President of India inaugurated the 12th Global Healthcare Summit in Mumbai; centenary of world’s oldest yoga institute also inaugurated in Mumbai
On December 28, 2018, the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the 12th Global Healthcare Summit in Mumbai.
i. It was organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.
ii. In his address he announced that since the launch of Ayushman Bharat in September 2018, 6.5 lakh patients belonging to the deprived families have been hospitalized and over Rs. 850 crore has been spent for their medical treatments.
i. The President also addressed The Yoga Institute, Mumbai, which had marked 100 years of its establishment.
ii.He also launched the Sadbhaav Utsav Programme.
About Ayushman Bharat:
♦ Launched: September 2018.
♦ Other names: PM Jan-Arogya Yojana, National Health Protection Scheme.
♦ Target: 10.74 crore poor families to get benefit of Rs. 5lakh per family per year.
♦ 1st Health centre launched at Bijapur, Chhattishgarh in April 14, 2018.
♦ CEO: Dr. Indu Bhushan.
♦ Capital: Mumbai.
♦ Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis.
♦ Governor: C. Vidyasagar Rao.
♦ National Parks: Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve, Chandoli National Park, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Navegaon National Park.
Railways enhanced combined reservation quota of lower berths for senior citizens and women passengers
On 27th December 2018, The Railways enhanced the combined reservation quota of lower berths for senior citizens, female passengers of age 45 or above and pregnant women passengers in mail, express, Rajdhani and Duronto trains.
i. In Rajdhani, Duronto and other fully air-conditioned trains, the number of lower berth seats earmarked for Senior citizens, Women of age 45 or more and pregnant women passengers will be increased from 7 to 9.
ii. In Sleeper, AC–Three tier and AC-two tiers trains 12 lower berths seats are presently reserved for Senior citizens, Women of age 45 or more and pregnant women passengers.
iii. The seats in Sleeper, AC- three tiers and AC-two tiers train will be increased to 13 for the trains having single coach of the designated class. For the trains having more than one coach of designated class, the seats will be increased to 15.
Ministry of Railway
♦ Union Minister: Piyush Goyal
♦ Minister of State: Manoj Sinha and Rajen Gohain
♦ Headquarters: Rail Bhawan, New Delhi
India’s first lift bridge, worth Rs.250 crores, to reconnect Rameswaram with mainland India in 4 years: Railway Ministry
On December 26, 2018, Ministry of Railways announced their plan to build India’s first lift bridge to reconnect Rameswaram in Arabian Sea with mainland India in the next 4 years.
i. The bridge,over two-kilometre-long, which is likely to cost Rs. 250 crore, will have a 63-metre stretch.
ii. This will replace the existing 104-year-old Pamban bridge which has a total length of 2,058 m.
iii. It will be three-metre higher than the existing bridge with navigational air clearance of 22 metre above sea level.
Center has given an extension of 6 months to complete the ongoing exercise for updating the NRC in Assam
On 28th December, 2018, the Center has given an extension of six months to complete the ongoing exercise for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam by 30th June, 2019 as the enumeration of citizens in the NRC cannot be completed within the earlier specified date of 31st December, 2018.
i. The Registrar General of India, Mr. Sailesh issued a notification that stated the Central Government considers the extension necessary in lieu of public interest to complete the update of National Register of Citizens.
ii. The first notification regarding the same was issued by the Government on 6th December, 2013 and had set a deadline of 3 years to complete the entire process but since then five extensions have been given but the exercise had not been completed.
iii. The draft NRC was published on 30th July, 2018 and excluded 40 lac people from the list which stirred a huge controversy. It included 2.9 crore people out of the total 3,29 crore applications.
♦ Capital: Dispur
♦ Chief Minister: Sarbananda Sonowal
♦ Governor: Jagdish Mukhi
Rosogolla fest kicks off in Kolkata with the launch of postal stamp of the inventor
On 28th December 2018, a postal stamp dedicated to the inventor of Rosogolla, West Bengal’s spongy and syrupy round-shaped sweet, Mr. Nabin Chandra Das was launched at the three-day Rosogolla fest known as “Bagbazar-O-Rasogolla” in Kolkata, West Bengal. The Rosogolla fest will conclude on 30th December 2018.
i.The Rosogolla fest “Bagbazar –O-Rosogolla” was organized at Bagbazar Gourimata Udyan marking the 150th year of its invention.
ii. West Bengal won the Geographical Indication (GI) for ‘Banglar Rosogolla’ on 14th November 2017.
iii. A statue of Inventor, Mr Nabin Chandra Das was also unveiled on the inauguration day of Rosogolla fest.
♦ Chief Minister: Mamta Banerjee
♦ Governor: Keshari Nath Tripathi
♦ National Parks (NP): Jaldapara NP, Buxa NP, Neora Valley NP, Gorumara NP, Singalila NP
Delhi Police became the first police force in country to digitise all malkhanas
On December 28, 2018, Delhi Police becomes first police force in country to digitise all malkhanas across every police station in the state under the e-malkhana project.
i. Accordingly, around 3,11,600 case properties have been encrypted in digital form.
ii. Also, the e-malkhana project of the remaining 10 districts at Chinamaya Mission was also inaugurated by the Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik.
iii. The efforts of the personnel involved in the project was commended and certificate of merit to 14 personnel — one from each district, was presented.
iv. A booklet on e-malkhana functioning was also released and a short film on how the project was executed was shown.
v. Malkhanas are rooms for keeping seized arms and ammunition.
NHRC launches toll free helpline 14433 facility to file complaint through CSC:
On 28th December, 2018, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) launched a toll-free number 14433 and a facility to file complaints through Common Service Center (CSC).
i. The toll-free number is 14433 and has been unveiled by Justice (retd.) H.L.Dattu, Chairperson of NHRC at the headquarters of the body, Manav Adhikar Bhawan.
ii. People can now send their complaints related to human rights violation through both the toll free number and CSCs, although the toll-free number will only be available during office hours.
iii. A collaboration between NHRC and CSC has been formed and the service has been provided to 750 CSCs with at least one in each district. Secretary General of NHRC, Mr. Ambuj Sharma also mentioned that the service will be expanded to all CSCs in a phased manner.
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Date of Establishment: 12th October, 1993
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI extends liquidity sops for banks to March 31
On 28th December 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the relaxation offered to banks for offering liquidity support to non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) until March 31st 2019, the facility which was initially available up to 31stDecember 2018.
i. In order to facilitate banks to lend to NBFCs and Housing Finance Corporations (HFCs), it has allowed banks to use government securities equivalent to their outstanding credit for non-bank lenders, NBFC and HFC, in addition to the outstanding credit they had for October 19, to comply with the requirements of the liquidity coverage index (LCR).
ii. The highly liquid assets that banks and financial institutions hold to meet their short-term obligations is known as LCR.
iii. Besides this the facility of single borrower limit for NBFC (not financing infrastructure), which was increased from 10% to 15% of the capital funds until December 31, 2018 has been extended until March 31, 2019.
After the NBFC sector faced a short-term fund crisis in September, the RBI allowed the banks to reckon government securities as liquid assets within the mandatory statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) needs up to 0.5% of the bank’s deposits for incremental lending to NBFCs and HFCs after October 19 under the Facility to Avail Liquidity for Liquidity Coverage Ratio (FALLCR).
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
♦ Governor: Shaktikanta Das
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
Gross NPAs jump to 11.2% or Rs 10.39 tln in FY18: RBI Report
On 28th December 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released the ‘Trends & Progress of Banking in 2017-18’ report which stated that, system-wide Gross Non-Performing Assets (GNPA) of banks rose to 11.2 % or at Rs 10.39 trillion in FY18 from 9.3 % a year ago.
i. The share of public sector banks stood at Rs 8.95 trillion or at 14.6 percent due to restructured advances slipping into NPAs and better NPA recognition whereas Private sector banks’ GNPA ratio stood at a much lower level of 4.7 percent.
ii. The report stated that the resolute efforts on the part of private sector banks to clean up their balance sheets through higher write-offs and better recoveries also contributed to their lower GNPA ratios.
iii. In terms of the net NPA ratio, state-run banks saw significant deterioration at 8 percent in FY18 from 6.9 percent year-ago.
iv. On the other hand the Asset quality of foreign banks improved marginally to 3.8 percent in FY18 from 4 percent in FY17.
v. In FY18, the share of doubtful advances in total gross NPAs increased sizeably to Rs 5.11 trillion or 6.7 per cent of the system, driven up by state-run banks whose ratio stood at 9 percent.
vi. Besides this a high-value fraud involving Rs 50 crore and above constituted about 80 percent of all the frauds during 2017-18 and almost 93 percent of frauds worth Rs 10 lakh or more occurred in state lenders while private banks accounted for only 6 percent.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
♦ Governor: Shaktikanta Das
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
Center Doubles Export Incentives for Onion Farmers to 10%
On 28th December, 2018, the Government of India doubled export incentives for onion farmers to 10% in lieu of the sharp decline in the onion prices in the recent weeks due to the supply of new crop from major onion producing centers in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
i. This move will result in better price for onion in the domestic markets and this will also help the farmers who have harvested their produce recently and who have sown their crops expecting better prices.
ii. The existing export incentive was 5% and it is granted under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS). Also, the export incentive for onions before July, 2018 was zero.
About Ministry of Agriculture and Framer’s Welfare:
♦ Union Minister: Shri Radha Mohan Singh
♦ Ministers of State: Shri Purushottam Rupala, Smt. Krishna Raj and Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Pakistan Cabinet Approves Issuance of “Panda Bonds” in Chinese Currency
On 28th December, 2018, Pakistan Cabinet approved the issuance of Pakistan’s one-of-its-kind Panda Bonds after a meeting presided by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
i. The approval for issuance of bonds in the capital markets of China was given effect to the delay issuance of US dollar dominated Euro bonds worth 3 billion dollars.
ii. Finance Minister, Asad Umar told the interest rate may range above 5.5% but the final price would be determined only at the time of launching the bond. The size, tenure and pricing would be determined on the basis of market response.
iii. The bonds will help the government diversify the investor base of capital market issuance and provide a source of raising Renminbi, the Chinese Currency.
♦ Capital: Islamabad
♦ Currency: Pakistani Rupee
♦ President: Arif Alvi
India’s Fiscal Deficit Hits Around 115% of FY19 Target for the Apr-Nov period; main reason being deficit in Tax receipts
On December 27, 2018,India’s Fiscal deficit for April-November stood at Rs 7.17 lakh crore which is 114.8 per cent of earlier full-year estimates of fiscal deficit that was predicted to be Rs 6.24 lakh crore, or 3.3 per cent of the GDP, for FY19.
i. It is slightly more than the 112 per cent recorded in the same period last fiscal i.e., FY18.
ii. Total expenditure up to November was Rs.16,13,208 crore which is 66.1 per cent of the budget estimate of Rs 24.42 lakh crore.
iii. This shows that the main reason for the deficit was in the difference in tax receipts that stood at Rs 8.9 lakh crore which is 49.32% of corresponding BE 18-19 of Total Receipts.
iv. Following shows the breakdown for better understanding:
The total tax receipts comprised of:
- Tax revenues: Rs. 7,31,669 crore,
- Non-Tax Revenue: Rs. 1,38,637 crore and
- Non-Debt Capital Receipts: Rs. 26,277 crore.
Rs. 4,31,963 crore has been transferred to the State Governments as State Tax.
♦ Union Minister: Shri Arun Jaitley.
♦ Minister of State: Shri Shiv Pratap Shukla, Shri P. Radhakrishnan
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
7 minute “Finding Beauty in Garbage”: Best Short documentary film in Asia South East International Short Film Festival at Phnom Penh, Cambodia; directed by IRS officer in Dibrugarh, Assam
On December 28, 2018, the 7 minutes long “Finding Beauty in Garbage”, film received the Best Short documentary film award in Asia South East International Short Film Festival at Phnom Penh in Cambodia.
i. It has also been selected for special screening for 2018 Short and Sweet Film festival Utah, USA, Ooty Film Festival and Bengal International Film festival.
ii. The film was produced, directed and scripted by Satyamam Dutta who is an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) Officer.
♦ Capital: Phnom Penh.
♦ Currency: Cambodian riel.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Telangana’s MNJ Institute of Oncology and Regional Cancer Centre entered Guinness Book of World Records; also received ‘High Range Book of World Records’ recognition
On December 28, 2018, Telangana’s MNJ Institute of Oncology and Regional Cancer Centre entered Guinness Book of World Records ‘for organising the largest men’s Health Awareness programme on prostate cancer on a single day.’
i. The programme was organised on October 26, 2018 and 487 participants took part in it.
ii. This is the first Guinness World Records achievement for the state government in the field of medicine.
iii. The hospital also received recognition from ‘High Range Book of World Records’.
iv. Thus these made MNJ Institute the first and only government hospital in the state of Telangana to get 2 world records.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Greenhouse Gas Emissions up 22% between 2010 and 2014
On 28th December 2018, an Official data released by Government of India that has to be submitted to the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention of Climate change in every 2 years says that India’s total Greenhouse emissions grew by more than 22 per cent between 2010 and 2014.
i. The greenhouse gas emissions reached a level of 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2014 and has created a net carbon sink of at least 300 million tonnes.
ii. Carbon dioxide absorption through forests and croplands has also gone up. The energy sector including electricity generation, transport and other fuel combustion activities are the main reason for the above mentioned effect.
Uzbekistan promotes 2019 as year of investment in backdrop of wider business with India
On 28th December 2018, the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced 2019 as the ‘Year of Active Investment and Social Development’ in the backdrop of proposed investments from India to boost economy of the Central Asian country, in his annual address to the Parliament.
i. The President stated that concrete measures will be taken on creating an open economy, radically improving the business environment and investment climate and reducing the state presence in the economy.
ii. He stressed that investment was the driver of economy, new technologies, advanced experience and highly qualified specialists come with investments into all sectors and regions.
iii. Uzbekistan has invited India for making large scale investments across sectors in Uzbekistan taking advantage of economic reforms and SEZs.
iv. The president informed that in 2018, Uzbekistan implemented 76 thousand projects worth 21 trillion Uzbek soums (UZS) and 1 billion USD.
♦ Currency: Uzbekistani som
♦ Capital: Tashkent
♦ President: Shavkat Mirziyoyev