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Rajasthan Cabinet to accord ‘fighters for democracy’ status to MISA detainees during Emergency period
The Rajasthan Cabinet has decided to accord those detained under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and Defence of India Rules (DIR) during Emergency period 1975-77 outside the state, the status of ‘fighters for democracy’.
Fighters for democracy status:
i. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Rathore said, the detainees, most of them Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders, will now be entitled to pension and other allowances after getting the status of ‘Loktantra Rakshak Sainani’.
ii. So far, only persons detained under MISA and DIR and kept in Rajasthan jails were given monthly pension of Rs 12,000 and a monthly allowance of Rs 1,200.
iii. The pension scheme’s name had been changed to Rajasthan Loktantra Senani Samman Nidhi.
About Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA):
♦ Passed – 1971
♦ Purpose – gave the administration of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Indian law enforcement agencies super powers like indefinite preventive detention of individuals, search and seizure of property without warrants, and wiretapping
Three-day media workshop on Climate Change Reporting in Himalayas organised in Kohima
On 11th December 2017, three-day media workshop on ‘Climate Change Reporting’ began in Kohima.
Three-day media workshop on Climate Change Reporting:
i. The workshop is jointly organised by the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP) of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Department of science and Technology (DST) in collaboration with Department of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, State Climate Change Cell, NASTEC and Centre for Media Studies (CMS).
ii. Annu Anand, head of advocacy at CMS announced the launch of a media fellowship programme under which four fellowships will be awarded to journalists to write about climate adaptation in the Indian Himalayan Region.
About Centre for Media Studies (CMS):
♦ Established – 1991
♦ Founder Chairman – Dr. N. Bhaskara Rao
♦ Director – Ms. P.N. Vasanti
Rajasthan becomes first in India to offer e-mail IDs in Hindi
Rajasthan has become the first state in India to offer free e-mail address in Hindi to its residents.Rajasthan offers e-mail IDs in Hindi:
i. The facility —[email protected] (in Devanagari script) has been introduced by Rajasthan government. The first e-mail ID that was created was that of the Rajasthan chief minister, [email protected] (in Devnagari).
ii. All the government personnel in Rajasthan will soon have an email id in Hindi too. The Hindi email ID is offered to all the Internet users.
iii. The project has been implemented by Rajasthan IT department with partnership in form of in-sourcing with private IT companies. Apart from people who use Hindi keyboard, the email also works for those who use English keyboard.
About National Parks of Rajasthan:
♦ Darrah National Park
♦ Desert National Park
♦ Ranthambore National Park
Tripura government introduces Child Care Leave for women employees
The Tripura Government has introduced Child Care Leave (CCL) for women employees with minor children for 730 days in their entire service life.
Tripura government introduces CCL for women employees:
i. Employees enjoying the CCL for children’s sickness or examinations would be paid leave salary equal to the pay drawn immediately before proceeding on the CCL.
ii .The Supreme Court passed an order in 2014 that a woman employee of the central government could get uninterrupted leave for two years for child care, which would include needs like examination and sickness.
Some of the festivals of Tripura:
♦ Ganga puja – worship of the Goddess of the river
♦ Garia puja – worship of Lord Goria
♦ Goria Puja – worship of Baba Goria, the universal God of all indigenous Tripuris
Home Ministry releases Rs 174 crore to six states for border development
Union Home Ministry has released Rs 174 crore to six states – Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Manipur, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh – under the Border Area Development Programme (BADP).
Funds released to six states under BADP:
i. All these six states have an international border. Funds released under BADP will be used for development of infrastructure in forward areas of these states.
ii. BADP is fully funded by Central Government. Under this programme, development work is carried out in all villages which are located within the 0-10 km of the international border. 17 states of India have an international border.
iii. Development work permitted under BAPD include construction of helipads in areas which are not accessible by road, skill development training to local farmers, work related to swatchhta aabhiyan, promotion of sports, rural tourism and border tourism.
iv .BADP was started in the year 1986-87 for development of border areas of States bordering Pakistan – Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Gradually it was extended to all states having international border.
v. BADP is implemented by Department of Border Management under Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
India, Australia hold first 2+2 dialogue with focus on strategic, defence ties
In a bid to boost bilateral strategic and defence ties, India and Australia held their inaugural 2+2 Foreign Secretaries and Defence Secretaries Dialogue on December 12, 2107 in New Delhi.India-Australia 2+2 dialogue:
i. In context of international relations, a mechanism between two countries, wherein their respective defence and foreign affairs ministries, jointly hold discussions is referred to as 2+2 dialogue.
ii. In the 2+2 Dialogue with Australia, India was represented by foreign secretary S Jaishankar and defence secretary Sanjay Mitra, while secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Frances Adamson and Secretary of Department of Defence, Greg Moriarty participated from the Australian side.
iii.Discussions at the dialogue focused on strategic and defence issues of mutual interest.
iv. Besides, developments in the Indo-Pacific region in context of China’s growing influence and India’s prominent role in Australia’s first White Paper on Foreign Policy in 14 years were also discussed.
Quick Facts about Australia:
♦ Capital – Canberra
♦ Currency – Australian Dollar
♦ Current Prime Minister – Malcolm Turnbull
♦ Important Rivers – Murray, Darling
Centre to set up 12 special courts to deal with cases against tainted lawmakers
Central Government has decided to set up special courts to deal exclusively with criminal cases against 1581 Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs).
Special Courts to handle cases against tainted lawmakers:
i. Earlier, Supreme Court had directed Central Government to set up special courts for taking up cases against tainted lawmakers who have managed to hold their positions on account of inordinate delay in prosecution.
ii. The 12 special courts will dispose all such cases within a year.
iii. Out of the 12 special courts, 2 special courts will handle cases against 228 MPs. Other 10 courts will be set up in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telengana, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh where numbers of MLAs facing criminal charges are more than 65.
iv. Central Government has earmarked Rs 7.80 crore for operations of these special courts
India to host 3rd annual meeting of Board of Governors of AIIB
India will host the 3rd annual meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Mumbai from 25th – 26th June, 2018.More Information about 3rd annual meeting of the Board of Governors of AIIB:
i. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary (multilateral institutions division) in the Union Ministry of Finance and Danny Alexander, AIIB’s Vice- President and Corporate Secretary.
ii. Theme of this meeting will be ‘Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration’.
iii. This meeting will be an opportunity for India to project itself as potential infrastructure investment destination.
iv. Seminars as run up to the annual meeting would also be organized in some Indian cities like Delhi, Guwahati, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai & Vishakhapatnam.
Delhi government proposes to bear treatment cost of road accident victims in private hospitals
The Delhi government has proposed to bear the cost of treatment of victims of motor accidents, fire incidents and acid attacks that take place on the city’s roads at private hospitals under a new scheme.
Delhi government to bear treatment cost of road accident victims in private hospitals:
i. The scheme was approved at a Cabinet meeting, chaired by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on 12th December 2017. It will now be sent to Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal for his approval.
ii. Irrespective of domicile of the victims, free medical treatment will be provided to them victims of three types of accidents – motor accidents, acid attacks and fire incidents on Delhi’s roads.
iii. The Delhi government would bear the treatment cost of such people in both government and private hospitals. There is no upper cap on the expenses to be borne by the Delhi government.
Wildlife sanctuaries of Delhi:
♦ Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Najafgarh drain bird sanctuary
Football icon Diego Maradona statue unveiled in Kolkata
On 12th December 2017, football legend Diego Maradona unveiled a statue of himself at a grand Indian reception in Kolkata.Diego Maradona statue unveiled:
i. Diego Maradona, former Argentine World Cup hero was honoured with a massive 12ft, bronze replica in Kolkata.
ii. He unveiled the statue of his likeness holding the 1986 World Cup trophy and it would be erected at a park named after him.
iii. He handed out cheques worth Rs 10,000 each to 11 cancer patients and flagged off an air-conditioned ambulance.
iv. He will take on cricket icon Sourav Ganguly in an exhibition match titled ‘Diego vs Dada’ in Barasat.
About Diego Maradona:
♦ Playing position – Attacking midfielder, Second striker
♦ Awards – FIFA World Youth Championship Golden Ball, South American Footballer of the Year, UNICEF European Footballer of the Season, World Soccer Greatest XI of all time etc
India ranks 100 in Global Prosperity Index, Norway tops the list
India has ranked 100th among 149 nations on Legatum Prosperity Index – 2017. This marks an improvement of 4 spots as compared to 104th rank in previous year…………………………………..Click here to Read more
Top 5 Countries – Legatum Prosperity Index – 2017:
Singapore launches electric car-sharing service
On 12th December 2017, Singapore launched its first large-scale electric car-sharing programme to provide commuters with more transport options and steer them away from the need to buy their own cars.Singapore’s electric car-sharing service:
i. Singapore’s electric car-sharing service will be run for a decade by BlueSG, a unit of France’s Bollore Group.
ii. It aims to roll out a fleet of 1,000 electric vehicles and 2,000 charging points by 2020. BlueSG said Singapore’s service will become the world’s second-biggest electric car-sharing programme after Paris.
iii. The statement did not state how much the project costs. Singapore’s government has provided some funding for the programme’s infrastructure.
iv. Users can subscribe to one of two membership plans and will be charged either S$0.33 per minute with an annual subscription or S$0.50 per minute.
♦ Headquarters – Puteaux, France
♦ President & CEO – Vincent Bollore
♦ Products – Logistics, cargo, paper, automobiles
SAARC Programming Committee meeting held in Kathmandu
On 11th and 12th December 2017, the 54th meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) programming committee was held at the Kathmandu-based SAARC Secretariat, Nepal.
54th meeting of SAARC programming committee:
i. The two-day meeting focused on budget issues of the SAARC Secretariat, SAARC five regional centres and four specialised bodies.
ii. Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Organisation Division Chief Mr. Mani Prasad Bhattarai headed the Nepali delegation. A total of 50 people took part in the event.
About South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC):
♦ Headquarters – Kathmandu
♦ Secretary-General – Amjad B. Hussain
♦ Member states – 8 members, 9 observers
BANKING & FINANCE
Asian Development Bank lowers India’s GDP forecast for 2017-18 to 6.7%
In a supplement to its Asian Development Outlook (ADO), Asian Development Bank (ADB) has lowered India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) forecast for 2017-18 by 0.3 per cent to 6.7 per cent.
i. Lingering effects of demonetistion, slower than expected growth in the first half and teething problems post Goods and Services Tax (GST) roll out have been cited as reasons for this downward revision of growth forecast.
ii. In addition to this, growth forecast for 2018-19 has also been lowered to 7.3 per cent from 7.4 per cent.
iii. However, on account of measures to ease compliance for new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime and bank recapitalisation plan, ADB expects growth for remaining part of 2017-18 to be stronger as compared to previous quarters.
Quick Facts about Asian Development Bank (ADB):
♦ Formed in – 1966
♦ Headquarters – Manila, Philippines
♦ Current President – Takehiko Nakao
South Korea bans its banks from dealing in Bitcoin
On December 13, 2017, South Korea banned its financial institutions from dealing in virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. i. This decision has been taken in wake of recent surge in Bitcoin price, which is hitting new lifetime highs almost on daily basis. Experts are considering this surge as a financial bubble.
ii. South Korea accounts for nearly 20 per cent of global Bitcoin transactions. Around one million South Koreans including small-time investors are estimated to own Bitcoins.
iii. This ban imposed on financial institutions from dealing in virtual currencies is an attempt by South Korean government to safeguard the interests common people who do not understand the risks associated with virtual currencies and are simply lured in to make quick bucks.
iv. Earlier in September 2016, South Korea’s Financial Services Commission ordered a ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Bitcoin is a digital currency, which is created, stored and exchanged electronically.
♦ Unlike official currencies of countries, Bitcoin does not have any central bank or monetary authority backing it.
♦ It was introduced during 2008-2009 by an unknown group of programmers.
OBOPAY gets a pre-paid instrument license from RBI
Global mobile payments company, OBOPAY has procured a license for Prepaid Payment Instrument (PPI) from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate a semi-closed loop wallet in India.i. On basis of this PPI license and its technology expertise, OBOPAY will now be able to solve various digital payment related problems for its partner clients.
ii. Management of OBOPAY is also exploring to enter into partnerships with companies in Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) lending, health and insurance payments, government subsidy disbursement, distribution and supply chain payments and education.
iii .OBOPAY will also use the PPI license to boost the business in its Business to Business (B2B) operations by co-branding the prepaid instrument with a partner brand.
Quick Facts about OBOPAY:
♦ Founded in – 2005
♦ Headquarters – California, US
RBI raises FPI limit in G-Secs, State development loans
On December 12, 2017, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised the limits for investment by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) for the January-March 2018 quarter.
i. The limit has been increased by Rs. 6400 crore in Central Government Securities (G-Secs) and Rs. 5800 crore in State development loans (SDLs).
ii. The revised investment limit for FPIs in G-Secs now stands at Rs. 256400 crore as compared to the existing limit of Rs.250000 crore.
iii. Within G-Secs, General investment limit has been raised by Rs.1600 crore to Rs. 191300 crore while the long-term investment limit has been raised by Rs. 4800 crore to Rs. 65100 crore.
iv. The revised investment limit for FPIs in SDLs now stands at Rs. 45100 crore as compared to the existing limit of Rs. 39300 crore.
v. Within SDLs, the general investment limit has been raised by Rs. 1500 crore to Rs. 31500 crore while the long-term investment limit has been raised by Rs. 4300 crore to Rs. 13600 crore.
Fino Payments Bank becomes Rajasthan govt’s business correspondent
Fino Payments Bank has singed up and agreement with Rajasthan government’s RajCOMP as its corporate business correspondent and will offer banking services to people across the state.
About Fino Payments Bank-Rajasthan Government Agreement:
i. As per the terms of the agreement, all 55000 e-Mitra points of RajCOMP across Rajasthan will act as banking points of Fino Payments Bank.
ii. RajCOMP Info Services Ltd. is a consulting organization in the field of Information Technology. It is fully owned by Rajasthan State Government.
iii. e-Mitra is an e-governance initiative of Rajasthan State Government. Under this initiative, Rajasthan State Government has collaborated with several private entities and has set up a dedicated, transparent, and a viable system which provides more than 300 deliverable state services under a single ceiling.
iv. It is to be noted that Fino Payments Bank already has four branches in Rajasthan.
♦ Incorporated on – April 4, 2017
♦ Registered Office – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current CEO – Rishi Gupta
AIIB approves USD 335 mn loan for Bangalore metro project
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved USD 335 million loan for an all-electric Bangalore Metro Rail Project – Reach 6 (R6).
i. Bangalore Metro Rail Project – Reach 6 (R6) will provide crucial north-south connectivity through the centre of Bangalore.
ii. Being an all-electric project, Bangalore Metro Rail Project – Reach 6 (R6) will result in reduction of fuel consumption and will thereby reduce local air pollution
iii. This is AIIB’s first loan for a metro project. It is also its first joint financing partnership with the European Investment Bank, which is the lead financier in this project.
Quick Facts about AIIB:
♦ Opened for Business in – January 2016
♦ Headquarters – Beijing, China
♦ Current President – Jin Liqun
World Bank to end financial support for oil and gas exploration after 2019
The World Bank will end its financial support for oil and gas exploration within the next two years in response to the growing threat posed by climate change, it will not finance upstream oil and gas after 2019.
World Bank ends financial support for oil and gas exploration after 2019:
i. The announcement was made at the One Planet Summit, convened by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the World Bank president, Yim Yong Kim, and the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres.
ii. In exceptional circumstances, World Bank said it would consider lending for oil and gas projects in the very poorest countries but only where it helped the poor get access to energy and the project did not conflict with commitments to reduce greenhouse gases made in the 2015 Paris climate change accord.
About One Planet Summit:
♦ Date – 12 December 2017
♦ Participants – 4,000 representatives from 130 countries
♦ Location – Paris
DCI and NHAI sign MoU to facilitate supply of sand for highways construction
On December 12, 2017, Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for facilitating the supply of sand for highways construction work.Details about DCI-NHAI MoU:
i. This MoU aims to solve the problem of shortage of sand faced by concessionaires working on highways projects.
ii. As per the terms of MoU, sand procured through DCI’s planned dredging operations at locations in South East Asia, will be shipped, stored (at various ports in India) and marketed in India by business intermediaries.
iii. NHAI will play a role of a facilitator by displaying the availability of sand at various stockyards at the ports.
Quick Facts about DCI and NHAI:
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Ministry of Railways introduces Online Bill tracking system for Vendors & Contractors
Ministry of Railways has introduced online bill tracking system, Indian Railways E-Procurement System (IREPS) for vendors and contractors.
Indian Railways E-Procurement System (IREPS):
i. The online IT platform was developed in house by CRIS (Centre for Railway Information Systems), New Delhi. It is called Indian Railways E-Procurement System (IREPS).
ii. After registration the vendor/agencies can see their bill status with dates through various stages of processing of bills, the stage at which it is lying, the amount for which it is passed and other details.
iii. The bill tracking facility is available to the vendors/contractors of goods and services. The bill details are available on http://ireps.gov.in.
iv .All bills will be settled within 30 days of its receipt. To facilitate the vendor, a help facility has also been added.
About Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Founder – Ministry of Railways
♦ Services – Information technology consulting services and solutions
BCCI lifts ban on Rajasthan Cricket Association
On 11th December 2017, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to lift the ban on the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) provided former IPL Chief Lalit Modi stays away from its functioning.
BCCI lifts ban on RCA:
i. The RCA was suspended by the Indian cricket board in May 2014 when ex-Indian Premier League (IPL) Commissioner Chief Lalit Modi was re-elected its president.
ii. Since its suspension in 2014, RCA’s cricket affairs are being looked after by the BCCI. The RCA filed a suit against its suspension by the BCCI, to which the board had asked the association to withdraw all pending cases and not to involve the cricket board in any case.
iii. The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) already dissolved the ad-hoc committee that was constituted to run the affairs in Rajasthan cricket, paving the way for the ban to go.
About Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA):
♦ Founded – 1956
♦ Affiliation – Board of Control for Cricket in India
♦ Headquarters – Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Rohit Sharma becomes first batsman to hit three ODI double centuries
On 13th December 2017, Rohit Sharma hit his third double hundred in ODI cricket and remained unbeaten at 208 runs in the second ODI against Sri Lanka in Mohali.Rohit Sharma – first batsman to hit three ODI double centuries:
i. Rohit Sharma is the only cricketer to have scored three double centuries in ODIs. Out of the three double centuries two of them have come against the same opponent Sri Lanka.
ii. With this, he is the first batsman to hit a third double hundred in ODI cricket.
About Rohit Sharma:
♦ Born – 1987
♦ Batting – Right-handed
♦ Bowling – Right-arm off break
♦ Role – Batsman
India to host 2023 World Cup & Champions Trophy in 2021
On 11th December 2017, the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed in its Special General Meeting (SGM) that India will host the One Day International World Cup in 2023 and the Champions Trophy in 2021.
India to host 2023 World Cup & Champions Trophy in 2021:
i. This is the first time India would be hosting an ODI World Cup completely. India has previously co-hosted ODI World Cup on three occasions (1987, 1996 and 2011).
ii. India has won the tournament twice (1983 and 2011). Another point brought up at the SGM was the number of days reversed for hosting home games in the 2019-23 cycle.
iii .While India has planned to host 81 more home games, they have reduced the number of playing days to 306.
About ICC Cricket World Cup:
♦ Administrator – International Cricket Council (ICC)
♦ Format – One Day International
♦ First tournament – 1975
Senior Congress leader Chaudhary Prem Singh passes away
On 12th December 2017, senior Congressman and ex-speaker of Delhi Assembly Chaudhary Prem Singh passed away, following a heart attack.
Death of Chaudhary Prem Singh:
i. Chaudhary Prem Singh was 85 years old. He breathed his last at Max Hospital, Saket, in South Delhi.
ii. He had suffered a heart attack while participating in a party event on Dr Ambedkars Mahaparinirvan Divas on December 6, 2017.
iii .He was president of the Delhi Congress thrice besides being speaker of Delhi Assembly.
About Chaudhary Prem Singh:
♦ Political party – Indian National Congress
♦ Positions held – MLA in Delhi Legislative Assembly, Councillor in Metropolitan Council of Delhi, Councillor in Municipal Corporation of Delhi