Current Affairs Updates - 21 December 2017
International Human Solidarity Day is celebrated on 20 December
New Appointments: National
The government has appointed Justice U D Salvi as officiating chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) following the superannuation of Justice Swatanter Kumar.
- Sources said Salvi is likely to remain in the saddle until his retirement on February 13, 2018, as the five-member panel, which was introduced in June this year to recommend the chairperson candidate, is yet to meet even once.
HDFC Bank to raise Rs 24,000 crore through sale of shares to fund growth.
- In a statement to BSE Limited and the National Stocks Exchange of India, the company said the decision was taken under Regulation 30 and provisions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015.
World Bank has committed 125 million dollar (around INR 800 crore) loan to India for the STRIVE project for skill development.
- The objective of the operation (Skills Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement) is to improve access to quality and market-driven vocational training as well as apprenticeships, the Finance Ministry said.
AU Small Finance Bank has announced signing an MoU with Sahaj e-Village for extending its banking service in remote areas through Business Correspondent Agent (BC) model.
- With this MoU, AU Bank will be able to further foster its mission of financial inclusion and greater customer outreach. Started in 1996, as AU Financiers, today AU Small Finance Bank has a track record of over twenty years of serving the underbanked and unbanked.
YES Bank and the European Investment Bank will co-finance 400-million dollar funding for renewable power generation in the country.
- The new financing programme will streamline financing for a range of renewable energy projects being built and operated by leading Indian corporations and private sector developers,” YES Bank and EIB said in a joint statement issued here today.
With an aim to create more depth in the Indian debt market, ICRA Management Consulting Services (IMaCS), an arm of ICRA, on Tuesday launched a set of four fixed income indices including one on corporate bonds.
- ICRA Gilt Indices, ICRA Liquid Indices, ICRA Corporate Bond Indices and ICRA Composite Debt Indices, the four indices launched, would help asset managers and financial services companies make objective analysis and provide comprehensive benchmarking of debt portfolios.
The Hyderabad state government’s prestigious Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) finally gets the green nod.
- The expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest recommended the “proposal for grant of environmental clearance” in its meeting held on December 5 in Delhi. The minutes of the meeting were available on Monday. The green nod for the project will be a big boost to the state government. However, the Centre has put some conditions before granting the clearance.
Shri Kiren Rijiju, inaugurated 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) in New Delhi
- The three-day programme starting today has been 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).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced financial assistance worth Rs 325 crore to Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep for relief work in the aftermath of cyclone Ockhi.
- The financial assistance is over and above the assistance of Rs 280 crore to Tamil Nadu, and Rs. 76 crore to Kerala disbursed earlier in December 2017, a statement by the PMO said.
AYUSH Ministry sets up research institute to boost Ayurveda.
- The activities are carried out through 30 institute/Centres/Units under CCRAS located all over India and also through collaborative studies with various universities, hospitals and institutes. The research activities of the council include medicinal plant research (Medico-ethno botanical survey, pharmacognosy and tissue culture), Drug Standardization Pharmacological Research, Clinical Research, Literary Research & Documentation, and other outreach activities
Niti Aayog, the government's policy making body, will soon move a Cabinet note outlining the roadmap for a methanol mission for India through a Rs 5,000-crore methanol economy fund to kickstart generation of this alternate energy source from January 1, 2018.
- The Aayog, under its member VK Saraswat, will hold a high-level meeting of its taskforce on methanol economy on Wednesday following which a roadmap will be laid out to initiate a methanol mission for the country.
Haryana Revenue and Disaster Management department has decided to hold a mega mock exercise on earthquake in all 22 districts of the state. The exercise would be conducted in coordination with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), New Delhi.
- The representatives of military, paramilitary forces, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), National Security Guard (NSG), all the concerned departments and other stakeholders would participate in the exercise.
Apple has named Michel Coulomb as the head of sales for its operations in India, a key market for the iconic iPhone maker.
- He succeeds Sanjay Kaul, who has stepped down from the post. When contacted, the company confirmed the development.
The Andhra Pradesh Government in association with the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) is planning to establish a centre of excellence for children with learning differences as well as a "gaming for e-learning hub".
- It will be the first of the its kind in India and in Asia-Pacific region, according to Anantha Kumar Duraiappah, Director of UNESCO MGIEP.
- He was speaking here on Monday at the end of a three-day TECH-2017 on education jointly organised by the Andhra Pradesh Government and the UNESCO.
A bill to amend the companies law to strengthen corporate governance standards, initiate strict action against defaulting companies and help improve ease of doing business in the country, was passed by Parliament.
- The Rajya Sabha passed the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2017 by a voice vote. It was adopted by the Lok Sabha in July this year during the Monsoon Session.
France's parliament has approved a law banning all exploration and production of oil and natural gas by 2040 within the country and its overseas territories.
- The French government claims the ban is a world first. However, it is largely symbolic since oil and gas produced in France accounts for just 1 percent of domestic consumption. The rest is imported.
Russian bobsledder Alexey Voevoda has been given a life ban from the Olympics for anti-doping violations at the Sochi Games where he won two gold medals, the International Olympic Committee IOC) said .
- The decision comes two weeks after the IOC banned Russia from next year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics for what it called “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system.
Defence & Railway
Indian navy in collaboration with its Sri Lankan counterpart successfully completed the second phase of the joint oceanographic survey conducted off the South Western Coast of Sri Lanka.
- The first phase of the joint Hydrographic survey was conducted from 29 March to 11 May in the southern seas while the third phase of the survey is scheduled to be carried out from Great Basses to Sangamankanda next year.
In an eco-friendly measure to cut power consumption, the Indian Railways said it planned to make all stations cent per cent LED lit by March 31, 2018.
- The railways said it was actively working to provide 100 per cent LED lighting for energy needs in railway staff colonies, stations and platforms.
In a significant show of strength, the army's Southern Command is conducting a major exercise called 'Hamesha Vijayee' in the deserts of Rajasthan to evaluate the capability of the armed forces to strike deep into enemy territory.
- The exercise is being conducted in an integrated air-land battle scenario. Units of the formations have been undergoing training for the past two months to hone their skills and tactics, said the army.
The skill development ministry and Maruti Suzuki signed an agreement to impart training to youth and enhance their employment potential.
- As part of the agreement with the Directorate General of Training (DGT) which comes under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, "Maruti Suzuki will ensure that not less than 80 per cent of trainees are placed with Maruti Suzuki or its business partners.
The government of Andhra Pradesh has entered into an agreement with the moonshot factory of Alphabet- X - to bring the breakthrough Free Space Optical Communication (FSOC) technology in order to provide internet through the government Fibergrid project.
- This association with X labs to implement FSOC in AP is first of its kind in the world to provide wireless internet connection at a higher speed of up to 20Gbps and to a distance of up to 20kms.
- This significant partnership will offer a major boost to the state's digital infrastructure and help overcome hindrances in terms of connecting isolated and difficult terrain, forest areas, river crossings, railway crossings etc
The Assam government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Isha Foundation for the conservation and rejuvenation of rivers in Assam.
- Assam became the sixth state in the country to sign a MoU with the non-profit, spiritual organization.
- The Assamese civilisation has been enriched by Brahmaputra and Barak and saving these great rivers is one of the prime objectives of the state government. These rivers are the lifelines of our state — they have been sustaining our economy and influencing our culture."
Bharti Airtel signs agreement to buy Millicom's operations in Rwanda
- Bharti Airtel has entered into a definitive agreement with Millicom International Cellular under which Airtel Rwanda Limited will acquire 100% equity interest in Tigo Rwanda Limited, thus consolidating the Rwandan telecom market by putting Airtel as a strong No 2 operator in Rwanda.
Awards & Honours
Shree Saini, a resident of Washington state, was crowned Miss India USA 2017.
- The 21-year-old, who is a student at the University of Washington, said she wants to lead a life dedicated to service.