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Current Affairs Today December 21 2017

We are here for you to provide the important current affairs December 21 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

‘DARPAN’ project launched for Financial Inclusion of Rural Population
On December 21, 2017, Union Minister of Communications, Manoj Sinha launched DARPAN – “Digital Advancement of Rural Post Office for A New India”.
i. DARPAN project will be implemented with financial outlay of Rs. 1400 Crore.
ii. Under the project, each Branch Postmaster (BPM) will be provided a low power technology solution that will enable each of approximately 1.29 Lakhs Branch Post Offices (BOs) to enhance the quality of services being offered to rural customers across all the states of India…………………………………...Click here to Read more

Cabinet Approvals on December 21, 2017
Cabinet approves extension of term of the Commission to examine the issue of sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes
i. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Cuba on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine
ii. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Italy on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine
iii. Union Cabinet has approved Railway Ministry’s initiative to set up the first ever National Rail and Transport University (NRTU) in Vadodara, Gujarat
iv.  Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved “Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS)”……………………………………………..Click here to Read more 

India’s first design university ‘World University of Design’ opens campus in Haryana
World University of Deisgn (WUD), India’s first and only Design University opened its campus at Sonipat, Haryana.World University of DesignWorld University of Design:
i. The World University of Design is promoted by Om Parkash Bansal Educational and Social Welfare Trust of Mandi Gobindgarh, Punjab.
ii. WUD offers 23 specialized UG and PG programs in various fields like Design, Fashion, Communication, Visual Arts, Design and Retail Management, and Architecture.
iii. It follows a special curriculum that encourages research, academic excellence, industry preparedness and social innovation.
iv. It is the first university in India dedicated to education in the creative domain. It has a well-facilitated residential campus.
About All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE):
♦ Formation – 1945
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Member Secretary – Prof. Alok Prakash Mittal
♦ Chairman – Dr. Anil Sahasrabudhe

Lok Sabha passes Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017
On 20th December 2017, the Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was passed in the Lok Sabha.
Lok Sabha passes Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017:
i. The Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced by Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan.
ii. As per the bill’s Statement of Objects and Reasons, section 2, the amended will exclude the word “bamboos” from the definition of tree. This will eliminate the need for permission to transport bamboos grown in non-forest area.
iii. This will also allow farmers to plant bamboos in degraded land.
Some of the acts passed in India in 2017:
♦ Mental Healthcare Act, 2017
♦ Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017
♦ Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017
♦ Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017

Uttar Pradesh government sets up Cow Protection Committees
On 19th December 2017, Uttar Pradesh government announced the setting up of Cow Protection Committees (Gau Sanrakshan Samitis) in all districts of Uttar Pradesh to make sure that cow sheds (gaushalas) are operated efficiently.
Gau Sanrakshan Samitis in UP:
i. The Cow Protection Committees will be headed by the district magistrate. The superintendent of police and the district’s chief development officer will act as the district magistrate’s deputies.
ii. The Cow Protection Committees would sell cow-related products like soaps, incense sticks, mosquito repellant coils, biogas, compost and phenyl made from cow urine. This has been done in order to make the cow sheds self-sufficient.
iii. These committees would also rescue and take care of cattle, to prevent them from getting illegally slaughtered or smuggled.
About Blue Cross of India:
♦ Headquarters – Chennai
♦ Motto – Animals—It’s their world too
♦ Formation – 1959
♦ Founder – Captain Sundaram

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Indian Navy conducts ‘Naseem Al Bahr’ naval exercise with Oman Navy
On 17th December 2017, the 11th edition of ‘Naseem Al Bahr’ or ‘Sea Breeze’ exercise was conducted off the coast of Oman.Naseem Al BahrNaseem Al Bahr:
i. Naseem Al Bahr is a biennial exercise. This was started in 1993. Indian ships reached Muscat on 16th December 2017.
ii. Indian Naval ships – INS Trikand and INS Teg participated in the exercise. P8I – a versatile, long-range maritime aircraft also participated from Indian Navy.
iii. From Royal Navy of Oman – Al Rasikh, Khassab, Al Mubashir and Al Bushra ships participated in the exercise.
iv .In 1953, Indo-Oman Treaty of Friendship, Navigation and Commerce was signed between Indian and Oman. This led to bilateral relations between both the countries. This was the first treaty signed between India and an Arab country.
Some of the joint military exercises of India in 2017:
♦ Khanjar IV – India & Kyrgyzstan
♦ Surya Kiran XI – India & Nepal
♦ Bold Kurukshetra – India & Singapore
♦ Maitree – India & Thailand

India, Myanmar sign MoU for socio-economic development of Rakhine State
On 20th December 2017, India and Myanmar signed a MoU for improving socio-economic condition of Rakhine State.
India & Myanmar – sign pact for improvement of Rakhine:
i. The MoU was signed by India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Myanmar Deputy Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Soe Aung in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. S Jaishankar had been to Myanmar on an official visit.
ii. This is the first government to government MoU signed by Myanmar for the socio-economic development of Rakhine.
iii. This MoU will enable Myanmar to restore normalcy in Rakhine and help return of displaced persons.
iv. As a part of this MoU, India would take up a project to build prefabricated housing in Rakhine State Chittagong.
Foreign Ministers of few countries:
♦ Bangladesh – Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali
♦ Canada – Chrystia Freeland
♦ Egypt – Sameh Shoukry
♦ Germany – Sigmar Gabriel

China unveils plan for world’s biggest carbon-trading market
On 19th December 2017, China announced its plan for a national carbon market that would be the world’s biggest trading system for climate-warming emissions.
China – world’s biggest carbon-trading market:
i. China’s National Development and Reform Commission vice-chairman Zhang Yong said, this national carbon market will initially include only the power sector.
ii. It was not mentioned when this trading would start. This trading was piloted in cities like Jiangsu, Fujian etc.
iii. China intends to use this national carbon market to limit emissions by around 2030. Chinese financial institutions and businesses will be mandated to consider the carbon impact when they develop medium and long-term plans.
About Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India:
♦ Chairman – S.P. Singh Parihar
♦ Member Secretary – Dr. A.B. Akolkar
♦ Formed – 1974

‘India is the 5th most vacation deprived country globally’: Survey
According to Expedia Vacation Deprivation Report 2017, India is the fifth most vacation deprived country.ExpediaHighlights of Expedia Vacation Deprivation Report 2017:
i. This report has been compiled on basis of an online survey conducted by Northstar Research Partners on behalf of Expedia, an international travel company.
ii. In the survey, 60 per cent Indian respondents admitted of being vacation deprived due to heavy work schedule.
iii .Around 55 percent Indians take fewer days of the vacation days than they are entitled to.
iv. Norway has emerged as the least vacation deprived country as only 38 percent respondents admitted of being vacation deprived.
Most Vacation Deprived Countries – Top 5:

Country % of Respondents who admitted being vacation deprived
South Korea 82%
France 66%
Malaysia 65%
Hong Kong 64%
India 60%

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI puts United Bank of India on corrective action plan
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has initiated prompt corrective action (PCA) against United Bank of India owing to its high net non-performing loans, low leverage ratio and requirement to raise capital.
Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) against United Bank of India:
i. Banks facing PCA are restricted from carrying out certain banking activities. These include, restrictions on opening branches, recruiting staff and giving increments to employees. In addition to these, Banks facing PCA can offer loans only to selected entities having high investment ratings.
ii. RBI has directed  United Bank of India to take several measures including profit retention, provision coverage, capital augmentation, diversification of credit portfolio, cost control and rationalisation of expansion.
iii. United Bank of India is the tenth bank to face PCA in last ten months.
iv. Other nine banks include Oriental Bank of Commerce, Dena Bank, Central Bank of India, IDBI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, UCO Bank, Corporation Bank and Bank of India.
Quick Facts about United Bank of India:
♦ Founded in – 1950
♦ Headquarters – Kolkata, India
♦ Current MD & CEO – Pawan Kumar Bajaj
♦ Tagline – The Bank that begins with ‘U’

World Bank approves USD 825 m loan for Pakistan infrastructure
World Bank has granted USD 825 million loan Pakistan for upgrading its energy and public finance sectors.Worl BankDetails about World Bank’s Loan to Pakistan:
i. World Bank has stated that, USD 425 million out of the total loan would be used to modernise Pakistan’s national power grid.
ii. Remaining USD 400 million loan will be deployed to improve the management of public finances which would consequentially improve the delivery of health and education services.
iii. It is to be noted that Pakistan has been facing chronic power shortages and is suffering due to poor fiscal management since long time.
Quick Facts about Pakistan:
♦ Capital – Islamabad
♦ Currency – Pakistani rupee
♦ Current Prime Minister – Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
♦ Important Rivers – Indus, Jhelum, Chenab

BUSINESS

Germany signs loan agreement with North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO) for ‘Pare Hydro Electric Plant’
On 20th December 2017, representatives of the German Development Bank (KfW) and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd. (NEEPCO) signed a loan agreement for additional funding of 20 million Euro for Pare Hydro Electric Plant (Pare HEP).
KfW & NEEPCO sign loan agreement for Pare HEP:
i. This 20 million Euro will be utilized for continuing the construction and to implement commissioning of Pare Hydro Electric Plant (Pare HEP). Already in 2008, Germany had contributed 80 million Euro to Pare HEP.
ii. For compliance with environmental and social standards and development of early flood warning system, German government provides 0.5 Million Euro to NEEPCO.
iii. Pare HEP is developed by NEEPCO in the Papumpare District of Arunachal Pradesh. Its capacity is 110 megawatts. The project will generate electricity fromDikrong River.
About North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO):
♦ Headquarters – Shillong, Meghalaya
♦ Founded – 1976
♦ Products – Electricity generation
♦ Owner – Ministry of Power

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Virat Kohli replaces Shah Rukh Khan as India’s Most Valuable Celebrity Brand
Cricketer Virat Kohli has replaced actor Shah Rukh Khan as India’s top-ranking celebrity brand.Virat KohliVirat Kohli – India’s Most Valuable Celebrity Brand:
i. The ‘Rise of the Millennials: India’s Most Valuable Celebrity Brands’ report for 2017 was published by Duff & Phelps.
ii. It has stated that Virat Kohli is the top scorer in the list with brand value of $144 million. He is followed by actors Shah Rukh, Deepika Padukone, Akshay Kumar and Ranveer Singh.
iii. The report highlights trends in brand endorsements, like celebrities endorsing tourism campaigns, sports tournaments, and launching their own line of merchandise.
About Duff & Phelps Corporation:
♦ Headquarters – New York, United States
♦ CEO – Noah Gottdiener
♦ President – Jacob Silverman

U.K. tops Forbes’ best countries in the world for business in 2018
The United Kingdom has scored the top spot in Forbes’ rankings of best countries in the world for business in 2018 for the first time.
United Kingdom – Best Country for Business 2018:
i. United Kingdom occupied fifth position in this list, last year. United Kingdom is followed by New Zealand and the NetherlandsIndia has been ranked 62nd on the list.
ii. The Forbes’ rankings of best countries in the world for business in 2018 has ranked 153 countries on 15 factors like property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom, red tape and investor protection.
About European Union (EU):
♦ Capital – Brussels
♦ Type – Political and economic union
♦ Member states – 28 states

Mamang Dai, Ramesh Kuntal win Sahitya Akademi award
On 21st December 2017, Authors Mamang Dai and Ramesh Kuntal Megh were announced Sahitya Akademi award winners for 2017.Mamang DaiSahitya Akademi awards 2017:
i. The Sahitya Akademi has announced its annual Sahitya Akademi Awards 2017 in 24 languages.
ii. Mamang Dai has been awarded Sahitya Akademi award for his novel, The Black Hill, in English. Ramesh Kuntal Megh has been awarded for his literary criticism Vishw Mithak Sarit Sagar, in Hindi.
iii. The award consists of a copper-plaque, a shawl and a cheque of Rs 1 lakh. The awards will be handed over at a function on February 12, 2018.
Some of the literary awards in India:
♦ Ananda Purashkar award
♦ Ezhuthachan Award
♦ Jnanpith Award
♦ Kalaimamani Award

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Justice U D Salvi takes charge as acting Chairperson of NGT
On 20th December 2017, Justice Umesh Dattatraya Salvi assumed office as the acting Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
Justice U D Salvi – acting Chairperson of NGT:
i. Justice Salvi has replaced Justice Swatanter Kumar, who retired recently. Justice Salvi will serve as chairperson until a new chairperson is appointed or till his superannuation, whichever is earlier. He will retire on February 13, 2018.
ii. Justice Salvi become an advocate in 1977. In August 1993, he was appointed City Civil and Additional Sessions Judge, Mumbai.
iii. He was promoted as judge at the Bombay High Court in 2009. In 2013, he was appointed a Judicial Member of the NGT.
About Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO):
♦ Founded – 1952
♦ Central Provident Fund Commissioner – Dr. V P Joy
♦ Services – Provident Fund, Pension and Insurance schemes, implementing agency for Bilateral Social Security Agreements

Dr Samiran Panda takes charge as NARI (National AIDS Research Institute) Director
On 19th December 2017, Dr Samiran Panda was appointed as director of National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), Pune.
Dr Samiran Panda – Director of NARI:
i .Dr Samiran Panda replaces Dr R R Gangakhedkar, as the full time director of NRAI. Dr Samiran Panda was earlier the deputy director at the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (Kolkata).
ii. In 1990s he was with the Indian Council of Medical Research. He played an important role in HIV/AIDS documenting in northeastern states, mainly Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram.
About Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR):
♦ Formation – 1911
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Secretary & Director General – Soumya Swaminathan

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Indian Navy commissions Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) ICGS Sujay
On December 21, 2017, Director General of Indian Coast Guard, Rajendra Singh commissioned Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) ‘Sujay’ in Goa.ICGS SujayAbout ICGS ‘Sujay’:
i. In Hindi, ‘Sujay’ mean ‘Great Victory’.
ii. ICGS ‘Sujay’ is an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) that has been designed and built indigenously by Goa Shipyard Ltd.
iii. 105-meter long ICGS ‘Sujay’ is equipped with 30mm CRN 91 Naval Gun, Integrated Machinery Control System (IMCS), Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and state-of-the-art Power Management System (PMS).
v.It can carry one twin engine Light Helicopter and five high speed boats.
iv. Initially, the ship will be deployed for exclusive economic zone (EEZ) surveillance. It can also be used for search/rescue operations as well as in operations to contain oil spill at sea.
Quick Facts about Indian Coast Guard:
♦ Established in – 1978
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current Director General – Rajendra Singh

Punjab CM launches PUDA-UCIC app and new web portal
On 21st December 2017, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh launched PUDA-UCIC app to check unauthorised construction and a new web portal of the housing department for online issue of change of land use.
PUDA-UCIC app & new web portal:
i. The PUDA-UCIC app will facilitate swift action to stop illegal construction. The PUDA-UCIC app is based on Android platform.
ii. PUDA-UCIC (Unauthorised constructions and illegal colonies) has been opened for public use in Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA)region.
iii. Field staff and public can take pictures of any unauthorised construction and upload them on the app for necessary action.
iv. Through the new web portal, developer can get a change of land use online, without having to visit the office.
About Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA):
♦ Formed – 1970
♦ Headquarters – Mohali
♦ Jurisdiction – Punjab

ENVIRONMENT

Scientists discover new frog species “Odorrana arunachalensis”
Scientists have discovered a new frog species “Odorrana arunachalensis” in Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh.New FrogOdorrana arunachalensis:
i. The Odorrana arunachalensis species was discovered in Talle Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS), Arunachal Pradesh. It has has been named as Odorrana arunachalensis, after Arunachal Pradesh.
ii. The discovery has been published in the Journal of Biosciences, a science journal of Rajiv Gandhi University.  Odorrana arunachalensis species is seen only during the wet season, from April to September.
iii. Odorrana (odorous frog) is a genus of true frogs (Ranidae). This new frog species is medium sized.
iv .The discovery was made by a team of scientists from the Zoological Survey of IndiaBhaskar Saikia, Bikramjit Sinha and Ilona Jacinta Kharkongor led the research team.
About Zoological Survey of India (ZSI):
♦ Purpose – Animal taxonomy and conservation
♦ Headquarters – Kolkata
♦ Type – Government agency

SPORTS

Krishnapatnam Port to host 9th International Youth Sailing Competition
The 9th edition of International Youth Sailing Competition of India is held in Krishnapatnam Port in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, from December 27th to December 31st 2017.
9th International Youth Sailing Competition:
i. This is the largest sailing competition in India. It is organised by the Navayuga Sailing Academy, Tamil Nadu Sailing Association (TNSA) and Yachting Association of Andhra Pradesh (YAAP) under the control of the Yachting Association of India (YAI) and the Asian Sailing Federation (ASAF).
ii. From 21st December to 25th December 2017 YAI Senior and Youth National Championships is held in the Krishnapatnam Port.
iii. International race officer Mr. Ilker Byandir, Turkey is the Principal Race Officer for this event. He is assisted by TNSA member and RYA race officer Mylai Prabhakar.  International Judge Mr. Chris Watts, UK is the chairperson of the jury.
About Yachting Association of India (YAI):
♦ Constituted – 1960
♦ Affiliated to – International Sailing Federation (ISAF)
♦ Purpose – governing authority for sailing, windsurfing, motor boating, powerboat racing and personal watercraft in India

Birmingham named 2022 Commonwealth Games host city
On 21st December 2017, Louise Martin, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation announced Birmingham as host city of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.2022 Commonwealth GamesBirmingham – host city of the 2022 Commonwealth Games:
i. The Common Wealth Games is to be hosted in England for the first time since Manchester hosted the Games in 2002.
ii. The expenses of the Common Wealth Games is expected to be around £750m. The government would cover £560m. The local council would contribute around £180m.
iii. The 2018 Common Wealth Games will take place in Australia’s Gold Coast from 4-15 April 2018.
About Common Wealth Games:
♦ Started – 1930
♦ Frequency – every four years
♦ Recent Commonwealth Games – held in Glasgow, Scotland in 2014