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Current Affairs Today December 18 2017

We are here for you to provide the important current affairs December 18 2017 which have unique updates of all daily events from all newspapers such as The Hindu, The Economic Times, PIB, Times of India, India Today, Indian Express, Business Standard, all Government official websites. Our complete current affairs helps you to get more marks in Banking, insurance, UPSC, SSC, CLAT, Railway and all other competitive Exams.

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

24th GST Council Meeting held tn New Delhi through video conferencing
24th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council Meeting was held on December 16, 2017 through video conferencing.
Highlights of 24th GST Council Meeting:
i. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley.
ii. During the course of this meeting, it was decided that Inter-State e-way Bill system for Inter-State movement of goods is to be made compulsory from February 1, 2018.
iii. Uniform System of e-way Bill for Inter-State and Intra-State movement will be implemented across India by June 1, 2018.
iv. Although System for inter-State as well as intra-State e-way Bill generation will be ready by  January 16, 2018, States have been given discretion for implementing e-way Bill for intra-State movement of goods on any date before  June 1, 2018.
What is e-way Bill system?
♦ An e-way bill is an electronically generated bill (through Goods and Services Tax Network – GSTN common portal) for the movement of goods.
♦ Under the e-way bill system, movement of goods of more than Rs 50000 in value cannot be made by a registered entity without an e-way bill.

Eastern India’s first CNG stations inaugurated in Bhubaneswar
On December 16, 2107, Union Petroleum Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated Eastern India’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in Bhubaneswar, Odisha to supply CNG to vehicles.First CNG StationEastern India’s first CNG stations:
i. The two CNG stations are located at Chandrasekharpur and Patia area in Bhubaneswar.
ii. These stations were part of Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL’s) Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga and City Gas Distribution (CGD) projects in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
iii. Mr. Pradhan announced that in a bid to promote the use of CNG, Government is planning to build 15 similar CNG stations in Bhubaneswar and 10 others in Cuttack in a phased manner.
iv. In order to use CNG, an owner has to convert his/her scooter/auto rickshaw into CNG mode by spending Rs 15500. Bank of Maharashtra is providing an interest-free loan for this purpose.

Chhattisgarh village ‘Jokpatha’ gets electricity for the first time since Independence
Jokapatha village, a tribal village in Balrampur district of Chhattisgarh got electricity connection for the first time since independence.
i. In context of this news, it is important to note that in September 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana ‘Saubhagya’ scheme with an aim to provide electricity connections to over 4 crore families in rural and urban areas by December 2018.
ii. Total financial outlay of the ‘Saubhagya’ scheme is Rs 16320 crore.
iii. Just like Jokapatha village, Chhattisgarh State Government under Chief Minister Raman Singh has provided electricity connections to several such villages which had been deprived of power supply since India’s independence in 1947.
Quick Facts about Chhattisgarh:
♦ Capital – Naya Raipur
♦ Current Chief Minister – Raman Singh
♦ Current Governor – Balram Das Tandon
♦ Important National Park – Indravati National Park

Govt adopted Tribal Sub-Plan strategy for ensuring development of tribal areas
In a bid to ensure overall development of tribal areas across India and for ensuring inclusive growth of Scheduled Tribes (STs) including tribal women, Central Government has adopted Tribal Sub-Plan which will now be referred to as ‘Scheduled Tribe Component’.
Salient Features of Tribal Sub-Plan Strategy:
i. Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs has been implementing some special schemes meant for the benefit of Schedule Tribe (ST) women and girls including Scheme of Ashram Schools in Tribal Areas to provide residential schools for STs to increase the literacy rate and Scheme for Strengthening Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts where the ST population is 25% or more.
ii. Under a separate scheme, State Governments/Union Territories/Universities are given central assistance for constructing new hostel buildings for ST Girls and Boys.
iii. National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation (NSTFDC) under Ministry of Tribal Affairs is implementing Adivasi Mahila Sashaktikaran Yojana for tribal women. Under this scheme, ST women are provided loans at a concessional rate to undertake any income generation activity.

Election Commission to set up panel to suggest amendments in election law
On December 16, 2017, Election Commission (EC) decided to set up a panel to suggest amendments to a provision in Representation of People Act and the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) barring campaigning, 48 hours ahead of polling .Election Commissioni. The panel has been setup in response to complaints about several instances of violation of the code of conduct ahead Gujarat elections.
ii. This panel will evaluate the effectiveness of Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act of barring campaigning 48 hours ahead of polling in context of fast changing communication technologies.
iii. Member of this panel will include representatives from election commission, information and broadcasting, law and Information Technology Ministries. Representatives of National Broadcasters Associations (NBA) and Press Council of India (PCI) will also be a part of this panel.
Quick Facts about Election Commission of India:
♦ Formed in – 1950
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Chief Election Commissioner – Achal Kumar Jyoti

BANKING & FINANCE

IRDAI panel suggests easing of G-Sec rule for insurance companies
A panel formed by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has recommended easing of norms that require 50 per cent of the funds mobilised from traditional life insurance policies to be invested in government securities.
Recommendations of IRDAI Panel:
i. The report of the panel has outlined that this norm does not allow life insurance companies to generate even 8 per cent return in traditional policies as yields on government bonds have dropped in recent times.
ii. Government securities currently yield 6.7-7.2% per annum. However, yields may further drop in future owing to the low interest rate scenario in India.
iii. As an alternative, the panel has suggested that insurance companies should be allowed to deploy funds in alternative higher yielding assets such as equity, property or high-rated corporate bonds.
iv .In context of distribution, the panel has recommended that insurance companies should be allowed to use new modes such as social media, departmental stores and petrol pumps for reaching out to new customers.
Quick Facts about IRDAI:
♦  Formed in – 1999
♦  Headquarters – Hyderabad
♦  Current Chairman – T. S. Vijayan

BUSINESS

UIDAI temporarily bars Airtel from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification
Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has temporarily barred Bharti Airtel from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using eKYC process.
UIDAI’s action against Airtel:
i. UIDAI has also barred Airtel Payments Bank for processing e-KYC of clients.
ii. This action is in response to complaints that Bharti Airtel has been using Aadhaar-eKYC based SIM verification process to open payments bank accounts of its subscribers without their consent.
iii. UIDAI has also considered allegations that such Airtel Payments Bank accounts are being linked to receive LPG subsidy.
iv. Owing to this action of UIDAI, Bharti Airtel will not be able to carry out ‘electronic-verification’ or link mobile SIMs of its customers with their Aadhaar number. Even Airtel Payments Bank will not be able to open a new account with Aadhaar e-KYC.

India is the second largest producer of horticultural crops and fruits in World
Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh has announced that India is the second largest producer (after China) of horticultural crops and fruits in the world.Largest producer of fruitsi. Announcement in this regard was made by Mr. Singh at the World Orange Day 2017 event in Nagpur on December 17, 2017.
ii. In India, production of 30 crore metric ton horticulture crops on 2.5 crore hectare land is expected for the year 2016-17.
iii. Union Agriculture Ministry is implementing Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture across India to promote orchards that not only help in maintaining nutrient security and providing employment but also help in conserving the environment.
iv. Besides, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is implementing All India Coordinated Fruits Crop Research Project in 10 centres of 8 states viz. Punjab, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Arunachal Pradesh.

Iraq overtakes Saudi Arabia as top crude oil supplier to India
On December 18, 2017, Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan stated that, Iraq has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become India’s top crude oil supplier in 2017-18.
i. For April-October period of 2017-18, Iraq supplied 25.8 million tonnes (MT) of oil to India and overtook Saudi Arabia, which has traditionally been India’s top oil supplier.
ii. Saudi Arabia supplied 21.9 MT of crude oil  to India during this period.
iii. Currently, India’s 80 per cent oil demand is met from imports.  India imported 125.8 MT of crude oil in the April –October 2017.
iv. India’s dependence on Middle East for oil imports has increased from 58 per cent in 2014-15 to 63.5 per cent in the April-October 2017.
India’s Oil Suppliers, Top 5 countries (April – October 2017)

Iraq 25.8 million tonnes
Saudi Arabia 21.9 million tonnes
Iran 12.5 million tonnes
Venezuela 11.5 million tonnes
Nigeria 10.6 million tonnes

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Bengali poet Joy Goswami to get 31st Moortidevi Award
On 15th December 2017, it was announced that Bengali poet Joy Goswami will be honoured with the Moortidevi Award for the year 2017.Moorti Devi AwardJoy Goswami – 31st Moortidevi Award:
i. The selection committee was headed by poet and scholar Satya Vrat Shastri. It was unanimously decided to award Joy Goswami for his poetry collection named ‘Du Dondo Phowara Matro’.
ii .The Moortidevi annual award is given for an expressive and perceptive work which highlights human values written in any Indian languages or English.
iii. The Moortidevi Award consists of a Saraswati Statue, a Citation Plaque and cash award of Rs 4 lakh. It is the first time the Moortidevi Award is given to a Bengali poet.
About Joy Goswami:
♦ Born – 10 November 1954
♦ Important works – Pagali tomara sange, Ghumiyechho, Jhaupata, Christmas O Sheeter Sonnetguchchho
♦ Awards – Kendriya and Bangla Sahitya Akademi Awards, Ananda Purashkar, Tata Literature Live Poet Laureate Award etc.

Satheesh Reddy to get National Design Award
On 18th December 2017, it was announced that Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister G Satheesh Reddy will be awarded the National Design Award.
Satheesh Reddy – National Design Award:
i. Satheesh Reddy is given the National Design Award for his contribution to indigenous design and development of various missile systems.
ii. He will receive the National Design Award during the Indian Engineering Congress held on 21st December 2017 at Chennai.
iii. Satheesh Reddy heads Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex.  He has also played an important role in formulation of national policies, guiding research and innovation in industry, academia and R&D institutes.
About National Design Research Forum (NDRF):
♦ Established – 1969
♦ Established by – Institution of Engineers (India)
♦ Aim – promotes research, design, development and innovation through collaborative effort

England’s women cricket team wins BBC Team of the Year Award 2017
England’s women cricket team has won the BBC Team of the Year Award 2017.
BBC Team of the Year Award 2017:
i. The England’s women cricket team has won the BBC Team of the year award after it won against India in the World Cup.BBC Team of the yearii. Other awardees of the BBC Awards 2017 are as follows:

Award Awardee
BBC Sports Personality of the Year Mo Farah
BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year Roger Federer
BBC Lifetime Achievement Jessica Ennis-Hill
BBC Coach of the Year Benke Blomkvist, Stephen Maguire & Christian Malcolm


About England women’s cricket team:
♦ Captain – Heather Knight
♦ Coach – Mark – Robinson
♦ Association – England and Wales Cricket Board

Tata Steel Joda Mine gets Golden Peacock Innovation Award
Tata Steel’s Joda East Iron Mine (JEIM) has been honoured with the coveted Golden Peacock Innovation Management Award for the year 2017 for driving innovation in mines.
Golden Peacock Innovation Award for Tata Steel Joda Mine:
i. Tata Steel’s Joda East Iron Mine (JEIM) is located in Kendujhar district of Odisha.
ii. Use of iron waste for sustainable mining and digitisation in excavation of iron ore are some of the innovations implemented at JEIM.
iii. The award was presented to Debashis Jena, Chief of JEIM at Institute of Directors (IOD) India’s 2nd Global Convention, which was recently held at Singapore.
iv. Golden Peacock Award, that were instituted by IOD, not only brings worldwide recognition and prestige for the awardees, but also gives a competitive advantage in driving its business.
Quick Facts about Tata Steel:
♦ Founded in – 1907
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

♦ Current Chairman – Natarajan Chandrasekaran

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Sebastian Pinera Wins Chile’s Presidential Election
Conservative leader and billionaire, Sebastián Piñera, has won Chile’s presidential election.Chile PresidentMore information about Chile’s Presidential Election:
i. Mr. Pinera defeated Left-winger Alejandro Guillier, who was supported by Chile’s incumbent President Michelle Bachelet.
ii .About 14 million Chileans were eligible to vote in this election. However, voter turnout for this election was low at 48.5%.
iii .Mr. Pinera secured 54.57% votes while his opponent Mr. Guillier  got only 45.43% vote.
iv. Mr. Pinera is the former President of Chile. He governed the country from 2010 to 2014.
v. Interestingly, a decade ago, many South American countries including Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Uruguay were all governed by left-wing leaders. This trend seems to be reversing as in recent years conservatives have come to power in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.
Quick Facts about Chile:
♦ Capital – Santiago
♦ Currency – Peso
♦ Important Rivers – Baker, Maipo

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

The Phasing out ceremony of MI-8 “PRATAP” helicopters held in Bengaluru
Phasing out ceremony of MI-8 “PRATAP” helicopter was held at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka in Bengaluru on December 17, 2017. The ceremony was attended by several Indian Air Force (IAF) veterans.
About ‘PRATAP’ Helicopters:
i. Soviet-era MI-8 helicopters (rechristened as the “PRATAP”) were formally inducted in the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter inventory in the year 1972.
ii. Indian Air Force inducted 107 MI-8 helicopters between 1971 and 1988.
iii. ’PRATAP’ helicopters played important role in major IAF operations including Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka and Operation Meghdoot in the Siachen Glacier.
iv. These helicopters were extensively used even for Humanitarian and Disaster Relief operations across India.

SPORTS

Francois Gabart smashed World Record for sailing around the World
Francois Gabart, a French sailor, has broken the record for sailing around the world alone by circumnavigating the world in 42 days and 16 hours.
Francois Gabart – World Record for sailing around the World:
i. Francois Gabart’s new record is more than 6 days faster than the previous record, created by France’s Thomas Coville in 2016.
ii. Francois Gabart reached the finish line near Ouessant island, near France’s western coast, on his trimaran (boat) named Macif on 17th December 2017.
iii. The organisers tracked his journey through satellite. The race time was announced by an observer from the World Sailing Speed Council. Francois Gabart is 34 years old and an engineer by profession.
About World Sailing Speed Record Council:
♦ Formed – 1972
♦ Authorized by – International Sailing Federation

Brazilian football star Ricardo Kaka announces retirement
On 17th December 2017, former Brazilian World Cup champion Ricardo Kaka made the announcement of his retirement as a football player.Ricardo KakaRetirement of Ricardo Kaka:
i. Ricardio Kaka is 35 years old. He started his career with Sao Paulo in Brazil. He is a talented attacking midfielder.
ii. He joined Real Madrid club in 2009. He has received the Ballon d’Or award, which honours the world’s best player annually.
iii. He has suggested that after his retirement he would be interested in joining club AC Milan for a management career.
About Real Madrid:
♦ Founded – 1902
♦ President – Florentino Perez
♦ Head coach – Zinedine Zidane

PV Sindhu settles for silver at Dubai World Badminton Superseries Finals 2017
On 17th December 2017, PV Sindhu won silver medal at the Dubai World Badminton Superseries Finals 2017.
PV Sindhu – silver at Dubai World Badminton Superseries Finals 2017:
i.India’s PV Sindhu lost against Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in the finals of the singles event in Dubai World Badminton Superseries 2017.
ii.PV Sindhu lost 21-15, 12-21, 19-21 to Akane Yamaguchi. This is the third time in the last two years PV Sindhu has settled for a silver medal in a big event after Olympics 2016 and World Championships 2017.
About Dubai World Superseries Finals 2017:
♦ Dates – 13 – 17 December 2017
♦ Total prize money – US$1,000,000
♦ Location – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Sushil Kumar, Sakshi Malik win gold at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in Johannesburg
On 17th December 2017, Sushil Kumar and Sakshi Malik won gold medals at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Sushil Kumar, Sakshi Malik – gold at Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in Johannesburg:
i. India’s Sushil Kumar defeated New Zealand’s Akash Khullar in the final of the men’s 74kg freestyle category and won a gold medal.
ii. This is Sushil Kumar’s first medal in international wrestling since his gold medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
iii. India’s Sakshi Malik defeated New Zealand’s Tayla Tuahine Ford in the final of the 62kg women’s freestyle category and won a gold medal.
iv. Also, Parveen Rana won a bronze medal in the men’s 74kg freestyle category.
About Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF):
♦ Headquarters – London, England, United Kingdom
♦ President – Louise Martin
♦ Membership – 71 Commonwealth Games Associations

OBITUARY

Jazz and Pop Singer Keely Smith dies at 89
Keely Smith, a pop and jazz singer, died due to heart failure in Palm Springs, California, US.Keely SmithDeath of Keely Smith:
i. Keely Smith was 89 years old. She was known for her solo jazz songs and her musical partnership with Louis Prima.
ii. She was born in Norfolk, Virginia on March 9, 1928. As a teenager she started singing with Louis Prima’s band.
iii. In 1953, she married Louis Prima and together they won a Grammy Award in 1959 for their hit song “That Old Black Magic”.
About Grammy Awards:
♦ Awarded for – Outstanding achievements in the music industry
♦ Country – United States
♦ Presented by – The Recording Academy

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Minority Rights Day – December 18
On 18th December 2017, National Minority Rights Day was observed all over India.
National Minority Rights Day:
i. On 18 December every year, National Minorities Rights Day is observed in India since 2013. Since, the United Nations adopted the “Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities” on 18th December 1992.
ii. This day is celebrated to create awareness on rights of the minorities. It is celebrated in India by the National Commission for Minorities (NCM).
iii. This commission was set up by the central government under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
About National Commission for Minorities (NCM):
♦ Chairperson – Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi
♦ Vice-chairperson – George Kurian
♦ Location – New Delhi

International Migrants Day – December 18
On 18th December 2017, International Migrants Day was celebrated all over the world.International MigrantsDayInternational Migrants Day:
i. The theme for International Migrants Day 2017 is: Safe Migration in a World on the Move.
ii. 18 December was declared as International Migrants Day by the General Assembly of United Nations as it adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families on 18th December 1990.
iii. This day is celebrated by spreading information about human rights and fundamental freedom of migrants, ensuring protection of migrants, etc.
iv. The Second Global Migration Film Festival is held from 5th December to 18th December 2017 with regard to 2017 International Migrants Day in New York.
About International Organization for Migration (IOM):
♦ Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Membership – 166 member states and 8 observer states
♦ Director General – William Lacy Swing