Current Affairs Updates - 20 December 2017
The 56th Liberation Day of Goa was celebrated with great pomp & show in Panaji on December 19, 2017.
- Several programmes and events have been organised to mark the occasion. The state was liberated on this day in 1961 from Portuguese control after almost 450 years of colonial rule. The armed action “code name – Operation Vijay” was carried out by the Indian Armed Forces in December 1961.
Minorities Rights Day in India is celebrated on 20 December 2017.
- Minorities Rights Day in India is a very significant day in order to promote and preserve the rights of people belonging to linguistic, religion, castes and color minority. In India, frequent disagreements and discussion on majority-minority issues creep up creating religious and political disharmony. Even though the Indian Constitution has always advocated and provided equal and fair rights to all the communities including minorities, but certain issues concerning the rights of minorities keep creeping in.
The government has engaged private lender ICICI Bank to enable online payments at 470 mandis integrated with national portal of electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM).
- At present, e-NAM participants are doing payments through traditional ways via bank branches, debit cards and net banking.
India currently ranks 60th out of 127 countries on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2017 as compared to 66th rank on GII 2016. The list is topped by Switzerland.
- The list was topped by Switzerland. NITI Aayog, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) together launched a mega initiative “India Innovation Index”.
Ola is acquiring Foodpanda India from Germany based Delivery Hero Group.
- While the companies did not disclose the details of the deal size, sources have pegged the stock-based acquisition at under 50 million dollar. The move will also see Ola invest another 200 million dollar, as it takes on rival UberEats and incumbents like Zomato and Swiggy.
Government to bear MDR charges on digital transactions up to Rs 2,000.
- The government will bear the MDR charges on transactions up to Rs 2,000 made through debit cards, BHIM UPI or Aadhaar-enabled payment systems to promote digital transactions.
Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said India will host a meeting of about 40 WTO members in February to muster support for food security and other issues.
- We are trying to call a meeting of almost 30-40 countries (WTO ministerial) in Delhi in February just to help multi-lateral process," Prabhu said here at an event organised by Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC).
- He, however, did not give details of the meeting.
With the introduction of NTA, NEET - the national level medical entrance exam - and JEE - national level engineering entrance exam - might be conducted twice a year to give an opportunity to the students to bring out their best performance.
- The Centre is setting up a National Testing Agency (NTA), an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation, to conduct the entrance exams for the higher educational institutions, Mr Kushwaha said in response to a written question in the Lower House of Parliament.
The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet approved a policy that would offer transgenders in the state pensions, ration cards, plots for housing and financial aid to open businesses.
- Under the policy, the government will provide Rs 1,500 a month to transgender people above 18 years of age as a social security pension. It is only the third state after Kerala and Odisha to provide a pension for transgenders, ANI reported. The scheme is expected to benefit 26,000 transgenders in the state.
The Punjab government has imposed a complete ban on manufacturing, sale, production, storage, supply, and usage of the kite-flying thread made out of nylon, plastic or any other synthetic material including the Chinese ‘manjha’ (dor) in the state.
- Disclosing this development, an official spokesman said that any other kite-flying thread that is sharp or made sharp by lacing the same with glass, metal or any other sharp materials has also been banned.
National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar retired from the post after completing his five-year tenure.
- Justice Kumar resigned as Supreme Court judge after he was appointed NGT chairperson on 20 December 2012. His successor is yet to be appointed.
Iraq has overtaken Saudi Arabia for the first time to become Indias top crude oil supplier in the current fiscal, helped by sales of discounted heavy crude.
- Saudi Arabia traditionally has been Indias top oil source but in the April-October period of 2017-18, Iraq dethroned it, supplying 25.8 million tonnes (MT) of oil.
The Supreme Court has come out with a series of directions to ensure that public infrastructure is accessible to differently-abled persons and ordered that the June 2019 deadline set by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 to make all government buildings providing public services made fully accessible to them be strictly adhered.
- Disposing of a PIL filed by one Rajiv Raturi, a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said on Friday, “There cannot be any dispute about the rights of the differently-abled persons, particularly those who have visual impairment with which category we are concerned in the present case, to provide them adequate access to all the facilities on the road as well as convenient access to transport facilities etc."
A tribal village in Chhattisgarh Balrampur district got electricity connection for the first time since Independence.
- Expressing happiness over the development, a villager said that the electricity supply would help their children do well in their studies.
Summit /Conference / Events / Host
Union Minister, Kiren Rijiju will inaugurate the first national-level Training of Trainers programme to sensitise various Central Ministries and Departments on utilisation of Sendai Monitor for developing action plans for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
- The three-day programme is being organised by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction-Global Education and Training Institute (UNISDR-GETI) from December 18-20, 2017.
Awards & Honours
Joda East Iron Mine (JEIM) of Tata Steel has been honoured with the prestigious Golden Peacock Innovation Management Award for the year 2017 for driving innovation in mines.
- The coveted award, given in recognition of innovation management, was received by Debashis Jena, Chief Joda, Tata Steel at Institute of Directors India’s 2nd Global Convention held at Singapore recently, a Tata Steel release said toda
Eminent Bengali poet Joy Goswami will be given the 31st Moortidevi Award for the year 2017.
- The committee, headed by poet and scholar Satya Vrat Shastri, unanimously decided to confer the award upon Goswami for his poetry collection titled Du Dondo Phowara Matro.
- It is the first time the award will be given to a Bengali poet.
- Du Dondo Phowara Matro is an autobiographical account of the poets life featuring his close ones including a pet cat.
G. Satheesh Reddy, Scientific Adviser to Raksha Mantri and Director General, Missiles and Strategic Systems, has been conferred with the prestigious National Design Award.
- Satheesh Reddy spearheads Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex, 'the Missiles hub of India', steering the design and development of a wide variety of tactical and strategic missile systems. His contributions have left a lasting imprint on the technology map as well as on the defence preparedness of the country and paved the way for self sufficiency in missile systems and technologies.
BBC Sports Personality 2017: England women cricketers win team award.
- England women's cricketers won the Team of the Year award at the BBC Sports Personality show after their 2017 World Cup triumph.
- They beat India by nine runs after a stunning fightback in the final at Lord's in July.
BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2017: World 10,000m champion Mo Farah wins.
- The 34-year-old, a four-time Olympic champion, won his third successive world 10,000m gold medal in London in August - despite almost falling twice late in the race.
- He becomes the first long-distance runner to win the Sports Personality award since Paula Radcliffe in 2002.
Sports: Awards & Honours
Junior National Badminton Championships: Aakarshi Kashyap wins titles in U-17 and U-19 categories
- Promising shuttler Aakarshi Kashyap lived up to her billing as she secured double crown at the 42nd Junior National Badminton Championships 2017 that concluded in Guwahati, Assam on Monday. The 16-year-old, touted to be a next generation star, won the girls’ singles title in both the under-17 and the under-19 sections at this tournament.
India finishes 1st at junior boxing championship in Germany.
- The Indian junior boxing contingent finished at the top of the medal tally after the boxers clinched six gold, four silver, and one bronze medal at the fifth International Sven Lange Memorial Tournament in Germany. Boxer Bhavesh Kattamani, who won a gold in the 52kg category, was chosen as the tournament's best boxer. India was named the tournament's best team.
Keely Smith, a pop and jazz singer known for her solo recordings of jazz standards as well as her musical partnership with Louis Prima, has died of apparent heart failure in Palm Springs.
- According to a news release from her publicist Bob Merlis, Smith was under a physician's care when she died Saturday. She was 89.