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Current Affairs December 7 2018

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Current Affairs December 7 2018


Ministry of Railways signed MoU with Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
On 4th December 2018,Ministry of Railways’ National Rail Museum (NRM) and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, New Delhi, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide an amazing discount offer to Delhi NCR tourists.

Ministry of Railways signs MoU with Madame Tussauds Wax Museumi. This innovative and first time ever,public-private museum collaboration, is expected to attract more tourists to both National Rail Museum and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
ii. A special discount of 35% on ticket prices will be offered to NRM visitors when they visit Madame Tussauds Museum, while Madame Tussauds Wax Museum visitors will be getting an attractive discount of 30% on combo packages of NRM.
iii.  In order to promote railway heritage and also enable children to learn about national heroes, there will be a special provision for school children and groups. They will be able to enjoy both museums at a 45% discount.

Sweden and India inks pact to bolster renewable energy technologies
On 3rd December 2018, Sweden and India signed Two Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in the Renewable Energy sector to enhance the technology and bring in power efficiency.
i. Among the two MoUs signed, the first was signed between Swedish firm Spowdi and EMVEE for setting up local manufacturing and assembly unit in Bangalore and the second MoU was inked between Swedish Neutral and Tata Power DDL for setting up pilot for earth fault protection in Delhi.
ii. The MoUs were signed on the sidelines of inauguration of the ‘Sustainability by Sweden – Showroom India’ themed as “Sustainability is Everybody’s Business”by Swedish Energy, Agency Business Sweden and Embassy of Sweden under the Sweden India Nobel Memorial Programme.
iii. The showroom has been set up in India as a next step towards bi-lateral programme – India Sweden Innovations Accelerator (ISIA), in which over 20 Swedish innovative technologies would be presented.
iv. The India-Sweden Innovations’ Accelerator (ISIA) programme is a part of intergovernmental cooperation between India and Sweden in the area of new and renewable energy technology.

‘Mukhyamantri Teerth Yatra Yojana’: Delhi government launched free pilgrimage scheme for 77, 000 senior citizens
On December 6, 2018, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched a 3 day, 2 night free pilgrimage scheme,consisting of five religious circuits, for senior citizens named- the ‘Mukhyamantri Teerth Yatra Yojana’.

‘Mukhyamantri Teerth Yatra Yojana'i. The AAP government will bear the expenses of 77,000 pilgrims every year although preference would be given to economically backward families.
ii. On an average, the scheme will incur a cost of Rs 7000 per pilgrim and would cover an insurance of Rs. 1 lakh for each pilgrim.
iii. Under this scheme, 1,100 senior citizens, above 60 years, from each of the 70 assembly constituencies in Delhi can undertake free pilgrimage.
iv. The beneficiaries above the age of 70 can take an attendant above the age of 20 years and the beneficiaries would be certified via the respective area lawmakers.
v. The pilgrimage for three days and two nights would be undertaken on the circuits of:

  • Delhi-Mathura-Vrindavan-Agra-Fatehpur Sikri-Delhi;
  • Delhi-Haridwar-Rishikesh-Neelkanth-Delhi;
  • Delhi-Ajmer-Pushkar-Delhi;
  • Delhi-Amritsar-Wagah border-Anandpur Sahib-Delhi; and
  • Delhi-Vaishno Devi-Jammu-Delhi.

vi. The Delhi government has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian railways to cater to the pilgrims availing the scheme.

First ever Swadesh Darshan Project in Nagaland worth Rs. 97.36 crore inaugurated by CM Rio
On December 5, 2018, Chief Minister of Nagaland, Shri Neiphiu Rio,inaugurated the first ever Swadesh Darshan Project in Nagaland named-“Development of Tribal Circuit:  Peren-Kohima-Wokha Project”.
i. It was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in November 2015 for Rs. 97.36 Crores.
ii. It would include facilities like Tribal Tourist Village, Eco Log Huts, Open Air Theatre, Tribal Rejuvenation Centre, Cafeteria, Helipad, Tourist Interpretation Centre, Wayside Amenities, Last Mile Connectivity, Public Conveniences, Multipurpose Hall, Nature Trails, Trekking Routes etc.
iii. Additionally, the Ministry sanctioned another project in Nagaland called -“Development of Tribal circuit: Mokokchung–Tuensang-Mon” forRs.99.67 crore.
About Swadesh Darshan Project:
The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and till date the Ministry has sanctioned 73 projects worth projects for Rs. 5873.26 Crore to 30 States and UTs.

SMART initiative for agribusiness,rural transformation launched by Maharashtra CM Fadnavis
On December 6, 2018, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis launched a unique initiative called- State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation or “SMART“.
This will be implemented in 10,000 villages with an objective to achieve sustainable farming within the next 3 years.
To propel rural transformation and double farmers income by 2022.
Key Points:
i. This is a World Bank (WB) assisted project which has a net worth of 300 million US dollars. Of this WB has provided financial assistance of $210 million and remaining will be Contributed by State government and Village Social Transformation Foundation (VSTF).
ii. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is the industry partner of the initiative.
iii. Additionally, 50 MOUs have been signed under this project involving top companies like TATA, Amazon etc.
iv. This project would support:

  • Value addition in post-harvest segments of value chain,
  • Enterprise promotion,
  • Business investment and partnerships in the agri-business segments including farmer organisations, start-ups, SMEs and large corporates along with women’s self-help groups.

v. The implementation of the project would ensure:
Farm productivity and higher realisations for the farmers as there would be direct tie-up with end buyers.
♦ 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

Punjab Cabinet has Approved 20 District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) to merge with the Punjab State Cooperative Bank (PSCB)
On 3rd December 2018, the Cooperative department of Punjab has decided to merge 20 District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) with the Punjab State Cooperative Bank (PSCB).
i. The aim of the merger is to strengthen the state’s rural credit system and facilitate farmers taking credit from cooperative banks.
ii. The 20 DCCBs were having 804 branches across the state and were facing a loss of Rs 700 crore. With the merger, the DCCBs would now be able to use the branches of the PSCB and function like other commercial banks.
iii. The decision was taken in view of RBI guidelines, which mandate that all DCCBs should have a Capital to Risk Weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of 9 per cent.Although at present the DCCBs are adhering to the required CRAR of 9 per cent, but there was hardly any space for majority of these DCCBs to enhance their business and to increase their profitability


RBI laid down norms to draw at least 40% of capital for large borrowers having working capital of Rs.150 crore and above
On December 5, 2018, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued guidelines for enhancing the credit discipline of large borrowers by allowing a minimum of 40% of the working capital to be drawn.
i. According to the guidelines, large borrowers having working capital of Rs. 150 crores and above can draw a minimum loan component of 40% of the capital.
ii. Also, the drawings in excess of the minimum ‘loan component’ threshold may be allowed in the form of cash credit facility.
iii. This will be effective from April 1, 2019.
iv. Further, the 40 per cent loan component will be revised to 60 per cent, with effect from July 1, 2019. 
♦ Founded: 1st April 1935.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ 24th Governor: Dr. Urjit Patel.

HDFC ERGO Announces Corporate Agency Tie-up with Federal Bank
On 05th December 2018, HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company, India’s leading private sector general insurance company and Federal Bank, announced tie-up for the distribution of HDFC ERGO’s range of non-life insurance offerings to the customers of the Bank through its network branches.

HDFC ERGO Announces Corporate Agency Tie-up with Federal BankKey points
i. This Corporate Agency Tie-up offer’s comprehensive Insurance solutions to customers both digitally and physically, which benefits the customers in many ways.
ii. Federal Bank’s deep rooted presence in Southern markets allows the Company to strengthen its foothold within the region. Also, this enables Federal Bank to offer their customers’ a comprehensive solution for all their financial requirements under a single roof.
♦ Chairman: Mr. Deepak S. Parekh
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
About Federal Bank
♦ Headquarter: Aluva, Kerala
♦ MD & CEO: Shyam Srinivasan


Fitch Ratings lowered India’s GDP growth forecast to 7.2% on higher financing costs
On December 6, 2018, Fitch Ratings, in its report- Global Economic Outlook, slashed India’s GDP growth forecast to 7.2 per cent for current fiscal, even lower than RBI’s projection of 7.4%.
The main reasons cited for the decline are:
Higher financing cost and reduced credit availability.
ii. Additionally, Fitch estimated India’s GDP growth to be 7 per cent and 7.1 per cent in financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21 respectively.
iii. It also forecasted Indian rupee to weaken to 75 to a dollar by end of 2019.
iv. For global projects, it retained its global GDP forecasts for 2018 at 3.3 per cent and 3.1 per cent for 2019.
v. It also retained China’s growth projections at 6.6 per cent in 2018 and 6.1 per cent in 2019.
♦ Fitch earlier projected the GDP growth to be 7.8% on September 2018 and 7.4% on July 2018.
♦ Indian economy grew 6.7 per cent in 2017-18 fiscal.
♦ Headquarters: New York City, US.
♦ CEO: Paul Taylor.


Sahitya Akademi Awards 2018 announced in 24 languages: Sahitya Akademi

  • It consists of 7 books of poetry, 6 novels, 6 short stories, 3 of literary criticism and 2 of essays.
  • Recommendations came from jury of 3 members in respective languages and were then approved by the Executive Board of India’s national academy of letters under the chairmanship of Akademi President Chandrashekhar Kambar……………………….Click here to Read more

The List of Awardees are given below:

LanguageTitle of Work and GenreWinner
AssameseKailoir Dinto Amar Hobo (Poetry)Sananta Tanti
BengaliSrikrishner Sesh Kata Din (Story)Sanjib Chattopadhyay
BodoDwngse Lama (Short Stories)Rituraj Basumatary
DogriBhagirath (Novel)Inderjeet Kesar
EnglishThe Blind Lady’s Descendants (Novel)Anees Salim
GujaratiVibhajanni Vyatha (Essays)Sharifa Vijliwala
HindiPost Box No-203-Naala Sopara (Novel)Chitra Mudgal
KannadaAnushreni Yajamanike (Literary Criticism)K. G. Nagarajappa
KashmiriAakh (Short Stories)Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq
KonkaniChitralipi (Poetry)Paresh Narendra Kamat
MaithiliParineeta (Short Stories)Bina Thakur
MalayalamGurupournami (Poetry)S. Ramesan Nair
ManipuriNgamkheigee Wangmada (Short Stories)Budhichandra Heisnamba
MarathiSarjanprerana ani Kavitwashodh (Literary Criticism)Ma. Su. Patil.
NepaliKina Royeu Upamaa (Short Stories)Loknath Upadhyay Chapagain
OdiaPrashanga Puruna Bhabana Nua (Literary Criticism)Dasarathi Das
PunjabiKone Da Suraj (Poetry)Mohanjit
RajasthaniKavita Devai Deeth (Poetry)Rajesh Kumar Vyas
SanskritMama Janani (Poetry)Rama kant Shukla
SantaliMarom (Novel)Shyam Besra ‘Jiwi Rarec’
SindhiJia Mein Taandaa (Poetry)Khiman U. Mulani
TamilSanchaaram (Novel)S. Ramakrishnan
TeleguVimarshini (Essay)Kolakaluri Enoch
UrduRohzin (Novel)Rahman Abbas

IIT-Mandi professor wins Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award
Dr. Rajanish Giri,an assistant professor from the Indian Institute of Technology-Mandi (IIT-Mandi),has been awarded the Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award (IYBA) 2018.
i. Dr.Giri was selected for his proposed innovative idea on Zika virus Capsid Folding and inhibitor discovery.
ii. He has also proven expertise in understanding and solving the fundamental problems of protein folding in various structured and Intrinsically Disordered Proteins.
iii. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology selected Dr.Giri for the award.
iv. Along with the award he received a research grant, for three years, to delve more insight into the biophysical research on Zika Capsid protein system.

Forbes List 2018 released by Forbes India
On December 5, 2018, Forbes India released Forbes List 2018 containing ranking influencing people in various genres according to their net worth.

Forbes List 2018 released by Forbes Indiai. There are 2 lists that has been released.They are:

  • Forbes India rich list 2018 consisting of 100 richest Indians and
  • Forbes India 2018 Celebrity 100.

About the 100 richest Indians List:
i. Mukesh Ambani topped the chart with a net worth of $47.3 billion.
ii. He is followed by Azim Premji (Wipro) and Lakshmi Mittal (Arcelor Mittal) ranking 2nd and 3rd respectively.
iii. Hinduja Brothers of Ashok Leyland and Pallonji Mistry of Shapoorji Pallonji Group closed off the top 5 ranks.For More information: Click Here
About the Celebrity 100 List:
i. The list is topped by actor Salman Khan with net worth of Rs. 253.25 crore.
ii. He is followed by Virat Kohli (the highest paid sportsperson with net worth of Rs. 228.09 crore) and Akshay Kumar in the 2nd and 3rd ranks.
iii. Deepika Padukone, the only female actor in the top 10, ranked 4th with net worth of Rs. 112.8 crores and is followed by MS Dhoni in the 5th rank.
iv. Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni are the only Sportspersons who made it to the top 10 list.
v. PV Sidhu ranked as the highest paid female sportsperson with net worth of Rs. 36.5 crore at the 20th position.
vi. A total of 18 female celebrities made it to the top 100 of the Forbes’ list, which is a drop from the 21 reported last year.For more information: Click Here


Former Indian diplomat Preeti Saran elected to UN’s socio-economic, cultural panel
On December 6, 2018,Former senior Indian diplomat Preeti Saran has been elected to the Asia Pacific seat on the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) of the UN for 4 years.

Preeti Saran elected to UN's socio-economic, cultural paneli.This election was done by the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
ii.Saran has been appointed as a member to the 18-member committee of experts that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR).
iii. The appointment would be effective from January 1, 2019 and she would replace 3 time elected former Indian diplomat, Chandrashekhar Dasgupta.
iv. Prior to this, she had retired as the External Affairs Ministry Secretary (East).
v. During her 36-year diplomatic career, Ms Saran had also served as the ambassador to Vietnam and was a minister and a counsellor at India’s mission to the UN in Geneva.
vi. She has also served her term at Moscow, Dhaka, Cairo, Geneva and was the Consul General of India at Toronto.
About CESCR:
♦ CESCR was set up in 1985 by the ECOSOC to monitor on its behalf the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which has been ratified by 169 countries.
♦ The CECSR meets in Geneva for four weeks every year.

Indian-origin Shamila Batohi,the First Female appointed head of South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority
On 05th December 2018,Indian-origin lawyer Shamila Batohi ,the First Female has been appointed as the National Director of South Africa’s  National Public Prosecutions (NDPP), a statutory body that investigates high-level criminal matters in the country.

Shamila Batohi appointed head of South Africa's National Prosecuting Authorityi. Shamila Batohi will replace the previous prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams who has been accused by the opposition and rights groups of shielding former president Jacob Zuma from corruption charges during his nine years in office.
ii. She will start her new role in February 2019.

IL&FS Investment Managers’ board appointed Nand Kishore and Kaushik Modak as new additional directors
On December 6, 2018, IL&FS Investment Managers board approved appointment of Nand Kishore and Kaushik Modak as additional directors in the company.
i. They have been appointed to the board in the capacity of nominee directors of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Service (IL&FS).

Government appointed Lalit Kumar as its nominee on ICICI Bank
On December 5, 2018, the government appointed Lalit Kumar, a 1995-batch Indian Economic Service (IES) officer as the new government nominee on private sector ICICI Bank.
i. He is currently an Economic Advisor in the department of financial services of the finance ministry.
ii. He would replace Lok Ranjan, who has been laterally transferred to Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT).
iii. Lalit Kumar had also worked with the insurance regular (Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India) as an executive director and financial adviser.
♦ The role of the government nominee came into significance after the former CEO of ICICI bank, Chandra Kochhar was charged with fraud allegations worth Rs. Rs 3,250 core loan.
♦ Afterwards, the bank ICICI Bank had set up a committee under retired Supreme Court judge Justice BN Srikrishna to look into allegations against Kochhar.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ MD& CEO: Mr. Sandeep Bakshi.
♦ Chairman: Mr. Girish Chandra Chaturvedi.
♦ Tagline: Hum Hain Na!


Over 100 new exoplanets discovered by NASA’s Kepler telescope
An International team of astronomers have discovered more than 100 extrasolar planets (exoplanets) that revolve around stars other than the Sun, using a combination of ground and space-based telescopes.
i. The team involving researchers at the University of Tokyo and Astrobiology Center of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences, Japan, investigated 227 exoplanet candidates and confirmed that 104 of them are really exoplanets, based on data from second mission of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope(K2 mission), as well as using other space telescopes and ground-based telescopes.
ii. The study is published in detail in the Astronomical Journal.


Budapest to host 2023 IAAF World Championships
On 4th December 2018, the Hungarian capital Budapest was officially confirmed as the host city of the 2023 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships.

Budapest Selected To Host 2023 IAAF World Championshipsi. The decision in this regard was taken at the IAAF Council meeting held in Monaco.
ii. The World Championships will return to Europe after a six year hiatus following Doha, Qatar in 2019 and Eugene, USA in 2021. The 2017 IAAF World Championships was held at London, England.
iii. Beside athletics, Budapest has recently hosted, the World Wrestling Championships in 2018 and has been awarded the title of European Capital of Sport for 2019

Yasir Shah becomes fastest bowler to take 200 Test wickets after Breaking 82 year old Record
On 06th December 2018, Pakistan’s leg-spinner Yasir Shah became the fastest cricketer to take 200 Test wickets in just 33 Tests,breaking an 82-year-old record, beating Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett’s record of 36 Tests set against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1936.

Yasir Shah becomes fastest bowler to take 200 Test wicketsi. Yasir achieved this by taking New Zealand’s batsman Will Somerville wicket in Abu Dhabi.
ii.He was also the fastest Pakistani to 50 wickets (nine Tests), reached 100 wickets in 17 Tests.


Noted agriculturalist Jayaraman passes away
On 06th December 2018, noted agriculturalist Jayaraman, who pioneered the protection and propagation of indigenous paddy varieties in Tamilnadu, passed away in Chennai.
i. Hailing from Thiruthuraipoondi, in the heart of Tamil Nadu’s delta rice bowl, Jayaraman has been credited with documenting and protecting more than 170 paddy varieties.
ii. His diligent work in the field of protecting the gene prototypes of indigenous paddy varieties won him the National Award for best genome saviour in 2015 and a Best organic farmer award of Tamil Nadu government in 2011.
iii.He also has written several books including Nellathikaram and Mamarunthagum Parampariya Nel.
iv.He also launched “Save Our Rice” campaign and organised paddy festival at his native village Adirangam in Tiruvarur district in 2005.