Current Affairs 19th December 2020

Table of Contents

1. Nagaland govt bans use of flex banners

Nagaland Government has totally banned the use of flex banners, boards and posters by departments, institutions and agencies during functions or programmes in government offices with immediate effect. Flex banners/ boards/ posters are made up of Poly-Vinyl-Chlorides (PVC), a plastic polymer, which is a non-biodegradable material. If burned, it releases harmful toxins and gets bio-accumulated.

2. India falls 17 spots in Human Freedom Index

The Human Freedom Index 2020, a worldwide ranking of civil, economic and personal freedom, placed India at the 11th spot out of 162 countries. India ranked 94 on the index in the year 2019. India is ahead of China and Bangladesh, which ranked 129 and 139 on the 2020 index respectively. New Zealand, Switzerland and Hong Kong bagged the first three spots.

3. Home Affairs Ministry bans NSCN(K)

Union Ministry of Home Affairs, MHA has declared National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), NSCN(K) along with all its factions, wings and front organisations as an unlawful association under sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. NSCN (K) has been involved in 104 violence incidents resulting in killings of 7 security forces personnel and 6 civilians.

4. BBMP to conduct a survey

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike will conduct Begging and Hawking children identification survey in the eight zones of the municipal corporation area. It will collate information on children selling vanity items near traffic signals and those who are school dropouts in slums. The officials have been asked to rehabilitate them or make arrangements for the education of such children.

5. Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network

J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has launched the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network, eVIN. It has been launched in order to rationalize vaccine flow and distribution. Metadata Collection of Cold Chain Points, CCPs and uploading of data in eVIN cloud server has been completed. A total of 20 Vaccine Logistics & Cold Chain Managers, VCCMs have been appointed in each district.

6. Agriculture Processing Centre at Kurbathang

In Ladakh, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, LAHDC Kargil CEC Kargil Feroz Ahmad Khan laid the foundation stone of Agriculture Processing and Marketing Centre, Kurbathang on 18 December 2020. He later inaugurated training and awareness camp for farmers and self-help groups. The centre will come up at a cost of Rs. 2.5 crores.

7. Webinar and expo between India and Maldives

A webinar and expo between India and Maldives were held on 17 Dec 2020. The theme of the webinar was Joint Indo Maldives High Level Defence Engagement It was organised under the aegis of Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence through Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. This webinar is the part of Aero India 21 series of webinars.

8. 4th Bilateral JWG meeting held

Fourth Bilateral Joint Working Group, JWG meeting between the Narcotics Control Bureau NCB India and the National Narcotics Board BNN, Indonesia was held on 17 Dec 2020. The Indian delegation was led by Director General, Narcotics Control Bureau, Rakesh Asthana. The 5th India -Indonesia Bilateral Joint Working Group Meeting on Drug Control Cooperation will be held in India in 2021.

9. Piyush Goyal addressed CII’s Session

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal addressed Cll’s Session on Post-Brexit UK and India, along with Secretary of State for International Trade for the UK, Ms Liz Truss, on 17 Dec 2020. Both sides have agreed to work together in many sectors like education, health, environment, easier movement of people, large investment flows.

10. PMs of India and Vietnam to hold a summit

PM Narendra Modi will hold Virtual Summit with the Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen
Xuan Phuc on 21 December 2020. During the Summit, the two leaders will exchange views on wide-ranging bilateral, regional and global issues and provide guidance for the future development of India-Vietnam comprehensive strategic partnership. This will be the 1st such virtual summit of PM Modi with an ASEAN country.

11. SMIC banned from using American technology

United States has banned China’s top chipmaker SMIC from using American technology. The company illustrates the risks of China using US technology to modernize its military. Dozens of Chinese companies, including SMIC and drone maker DJI, have been added to the Commerce Department’s Entity List, which effectively cuts them off from US suppliers and technology.

12. Relaxation from condition of fumigation

In the light of public concern over high prices of onion, the Dept of Agriculture and Farmers
Welfare has decided to extend the relaxation from the condition of fumigation and additional declaration on Phytosanitary Certificate for imports up to 31st January 2021. Consignments of imported onions which arrive in Indian ports without fumigation would be fumigated in India by the importer.

13. 2-day Annual Summit of OPPI

Union Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda inaugurated the 2-day Annual Summit of the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India, OPPI in New Delhi on 17 Dec 2020. He conferred the lifetime achievement and special recognition awards during the summit. He informed that the contribution of the Indian pharmaceutical sector has been reinforced during the pandemic.

14. DRDO Awards Ceremony held

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh felicitated eminent scientists for their contribution and services to the nation at the DRDO Awards Ceremony on 18 Dec 2020. He also handed over a model of Astra MK-1 BVR air to air missile to Indian Air Force Chief, Indian Maritime Situational Awareness System to the Navy chief and the Border Surveillance System to Army Chief.

15. Indian Railways develops National Rail Plan

Indian Railways has come up with a Draft National Rail Plan. A long term strategic plan called the National Rail Plan has been developed to plan infrastructural capacity enhancement along with strategies to increase the modal share of the Railways. It will be a common platform for all future infrastructural, business and financial planning of the Railways.

16. President of India Gold Medal distributed

Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Dr Jitendra Singh addressed the valedictory function of 95th Foundation Course at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration on 18 December 2020. He distributed the President of India Gold Medal and Certificate for the Best Officer Trainee. He also laid the foundation stone of Govt Primary School at Charleville, Mussoorie.

17. India, ADB sign 4.21 million dollar

The Govt of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a 4.21 million dollar project readiness financing (PRF) facility. It has been signed for the preparation of infrastructure development projects to improve urban amenities and develop tourism infrastructure in Tripura. This is ADB’s first PRF facility for a state in the northeastern region of India.

18. PM addresses at ASSOCHAM Foundation Week

PM Modi delivered the keynote address at ASSOCHAM Foundation Week 2020 on 19 Dec 2020 through video conferencing. He also presented the ASSOCHAM Enterprise of the Century Award to Mr Ratan Tata, who received the award on behalf of the TATA Group. ASSOCHAM was established in 1920. ASSOCHAM has emerged as the fountainhead of knowledge for Indian industry.

19. Centre of Excellence for Skill Development

Skill India has established the first Centre of Excellence for Skill Development in Power Sector in the campus of National Institute of Solar Energy, Gurugram Haryana. The Centre of Excellence will focus on creating a pool of highly skilled trainers and assessors for further training to increase the employability of candidates in the field of electricity, automation and solar energy sectors.

20. R Cluster production starts

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has announce the start of production from the R Cluster, an ultra-deep water gas field in block KG D6 off the east coast of India. R Cluster is located about 60 km from the existing KG D6 Control & Riser Platform (CRP) off the Kakinada coast. It is the first of the three deep-water gas projects in block KG D6 being developed by RIL and BP to come onstream.

21. Nitin Gadkari unveils eco-friendly Vedic Paint

The Union Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari introduced the soon-to-be-launched ‘Vedic Paint’ made of cow dung. To boost the rural economy and generate an additional income for farmers, Vedic Paint will be launched through the Khadi and Village Industries Commission. It will come in distemper and emulsion forms and will dry in just four hours.

22. RBI extends restrictions on PMC Bank

Reserve Bank of India extended restrictions on crisis-ridden Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank by three months till 31 March 2021. In September 2019, the Reserve Bank of India had superseded the board of the multi-state urban cooperative bank. The central bank appointed A K Dixit as the new administrator of the bank in September 2020.

23. Inauguration of paddy straw briquetting plant

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh virtually inaugurated a paddy straw briquetting plant in Patiala. The plant has a briquetting capacity of 100 tonnes per day. The plant has been set up at village Kulburchan in Patiala district, at a capital cost of Rs 5.50 crore, by Punjab State Council for Science and Technology in collaboration with private partner Punjab Renewable Energy Systems Pvt. Ltd.

24. Chinese spacecraft brings 1st lunar samples

China’s Chang’e-5 probe successfully touched down on Earth on17 December 2020, bringing home the first samples of the moon in over 40 years. Zhang Kejian, head of the CNSA, declared the Chang’e-5 mission a success. The Chang’e-5 lunar probe was launched from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on November 24,

25. Varanasi to get CNG-driven boats

In order to reduce air and noise pollution, all existing diesel engine boats in the Ganga river in Varanasi will be replaced by CNG engines. The Gas Authority of India is bringing a project of around Rs 37 crore, under which the existing diesel engines of the boats operating in the Ganga, will be replaced by new CNG engines GAIL will a lso establish its CNG station near Khidkiyaghat.

26. Karnataka CM unveils ‘Bengaluru Mission 2022’

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa unveiled ‘Bengaluru Mission 2022’ to revamp the city in the next two years. The mission has been formulated identifying four core areas for development enabling faster commute, Swachcha, Hasiru Bengaluru and connecting with citizens. A blueprint has been prepared to keep in mind how Bengaluru should be in the 22nd year of the 21st century.

27. Pixxel’s first satellite to be launched in Feb

The first satelite by a start-up called Pixxel India called Anand which is an Earth Observation Satellite will be launched on PSLV C51 in February 2021. Along with Anand, two more satellites under the space reform are going to be launched – one by Space Kidz India and another by a university consortium called UnitySat.

28. PETA India’s hottest vegetarian celebrities

Sonu Sood and Shradha Kapoor bagged the top spot to be named the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India’s hottest star. While Sood has been named as the hottest vegetarian celebrity in the male category, actor Shraddha Kapoor has been given the same title in the female category.Past winners of the award include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amitabh Bachchan etc.

29. “World’s ugliest orchid’ among new Species

Gastrodia agnicellus, one of 156 plants and fungal species named by Kew scientists and their partners around the world in 2020, has been crowned “the ugliest orchid in the world”. The 11 mm flowers of this orchid are small, brown and rather ugly. The orchid depends on fungi for nutrition and has no leaves or any other photosynthetic tissue.

30. Siddharth Dhamija as CEO of Zaakpay

Mobikwik has appointed Siddharth Dhamija as CEO of Zaakpay, a payment gateway by MobiKwik. Before this, Siddharth led the enterprise business at PayPal India and was part of the founding team that launched PayPal’s domestic payments business. Bipin Preet Singh is a co-Founder and CEO, MobiKwik.

31. 11000 Cr worth Highway Project in Karnataka

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari will inaugurate and lay foundation stones for highway projects worth Rs. 11,000 crores in Karnataka. The 33 projects pertain to building 1,200 kilometres of highways stretch in the state. These roads will enhance better connectivity convenience, and economic growth in the state.

32. Indian Railways renews MoU with ISB

Indian Railways renewed its MoU with the Indian School of Business (ISB) to collaborate in capacity building and research. It has also exchanged agreements for establishing Centre of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence & Data Analytics and an Integrated coal-freight optimization model. ISB provides a better way to step forward in enhancing the working system of the organization.

33. Dhyan Chand Stadium to get 6 squash courts

Union Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar laid the foundation stone of six squash courts at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, This event takes place in the presence of Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju. The project has been sanctioned at a cost of Rs 5.52 crores across an area of 750 square metres and has an estimated completion time of six months.

34. Military Equipment worth Rs 28000 Cr approved

The defence ministry has approved the procurement of military weapons and equipment worth Rs 28,000 crore. The DAC(Defense Acquisition control) approved acquisition proposals for various weapons, platforms, and equipment required by the Indian Army, the Indian Navy, and the Indian Air Force at an approximate cost of Rs 28,000 crore.

35. Lewandowski wins best men’s player 2020

Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski won the best men’s player at the Best Fifa Football Awards in Zurich. The Poland striker beat previous winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the award after a glorious season with Bayern Munich in 2019-20. Lewandowski scored 15 goals in last season’s Champions League to help Bayern Munich win the trophy.

36. Trinamool Congress MLA Silbhadra Datta resigns

In West Bengal, Silbhadra Datta, Trinamool Congress MLA from Barrackpore constituency has resigned from all party posts. The move comes a day after Suvendu Adhikari, one of the closest aides of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, formally quit the party. TMC MLA Jitendra Tiwari also resigned from his post as chief of the administrative board of Asansol Municipal Corporation on 17 December 2020.

37. ICICI Pru launches Guaranteed Pension Plan

ICICI Prudential Life Insurance has launched a new plan that guarantees life-long income after you retire. ICICI Prudential Guaranteed Pension Plan is a non-linked non-participating individual annuity product that provides customers with the flexibility to choose between Immediate and Deferred Annuity. Policy holder will get the immediate regular return after paying the one-time Premium.

38. Amar Singh college wins UNESCO award

The Amar Singh College of Srinagar was recognized with the ‘Award of Merit’ in the 2020 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. This college has been built nearly 80 years ago. The award was announced by a jury. comprising nine international conservation experts, and it was convened from November 20 to 22 to deliberate on the project entries.

39. Kerala’s Gender park to partner with UN women

Kerala’s Gender park is all set to partner with UN Women to further the cause of women empowerment and function as a South Asia hub for gender equality. The Memorandum of Understanding to formalize the partnership would be signed in the presence of the state’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. This cooperation with UN Women would give a push to the Gender Park’s efforts for Gender Equality.

40. US adds India into Currency Manipulation

The US Treasury Department (USDT) has put India back on its currency manipulation watchlist USDT’s semi-annual report on the macroeconomic and foreign exchange policies list countries that may be intervening excessively in their foreign exchange markets to gain an unfair trade advantage. India was included in this list in 2018 but removed in 2019, now India is again back in 2020.

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