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Important Current Affairs 17th January 2019

Awards

WCD shortlists 26 children for National Award this year 
•    The Women and Child Development Ministry have shortlisted 26 children for the national award this year for their bravery, social service and exceptional achievement in the fields of innovation, sports and arts.
•    The National Selection Committee, under the Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, finalised the names of awardees for Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2019.
•    The Committee also finalised the names of two individuals and three institutions for Bal Kalyan Puraskar.


WHO Goodwill ambassador Yohei Sasakawa to get Gandhi Peace Prize for 2018
•    Gandhi Peace Prize for 2018 will be conferred on Yohei Sasakawa who is Goodwill Ambassador of the World Health Organization for Leprosy Elimination.
•    The award will be given to Mr Sasakawa in recognition of his work towards the eradication of the disease in India and across the world.
•    Ekal Abhiyan Trust has been chosen for the award for the year 2017 while Akshaya Patra Foundation and Sulabh International will share the award for 2016. Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari bagged the award for 2015.
 

Space News

ISRO schedules its first launch this year on Thursday next week
•    National space agency ISRO has scheduled its first launch this year on Thursday next week. PSLV C-44 will lift off from the spaceport Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, carrying a student satellite called Kalamsat and an imaging satellite known as Microsat-R.
•    One of the specialities of the mission this time would be the configuration of the rocket. 
•    It will carry only two strap-on motors by the sides of the first fuel stage at the bottom.
•    This is the first time the launch vehicle is built in this configuration, known as PSLV-DL. 
•    Furthermore, after parking the satellites in the intended orbits, the fourth stage of the rocket will be taken to a circular orbit in space for carrying out certain experiments by the scientists.
 

National News

Government to set up over 460 more Eklavya Model Residential Schools across the country 
•    The government will soon set up over 460 more Eklavya Model Residential Schools across the country.
•    The government is spending about 25 thousand crore rupees on these schools.
•    Eklavya Model Residential Schools have expanded into a major education system in the country after Vidyalaya and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas.


15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to be held in Varanasi from January 21-23 
•    The 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be organised in Varanasi from January 21-23, 2019.
•    This year, the participants will also have the opportunity to participate in Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj and Republic Day celebrations at New Delhi. Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, will be the Chief Guest of the Convention.


Magnitude 6 quake jolts Nicobar Islands region 
•    A strong earthquake of magnitude 6 hit the seismologically prone Andaman and Nicobar Islands on January 17
•    There was no tsunami alert issued as sea levels around the Andaman Nicobar archipelago showed no major rise
•    The earthquake hit the region at 8.43 am and its epicentre was Nicobar Islands region.


SBI, other banks agree to finance Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Corridor
•    A consortium of banks led by StateBank of India has agreed to provide finance for Nagpur-Mumbai 'SamruddhiCorridor' expressway project.
•    SBI has agreed to lend the highest amount, 8,500 crore rupees.
•    Other lenders include Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank ofMaharashtra as well as the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India.
•    The estimated cost of the project, being constructed by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, is around 50,000 crores, of which around26,000 crores are required for the construction of the expressway. 
•    The corridor will have 25 toll plazas, and the toll will be collected for 40 years.
 

Sports

India’s Satyarup becomes world’s youngest mountaineer to climb 7 peaks, 7 volcano summits
•    Mountaineer Satyarup Siddhanta today conquered Antartica's highest point, Mount Sidley. 
•    With this feat, he became the first Indian and youngest man to climb the seven highest peaks and volcanic summits across all continents.
•    According to the in-Reach Satellite, Communicator Satyarup was carrying, he summited Mount Sidley at 6. 28 in the morning Indian Standard Time at a temperature of minus 40-degree Celsius.
•    He achieved the feat at the age of 35 years and 262 days. Australia's Daniel Bull had done it at the age of 36 years 157 days.
 

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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 7th January 2019

Sports

Scripting history, India scores maiden series win in Australia 
•    India scripted history winning the first ever series on Australian soil beating the home team 2-1 after the fourth and final Test ended in a tame draw due to inclement weather.
•    It is a rare first Down Under for India since Lala Amarnath's side visited the country back in 1947-48 months after independence to face Sir Don Bradman's 'Invincibles'
•    India has also become the first ever Asian team to win a Test series in Australia.
 

Awards

'Bohemian Rhapsody' wins best film
The Golden Globes 2019 was held at the The Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills, California, United States
Complete list of winners
Film
•    Drama- “Bohemian Rhapsody”
•    Actress, Drama- Glenn Close, “The Wife”
•    Actor, Drama- Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
•    Comedy or Musical- “Green Book”
•    Actor, Comedy or Musical- Christian Bale, “Vice”
•    Actress, Comedy or Musical- Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
•    Actress-Supporting Role- Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
•    Actor-Supporting Role- Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
•    Foreign Language Film- “Roma”
•    Best Director- Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
•    Screenplay- Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, “Green Book”
•    Animated- “Spider-Man- Into the Spider-Verse”
•    Original Score- Justin Hurwitz, “First Man”
•    Original Song- “Shallow,” “A Star Is Born”
Television
•    Drama- “The Americans”
•    Actress, Drama- Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
•    Actor, Drama- Richard Madden, “Bodyguard”
•    Musical or Comedy- “The Kominsky Method”
•    Actress, Musical or Comedy- Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
•    Actor, Musical or Comedy- Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”
•    Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- “The Assassination of Gianni Versace- American Crime Story”
•    Actress, Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- Patricia Arquette, “Escape at Dannemora”
•    Actor, Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- Darren Criss, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace- American Crime Story”
•    Actress, Supporting Role, Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- Patricia Clarkson, “Sharp Objects”
 

National news

Polavaram project enters Guinness Book of World Record for concrete pouring 
•    The Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh on Monday entered the Guinness Book of World by pouring 32,100 cubic metres of concrete in 24 hours. 
•    The concrete work to make the spillway began at 8 am on Sunday and concluded at 8 am this morning. 
•    The project beat the existing record of 21,580 cubic metres which was achieved by Abdul Wahed Bin Shabib, RALS Contracting LLC and Alfa Eng. Consultant (all UAE), in Dubai between May 18 and 20 in 2017.
 

Economy and banking

Banks get a breather on bad loans 
•    For the first time since the bad loan saga began to play out six years ago, Indian banks have reported a decline in the proportion of loans gone bad for the half-year ended September 2018.
•    Their aggregate Gross Non-Performing Asset (GNPA) ratio dipped from 11.5% in March 2018 to 10.8% in September 2018. The GNPA ratio captures the proportion of loans in a bank’s books on which borrowers haven’t repaid dues for more than 90 days.
 

International news

Malaysia’s king abdicates in historic first 
•    Malaysia’s king has abdicated in a historic first for the country that ended weeks of speculation about his future after he took medical leave.
•    Sultan Muhammad V’s decision marks the first time a king has abdicated in the country since it gained independence from Britain in 1957.
•    Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with a unique arrangement where the throne changes hands every five years between rulers of the nine Malaysian States headed by centuries-old royalty. The rotating monarchy system has been in place since independence from Britain in 1957, and Sultan Muhammad V is the first monarch to have renounced the throne.
 

International relations

U.S., China hold crucial talks to ease trade war 
•    Delegates from the US and China on Monday began the crucial face-to-face negotiations here to ease a bitter trade war between the world’s two largest economies amid growing concerns about China’s slowing economy and its impact on American businesses.
•    The US and China have been locked in an escalating trade spat since early 2018, raising import tariffs on each other’s goods.


OVL makes oil discovery in Colombia 
•    ONGC Videsh Ltd., the overseas arm of State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) has made a second oil discovery in Colombia that has increased prospects of its onland block in the South American nation.
•    OVL is the operator of the block with 70% stake while Petrodorado South America S A Sucursal (PDSA) of Colombia holds the remaining 30%.
•    The well was spudded on November 7, 2018, and the company completed drilling on December 15, 2018.


Norwegian PM arrives in New Delhi 
•    Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg has arrived in New Delhi on a three-day state visit to India. 
•    She was accompanied by senior officials from her government and a large business delegation. 
•    She will participate in the Indo-Norwegian Business Conference.
•    She will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She will also call on President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will call on the visiting dignitary.
•    The Norwegian Prime Minister will deliver the Inaugural address at the Raisina Dialogue.
 

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Important Current Affairs 6th January 2019

National News

Govt allocates Rs 10,900 cr for development of 40 satellite launch vehicles in next 4-years
•    Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman Dr K Sivan has said that the Union Government has allocated 10,900 crore rupees for the development of 40 satellite launch vehicles in the next four years.
•    Pointing out that the Centenary year celebrations of ISRO founder Dr Vikram Sarabhai will be held next year, Dr Sivan said that ISRO will rededicate itself to become a world class organization, capable of addressing the varied socio economic challenges of the nation.


9-day long International Kite Festival kicks off in Ahmedabad 
•    In Gujarat, the nine-day long international kite festival kicked off at Sabarmati River Front in Ahmedabad
•    About 500 kite fliers 13 different states of the country and 19 cities of Gujarat are also taking part.
•    The festival is also planned at Vadodara, Kevadiya, Dwaraka, Surat, Rajkot, Jetpur, Songadh, Saputara and Dhordo in the coming days.


Govt notifies High-Level Committee for implementation of Clause VI of Assam Accord 
•    The government has notified a High-Level Committee for implementation of Clause six of the Assam Accord.
•    The clause envisaged that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, should be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the people of Assam.
•    The nine-member committee, comprising of eminent Assamese persons from different fields, is headed by former bureaucrat MP Bezbarauah. 
•    The committee will examine the effectiveness of actions since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.


Cabinet approves 10% job quota for ‘economically weaker’ upper castes 
•    The Union Cabinet Monday approved a 10 per cent reservation for ‘economically backward’ upper castes in government jobs. 
•    Ahead of the General Elections this year, the government has announced reservation in jobs for those belonging to the upper castes and earning less than Rs 8 lakh per year.
•    A bill to amend Article 15 and 16 of the constitution will be moved in Parliament to this effect.
•    The Supreme Court has capped the quota for caste-based reservation for government jobs at 50%.
 

International News

Egypt opens West Asia's largest cathedral in its New Administrative Capital 
•    Egypt has opened West Asia's largest cathedral in its New Administrative Capital, 45 kilometres east of Cairo. 
•    President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated the newly-built Cathedral of Nativity and also a mosque yesterday on the eve of Coptic Christmas.
•    The ceremony was attended by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and a host of Arab dignitaries. 
•    It included recorded video messages of support from the region's top Christian clerics as well as Pope Francis.
 

Sports News

Head Constable Rani wins gold medal in Senior National's Judo C'Ship 
•    Lady head constable Rani of 5th Indian Reserve Battalion of Himachal Pradesh Police won a Gold medal in the Senior National Women's Judo Championship at Visakhapatnam
•    She claimed top honours in the 78 kg category. 
•    Rani was also declared the best Judoka at the Championship.

Awards News

WCD minister Maneka Gandhi confers National Anganwadi Awards 
•    Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi today conferred National Awards to 97 Anganwadi workers for their exceptional achievements for the year 2017-18 in New Delhi.
•    The award is given to motivate the Anganwadi workers and recognize their exemplary services in the field of child development and related areas under the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme.
 

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Important Current Affairs 5th January 2019

National news

Swachh Survekshan 2019 launched across 4,237 Urban Local Bodies
•    The Minister of State (I/C), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Shri Hardeep S Puri has officially kicked off the Swachh Survekshan 2019, the fourth edition of the annual cleanliness survey of Urban India
•    This year, the survey will be conducted across 4,237 towns and cities between January 4 - 28, 2019. The completely digital and paperless survey will be completed in a record time of 28 days. 
•    As a prelude to encouraging cities to improve urban sanitation, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) had conducted ‘Swachh Survekshan-2016’ survey for ranking 73 cities in January 2016. 
•    This was followed by ‘Swachh Survekshan-2017’ conducted in January-February 2017 where 434 cities were ranked. 
•    The third round of survey ‘Swachh Survekshan-2018’ was a quantum leap of scale - conducted across 4,203 cities, in a record time of 66 days, and became the largest ever sanitation survey in the world, impacting around 40 crore people.


NGT imposes Rs 100 Cr fine on Meghalaya govt
•    The National Green Tribunal has imposed a fine of 100 crore rupees on Meghalaya government for its failure to curb illegal coal mining in the state.
•    The amount of the fine has to be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board within two months. The action comes after a high-level committee submitted an adverse report to a bench headed by NGT chairperson AK Goel.
•    The report stated that majority of the mines in the state are operating without a lease or licence.

Lok Sabha passes Aadhar, Companies Amendment Bill
•    The Lok Sabha on Friday passed Aadhaar and other laws (Amendment Bill) 2018 and Companies Amendment Bill 2018. The Aadhaar Bill seeks to amend the Aadhaar Act, 2016, the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
•    It provides for voluntary sharing of the 12-digit identification number for obtaining new mobile phone connections and opening bank accounts. The government move comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s judgment.
•    The Apex court in September last year struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that made seeding of the biometric ID with SIMs and bank accounts mandatory, stating that it had no legal backing.
•    The Companies (Amendment), Bill, 2018 replaces the Ordinance promulgated in November last year.

International news

China develops its own 'Mother of All Bombs’ 
•    China has developed a massive bomb, said to be the country's answer to the US-built 'Mother of All Bombs', the most powerful non-nuclear weapon, as per a report by official media.
•    A state-run Global Times reported that China's defence industry giant NORINCO for the first time showcased the aerial bomb, the country's largest non-nuclear bomb.
•    The daily said it is dubbed as the Chinese version of the "Mother of All Bombs" due to its huge destruction potential that is claimed to be only second to nuclear weapons
•    Although China is using the same nickname for its bomb, said to weigh several tonnes, the Chinese weapon is smaller and lighter than its American counterpart.
•    To match the US weapon, Russia developed the "Father of All Bombs" which is both bigger and thermobaric, meaning it uses gas to create a huge fireball rather than a shockwave.


James Jeffrey to Replace Brett McGurk as Top U.S. Envoy in ISIS Fight
•    Ambassador James Jeffrey will replace Brett McGurk as the United States Special Envoy to Defeat ISIS
•    McGurk resigned in late 2018 over disagreements with President Donald Trump’s strategy to resign from Syria, leaving office on Dec

Awards


Young entrepreneurs honoured with National Entrepreneurship Awards 
•    Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday honoured outstanding young entrepreneurs with National Entrepreneurship Awards in New Delhi.
•    The awards aim to recognize and honour outstanding young first-generation entrepreneurs and those who have contributed immensely in building the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
•    A total of 43 awards were given this year. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Prabhu said, the government will provide full support to the young entrepreneurs to enhance their business.

AP govt bags CBIP award for Polavaram project 
•    The Andhra Pradesh government on Friday bagged the Central Board of Irrigation and Power (CBIP) award for speedy execution of Polavaram multipurpose project on the Godavari river.
•    AP Water Resources Minister Devineni Umamaheswar Rao received the award in the category of “Best Implementation of Water Resources Project” for better planning, implementation and monitoring at an event

Sports

80th National Table Tennis Championship begins in Cuttack
•    80th National Table Tennis Championship begins in Cuttack
•    As many as 35 teams, including 550 players from different parts of the country are participating in the mega championship.
•    Medal winners at Commonwealth Games and Asian Games Manika Batra, Senior players like Sharath Kamal, Madhuriba Patkar, Olympian Ankita Das are some of the key players who will be in the limelight during the event.

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Important Current Affairs 25th December 2018

National News

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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

Awards

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

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Important Current Affairs 23th December 2018

(National News)

Government approved Mahindras Rs.1,900 crore tourism plan

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

CMRL to launch mobile app to book a ride 

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

Tripura government plans fresh literacy survey 

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

(International News)

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

(Awards News)

40 workers conferred Prime Minister Shram Awards 2017

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

About Prime Minister Shram Awards 2017:

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

(National News)

National Mathematics Day 

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

NITI Aayog releases Sustainable Development Goals Index 

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

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

Tata Motors partners with Zoomcar to deploy Tigor EVs in Pune 

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

Gujarat tops government's first-ever state startup rankings 

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

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

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

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

(International News)

US Defence Secretary James Mattis resigns from his post

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

(Awards News)

Mamata Banerjee awarded the Skoch CM of the Year Award 

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

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Important Current Affairs 20th December 2018

National News

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Space News

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

Awards

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

International News

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


 

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Important Current Affairs 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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