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Current Affairs December 19 2019

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We are here for you to provide the important Recent and Latest Current Affairs 19 December 2019, which have unique updates of Latest Current Affairs 2019 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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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Government approves Rs.436 crore for Future Skills PRIME to skill IT professionals
On 18th December 2019, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has approved Rs.436 crore for Future Skills PRIME (Programme for Reskilling/Upskilling of IT Manpower for Employability) over a period of three years. The program aims to skill 412,000 IT (Information Technology) professionals in new technologies. The training will be executed by the Ministry of Electronics, IT and Nasscom.
Future Skills PRIME:

  • Every learner will be provided with a skills wallet in which he/she will get an opportunity to receive 12,000 from the government of India as incentive.
  • Apart from the IT industry the existing infrastructure of CDAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing) and NIELIT (National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology) centers will also be borrowed as resource centers.
  • The data center for this digital platform will be kept in India.

Future Skills Initiative:

  • In February 2018 Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Future Skills Initiative to reskill the workers in the IT (Information Technology) industry in emerging technologies and job roles.
  • In 2018, Nasscom and the Government announced the Future Skills portal for member companies in the IT-ITeS (enabled Service) industry, to reskill workforce across nine emerging technologies….Click here to Read More

Rural development ministry launches 3rd phase of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak YojanaPhase-III of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana launchedOn December 18,2019, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister of Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare & Panchayati Raj,has launched Phase III of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in New Delhi.The launching event was held on the side lines of the National Workshop on PMGSY organised by the Ministry of Rural Development.
i.
Under this phase,the central Government aims to construct 1,25,000 km of roads with an estimated cost of about 80,250 crores rupees (Central Share of Rs. 53,800 crores) for the period 2019-20 – 2024-25.
ii.Financial stake: The share of funds between the Centre and the states will be in the ratio of 60:40, but in 8 North Eastern states and three Himalayan states (Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) it will be in the ratio of 90:10….Click here to Read More

Commerce ministry set up Tripura’s 1st SEZ at Paschim Jalefa, Sabroom
On December 16, 2019 the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) has announced the setting up of 1st Special Economic Zone(SEZ) in Tripura at an estimated cost of Rs 1550 crores. The SEZ is being set up in  Paschim Jalefa, Sabroom of South Tripura District and is 130kilometers away from Agartala, the capital city.  The SEZ will be a boost for Agro-Based Food Processing.

  • The developer of SEZ in Tripura will be Tripura Industrial Development Corporation (TIDC) Ltd.
  • Job creation: Through this SEZ, 12,000 skilled jobs will be generated.
  • Industries in SEZ: Under this SEZ, Rubber based industries, textile and Apparel Industries, bamboo and Agri-food Processing Industries will be set up.
  • SEZ: A special economic zone (SEZ) is an area in which the business and trade laws are different from the rest of the country. They are located in national borders of the country.The SEZ comes under Special Economic Zone Act 2005, with effect from  10th February, 2006. As of Now, TamilNadu has maximum no. of SEZ in India….Click here to Read More

Supreme Court sets up two-Judge Committee to speed up the disposal of  rape cases 
On 17th December 2019, The Supreme Court (SC) has formed two-Judge Committee to speed up the disposal process of rape cases across the country, comprising Justice Subhash Reddy and Justice MR Shah. The cases will be monitored by the panel to make the process fast and well organized. The panel was announced by Sharad Arvind Bobde, Chief justice of India.
Key Points:
i.The decision to form a committee was made seven years after the brutal gang rape of a physiotherapy intern in New Delhi, and also the recent incident of encounter killing of four accuse in the gang rape and murder of a veterinary doctor in Telangana.
ii.The statistics of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) spotlights the poor law and order situation in India with 3.59 lakh crime cases reported against women in 2017. Uttar Pradesh (UP) recorded the maximum number of crimes against women with 56,011 cases in 2017. Madhya Pradesh (MP) recorded the highest number of rape cases at 5562.
About National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB):
Founded- 11 March 1986
Headquarters- New Delhi
Director- Ramphal Pawar

AMRUT mission flagship on urban renewal extended by 2 yrs to 2022 from 2020
On December 18, 2019 the centre has decided to extend the mission period of its flagship initiative Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for urban renewal from 2020 to 2022. The extension was made, as the previously set targets were unable to be met in 500 cities of the country.

  • Amrut: It was first launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on June 25, 2015. The programme was preceded by Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission(JNNURM). Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs(MoHUA) is the agency responsible for AMRUT.
  • Deadline extended: It is for the 1st time the govt. has initiated projects on such a large scale, thus there has been a need to complete all the projects with an extended time. Hence, AMRUT Mission would require three additional years upto 2022-23 to complete all projects….Click here to Read More

India expanded areas covered by Indo-Pacific policy
On December 15, 2019, India has increased the area covered by its Indo-Pacific policy. It was announced by Minister of External Affairs(MEA) in his address at the 6th Indian Ocean Dialogue (IOD) held in New Delhi. This has been done to include the western Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. With this, the Indian partnership in the Indo-Pacific region which includes the Quad, ASEAN, and Western Indian Ocean, will additionally include Gulf states and Africa.
Key Points:
i.Quad: Quad region refers to Australia, US, Japan and India.
ii.Indo Pacific Policy: It is a policy created for regions covering Indian and Pacific oceans. The region ranges from the eastern shores of Africa to the western shores of the US. The policy was created amid China’s military expansion in the region.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman chairs 38th GST council meeting in New Delhi38th GST Council Meeting held in Delhi On December 18, 2019, Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has chaired the 38th  Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council Meeting in New Delhi. The meeting was also attended by the Union Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs Shri Anurag Thakur besides Finance Ministers of States & UTs and senior officers of Ministry of Finance.
Highlights of 38th GST Council Meet:
The GST council has decided to levy uniform tax on lottery will be effective from March 01,2020 at 28%.
The Council also rationalized tax rate to 18 % (from 12%) on bags belonging to HSN code 3923/6305 (woven and non-woven bags and sacks of polythene).
GST Council has decided to give exemption from penalty on those who do not fill GSTR-1 from July 2017.
The council was also decided to give exemption from upfront amount payable by entities in which the central / state government holds 20 % stake on long-term lease of industrial or financial infrastructure plots.
The council has decided to block e-way bill for those who haven’t filed GSTR-1 for 2 tax periods….Click here to Read More

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

NSF report 2019: India ranks world’s 3rd largest producer of scientific articles; China tops
On December 18, 2019 The United States(US) govt agency National Science Foundation (NSF) released a data ‘Science and Engineering Indicators 2019’ on the number of scientific papers published worldwide for the year 2019. As per the data, India was ranked as the world’s 3rd largest publisher of science and engineering(S&E) articles. The list was topped by China.

  • India published 48,998 science and engineering articles in 2008. In over 10 years , this count has increased to 1,35,788 articles in 2018 at an average annual growth rate of 10.73%.
  • India now accounts for 5.31% of the total world publications in science and engineering.
  • India’s global output share rose from 2% to 5% from 2000 to 2018.
  • India & China were more specialised in engineering articles….Click here to Read More

2nd session of 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between India & US held in Washington DC
On December 18, 2019, the 2nd session of the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between India & the United States(US) was held in Washington DC, US. The meeting was hosted by the Department of State at Foggy Bottom headquarters in Washington DC. The focus of the meeting was on deepening bilateral strategic and defence cooperation, exchanging perspectives on global developments, & shared leadership between the two countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

  • Indian Delegation: Union Minister of Defence(MoD) Shri Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs(MEA) Shri Subrahmanyam Jaishankar lead the Indian delegation to the 2+2 dialogue.
  • ISA: India and the US signed an industrial security agreement that will allow the transfer of defence technology in both nations. This agreement, known as Internal security annex (ISA) will provide a framework for cooperation development and production linkages in defence manufacturing….Click here to Read More

BANKING & FINANCE

GeM inks MoU with UCO Bank & BoM for payment-related services
On December 18, 2019, Government e-Marketplace (GeM) , a one-stop portal to facilitate online procurement of common use Goods & Services required by various government departments, has signed MoU (Memorandum of understanding) with Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) & UCO Bank (formerly United Commercial Bank) to provide a paperless, cashless, and transparent payment system on its portal.
Key Points:
i.The MoU will create an efficient procurement system for government entities & will provide both the banks an opportunity to offer stock of services, including fund transfer through GeM Pool Accounts (GPA), advising of Performance Bank Guarantees (e-PBG), Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) and Payment Gateway to the GeM’s registered users.
ii.The MOU was signed by S Suresh Kumar, Additional CEO (GeM) andAnil Kumar, General Manager, UCO Bank & V D Kolhatkar, Field General Manager, BOM.
iii.In addition to these 2 banks , GeM also works with, other banks, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), and Trade Receivables electronic Discounting System (TReDs), with the aim to offer financing of working capital and bill discounting.
About UCO Bank:
Founded– 6 January 1943
Headquarters– Kolkata, West Bengal
MD & CEO– Shri. Atul Kumar Goel
Tagline– Honours Your Trust.
About Bank of Maharashtra:
Founded– 1935
Headquarters– Pune , Maharashtra
MD & CEO– A. S. Rajeev
Tagline– One family one bank.

ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Bengaluru-based PhonePe clocks 5 Bn transactions
On December 13, 2019, PhonePe Private Limited (PhonePe) ,an Indian e-commerce payment system and digital wallet company, has crossed 5 billion transactions on its app.
Key Points:
i.
In November 2018, PhonePe had touched the milestone of a billion transactions and achieved 5 times more unprecedented success in a year. It has over 175 million registered users in India.
About PhonePe:
Founded– 2015
Headquarters– Bangalore, Karnataka
Founder & CEO– Sameer Nigam
It is a mobile payment platform using which one can transfer money using UPI(Unified Payments Interface), recharge phone numbers, pay utility bills, etc.
It is accepted as a payment option across 80 lakh MSMEs(Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) in more than 215 cities in India.

Smartphone maker Realme launched financial services platform ‘realme Paysa’ in partnership with FinShell
On 17 December 2019, Smartphone manufacturer Realme launched its new financial services platform named ‘Realme Paysa‘ in partnership with Oppo-owned fintech startup FinShell. The platform will provide certain products like loans, mutual funds and credit score reports to consumers. The beta version of the app which is currently being used will offer digital personal loans of up to Rs 1 lakh and SME(Small and Medium Enterprise) loans upto Rs 5 lakhs.
Key Points:
i.Realme Paysa Features: The platform will give an instant free credit report and free updates for 3 months. Screen damage insurance for both new and old phones with insurance for 1 or 2 years will be provided.
ii.This realme Paysa launch was done days after its rival company Xiaomi launched financial service ‘Mi Credit’ in India.
iii.Another smartphone maker OnePlus also announced to launch its mobile payment system OnePlus Pay in 2020.
About Realme: 
Founded- May 4, 2018.
Founder- Sky Li.
Parent company- BBK
Headquarters- China.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS   

2019 Sahitya Akademi Awards in 23 languages announcedaward On December 18, 2019 the Sahitya Akademi announced its annual Sahitya Akademi Awards in 23 languages for the year 2019. 7 books of poetry, 4 novel, 6 short stories, 3 essays and one in each of non-fiction, autobiography and biography won the awards.

  • Award Announcement: Usually Sahitya Akademi Award for 24 languages will be awarded. This time 23 languages were announced. Nepali (24th language) will be announced later.
  • Shashi Tharoor: Indian politician, writer and Congress party member Shashi Tharoor won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his book “An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India”.
  • Dharman won for Sool novel: Cho. Dharman from Thoothukudi, TamilNadu has won the Sahitya Akademi award for his tamil Novel Sool.
  • Nand Kishore wins for Hindi poetry: Renowned poet Nandkishore Acharya of Hindi has been announced the Sahitya Akademi award for his collection of poems ‘Peelte Apne Ko’….Click here to Read More

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATION   

Mallika Srinivasan, chairman of TAFE appointed as a board member of USIBCTAFE Chairman Mallika Srinivasan appointed to Global Board of US-India Business CouncilOn 17th December 2019, Mallika Srinivasan, Chairman of Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited (TAFE) was appointed as one of the board members of the United States (US)- India Business Council (USIBC), a global board of the US Chamber of Commerce. The appointment is to take immediate effect as she joins a prestigious list of Chief Executive Officers (CEO) and executives on the USIBC 35-member board.
Key Points:

i.Srinivasan is also on the boards of the Allis-Gleaner Corporation (AGCO), United States of America (USA) Steel Limited and TATA Global Beverages (TGB) limited. She is also the Executive Board of the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, the governing boards of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai and Bharathidasan Institute of Management (BIM), Trichy.
ii.Other members appointed to the Global board of USIBC are Shekar Ayyar from Virtual Machineware (VMware), Rajan Navani, Jetline Group of Companies and David Taghioff, Library Pictures International.
About US- India Business Council (USIBC):
Founded- 1975
Headquarters- Washington D.C, United States (US)
Chairman- Nisha Desai Biswal

NCLAT restores Cyrus Mistry as executive chairman of Tata GroupCyrus Mistry On December 18, 2019 the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has restored former Tata group Chairman Cyrus Mistry as executive chairman of Tata Group who was ousted from his position citing nonperformance in work. He was then replaced by Natarajan Chandrasekaran. NCLAT has now held Natarajan Chandrasekaran appointment as illegal after Mistry’s restoration.
Key Points:

i.Cyrus Mistry took over as 6th chairman after Ratan Tata’s retirement was announced. He was ousted from the post in October 2016. The Mistry family is the single largest shareholder in Tata Sons, with an 18.4% stake.
ii.A 2-member bench of the NCLAT headed by S J Mukhopadhyaya announced Ratan Tata’s actions against Mistry were oppressive and the appointment of a new chairman was illegal as his removal was not in accordance with Section 244 of the Companies Act, 2013. NCLAT has also rejected the conversion of Tata Sons into a private company from a public firm.
About National Company Law Appellate Tribunal NCLAT:
Fact- It adjudicates issues relating to Indian companies.
Founded- 1 June 2016.
Headquarters- New Delhi.
Act- Companies Act 2013.

Devesh Srivastava promoted as Chairman and MD at GIC ReDevesh SrivastavaOn 18th December 2019, Devesh Srivastava has been promoted as the Chairman and Managing Director (MD) at the General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re). He succeeded Alice G. Vaidyan, first lady CMD of GIC Re. Priorly, Devesh was managing the departments of human resource and training, ReInsurance Worldwide (RIWW), corporate communications, CMD’s Secretariat and innovation centre.
Key Points:

i.Devesh Srivastava was managing the specialty lines of aviation, marine hull and cargo, oil and energy, and motor liability until being selected to head the United Kingdom (UK) branch in 2013.
ii.GIC is one of the largest reinsurance company in India in terms of gross premiums accepted in FY17, it provides reinsurance across many key business lines like fire (property), marine, motor, engineering, agriculture, aviation/space, health, liability (credit and financial) and life insurance.
About General Insurance Corporation India (GIC Re):
Founded- 22 November 1972
Headquarters- Mumbai, India

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

IAU names a star and a planet with Indian names: Bibha and Santamasa
On 17th December 2019, A white yellow dwarf star in Sextans constellation and its Jupiter-like exoplanet with hitherto name HD 86081 has been given Indian names by International Astronomical Union (IAU) through a global contest called “NameExoWorlds”. The star is named Bibha while its planet christened as Santamasa, a Sanskrit word that means “clouded”.
i.The star has been named in the honour of an Indian woman scientist Bibha Choudhury who has discovered subatomic particles (pi-meson), the name also means “a bright beam of light” in Bengali.
ii.In India the naming campaign was coordinated by the Public Outreach and Education Committee of the Astronomical Society of India (ASI).
iii.Ananyo Bhattacharya 22, a student of Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology in Surat, Gujarat, suggested the name Bibha for the star, and Vidyasagar Daud 13, of Singhad Spring Dale Public School in Pune suggested the name of Santamasa for the planet.
iv.The IAU chose the name at the end of a global contest called ‘NameExoWorlds’, which was organized as part of its centenary celebrations. The organization turned 100 on July 28, 2019….Click here to Read More

BOOKS & AUTHORS

Thaawarchand Gehlot launches Braille edition of the book “Exam warriors” authored by PM Narendra ModiThaawarchand Gehlot releases Braille Edition of Book “Exam Warriors” On 18th December 2019, Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment launched the Braille Edition of the book “Exam Warriors” authored by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi. The book was prepared by Braille Press of Rajasthan Netraheen Kalyan Sangh, Jaipur, India.
Key Points:

i.All the pictures of the book have been well described for the benefit of blind readers. The book aims to provide motivation and mental strength to millions of blind students across the country.
ii.The Rajasthan Netraheen Kalyan Sangh is a non-governmental organization that has been empowering blind and visually challenged people for more than 44 years. They also provide skills to seek reverential jobs and to start self-employment.

STATE NEWS

Odisha: “Jalsathi” initiative launched; “SAMRIDHI” agricultural policy-2020 approvedOdisha CM launches 'Jalsathi' programme On 18th December 2019, Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister (CM) of Odisha launched the “Jalsathi” program in Bhubaneswar, to engage women from the self-help group (SHG) mission Shakti in water distribution and consumer management. Also CM Patnaik approved ‘SAMRIDHI’, the new Agriculture Policy for the year 2020 for Odisha on 17 December 2019.
Jal Sathi program:

i.The Jal Sathi program has been launched on a pilot basis under the 5T initiative (5T stands for Transparency, Teamwork, Technology, Time and Transformation) in Bhubaneswar.
ii.Under the program women, volunteers will ensure the supply of clean drinking water through piped water systems.
iii.The program will be implemented in 7 wards of Bhubaneswar and the remaining places will be included in the next phases. The Water Corporation of Odisha (WATCO) and Women federation Jal Sathi has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to connect consumers and the Public Health Engineering Organisation / WATCO.
Agricultural policy 2020- SAMRIDHI:

  • Objective: To ensure consistent sustainable growth in the income of farmers and to make sure that all policies reach small and marginal farmers and also to ensure stable and measurable empirical agricultural growth. The policy will also focus on fisheries and livestock along with traditional crops….Click here to Read More

J&K administration signs MoU with UNDP India to implement Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN)
On 17th December 2019, the Jammu and Kashmir administration signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India to strengthen the immunization supply chain system in the Union territory.
Key Points:
i.Atal Dulloo, Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department presided over the signing of MoU to implement Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN).
ii.The eVIN is carried out by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and supported by UNDP. It aims to support the Centre’s Universal Immunization Programme by providing information about vaccine stocks and flows and storage temperatures across all cold chain points.
About United Nations Development Programme (UNDP):
Founded- 22 November 1965
Headquarters- New York
Administrator- Achim Steiner

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