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Current Affairs 19 & 20 December 2021

We are here for you to provide the important Recent and Latest Current Affairs 19 & 20 December 2021, which have unique updates of Latest Current Affairs 2021 events from all newspapers such as The Hindu, The Economic Times, PIB, Times of India, PTI, Indian Express, Business Standard and all Government official websites.

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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

PM Modi lays Foundation stone of Ganga Expressway in UPOn December 18, 2021, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the longest highway in India, the Ganga Expressway in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh (UP) to offer fast-paced connectivity in India.

  • The six-lane 594 km long expressway will be built at a cost of about Rs 36200 crore will connect the western and eastern regions of UP.

Features of Ganga Expressway:
i.The highway will pass through different districts of UP such as Meerut, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Amroha, Sambhal, Budaun, Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Unnao, Rae Bareli, Pratapgarh and Prayagraj.
ii.A 3.5 km long airstrip was also planned to be built in Shahjahanpur for assisting emergency landing and take-off of Air Force planes.
iii.An industrial corridor will also be built along the expressway for the socio-economic development of the region.
Note – PM also pays tributes to revolutionaries of the Kakori incident – Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaq Ullah Khan, Thakur Roshan Singh, whose martyrdom day falls on December 19.
Participants: Chief Minister of UP, Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister B L Varma also participated on the occasion.
About Uttar Pradesh(UP):
Governor – Anandiben Patel
Bird Sanctuary – Vijay Sagar Bird Sanctuary Hathinala, Renukut (Sonbhadra)
Festival – Ganga Dussehra, Buddha Purnima

Series of MoUs Signed at the National Conference on Investment Opportunities in Highway, Transport and LogisticsOn 17th December 2021, A series of memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed during the National Conference on Investment Opportunities in Highway, Transport and Logistics, which was held in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  • The MoU was signed under the chairmanship of the Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari.

Series of MoU’s signed:
i.MoU signed for the setting up of Multi-Modal Logistics Parks (MMLPs) for setting up at five strategic locations in Maharashtra – Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik and Dighi Port Industrial Estate.
ii.An MoU has been signed between the Government of Maharashtra and Tata Motors for the Registered Vehicle Scrapping Facility (RVSF).
iii.The MoU has been signed between Maharashtra Government and Cooperative Energy Recycling and Organics (CERO),  India’s first organized vehicle recycler, for setting up additional Vehicle Scrapping Facilities in Maharashtra.
iv.MoU signed with the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Indian Institute of Technology, (IIT) Madras and MapmyIndia for collaboration on driver and road safety technologies.
About MapmyIndia:
MapmyIndia provides advanced digital maps, geospatial software and location-based IoT technologies.
Co-founder, Chairman & Managing Director (MD) – Rakesh Kumar Verma
Established – 1995
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
>> Read Full News

Rajasthan’s Art and Culture Minister BD Kalla inaugurated 24th Lokrang-2021 in JaipurFor the first time in two years amid COVID-19, on December 16, 2021, Rajasthan’s Art and Culture Minister Dr. Bulaki Das Kalla inaugurated 11-day long 24th ‘Lokrang-2021’, an annual festival of folk artists, at Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK) in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

  • It is organized by JKK, Art and Culture Department and RUDA (Rural Non-Agriculture Development Agency) under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
  • It will culminate on December 26, 2021.
  • It will comprise National Handicrafts Fair in Shilpgram (rural arts and crafts complex in JKK) in collaboration with RUDA; and Rajasthani Language Writing Festival.

Key Points:
i.The National Handicrafts Fair showcases artistic handicraft products made by award-winning craftsmen across the country under one roof.
ii.This edition of Lokrang is being celebrated with due COVID-19 protocols. In this event folk artists from Indian states present the folk arts of their respective regions.

  • The participating states are Rajasthan, West Bengal (WB), Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh (HP), Tripura, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Assam, Punjab, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Uttar Pradesh (UP).

iii.On the first day, artists performed Garba Raas of Gujarat, Lavani dance (Ganpati) of Maharashtra, Kunbi of Goa, Dollu Kunitha of Karnataka, Chhau (Slaughter of Mahisasur) of West Bengal, Badi-jawara of Madhya Pradesh, Dhobia of Uttar Pradesh, Jhijhiya of Bihar, Langa singing of Jodhpur (Rajasthan), among other.

NSDC and GIF launched Project AMBER to Empower Youth with Industry Relevant SkillsNational Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Generation India Foundation (GIF) launched ‘Project AMBER‘ (Accelerated Mission for Better Employment and Retention) at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi to bridge the gap between skilling and employment.

  • Objective: To develop and implement a scalable, and sustainable model of skill development to empower India’s youth with industry-relevant skills and employment opportunities.

Key Points:
i.The project will be equally funded by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) under the Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) programme, and private philanthropy.

  • The project will be also be supported by the BlackRock Foundation, and McKinsey & Company.

ii.Under the project, training will be provided for 30,000 youth with 50% of them being women. The training will be conducted in Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKKs) across 70 districts in COVID-19 resilient job roles.
iii.Job roles: The project includes job roles such as General Duty Assistant, Junior Full Stack Developer, Retail Sales Associate, Customer Service Executive, Sewing Machine Operator, Hospital Front Desk Executive, Solar PV Installer, Food & Beverage Steward. The job roles will be launched over 2 years.
iv.Project will depend on the holistic seven-step approach of GIF to provide higher quality skilling, improve employment and retention outcomes.
v.Followed by the project launch, a panel discussion on ‘Outcome based skilling, challenges and opportunities, and private sector participation,’ was also held. It was joined by Deepti Srivastava, Director, MSDE; Shabnam Sinha, Lead Education Specialist, India, World Bank Group, among others.
About National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC):
Establishment – July 31, 2008
Headquarters – NewDelhi, Delhi
Chairman – A M Naik

India & US announce new programme ‘Technology-based Energy Solutions: Innovations for Net Zero’On 17 December 2021, India and the United States (US) announced a new programme ‘Technology-based Energy Solutions: Innovations for Net Zero’ to support innovations to tackle climate and clean energy challenges.
Objective:
To support India-US Science & Technology-based entrepreneurial initiatives and address the development and implementation of clean and renewable energy, energy storage, and carbon sequestration.
Key points:
i.The new program aligns with the goals under the U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 partnership agreement signed in April 2021.

  • It will be administered by the bi-national Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF). 
  • IUSSTF is a bilateral organization under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, and U.S. Department of State.

ii.The Ignition Grants by the United States-India Science & Technology Endowment Fund (USISTEF) will be provided, in partnership with Social Alpha, a non-profit organisation promoting S&T entrepreneurship.
iii.Under the programme, both the countries will work to tackle climate and clean energy challenges.
About United States (US):
President- Joe Biden
Capital- Washington, D.C.
Currency– United States Dollar

CJI NV Ramana Inaugurated India’s 1st IAMC in TelanganaOn 18th December 2021, Justice NV Ramana, Chief Justice of India(CJI) and K Chandrasekhar Rao, Chief Minister(CM) of Telangana has inaugurated India’s First International Arbitration and Mediation Centre(IAMC) at Phoenix VK Tower at Nanakramguda, Hyderabad, Telangana. 
Features of IAMC 2021:
i.IAMC has been established to quickly resolve the issues that arise due to the Lack of sufficient judges.
ii.IAMC will settle commercial disputes and it will also look into the disputes of ordinary people.
Benefits:
The benefits of arbitration over traditional litigation are fewer delays, less expenditure and more involvement of the parties in the process.
Key Points:
i.IAMC will support India to overcome its image of lagging behind in the enforcement of contracts on account of problems like lack of sufficient judges to resolve the disputes.
ii.The centre will get support from the state, centre and other Asian countries.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is a method of resolving disputes outside of court.
In this procedure, the dispute is submitted, by agreement of the parties, to one or more arbitrators who make a binding decision on the dispute.

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI Authorised RBL Bank to Collect Indirect Taxes

Based on the recommendation from the Controller General of Accounts, the Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted permission to RBL Bank to collect indirect taxes on behalf of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC).

  • RBL Bank has already got permission from RBI in November 2021 to collect direct taxes. Thus the current announcement enables the bank to collect both direct and indirect taxes.
  • After technical integration, the banks’ corporate and individual customers could pay their indirect taxes through the bank’s mobile banking, net banking platforms and branch banking network.

IFSCA Sets up Panel for Creating Framework for Transfer of Stressed LoanOn 17th December 2021 The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) set up a committee for creating a framework for the transfer of stressed loans from domestic lenders to financial institutions.

  • Former executive director of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) G Padmanabhan will chair the committee along with expertise in banking and legal firms.

Key Highlights:
i.The committee examines the provisions of the RBI directions that require further clarification for transferring stressed loans, for identifying areas or issues of the directions from RBI
ii.The committee will submit a report to the chairperson of IFSCA, within one month from the date of the committee’s first meeting.
About IFSCA:
i.IFSCA is established to develop and regulate financial products, financial services, and financial institutions in the IFSCs.

  • Objective – To serve as an international financial platform for India and the global economy.

ii.Prior to the establishment of IFSCA, domestic financial regulators RBI, The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI),  Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority (PFRDA) and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) regulated business in IFSC.

  • Currently, GIFT IFSC is the only IFSC centre in India.

About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Governor – Shaktikanta Das
Established – 1935
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

GoI & KfW sign Euro 442.26mn loan for Surat Metro Rail ProjectOn December 17, 2021, the Government of India (GoI) and the Germany Development Bank- KfW (Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau) signed Euro 442.26 million loan for 40.35 km Surat Metro Rail project in Gujarat.
Outlay:
i.The total cost of the project is Euro 1.50 billion, out of which KfW is financing Euro 442.26 million.
ii.The project is co-financed by French Development Agency, AFD (Agence Française de Développemet) with Euro 250 million. The agreement for the same was signed on January 28, 2021.
Signatories:
It was signed by Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of Government of India; and Ms Claudia Schmerler, Head of Division, Climate Finance and Urban Mobility for KfW.
About Surat Metro Project:
i.In January 2021, Prime Minister (PM) of India Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the project with an objective to strengthen the transport infrastructure and safer public transport of the Surat urban agglomeration.

  • It comprises two corridors. While corridor-1 is 21.61 km long and is from Sarthana to Dream City. Corridor-2 is 18.74 km long and is from Bhesan to Saroli.

ii.It will also aid in curbing the problem of traffic congestion and provide integrated town & land use planning through Transit-Oriented Development.
iii.The envisages integrated multi modal transport system and improved access to the metro system.
iv.Solar energy will also be harnessed at both Depots of Surat Metro.
About KfW (Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau)
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Stefan Wintels
Headquarters– Frankfurt, Germany

ECONOMY & BUSINESS

GACL and GAIL signed MoU for setting up 500 KLD Bioethanol plant in GujaratOn December 17, 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Limited (GACL) and GAIL (India) Limited (formerly Gas Authority of India Ltd.) for setting up of 500 Kilo Litre Per Day (KLD) capacity Bioethanol plant in Gujarat and for cooperation in other business areas of mutual interest.

  • This MoU was signed on the lines of the roadmap launched by Prime Minister (PM) of India Narendra Modi for 20% Ethanol Blending in Petrol by 2025 in order to reduce import of crude oil.

Signatories:
Mahesh V Iyer, Director (Business Development) of GAIL, IAS (Indian Administrative Service) Milind Torawane, Managing Director of GACL in the presence of Bhupendrabhai Patel, Chief Minister (CM) of Gujarat.
Key Figures of Project:
i.The estimated project cost is Rs. 1,000 crores and it is expected to generate annual revenue of approximately Rs. 1500 crores.
ii.An estimated savings of USD 70 million per year in Foreign Exchange is also expected through this project.
iii.It will generate direct and indirect employment for around 700 individuals.
Key Points:
i.The 500 KLD Bioethanol produced from this plant will be used for blending in petrol.
ii.The plant will use corn/broken rice as feedstock with eco-friendly technology.
iii.The By-Product from this plant will be 135 KTPA (Kilo-Tonnes Per Annum) Protein-rich Animal feed and 16.50 KTPA of Corn Oil.
iv.Dahod, Panchmahal, Aravalli and Mahisagar are major corn-producing districts in Gujarat and hence the project is likely to come up in one of these districts.

  • Also the long term supply contract for corn would encourage corn farming resulting in multi-fold income for farmers.
  • Steps will also be taken to improve the productivity of corn in the state with the help of the Maize Research Centre in Godhra.

About GAIL (India) Limited:
Parent Ministry- Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG)
Chairman & Managing Director (CMD)- Manoj Jain
Headquarter- New Delhi, Delhi    

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS    

Karl Nehammer Sworn in as Chancellor of Austria

Karl Nehammer was sworn in as Austria’s chancellor by Alexander Van der Bellen, President of Austria in a ceremony in Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria. He is succeeding the career diplomat Alexander Schallenberg who took charge as chancellor in October 2021.

  • He is the 3rd person to hold the role of Austria’s Chancellor in the last two months.
  • Karl Nehammer from the ruling conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), previously served as the Interior Minister of Austria.     

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

New generation ballistic missile ‘Agni P’ successfully test-fired by DRDO in OdishaOn 18 December 2021, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired its new generation Agni Prime (Agni-P) missile. The test was done from a defence base at Dr APJ Abdul Kalam island off the Odisha coast in Balasore.

  • The Agni-P is a new generation advanced variant of the Agni class of missiles.
  • The surface nuclear capable ballistic missile with a range of 1000 to 2000 km.

Salient features of Agni-P:
i.The missile was designed and developed completely by the DRDO is accurate and effective to the point.

  • The successful test became a part of the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
  • The nuclear-capable Agni-P was first successfully test-fired by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on June 28, 2021.

ii.The missile weighs 50% less than Agni-3 & can be launched from rail and road and stored for a longer period.
iii.Agni-P is a new generation advanced variant of the Agni class of missiles.

  • The longest of the Agni series is Agni-V, an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5,000 km.

Other successful tests:
i.In December 2021, the Navy successfully tested the indigenous Vertical Launched Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM). It was test-fired from a static vertical launcher in the Integrated Test Range (ITR), off the Odisha coast at Chandipur.
ii.In October, India successfully launched the earlier variant of the surface to surface ballistic missile, Agni-V from APJ Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha.

  • The missile, which uses a three-stage solid-fuelled engine, is capable of striking targets at ranges up to 5,000 kms.

About Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO):
Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman-Dr G Satheesh Reddy
Headquarters- New Delhi
Founded- 1958

SPORTS

India wins 16 Medals in 2021 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship & 1 Gold in World Weightlifting Championship
On 17th December 2021 India concluded the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships 2021 with 16 medals, including 4 golds held at Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

  • Bindyarani Devi being India’s only medallist at the world championships 2021.
  • Indian weightlifter Purnima Pandey won the gold medal in the +87kg women’s category at the Commonwealth.

Other Medals:
i.India’s Gurdeep Singh won Commonwealth bronze in the men’s +109kg.
ii.South Korea’s Son Young-hee won the gold medal at the world championships with an overall lift of 282kg (122+159).
iii.New Zealand’s David Liti won the gold medal for a total of 407kg (176+231) followed by Pakistan’s Muhammad Nooh Dastgir Butt, who lifted 390kg (165+225).
About International Weightlifting Federation (IWF):
The World Weightlifting championship is organised by IWF. The first competition, held in March 1891, was won by Edward Lawrence Levy (England).
Interim President – Michael Sheriar Irani
Headquarters – Lausanne, Switzerland
>> Read Full News

OBITUARY

Former Union Minister R. L. Jalappa Passes AwayL. Jalappa, a veteran leader of the Indian National Congress(INC) and the former Union Minister of Textiles has passed away in Kolar, Karnataka. He was born on 19th October 1925 in Bengaluru, Karnataka
About R. L. Jalappa: 
RL Jalappa was founder and Chairman of Devaraj Urs Medical College in Kolar and RL Jalappa Institute of Technology, Doddaballapur.
In 1979 he quit Congress to form the Karnataka Kranti Ranga with former Chief Minister D Devaraj Urs and he again joined congress in 1998.
Stint in Parliament
i.In 1996, He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Chikballapur constituency, representing Janata Dal.
ii.He has served as the Union Minister of Textiles (1996 to 1998) under the premiership of HD Deve Gowda and Inder Kumar Gujral.
Role in Karnataka Government:
i.He has served as a Member of the Karnataka Legislative Council from 1980 to 1983 and a member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly (Janata Party) from 1983 to 1996.
ii.He has served as the Minister of Cooperation, Home Affairs and Revenue in the Government of Karnataka.
Awards:
The Government of Karnataka honoured him with the D Devaraj Urs Award in 2015 for his contribution to the field of education and development.

BOOKS & AUTHORS

A new book titled “India’s Ancient Legacy of Wellness” by Dr Rekha Chaudhari LaunchedOn December 15, 2021, a book titled “India’s Ancient Legacy of Wellness” authored by Dr Rekha Chaudhari was launched in the presence of the Governor of Maharashtra, Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

  • It was launched on the occasion of World Digital Day (WDD) celebration.

i.The book highlights how important it is for human beings to be close to nature which helps to revive and recharge to do productive work.
ii.Dr Rekha has also published many of her research works in the World Health Organization (WHO). She was invited by John Hopkins, Harvard and Oxford University to publish her research.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Migrants Day 2021 – December 18 The United Nations(UN)’s International Migrants Day is annually observed across the world on December 18th to increase the interest of the international community on effective and full protection of the human rights of the migrants.
The day also aims to ensure that migrants’ rights are not violated and are protected equally.

  • The year 2021 marks the 70th anniversary of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), established in 1951.

The theme of International Migrants Day 2021 is “Harnessing The Potential Of Human Mobility”. 
About International Organization for Migration (IOM):
Director General– António Vitorino
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
>> Read Full News

UN World Arabic Language Day observed on December 18 2021i.On December 18, 2021, the annual United Nations’ (UN) World Arabic Language Day was observed on the theme ‘Arabic Language, a bridge between civilisations’.
ii.This day honors the Arabic language, which is spoken by over 400 million people globally and celebrates the cultural diversity of the Middle Eastern region.
About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Director-General– Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters– Paris, France
>> Read Full News

Minorities Rights Day 2021 – December 18 Minorities Rights Day is annually observed across India on 18th December to create awareness on the Constitutionally-assured rights of religious minorities and aims to uphold the right to freedom and equal opportunities for the ethnic minorities in India.

  • The day also highlights the need to eliminate all forms of discrimination against minorities.
  • The day is annually celebrated by the National Commission for Minorities (NCM)

Background:
The Minorities Rights Day in India was first observed on 18th December 2013.
Why December 18?
December 18th was chosen to mark the day on which the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) on 18 December 1992 by resolution 47/135.
>> Read Full News

STATE NEWS

Tamil Nadu Declared ‘Tamil Thai Vaazhthu’ by Manonmaniam Sundaranar as State Song

M K Stalin, Chief Minister(CM) of Tamil Nadu(TN) announced that “Tamil Thai Vazhthu”(‘Neerarum Kadaludutha’) from Manonmaneeyam(Tamil Drama), penned by Tamil scholar Manonmaniam Sundaranar Pillai as the State Song of Tamil Nadu.
The song should be sung in 55 seconds in Mullaipaani Ragam(Mohana Raagam).

  • A government order(GO) has been issued directing everyone present during the rendition of the song, barring differently-abled persons, should remain standing.
  • This announcement is made after Justice G R Swaminathan, Madurai Bench of Madras High Court observed that “There is no statutory or executive order requiring the attendees to stand up when Tamil Thai Vaazhthu is sung”.

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Current Affairs Today (AffairsCloud Today)

S.no Current Affairs 19&20 December 2021
1 PM Modi lays Foundation stone of Ganga Expressway in UP
2 Series of MoUs Signed at the National Conference on Investment Opportunities in Highway, Transport and Logistics
3 Rajasthan’s Art and Culture Minister BD Kalla inaugurated 24th Lokrang-2021 in Jaipur
4 NSDC and GIF launched Project AMBER to Empower Youth with Industry Relevant Skills
5 India & US announce new programme ‘Technology-based Energy Solutions: Innovations for Net Zero’
6 CJI NV Ramana Inaugurated India’s 1st IAMC in Telangana
7 RBI Authorised RBL Bank to Collect Indirect Taxes
8 IFSCA Sets up Panel for Creating Framework for Transfer of Stressed Loan
9 GoI & KFW sign Euro 442.26mn loan for Surat Metro Rail Project
10 GACL and GAIL signed MoU for setting up 500 KLD Bioethanol plant in Gujarat
11 Karl Nehammer Sworn in as Chancellor of Austria
12 New generation ballistic missile ‘Agni P’ successfully test-fired by DRDO in Odisha
13 India wins 16 Medals in 2021 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship & 1 Gold in World Weightlifting Championship
14 Former Union Minister R. L. Jalappa Passes Away
15 A new book titled “India’s Ancient Legacy of Wellness” by Dr Rekha Chaudhari Launched
16 International Migrants Day 2021 – December 18
17 UN World Arabic Language Day observed on December 18 2021
18 Minorities Rights Day 2021 – December 18
19 Tamil Nadu Declared ‘Tamil Thai Vaazhthu’ by Manonmaniam Sundaranar as State Song





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