukraine’s prime minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, who is currently 35.

India to launch spy satellite, 9 others on Dec 11

• India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket would launch the country’s latest spy satellite RISAT-2BR1 and nine foreign satellites on December 11, said the Indian space agency.

• According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the rocket numbered as PSLV-C48 will lift off at 3.25 p.m. with RISAT-2BR1, a radar imaging earth observation satellite weighing about 628 kg.

• The rocket will blast off from the first launch pad at Sri harikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh and place RISAT-2BR1 into an orbit of 576 km. The satellite will have a life of five years.

• Piggybacking on the Indian satellite would be nine foreign satellites from the USA (multi-mission Lemur-4 satellites, technology demonstration Tyvak-0129, earth imaging 1HOPSAT), Israel (remote sensing Duchifat-3), Italy (search and rescue Tyvak-0092) and Japan (QPS-SAR – a radar imaging earth observation satellite).

• These international customer satellites are being launched under a commercial arrangement with New Space India Limited (NSIL).

International Anti-Corruption Day: December 9

• International Anti-Corruption Day is observed annually on 9 December to raise public awareness for anti-corruption.

• The day is observed since the passage of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on 31 October 2003.

• Theme 2019-‘United Against Corruption.’

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Important Current Affairs 8th December 2019

RBI allows ‘on tap’ Licensing of Small Finance Banks in the Private Sector

• The Reserve Bank of India has released the Guidelines for ‘on tap’ Licensing of Small Finance Banks in the Private Sector. On tap licensing means, that now one can apply to open a Small Finance Bank whenever he/she wishes to open. This is unlike the previous case where RBI has issued in-principle approval to ten applicants only, to open Small Finance Bank.

Here are some important points related to this:

• The licensing window will be open on-tap;

• minimum paid-up voting equity capital / net worth requirement shall be ₹ 200 crore.

• for Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks (UCBs), desirous of voluntarily transiting into Small Finance Banks (SFBs) initial requirement of net worth shall be at ₹ 100 crore, which will have to be increased to ₹ 200 crore within five years from the date of commencement of business.

• SFBs will be given scheduled bank status immediately upon commencement of operations

• Payments Banks can apply for conversion into SFB after five years of operations.

‘Friends’ actor Ron Leibman passes away at 82

• Ron Leibman, who played the father of Jennifer Aniston’s character in ‘Friends’, passed away due to pneumonia at the age of 82.

• Apart from ‘Friends’, Ron is also known for his roles in films like ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’, ‘Where’s Poppa?’ and the 1979 film ‘Norma Rae’.

• The actor also won an Emmy award in 1979 for TV series ‘Kaz’.

4th India Water Impact Summit 2019 held in Delhi

• The 4th India Water Impact Summit 2019 was held in New Delhi from December 5 to 7, 2019. Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat inaugurated the summit.

• It was organised by Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga) and was led by IIT-Kanpur.

• Theme of the event was: ‘Valuing Water – Transforming Ganga’.

• Objective of the summit: bringing together global financial investors and institutions to focus on water impact in smart cities.

Indian Junior Women’s Hockey team win 3-Nations Tournament in Australia

• The Indian junior women’s team has won the 3-Nations Tournament held in Australia from 3-8 December 2019.

• India secured 7 points to be placed at top position in the points table.

• Hosts Australia stood second while New Zealand finished third.

Jairam Sridharan steps down as Axis Bank CFO

• Jairam Sridharan, Group Executive and Chief Financial Officer and Key Managerial Personnel of Axis Bank, has stepped down from his post . He informed that he would like to pursue other career opportunities and as such has resigned from his services, Axis Bank said in a filing on Bombay Stock Exchange.

• Sridharan will continue to serve as the Group Executive and Chief Financial Officer of the bank under his notice period of three months, Axis Bank further stated in its statement.

• He joined Axis Bank in 2010 and was elevated to the group CFO’s position in 2015.

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Important Current Affairs 7th December 2019

RBI raises peer-to-peer lending limit five-times to 50 lakh

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has raised its lending limit to peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms five-folds to 50 lakh from current 10 lakh.

• However, the exposure of a single borrower is capped at 50,000 across all NBFC-P2P platforms.

• The decision was made after “a review of the functioning of the lending platforms and lending limit was carried out by RBI.”

• In the P2P industry, individual borrowers are connected to lenders through digital platforms, and the platform just plays the role of a marketplace. More than 15 companies have registered with the RBI as non-banking finance company P2P lending platforms.

Rajendran Chinna Veerappan Re-appointed MD & CEO of CSB Bank

• The board of directors of Kerala based CSB Bank (formerly known as Catholic Syrian Bank) has re-appointed Rajendran Chinna Veerappan as Managing Director and CEO of the Bank.

• He will serve the second three years terms with effect from 9 December till 8 December 2022.

• Veerappan has been on CSB board since November 2016 and his tenure was to end on 8 December.

Assam govt sets up Anti-Depredation squads

• The Assam government has set up 15 Anti-Depredation Squads of the Forest department to deal with human-wildlife conflicts in the state.

• The anti-depredation squads will be stationed in 15 major human-wildlife conflict districts of the state to deal with the problem and ensure the safety of both humans and animals.

• The anti-depredation squads will be equipped with all logistics required for mitigating the conflict. The squads will have 12 bore pump action guns and rubber bullet ammunition.

President Kovind Presents National Florence Nightingale Awards 2019

• The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, presented the National Florence Nightingale Awards to nursing personnel during a ceremony on December 5, 2019 in New Delhi as a part of the International Nurses Day.

• 36 nursing professionals were conferred the National Florence Nightingale Awards 2019 for their meritorious services.

• The award was instituted by the Government of India in 1973 and are named after Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

• The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Mid-wife.

• 2020 also mark the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.

Indian Army lifts Sudan Polo Cup

• The Indian Army team lifts Sudan Polo Cup, one the most prestigious polo tournament, beating beats British Army team . The match took place at the Jaipur Polo Grounds in Delhi between the both the polo teams.

• In a well contested match, the Indian team won the match by 5-3 following which Vice Chief of Indian Army Lieutenant General Manoj Mukund Naravane felicitated the teams.

• The Sudan Cup, is one of the most prestigious polo tournament, played between the British Army and the Indian Army alternately in India and UK. It was instituted in 1922.

Armed Forces Flag Day: 7 December

Armed Forces Flag Day or the Flag Day of India is observed annually in India on December 7 since 1949 as an honour to the soldiers, sailors and airmen of India who fought on the borders to keep the country safe.

India’s Top 10 Police Stations for 2019 announced

• Government has released the list of best performing Police stations from across the country. The Top 10 Police Stations in the country are:-

1.         Aberdeen- Andaman, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

2.         Balasinor- Mahisagar, Gujarat

3.         Ajk Burhanpur- Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh

4.         AWPS Theni- Theni , Tamil Nadu

5.         Anini- Dibang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

6.         Baba Haridas Nagar, Dwarka- South West, District Delhi

7.         Bakani- Jhalawar, Rajasthan

8.         Choppadandi (M)- Karimnagar, Telangana

9.         Bicholim- North Goa, Goa

10.       Bargawa- Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh

• The objective was to rank the top 10 Police Stations out of 15,579 Police Stations in the country through data analysis, direct observation and public feedback. The ranking process commenced with shortlisting of the best performing Police Stations, in each State on the basis of addressing

1.         Property offence

2.         Crime against women

3.         Crime against weaker sections.

• Number of Police Stations selected initially from each State comprise of:

1.         Three from each State with more than 750 Police Stations

2.         Two from all other States and Delhi

3.         One from each Union Territory

International Civil Aviation Day: 7 December

• The International Civil Aviation Day is celebrated every year on December 7 to recognize the importance of aviation to the social and economic development of the world.

• The Day was established in 1994 TO celebrate the 50th anniversary of International Civil Aviation Organization.

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