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.

President of India 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.
Other News:
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.
Key Points
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.

India's first lift bridge, worth Rs.250 crores, to reconnect Rameswaram with mainland India in 4 years: Railway Ministry

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.
Key Points:
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.
About Assam:
♦ 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.
Key Points
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.
West Bengal
♦ 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.

Police became the first police force in country to digitise all malkhanas

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).
Key Points:
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.
About NHRC:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Date of Establishment: 12th October, 1993


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.

RBI extends liquidity sops for banks to March 31

Key Points:
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.
Key Points:
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.
Key Points:
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


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.

Pakistan Cabinet Approves Issuance of Panda Bonds in Chinese Currency

Key Points:
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.
About Pakistan:
♦ 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.
Finance Ministry:
♦ Union Minister: Shri Arun Jaitley.
♦ Minister of State: Shri Shiv Pratap Shukla, Shri P. Radhakrishnan


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 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.


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’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.’

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

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.


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.
Key Points:
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.
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.
About Uzbekistan:
♦ Currency: Uzbekistani som
♦ Capital: Tashkent
♦ President: Shavkat Mirziyoyev



Hooda panel recommends creation of specialised information warfare units, restructuring of military intelligence

A single-member Hooda panel, set up by the Defence Ministry and the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) has recommended creation of new specialised units for information warfare in areas where the counter-insurgency operations are being conducted.
Key Points:
i. The panel which was set up by the government based on the recommendation of Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra about five months ago was headed by former Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General (retired) DS Hooda who had overseen the surgical strikes conducted across the Line of Control (LoC) in 2016.
ii. He has recommended that the Army should set up the specialised information warfare units on an experimental basis and evolve them as per the output received from their operations besides restructuring of the cyber warfare operations.
iii. It has recommended that the Army and the Air Force should sort out their issues such as the ownership of attack helicopter and utilisation of air defence assets which are common for both the services.
iv. He has also suggested scaling down the size of regular Army by about 20 per cent and instead, having a reserve Army which can be called upon for war-fighting in case of conflicts.
v. The panel has also suggested that the Army Special Forces which are used for tactical operations against terrorists in both Jammu and Kashmir and the North-eastern states should be utilised in a better way.
About Indian Army:
♦ Chief of the Army Staff (COAS): General Bipin Rawat
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Motto: “Service Before Self”

ALIMCO’s 6th Auxiliary Production unit and Limb Fitting Center inaugurated in Ballabhgarh, Faridabad

On December 29, 2018, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar, attented the inaugural function of ALIMCO’s 6th Auxiliary Production Unit and State-of-the-Art Limb Fitting Center as the Chief Guest in Village Nawada, Tigaon, Ballabhgarh, Faridabad.
i. The foundation stone for establishment of State-of-the-Art Rehabilitation Center was laid on June 16, 2018.
ii. For the establishment, Chief Minister Haryana approved appox. 5 Acre land at Village NawadaTigaon, Block Ballabhgarh, District Faridabad (Haryana) to ALIMCO at the lease rate of Rs. 1/- per Acre per year.
iii. This facility is equipped with high-end machines for providing best and quality service to the Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjans).
iv. Contemporary Assistive Aids and Devices like Motorized Tricycle, Wheelchairs, Walking Stick and Crutches etc. will be manufactured in ALIMCO’s Auxillary Production Unit of Nawada, Faridabad.
v. At Present, it has Auxiliary Production Centres (AAPCs) situated at Bhubaneswar (Orissa), Jabalpur (MP), Bengaluru (Karnataka), Chanalon (Punjab) and a new production unit in Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh).
Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO):
♦ Under Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt. of India.
♦ Headquarters: Kanpur.
♦ Chairman and MD: Shri. D.R. Sarin.

Eight day 11th Bengaluru International Film Festival to commence in February 2019

On December 29, 2018, it was announced that the 8-day 11th Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFES) will start in February 7, 2019. It will conclude in February 14, 2019.

i. The theme of the Festival would be ‘Nature’s Fury.’
ii. It will be organized by:  the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy and Department of Information and Public Relations of Government of Karnataka.
iii. The festival is always held on first Thursday of February every year.

Chariot festival celebrated in Madurai Meenakshi temple in Tamil Nadu

On December 29, 2018, Chariot festival was celebrated in Madurai Meenakshi temple in Tamil Nadu.
i. The Chapparam (Chariot) festival symbolizes the importance of preserving all kinds of food and fodder.
ii. A specialty of the festival is that the chariot of Goddess Meenakshi is pulled by lady devotees alone.


UNGA adopts Russian Resolution on International Information Security

On 28th December, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted two Russian Resolutions on International Information Security (IIS) and has been backed by India regarding the same. This has been done for achieving democratic, inclusive and transparent UN negotiations process on security in the use of information and communication technologies.
Key Points:
i. The two resolutions are: “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security” and “Countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes” and has thus, a new chapter has been opened by UN on IIS.
ii. These documents are the world’s first code of conduct in the digital paradigm and hence creates the foundation for peaceful interaction and to prevent war, confrontation and other aggressive actions.
iii. The resolution has been supported by several countries and has been co-authored by 30 countries and it’s key aim is to launch a broad transparent political discussion on combating information crime.
About United Nations General Assembly:
♦ Headquarters: New York, United States
♦ President: Maria Fernanda Espinosa


ESAF small finance bank gets RBI nod to operate as scheduled bank

The Thrissur, Kerala-based ESAF Small Finance Bank has received the Reserve Bank approval to operate as scheduled bank making it the fifth scheduled bank that operates from Kerala after Federal Bank, South Indian Bank, Catholic Syrian Bank, and Dhanlaxmi Bank.

ESAF small finance bank

Key Points:
i. The ESAF Small Finance Bank Ltd has received the RBI’s approval for inclusion in the second schedule of the RBI Act, 1934 paving its way to operate as scheduled bank.
ii. In 2016, RBI gave approval to ESAF MFI along with 9 other applicants to start banking operations as a small finance bank and within two years of its commencement of operations, it has received the scheduled bank tag.
iii. On the operation front, the ESAF Small Finance Bank has a network of 432 outlets across 13 states with 2.6 million customers and a loan book of Rs 4,660 crore and deposits if over Rs 3,300 crore.
iv. Its capital- to-risk-weighted-asset (CRAR) ratio stands at 27.39 per cent.
About ESAF Small Finance Bank:
♦ Managing Director & Chief Executive: K Paul Thomas
♦ Headquarters: Thrissur, Kerala

PSBs approved loans worth over Rs 37,400 cr for MSME sector under ’59 minutes’ loan scheme

On December 29, 2018, Public sector banks have approved more than 1.12 lakh loan applications of MSMEs worth of 37,412 crore rupees under the government’s ’59 minutes’ loan scheme.
i. As per reports given out by the Union Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla, as on 25th of December, out of over 1.31 lakh applications, the state-owned banks have accorded in-principal approval to 1.12 lakh applicants.
ii. Also sanctions have been made in respect of 40,669 cases totalling over 14 thousand crore rupees.
About 59 minutes loan scheme:

  • According to the scheme, GST-registered Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) can take loan up to one crore in just 59 minutes through ‘psbloansin59minutes.com‘ portal.
  • It is a part of PM Modi’s 12-point action plan for MSMEs.
  • The automated, contact-less business loan approvals are provided for loans worth Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1 crore.
  • The rate of interest starts from 8% and these loans are connected to Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme.
  • The website reduces the turnaround time from 20-25 days to 59 minutes.
  • After approval, the loan will be disbursed in about a week.


AAAR okays GST on inter-state office services

The Karnataka Appellate Authority for Advance Rulings (AAAR) has upheld the levy of goods and services tax on services rendered by one office branch to other branches of the same company located in different states.
Key Points:
i. In its ruling which will affect the companies with a presence in multiple states, the AAAR said that in-house service functions such as human resources and payrolls, if carried out from a centre in one state for offices in other states, will attract GST for which it will have to issue an invoice.
ii. The decision will add the transaction costs and compliance burden for the companies with offices in many states, even though the tax paid can be adjusted against their final GST liability.
iii. The companies that deal in goods or services that are exempt from GST such as healthcare and education, and petroleum and liquor companies, which are out of the ambit of the tax will not have the option of adjusting the tax paid on in-house transfers.
iv. The Authority for Advance Rulings held that the employer-employee relationship in the corporate office exists only there and not with other office units even if they are part of the same legal entity, as far as the GST law is concerned.
About Karnataka:
♦ Chief Minister: H.D.Kumarasawamy
♦ Governor: Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala
♦ Capital: Bengaluru


Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Shahbaz Ahmed resigned

On December 29, 2018, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Shahbaz Ahmed resigned over mistreatment of the national sport in the country.
i.He had earlier been the captain and has been serving as the secretary for 3 years.


Sixth National Report submitted by India to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD)

On December 29, 2018, the Union Environment Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan on behalf of the Indian government submitted India’s 6th National Report (NR6) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the inaugural session of the 13th National Meeting of the State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) in New Delhi.
i. The meeting was organized by the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
ii. He also released the document ‘Progress on India’s National Biodiversity Targets: A Preview’.
About the Report:
i. India is among the first five countries in the world, the first in Asia and the first among the bio-diversity rich megadiverse countries to have submitted NR6 to the CBD Secretariat.
ii. The NR6 provides an update of progress in achievement of 12 National Biodiversity Targets (NBT) developed under the Convention process in line with the 20 global Aichi biodiversity targets.
iii. According to the report, India has exceeded/overachieved two NBTs, it is on track to achieve eight NBTs and in respect of the remaining two NBTs also within the stipulated time of 2020.
iv. Following cites the highlights of India’s pace with the achievements:

  • 20 percent of its total geographical area under biodiversity conservation.
  • India has exceeded the terrestrial component of 17 percent of Aichi target 11, and 20 percent of corresponding NBT relating to areas under biodiversity management.
  • India has been investing a huge amount on biodiversity to the tune of Rs 70,000 crores per annum as against the estimated annual requirement of nearly Rs 1,09,000 crores
  • India has nearly two third of the population of wild tigers in the world.
  • The population of lion has risen from 177 in 1968 to over 520 in 2015, and elephants from 12,000 in 1970s to 30,000 in 2015.
  • One-horned Indian Rhino which was on the brink of extinction during the early 20th century, now number 2400.
  • in India only 0.08% of the species recorded are in the category of ‘Endangered Species’.

♦ Parties are required under Article 26 of the Convention on Biological Diversity to submit national reports to the Conference of the Parties on measures taken towards the implementation of the Convention and their effectiveness in meeting the objectives of the Convention. The sixth national reports are to be submitted by 31 December 2018.
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD):
♦ Headquarters: Montreal, Canada.
♦ Number of Parties: 196 countries.


Former Nigerian President Shehu Shagari died at 93

On December 29, 2018, Former Nigerian President Shehu Shagari passed away at 93. He was the 2nd President of Nigeria.

2nd Nigerian President Shehu Shagari died at 93

i. He was in power as the President from 1979 to 1983.

Oscar-and Grammy-winning lyricist Norman Gimbel died at 91

On December 29, 2018, Oscar-and Grammy-winning lyricist Norman Gimbel died at 91.


i. He was best known for writing the lyrics of “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and “The Girl From Ipanema”.
ii. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984.


Space and Nuclear Research Centers in India 02

Take quizzes and check your score instantly. Moreover, this quiz contains expected questions which match the Exam Pattern of most of the Competitive Exams. This will give you a fair idea about in which section you need to focus more on the upcoming competitive exams.

Space and Nuclear Research Centers in India

1. Physical Research Laboratory
2. Nuclear Fuel Complex
3. Space Application Centre
4. Thumba Equatorial Launching Station
5. Indian Scientific Satellite Project
6. Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre
7. Space Commission
8. Nuclear Power Complex
9. Centre of Earth Science Studies
10. Electronics Corporation of India


Space and Nuclear Research Centers in India

Take quizzes and check your score instantly. Moreover, this quiz contains expected questions which match the Exam Pattern of most of the Competitive Exams. This will give you a fair idea about in which section you need to focus more on the upcoming competitive exams.

Space and Nuclear Research Centers in India

1. Uranium Corporation of India
2. Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics
3. India Rare Earths Limited
4. Radio Astronomy Centre
5. College of Satellite Communication Technology
6. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
7. Electronics Corporation of India
8. Atomic Energy Commission (ABC)
9. Indian Space Research Organization
10. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre



National News

Important Cabinet Approvals: 28th December 2018


i. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the following set of approvals. The important Cabinet Approvals are given as follows:

ii. The Cabinet has approved-

1. Submission of India’s Second Biennial Update Report (BUR) to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
2. Setting up of the National Commission for Homoeopathy (NCH) Bill, 2018.

India Announces INR 4,500 Crore Assistance To Bhutan

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Rs4,500 crore financial assistance to Bhutan for its 12th five-year plan after holding wide-ranging talks with his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering. 

ii. The new five-year plan of Bhutan began in 2018 and will continue till 2022.

National Children’s Science Congress Begins In Bhubaneswar

i. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated 26th edition of National Children’s Science Congress in Bhubaneswar in which as many as 800 students from ten Asian and seven Gulf countries are participating.

ii. This year’s theme is ‘Science, Technology and Innovations: For clean, green and healthy nation’.

Useful Info-

  • Ganeshi Lal is the present Governor of Odisha.

Ministry Signs MoU To Develop A Mobile Audio Guide App For 5 Iconic Sites

i. K J Alphons, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, handed over a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’scheme to Resbird Technologies for development of a mobile Audio Guide App for five iconic sites.

ii. The five iconic sites for which the mobile Audio Guide App is to be developed are Amer Fort (Rajasthan), Kaziranga (Assam), Colva Beach (Goa), Kumarakom (Kerala) and Mahabodhi Temple (Bihar).

Useful Info-

  • The “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan” scheme is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and State/UTs Governments.

12th Annual ISDSI Conference Held in Mumbai


i. SPJIMR hosted the 12th Annual Indian Subcontinent Decision Sciences Institute (ISDSI) Conference at SPJIMR, Mumbai. The theme of this international conference is “Data-Driven Decision Making in the Digital Age”.
ii. The main objective of this conference is to provide a platform for academicians, researchers and practitioners to disseminate research, providing insights into the challenges, opportunities, emerging strategies and analytical tools in the domain of decision making. 

41st Meeting of Central Sanctioning and Monitoring  Committee Held in New Delhi

i. The 41st meeting of the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee was held in New Delhi. In the meeting, the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has approved the construction of another 3,10,597 more affordable houses for the benefit of urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban).
ii. A total of 864 projects with a project cost of Rs 14,662 crore with central assistance of Rs 4,658 crore has been approved in the meeting held under the Chairmanship of Durga Shankar Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Uttar Pradesh has been sanctioned 1,08,135 houses while the sanction for Karnataka is 1,05,502 affordable houses.

Maharashtra Launches Vajpayee International Schools For Rural Students

i. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has launched the‘Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Schools’ for students in rural areas.
ii. Initially, 13 Zilla Parishad (ZP) schools would be part of the international board and it would be expanded in the coming years.

International News

Turkmenistan Launches First Messaging App 

i. Turkmenistan has launched its first messaging app BizBarde. The privately developed BizBarde app will allow the exchange of messages, files, photos and videos, the state Yaslyk television station announced.

ii. One of the world’s most isolated regimes, the ex-Soviet republic has blocked Western services including Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, and Viber, along with popular Russian networks Odnoklassniki and VKontakte.

Useful Info-

  • Turkmenistan Capital: Ashgabat,  Currency: Manat.

Nepal Caps Expenditure Of Its Citizens In India

i. Nepal imposed a monthly limit on the amount of Indian currency its citizen can spend in India. A spokesperson of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) stated that a Nepali citizen would be unable to spend more than INR 1 lakh per month while paying for goods and services in India.
ii. The decision was taken to address the country’s current account deficit. The policy applicable to prepaid, credit and debit cards of Nepali banks came into effect.

Useful Info-

  • Nepal Capital: Kathmandu,  Currency: Nepalese rupee.


Madhya Pradesh’s Divya Patidar Joshi Crowned Mrs. India 2018 Title


i. The Mrs. India My Identity Beauty Pageant 2018 finale was held in Delhi and Divya Patidar Joshi was crowned with the prestigious honor.

ii. Hailing from Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam, Divya won the crown of Mrs India this year from among 24 promising contestants. 


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International Organisation

1. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
2. International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)
3. World Economic Forum
4. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
5. Federation International de Football Association (FIFA)
6. International Olympic Committee
7. International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
8. Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
9. World Chess Federation
10. International Renewable Energy Agency



Researchers built Virtual Reality (VR) 3D model of cancer

Scientists from Cancer Research U.K. Cambridge Institute (CRUK) have built a Virtual Reality (VR) 3D model of cancer that allows viewers to fly through tumour cells, observing every detail from different angles. The advance paves the way for better understanding cancer and developing new treatments for it. The tumour can be studied in detail and from all angles with each individual cell mapped. Researchers started with a 1 mm cubed piece of breast cancer tissue biopsy, containing around 1,00,000 cells. They cut wafer thin slices, an then stained them with markers to show their molecular make-up and DNA characteristics.  The tumour was then rebuilt using VR, which allows multiple users from anywhere in the world to examine it. VR headsets magnifies the pinhead sized cells to appear several metres across. 

Japan announces IWC withdrawal, will resume commercial whaling

Japan is withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and will resume commercial whaling in July 2019, in a move expected to spark international criticism. The IWC, established in 1946 to conserve and manage the world’s whale and cetacean population, introduced a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986.

Israel permits medical marijuana exports

Israel’s Parliament approved a law to permit exports of medical marijuana, allowing Israel to tap the lucrative global market. Israel will become the third country, after the Netherlands and Canada, to take its medical cannabis global. The Israeli Cabinet is yet to approve. This step is seen as a formality. iCAN, the Israeli medical cannabis company, said that the global industry will reach $33 billion in the next five years, as stigma fades and demand grows for the few countries certified to export. The law was approved on 25th December 2018, sending cannabis company shares rising by about 10%. The law was stalled for years over fears from security officials that medical marijuana would leak into the black market. To assuage concerns, the law empowers police to supervise licensing.

Adani Ports and SEZ delivered 50 US made GE locomotives to Indian Railways

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has concluded the import and delivery of 50 U.S.- made General Electric (GE) locomotives to the Indian Railways. All the 50 GE locomotives were manufactured by GE Electromotive Division in the U.S. and imported to Mundra Port, Gujarat. The final locomotive was handed over to the Railways at the Roza Loco Shed (U.P.) on November 23, 2018. The port said it had handled consignments critical for the development of the nation.

Iran held talks with the Afghan Taliban

Just days after the militants attended reconciliation talks in the UAE, Iran has met with the Afghan Taliban. The announcement was made by Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, during his visit to Kabul. The Afghan government has been informed of the communications and talks carried out with the Taliban and this process will continue. No details on where the talks took place were given by the news agency, which is considered close to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Thailand becomes 1st country in Southeast Asia to legalize medical marijuana

The junta-appointed parliament voted 166-0 to amend the Narcotic Act of 1979 to legalise the medicinal use of marijuana. Marijuana was used in Thailand to relieve pain and fatigue until its use was criminalised in the country in the 1930s. In Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, marijuana traffickers who are caught, face capital punishment.

DIPP Swachh Bharat Grand Challenge Awards Presented

As part of the Swachhta Pakhwada held from, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) organized a Swachh Bharat Grand Challenge.  Four areas of sanitation, waste management, water and wastewater management and air management were selected for the grand challenge. The first prize money for the Swachh Bharat Grand Challenge was Rs. 2 lakh. 1. Sector – Air 1st Prize Maclec technical project laboratory pvt. Ltd, Delhi. 2. Sector – Sanitation 1st Prize Altersoft Innovations India Private Limited, Kerala (Cochin). 3. Sector – Waste 1st Prize Sanshodhan An E-Waste Exchange Private Limited, Telangana. 4. Sector – Water 1st Prize REVY Environmental Solutions Pvt Ltd, Gujarat.

Russia successfully tested hypersonic missile

Russia successfully tested the hypersonic missile system. The hypersonic missile could fly at 20 times the speed of sound and manoeuvre up and down, meaning that it could breach defence systems. Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed final tests of a hypersonic missile, which he had earlier said would render existing missile systems obsolete. He also said that Russia has a new type of strategic weapon, the intercontinental Avangard system would be ready for use from 2019. Mr.Putin had unveiled features of the Avangard during his annual address in March. The final test is after U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to pull out of a key Cold War-era nuclear weapons pact, the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Mr.Putin has laid out plans to develop missiles banned under the deal if the U.S. abandons it.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh released the book Prince, Patron and Patriarch Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala

Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, released the book ‘Prince, Patron and Patriarch Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala’, co-authored by the Maharaja’s grandson, Brigadier (Retd) Jagjit Singh, and Cynthia Frederick in Chandigarh. Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore was also present on the occasion of the launch of the book. The book which is published by Roli Books is a candid tribute by a grandson to the erstwhile exceptional royal king of Kapurthala.

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting inducted into ICC Hall of Fame

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting became the 25th Australian cricketer to be officially inducted into the International Cricket Council’s Hall of Fame at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). A three-time World Cup winner (including two World Cups as captain in 2003 and 2007), Ponting did a lap of honor as part of his induction during the tea break on Day-1 of the Boxing Day Test between India and Australia at MCG. In February 2018, he was also inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame. Ponting is the highest run scorer for Australia in both Tests and ODIs, with 13,378 runs in the longest format and 13,704 runs in the 50-over format.

Centre to arrange meeting of Karnataka and TN CMs

The Centre has decided to call a meeting of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers soon. The meeting is to resolve the issue regarding the proposed construction of the Mekedatu dam across the Cauvery river. Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy discussed the issue in detail with Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari in a meeting. Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the Mekedatu project will benefit Tamil Nadu. He also assured that he will direct his officials to fix a meeting of chief ministers of the two states at the earliest.

Govt extended ban on import of milk products from China for 4 months will April 23, 2019: DGFT

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) announced the extension of the ban on import of milk and its products, including chocolates, from China for four months till April 23, 2019. The ban was first imposed in September 2008 and later extended due to the suspicion of the presence of melamine in some milk consignments from China.

UP cabinet approves setting up of Bundelkhand, Poorvanchal development boards

Uttar Pradesh Cabinet presided over by the chief minister Yogi Adityanath, gave its nod to constitute a Bundelkhand Development Board (BDB) and a Poorvanchal Development Board (PDB). The development boards for Bundelkhand and Poorvanchal will be headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath or someone nominated by him. Besides Chairman, the board will include two deputy-chairmen, two experts, 12 official members, and 11 non-government members and their tenure would be for a period of three years. The cabinet approved the setting up of the UP Traders Welfare Board to address the problems faced by traders in the state with regards to the GST. The cabinet also gave its nod to a proposal of giving 25 percent discount to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on the purchase of land for establishing a Rs 2,300-crore software development unit in Noida which would employ 30,000 people.

Tribal community Baduga celebrates annual Heddaiyamman festival: Tamil Nadu

The tribal Badaga community in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu celebrated their annual Heddaiyamman festival. People will observe 48 days fast and walks in religious processions and holding up a holy shaft which symbolizes the miracle of the traditional Badaga goddess.



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International Organisation

1. Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
2. World Meteorological Organisation
3. World Health Organisation
4. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
5. International Hydrographic Organization
6. International Labour Organisation
7. Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)
8. International Hockey Federation (FIH)
9. International Atomic Energy Agency
10. UN Women



National News

HM Rajnath Singh Releases The List Of Best Performing Police Stations

i. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh released the list of best-performing police stations across the nation during the ongoing DGP conference. On the top of the rank-list stands Kalu police station of Rajasthan.

ii. Singh awarded trophies to the police officers of the top three policestations of India in 2018 at the conference. The top three police stations in India for 2018 are:

  1. Kalu (Bikaner, Rajasthan).
  2. Campbell Bay ( Andaman & Nicobar Islands).
  3. Farakka (Murshidabad, West Bengal).

Atal Ayushman Uttarakhand Yojana Launched In Uttarakhand

i. ‘Atal Ayushman Uttarakhand Yojana’ has been launched in Uttarakhand. Under the scheme, each household in the state will be able to avail medical treatment of up to 5 lakh rupees annually. The scheme will benefit 23 lakh households and cover 1,350 critical diseases.
ii. Launching the Yojna in Dehradun, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat distributed scheme-related golden cards to beneficiaries.

Useful info-

  • Uttarakhand Governor: Baby Rani Maurya.

International News

1st Meeting of Follow-up Committee Held In Iran 

i. The first meeting of the Follow-up Committee for implementation of the Trilateral Chabahar Agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran was held in the port city of Chabahar in Iran.

ii. India Ports Global Limited company opened its office and took over operations at Chabahar. They agreed on the routes for the trade and transit corridors between the three countries. 

Useful Info-

  • Iran Capital: Tehran, Currency: Iranian rial. 

India Takes Over Operations Of Chabahar Port In Iran

i. Indian firm India Ports Global Limited formally took over the operations of Chabahar’s Shaheed Behesti port in Iran, which opens a trade route between India and central Asia bypassing Pakistan.
ii. The company opened its office following the first meeting of the follow-up committee for implementation of the trilateral Chabahar Agreement between India, Iran, and Afghanistan.

Useful Info-

  • Iran President: Hassan Rouhani, Capital: Tehran, Currency: Iranian rial.


Rafi Award Conferred To Laxmikant And Usha Timothy 

i. The Mohammed Rafi Award has been bestowed upon late music composer Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and playback singer Usha Timothy.

ii. Kudalkar, of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo, was given the Mohammed Rafi Lifetime Achievement Award consisting of 1 lakh rupees and a trophy. 

DIPP Swachch Bharat Grand Challenge Awards Presented

i. As part of the Swachhta Pakhwada held from, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) organized a Swachch Bharat Grand Challenge. 

ii. The 1st Prize money for the Swachch Bharat Grand Challenge was Rs. 2 lakh. The awards were given away by Secretary DIPP, Ramesh Abhishek in New Delhi.

1. Sector – Air
1st Prize
Maclec technical project laboratory pvt. Ltd, Delhi.

2. Sector – Sanitation
1st Prize
Altersoft Innovations India Private Limited, Kerala (Cochin).

3. Sector – Waste
1st Prize
Sanshodhan An E-Waste Exchange Private Limited, Telangana.

4. Sector – Water
1st Prize
REVY Environmental Solutions Pvt Ltd, Gujarat.


P.V. Bharathi Appointed MD and CEO of Corporation Bank 

i. P V Bharathi has been appointed as managing director and chief executive officer of the Corporation Bank. Bharathi is at present Executive Director, Canara Bank. She will replace Jai Kumar Garg. 

ii. She will take over the charge on or after February 1, 2019. Birupaksha Mishra and Balakrishna Alse S have been appointed as executive director in the Corporation Bank and the Oriental Bank of Commerce, respectively.

Useful Info-

  • Corporation Bank Headquarters in Mangalore.

Important Days

Good Governance Day: 25 December

i. Bharat Ratna and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’sbirthday is celebrated as Good Governance Day across the country on 25 December

ii. The Samadhi of Bharat Ratna and Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee Sadaiv Atal was dedicated to the Nation.

iii. The Samadhi has been completed by CPWD at a cost of over ten crore rupees and the entire cost of construction has been borne by the Atal Smriti Nyas Society.


Paddy Ashdown: Ex-Liberal Democrats Leader Passes Away

i. Centrist politician Paddy Ashdown has died aged 77 after a short illness. 

ii. He quit in 1999 and went on to become the European Union’s special representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Padma Shri Awardee Sulagitti Narasamma Passes Away 

i. Social worker and Padma Shri awardee Sulagitti Narasamma passed away in Bengaluru. She was 98 years old.
ii. Narasamma had helped deliver more than 15,000 babies, free of charge, in Krishnapura, a remote village in Pavagada Taluk in Karnataka. 



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International Organisation

1. Worldwide Fund for Nature
2. International Shooting Sports Federation
3. World Trade Organisation
4. United Nations Organisation
5. World Bank
6. International Court Of Justice
7. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
8. United Nations Childrens' Fund (UNICEF)
9. Transparency International
10. International Cricket Council (ICC)




3 Andaman And Nicobar Islands To Be Renamed During PM’s Visit

  • Three islands in Andaman and Nicobar will be given new names by the government, the latest in the list of places being renamed across the country.
  • Ross Island, Neil Island and Havelock Island will be renamed as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island, Shaheed Dweep and Swaraj Dweep respectively.
Andaman And Nicobar Capital Port Blair
Governor Admiral D K Joshi

NABCB Accreditation Secures Recognition in Asia- Pacific Region

  • The National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB), India’s national accreditation body has secured equivalence for its accreditation programme for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS) Certification Bodies in Asia- Pacific region
  • NABCB, a constituent Board of the Quality Council of India, is responsible for accreditation of certification/inspection bodies as per applicable international standards under an international system of equivalence.
  • NABCB is the third accreditation body in the Asia Pacific Region to become internationally equivalent in the region, the other two being the accreditation bodies of Hong Kong and Mexico.
Quality Council of India Chairpersons AdilZainulbhai
Headquarters New Delhi

 NCLT helps recover Rs. 800 bn in 2018

  • As per estimates, the IBC has helped address stressed assets worth approximately Rs. 3 trillion directly or indirectly since the new law came into force in December 2016.
  • In 2019, the NCLT is expected to finalise corporate insolvency resolution process of several stressed assets through its 11 functional benches across India.
  • These cases would include Essar Steel, Bhushan Power & Steel, Videocon Group, Monnet Ispat, Amtek Auto, Ruchi Soya, LancoInfratech, JaypeeInfratech among others


Assam’s Bogibeel Bridge Opens

  • The Bogibeel Bridge in Assam has a two-line railway track on the lower deck and a three-lane road on the top deck. It will reduce the Delhi to Dibrugarh train travel time by about three hours
  • The bridge, which also happens to be Asia’s second longest rail-and-road connector, has a lifespan of around 120 years,
  • The Bogibeel Bridge, India’s longest railroad bridge, Total length of the bridge is 4,940 m
  • Foundation stone of Bogibeel Bridge was laid by then Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda in 1997
  • The bridge over the Brahmaputra river in the north eastern Indian state of Assam between Dhemaji district and Dibrugarh district.
Assam Capital Dishpur
CM Sarbananda Sonowal
Governor Jagdish Mukhi


Uttar Pradesh Government to constitute board to discuss issues related to GST

  • Uttar Pradesh government has decided to constitute a board comprising members from the business community and government officials to discuss issues related to GST
  • It will have 3 vice presidents, 11 non-government members and 9 ministerial members all nominated by Chief Minister. The board will hold meetings in every three months to comprise the government about the problems and suggestions regarding GST.
  • Government also has decided to give extraordinary pension to the police personnel who fall into a coma in the line of duty.
Uttar Pradesh Capital Lucknow
CM Yogi Adityanath
Governor Ram Naik

Rajasthan International Film Festival’ will be held from 19 to 23 January 2019 at Jaipur

  • The 5th Rajasthan International Film Festival organized by RIFF Film Club is going to be held from January 19th to 23rd, 2019 at Inox, Jaipur.
  • This event will be screening Feature Films, Short Films, Documentary Films and Animation Films
  • Founder & CEO of Rajasthan International Film Festival Mr. Somendra Harsh
  • This year one special category has been decided as The Mahatma on Celluloid
Rajasthan Capital Jaipur
CM Ashok Gehlot
Governor Kalyan Singh


PM Modi releases Rs. 100 commemorative coin in memory of Atal Bihari Vajpayee

  • On the event of AtalBihari Vajpayee’s 94th birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a Rs. 100 commemorative coin in the memory of the former premier
  • Coin features Emblem on India on the front side, portrait of Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the reserve.
  • It weighs 135 grams and is made of metals viz. Silver (50%), Copper (40%), Zinc (5%) and Nickel (5%).

PNB launches special card for Kumbh Mela

  • State owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) has launched a special card for Kumbh Mela 2019
  • The bank has partnered with the Uttar Pradesh government to create a model for digitization at this edition of Kumbh Mela.
  • Kumbh Mela to be held at Triveni Sangam in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India from January to March 2019.
Punjab National Bank CEO Sunil Mehta
Headquarters New Delhi

Corporation Bank, Bank of India to resume lending from FY20 on pick-up in liquidity: Kotak Sec

  • Government announced another round of capital infusion into public sector banks (PSBs), Bank of India and Corporation Bank seem to the frontrunners among the four-five PSBs to resume normal lending operations outside the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework from FY2020,
  • The government has sought Parliament’s approval for an additional round of capital infusion worth Rs 41,000 crore into PSBs for FY2019
Corporation Bank CEO Jai Kumar Garg
Headquarters Mangalore


Bank of India CEO Dinabandhu Mohapatra
Headquarters Mumbai

RBI to soon release new Rs. 20 note

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon introduce Rs. 20 notes with additional features
  • The central bank has already issued new-look currency notes in the denominations of Rs 10, Rs 50, Rs 100, and Rs 500, besides introducing Rs 200 and Rs 2000 notes after demonetisation.
  • The Rs 20 notes accounted for 9.8% of the total number of currency notes in circulation at the end of March 2018.
  • Earlier this year, RBI released new Rs 100 note which has the impression of Gujarat’s Rani-ki-Vav (Queen’s stepwell).In 2014, UNESCO approved this 11th-century wonder at Patan (Gujarat) as a World Heritage Site.
Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das
Headquarters Mumbai


Radiant Life to Merge With Max Healthcare

  • Radiant Life Care Ltd., backed by private equity firm KKR, agreed to merge with Max Healthcare Ltd. in a complex deal that will make the combined entity India’s third-largest hospital and diagnostics company
  • The merged entity will operate over 3,200 beds through 16 hospitals across India and will be among the top three by revenue and the fourth-largest by beds
  • The combined entity will be valued at Rs. 7,242 crore.


Trump replaces defence head Mattis with deputy Shanahan

  • President Donald Trump announced Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will leave his post on January 1, He statedthat deputy Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan will take over as acting secretary to cover the accelerated departure.
US Capital Washington DC
Currency Dollar
President Donald Trump


Indian Navy commissions Naval hospital​ INHS Sandhani

  • A naval hospital ship, the INHS Sandhani, has been commissioned at Naval station Karanja in the Raigad district of Maharashtra.
  • INHS Sandhani, is tenth Naval hospital, at the Naval station Karanja in Uran.
  • The Navy had earlier commissioned its ninth hospital ‘INHS Navjivani’ at the Indian Naval Academy in Kerala’s Ezhimala.
Navy Chief Sunil Lanba



Veteran CPI(M) leader Nirupam Sen passes away

  • Veteran Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and former West Bengal minister NirupamSenpassed away in Kolkata
  • He was born on October 8, 1946, his political career began when he became a member of the CPI(M) during his student years. He became the district secretary of the Students Federation of India, students wing of the party in 1966.
  • Though he started his career as a teacher, he became full-time member of the party in 1968. Mr.Sen was district secretary of Bardhaman district CPI(M) from 1989 to 1995. He became MLA from Bardhaman town in 1987, became central committee member of the party in 1998 and Polit Bureau member in 2008. 

Former Union Minister Jai Narain Prasad Nishad passes away

  • Former Union minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Jai Narain Prasad Nishad died in New Delhi after a long illness
  • Nishad was a former MP from Bihar’s Muzaffarpur constituency



National News

 India’s Vedangi Kulkarni Becomes Fastest Asian to Cycle The Globe

i. The 20-year old Indian woman Vedangi Kulkarni (Pune) becomes the fastest Asian to cycle the globe. 

ii. She had completed 29,000 kilometres’ distance required to qualify as bicycling across the globe. Vedangi spent 159 days peddling up to 300 kilometers a day in 14 countries.

Useful Info-

  • British adventurer Jenny Graham (38) became the fastest woman to have cycled the globe in 124 days in 2018, which was three weeks faster than the previous record.

PM Modi Unveiled Projects Worth Rs 14,500 Crore In Odisha

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated several projects worth over Rs 14,500 cr during a day-long visit to Odisha. The Prime Minister dedicated the new campus of IIT-Bhubaneswar at Aragul and launched a slew of projects related to higher education, health, road and highways , and culture.

ii. He laid the foundation of Paradip-Hyderabad Pipeline Product Project by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. and Bokaro-Angul section of Jagdishpur-Haldia & Bokaro-Dhamra Gas Pipeline Project by Gas Authority of India Limited. 

Useful Info-

  • Odisha Governor: Ganeshi Lal.
  • Rengali and Tikhali Dams are situated in Odisha.

Defence Minister Inaugurates Information Fusion Centre in Gurugram

i. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) in Gurugram that aims to collaborate with partner countries and multi-national agencies to develop maritime awareness and share information on vessels.

ii. The IFC has been established at the Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurugram which is the single point centre interlinking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the nearly 7,500-km long coastline.

Useful Info-

  • Admiral Sunil Lanba is the Chief of Naval Staff of Indian Navy.

PM Releases Commemorative Rs 100 Coin In Honour Of Atal Bihari Vajpayee

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi releases a 100 rupees commemorative coin in honour of former Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
ii. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birth anniversary, which falls on 25th December, is celebrated as ‘Good Governance Day’. He was conferred with the Bharat Ratna was in 2014.

Manipur Assembly Passes Anti-mob Violence Bill

i. The Manipur Assembly has passed a bill which recommends life imprisonment for those involved in mob violence if it results in the death of a person.
ii. Chief Minister N Biren Singh, who also holds charge of the Home department, moved the ‘The Manipur Protection from Mob Violence Bill, 2018’ in the state Assembly.
iii. It recommends a rigorous life imprisonment term if the crime results in the death of a victim. The bill was introduced in the Assembly in the wake of incidents of mob lynchings in the state.

NABCB Accreditation Secures Recognition in Asia- Pacific Region

i. The National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB), India’s national accreditation body, has secured equivalence for its accreditation programme for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS) Certification Bodies in Asia- Pacific region.
ii.  NABCB is the third accreditation body in the Asia Pacific Region to become internationally equivalent in the region, the other two being the accreditation bodies of Hong Kong and Mexico.

Useful Info-

  • NABCB, a constituent Board of the Quality Council of India, is responsible for accreditation of certification/inspection bodies as per applicable international standards under an international system of equivalence.

3 States Among Best Performing States Under Maternity Benefit Programme: WCD

i. Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were the top three performing states under the maternity benefit programme Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY).
ii. Minister of State for the Women and Child Development Ministry Virendra Kumar stated PMMVY is a centrally-sponsored scheme under which the cost-sharing ratio between the Centre, states and the Union Territories with the legislation is 60:40.

International News

Burundi Names Gitega As New Capital

i. Burundi declared the small central city of Gitega the country’s new political capital, in line with a presidential promise, made a decade ago.

ii. A government spokesman named Gitega while also stating that the previous capital Bujumbura, on the north-eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, would in future function solely as the country’s economic centre.

Useful Info-

  • Burundi President: Pierre Nkurunziza.


Trump Replaces Defence Head Mattis With Deputy Patrick Shanahan

i. US President Donald Trump announced that he would replace Defence Secretary Jim Mattis with his deputy Patrick Shanahan as acting Pentagon chief. Shanahan will assume charge of Acting Secretary of Defense from 1 January, 2019.

ii. Mattis resigned in protest after Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria over the strong objections of Mattis and others on the national security team. 

BVP Rao Elected Archery Association of India President

i. BVP Rao has been elected as the president of the Archery Association of India in the polls held under a High Court-appointed administrator. 

ii. Rao, who represented Archery Association of Assam, beat Rupak Debroy of Tripura at the elections held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.

Useful Info-

  • Archery Association of India came into existence in 1973.
  • Honorary Life President: Prof Vijay Kumar Malhotra.


Union Minister Suresh Prabhu Confers Skoch Golden Jubilee Challenger Award

i. Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has conferred the Skoch Golden Jubilee Challenger Award at the 55th Skoch Summit in New Delhi. The Skoch Challenger Awards are the highest independently instituted civilian honours. A book titled ‘India 2030’ was also released on the occasion. 

ii. For its inclusive banking and expansion in rural areas with the establishment of 35 easy payment units in Himalayan district of Leh in Jammu and Kashmir, J&K Bank was conferred with SKOCH Award in ‘Banking and Finance (B&F) Silver Category’. 

iii. Other Awards Conferred:

1. Skoch Chief Minister of the Year Award: Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee.

2. SKOCH Sprinter of the Year: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu

Indian Railways Bags 17 Awards For Energy Conservation

i. Indian Railways bagged 17 awards at the ‘National Energy Conservation Awards (NECA) 2018’ held in New Delhi.

ii. The awards are given by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency under the Ministry of Power to various institutions for adopting energy efficiency measures.

  • Under ‘transport‘ category, Indian Railways obtained 10 awards for the subsector railway station. Vidisha railway station in Madhya Pradesh won the first prize.
  • Under ‘building‘ category, Indian Railways got three awards for subsector Railway hospitals. Railway hospitals of Izzatnagar divisionwon the first prize.
  • Under ‘institution‘ category, Indian Railways bagged four awards for subsector state PWD, CPWD and PHED. Passenger reservation system complex building of Secunderabad division won the first prize.

Useful Info-

  • John Mathai was the first railway minister of independent India.
  • Mr.  Piyush Goyal is the present railway minister of India.

PM Modi Announces New Award For National Integration

i. PM Narendra Modi announced the institution of ‘Sardar Patel Award for National Integration’, which would be given for “outstanding efforts to further national integration”.

ii. PM Modi stated that the award will be a “fitting tribute” to Patel who devoted his life towards “unifying India”.

Important Days

National Farmers’ Day: 23rd December

i. National Farmers’ Day (Kisan Diwas) 2018 was celebrated all over India on 23rd of December. It is celebrated in the honour of the former Prime Minister of India Chaudhary Charan Singh with the focus on the upliftment of the status of farmers.

ii. In Lucknow, a program was organised by Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. He also unveiled a statue of Sri Chaudhary Charan Singh in Ghaziabad and announce the allocation of Rs. 325 crore for the development of the city and rural areas.

Useful Info-

  • Chaudhary Charan Singh who was the fifth Prime Minister of India.
  • He served the country as Prime Minister for a very short tenure starting from 28th of July 1979 till 14th January 1980. 

National Consumer Day: 24th December

i. Every Year 24th December is observed as National Consumer Daywith a specific theme in India. 

ii. This year the National Consumer Day is celebrated with the theme “Timely Disposal of Consumer Complaints”.

Useful Info-

  • The Consumer Protection Act aims to provide consumers with effective safeguards against different types of exploitation such as defective goods, deficiency in services and unfair trade practices.

Business/Economy News

GST Council Cuts Rates on 23 items, Rationalises 28% Slab

i. In a relief to the common man, the GST Council cut rates on 23 commonly used goods and services, including TV screens, movie tickets and power banks.

ii. As per the announcement made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the annual revenue implication of the rate cuts would be Rs5,500 crore. 

iii. Now, the 28% slab is restricted to only luxury and sin goods, apart from auto parts and cement — tax rates on which could not be cut due to the high revenue implication.

iv. GST on movie tickets costing up to Rs100 was cut to 12% from 18%, while tickets over Rs100 will attract 18% tax, against 28% earlier. This will have a revenue implication of Rs 900 crore.

RBI Shortlists TCS, Wipro, IBM, 3 Others For Setting Up PCR

i. The Reserve Bank of India has shortlisted six major IT companies, including TCS, Wipro and IBM India, to set up a wide-based digital Public Credit Registry (PCR) for capturing details of all borrowers and wilful defaulters.

ii. The other three shortlisted vendors are: Capgemini Technology Services India, Dun & Bradstreet Information Services India, and Mindtree Ltd. 

Useful Info-

  • RBI 25th Governor: Shaktikanta Das, Headquarters: Mumbai, Founded: 1 April 1935, Kolkata.

Sports News

Real Madrid Beats Al Ain 4-1 To Win Club World Cup

i. Spain’s Real Madrid won the Club World Cup for a third consecutive year, and record fourth in total, by beating Abu Dhabi side Al Ain in the final. 

ii. Real now hold the record for most victories in the competition, which was first held in 2000, moving one clear of Spanish rivals Barcelona.


‘Nightingale of Assam’ Dipali Borthakur Passes Away

i. Legendary Assamese singer Dipali Borthakur popularly referred to as the “Nightingale of Assam” passed away. She was 77.

ii. For her outstanding contributions to the field of arts, Borthakur was honored with the Padma Shri award in 1998. 


31st Meeting of the GST Council under the chairmanship of FM Arun Jaitley was held in New Delhi

On December 22, 2018, 31st Meeting of the GST Council under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Shri. Arun Jaitley was held in Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.

  • items have been removed from the 28  per cent tax bracket under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime,
  • Rates have been reduced for 22 items under the 28 per cent slab, 28% slab rate will only be applicable to 34 items. The new rates would be effective from 1st January 2019.
  •  It also gave in-principle approval of creation of a Centralised Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling (AAAR) to deal with cases of conflicting decisions by two or more State Appellate Advance Ruling Authorities on the same issue.

Railways launches new EMU train with 130 kmph speed

On 19th December 2018, a Train-18 like new generation Mainline Electrical Multiple Unit (MEMU) with underslung equipment and some features from the Train 18 was launched by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai.

Railways launches new EMU train with 130 kmph speedi. The coaches of the new MEMU are longer at 23.1m against 21.3m in the older MEMU and the train is capable of running at around 130 kilometres an hour.
ii. The new train is equipped with a CCTV surveillance system both inside the coaches and outside the driver’s cab, a Talk Back system to enable passengers to talk to the driver in case of emergency and a GPS based passenger information and announcement system.

1st meeting of India China High-Level Mechanism co-chaired by EAM Sushma Swaraj & Chinese State Councilor & FM Wang Yi

On December 21, 2018, 1st meeting of India China High-Level Mechanism on Cultural & People-to-people exchanges was held in New Delhi.

India China High-Level Mechanism on Cultural & People-to-people exchanges

i. It was co-chaired by EAM Sushma Swaraj & Chinese State Councilor & FM Wang Yi.
ii. The meeting acknowledging the Wuhan Summit identified 10 areas or pillars for boosting people-to-people cooperation.
iii. The 2 sides discussed on cooperation in tourism, art, films, media, culture, yoga, sports, academic and youth exchanges.
3rd India- China High Level Media Forum held in New Delhi
On December 20-21, 2018, as a part of the high-level talks, the 3rd India- China High Level Media Forum held in New Delhi.
i. It was hosted by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).
ii. The media forum was jointly inaugurated by visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian External Affairs MinisterSushma Swaraj.
iii. The forum focused on three key themes:

  • enhancing media understanding,
  • promoting a closer development partnership, and
  • proposing a roadmap for future media cooperation.

iii. This forum played a significant role in boosting media cooperation between the two countries.
These meetings were held as a part of the 4-day visit of the Chinese State Councilor & FM Wang Yi to India.
♦ Capital: Beijing.
♦ Currency: Renminbi.

A UNESCO Category 2, International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography, inaugurated at INCOIS, Hyderabad

On December 22, 2018, Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment and Forests & Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the newly constructed International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCOocean) Complex in the INCOIS campus at Hyderabad, Telangana.
i. He dedicated the ITCOocean to the Former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and named the academic building as Atal Bhavan and the Guest House as Atal Atithi Griha.
ii. This UNESCO category 2 centre was established by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Govt. of India earlier in 2013 but it upgraded to assist UNESCO and its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).
iii. It will help in providing capacity building and training activities in operational oceanography.
iv. It will thus benefit the South Asian and African states bordering the Indian Ocean and the small island nations in the Pacific from INCOIS’ ocean science and management practices.
The General Conference of UNESCO approved the offer of Government of India to establish ITCOocean as a UNESCO Category 2 Centre in November 2017.
♦ Capital: Hyderabad.
♦ Chief Minister: K.Chandrashekhar Rao.
♦ Governor: E.S.L. Narasimhan.
♦ National Parks:  Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park, Mahaveera Harina National Park, Mrugavani National Park

Three day Annual conference of DGPs, IGPs held in Gujarat

On 20th December 2018, Three day annual conference of Directors General of Police (DGPs) and Inspectors General of Police (IGPs) commences at a tent-city set up near the Statue of Unity at Kevadiya in Narmada District of Gujarat. The three day annual conference concluded on 22nd December 2018.

Annual conference of DGPs, IGPs held in Gujarat

Key Points
i. The top police officers of the country will meet for multiple sessions of discussions on issues concerning the country including militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, cross border terrorism, attempts to radicalize youth, Naxal menace and the situation in the Northeast.
ii. Issues including communal tension, circulation of communally sensitive news and pornographic materials through social media are also expected to be discussed at the three day meeting.
iii. The Annual Conference was held in the presence of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PM Modi addressed the Conference of DGPs, IGPs in Gujarat On 21st December 2018, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi interacted with the Directors General and Inspectors General of Police and said that the conference will strengthen the country’s security apparatus.

PM Modi release commemorative stamp on National Police Memorial, launch a portal of cyber coordination center

On 22nd December 2018 which is the last day of three days annual conference of DGPs and IGPs, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi released a commemorative stamp on the National Police Memorial and launched a portal of cyber coordination center.
Key Points
i. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi presented the President’s police medals for the distinguished services to IB officers.
ii. Narendra Modi also addressed the National Convention of BJP’s Mahila Morcha at Trimandir, a temple complex in Adalaj.
iii. Union Minister Smriti Irani participated in the first session of the convention on the last day of three day annual conference.
About Gujarat
♦ Chief Minister: Vijay Rupani
♦ Governor: Om Prakash Kohli
♦ Capital: Gandhinagar
♦ National Parks (NP): Gir Forest NP, Blackbuck NP, Vansda NP, Marine NP

Jharkhand announces Rs 2,250-crore scheme to help farmers: Mukhya Mantri Krishi Yojana

On 21st December 2018, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das announced a Rs 2250 crore scheme named as “ Mukhya Mantri Krishi Yojana” which will help around 22.76 lakh medium and marginal farmers to double their income by 2022. The Central Government has set a goal to double the income of all the farmers by 2022.
Key Points
i. The Scheme will start from 2019-20 financial year. It will help farmers to procure seeds, fertilisers and other requirements for agricultural purposes.
ii. Under the scheme, the state government will give Rs 5000 per acre up to maximum of 5 acre to 22.76 lakh medium and marginal farmers.
iii. Those farmers who have less than 1 acre land will also get Rs. 5000.
About Jharkhand
♦ Governor: Draupadi Murmu
♦ Chief Minister: Raghubar Das
♦ Capital: Ranchi
♦ National Parks: Betla National Park

Odisha government announces Rs 10,000 crore KALIA scheme for farmers development

On 21st December 2018, the Odisha Cabinet headed by CM Naveen Patnaik announced the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme to empower small, marginal & landless farmers as well as landless labourers.

Odisha government announces Rs 10,000 crore KALIA scheme for farmers development

Key Points:
i. The Rs 10,000 crore scheme, which would be executed through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode, covers 92% (over 30 lakh) of cultivators, loanee and non-loanee, share-croppers & landless labourers.
ii. According to the scheme an amount of Rs 10,000 per family at the rate of Rs 5,000 each for Kharif and Rabi seasons shall be provided as financial assistance for taking up cultivation.
iii. This assistance is for five crop seasons spanning three years from 2018-19 to 2021-22 and is also not linked to the extent of land owned thereby benefiting share croppers and actual cultivators most of whom own very small extent of land.
iv. The KALIA scheme also has a component for about ten lakh landless households in the form of livelihood support by providing each household a unit cost of Rs 12,500 to take up activities like goat rearing units, mini layer units, duckery units, fishery kits for fishermen and women, mushroom cultivation and bee keeping.
v.  Beside this an annual financial assistance of Rs 10,000 per household will be provided to take care of sustenance of farmers not able to take up cultivation due to old age, disability, disease or other reasons.
vi. Life insurance cover of Rs 2 lakh and additional personal accident cover of Rs 2 lakh will also be provided to both cultivators and landless agriculture labourers covering about 74 lakh households.
About Odisha:
♦ Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik
♦ Governor: Ganeshi Lal

“Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” field level awareness campaign for Maharashtra, Goa and Dadra & Nagar Haveli launched

From First Week of January 2019, the three state level campaign on “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” will be organized in Maharashtra, Goa and Dadra & Nagar Haveli to spread awareness among people to save and educate girls.
Key Points
i.  The Campaign will be organized by the Pune office of Regional Outreach Bureau, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India in coordination with Women and child development departments of respective state and Union Territory (UT).
ii. The campaign was launched by Ms. Gauri Gadgil who is a ‘divyang’ child and an international swimmer by placing her fingers on traditional instrument ‘Dholak’.
iii. An orientation cum workshop on the flagship project was organized for Private Registered Cultural Troupes (PRTs) on 20th December in Pune.
About Maharashtra
♦ Governor: C. Vidyasagar Rao
♦ Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis
About Goa
♦ Capital: Panaji
♦ Chief Minister: Manohar Parrikar
♦ Governor: Mridula Sinha


India’s stock market overtakes Germany to become 7th largest in the world

On 22nd December 2018, India achieved another milestone when Indian Stock market overtakes Germany for the first time in seven years to become the world’s seventh largest stock market.

India’s stock market overtakes Germany to become 7th largest in the worldIndia’s stock market overtakes Germany to become 7th largest in the world

Key Points
i. This move reflects India’s positive returns this year as companies dependency on domestic demand enabled them to avoid meltdown in other emerging markets spurred due to U.S. – China trade war.
ii. South Asian Giant, India is projected to grow at 7.5 percent in 2018 and 7.3 percent in 2019 whereas Germany managed to achieve a growth rate of only 1.6 percent in 2018.
iii. After the exit of United Kingdom from European Union, now European Union has only one country in top seven economies of the world – France.
About Germany
♦ Capital: Berlin
♦ Currency:  Euro
♦ President: Frank-Walter Steinmeier

India’s Forex Reserves declined by USD 613.9 million to USD 393.12 billion

According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, the country’s foreign exchange reserves declined by USD 613.9 million to USD 393.12 billion in the week that ended by December 14, on account of a fall in foreign currency assets.
Key Points:
i. The reserves had increased by USD 16.6 million to USD 393.734 billion in the previous week while in the reporting week, foreign currency assets, a major component of the overall reserves, dropped by USD 631.6 million to USD 367.865 billion.
ii. The foreign currency asset is expressed in US dollars and includes the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
iii. In the week to April 13, 2018, the reserves had touched a record high of USD 426.028 billion and it has been degrading since then and is now down by over USD 31 billion.
iv. As per the data, the gold reserves rose by USD 37.2 million to USD 21.187 billion in the reporting week.
About Reserve Bank of India:
♦ Governor: Shaktikanta Das
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai


China launched first satellite to provide space-based broadband as part of Hongyun project

On December 22, 2018, China launched its first communication satellite, from a Long March 11 carrier rocket, to provide broadband internet services worldwide to rival Google and other firms.
i. It is the first in the Hongyun project planned by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC).
About the satellite:
i. It weighs 247 kilogrammes and works in a sun-synchronous orbit about 1,100 kilometres above earth.
ii. Powered by solar arrays, the satellite would verify basic designs of Hongyun satellite and demonstrating low-orbit broadband communications technologies with a life span of more than 1 year.
The Hongyun project, started in September 2016, aims to build a space-based communications network to provide broadband internet connectivity to users around the world, especially those in the underserved regions.
♦ Capital: Beijing.
♦ Currency: Renminbi


Belgium to end the year as No. 1 in FIFA global ranking

On 20th December 2018, Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) released the Global football ranking topped by Belgium who have 1727 points as per FIFA calculations. So Belgium is going to end the year as No. 1 ahead of World Champion France.

Belgium to end the year as No. 1 in FIFA global ranking

i. France ranked 2nd with 1726 points and Brazil ranked third with 1676 points.
ii. India ranked at 97th Position in the latest FIFA ranking released on 20th December 2018.

ICC orders PCB to pay 60% of compensation claim to BCCI

On 19th December 2018, International Cricket Council (ICC) Dispute Resolution Panel ordered Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to pay 60% of the cost demanded by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after the world body’s rejection of PCB’s claim of compensation which blamed India for the lack of bilateral series between the two nations.

ICC orders PCB to pay 60% of compensation claim to BCCI

i. The ICC’s Panel ordered PCB to pay the BCCI 60% of the claimed cost and 60% of the administrative costs and expenses of the ICC Panel.
ii. BCCI has to pay 40% of the administrative costs and expenses of the ICC Panel


The book “A Rural Manifesto – Realising India’s Future through her Villages” authored by BJP MP Varun Gandhi released in Bengaluru

On December 19, 2018, the book “A Rural Manifesto – Realising India’s Future through her Villages” authored by BJP MP Varun Gandhi was released in Bengaluru.

The book “A Rural Manifesto – Realising India's Future through her Villages” authored by BJP MP Varun Gandhi released

i. The book focuses on challenges faced by farmers, labourers, student and teachers in villages across the country.


National Mathematics Day – December 22

On 22nd December 2018, India celebrated National Mathematics day honouring the 131st birth anniversary of Great Indian Mathematician Srinivasan Ramanujan. India celebrate 22nd December as National Mathematics day every year.

National Mathematics Day - December 22

i. Ramanujan was born in 1887 and compiled nearly 3900 results mostly identities and equations.
ii. The Number 1729 is known as Hardy-Ramanujan Number.



National News

National Mathematics Day: 22nd December

i. Every year, the country celebrates National Mathematics Day on December 22 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. 

ii. In his memory, the Government of India marked 2012, the 125th year of his birth, as National Mathematics Year and declared 22nd December as annual National Mathematics Day.

India, Japan Sign Exchange of Notes and Loan Agreements

i. India and Japan have signed Exchange of Notes and Loan Agreements on Japan’s Official Development Assistance Loan to India.

ii. The Notes were exchanged between Dr. C.S. Mohapatra, Additional Secretary in Department of Economic Affairs, Union Ministry of Finance and Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India on Japanese official development assistance loan for three projects.

i. These 3 projects are: 

(a) Chennai Metro Project (Phase 2) (I) for Japanese Yen (JPY) 75.519 billion,
(b) Program for Japan-India Cooperative Actions towards Sustainable Development Goals in India for JPY 15.000 billion,
(c) Project for Dairy Development for JPY 14.978 billion.

Useful Info-

  • Japan Capital: Tokyo, Currency: Japanese yen, PM: Shinzo Abe.

Odisha CM Announces Rs10,000 cr KALIA Scheme For Farmers

i. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik announced a Rs10,000 crore scheme for the overall development of farmers.

ii. Named Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA), the scheme will provide farmers with Rs10,000 a year at the rate of Rs5,000 each for Kharif and Rabi season. Additionally, crop loans of up to Rs50,000 will be interest-free under the scheme.

Useful Info-

  • Odisha Governor: Ganeshi Lal.
  • Rengali and Tikhali Dams are situated in Odisha.

15th Global SME Business Summit in New Delhi

i. The 15th edition of a two day Global SME Business Summit was organised by the Ministry of MSME and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with Government e-marketplace in New Delhi. The theme of the event was ‘Building Partnerships through Global Value Chains.’

ii. The agenda of the summit was to bring together renowned speakers with unbounded experience and expertise, a global audience, and various national and international SME stakeholders to integrate Indian MSMEs into the Global Value Chains (GVCs).  

Useful Info-

  • Suresh Prabhu is the Minister of Commerce and Industry of India.

International News

UN General Assembly Adopts Global Framework on International Migration 

i. The UN General Assembly has adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the first-ever negotiated global framework on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions.

ii. The compact was adopted by the General Assembly with 152 votes in favour in Marrakesh, Morocco. India voted in favour of the resolution.

Useful Info-

  • UN Secretary-General: Antonio Guterres.

Ranks and Reports

NITI Aayog Releases SDG India Index: Baseline Report 2018

i. The NITI Aayog released the Baseline Report of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index, which comprehensively documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards implementing the 2030 SDG targets.
ii. The SDG India Index, which was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI), Global Green Growth Institute and United Nations in India, was launched by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar.
iii. Overall Findings: 

Particular State UT
SDG India Index Score Range 42-69 57-68
Top Performer/s Himachal Pradesh & Kerala Chandigarh
Aspirant Uttar Pradesh Dadra & Nagar Haveli

Useful Info-

  • NITI- National Institution for Transforming India.
  • NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman- Rajiv Kumar, CEO- Amitabh Kant. 



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List of Firsts in India

1. India’s First Woman Prime Minister
2. India’s First Woman President
3. First Indian Woman to climb Mt Everest
4. First Indian Woman to get Nobel Prize
5. First Indian Woman to swim across English Channel
6. First Indian Woman Ambassador at UN
7. India’s First Woman IPS Officer
8. First Woman Chief Minister of State
9. First Woman Union Minister
10. India’s First Woman Governor