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First ever Agriculture Export Policy 2018 launched by Commerce Ministry
On December 11, 2018, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry released the Year End review of the policies to envision the creation of a ‘Vision of New India’ which would propel the India to become a USD 5 trillion economy before 2025.
i. Out of the USD 5 trillion, the focused plans will be on boosting
- Service sector contribution to USD 3 trillion,
- Manufacturing to USD 1 trillion and
- Agriculture to USD 1 trillion.
About India’s first ever Agriculture Export Policy:
As on December 6, 2018, the Union Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi approved the creation of first Agriculture Export Policy.
i. The Department of Commerce in its aim to enable India to become a USD 5 trillion economy, released India’s 1st Agriculture Export Policy 2018.
Highlights of the Agricultural Export Policy 2018:
i. As per the policy, a corpus of USD 1 billion has been created to boost 12 champion sectors in services.
ii. It would boost India’s agricultural exports to USD 60 billion by 2022 and to achieve Agriculture Ministry’s target of USD 100 billion.
ii. The recommendations in the Agriculture Export Policy have been organised in two categories – Strategic and Operational.
iii. The Strategic recommendations include:
- Policy measures,
- Infrastructure and Logistics Support,
- Holistic approach to boost exports,
- Greater involvement of State Governments in agri exports.
iv. The Operational recommendations include:
- Focus on Clusters,
- Promoting value-added exports,
- Marketing and promotion of “Brand India,
- Attract private investments into production and processing,
- Establishment of strong quality regimen,
- Research & Development,
v. The 12 identified Champion Services Sectors are:
Approved by the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, 12 identified Champion Services Sectors are:
Information Technology & Information Technology enabled Services (IT &ITeS), Tourism and Hospitality Services, Medical Value Travel, Transport and Logistics Services, Accounting and Finance Services, Audio Visual Services, Legal Services, Communication Services, Construction and Related Engineering Services, Environmental Services, Financial Services and Education Services.
i. The Department of Commerce and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion is undertaking the creation of a New Industrial Policy, since May 2017, with six thematic areas in focus.
ii. It would subsume the National Manufacturing Policy.
Ministry of Commerce:
♦ Union Minister: Shri. Suresh Prabhu.
♦ Minister of State: Shri. C R Chaudhary.
MAHE awarded and inaugurated with country’s first Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence by EU
On December 8, 2018, the Ambassador of the European Union to India, H.E. Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski inaugurated India’s first Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at the Department of European Studies (DES) at the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Manipal.
i. On the commemoration of EU day, in Manipal, he awarded the first Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence to Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE).
ii. The award comes with a grant of € 1,00,000 to pursue EU-India interdisciplinary studies in culture, literature, education and society.
iii. In 2018, Manipal Academy of Higher Education has been chosen to develop a Centre of Excellence in European Studies, the first of its kind in India.
iv. It will focus on India-EU Interdisciplinary Studies: Culture, Literature, Education and Society.
v.This is the fifth time that MAHE has been awarded grants under the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet initiative. Previous grants have been used for a chair, modules and a project.
In 2018, Chitkara University joined the club of Jean Monnet recipients in India with a module on ‘Decoding the European Union’.
“Uncrowned Glory – An exhibition of Ethnic Ornaments of Himachal Pradesh” inaugurated in New Delhi
On December 11, 2018, Dr Dharmendra Singh Gangwar, Additional Secretary & Financial Advisor, Ministry of Culture inaugurated the third exhibition of the 2nd series of collection titled “Uncrowned Glory – An exhibition of Ethnic Ornaments of Himachal Pradesh” in National Museum, New Delhi.
i. This exhibition aims to showcase the silver and gold ornaments, from different communities and regions of Himachal Pradesh,through photographic prints.
ii. This also help in preserving and transmitting the intangible aspects of the communities through generations.
iii. The exhibition will be open for public till the 31st of December 2018.
Two day Conference ‘AYUSHCHARYA’ on Dinacharya and Ritucharya for public health promotion organised at New Delhi
On 10th December 2018,a two day National conference ‘AYUSHCHARYA’ on Dinacharya (Daily Regimen) and Ritucharya (Seasonal Regimen) for public health promotion was organized by All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) in New Delhi.The 2 day Conference Concluded on 11th December,2018
i. Introducing a new term AYUSHCHARYA and citing scientific noesis of Dinacharya, Ratricharya and Ritucharya, Director AIIA Prof Tanuja Nesari gave the inaugural address to the conference.
ii. The conference was attended by nearly 200 academicians, physicians, scientists and researchers from all over the country.
iii. The present conference was the part of celebration of 3rd National Ayurveda Day which was celebrated this year on November 5, 2018 on the occasion of the Dhanawantari Jayanti or Dhanteras with the theme “Ayurveda for Public health”.
iv. The All India Institute of Ayurveda has prepared a Ritucharya (Seasonal Regimen) calendar in which it has elaborated description of Dincharya, Ratrichrya and Ahar-Vihar in a particular weather.
v. Releasing the Dinacharya booklet and AYUSHCHARYA Calendar-2019, the Minister of State for AYUSH Shri Shripad Yesso Naik delivered the valedictory address at the Conference.
About Ministry of AYUSH:
♦ Minister: Shripad Yesso Naik (MoS independent charge)
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
The heart of India- Madhya Pradesh was the host destination of 3-day 1st AdventureNext India 2018
On December 5, 2018, the 3-day AdventureNext 2018 event, concluded in the host destination of Madhya Pradesh– the heart of India.
i. It was organised by:
- The Adventure Travel Trade Association and
- Madhya Pradesh Tourism.
ii. It was a first-of-its-kind in India & Asia, and the theme of the event was “Pulse of Tomorrow”.
iii. The Major partner in the event was Jharkhand Tourism.
UP to establish Umbrella University named after former PM late Atal Bihari Vajpayee
On December 12, 2018, the Uttar Pradesh Government announced creation of an umbrella university named after former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
i. The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at Lucknow.
ii. The University would be the controlling authority of all the medical and dental colleges and nursing institutions in the state.
iii. This would help in bringing transparency in entrance and examination system and would enhance quality of medical education.
India signed the 30-member Trans Regional Maritime Network pact in Rome, Italy
On December 10, 2018,India signed an ascension pact to the 30-member Trans Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN) at Italian Naval Headquarters in Rome, Italy.
i. This agreement was signed by CMDE KM Ramakrishnan.
ii. The T-RMN consists of 30-member countries and is led by Italy.
iii. This agreement will give India an access to the information on ships passing through the Indian Ocean Region, that will help in keeping tabs on the security forces.
iv.India already has bilateral White Shipping Agreements with 36 countries.
♦ Capital: Rome.
♦ Currency: Euro.
♦ Chief of Naval staff: Admiral Sunil Lanba.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Russia emerges as world’s No. 2 arms producer: Report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
On 10th December 2018, a Swedish think, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its report on the world’s 100 biggest armaments groups and said that Russia has emerged as the world’s second-largest arms producer after the U.S.
i. Russia surpassed Britain, which had held the spot since 2002 and remains Western Europe’s No. 1 arms maker.
ii. The report stated that the combined arm sales of Russian companies recorded 8.5 % year-on-year growth and amounted to$37.7 billion in 2017.Russia’s sales accounted for 9.5 percent of a worldwide total of $398.2 billion.
iii. The U.S. topped the list with 42 companies accounting for 57 % of total sales, including the world’s largest arms producer, Lockheed Martin Corp.
iv. In a first, the Moscow-based and state-owned Russian company that makes advanced air defence systems among other things, Almaz-Antey was listed among the world’s top 10 weapon companies.
v. The SIPRI’s report doesn’t include Chinese companies because of unreliable statistics.
♦ Capital: Moscow
♦ Currency: Russian Ruble
♦ President: Vladimir Putin
ADB retains India FY19 growth forecast at 7.3% despite downside risks
On 12th December 2018, Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its supplement report “Asian Development Outlook (2018)” has retained India’s FY19 growth forecast at 7.3% and 7.6% in FY20 despite downside risks posed by stress in the non-banking sector, limited fiscal space as well as escalating trade tensions.
i. The country’s GDP growth moderated to 7.1 per cent in second quarter of 2018-19 from 8.2 percent in the first quarter, averaging 7.6 per cent growth in the first half.
ii. India is maintaining growth momentum on rebounding exports and higher industrial and agricultural output.
iii. The slowdown came mainly from weak food prices, dampening rural consumption, higher oil prices delivering a negative shock in the terms of trade, and rising costs for raw materials.
About Asian Development Bank (ADB)
♦ Headquarter: Mandaluyong, Philippines
♦ President: Takehiko Nakao
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Jamal Khashoggi named Time magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’
On 11th December 2018, Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was murdered at his country’s Istanbul consulate in October was named Time Magazine’s “Person of the year” along with a group of other persecuted journalists collectively called “the Guardians of the truth”.
List of People Honoured by Time Magazine
- Jamal Khashoggi – Saudi Journalist and Washington Post Contributor(First Deceased Person to win the “Person of the year’ award)
- Maria Ressa – Founder of Rappler
- Wa Lone – Reuters Journalist imprisoned in Myanmar
- Kyaw Soe Oo – Reuters Journalist Imprisoned in Myanmar
- Staffs of Capital Gazette: Including 5 people who were shot dead in June
i.The magazine calls the series of four black-and-white covers highlighted as “the War on Truth.”
ii.The United States President Donald Trump was the runner-up for this year’s Person of the Year title while his Special counsel Robert Mueller was ranked No. 3.
Mary Kom honoured with Meethoileima title by Manipur Government
On 12th December 2018, MC Mary Kom , six times World Women Boxing Champion and Olympic Bronze medalist honoured with Meethoileima title (means Outstanding Queen)by Manipur government.
i. She was honoured by Chief minister N.Biren Singh who also handed over a cheque of Ten lakh rupees.
ii. The Chief Minister also declared that the Imphal West DC Road towards Game Village will be named as MC Mary Kom Road.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Shaktikanta Das takes charge as 25th Governor of the RBI
On 11th December 2018, Shaktikanta Das, former Economics Affairs Secretary appointed as 25th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a period of three years.He succeeded Urjit Patel after he resigned from the post on 10th December 2018.
i. Das is former Economic Affairs Secretary from 2015 to 2017, worked closely with the central bank. He is currently a member of the Finance Commission of India, and the government’s representative at the Group of 20 summits.
ii. Urjit Patel resigned as the Governor of India’s central bank citing personal reasons amid tensions between the government and the RBI over issues related to governance and autonomy of the central bank.
i. Appointment of Governor of the RBI by government comes under Sub section 4 of section 8 of the RBI act 1934.
ii. Osborne Smith was inaugural holder of the RBI while C.D. Deshmukh was first Indian Governor.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai
♦ Established: 1st April 1935
CAG Rajiv Mehrishi appointed as Vice-Chair of UN Panel of Auditors till 2020
On December 11, 2018, Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG) Rajiv Mehrishi became the Vice-Chair of the UN Panel of Auditors for a term of 2 years ending on June 30, 2020.
The decision was taken in the panel’s annual meeting in New York which was held from 3rd to 4th December 2018.
i. The panel is currently chaired by the Comptroller and Auditor General of the UK and consists of External Auditors of the United Nations and its agencies.
ii. Presently, the panel consists of 11 countries — India, Germany, Chile, Canada, France, Italy, Philippines, Ghana, Indonesia, Switzerland and United Kingdom.
i. The panel also elected the Comptroller and Auditor General of the UK as Chair of the Panel for another term (2019).
ii. The next meeting of the panel will be held in Bonn, Germany in November-December 2019.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
HAL developed Light Utility Helicopter achieves important milestone of flying at 6 km altitude
On 11th December 2018, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) indigenously developed Light Utility Helicopter(LUH) achieved important milestone of flying at 6 Km altitude in Bengaluru.
i. It is 3-ton class new generation helicopter designed and developed by indigenous Rotary Wing Research and Design Center (RWR&DC) of HAL.
ii. It will replace ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters used by Indian Armed Forces.
iii. It is capable of flying at 220 kmph, with service ceiling of 6.5 km and range of 350 km with 400 kg payload.
Indian Navy’s first flyaway Deep Sea Submarine Rescue System inducted in to Indian Navy in Mumbai
On December 12, 2018, Indian Navy’s first flyaway Deep Sea Submarine Rescue System was inducted by Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Naval Staff, at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai.
i. The new system is a third generation, advanced Submarine Rescue System having a Non-tethered Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV).
ii. It is capable of undertaking rescue from a disabled Submarine upto 650 m depth.
iii .It would be operated and deployed by the crew of Indian Navy’s newly formed Submarine Rescue Unit (West) from its base in Mumbai.
iv.The DSRV, which is operated by a crew of three, can rescue 14 personnel from a disabled Submarine at one time and can operate in extreme sea conditions (upto Sea State 6).
The Indian Navy currently operates submarines of the Sindhughosh, Shishumar, Kalvari Classes as well as nuclear powered submarines.
♦Chief of Naval staff: Admiral Sunil Lanba.
♦Vice Chief of Naval Staff: Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar.
Indian Ports Association Launches ‘PCS 1x’ to Increase Ease of Doing Business
On 11th December 2018, the Port Community System ‘PCS 1x’, a cloud based new generation technology, with user-friendly interface to increase ease of doing business was launched by Indian Ports Association (IPA), under the mentorship of Ministry of Shipping in Mumbai.
i. Chairman IPA, Shri Sanjay Bhatia launched the URL www.indianpcs.gov.in, in the presence of various stakeholders.
ii. Value added services such as notification engine, workflow, mobile application, track and trace, better user interface, better security features, improved inclusion by offering dashboard for those with no IT capability are the features offered by the PCS1x platform.
iii.This feature alone will reduce 11/2 to 2 days in a life of transaction. The application will have a cascading effect in reducing dwell time and overall cost of transaction.
iv. The web-based platform has been developed indigenously and is a part of the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ initiative of the Hon’ble Prime Minister and is being made mandatory by Ministry of Shipping.
Climate Change Performance Index 2019: Sweden tops in the Ranking, India at 11th position
On December 10, 2018,the Climate Change Performance Index 2019 was released on the sidelines of COP24 UN Summit in Katowice, Poland.
i. The index was produced by the New Climate Institute, Climate Action Network and Germanwatch.
i. No countries were in the top three ranks because none did well in all categories assessed.
ii. But among the league of nations, Sweden topped as the 4th country (for the second time as on 2017) followed by Morocco in the 5th position.
iii. The European Union as a whole rose from 21st to 16th place.
iv. But Germany fell from 22nd to 27th because of its reliance on lignite coal, a big source of greenhouse gas emissions.
v. The Countries Ranked at bottom are: Saudi Arabia (60), USA(59), Iran (58), Korea (57), Chinese Taipei (56),Australia (55),Canada (54),Russian Federation (52),Turkey (50),Japan (49).
vi. India ranked 11th and other neighbouring countries of India ranked the following: China (33).
Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar were not assessed.
About the Index:
i. The Countries were evaluated by 6 parameters:
- GHG Emissions,
- Renewable Energy,
- Energy Use,
- Paris compatibility of their current status and targets sets,
- Countries’ ambition and
- Progress in the field of Climate policy.
ii. The evaluation was done on 56 countries and the European Union (EU) and the countries were categorised into 6 color-coded section. They were as per the rankings in the list:
- Very High color-coded ‘Dark Green’,
- High color-coded ‘Light Green’,
- Medium color-coded ‘Light Yellow’,
- Low color-coded ‘Dark Yellow’,
- Very Low color-coded ‘Dark Red’,
- Not assessed color-coded ‘White’.
Dracula ants declared the fastest animal on earth: Study
On December 12, 2018, in a study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, scientists found that the Dracula ant possesses the fastest animal movement on record.
i. With speeds of up to 90 metres per second or 200 miles per hour, the ants can snap-jaws and power up their mandibles by pressing the tips together
SAIL Hockey Academy wins Aga Khan Gold Cup tournament
On 10th December 2018, Steel Authority of India’s Hockey Academy wins 115th Aga Khan Gold Cup tournament by beating Army XI Danapur by 2-1 at Major Dhyan Chand hockey stadium in New Delhi.
i. Jay Prakash Patel scored the match-winning goal for the SAIL Hockey Academy (SHA) in the final match of Aga Khan Gold Cup which is one of the oldest hockey tournament in the country..
ii. The SHA team defeated Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy by 4-2 in the semifinals.
iii. SAIL Hockey Academy is run by SAIL’s Rourkela Steel Plant.
About Hockey India
♦ Headquarter: New Delhi
♦ President: Mohammad Mushtaq Ahmed
International Universal Health Coverage Day – 12th December
On 12th December 2018, International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) was observed throughout the world. It aims to mobilize diverse stakeholders to call for stronger, more equitable health systems to achieve universal health coverage, leaving no one behind.
i. The theme for the 2018 UHC Day is: “Unite for Universal Health Coverage: Now is the Time for Collective Action.”
ii. Universal health coverage (UHC) ensures all people, everywhere, can access the quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship.
iii. The United Nations proclaimed 12th December as International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) by resolution 72/138 in 2017.
iv. This year 5 pillars to achieve Universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030 were released and they include- Ensuring Political Commitment & Multi-Stakeholder Action, Leaving No One Behind, Engaging Community Voices, Investing More & Smarter and Holding Leaders Accountable.
About United Nations (UN):
♦ Secretary General: António Guterres
♦ Headquarters: New York, United States
International Day of Neutrality-12th December
On December 12 is seen as International Day of Neutrality after its adoption by United Nations General Assembly in the 69th plenary meeting.On 12th December 2018,the World Celebrates 2nd International Day of Neutrality.
i. It is celebrated by United Nations to ensure neutrality among nations and abstention of a state from all participation in a war.
ii. It is aimed at promoting the use of preventive diplomacy, and enhancing public awareness of the value of neutrality in international relations.
iii. The resolutions of neutrality was reaffirmed in resolution 71/275 and the United Nations General Assembly declared the Day of December 12 to be seen as International Day of Neutrality on February 2, 2017.
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