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Current Affairs Today December 23 2017

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We are here for you to provide the important current affairs December 23 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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Government launches ‘Ganga Gram’ project at Ganga Gram Swachata Sammelan
On December 23, 2017, Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation heldGanga Gram Swachhta Sammelan’ in New Delhi to formally launch the ‘Ganga Gram Project’ under the Namami Gange Programm.
i. The meet was presided over by Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Uma Bharati.
ii. Ganga Swachhata Manch, created for awareness creation, learning and advocacy and knowledge sharing for the Ganga Gram Project was also launched during this meet……………………………………………………….Click here to Read more

NDMA conducts mock exercise on earthquake in Haryana
On December 21, 2017, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) conducted a State-level mock exercise on earthquake in Haryana.NDMADetails about NDMA’s mock exercise on earthquake in Haryana:
iNDMA conducted this exercise in collaboration with the Haryana State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).
ii. Objective behind conducting this exercise was to assess Haryana State administration’s preparedness and evaluating the response mechanism in a disaster situation.
iii. The exercise was carried out as a response to simulated earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale, having epicentre at West of Gurugram along the Jaipur Ridge and the Sohna Fault line.
iv. It is to be noted that Haryana is vulnerable to huge damage due to earthquake owing to its proximity with Himalayan foothills, which itself is an earthquake prone area.
Quick Facts about NDMA:
Founded in – 2005
Headquarters – New Delhi
Parent Entity – Union Ministry of Home Affairs

Mystic Kalinga poetry festival begins in Bhubaneswar
On 22nd December 2017, Mystic Kalinga, the international poetry festival, started in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
Mystic Kalinga:
i. Mystic Kalinga is a two day international poetry festival. The central theme for this year’s festival is: “Aseema” – Transcending Boundaries.
ii. It was inaugurated by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasdev. Poetry sessions in Odia, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and English, etc. were conducted. Local folk artists also performed in the festival.
iii. Mystic Kalinga is an extension of Kalinga Literary Festival (KLF). The Kalinga Literary Festival is organized every year in the month June by Odisha Media info Service (OMIS) Private Ltd and Odisha Diary Foundation (ODF).
Some of the museums in Odisha:
♦ Museum of Tribal Arts and Artifacts
♦ Odisha State Museum
♦ Regional Museum of Natural History
♦ Tribal Research Institute Museum

Gujjars and four other communities to get 1% reservation in Rajasthan
On 21st December 2017, the Rajasthan government announced 1 % reservation within the 50 percent legal limit, for Gujjars and four other communities, still retaining their Other Backward Classes (OBC) status.
1 % reservation for Gujjars & 4 other communities:
i. The five communities that have been declared eligible for this reservation are: Gujjar, Banjara, Gadia-Lohar, Rebari and Gadaria
ii. These five communities were listed in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in 1994. This new quota is in addition to the reservation given under OBC category. The additional quota is given in the ‘More Backward Classes’ category.
iii. Now these communities can obtain reservation in educational institutions and job opportunities using this quota.
Some of the museums in Rajasthan:
♦ Jaisalmer War Museum
♦ Sardar Government Museum
♦ Vintage and Classic Car Museum
♦ Akbari Fort & Museum

UP assembly passes UP Excise (Amendment) Bill 2017
On 22nd December 2017, Uttar Pradesh assembly passed the UP Excise (Amendment) Bill 2017, to award death penalty and life imprisonment for spurious liquor dealers.UPBillUP Excise (Amendment) Bill 2017:
i. The bill was introduced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Khanna. The bill was passed by voice vote.
ii. The bill enforces death penalty, life sentence and fine ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh in case of death due to consumption of spurious liquor(ethyl alcohol containing traces of methyl alcohol).
iii. It also provides imprisonment for 6 to 10 years and fine of Rs 3 to Rs 5 lakh in case of disability caused due to consumption of spurious liquor.
Recent schemes introduced by Uttar Pradesh government:
♦ Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – Saubhagya Scheme
♦ Contract Farming Scheme for Doubling Farmers Income by 2022
♦ UP Mukhyamantri Samoohik Vivaah Yojana – Mass Marriage Scheme for Couples

Uttar Pradesh records highest death in 2016 due to respiratory ailments
Government data states that, Uttar Pradesh has recorded the highest death count in India due to Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) in 2016.
Uttar Pradesh – highest death in 2016 due to respiratory ailments:
i. Uttar Pradesh has recorded 822 deaths in total in 2016 due to Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI). It has become the state with highest number of deaths due respiratory ailments in India in 2016.
ii. It is followed by West Bengal in the 2nd position with 635 deaths. The 3rd position is occupied by Delhi with at least 207 deaths in 2016.
About Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB):
♦ Formed – 1974
♦ Chairman – S.P. Singh Parihar
♦ Member Secretary – Dr. A.B. Akolkar

Second edition of the Iranshah Udvada Utsav begins in Gujarat
On 23rd December 2017, the second edition of the Iranshah Udvada Utsav, a Parsi cultural festival started in Gujarat.
Iranshah Udvada Utsav:
i. The Iranshah Udvada Utsav is a three day festival. More than 2,000 Parsis are taking part in this festival.
ii. This festival was coined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 to coincide with the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.
iii. Highlights of the festival are screening of the ‘Jiyo Parsi’ film, discussion on the relevance of Zoroastrianism in modern times, etc.
Some of the temples in Gujarat:

Shantinath Jain Temple ,Kothara
Hutheesing Jain Temple, Ahmedabad
Bhadreshwar Jain Temple, Kutch
Dudheshwar Mahadev, Ahmedabad



UNGA rejects Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
On December 21, 2017, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution rejecting the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
i. 128 UN member countries (including India) voted in favour of the resolution, nine countries voted against it and thirty-five countries abstained from voting.
ii .Israel, United States, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Togo, Palau, Honduras and Guatemala voted against this resolution while 35 countries including Australia, Canada, Mexico and Poland abstained from voting.
iii .However, this vote was just symbolic in nature and is not legally binding.
iv. Earlier on December 18, 2017, U.N. Security Council failed to adopt a similar resolution as U.S. exercised its veto power against it.


YES Bank sets up MTN programme to raise $1 billion
On December 22, 2017, private sector bank, Yes Bank established a Medium Term Note (MTN) programme to raise USD 1 billion by issuing debt securities in international capital markets to eligible investors.
More Information about Yes Bank’s MTN Programme:
i. Earlier, in November 2017, the proposal to setup MTN programme was approved by Capital Raising Committee of Yes Bank’s board.
ii. Yes Bank can raise money, in Indian or foreign currency through various instruments including issuance of debt securities such as non-convertible debentures, tier I-II bonds, MTNs and long-term infrastructure bonds.
iii. Board of directors and shareholders of Yes Bank have approved to raise funds up to Rs 20000 crore in one or more tranches.
Quick Facts about Yes Bank:
Founded in – 2004
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Current MD & CEO – Rana Kapoor
Tagline – ‘Experience our Expertise’


India selected as Chair of Ad Hoc Committee of Kimberley Certification Scheme
India has been selected as Chair for the Ad Hoc Committee on Review & Reforms (AHCRR) to reform the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) besides, Angola will be the Vice Chair of this Committee. India’s selection was announced at Kimberley process (KP) Plenary Session held in Brisbane, Australia from 9th – 14th December, 2017.
i. Both India and Angola will work with other members of the Committee on several reform issues related to changes in core document, Kimberley Process’s permanent secretariat office, expansion of scope of the KP and multi donor fund issues.
ii. From the Indian side, a delegation led by Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, comprising Government officials and representatives of Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) attended this session………………………………………Click here to Read more

Air Deccan gets DGCA nod to resume flights under UDAN
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has granted scheduled commuter operator (SCO) permit to Air Deccan.Air Deccani. This permit will now enable Air Deccan to operate flights under the regional air connectivity scheme, ‘UDAN’.
ii .Union Civil Aviation Ministry had launched Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme in October 2016.
ii. Objective of UDAN scheme is to make flying, a reality for common people residing in Tier-II and Tier-III towns.
iii. Air Deccan has been awarded 34 routes in the first round of bidding under UNDAN scheme.
Quick Facts about Air Deccan:
Commenced operations for the first time in – 2003
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
Founder – G.R. Gopinath

NHAI creates National Highways Investment Promotion Cell
In a bid to attract domestic and foreign investment for highways projects across India, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has created a National Highways Investment Promotion Cell (NHIPC).
About National Highways Investment Promotion Cell (NHIPC):
i. NHIPC will reach out to global institution investors, infrastructure developers, construction companies and fund managers for seeking investor participation in road infrastructure projects across India.
ii. Role of NHIPC will be crucial in achieving Indian Government’s target of constructing 35000 km of national highways in the next five years under Bharatmala project.
iii. Bharatmala project, undertaken by Union Ministry of Transport and Highways, entails an investment of Rs 535000 crore.
Quick Facts about NHAI:
Formed in – 1988
Headquarters – New Delhi
Parent Entity – Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways


TSRTC gets two prestigious SKOCH Awards
Two initiatives of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) have been awarded SKOCH Awards for the year 2017.
i. TSRTC got one award for ‘Vajra Services’, an intercity travel facility between Hyderabad and four cities of Nizamabad, Warangal, Karimnagar and Godhavari Khani.
ii. Other award was given to honour TSRTC’s initiative for providing employment to the children of medically unfit employees.
About SKOCH Awards:
♦ SKOCH Awards were instituted in 2003 by SKOCH Group, a think tank dealing with socio-economic issues with a focus on inclusive growth.
Skoch Awards honours individuals/entities who strive to bring about positive socio-economic changes.
These awards are presented for displaying exemplary leadership in the fields of governance, banking, finance, technology, economics, corporate citizenship, and inclusive growth.


Kumi Naidoo appointed as next secretary general Amnesty International
Kumi Naidoo, a human rights activist from South Africa has been appointed as the next Secretary General of Amnesty International.
About Kumi Naidoo:
i. Kumi Naidoo will assume charge in August 2018.
ii. He will take over charge as Secretary General of Amnesty International from  Indian activist Salil Shetty.
iii. Indian-origin Kumi Naidoo was born in Durban, South Africa. He is the former International Executive Director of Greenpeace.
iv. He has also served as Secretary General and CEO of CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation.
v.Amnesty International is a non-governmental organization working for human rights. It has offices in 70 countries and has over 7 million supporters around the world.
Quick Facts about Amnesty International:
Founded in – 1961
Headquarters – London, England
Services – Protecting Human Rights

American aid expert Henrietta Fore appointed to head UNICEF
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has appointed Henrietta Fore, a former head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as the new Executive Director of United Nations Childrens’ Fund (UNICEF).UNICEF ChiefAbout Henrietta Fore:
i. Henrietta Fore was the first woman to be appointed Administrator of the US Agency for International Development. She held this position from 2006-2009.
ii. Currently, she is the CEO of Holsman International, a manufacturing and investment company.
iii. She will assume charge as seventh Executive Director of UNICEF on January 1, 2018. Current Executive Director of UNICEF is Anthony Lake.
iv. UNICEF is a member of the United Nations Development Group and works for providing humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.
Quick Facts about UNICEF:
Established in – 1946
Headquarters – New York, US
Parent Organisation – United Nations

BCCI appoints Saba Karim as General Manager of Cricket Operations
On 23rd December 2017, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appointed former India wicketkeeper-batsman Saba Karim as the new General Manager (GM) of its Cricket Operations.
Saba Karim – General Manager (GM) of BCCI Cricket Operations:
i. Saba Karim will take charge as General Manager (GM) of BCCI Cricket Operations from January 1, 2018. He will report to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri.
ii. His responsibilities are giving strategic direction to the cricket department, implementing the operational plans, budgeting, determining and monitoring the compliance of match playing regulations, standards of venues, administration of Domestic Program.
About Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI):
♦ Founded – 1926
♦ President – C K Khanna
♦ Vice president – Rajeev Shukla

Airtel Payments Bank CEO Shashi Arora resigns amid eKYC licence row
Airtel Payments Bank Managing Director and CEO Shashi Arora has resigned from his position after Bharti Airtel’s eKYC licence suspension by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
Resignation of Shashi Arora:
i .Shashi Arora has been working with Airtel in key roles since 2006. He was appointed MD and CEO of Airtel Payments Bank in 2016.
ii .After allegations on Airtel Payments Bank that it was opening payments bank accounts without the permission of users, UIDAI suspended Bharti Airtel’s eKYC licence. Shashi Arora has resigned from his position shortly after this issue.
About Bharti Airtel:
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Chairman – Sunil Mittal
♦ MD & CEO – Gopal Vittal

Actor Ranveer Singh appointed as Ambassador for EPL in India
On 22nd December 2017, actor Ranveer Singh was appointed as Ambassador for EPL (English Premier League) in India.
Ranveer Singh – Ambassador for EPL in India:
i. Ranveer Singh will help to promote the EPL (English Premier League) League both in India and other countries.
ii. As an ambassador, he will support the English Premier League’s community initiatives in India, promote fan events etc.
iii. This partnership will also improve the relationship between EPL (English Premier League) and Indian Super League (ISL).
About EPL (English Premier League):
♦ Founded – 1992
♦ Country – England
♦ Number of teams – 20

Professor Dhirendra Pal Singh appointed as UGC chairman
On 22nd December 2017, Professor Dhirendra Pal Singh, director, National Assessment and Accreditation Council was appointed chairperson of University Grants Commission (UGC).UGC ChairmanProfessor Dhirendra Pal Singh – UGC chairman:
i. Professor Dhirendra Pal Singh has been appointed as UGC chairman for a period of five years. He has been serving as director of NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) since August 2015.
ii. He has 34 years of professional experience in various fields of education such as planning and administration, institution building, teaching and training, research and development, international cooperation, etc.
iii. He has served as vice-chancellor of Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Dr Hari Singh Gour University, Sagar and Devi Ahilya University, Indore.
About University Grants Commission of India (UGC India):
♦ Formation – 1956
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Functions under – Ministry of Human Resource Development


A new LIGO gravitational wave detector to be built in India by 2025
A new LIGO gravitational wave detector will be built in India by 2025 in collaboration with universities from across the world. Abbreviation LIGO stands for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.LIGOMore Information about LIGO gravitational wave detector to be built in India:
i. In 2016, LIGO detectors discovered the gravitational waves produced by two giant merging blackholes. LIGO detector in India will help to pinpoint the origin of the gravitational waves that are detected in future.
ii. This will be the world’s third LIGO detector, along with two already operational in the US.
iii. Somak Raychaudhury, Director of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune has stated that location for the new detector in India has been selected, and the acquisition has started.
iv. Funding for this purpose is provided by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) through its Newton-Bhabha project on LIGO.
v. Institute for Plasma Research in Ahmedabad and Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology in Indore are in charge of building various parts of the system.


New scorpion species “Liocheles schalleri” discovered in Tripura
A new species of scorpion named “Liocheles schalleri” has been discovered in Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary, Tripura.
Liocheles schalleri:
i. The study on “Liocheles schalleri” has been published in Zootaxa journal by scientist Zeeshan Mirza of National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. “Liocheles schalleri” is the eleventh wood scorpion species from India
ii. “Liocheles schalleri” is also called dwarf scorpions. It is named after famous wildlife biologist George Schaller.
iii. These scorpions are found in low elevated regions in few parts of Tripura. Generally wood scorpions are around three cm long and live in small burrows.
About National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS):
♦ Established – 1992
♦ Director – Satyajit Mayor
♦ Functions under – Department of Atomic Energy


NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless, first to spacewalk without tethers, dies at 80
On 21st December 2017, former NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless, first person to fly in space without tethers, passed away.Bruce McCandlessDeath of Bruce McCandless:
i. The cause for Bruce McCandless’ death has not been mentioned. He was 80 years old.
ii. Bruce McCandless performed the famous spacewalk in 1984, during which he did not use restrictive tethers and umbilicals.
iii. He has been honoured with numerous awards like the Legion of Merit, American Expeditionary Service Medal, NASA Space Flight Medal, and NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal.
About National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):
♦ Formed – 1958
♦ Headquarters – Washington, D.C., U.S.
♦ Motto – For the Benefit of All

Ex-UP & Delhi Governor Banwari Lal Joshi passes away
On 22nd December 2017, former UP Governor Banwari Lal Joshi passed away at AIIMS due to septic shock after an infection on the valves.
Death of Banwari Lal Joshi:
i. Banwari Lal Joshi was 82 years old. He has served as governor of many states.
ii. He has served as lieutenant governor of Delhi, governor of Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
About All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS):
♦ A group of autonomous public medical colleges of higher education
♦ Established in – 1956


Uttarkhand CM launches his biography ‘Trivendra Ek Zindaginama – Khairasain ka Sooraj’
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has launched his biography ‘Trivendra Ek Zindaginama – Khairasain ka Sooraj’.
Trivendra Ek Zindaginama – Khairasain ka Sooraj:
i. Trivendra Ek Zindaginama – Khairasain ka Sooraj has been written by Nandan Singh Bisht, a doctor. This biography is based on Trivendra Singh Rawat’s early struggle and lesser known aspects of his life.
ii. At the launch event, singer Basanti Bisht, former state women’s commission chairperson Sushila Baluni, environmentalist Anil Joshi participated.
About Wildlife sanctuaries in Uttarakhand:
♦ Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary
♦ Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Govind Pashu Vihar National Park and Sanctuary
♦ Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary


National Farmers’ Day (Kisan Diwas) – December 23
On 23rd December 2017, National Farmers’ Day (Kisan Diwas) was celebrated all over India.Farmers DayNational Farmers’ Day (Kisan Diwas):
i. National Farmers’ Day (Kisan Diwas) is celebrated to honour former Prime Minister of India Chaudhary Charan Singh, who introduced various policies to improve the life of farmers.
ii. National Farmers’ Day is celebrated to promote activities related to farmer’s welfare. This day is celebrated by conducting debates, events, seminars, functions and competitions related agriculture.
About Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI):
♦ Purpose – Agricultural research and education
♦ Location – Pusa, Delhi
♦ Director – Dr. Ravinder Kaur