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December 2019 Daily News Current Affairs

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  1. Dec 31, 2019
    1. 27th edition of National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) 2019 held at at Mar Ivanios College in Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), based on theme “Science, Technology and Innovation for a clean, green and healthy nation”.
      1. NCSC is a nationwide Science Communication programme, started in 1993.
    2. Jagran Group editor-in-chief Sanjay Gupta will be honored with Lokmanya Tilak National Journalism Award for his contribution in field of Journalism. Award was instituted by Kesari-Maratha Trust.
    3. RBI released draft on limits on exposure to borrowers, large exposures and revision in priority sector lending (PSL) targets for primary (urban) co-operative banks (UCBs), aimed at avoiding effort to avoid frauds like Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank.
      1. RBI has decided to restrict Primary (urban) cooperative banks (UCBs) exposure to a single borrower & a group of connected borrowers at 10% and 25%, respectively, of their tier-I capital. Till now, limits are 15% and 40 % respectively. UCBs are mandated to bring down their excess current exposures to stipulated scale by March 31, 2023.
      2. UCBs also require that at least 50% of their portfolio should comprise advances  of not more than 25 lakh per borrower.
      3. RBI also hiked priority sector lending (PSL) target for UCBs to 75% of adjusted net bank credit (ANBC) /credit-equivalent amount of off-balance sheet exposure from 40%. Norms will be applicable from 31 March 2023.
    4. Railways accorded Organised Group ‘A’ status (OGAS) to Railway Protection Force (RPF) and also renamed RPF as Indian Railway Protection Service (IRPS).
      1. Railways also introduced new Passenger Information System at Anakapalle Railway Station of Vijayawada Division of Andhra Pradesh(AP) in South Central Railway (SCR).
      2. Railways also opened an ‘Oxygen Parlour’ at Nashik railway station in Maharashtra, to provide an experience of breathing clean air to commuters.
    5. India's Rohan Shah has been appointed as India’s Representative and Governor on board of Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) for 3 years. ERIA is based in Jakarta (Indonesia).
    6. Researchers from IIT Guwahati have developed materials that can produce energy from water to decentralizing energy generation for every household, using Nanoscale phenomenon called Electrokinetic streaming potential.
    7. Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar has inaugurated a “Atal Kisan Mazdoor canteen” in Karnal, enabling people to get food at INR 10. It will soon be spreaded across state.
      1. Earlier, Haryana Government distributed India’s 1st Pashu Kisan credit cards (Animal husbandry Credit Card) to 101 animal farmers in Bhiwani district to promote animal husbandry and agribusiness.
    8. Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) declared Nagaland state as a disturbed area under section 3 of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958.
    9. Govt launched Biometric enabled Centralised Access Control System (CACS) and ‘e-BCAS Project Training Module, to enhance security and ease of doing business at airports.
      1. Covering 43 Airports of AAI and 5 Joint Venture presently, CACS project is aimed to digitize employee movement process at airports. Cost of the card is Rs. 225, valid for 3 years. Biometric ID (Biometric enabled Centralised Access Control System having chip embedded smart AEPs) thus issued, is non-duplicable.
      2. ‘e-BCAS Project: Training Module’ was also launched, aimed at helping more than 1.5 lac employees of various stakeholders by migrating from manual process of training to digital platform. Objective of e-BCAS project is to make all the activities in the BCAS transparent, user-friendly and provide ease of doing business.
        1. 29 Aviation Security Training Institutes (ASTIs) are registered as Users and they can make nominations for various courses online.
    10. Ministry of External Affairs included Madagascar and Comoros in Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Division. Previously these nations were looked after by East and South Africa Division of the MEA.
    11. Book titled Renaissance Man - Many Facets of Arun Jaitley, compiled by Deepa Venkat and Muppavarapu Harshvardhan has been released.
    12. Abdelaziz Djerad is appointed as Prime Minister of Algeria (North Africa).
    13. Indian Navy banned use of Facebook for all its personnel, also directing them not to carry smart mobile phones into bases , dockyards and warships. It has been done to prevent “leaking” of classified information to online espionage agents from China and Pakistan, after seven navel personnel were recently found leaking sensitive info to Pakistan.
    14. European Nation The Netherlands will drop nickname Holland, as it rebrands itself in 2020. Holland is a region of the Netherlands, but the two names are often used interchangeably to describe the northern European country. The rebranding costs €200000.
    15. Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation(MOSPI) has set up a standing committee on economic statistics (SCES) in order to develop methodologies in conducting surveys on industry, services sector and employment in place of multiple panels on these issues. The committee will be headed by India’s first chief statistician Pronab Sen.
    16. Misc. Appointments (Dec 2019) -
      1. Podali Shankar appointed as Commander-in-Chief of Andaman & Nicobar Command (CINCAN) of Indian Army.
      2. Kerala based CSB Bank (formerly known as Catholic Syrian Bank) re-appointed Rajendran Chinna Veerappan as MD and CEO of the Bank.
      3. Upender Singh Rawat appointed as New Indian Ambassador to Costa Rica (Central America).
      4. K Vijay Kumar has been appointed as senior security advisor in home ministry.
      5. C. Sugandh Rajaram is appointed as New Indian ambassador to Ghana (West Africa).
      6. Cricketer Rohit Sharma named first Indian brand ambassador of La Liga, a professional football division of Spanish football league system.
      7. Govt appointed Sridhar Patra as new CMD of Navratna PSU National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO).
      8. New Brand Ambassadors -
        1. Salman Khan is appointed as New brand ambassador of Benverage Maker Pepsico India.
        2. Footballer Sunil Chhetri signed three-year endorsement deal with sports brand Puma.
      9. Aditya Mittal, son of ArcelorMittal chairman Lakshmi Mittal, has been appointed as the chairman of Essar Steel after ArcelorMittal took control of Essar Steel.
      10. Mallika Srinivasan, Chairman of Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited(TAFE), has been appointed to Global Board of U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC).
      11. National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) reinstated Cyrus Mistry as executive chairman of Tata Sons Group, coming three years after Mistry was ousted as Tata Son’s Chairman and Ratan Tata returned as interim Chairman of group.
      12. Atul Karwal has been appointed as Director of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad.
      13. Gulzar Ahmed is appointed as New Chief Justice of Neighboring Nation Pakistan.
      14. Anand Mahindra will take up role of Non-Executive Chairman at Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) Group from April 2020.
      15. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala's tenure as chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has been extnded by 6 months.
      16. P R Ravi Mohan has been appointed as the chairman of Kerala-based ESAF Small Finance Bank.
      17. Harjeet Kaur Joshi is appointed as CMD of PSU Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), becoming first woman to head SCI. Earlier, government decided to sell privatize its 63.75% stake in SCI.
      18. Ajit Pawar is appointed as Maharashtra' deputy chief minister, for his 4th term.
    17. Persons Resigned / Retired (Dec 2019)-
      1. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned amid ongoing anti-government protests across country.
      2. Antti Rinne resigned as Prime Minister of Finland.
      3. Jairam Sridharan resigned as CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of Axis Bank.
      4. Denmark’s Noted Female Tennis Player and Former world no 1, Caroline Wozniacki announced retirement from tennis.
      5. England Female Cricketer Laura Marsh announced her retirement from Intrnational cricket.
      6. American Aerospcae Firm Boeing's CEO Dennis Muilenburg resigned, amid company facing tough period following 2 fatal crashes.
      7. South African Cricketer Vernon Philander announced retirement from international cricket.
      8. Indian tennis Player Leander Paes announced that 2020 will be his last year as a professional tennis player.
      9. Indian Cricketer Shadab Bashir Jakati announced his retirement from all forms of Cricket.
      10. Australian Cricketer Peter Siddle announced retirement from international cricket.
    18. Obituaries (Dec 2019) -
      1. Shelley Morrison - Noted American Theater and Television actress.
      2. Bhaskar Menon - Noted journalist.
      3. Laxminarayan Nayak - Freedom Fighter and Former MP (from Madhya Pradesh).
      4. Paramananda Sahu - Noted Odisha theatre artist .
      5. Irving Louis Burgie (Lord Burgess) - Noted American musician, regarded as one of greatest composers of Caribbean music.
      6. Bob Willis - Former England Cricketer.
      7. Caroll spinney - Grammy award winner American puppeteer.
      8. Ron Leibman - Noted American actor (Tony & Emmy award winner).
      9. Bhawani Mukherjee, Tapan Bose - Noted Indian Table Tennis Coaches.
      10. Anuj Gupta - Noted journalist.
      11. George Joseph Laurer - Noted American Computer Scientistm who invented Universal Product Code or Barcode.
      12. G. Maruti Rao - Noted Telugu Actor and Writer.
      13. Tara Sinha - First Indian woman to establish a national advertising agency, Tara Sinha Associates (TSA), in 1985.
      14. Daniel Louis Aiello Jr. - Noted American actor.
      15. Peter Snell - New Zealand’s 3-times Olympic middle-distance running champion.
      16. Anna Karina - Noted Danish-French actress.
      17. Ishwar Dayal Swami - Former Union Minister of State for Home Affairs.
      18. Gita Siddharth - Noted Bollywood actress.
      19. Rip Torn Jr. - Noted American actor.
      20. Shriram Lagoo - Noted Indian film and theatre actor (Hindi and Marathi). He was also an ENT Surgeon.
      21. Basil Fitzherbert Butcher - Guyanese cricketer who played for West Indies cricket team. He was first person of Amerindian descent to represent West Indies.
      22. L.S. Sheshagiri Rao - Noted Kannada writer.
      23. Savita Devi - Noted classical music vocalist.
      24. Martin Peters - Former England footballer.
      25. Fazle Hasan Abed - Noted Bangladeshi Industrialist and Reformer. He founded BRAC, one of world's largest non-governmental organizations. He was honored with numerous international awards for his contributions in social development.
      26. K. Ramachandra Babu - Noted cinematographer, mainly Malayalam cinema.
      27. G. Nanjundan - Noted Translator and Sahitya Akademi Awardee.
      28. Chandrakanth Karadalli - Noted children’s book writer, and awardee of Bala Sahitya Akademi award by govt.
      29. Ganga Prasad Vimal -Noted Hindi author.
      30. Vikas Sabnis - Noted Political cartoonist.
      31. Da Chen - Noted Chinese writer, most known for “Colours of the Mountain”.
      32. S Mohan - Former Chief Justice of Karnataka.
      33. Er. Vikho-o Yhoshu - Serving Speaker of Nagaland’s Assembly.
    19. Industrial Awards (Dec 2019) -
      1. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) instituted first ever National Startup Awards, to be open till 31 December 2019. Startups will be awarded in 35 areas, classified into 12 broad sectors. Cash prize of 5 lakh each will be awarded to winning startup in each area. Prize of 15 lakh each will be awarded to 1 winning Incubator and 1 winning Accelerator as well.
      2. Ruby Ahluwalia, Founder of Sanjeevani - Life Beyond Cancer has been conferred with Change Maker award at Grant Thornton SABERA Awards 2019, for her dedication for underprivileged cancer patients.
      3. Former Finance Minister Late Arun Jaitley has been bestowed with Economic Times (ET) Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service 2019.
      4. Ministry of Information & Broadcasting invited entries for 8th National Photography Awards, conferred under 3 categories - Lifetime Achievement, Award for Professional Photographers, and Award for Amateur Photographers.
      5. Abu Dhabi (UAE) has been selected as world’s leading Sports tourism Destination at 26th edition of World Travel Awards (WTA) held in Muscat (Oman), for 7th time in a row.
      6. Gulu Mirchandani (founder chairman of Mirc Electronics Ltd. (Onida)) has been conferred with “Lifetime Achievement Award” by Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association.
      7. UT of Jammu and Kashmir has been selected for national award by Rural Development Ministry for best performance in implementation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
      8. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officer B P Raju has been awarded ‘India Cyber Cop of the Year 2019’ during Annual Information Security Summit at Gurgaon (Haryana). He won for investigating a fraud case in an online entrance exam conducted by an engineering college in Rajasthan.
      9. Noted Indian archaeologist R. Nagaswamy honoured at Silver Jubilee International Conference of Art in Dhaka by Bangladesh.
      10. India’s Noted ophthalmologist Santosh G Honavar is conferred with American Academy of Ophthalmology’s (AAO) highest award Life Achievement honour. He is the first Indian to rceive this honour.
    20. Indian GDP Growth Forecasts (Dec 2019) -
      1. CRISIL (Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited) lowered its estimate of India’s GDP growth rate to 5.1 % for current financial year –FY20 from earlier estimate of 6.3 %. Growth in second half of 2019-20 will go up to 5.5%, up from 4.75% in the first half.
      2. RBI in its 5th Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Committee Review, has lowered GDP growth forecast for FY 2019-20 to 5 %, down from 6.1 % earlier.
      3. Asian Development Bank (ADB) lowered its forecast for India’s economic growth in FY 2019-20 to 5.1%.
      4. Moody’s slashes India’s GDP growth forecast to 4.9% for FY 2019-20, down from its earlier projection of 5.8 %. It expects growth to improve to 6.6 % and 6.7 % in 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively.
      5. Fitch Ratings recuced its growth forecast for India to 4.6 % for 2019-20 fiscal, down from previous estimation of 5.6 %
      6. International Monetary Fund (IMF) retained India’s economic growth forecast at 6.1% for FY20.
    21. Misc. Corporate Events (Dec 2019) -
      1. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) approved Max India’s divestment of 51 % stake in Max Bupa Health Insurance Company to private equity firm True North. It valued Max Bupa at INR 1001 crores.
      2. A MoU for online ticketing of National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) was signed between Films Division and BookMyShow (BMS). With this MoU, booking a ticket to visit NMIC will be available on BookMyShow.
      3. Investor Education & Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) signed MOU with Bank of Baroda for Investor Awareness.
      4. HDFC ERGO General Insurance launched my health Woman Suraksha policy, designed to cover women against numerous illnesses and contingencies they may face.
      5. Power generation firm NTPC signed term loan agreement for 5000 crore with State Bank of India (SBI), with tenure 15 years.
      6. Global payments Firm Mastercard partnered with India's Federal Bank to provide an additional layer of security for digital transactions,by offering identity check to bank's cardholders.
      7. Vakrangee Finserve Limited partnered with Union Bank of India for 20,000 Banking Business Correspondent (BC) points for Nextgen Vakrangee Kendra.
      8. Ministry of Coal has allotted two Coking Coal mines, Rohne and Rabodih (Jharkhand), to add 10 MT per annum to coking coal production in country. ‘Rohne’ Mine is allotted to National Mineral Development Corporation  and ‘Robodih OCP’ coal mine  to Rashtriya Ispat Nigam.
      9. American Firm DuPont partnered with Indian Govt's AGNIi (Accelerated Growth of New India’s Innovations) initiative, executed by Invest India, to support development of sustainable innovations and technologies across industries.
      10. Indigo Became First Indian airline to operate 1500 daily flights across its network of 83 domestic and international destinations, with increase of 22% during 2019.
      11. Hinduja group's Ashok Leyland signed pact with Yes Bank for vehicle finance for period of 2 years.
      12. Federal Bank has tied up with online real estate platform Magicbricks for listing and e-auctioning of immovable properties repossessed by it in recovery proceedings.
      13. Kotak Mahindra Bank has tied up with Pine Labs to enable debit card facility for their debit cardholders across point-of-sale terminals by Pine Labs.
      14. Defence PSU BEML signed MoU with Railays PSU IRCON International, to explore opportunities in overseas market.
      15. HDFC Life Insurance partnered with Paytm to enable customers of Paytm to purchase insurance products from HDFC Life.
      16. Reliance Industries launched new online grocery platform called JioMart.
      17. Government signed MoU with E-Commerce firm Flipkart for selling products made by women self-help groups under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) on Flipkart's platform.
      18. Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB) signed MoU with social enterprise Selco Solar Light Pvt Ltd, for solar lighting and livelihood solutions. Finance livelihood solutions that are backed by solar power will be provided by the bank.
    22. Misc. Sports Events (Dec 2019) -
      1. Former India cricketer GS Lakshmi became first woman match referee to oversee a men's ODI, after she officiated in a game between UAE and US in World Cup League 2 in UAE.
      2. Indian Chess Player Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa won London chess classic 2019 in FIDE Open category, sharing title with Anton Smirnov of Australia.
      3. 63rd edition of National Shooting Championship Competitions (NSCC) in shotgun events organised by National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) at Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Ranges in New Delhi.
      4. Cricketer Wasim Jaffer became first player in Indian cricket to play 150 Ranji matches.
      5. Former South African captain Graeme Smith has been appointed as the nation’s first acting director of cricket. He has been appointed to the post by Cricket South Africa.Graeme Smith will be holding the position temporarily for a period of three months, as he has already committed to serve as a commentator for the 2020 IPL season. In the new role, the veteran cricketer will be required to preside over men’s and women’s cricket as well as junior cricket in the country. He will also be required to select the head coach and team directors for the sides.
      6. Saudi Arabia will host its first ever golf tournament for women in March 2020, in Jeddah.
      7. Polynesian island of Tahiti will host surfing events at 2024 Paris Olympics, located in southern part of Pacific Ocean. It lies 15000 kilometres from Paris.
      8. Indian chess Player Koneru Humpy finished 2nd in FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) women’s Grand Prix (WGP) 2019 in Monaco. She also retained World No 3 position. Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) won the title.
      9. Pakistani cricketer Abid Ali became first batsman to score hundreds on both Test and One-Day International (ODI) on his debut.
      10. Kuldeep Yadav become first Indian bowler to take two ODI hat-tricks, taking his second against West Indies.
      11. 84-year-old Canadian Roy Jorgen Svenningsen became oldest person to complete Antarctic Ice Marathon. Antarctic Ice Marathon is the planet's southernmost race and is considered one of the toughest.
      12. International Cricket Council (ICC) extended its partnership with UNICEF through to Women's T20 World Cup 2020 (Australia) with focus on empowering women and girls through cricket.
        1. During Men's World Cup in England in 2019, UNICEF raised $180000, and directed it to fund a girls' cricket project in Afghanistan.
      13. Australian Cricketer Pat Cummins became most expensive overseas player in Indian Premier League (IPL) as he was sold to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for 15.50 crores.
      14. Golfer Abhinav Lohan won Bengaluru Open golf championship.
      15. Indian Cricketer MS Dhoni named captain of Cricket Australia (CA) ODI team of decade. The team also has 2 more Indian Players - Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
      16. Afghanistan Cricketer Mujeeb Ur Rahman became youngest to take 100 wickets in T20 cricket, breaking his Afghan teammate Rashid Khan's record.
      17. Indian Commonwealth silver medalist Weightlifter Seema has been banned for 4-years by National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), for a doping violation.
    23. Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry announced results of Swachh Survekshan League 2020 (Quarter 1 and Quarter 2) -
      1. 5th edition of the Swachh Survekshan, which is to commence from 4 January 2020 by MoHUA was also rolled out. West Bengal did not participate in Swachh Survekshan League 2020.
      2. Swachh Survekshan League 2020 (SS League 2020) conducted in 3 quarters between - April to Dec 2019. Performance of cities in SS League 2020 is crucial to their ranking in Swachh Survekshan 2020 due to 25% weightage of the quarterly assessments to be included in annual survey scheduled to be held between Jan 4 - 31, 2020.
      3. Rankings in SS League Quarter 1 & 2 -
        1. Population Over 10 lakh - Indore ranked 1st in both quarter 1 and quarter 2.
        2. Population 1-10 lakh - Jamshedpur (Jharkhand) ranked 1st in both quarter 1 and quarter 2.
        3. Among cantonment boards , Tamil Nadu (St.Thomas Mount Cantt.) ranked 1st in quarter 1 and Delhi ranked 1st i Q2.
      4. Previous Swachh Survekshan editions:
        1. 1st edition - Conducted in Jan 2016 and ranked 73 cities.
        2. 2nd edition - Conducted in Jan 2017 and ranked 434 cities.
        3. 3rd edition - Conducted in Jan 2018 and ranked 4203 cities.
        4. 4th edition - Conducted in Jan 2018 and ranked 4237 cities.
        5. Mysuru named cleanest city in India in SS 2016, while Indore emerged as cleanest city in rest of 3 editions so far
    24. Noted Marathi litterateur Bhalchandra Nemade and Hindi writer Gynanranjan have been conferred 'Akashdeep Sanman', instituted by media house Amar Ujala and comprising a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh.
    25. Visits from India (Dec 21 - 31, 2019) -
      1. Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria visited Egypt.
      2. External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar visited Iran, to attend 19th Joint Commission Meeting of India and Iran.
        1. Also, 2nd meeting of the Follow-up Committee for implementing trilateral Chabahar Agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran was held in New Delhi.
    26. Charles Michel (Belgium) has been appointed as New President of European Council, replacing Donald Tusk.
    27. General Conferences (Dec 21 - 31, 2019) -
      1. 5th Edition of ARTECH Seminar Held in New Delhi, as flagship event of Indian Army which sets the agenda for focus areas of harvesting indigenous capabilities in the Defence sector. 2019 theme is Technologies for Non – Contact Warfare.
        1. During the event, Major Anoop Mishra received “Army Design Bureau Excellence Award”, for indigenously developing the bullet-proof jacket named ‘Sarvatra Kawach'.
      2. National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) and food regulator FSSAI organised National Street Food Festival (NSFF) in New Delhi.
      3. Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs announced that urban areas of 35 states have been declared Open Defecation Free, including 4167 cities. Target has been achieved through third party verification, by constructing 65.81 lakh househols toilets as against target of 59 lakhs.
        1. It is to be noted that urban local bodies in West Bengal have not been declared as ODF.
      4. Home Minsitry inaugurated a State-of-the-Art DNA Analysis Centre at Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) Chandigarh, established under Nirbhaya Fund scheme with cost of 100 Crores.
      5. Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) organized an annual meeting of state nodal agencies implementing the Ecoclub programme for the first time, in Kevadia (Gujarat).
      6. Andhra Pradesh police launched ‘Abhay’ facility to drop stranded woman home late at night, to safeguard them against crime.
        1. Also, Madhya Pradesh Police launched “MP e-cop” an application to ensure women’s safety.
      7. India and Japan held the 5th round of maritime affairs Dialogue in Tokyo (Japan). First round of India-Japan Maritime dialogue was held in New Delhi in 2013.
      8. As a step towards making India a gas-based economy and making CNG an eco-friendly option for long distance transport, Dharmendra Pradhan (Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel) unveiled India's first long distance CNG bus fitted with composite CNG cylinders, which can travel around 1000 kms in a single fill.
      9. Integral Coach Factory (ICF) produced its 3000 Coaches in record 215 days, beating its own record of 289 days. It has retained its position as the largest coach- maker in the world.
      10. ‘Nagpur Resolution’, which is an approach to empower citizens, was adopted during Regional Conference on ‘Improving Public Service Delivery – Role of Governments’, in Nagpur (Maharashtra).
      11. UT of Ladakh celebrated Losar Festival, to mark the Ladakhi or Tibetan New Year.
      12. 49th border co-ordination conference between Director Generals of BSF and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) held in New Delhi.
      13. Government will revamp ‘All India Radio’ officially known as ‘Akashvani’ by introducing Digital Radio in India by 2024.
      14. 7-Day International Film Festival organized in Shilpkala village of Khajuraho (MP).
      15. Conference on Social Media Outreach & Communication: National Workshop on Management and Best Practices organised by Ministry of HRD in New Delhi.
      16. All India Radio (AIR) also organized National Symposium of Poets in New Delhi, organised every year since 1956.
      17. Human Resource Development Ministry released 5 documents that were developed by UGC covering five verticals of quality mandate - eco-friendly and sustainable university campuses, evaluation reforms, human values and professional ethics, academic research integrity and faculty induction.
      18. India will host World Dairy Summit in 2022.
      19. Home Minister Amit Shah laid foundation for Bharat Vandana Park in Dwarka (New Delhi).
      20. Inaugural trial run of double-stack freight train conducted on newly built Rewari (Haryana) – Madar (Rajasthan ) section on 306 km long Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC).
      21. Election Commission of India (ECI) organized National Workshop on Accessible Elections 2019 in New Delhi.
  2. Dec 30, 2019
    1. Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar released biennial India State of Forest Report (ISFR)  (16th Edition) -
      1. In comparison to assessment of 2017, there is an increase of 5188 sq. km in total forest and tree cover. Total forest and tree cover of country is 80.73 million hectare (24.56% of total geographical area). Madhya Pradesh has largest forest cover in country.
      2. Total forest cover is 7,12,249 sq km which is 21.67% of geographical area. Tree cover is 95,027 sq km (2.89% of geographical area).
      3. In terms of forest cover as percentage of geographical area, top five States are Mizoram (85.41%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.63%), Meghalaya (76.33%), Manipur (75.46%) and Nagaland (75.31%).
      4. Top 3 states showing increase in forest cover - Karnataka (1,025 sq. km) followed by Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km) and Kerala (823 sq km).
      5. Mangrove cover has been separately reported in ISFR 2019 and total mangrove cover in country is 4,975 sq km which showed an increase of 54 sq Km as comapred to 2017. Top 3 states showing mangrove cover increase are Gujarat (37 sq km), Maharashtra (16 sq km) and Odisha (8 sq km).
      6. Total carbon stock in country’s forest is estimated 7124.6 million tonnes and there an increase of 42.6 million tonnes in carbon stock of country as compared to 2017.
      7. There are 62,466 wetlands covering 3.8% of the area within the Recorded Forest Area (RFA)/Green Wash (GW) of country.
    2. Odisha government launched e-certificate project, to provide official documents such as income, residence and similar other certificates online without any fees, said to be first of its kind in country. e-PAUTI App was also released, enabling paying land revenue online.
    3. 11-day long ‘Dhanu Jatra’ began at Bargarh in western Odisha, considered as the largest open-air theatre of the world. It is based on the mythological story of Lord Krishna and his demon uncle King Kansa.
    4. Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has withdrawn its threat to boycott 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham over Shooting's exclusion. India will also bid to host either 2026 or 2030 edition of CWG Games.
    5. ITBP Director General S S Deswal has been given additional charge to head country's largest paramilitary force CRPF, as its serving DG R R Bhatnagar retired.
    6. NITI Aayog released 2nd edition of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index and Dashboard, which documents progress made by India’s States and UTs towards achieving 2030 SDG targets -
      1. Top 5 States - Kerala (1), Himachal Pradesh (2), Andhra Pradesh (3), Tamil Nadu (4), and Telangana (5).
      2. Top UTs - Chandigarh, Puducherry, Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
      3. Bottom 3 - Bihar (28th), Jharkhand (27th), Arunachal Pradesh (26th)
      4. Overall, India improved its composite score from 57 in 2018 to 60 in the Sustainable Development Goals Index 2019-20.
      5. Index and Dashboard 2019 covers 16 out of 17 SDGs and a qualitative assessment on Goal 17. This marks an improvement over 2018 Index, which covered 13 goals.
    7. President Ram Nath Kovind conferred Dada Saheb Phalke Award to Noted Actor Amitabh Bachchan, as India's highest film honour. Amitabh Bachchan was honoured later, after he missed recent 66th National Film Awards ceremony.
    8. Kerala became first state to pass a resolution demanding rollback of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), stating that the CAA act contradicts the basic values and principles of Constitution, through religion-based discrimination in granting citizenship.
    9. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) extended Deadline to link PAN card with Aadhaar till March 2020, from earlier December 31 deadline.  It is 8th extension for the same.
    10. Government launched portal called Central Equipment Identity Register, to facilitate blocking and tracing of stolen/lost mobile phones in Delhi. The portal was earlier launched in Mumbai. CEIR has been undertaken by Department of Telecom (DoT).
    11. Aviation regulator DGCA launched phase-1 services of e-Governance (eGCA) project, which automates issue of Commercial Pilot License (CPL-A) with Flight Radio Telephony Operators License (FRTOL) and Instrument Rating. This would help over 700 aspirant pilots every year.
    12. As per UK-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR)'s report report, titled 'World Economic League Table 2020' -
      1. India will overtake Germany to become fourth-largest economy in 2026. It will overtake Japan in 2034, to become third largest.
      2. India will reach gross domestic product (GDP) of USD 5 trillion by 2026, 2 years later than government's target.
  3. Dec 29, 2019
    1. Rabung bridge on Migging-Tuting road in Arunachal Pradesh's Upper Siang district has been inaugurated, constructed by Border Roads Organisation. The bridge is strategically important as Migging-Tuting road is the only line of communication to border areas and posts at Gelling and Bishing, ahead of Tuting.
    2. To help students of Assam in pursuing higher studies, Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal launched Abhinandan scheme. Under this, CM distributed one-time subsidy sanction letters against education loans availed by students for an amount of Rs 50,000.
    3. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station of Mumbai (Maharashtra), has been conferred with ‘Eat Right Station’ certification with 4 star rating by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for food safety and hygiene. CSMT became first Central Railway station to get this certification.
      1. 2nd Edition of Eat Right Mela also held in New Delhi.
    4. Former Cricketer Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Former Female Cricketer Anjum Chopra will be recipients of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s CK Nayudu Lifetime Award for 2019.
    5. Book Diamond In My Palm, written by Sanjay Dharwadker has been released. It describes how world’s 12 greatest diamonds originated from Golconda and Kollur mines in Andhra Pradesh & later took away from India by invaders.
    6. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal launched scheme named ‘Mukhyamantri Aawas Yojana’ for residents of Jhuggi Jhopri (JJ) clustersm, aiming to provide a pucca house to every citizen in Delhi.
    7. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray approved “Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Farmer Loan Waiver Scheme” and subsidized meal scheme named “Shiv Bhojan” programme for poor.
      1. Under Farmer Loan Waiver Scheme, crop loans up to 2 lakh taken by farmers between April 1, 2015-March 31, 2019 will be waived.
      2. Under Shiv Bhojan” programme, at least one ‘Shiv Bhojan’ canteen will be started at district headquarters, serving food at INR 10.
    8. ATropical Cyclone Sarai lashed Pacific island nation of Fiji, causing heavy rain and destructive winds.
      1. Also, Philippines hity by Typhoon Phanfone, also known as “Ursula” in Philippines.
    9. India's Aayushi Dholakia won title of Miss Teen International 2019, hosted in Gurugram (Haryana), becoming the first Asian to do so in last 27 years. Yessenia Garcia from Paraguay and Anicia Gaothusi from Botswana became First and second Runners-Up respectively.
    10. RBI appointed Jammu & Kashmir Bank (J&K Bank) as UTLBC (Union Territory Lead Bank Convenor) of newly formed UT of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). Similarly, State Bank of India (SBI) is named as lead banking convenor of UT of Ladakh.
    11. Bharat Heavy Electricals ltd (BHEL) commissioned first lignite-based 500 MW thermal unit of 2x500 MW Neyveli New Thermal Power Project in Tamil Nadu. This is India’s first lignite-fired 500 MW power plant, and also India's highest rated pulverised lignite-fired thermal unit commissioned so far.
    12. Indian Railways has started the new train “Him Darshan Express”, comprising Vistadome coaches run between Kalka (Haryana)-Shimla (Himachal Pradesh). All its 6 Vista dom coaches have big mirrors all around, enabling better view scenic beauty around.
    13. As per Financial Stability Report (FSR) 2019 released by RBI -
      1. Gross non-performing assets (GNPA) ratio of all scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) may increase from 9.3 % in September 2019 to 9.9 % in September 2020. GNPA of public sector banks (PSBs) will increase from 12.7 % in September 2019 to 13.2 % in September  2020 and GNPA of private banks from 3.9 % to reach 4.2 %.
      2. Net NPAs of banks fell to 3.7 % in September 2019, due to increased provision for NPAs.
      3. Ratio of banks capital to risk-weighted assets ratio (CRAR) improved from 14.3 % in March 2019 to 15.1 % in September 2019 due to government’s capital infusion in PSBs.
    14. Haryana CM   Manohar Lal Khattar launched 5 new e-initiatives. Which Includes -
      1. Digilocker - To keep the certificates and other important files of employees, the govt has created digilockers.
      2. Lokayukta Portal
      3. Web-Helris - It is a web-enabled integrated solution for deed registration and land record management.
    15. Global property consultant Knight Frank report Global House Price Index Q3 2019 -
      1. India ranked 47th among 56 countries.
      2. Top 3 - Hungary (1), Luxembourg (2), Croatia (3).
  4. Dec 28, 2019
    1. Indian Chess Player Koneru Humpy become 2019 Women’s World Rapid Champion, defeating China’s Lei Tingjie in Moscow (Russia).
    2. UAE's Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) provided 300 million US dollars as development aid to Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, for developmental activities.
    3. Musician Ilaiyaraja has been selected for Harivarasanam Award 2019, instituted by Kerala government and Travancore Devaswom Board in 2012. Each year, Harivarasanam Award is announced ahead of Makaravilakku festival in Sabarimala. It consists of a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh.
    4. Government made Aadhaar mandatory for subscribers of Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) pension scheme for senior citizens. which envisages assured return of 8 % annually, being implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India. It was announced in Union Budget of 2017-18. In 2018-19, limit under PMVVY was doubled to Rs 15 lakh, available for subscription till March 2020.
    5. After France, Italy also approved a new tax to be levied on large tech companies. Digital tax approved by Italy”s Parliament will impose a 3 % levy on some digital revenue for tech companies that make over $831 million in global revenue. US opposed digital services taxes because they have a discriminatory impact on US-based businesses.
    6. Former Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat has been named as the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), a 4-star General and principal military advisor to defence minister. He will head new Department of Military Affairs. CODS will ensure jointness in training, logistics and procurement of three services.
      1. Government amended rules putting maximum age limit of 65 years for the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to serve. The changes have been made in the Army Rules 1954.
    7. American Female astronaut Christina Koch broke record for having longest single spaceflight by a woman, with 289 days in space. Retired astronaut Peggy Whitson previously held that record, with 288 days in space. Earlier in Oct 2019, Christina became part of a first all-female spacewalk.
    8. American financial services provider Mastercard has take over RiskRecon, one of the leading providers of data analytics solutions and artificial intelligence focused on cyber-risk and security and offering solutions to mitigate cyber risks faced by companies.
    9. First edition of Mandu Festival Held at fort city of Mandu (Madhya Pradesh), celebrating of historic heritage of the city.
    10. Book titled “Politics of Opportunism: Regional Parties, Coalitions, Centre-State Relations In India”, written by R P N Singh has been released.
    11. Nobel laureate Pakistani Activist Malala Yousafzai has been named ‘most famous teenager in the world’ by United Nations in its 'decade in review' report.
    12. SBI will introduce One Time Password (OTP)-based ATM cash withdrawals from Jan 2020, to reduce occurrences of unauthorised transactions happening at ATMs. SBI will introduce one-time password for every cash withdrawal of Rs 10,000 and above between 8 am and 8 pm.
    13. Iran, China and Russia began joint naval drills in Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman, with Waters around Iran being a focus for international tensions as US is exerting pressure for Iranian crude oil sales and other trade ties to be cut off.
  5. Dec 27, 2019
    1. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman launched eBkray / eBक्रय, an common e-auction platform to enable online auction of attached assets transparently and cleanly for the improved realization of value by banks. It is linked on Indian Banks Auctions Mortgaged Properties Information (IBAPI) portal.
      1. Objective is To enhance user experience through seamless access to information by search based on type and location of property put up for e-auction by banks in India.
    2. Squadron of 7 MiG-27 aircrafts has been decommissioned, which is known to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) as the ‘Flogger’ and to Indian Air Force (IAF) as ‘Bahadur’. MiG-27 attackers were commissioned into Indian Air Force in 1985. All other variants, like MiG-23 BN and MiG-23 MF and pure MiG-27 have already retired from IAF.
    3. CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) has developed a new low-cost technology to produce Geranium saplings, under Aroma Mission. Geranium acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-septic agent, with several medicinal values.
      1. With new technology, saplings can easily be obtained as they are being cultivated in open farms.
      2. Geranium plant is originally from South Africa and is predominantly used in manufacturing essential oils.
    4. United Nations approved a new resolution in order to draft an international treaty to combat cyber crime.
      1. An expert committee will be established, includng all regions of world. It will meet in August 2020.
      2. US suggests that world should expand accord on existing 2001 Budapest Convention, which was first ever treaty on cyber crime that addressed internet crimes. It was drawn by Council of Europe. At present, it is only treaty of cyber crime under UN.
      3. Countries like India and Brazil have not adopted the convention on the grounds that they did not participate in its drafting.
    5. Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation constituted standing committee on statistics, to improve data of government. Committee will be headed by Chief Statistician Pronab Sen.
      1. Committee is being formed over the criticism of “political interference” in statistical data.
      2. Earlier, Govt decided not to release Consumer Expenditure Survey results of 2017-18 complaining data quality issues.
    6. United Nations adopted 3.07 billion USD budget, with first time inclusion of investigation of war crimes in Myanmar and Syria in its fund allocation.
      1. In 2019, UN budget was 2.9 billion USD. The increase in the budget is mainly due to inflation, additional missions and exchange rate adjustments.
      2. UN has categorized its spending in to 5 general groups namely - humanitarian assistance (34%), development assistance (24%), peacekeeping operations (19%), knowledge-creation operations (16%) and technical cooperation (7%).
    7. China launched its largest carrier rocket, Long March-5, carrying Shijian-20 satellite. It can carry a maximum payload of 25 tonnes into low Earth orbit (LEO) and 14 tonnes into geosynchronous orbit.
      1. Shijian-20 satellite is a new technology test and verification satellite, as China’s most advanced communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit.
    8. Home Minister Amit Shah laid foundation stone for India’s first transit-oriented development (TOD) project in New Delhi. It will include Delhi’s tallest tower. TOD project- ‘East Delhi Hub’ at Karkardooma (in New Delhi), spreading over 30 ha, will come up in next 3.5 years. It will be country’s first TOD project.
    9. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL)'s new LPG Bottling Plant at Village Barkani in Bolangir district of Odisha has been inaugurated. It has annual capacity of filling 42 lakh cylinders. It will benefit residents of 14 western Odisha districts.
    10. Govt constituted a 7-member group of ministers to fast track implementation of revival plan of BSNL and MTNL. The revival plan includes allocation of 4G spectrum and asset monetization. Earlier, GoI approved the revival plan of merging BSNL and MTNL and allocated Rs 69,000 crores for reviving BSNL and MTNL.
  6. Dec 26, 2019
    1. Kerala Sahitya Akademi fellowships and awards 2018 -
      1. Novelist Maniyambath Mukundan and Poet K G Sankara Pillai  selected for Kerala Sahitya Akademi fellowships 2018, carrying cash prize of INR 50000.
      2. Skaria Zakkaria, O.M. Anujan, S. Rajasekharan, Manamubur Rajan Babu and Nalini Bekal are given Lifetime Achievement Awards, carrying 30000. 
      3. Other Winners -
        1.        V M Girija          Best Poem for Budhha Pournami
                K V Mohankumar          Best Novel (Ushna Rashi)
                Rekha K          Best Short Story (Mananchira)
                Rajmohan Neeleswaram          Best Drama (Choottum Koottum)
    2. Russia deployed Avangard, as its first hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles. Russia claims it can fly at 27 times the speed of sound.
    3. RBI released report on “Trend and Progress of Banking in India 2018-19” -
      1. NPA -
        1. Gross NPAs of Banks declined to 9.1 % in 2019 from 11.2 % in 2018. Gross NPAs of public sector banks improved to 11.6 % in 2018-19 from 14.6 % in 2017-18. while, gross NPAs of private sector banks has increased from 4.7 % in 2017-18 to 5.3 % in 2018-19.
        2. Net non-performing assets of all commercial banks declined to 3.7 % in 2018-19 as compared to 6 %in the previous fiscal.
      2. Due to resolutions under IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016), recovery of stressed assets (NPAs + Restructured loans + Written off assets) has shown improvement during 2018-19.
        1. In FY19, about Rs 8.15 trillion worth of stressed assets were involved in recovery process, increase of over 200 % from Rs 2.70 trillion in 2017-18.
      3. During FY 2017-18, there were 5916 cases were registered , out of which forgery accounts up to Rs 41167 crores. It grew by 74% to reach 6801 cases of bank fraud in India worth of 71543 crore in 2018-19.
      4. RBI directed large cooperative banks to report all aggregate exposures of Rs.5 crores and more to Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC), aimed at early recognition of financial distress.
    4. To boost small value digital transactions, RBI launched semi-closed prepaid payment instrument (PPI) for transaction of goods and services up to a limit of Rs 10,000. These PPIs will enhance digitization of daily payments at local shops and retail outlets for purchase of daily household goods / services.
      1. Amount loaded during financial year shall not exceed 100000. Outstanding at any point in such PPIs should not exceed Rs 10,000.
    5. Book titled Dreams of a Billion: India and the Olympic Games, written by Boria Majumdar and Nalin Mehta has been released. It describes India’s journey in the global sports arena of Olympics.
    6. Beijing Based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) approved loan worth $210 million for irrigation ($145-mn) & solar energy projects($65-mn) in India.
      1. $145-million will be given to improve irrigation service delivery and strengthen flood risk management in West Bengal (WB). 
      2. Remaining $65-million will be for 250-megawatt (MW) solar power project in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
    7. To protect interest of consumers, RBI has set INR 50-lakh limit on the aggregate lending to all borrowers across all Non-Banking Financial Company – Peer to Peer (NBFC-P2P) lending platforms.
      1. Also, lender investing over 10 lakh across P2P platforms should get a practising chartered accountant certify a minimum net-worth of Rs 50 lakh.
      2. Earlier in December 2019, RBI had increased aggregate lending limits imposed on peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders to 50 from 10 lakh.
    8. Under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, Tamil Nadu topped  list in coverage under micro-irrigation, in 2019. Out of 3.64 lakh hectares brought under MI, TN accounts for 1.39 lakh hectares (38% of total coverage in country). TN was followed by Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
  7. Dec 25, 2019
    1. Dec 25 - Birth Anniversary of Former PM and Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It is observed as Good Governance Day in India, since 2014. On this occasion -
      1. PM Narendra Modi launched Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL) as a Central Sector Scheme with a outlay of 6000 crore to be implemented over 5 years (2020-21 to 2024-25).
        1. It aims to improve ground water management in identified priority areas in seven States, viz. Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. It will benefit nearly 8350 Gram Panchayats in 78 districts in these States.
        2. Out of outlay of 6000 crore, 50% shall be in the form of World Bank loan.
        3. Nodal Agency is Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti.
      2. Government launched Good Governance Index -
        1. States / UTs were divided into 3 groups - Big states, North East and hill states and UTs.
        2. Big States - Tamil Nadu (1), Maharashtra (2), Karnataka (3).
        3. In the North East and hill states - Himachal Pradesh (1), Uttarakhand (2), Tripura (3).
        4. Among UTs - Puducherry topped the index followed by Chandigarh and Delhi.
      3. Released Operational Guidelines for implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).
        1. Project cost is estimated to be about Rs 3.60 lakh Crores (Central share 2.08 lakh Crores). Fund sharing pattern to be 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States; 50:50 for other States and 100% for UTs.
        2. It is needed as out of 17.87 Crore rural households in country, about 14.6 Crores are yet to have household water tap connections.
      4. PM Narendra Modi unveiled a plaque to mark the laying of foundation stone of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Medical University in Lucknow, as an umbrella university to grant affiliation to 13 medical colleges, 22 private universities, 2 autonomous institutions, 2 non-autonomous institutes and 17 private dental colleges in state.
      5. Dec 25 is also Birth anniversary of Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, the noted educationist and independence activist.
    2. Jharkhand Assembly Election Results 2019 -
      1. JMM-Congress-RJD alliance won, with 47 seats in 81-member Jharkhand assembly. Rruling BJP won 25 seats. JMM won 30 seats, Congress won 16 seats and the RJD won 1 seat.
      2. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's Hemant Soren will be New Chief Minister of Jharkhand (his 2nd term).
    3. Kamareddy district of Telangana won United Nations International Children’s and Education Fund (Unicef) 2019 Award, for effective implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission in water sanitation and hygiene sectors.
    4. Niranjan Hiranandani has been appointed as new president of Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (Assocham), country’s apex organisation of industry and trade.
    5. Indian Cricketer Virat Kohli is named in Cricketers of the decade list by Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac. Apart from Kohli, South African duo of Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers, Australia’s Steve Smith and women’s all-rounder Ellyse Perry also named in list.
      1. Also, Virat Kohli and Bowler Jasprit Bumrah are two Indians in Wisden’s T20 International team of the decade.
    6. As per Govt. Free WiFi will be provided to all villages across the country through BharatNet by March 2020. Currently, 48,000 villages have been connected via BharatNet project. 1.3 lakh Gram Panchayats have been connected with BharatNet optical fiber, aiming of 2.5 lakh.
      1. BharatNet Project was earlier known as OFC (Optical Fiber Communication Network) Project, aiming to connect over 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats with high-speed broadband through optical fiber at affordable prices.
  8. Dec 24, 2019
    1. Cabinet Approvals (Dec 24, 2019) -
      1. MOUs -
        1. Saudi Arabia - Cooperation in Security Matters and Renewable Energy.
        2. Bangladesh - Cooperation in Youth matters.
        3. Uzbekistan - Cooperation in Combating Transnational Organized Crime and International Terrorism.
        4. Brazil - Bioenergy Cooperation.
        5. Switzerland - Protocol to amend Air Services Agreement between India and Switzerland.
        6. Sweden - Recognition of Seafarer Certificates.
      2. General Approvals -
        1. Approved creating post of Chief of Defence Staff in the rank of a four-star General with salary and perquisites equivalent to a Service Chief. CODS will also head Department of Military Affairs, to be created within Ministry of Defence.
          1. CODS will also be Permanent Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee and will act as Principal Military Adviser to Raksha Mantri on all tri-Services matters.
        2. Decided to honour former PM Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee by naming Strategic Tunnel under Rohtang Pass after him. The decision to construct a strategic tunnel below Rohtang Pass was taken in 2000, when late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was PM.
          1. 8.8-kilometre long tunnel is world's longest tunnel above an altitude of 3,000 metres. It will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometres.
        3. Approved promulgating an Ordinance and  to amend Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016, which removes certain ambiguities in IBC 2016 and ensure its smooth implementation. 
          1. Under Amendments, liability of a corporate debtor for an offence committed prior to commencement of corporate insolvency resolution process shall cease, and corporate debtor shall not be prosecuted for such an offence, if the resolution plan results in the change in the management.
        4. Approved Adaptation of Laws (Amendment) Order 2019 issued by President under clause (2) of article 372 of Constitution to amend Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations (BEFR) 1873. It will extend BEFR to State of Manipur to give its indigenous people protection from provisions of Citizenship Amendment Act 2019.
        5. Approved implementation of Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL) as a Central Sector Scheme with a outlay of 6000 crore to be implemented over 5 years (2020-21 to 2024-25).
          1. It aims to improve ground water management in identified priority areas in seven States, viz. Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. It will benefit nearly 8350 Gram Panchayats in 78 districts in these States.
          2. Out of outlay of 6000 crore, 50% shall be in the form of World Bank loan.
        6. Approved releasing funds to of 627.40 crores INR for 10 projects sanctioned during 2018-19 and additional Rs. 1854.67 crore for sanctioning of new projects during 2019-20 in Swadesh Darshan Scheme. Under Swadesh Darshan, Ministry of Tourism is developing critical tourism infrastructure, to make India a world class tourist destination.
        7. Approved transformational organisational restructuring of Indian Railways. Reforms include:
          1. Unification of existing 8 Group A services of Railways into a Central Service called Indian Railway Management Service.
          2. Re-organisation of Railway Board on functional lines headed by CRB with four Members and some Independent Members
          3. Existing service of Indian Railway Medical Service (IRMS) to be consequently renamed as Indian Railway Health Service (IRHS).
          4. Background -
            1. Unification of services has been recommended by various committees for reforming Railways includingPrakash Tandon Committee (1994), Rakesh Mohan Committee (2001), Sam Pitroda Committee (2012) and Bibek Debroy Committee (2015).
        8. Approved conducting Census of India 2021 at a cost of 8754 crores and updation of National Population Register (NPR) at a cost of 3941 crores. Census of India will cover entire population in India while NPR will also cover all population except Assam.
          1. Indian Census is largest administrative and statistical exercise in world.
          2. Census 2021 will be conducted in two phases:
            1. House listing and Housing Census - April to September, 2020
            2. Population Enumeration - 9th February to 28th February, 2021.
          3. National Population Register (NPR) will also be updated along with House listing and Housing Census except in Assam.
          4. 30 lakh field functionaries will complete this gigantic exercise of national importance, up from 28 lakh in 2011 .
          5. Decennial Population Census is being conducted in India since 1872 without break. Census 2021 will be 16th Census in country and 8th after independence.
        9. Approved amendments to Arms (Amendment) Bill 2019, which was passed by Parliament in recent winter session 2019. Approved amendments to Arms Act are a step forward in providing licence in electronic form longer validity period of licenses and stricter regulatory mechanism to check illegal possession arms by proposing stricter punishment provisions.
        10. Approved ratification of 10th Additional Protocol to Constitution of Universal Postal Union (UPU) adopted by 2nd Extraordinary Congress of Union held at Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) in September 2018.
          1. Approval enables Postal Administration of India to have Instrument of Ratification signed by President of India and have same deposited with Director General of the International Bureau of Universal Postal Union through diplomatic channels along with approval of other Acts of the Union. 
          2. It would fulfil obligations arising from Article 25 of Constitution of UPU and its commitment as expected of a member country of Union. It will also enable Department of Posts to bring out any administrative orders to implement provisions of UPU Convention in India.
      3. CCEA Approvals -
        1. Approved transfer of administrative control of CPSE Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited (BCPL) from Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals to Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas. BCPL is implementing Assam Gas Cracker Project (AGCP). Additional Apprtovals -
          1. Feedstock subsidy to BCPL for 15 years of plant operation to maintain minimum Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 10% (post tax). 
          2. Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas to arrange supply of committed quantity and quality of feedstock to project as envisaged in earlier CCEA approval of 2006.
          3. Project is seen as a part of implementation of Assam accord, and would give impetus to the development of north-eastern region of country and will improve socio economic conditions of Assam through increased employment.
    2. SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) signed MoU with Kazakhstan-based Astana Financial Services Authority (AFSA) for mutual co-operation and technical assistance. It aims to strengthen cross border co-operation in area of securities regulation.
    3. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and National Physical Laboratory (NPL) developed an ink to combat menace of fake printing of passports and counterfeiting of currency notes. Ink has a new security feature of protecting itself against duplicity, produced based on single excitable dual emissive luminescent pigment. It was developed based on the concept of fluorescence and phosphorescence phenomena.
      1. CSIR also signed agreement with Central Drug Research Institute, to develop new drugs and repurposing of drugs for India and for global markets. Research work is also joined by Cipla Pharmaceuticals.
    4. Dec 24 is observed as National Consumer Day in India. 2019 Theme is- ‘Alternate Consumer Grievance/Dispute Redressal’. It was on this day, the Consumer Protection Act 1986 and was enacted.
    5. Delhi Govt introduced a new policy to enforce adaption of Electric vehicles by providing subsidies to electric vehicles. Aim of policy is to ensure that by 2024, 25% of new vehicles registered are electric. Government also plans to construct 250 charging stations.
      1. Electric Vehicles are promoted globally as they do not emit pollution. These vehicles will help India achieve target of reducing green house gas emissions by 33% by 2030 as compared to 2005 levels.
    6. Pakistan will import Polio markers from India. It has been done after Pakistan had suspended trade ties with India following abrogation of the Article 370, in August 2019.
    7. NTPC will add 10 GW (gigawatt) of solar energy generation capacity by 2022, with an investment of around 50000 crores, to be funded mainly by green bonds. It is Part of India's target of 175GW of clean energy by 2022. NTPC currently has installed renewable energy capacity of 920 MW (Megawatt).
    8. India’s first university for transgender community will be opened in Fazilnagar block of Kushinagar district in Uttar Pradesh. It is being built by Akhil Bhartiya Kinnar Siksha Seva Trust.
    9. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman released postage stamps to commemorate services of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI, which plays an immense role to counter smuggling and preserve cultural heritage and environment of country.
    10. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) discovered earliest Sanskrit inscription to have been discovered in South India, also the earliest epigraphic evidence for ‘Saptamatrika’ cult so far. Discovery was made in Chebrolu village in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.
      1. Saptamatrikas are a group of seven female deities worshipped in Hinduism as personifying the energy of their respective consorts. There are references of Saptamatrika worship in early Kadamba copper plates as well as early Chalukyas and Eastern Chalukya copper plates. But this new discovery predates them by almost 200 years.
      2. Inscription found is in Sanskrit and in Brahmi characters and was issued by Satavahana king Vijaya in 207 A.D.
    11. Indian world champion weightlifter Mirabai Chanu won women’s 49kg category gold medal at 6th Qatar International Cup in Doha. Other Indian Medalists -
      1. Jeremy Lalrinnunga won silver medal in men’s 67 kg weight category.
      2. Rakhi Halder won bronze medal in women’s 64kg category along with two new national records.
  9. Dec 23, 2019
    1. Dec 23 is observed as National Farmers Day in India, to commemorate birth anniversary of 5th Prime Minister of India, Choudhary Charan Singh. He was a farmer’s leader and he introduced many policies to improve lives of farmers. The day is observed since 2001.
    2. Women and Child Development Ministery Under Nirbhaya Fund, approved projects worth over 7000 crores, including setting up of 1,023 fast-track courts. As tribute to 23-year-old Delhi gangrape victim, government in 2013 had set up 'Nirbhaya Fund' of Rs 1,000 crore for safety and empowerment of women.
    3. Bank of Baroda (BoB) signed MoU with Gujarat government, to facilitate flow of credit in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector. Credit will be provided to the MSME for greenfield projects, startups, women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs from backward areas.
    4. Sangita Reddy (Joint MD of Apollo Hospitals) has been appointed as President of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) for 2019-20.
    5. World Health Organization (WHO) for the 1st time approved a “biosimilar” medicine of Trastuzumab named “Ontruzant” to make cheaper breast cancer treatment at an affordable rate to women globally. The medicine is derived from living sources rather than chemicals, supplied by Samsung Bioepis co Ltd.
      1. It will be used for treatment of HER2 (Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2)-positive breast cancer and HER2 overexpressing gastric cancer.
      2. Biosimilar version of trastuzumab is generally 65%cheaper than the original drug.
    6. Andhra CM Jagan Mohan Reddy launched a scheme for weavers named “Nethanna Nestham” at Dharmavaram of Anantapur district, which will provide 24,000 per annum for each handloom weaver family.
    7. Actor Sharad Ponkshe has been awarded Janakavi P Sawlaram Memorial Award 2019 in Maharashtra, for his contribution in field of cinema and theatre. It carries cash prize worth of Rs. 25,000. Marathi Actress Usha Naik was also awarded Ganga-Jamuna Award 2019.
    8. WE Hub partnered with Start-up India (DPIIT), to launch Startup India’s flagship program for women entrepreneurs called WING (Women Rise Together program in Telangana. It will provide women entrepreneurs with access to incubation, investors and business support.
      1. Government of Telangana had launched Women Entrepreneurship Hub (WE- Hub) in Mar 2018.
    9. Ministry of External Affairs relaxed certain guidelines for Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI), amid issues faced by certain people to India. Relaxation is for reissuing of passport for people aged below 20 years and those aged above 50 years, granted temporarily till June 2020.
      1. It allows people who got passport renewed but not got reissued OCI card on renewed passport, to travel on existing OCI card along with new and old passport.
    10. According to report 2019 Pollution and Health Metrics: Global, Regional and Country Analysis released by Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP), India leads with about 2.3 million deaths in 2017 in terms of premature deaths due to pollution. India is followed by China (18,65,566 deaths) & Nigeria (2,79,318 deaths).
  10. Dec 22, 2019
    1. Dec 22 is observed as National Mathematics Day in India, to commemorate birth anniversary of Legendary Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. He contributed greatly to mathematics and is also known for Hardy-Ramanujan number- ‘1729’, which is smallest number which can be represented as sum of two different cubes in two different ways.
    2. US President Donald Trump named Indian-American Sethuraman Panchanathan to lead prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) in USA. NSF is a US government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering.
    3. Belgium has been named FIFA ‘Team of the Year’ for 2nd successive time. France remains in second place and Brazil 3rd. India ranked 108th in year ending FIFA Rankings.
    4. Indian Badminton Player Maisnam Meiraba Luwang won Men’s singles at Bangladesh Junior International Badminton Series 2019 in Dhaka.
    5. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu released book titled Turbulence and Triumph: The Modi Years’ jointly authored by Rahul Agarwal and Bharathi S Pradhan.
    6. Aditya K. from Kerala became first child from Kerala State to win Bharat Award for bravery, the most prestigious of National Bravery Awards, given by Indian Council for Child Welfare. He rescued 20 people from a bus carrying members of the Calicut University Pensioners’ Forum and their families when it caught fire coming down a steep mountain road.
    7. Indian-American Monisha Ghosh has been appointed as first woman Chief Technology Officer at US government’s powerful Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
    8. Ecuador activated emergency protocols in Galapagos Islands, to contain environmental impact of a fuel spill, after a barge carrying 600 gallons of diesel fuel sank. Galapagos archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of most fragile ecosystems on planet.
    9. 2019 FIFA Club World Cup (16th Edition, Hosted by Doha (Qatar)) -
      1. England's Football Club Liverpool won the title (as their 1st title). Brazil's Flamengo remained the Runner-ups.
    10. Government Conferred 66th National Film Awards 2019. Awards were announced in Aug 2019, in 31 categories.
      1. Jury Heads - Rahul Rawail (Feature Film Category), AS Kanal (Non-Feature Film Category) and Utpal Borpujari (Best Writing on Cinema).
      2. Uttarakhand named winner of newly created Film friendly state Awards. Awardees -
      3. Category Winner
        Best Feature Film Hellaro (Gujarati) directed by Abhishek Shah
        Best Direction Aditya Dhar for Uri: The Surgical Strike
        Best Actor (Male) Ayushmann Khurrana for Andhadhun AND Vicky Kaushal for Uri: the Surgical Strike
        Best Actor (Female) Keerthy Suresh (Mahanati)
        Best Supporting Actor (Male) Swanand Kirkire (Chumbak)
        Best Supporting Actor (Female) Surekha Sikri (Badhaai Ho)
        Best Hindi Film Andhadhun
        Best Film on Social Issues Padman
        Best Music Direction Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Padmaavat)
        Best Background Score Shashwat Sachdev (Uri: The Surgical Strike)
        Best Female Playback Singer Bindu Malini (Maayavi Manave – Nathicharami, Kannada)
        Best Male Playback Singer Arjit Singh (Binte Dil – Padmaavat)
        Best Lyrics Nathicharami (Kannada)
        Best Cinematography MJ Radhakrishnan for Olu (Malayalam)
        Nargis Dutt Award for Best Film on National Integration Ondalla Eradalla (Kannada)
        Best Child Artist PV Rohit (Kannada), Sahib Singh (Punjabi), Talha Arshad Reshi (Urdu) and Shrinivas Pokale  (Marathi)
        Best Film on Environment Conservation Paani
        Best Children’s Film Sarkari Area Prathamika Shaale Kasaragod (Kannada)
        Best Regional Films
        Malayalam Sudani from Nigeria
        Marathi Bhonga
        Urdu Hamid
        Tamil Baaram
        Rajasthani Turtle
        Telugu Mahanati
        Assamese Bulbul Can Sing
        Punjabi Harjeeta
        Bengali Ek Je Chhilo Raja
        Garo Anna
        Kannada Nathicharami
        Konkani Amori
        Gujarati Reva
        Sherdukpan Mishing
        Panchanga In The Land Of Poisonous Women
        Non Feature Films
        Educational Sarala Virala
        Sports Swimming through the Darkness
        Investigative Film Amoli
        Environment Film The World’s Most Famous Tiger
        Promotional Film Rediscovering Jalam
        Science & Technology Film G.D Naidu: The Edison of India
        Arts and Culture Film Bunkar: The Last of The Varanasi Weavers
  11. Dec 21, 2019
    1. IT firm Wipro partnered with IT body NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies) to launch a skilling platform called ‘Future Skills’ for new age technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) that will reach 10,000 students from over 20 engineering colleges in India.
    2. Ethiopia launched its first satellite, ‘ Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite’ (ETRSS) from China. ERSS is a remote-sensing microsatellite, to help Ethiopia’s research into climate change. This makes Ethiopia 11th African country to put a satellite into space and Egypt was the first, in 1998.
      1. Alongside, China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite-4A (CBERS-4A) was also launched. Its a new satellite jointly developed by China and Brazil as part of a bilateral programme. It will obtain global optical remote-sensing data and will also support Brazilian government’s to monitor Amazon rainforest and changes in country’s environment.
    3. FSSAI (Food Safety Standards Association of India) announced that front of packet labeling will be delinked from its general labeling regulation, to make consumers aware of food products that are high in fat, salt and sugar content.
      1. Front of Packet Labeling includes pictorial representation of nutrients, food group nutrients and summary indicators, etc. This can at times be misleading as consumers fail to give a detailed read about the product.
    4. US President Donald Trump officially launched US military ‘Space Force’, to help in deterring aggression and control ultimate high ground.
      1. Space Force is US’s first new military service in more than 70 years, since Air Force was spun off from US Army in 1947.
      2. SpaceCom was created in August 2019 as the overseer of US military’s space operations. It would comprise around 16000 Air Force and civilian personnel.
    5. Assam Cabinet approved making Assamese as state language of Assam. This will exclude BTAD (Bodoland Territorial Administrative Districts), Barak Valley and Hill districts of Assam. In order make the move successful, Central Government will now have to amend Article 345, which  deals with Official language (s) of a state.
    6. As per World Health Organization report on Global Tobacco use trends -
      1. Globally, number of tobacco users have declined by 60 million people, to 1.337 billion in 2018 from 1.397 billion in 2000.
      2. Report says despite reduction, global target to reduce use of tobacco by 30% by 2025 remains off track. Along with India, 163 countries are off the track.
    7. Government Appointed Harsh Vardhan Shringla as Foreign Secretary of India, replacing Vijay Keshav Gokhale.
    8. Department of fisheries, NABARD and Tamil Nadu Government signed an agreement to implement Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Fund (FIDF). The tripartite agreement has set a total of Rs 7522 crores to address infrastructure requirement of fisheries sector and increase fish production.
    9. 8 West African nations agreed to change name of their common currency from ‘CFA franc’ to ‘Eco’. Nations are - Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Guinea-Bissau. All these countries, except Guinea-Bissau, are former French colonies.
      1. CFA franc is name of two currencies- ‘West African CFA franc’, used in 8 West African countries, and ‘Central African CFA franc’, used in 6 Central African countries. Both currencies are guaranteed by French treasury and were created in 1945.
    10. RBI will buy and sell government securities of Rs 10,000 crores under a special Open Market Operation, named Operation Twist. Such moves are implemented by the federal bank in order to bring down the interest rates of long-term securities.
      1. When long-term bonds are bought by RBI, their demand increases. This lowers long term yields. This way the yield curve gets twisted and hence the name “Operation Twist”.
      2. Open Market Operation is a tool used by the RBI to smoothen liquidity conditions and regulate money flow. RBI operates OMO through commercial banks and does not deal with the public directly.
      3. Purchase will be for government securities worth Rs 10,000 crore for the instrument ‘6.45 per cent GS 2029’.
  12. Dec 20, 2019
    1. Dec 20 is observed as International Human Solidarity Day, proclaimed in 2005.
    2. Forbes' Indian celebrities List 2019 -
      1. Cricketer Virat Kohli became first sportsman to be ranked at top, with annual earnings over 252 crores.
      2. Top 5 - Virat kohli, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, M S Dhoni
    3. Visits to India (Dec 11 - 20, 2019) -
      1. Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshi Kajiyama Visited India.
      2. External Affairs Minister of Maldives, Abdulla Shahid Visited India, to attend 6th Joint Commission Meeting between India and Maldives.
        1. Maldives government signed a contract with a joint venture of Indian companies, to prepare project report and development of Addu, second biggest city in Maldivs. Contract was signed L & T engineering limited and Lea associates south asia. Financing of project will be done by EXIM bank of India through line of credit of USD 800 million.
      3. Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa visited India -
        1. Portugal announced be launching a Gandhi Citizenship Education Prize, inspired by M K Gandhi's thoughts and quotes. First edition of this prize will be dedicated to animal welfare.
    4. Visits from India (Dec 11 - 20, 2019) -
      1. Raoshaheb Patil Danve, Minister of state for Consumer affairs, Food and Public distribution Visited Australia for taking part in phase two of Australia-India Collaborative Consumer Protection Project under Sydney University.
      2. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited USA
      3. Navy Chiief Karambir Singh visited Sri Lanka.
    5. General Conferences (Dec 11 - 20, 2019) -
      1. 37th National Symposium of Heads of Police Training Institutions held in New Delhi, organized by Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D).
      2. Andhra University's First Virtual Police Station launched at Andhra University, as a pilot project.
      3. First Ever Karanji lake Festival held in Karnataka.
      4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired first meeting of National Ganga Council in Kanpur (UP). Council was constituted in 2016 to oversee cleaning of Ganga and is supposed to meet at least once a year.
      5. Government e-commerce portal GeM has launched a national outreach programme called ‘GeM Samvaad’, to bring on-board more local sellers. It will take place from 19 Dec 2019 to 17 Feb 2020.
      6. Govt.extended deadline for Accessible India Campaign to March 2020, which makes to make public spaces friendly for persons with disabilities. Targets include making at least 50% of government owned buildings as disabled-friendly.
      7. Shuttle train service between Lahore and Wagah railway station (Pakistan) resumed operations, after a gap of 22 years.
      8. Indian Railways announced to grant 50% concession for youth participating in the “Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat” programme (with earnings under 5000 rupees per month), for travelling between states to take part in the programme.
      9. Confederation of Indian Industry organized “Steeling India 2019” conference in New Delhi.
      10. Madhya Pradesh Govt. organized Cultural Festival ‘Namaste Orchha 2020’ in Orchha.
      11. National Tribal Dance Festival held in Chhattisgarh's capital Raipur.
      12. Haryana Police Department adopted a unique barcoding software called Trakea, used to ensure that digital forensic reports are stored safely. It offers a foolproof security to the samples collected from the crime scene.
      13. Government for the first-time invoked Drug Price Control Order 2013, to increase prices of 21 medicines to ensure their availability. The prices were increased by 50% amid up to 88 % price rise of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API). These ingredients constitute 40% to 80% of formulation cost.
      14. FICCI ARISE Conference 2019 held in New Delhi, based on theme ‘Future Ready Learners and Schools’.
      15. Maharashtra Govt approved to name under-construction Mumbai Nagpur Super Communication Expressway also known as Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg after Shiv Sena party founder late Bal Keshav Thackeray.
      16. Home Ministry sent alert to all States warning them about vulnerability of Android operating system to a bug called ‘StrandHogg’, which allows real-time malware applications to pose as genuine applications and are able to access user data of all kind.
      17. Odisha government brought Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Department under its flagship initiative 'Mo Sarkar'. Earlier, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik had announced Mo Sarkar initiative, to ensure transparency in governance focusing fully on common public. Govt. will work to ensure that people get their rights with help of 5T mantras - Technology, Transparency, Teamwork, Transformation and Time
      18. 1st Pashu Kisan credit cards (Animal husbandry Credit Card) in India distributed to 101 animal farmers in Bhiwani district of Haryana. Under this, banks will provide credit for 101 livestock types, to pay for animal feed, etc. The scheme is expected to help the livestock owners in improving their dairy business.
    6. Kerala State Chalachitra Academy (KSCA) organized 24th edition of  International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) 2019 in Thiruvananthapuram -
      1. Japanese film, ‘They Say Nothing Stays the Same’, directed by Joe Odagiri, won Suvarna Chakoram award 2019 (Golden Crow Pheasant) for best film. Other Awards -
      2. Rajatha Chakoram (Silver Crow Pheasant) award for the best director - Allan Deberton, for the Brazilian film Pacarrete
      3. Lifetime Achievement Award 2019 - Fernando Solanas, a filmmaker from Argentine.
    7. Indian Wrestlet Deepak Punia is named 2019 ‘Junior Freestyle Wrestler of the Year‘ by United World Wrestling (UWW).
      1. Punia is first Indian wrestler in 18 years to win a junior world title at Junior World Championships held in Talinn, Estonia in August 2019.
    8. China launched its 1st indigenously built aircraft carrier “Shandong”, named after the Shandong province, from Sanya, an important establishment in South China Sea. It is 2nd aircraft carrier of China after Liaoning.
    9. New Development Bank (earlier BRICS Development Bank) committed $100 million to India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund’s (NIIF) Fund of Funds. Envisioned in budget 2015, NIIF was launched as an alternative investment fund in December 2016 with a target corpus of 40,000 crore.
    10. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) mandated other telecom operators to pay 6 paise per minute for every mobile call they receive on their networks or interconnect usage charges (IUC) till 31 December, 2020.
      1. Rate was reduced from 14 paise to 6 paise from 1st October 2017 and was proposed to zero from 1st January 2020. Now after this extension, from 1st January 2021, the charges of wireless to wireless calls will be made zero as proposed by TRAI.
    11. Jammu and Kashmir administration signed MoU with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India to strengthen the immunization supply chain system in UT.
    12. Smartphone manufacturer Realme launched its new financial services platform named ‘Realme Paysa‘ in partnership with Oppo-owned fintech startup FinShell. It will provide certain products like loans, mutual funds and credit score reports to consumers. It came few days after rival company Xiaomi had launched financial service ‘Mi Credit’ in India.
    13. Supreme Court (SC) formed two-Judge Committee to speed up the disposal process of rape cases across country, comprising Subhash Reddy and MR Shah.
    14. Rajasthan government launched new schemes and policies to promote industrial development, investment, solar energy, wind energy and small scale industries in state.
    15. Patanjali Ayurved completed acquisition of debt ridden soya food brand Nutrela maker Ruchi Soya for Rs.4,350 crores through an insolvency process.
    16. American and British Scientists discovered remnants of a 386-million-year old world’s oldest fossil forest in a sandstone quarry in Cairo, New York, United States (US). This forest is around 2 or 3 million years older than the current world’s oldest forest at Gilboa, which is around 40 kilometres away from the Cairo site.
    17. CPPIB (Canada Pension Plan Investment Board ) Credit Investments Inc agreed to invest US$225 million in India Resurgence Fund platform (IndiaRF), a distressed assets buyout platform set up by Piramal Enterprises Ltd and Bain Capital Credit.
    18. According to annual Report of Ombudsman Schemes for 2018-19 released by RBI -
      1. Complaints received by RBI's 21  Offices of Banking Ombudsman (OBOs) increased to 195901 complaints in 2018-19, up by 19.75%.
      2. Resolution of complaints increased to 70.40 % in 2018-19 from 65.82 % in 2017-18.
    19. Securities and Exchange Board of India revamped its 8-member advisory committee on Investor Protection and Education Fund (IPEF), advising on issues related to investor education and protection activities.
      1. Chairman of committee is IIM Ahmedabad's Abraham Koshy. Now, the panel additionally includes 3 Sebi officers - Nagendraa Parakh, V S Sundaresan and N Hariharan.
  13. Dec 19, 2019
    1. British subsidiary of Punjab National Bank lost its UK High Court appeal in a USD 45-million deceit claim against seven individuals and two companies, based in India and US.
      1. Issue was whether High Court of England and Wales should accept jurisdiction to try claim by London-based PNB International Limited, involving 8 loans it made between March 2011 and December 2014 for oil re-refining and wind energy generating projects in US.
      2. PNBIL had claimed that it had been defrauded by actions of defendants following granting of loans amounting to USD 45 million to companies in US and India controlled by the individual defendants.
    2. Joint tri service exercise between India and Russia, INDRA 2019 Held in Pune and Goa. The event included all three armed forces - Army, Navy and Air force. INDRA exercises between India and Russia began in 2003. However, first joint tri service exercise was held in 2017.
    3. Reliance Subsidiary Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings signed binding agreements with Canada’s Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP and its institutional partners for an investment of Rs 25,215 crore in telecom tower assets of RIL. Reliance Jio lnfratel has a portfolio of about 130,000 telecom towers that form the backbone of Reliance Jio Infocomm’s network.
    4. 1st ever Global Refugee Forum held in Geneva (Switzerland), hosted by UN Refugee Agency. 2nd Global Refugee Forum is scheduled in 2023.
    5. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) removed ‘Carnival of Aalst’ of Belgium from its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List, amid carnival featuring a parade float that included racist and anti-Semitic representations which mocked Orthodox Jews. The carnival was added to the Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2010.
      1. Also, Thailand’s famous 2000-year-old massage, Nuad Thai has been added to UNESCO’s heritage list. It originated in India and brought to Thailand about 2,500 years ago by doctors and monks who carried its secrets for generations.
    6. GST Council Meeting in New Delhi -
      1. For the first time, council used voting process and voted to tax lotteries under highest slab of 28%. It also rationalized the rates of woven and non-woven bags to 18% (up from 12%).
      2. Finance Ministry has set a monthly target of Rs 1.1 lakh crore collection of GST for the remaining four months of this Fiscal.
    7. Sahitya Akademi Awards 2019 announced for 23 languages. It contains prize money of 1 Lakh INR. Awardees -
      1. Assamese - Joysree Goswami Mahanta (Novel)
      2. Bengali - Chinmoy Guha (Essays)
      3. Bodo - Phukan Ch. Basumatary (Poetry)
      4. Dogri - Om Sharma Jandriari (Essays)
      5. English - Shashi Tharoor (Non-Fiction)
      6. Gujarati - Ratilal Borisagar (Essays)
      7. Hindi - Nand Kishore Acharya (Poetry)
      8. Kannada - Vijaya (Autobiography)
      9. Kashmiri - Abdul Ahad Hajini (Short Stories)
      10. Konkani - Nilba A. Khandekar (Poetry)
      11. Maithili - Kumar Manish Arvind (Poetry)
      12. Malayalam - V. Madhusoodanan Nair (Poetry)
      13. Manipuri - L. Birmangol Singh (Beryl Thanga) (Novel)
      14. Marathi - Anuradha Patil (Poetry)
      15. Odia - Tarun Kanti Mishra (Short Stories)
      16. Punjabi - Kirpal Kazak (Short Stories)
      17. Rajasthani - Ramsawroop Kisan (Short Stories)
      18. Sanskrit - Penna Madhusudan (Poetry)
      19. Santhali - Kali Charan Hembram (Short Stories)
      20. Sindhi - Ishwar Moorjani (Short Stories)
      21. Tamil - Cho. Dharman (Novel)
      22. Telugu - Bandi Narayana Swamy (Novel)
      23. Urdu - Shafey Kidwai (Biography)
      24. Nepali is to be announced later
    8. Govt extended mission period of its flagship initiative Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) by 2 more years, after it was Unable to meet set targets for urban renewal in 500 cities.
      1. Launched in June 2015, AMRUT completes its mission period in March 2020. It promises 139 lakh water connections, 145 lakh sewer connections, LED streetlights and other developments with outlay of 77640 crores (with central assistance of 35990 crores).
      2. Seeing the poor progress, it has been extended by 2 years.
    9. EChO Network has been launched, as a national program to provide a template for cross-disciplinary leadership in India with the specific focus of increasing research, knowledge, and awareness of Indian ecology and environment.
      1. EChO Network would develop a national network to catalyse a new generation of Indians who can synthesize interdisciplinary concepts and tackle real-world problems in medicine, agriculture, ecology, and technology.
      2. Network will identify gaps in knowledge regarding selected topics in human and environmental ecosystems. It will then train postdoctoral leaders in research and outreach on these topics, while also incorporating current public and private efforts into a national network.
    10. Three combinations get automatic approval under Competition Commission of India (CCI) Green Channel -
      1. Acquisition of IDBI Asset Management (IAML) and IDBI MF Trustee Company (IMTL) by Muthoot Finance Limited (MFL).
      2. Acquisition of Adani Electricity Mumbai (AEML) and Adani Electricity Mumbai Services (AEMSL) by Qatar Holding LLC (25.1% equity involved).
      3. Acquisition of GVK Airport Holdings by Green Rock B 2014 Limited, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Indo-Infra Inc.
    11. Manuel Marrero Cruz has been appinted as Prime Minisrer of Cuba, as Cuba's first PM in 43 years.
      1. Last time Cuba had a Prime Minister, it was revolutionary leader Fidel Castro (1959 to 1976). The position was abolished in 1976 when Castro transitioned to presidency, after country’s constitution was restructured.
    12. International Tennis Federation (ITF) named Australia’s Ashleigh Barty and Rafael Nadal (Spain) as 2019 ITF World Champions in Female and Male categories respectively. Barty is the first Australian to be named ITF Women’s World Champion, while Nadal is named ITF World Champion for 4th time.
      1. Timea Babos of Hungary and France’s Kristina Mladenovic will receive award in women’s doubles category.
      2. Men’s doubles World Champions are Colombia’s Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
    13. International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced names of newly discovered stars and planets, where name "Sharjah" was chosen for a star with "Barjeel" being name of one of its planets, As a tribute to contributions of Emirate of Sharjah to the global scientific community.
    14. Devesh Srivastava has been appointed as Chairman and Managing Director (MD) of General Insurance Corporation India (GIC Re).
    15. Telangana government appointed C V Ramulu and V Niranjan Rao as Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta respectively.
    16. Meghalaya Assembly adopted a resolution urging Central Government to implement Inner Line Permit in state under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873, amid demand by indigenous residents of the state for implementation of the ILP.
    17. Govt annpounced 436 crores outlay for skilling 4 lakh professionals in futuristic areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity over 3 years, under ''Future Skills PRIME'' programme, to be jointly rolled out by IT ministry and industry body Nasscom.
    18. French carmaker “Peugeot SA” and US-Italian “Fiat Chrysler” signed an agreement to create world’s fourth largest automaker, in a 50-50 merger. It will be 4th largest global automotive original equipment manufacturer by volume and third largest by revenue. Combined group would be headquartered in Netherlands.
    19. Amazon, Apple and Alphabet partnered to lay groundwork for better compatibility among their smart home products, titled ‘Connected Home over IP’. Partnership aims to make it easier for device manufacturers to build products that are compatible with smart home and voice services such as Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.
    20. Chennai Corporation (Tamil Nadu) launched India’s first waste exchange platform namely “Madras Waste Exchange” to buy and sell municipal solid waste online. It will run on a pilot basis for the first three months.
  14. Dec 18, 2019
    1. Dec 18 is observed as UN International Migrants Day. On this day in 1990, UNGA adopted a resolution on International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
      1. Dec 18 is also observed as Minorities Rights Day in India.
      2. Dec 18 is also observed as UN Arabic Language Day.
    2. Government approved first SEZ (Special Economic Zone) of Tripura at Sabroom, with primary focus on agro-based food processing. As per rules, minimum of 25 hectares of land is required to set up a new SEZ in the North Eastern States. The SEZ is expected to generate 12,000 skiled jobs..
    3. 2nd 2+2 Dialogue of India and US held in Washington D.C., attended by US secretary Mike Pompeo and defence secretary Mark Esper on US' Behalf and external affair minister Jai Shankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on India's Behalf.
      1. India and US signed an agreement to facilitate the transfer of defence technology.
    4. Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar launched Phase-III of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana in New Delhi to further enhance connectivity of villages with hospitals, schools and agricultural markets.
      1. Phase-III of PMGSY aims at consolidation of 1 lakh 25 thousand Kilometers, with estimated cost of 80250 crore rupees for the period 2019-20 to 2024-25. Central Share will be 53800 crore rupees. Funding pattern will be 60:40 between Centre and States (90:10 for North-East and Himalayan States).
    5. Infosys launched 3 three blockchain-powered distributed applications for government services, supply chain management and insurance domains. These applications are equipped with predictive return on investment (ROI) analytics for business investments that can be tailored to meet numerous industry-specific needs.
    6. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik launched ‘Jalsathi’ programme which will ensure supply of safe drinking water to all households in state, under 5T initiative of State Govt (Transparency, Teamwork, Technology, Time and Transformation). MoU was signed between Water Corporation of Odisha (WATCO) and women federations in Bhubaneswar (Odisha Capital) for implementation of ‘Jalsathi’ programme.
    7. According to US National Science Foundation (NSF), India is world’s third largest publisher of science and engineering articles, after China (1st) and US (2nd). China accounts for 20.67% of all global publications in scientific articles, with US having approx 16 % and India approx 4 %.
    8. Indian Navy (Southern Naval Command) and Indian Coast Guard at Cochin port conducted large scale anti-hijacking exercise, called Apharan.
      1. Indian Coast Guard also conducted regional level pollution response exercise named ‘Swachh Samundra NEW-2019‘ at sea off Vadinar in Gulf of Kutch(GoK), Gujarat.`
    9. India's National Rail Transport Institute (NRTI) signed MoU with University of Birmingham (UK), to set up its first Centre of Excellence for Next Generation Transportation Systems.
    10. IIT Hyderabad Fellow Jigneh Patel launched a ‘Vaccination on Wheels Clinic’ in Pune (Maharashtra), as one of its kind service started in collaboration with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He had received a grant under Foundation’s ‘Grand Challenges Explorations’, and founded Jivika Healthcare to provide this vaccination service.
      1. Grand Challenges Explorations is a US $100 million initiative funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
    11. 532 km Long Thiruvananthapuram–Kasargode Semi High Speed Rail Corridor (SHSR) proposed high-speed rail corridor is to be completed by 2024, with an investment of 56000 Crores INR. Named Silverline, it is envisaged to cut travel time between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod from 12 hours to 4 hours.
    12. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) approved Google-backed hyperlocal delivery startup Dunzo and Bengaluru-based drone maker Throttle Aerospace Systems to test long-range and autonomous drone use. These drones can significantly enhance logistic services.
    13. International Astronomical Union (IAU) named a white yellow star in Sextans Constellation as “Bhibha” and its planet as “Santamasa”, honoring Indian Woman Scientist Bhibha Choudhury who discovered subatomic particle pi-meson.
      1. Bhibha is an ageing star that is 6.2 billion years old and Santamsa is its only planet.
      2. In particle physics, pi meson or pion is a subatomic particle. They are unstable and existing with positive, negative and neutral charges. It means that they are present in proton, neutron and electron of an atom.
    14. India signed $490 million loan with Asian Development Bank, for public-private partnership (PPP) project to upgrade about 1600 km of road infrastructure in Madhya Pradesh. An additional $286 million investment will be mobilised through private sector. Project will upgrade 750 km of state highways and 850 km of MDRs to two-lane and all-weather standards with road safety features.
    15. Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP) has been recognised formally by National Department of Regulation of Medicines and Health Products of Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan. With this, Afghanistan became first country to recognize IP pursuant to efforts of Department of Commerce and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (India).
    16. Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot released Braille Edition of book "Exam Warriors" authored by PM Narendra Modi, for benefit of blind readers.
    17. Donald Trump became 3rd President to be impeached by US House, after He was accused of enlisting foreign government to investigate political rival before 2020 elections.
      1. US House called for voting process alleging that President pressurized Ukraine to announce investigations against his political rival Joe Biden ahead of 2020 elections. Democrats had majority in house to impeach him. It is necessary to prove charges at the senate as well.
      2. So far only two American presidents have been impeached. In 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached on charges of sexual relationship with his intern. However, senate acquitted him. Before him, in 1868, President Andrew Johnson was impeached.
  15. Dec 17, 2019
    1. Research and consulting Firm Coeus Age Consulting released 2nd edition of report titled “Digital States of India – A Comparative Analysis” -
      1. It is about mapping States / UTs as per their policy and infrastructure readiness and mission mode project’s performance.
      2. As per report’s mapping, Chhattisgarh has emerged as the top state, followed by Maharashtra, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
      3. Haryana made biggest leap in ranking, moving from 10th place in 2017 to 3rd place in 2019.
    2. 2019 ICC Women's Cricket Awards -
      1. Women's Cricketer of the Year - Ellyse Perry (Aus). She is also named for Women's ODI Cricketer of the Year AND Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Award.
      2. Women's T20I Cricketer of the Year - Alyssa Healy (Aus)
      3. Women's Emerging Cricketer of the Year - Chanida Sutthiruang (Thailand)
    3. Land-attack and air version of the surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile BrahMos successfully test fired from Chandipur district of Odisha. Air attack version was test fired from Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft. It has range of upto 300 kilometers.
      1. Pinaka missile system also test fired by DRDO, with 75 kilometre range.
      2. DRDO also test fired Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) successfully, developed by DRDO in association with Bharat Electronics Limited and Bharat Dynamics Limited.
    4. University of California Scientists discovered world’s deepest land canyon beneath Denman Glacier in East Antarctica, described as most accurate portrait yet of contours of land beneath Antarctica’s ice shelf. Researchers found deepest point on continental Earth. The Antarctica topography map projct is dubbed BedMachine.
      1. Lowest exposed point on land is located at Dead Sea shore which is 413 meters (about 1,355ft) below sea level. But lowest point on land goes even deeper, as revealed by new BedMachine data.
      2. At about 3500 meters ( about 11500 feet) below sea-level, world's deepest canyon on land was found beneath Denman Glacier in East Antarctica.
    5. RBI announced to provide an additional collateralized intra-day liquidity (IDL) facility called Liquidity Support, for smooth operation of National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) transactions on a 24X7 basis. LS facility will operate as per same terms and conditions as Intra-Day Liquidity (IDL) facility.
    6. Reliance Industries subsidiary Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Ltd (RSBVL) acquired 51.78 % stake in Bengaluru based Asteria Aerospace for Rs 23.12 crores.
    7. BBC Sports Awards 2019 -
      Award  Awardee  Country Sports
      Sports Personality of the Year 2019 Ben Stokes England Cricket
      Helen Rollason Award George Wilson Doddie Weir Scotland Rugby
      Lifetime Achievement Tanni Grey-Thompson United Kingdom Wheelchair racing
      Coach of the Year John Blackie England Athletics
      Team of the Year England’s Cricket World Cup team
    8. BWF World Tour Badminton Finals 2019 (Guangzhou, China) -
      1. Men’s Singles - Kento Momota(Japan)
      2. Women’s Singles - Chen Yufei (China)
      3. Men’s Doubles - Mohammad Ahsan(Indonesia) AND Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia)
      4. Women’s Doubles - Chen Qingchen (China) AND Jia Yifan (China)
      5. Mixed Doubles - Zheng Siwei (China) AND Huang Yaqiong (China)
    9. Indian Embassy signed agreement with Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), India for post-earthquake reconstruction of 11 Cultural Heritage sites in Nepal.
    10. US Congress approved to designate India’s Indigenously developed satellite navigation system, NAVIC (NAVigation with Indian Constellation) as “allied” navigational satellite system along with Galileo of European Union and QZSS(Quasi-Zenith Satellite System) of Japan. It would mean that India's regional navigation system NAVIC will be treated at par with European Union’s(EU) Galileo and Japan’s QZSS.
      1. US Congress also designated Russia’ GLONASS and Chinese Beidou as a “non-allied system”. This means US satellite navigation system of GPS (Global Positioning System) will not co-operate or exchange data with these two satellite navigation systems.
    11. Restoration of Dignity and Human Rights of Indigenous Tribal Community in Karnataka project has been bestowed with gold prize in 2019 World Habitat Award, given by World Habitat, a UK based organization, in association with the United Nations (UN)-Habitat.
      1. Also, Odisha received World Habitat Award, a global recognition for its ambitious initiative - Jaga Mission. Jaga Mission is a slum land titling project, benefiting a million urban-poor living in the slums.
    12. To motivate differently-abled persons, state Government of Kerala  launched 2 social welfare schemes – ‘Vijayamritham’ and ‘Sahachari’.
      1. Vijayamritham is one-time cash award to meritorious differently-abled persons who score high marks in highed education courses. Support is between 8000 - 10000 INR.
      2. Sahachari scheme aims to provide encouragement to NCC/NSS/SPC units functioning in schools who offer assistance to differently-abled students with over 40% disability in their studies as well as other extra-curricular activities.
    13. 2019 rankings on gram panchayats on implementation of development programmes under Mission Antyodaya scheme -
      1. As per ranking, Tamil Nadu’s (TN) Molugamboondi gram panchayat topped the ranking for 2019.
      2. Gujarat has most top 10 entries with 99 gram panchayats in list.
    14. To boost productivity of small enterprises,  Govt approved changes to operational guidelines of interest subvention scheme for MSMEs -
      1. Claim will be settled once by June 30,2020 on basis of audit certificate.
      2. Eligible units of GST have been exempted from requirement of Udyog Aadhar Number (UAN). While Units who doesn’t required to obtain GST, can submit Permanent Account Number (PAN) or their loan account categorised as a MSME by concerned eligible institutions.
      3. Trading activities carried out without UAN number will also come under the ambit of scheme.
  16. Dec 16, 2019
    1. Dec 16 is observed as Vijay Diwas, commemorating Indian victory over Pakistan in war of 1971. India fought against Pakistan helping Bangladesh obtain its freedom and won the war. On the same day, Bangladesh celebrates its independence.
    2. Eight years after they partnered to produce hydrocarbons in India, Reliance Industries and British oil major BP Plc partnered to open a nationwide network of fuel retailing outlets, to be set up through a new JV. It will be owned 51% by RIL and remainder by BP. Plan is to set up 5,500 fuel retail stations across country.
    3. Reliance Industries Topped Fortune India 500 list, ending Indian Oil Corporation's 10-year reign as India's largest company. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) was ranked third, followed by State Bank of India, Tata Motors and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).
      1. Rajesh Exports climbed one position to be ranked 7th on 2019., followed by Tata Steel, Coal India, TCS and Larsen & Toubro.
    4. Pakistan and World Bank signed a project agreement worth $406.6 million for financing the Khyber Pass Economic Corridor (KPEC) project with an aim to promote economic development.
    5. Sri Lankan government formally released its new National policy Framework meant to guide government ministries / departments in implementing their policies, titled ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor’. 
      1. Among main objectives are maintaining a 6.5 % or higher GDP growth rate, per capita income over 6500 US dollar by 2025.
      2. Policy elaborates to keep unemployment under 4 % and inflation under 5 %, and budget deficit below 4 % of GDP.
    6. Nagaland Governor R.N Ravi has been given additional charge as Governor of Meghalaya, in wake of absence of leave of Governor of Meghalaya Tathagata Roy.
    7. Abdelmadjid Tebboune has been elected as New President of Algeria (North Africa).
    8. Edelweiss Asset Management Company (AMC) launched India’s 1st Corporate Bond ETF (exchange trade fund) called Bharat Bond ETF.
      1. ETF is a government initiative and Edelweiss AMC was given mandate to design and manage it.
      2. Edelweiss aims to raise initial amount of Rs 3,000 crore through this bond from institutional players with a greenshoe option of Rs 2,000 crore in 3-year maturity period (2023) and 4,000 crore with a greenshoe option of 6000 crore in 10-year maturity bucket (2030).
      3. Small retail investors will have to invest at least Rs 1,000 in this fund. Here they can invest up to 2 lakhs. At the same time, the minimum amount for anchor investors has been fixed at Rs 10 crore.
        1. ETF is a basket of bonds issued by CPSE/CPSU/CPFI/any other Government organization Bonds (Initially, all AAA rated bonds).
    9. World Design Organization will launch its new global programme World Design Protopolis in Bengaluru, aimed at implementing holistic progress in megacities across world and thus making them sustainable.
    10. Noted Chess Player Viswanathan Anand launched his autobiography 'Mind Master : Winning Lessons from a Champion’s Life'.
    11. Amazon’s audiobook company Audible launched a new app “Audible Suno” in India, featuring original audio series which aims to expand Audible’s reach in India’s highly competitive digital entertainment and streaming space.
  17. Dec 15, 2019
    1. 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25), held in Madrid (Spain), under presidency of Chilean government.
      1. Conference incorporates 25th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 15th meeting of parties for Kyoto Protocol (CMP15), and 2nd meeting of parties for Paris Agreement (CMA2).
      2. Conference was planned to be held in Brazil, which later changed to Chile. In October 2019, Chile refused to host, due to social unrest. Later, Spain became the host. Next, COP 26, is expected to be held in November 2020, in Glasgow, Scotland (UK).
      3. Key issue that was aimed to get resolved was regulation of carbon market. However, no conclusion was reached and issue is to be taken at next summit to at Glasgow in 2020. Summit failed to reach an agreement on implementation of Article 6 of Paris Agreement, which aims at promoting approaches to implement NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) through voluntary international cooperation.
        1. This year majority of members are not willing to reduce their emissions at pace suggested by conference. According to World Resources Institute NDC tracker, only 80 countries have so far submitted proposals to enhance their NDCs. These nations represent only 10.5% of world population.
      4. International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) added 1840 new species to its updated “Red List of Threatened Species”, a catalogue of plants and animals that risk extinction. List now contains over 30,000 species under threat of disappearing.
      5. Report on oceans titled “Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate” was alos released. According to report, global mean sea level increased from 1.4 mm (1901-1990) to 3.6 mm (2006-2015). Also, report says that Between 1993 and 2017, 700 to 2000 metres of ocean layers have warmed up.
      6. Chile launched Climate Ambition Alliance. It also establishes a trading system where in the countries with low emission are allowed to sell their exceeding allowance to countries with larger emissions.
      7. Around 73 countries joined Climate Ambition Alliance (CAA) at COP25, led by Chile and was launched at Climate Action Summit in New York in 2019.
        1. CAA will focus on Nationally Determined Contributions in order to achieve Net Zero by 2050. The alliance is important to enhance the Nationally Determined Contributions of countries all over the world.
        2. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in its Emissions Gap Report 2019 (Issued in Nov 2019) warned that in order to achieve goal of 1.5°C increase in temperatures over pre-industrial levels, it is essential to reduce emissions by 7.6% between 2020 and 2030. Report says that the global temperature will increase by 3.2 degrees by 2100 as compared to pre-industrial levels.
        3. Report suggests that minimum of 1.58 billion USD of annual investment in renewable sector is required for efficient energy use.
        4. It also says that solutions like coal phaseout, decarbonization of transport and industries and increased access to electricity will help tackle climate change.
        5. Also, report of Global Carbon Project was presented.
      8. Climate Change Performance Index 2019 was presented during the summit, measuring renewable energy share, emissions and climate policies of 57 countries and European Union.
        1. India ranked 9th in the ranking, in “high category”, where countries have ambitious 2030 targets. However, despite a high rating for its Climate Policy performance, report says that India is yet to develop a roadmap to reduce high dependence on coal.
        2. Report noted that as none of countries assessed is already on a path compatible with Paris climate targets, causing first three places of ranking to remain unoccupied.
        3. Top 10 - Top 3 Places Unoccupied, Sweden (4th), Denmark (5th), Morocco (6), UK (7), Lithunia (8), India (9), Finland (10).
        4. Worst Performers - US (61st), Saudi Arabia (60th), Chinese Taipei (59th), South korea (58th), Iran (57th), Australia (56th).
        5. Largest global emitter China slightly improved to 30th place.
      9. India at the summit -
        1. Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar represented India at the summit.
        2. India called upon more countries to join International Solar Alliance (ISA) to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, during a Ministerial Plenary on “SOLAR AND THE SIDS – Making the Sun Shine Brighter”.
        3. Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) will set up a dedicated Green Window to serve the unserved segments of renewable energy. India's aim is to install 450 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity. Allocation of approximately USD 20 million is being considered for Green window, with plans of leveraging USD 80 million from other agencies.
        4. Indian IT Firm Infosys received UN Global Climate Action Award 2019 in ‘Climate Neutral Now’ category for its efforts to combat climate change. Through its carbon offset drive, Infosys implemented energy efficiency proceedings and transitioned to renewable energy for all its electricity needs. Since 2008, It has decreased its per capita energy consumption by over 51 %.
    2. Warship builder Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) delivered a Landing Craft Utility (LCU) to Indian Navy. This amphibious ship is seventh of eight such vessels being built for Navy by GRSE.
    3. Dec 15 is observed as International Tea Day, observed since 2005.
      1. Update - In October 2015, India moved a proposal at UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), on expanding observance of International Tea Day through UN FAO. Thereby, UNGA accepted India’s proposal and designated May 21 as International Tea Day.
    4. Russia and Ukraine sagreed to implement a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine by year-end, following their first meeting in Paris mediated by France and Germany. The two nations also agreed on exchange of Prisoners.
    5. Urdu author, Saadat Hasan Manto’s book Shikari Auratein has been translated to English by Indian author Saba Mahmood Bashir as ‘Women of Prey.
    6. Ministry of Home Affairs and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) will investigate illegal plantations of marijuana plantations and destroy them deploying drones before plants are harvested. India is following modus operandi adopted by US to deal with marijuana plantations, which uses airplanes and drones to detect illegal plantations of marijuana.
    7. Gujarat police has been presented ‘President’s Colours’ by Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, making Gujarat 7th state to receive prestigious President’s Colours, also called as Nishaan, an emblem which all police officers of Gujarat would wear on left-hand sleeve of their uniform.
    8. International Changemaker Olympiad, an annual international competition program founded by Rahul Adhikari from IIT Roorkee, has won Wharton-QS Stars Reimagine Education Award 2019, popularly known as the “Oscars” of education under “Sustainability” category at 2019 Reimagine Education Conference & Awards in London.
    9. Global Gender Gap Report 2020 by World Economic Forum -
      1. India ranked 112th in the list, down from 108th rank in 2018.
      2. Top 4 - Iceland (1), Norway (2), Finland (3), Sweden (4)
      3. Neighbors - Bangladesh (50), Pakistan (151), Sri Lanka (102), Nepal (101)
      4. As per WEF, it will take another 99.5 to attain Gender equality.
    10. NPCI will set up a subsidiray to export UPI (Unified Payments Interface), after large scale success seen by UPI service, also gaining global praise. The subsidiary will take the technology to foreign markets.
      1. Based on UPI's performance, Google recommended similar service called FedNow to US Federal Reserve Board.
  18. Dec 14, 2019
    1. Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and National Board of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) signed MOU, to facilitate research and technologies to develop climate resilient practices in agriculture sector and hi-tech farming practices.
    2. Dec 14 is observed as National Energy Conservation Day every year, observed by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) under Ministry of Power, since 1991. BEE also observed National Energy Conservation Week from 9-14 December.
      1. Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) conducted an International Workshop on ‘Energy Efficient Cooling’ at Scope Convention Centre in New Delhi.
      2. On the occasion, Star Labelling Programme for Solar Water Heater was launched and a Handbook for Implementation of Provisions of Energy Conservation Act 2001 was released.
    3. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued a draft notification titled Regulation of vintage motor vehicles order 2019, to regulate registration of old vintage vehicles. It also says that any car that is older than 50 years is a vintage car.
      1. Registration plates of vehicles will bear letters “XXVAYY”, where VA stands for Vintage, XX stands for state code and YY stands for numbers between 1 and 9.
      2. 1 time fee of Rs 20,000 has to deposited by owners with state transport authorities, valid for 10 years.
    4. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will set up a task force on gene therapy. It aims to explore gene editing based therapeutic approaches that will treat illness, by working on genetic diseases affecting brain, eye disorders, muscles, heart, retina, cornea and blood disorders.
      1. ICMR believes that many inherited disorders are not treated by existing drugs and therapies. Around 70 million Indians suffer from rare diseases whose cure can be achieved through gene therapy.
    5. World Economic Forum (WEF) announced Winners of 26th Annual Crystal Award for 2020, hosted by World Economic Forum’s World Arts Forum. Recipients -
      1. Jin Xing (China) - for her leadership in shaping inclusive cultural norms
      2. Theaster Gates (Chicago, US) - for his leadership in creating sustainable communities
      3. Lynette Wallworth (Australia) - for her leadership in creating inclusive narratives
      4. Deepika Padukone (India) - for her remarkable leadership in raising mental health awareness.
      5. Awardees will honoured at opening session of World Economic Forum’s 2020 Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters (Switzerland).
    6. Toni-Ann Singh of Jamaica won Miss World 2019 (69th edition) Beauty pageant, hosted in London (UK). This is Jamaica's fourth Miss World title, and its first since 1993.
      1. Toni-Ann Singh is born to Indo-Caribbean father Bradshaw Singh and African-Caribbean mother Jahrine Bailey.
      2. France’s Ophely Mezino named first runner-up and India's Suman Rao declared second runner-up.
    7. CAPF Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) started a dedicated matrimonial site for its staff, as first-ever dedicated matrimony portal among Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). It has been done after Home Ministry stated that about 25 % bachelors are serving in all CAPFs that have combined strength of about 10 lakh personnel, and it becomes a tough task for serving personnel to find the right match, after joining services.
    8. India will host 36th International Geological Congress (IGC) in New Delhi during March 2020, with theme ‘Geosciences: The Basic Science for a Sustainable Development’.
      1. IGC is popularly described as ‘Olympics of Geosciences’, being held once in 4 years.
      2. India is only Asian country to host IGC event twice, after its first hosting in 1964.
    9. D Choudhury is appointed as new Commandant of National Defence College (New Delhi), the highest seat of strategic learning for officers of Indian Armed Forces and Civil Services of India.
    10. Manoj Mukund Naravane is appointed as New (28th) chief of Indian army, replacing Bipin Rawat whose 3 year term is coming to end. Lt General Navarne is current Vice Chief of the Army.
      1. Indian Army Chief reaches superannuation upon three years in office or at age of 62 years, whichever is earlier.
    11. Indian Author Amitabha Bagchi won $25000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019, for his novel ‘Half the Night is Gone’. Novel is largely based in old-forgotten world of scheming zamindars, dubious morals and a man lamenting lost opportunities.
      1. Winner was announced during IME Nepal Literature Festival in Nepal. International jury panel was chaired by Harish Trivedi.
    12. India secured a USD 277 million (about Rs 1,900 crore) loan from Germany to establish an energy-efficient housing programme in country. Loan agreement has been signed between State Bank of India and German development bank KfW. It is under financial cooperation pact signed between India and Germany recently.
    13. Supreme Court ordered Government to hasten pilot project of setting up smog towers at Connaught place (New Delhi), giving 3 months for the same.
      1. Smog Towers are air purification structures designed to work as air purifiers. China has fitted two smog towers in Beijing and Xi’an.
      2. Tower is being developed in Delhi by Kurin systems, as 20-feet wide and 40-feet tall. It has capacity to clean 32 million cubic metres of air in a day.
    14. MoU signed between India's Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), to establish a framework for cooperation between the two towards promotion and support of scientific and technological research. CNRS is largest fundamental research organization in Europe. 
    15. India signed $250 million loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB), to expand energy efficiency investments in India that will benefit agricultural, residential and institutional consumers. It will be provided to Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL). Additionally, $46 million financing will be provided from Clean Technology Fund (CTF), to be administered by ADB.
      1. ADB had previously approved a $200 million loan to EESL, a public sector energy service company, in 2016 for Demand Side Energy Efficiency Sector Project that focused on efficient lighting and appliances.
    16. Minister for Communications, Law & Justice and Electronics and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad launched National Broadband Mission (NBM) in New Delhi. It aims to fast track growth of digital communications infrastructure and provide affordable access of broadband for all. Some objectives -
      1. Broadband access to all villages by 2022.
      2. Laying of incremental 30 lakhs route km of Optical Fiber Cable and increase in tower density from 0.42 to 1.0 tower per thousand of population by 2024.
      3. Develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) to measure the availability of digital communications infrastructure and conducive policy ecosystem within a State/UT.
      4. Creation of a digital fiber map of the Digital Communications network and infrastructure, including Optical Fiber Cables and Towers, across the country
      5. Investment from stakeholders of USD 100 billion (Rs 7 Lakh Crore) including Rs 70,000 crore from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
    17. Coal Ministry will establish “Sustainable Development Cell” (SDC) to promote environment friendly and sustainable coal mining, to address environmental concerns that arise during closure of mines.
  19. Dec 13, 2019
    1. India hosted 6th Indian Ocean Dialogue (IOD) and Delhi Dialogue XI in New Delhi.
      1. Theme for 2019 Indian Ocean Dialogue is- ‘Indo-Pacific: Re-imagining Indian Ocean through an Expanded Geography’. IOD is Indian Ocean Rim Association’s (IORA’s) premier 1.5 track forum for dialogue between academia and officials on strategic issues of interest and concerns facing the Association.
      2. Theme for 2019 Delhi Dialogue is- ‘Advancing Partnership in Indo-Pacific’.
      3. India announced to soon expand its Indo-Pacific policy. So far, Indo-Pacific covered Indian Ocean and Arabian sea. With expansion, region will also include Gulf states and Africa. It will help India in its Act East Policy.
    2. 4th edition of International Seminar cum Exhibition on Naval Weapon Systems ‘NAVARMS-19’ held at Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), Development Enclave, New Delhi. Theme for 2019 edition is: “Make in India – Fight Category: Opportunities and Imperatives”.
      1. NAVARMS is only international seminar and exhibition on Naval Weapon Systems conducted in India.
    3. US surpassed Kuwait to become India’s 6th largest oil supplier. Iraq continues to be top crude oil supplier to India. Iraq supplied 26 million tonnes of crude oil to India during April to September 2019. India is 83% dependent on oil imports to meet its oil needs.
      1. Top 7 Oil Suppliers to India - Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, UAE, Venezuela, US, Kuwait.
      2. India stopped importing crude oil from Iran following the reimposition of economic sanctions in May 2019 by US.
    4. Winter Session of Parliament held from November 18 to December 13, 2019. 
      1. Facts -
        1. It observed 70th anniversary of enactment of Constitution.  This was also the 250th session of Rajya Sabha.
        2. 17 Bills were introduced in Parliament (excluding an appropriation Bill).  14 Bills were passed by Parliament.
      2.  Bills Passed by Parliament (Passed by Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) -
        1. Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 -
          1. Citizenship Act 1955 regulates who may acquire Indian citizenship, and prohibits illegal migrants from acquiring Indian citizenship. Illegal migrants may be imprisoned or deported under Foreigners Act 1946 and Passport (Entry into India) Act 1920. 
          2. In 2015 and 2016, government exempted certain groups of illegal migrants from provisions of 1946 and 1920 Acts. These groups are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014. This implies that these groups of illegal migrants will not be deported or imprisoned for being in India without valid documents. 
          3. 2019 Bill seeks to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.  It exempts certain areas in the North-East from this provision. 
          4. Bill also makes amendments to provisions related to OCI cardholders. A foreigner may register as an OCI under 1955 Act if they are of Indian origin.  This will enable them to travel to India and work and study in India. 
          5. The Bill has been passed and became Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, but has been seeing widespread protests across country amid misinformation being spread by several unsocial elements. The act is accused of violating Article 14 of constitution that guarantees equality to all persons, including citizens and foreigners.  It only permits laws to differentiate between groups of people if the rationale for doing so serves a reasonable purpose.
          6. Bill classifies migrants based on their country of origin to include only Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.  Statement of Objects and Reasons in the Bill (SoR) states that India has had historic migration of people with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and these countries have a state religion, which has resulted in religious persecution of minority groups. 
          7. This bill will not be applicable in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura (about 70%) and almost entire Meghalaya because of Inner Line Permit in these states. President Ram Nath Kovind had earlier signed an order to extend Inner Line Permit (ILP) to Manipur. In Assam, Bodo, Karbi, and Dimasa areas fall under 6th Schedule of Constitution, so this law will not apply there too.
            1. Inner Line Permit is a document that allows an Indian citizen to go or live in a protected state under ILP system for a specific period of time. It is currently applicable in 4 northeastern states - Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram. It is important to get an ILP to travel to these states.
            2. Concept of inner line permit was formulated during British Government. An inner line permit is a travel document issued under Eastern Frontier Regulations in 1873. Purpose of British was to protect their business interests by preventing Indians from doing business in these areas.
            3. Government of India changed it in 1950, to a protective system to protect local population from attacks of mass exodus.
            4. Now, people need a permit who are not 'natives' in these states despite they are long-term residents. Such people have to renew their permits every six months.
            5. Those states fall under ILP will not affect by Citizen Amendment Bill (CAB). Most affected states with illegal migration are Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya.
        2. Constitution (126th Amendment) Bill 2019 -
          1. Constitution provides for reservation of seats for SCs and STs and representation of Anglo-Indian community by nomination, in Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies of states. This has been provided for a period of 70 years since enactment of Constitution and will expire on January 25, 2020. 
          2. Bill seeks to extend the reservation for SCs and STs by another 10 years till January 25, 2030.
        3.  Arms (Amendment) Bill 2019 -
          1. It seeks to amend Arms Act 1959.   It decreases number of licensed firearms allowed per person and increase penalties for certain offences under the Act.  It also introduces new categories of offences.
          2. License for acquiring firearms -
            1. Under the Act, a license must be obtained to acquire, possess, or carry any firearm.  A person can obtain a license for up to three firearms. 
            2. Bill reduces number of permitted firearms from three to one.  Bill provides 1 year to deposit excess firearms with competent authorities.
            3. Bill increases duration of validity of a firearm license from 3 to 5 years.
          3. Ban on firearms -
            1. Bill prohibits obtaining or procuring un-licensed firearms, and conversion of one category of firearms to another without a license.
          4. Increase in punishment -
            1. Bill amends punishment in relation to several offences, increasing punishment to between 7 years and life imprisonment, along with a fine.
          5. New offences -
            1. Bill adds news offences.  These include forcefully taking firearm from police or armed forces, using firearms in a celebratory gunfire.
            2. Bill also defines offences committed by organised crime syndicates and illicit trafficking. Organised crime refers to continuing unlawful activity by a person, using unlawful means.
          6. Tracking of firearms - Government may make rules to track firearms and ammunition from manufacturer to purchaser to detect, investigate, and analyse illicit manufacturing and trafficking.
        4. Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill 2019 -
          1. Bill provides for merger of UTs of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu into a single UT.
          2. Amendment of the Constitution -
            1. First Schedule to Constitution specifies territories that come under various states and UTs.  Bill amends First Schedule to merge territories of two UTs - Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. 
            2. Merged territory will form UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. 
          3. First Schedule to Representation of People Act 1950 provides 1 seat in Lok Sabha to each of two UTs.  Bill amends he Schedule to allocate 2 Lok Sabha seats to merged UT.  
          4. Bill provides that jurisdiction of the High Court of Bombay will continue to extend to merged UT.
        5. NCT of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill 2019 -
          1. It provides for recognising property rights of residents of certain unauthorised colonies in Delhi.
          2. Bill provides that government may regularise transactions of properties held by residents of certain unauthorised colonies.  Any resident of an unauthorised colony having these documents will be eligible to obtain right of ownership. 
          3. An unauthorised colony is defined as a colony or development comprising of an adjoining area, where no permission has been obtained for approval of layout or building plans. 
          4. Residents will be required to pay certain charges to obtain such ownership, to be notified by government. 
        6. Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill 2019 -
          1. It amends Special Protections Group Act 1988, which provides for constitution of Special Protection Group (SPG) to provide security to Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers, and their immediate family members (for 1 year from when they cease to hold the office).
          2. Bill amends this to state that SPG will provide security to Prime Minister and his immediate family residing with him at his official residence. It will also provide security to any former Prime Ministers and his immediate family members residing with him at residence allotted to him.  Security will be provided for 5 years from when they cease to hold office.
        7. Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019 -
          1. It Replaces Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2019 which was promulgated in September 2019, to amend IT Act and Finance (No. 2) Act 2019. It provides lower tax rate options to domestic companies to promote growth and investment and attract fresh investment in manufacturing sector.
          2. Currently, domestic companies with turnover up to 400 crore pay income tax at rate of 25%. For other domestic companies, tax rate is 30%.  Bill provides domestic companies with an option to pay tax at the rate of 22%, provided they do not claim certain deductions under Income Tax Act.
          3. Bill provides new domestic manufacturing companies with an option to pay income tax at rate of 15%, provided they do not claim certain deductions. These companies must be set up after September 30, 2019, and start manufacturing before April 1, 2023.
          4. A company can choose to opt for new tax rates in FY 2019-20 or in any other financial year in future. Once a company exercises this option, chosen provision will apply for all subsequent years.
          5. Domestic companies pay surcharge at 7%, if income is between one crore rupees and Rs 10 crore, and at 12%, if income is more than Rs 10 crore. Companies opting for the new rates have to pay a 10% surcharge.
            Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) is tax to be paid by a company in case its normal tax liability after claiming deductions falls below a certain limit. Bill adds that provisions regarding MAT credit will also not apply to companies opting for new rates.
          6. Ordinance reduces MAT rate (applicable for companies not opting for new tax rates) from 18.5% to 15%, from FY 2019-20. Bill amends this provision by making it effective from financial year 2020-21.
          7. Bill clarifies that certain businesses will not be considered as manufacturing businesses. These include businesses engaged in development of computer software, printing of books, production of cinematograph film, mining.
          8. A surcharge is levied on top of the tax paid on income. This surcharge is applicable at rate of -
            1. 10% of tax, for income between Rs 50 lakh and one crore rupees
            2. 15% of tax, for income between one crore rupees and two crore rupees
            3. 25% of tax, for income between two crore rupees and five crore rupees, and
            4. 37% of tax, for income more than five crore rupees. 
          9. Bill separates surcharge on capital gains from that on all other income.  Income excluding capital gains will be subject to surcharge as per the above slabs.  Capital gains will also be subject to surcharge as per the above slabs, if the total income does not exceed one crore rupees.  Otherwise, a flat 15% rate of surcharge will be applicable for capital gains.
        8. Recycling of Ships Bill 2019 -
          1. It restricts use of hazardous material on ships and regulates the recycling of ships.
          2. Bill defines ship recycling as dismantling of a ship at a facility to recover components for reuse, and taking care of the hazardous material so produced. 
          3. The owner of every new ship must make an application to the National Authority to obtain a certificate on the inventory of hazardous materials. Existing ship owners must apply for the certificate within five years, to be renewed every 5 years. 
          4. Using hazardous materials in a ship will be punishable with imprisonment of up to three months, or a fine of up to five lakh rupees, or both.
          5. These requirements will not apply to any warship, or other ship operated by an administration and used on government non-commercial service, and ships with internal volume less than 500 tonne.
          6. Ships will be recycled only in authorised recycling facilities.  Existing facilities must apply for authorisation within 60 days.
        9. International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill 2019 -
          1. It provides for establishment of an Authority to regulate financial services market in International Financial Services Centres in India, applicable to International Financial Services Centres set up under Special Economic Zones Act 2005.
          2. Bill sets up the International Financial Services Centres Authority, with 9 members.  Members will have term of 3 years. 
          3. Bill sets up the International Financial Services Centres Authority Fund, to manage finances of IFSCs. 
          4. Authority will constitute a Performance Review Committee to review its functioning.  Review Committee will consist of at least two members of the Authority. 
          5. As per the Bill, transactions of financial services in IFSCs will be in such foreign currency as specified by Authority.
        10. Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage, and Advertisement) Bill 2019 -
          1. It replaces an Ordinance promulgated in September 2019, seeking to prohibits production, trade, storage, and advertisement of electronic cigarettes.
          2. Bill defines electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as electronic devices that heat a substance, which may contain nicotine and other chemicals, to create vapour for inhalation.
          3. Bill prohibits the production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution and advertisement of e-cigarettes in India.
          4. It provisions jail up to 3 years and fine up to 5 lakhs, for offenders.
        11. Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill 2019 -
          1. It amends Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act 1951, which provides for erection of a National Memorial in memory of those killed / wounded on April 13, 1919, in Jallianwala Bagh.  It also creates a Trust to manage the Memorial.
          2. Under Act, Trustees of Memorial include PM as Chairperson, President of Indian National Congress, Minister in-charge of Culture, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Governor of Punjab, Chief Minister of Punjab, and 3 eminent persons nominated by government.  Bill removes President of Indian National Congress as a Trustee. 
          3. Act provides that three trustees nominated by government will be trustees for a period of five years and will be eligible for renomination. Bill allows government to terminate term of a nominated trustee before expiry of period of his term without assigning any reason.
        12. National Institute of Design (Amendment) Bill 2019 -
          1. It seeks to amend National Institute of Design Act 2014, which declares National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad as an institution of national importance.
          2. Bill seeks to declare four National Institutes of Design in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, and Haryana as institutions of national importance. Currently, these are registered as Societies under the Societies Registration Act 1860 and do not have the power to grant degrees or diplomas.
        13. Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019 -
          1. Bill prohibits discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment.
          2. Every transgender person shall have a right to reside and be included in his household.
          3. No government or private entity can discriminate against a transgender person in employment matters, including recruitment, and promotion.
          4. Educational institutions shall provide inclusive education, sports and recreational facilities for transgender persons, without discrimination.
          5. A transgender person may make an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’. 
          6. Government will take measures to ensure full inclusion of transgender persons in society.
          7. Bill recognizes several offences against transgender persons. Penalties for these offences vary between six months and two years, and a fine.
          8. National Council for Transgender persons (NCT) will be formed with Union Minister for Social Justice as (Chairperson) and other designated members.
        14. Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill 2019 -
          1. It Bill seeks to amend Chit Funds Act 1982, that regulates chit funds, and prohibits a fund from being created without prior sanction of state government.  Under a chit fund, people agree to pay a certain amount from time to time into a fund.  Periodically, one of subscribers is chosen by drawing a chit to receive the prize amount from the fund.
          2.  Act specifies various names which may be used to refer to a chit fund. These include chit, chit fund, and kuri.  Bill additionally inserts ‘fraternity fund’ and ‘rotating savings and credit institution’ to this list.
          3. Act defines certain terms in relation to chit funds - ‘chit amount’, ‘dividend’ and ‘prize amount’. Bill changes names of these terms to ‘gross chit amount’, ‘share of discount’ and ‘net chit amount’, respectively.
          4. Under the Act, the ‘foreman’ is responsible for managing chit fund, who is entitled to maximum commission of 5% of chit amount.  Bill seeks to increase the commission to 7%.
          5. Under the Act, chits may be conducted by firms, associations or individuals. Maximum amount of chit funds which may be collected - 1 lakh for chits conducted by individuals and firms with under 4 partners and 6 lakh rupees for firms with four or more partners.  Bill increases these limits to three lakh rupees and 18 lakh rupees, respectively. 
          6. Act does not apply to any chit started before it was enacted and any chit (or multiple chits being managed by the same foreman) where amount is less than Rs 100. Bill removes limit of Rs 100, and allows state governments to specify base amount over which vprovisions of Act will apply.
      3. Bills Introduced -
        1. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill 2019 (Introduced in Lok Sabha).
          1. It amends Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016, which provides process for resolving insolvency in companies / individuals.
          2. Minimum threshold for initiating resolution process -
            1. Under the Code, a creditor may file an application before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for initiating insolvency resolution process.  Bill amends this to provide minimum thresholds for certain class of creditors to initiate insolvency resolution process. 
            2. Application should be filed jointly by at least 100 creditor, or 10% of the total number of such creditors in the same class, whichever is less. The rule applies to real estate projects also, requiring 100 allottees of same project, to initiate insolvency.
          3. Restriction on persons allowed to make applications -
            1. Code restricts certain debtors from making an application to initiate resolution process.  Bill clarifies that these corporate debtors will be allowed to initiate the resolution process against any other corporate debtor.
          4. Bill states that any existing licence, permit, registration, quota, concession, or clearance, given by government or local authority, will not be terminated on grounds of insolvency.  However, there should be no default in payment of current dues for use of such grants. 
          5. Bill provides that corporate debtors will have immunity against offences committed by them prior to commencement of resolution process.  Such immunity will be granted if resolution plan approved by NCLT results in change of promoters, or management of corporate debtor.  However, any person in charge of corporate debtor, will continue to be held liable for such offences.
        2. Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 (introduced in Lok Sabha) -
          1. Bill governs processing of personal data of Individuals by government / companies. Bill categorises certain personal data as sensitive personal data, such as financial, biometric, caste, religious or political beliefs.
          2. A data fiduciary is an entity who decides purpose of processing personal data. Additionally, data fiduciaries must undertake certain transparency and accountability measures.  They must also arrange for age verification and parental consent when processing sensitive personal data of children.
          3. Bill sets certain rights of individual, such as right to obtain confirmation from fiduciary on whether their personal data has been processed, seek correction of personal data, have personal data transferred to any other data fiduciary, and restrict continuing disclosure of their personal data by a fiduciary.
          4. In certain circumstances, personal data can be processed without consent by fiduciary.  These include if required by State for providing benefits to individual, legal proceedings and to respond to a medical emergency.
          5. Bill sets up a Data Protection Authority which may take steps to protect interests of individuals, prevent misuse of personal data, and ensure compliance with the Bill. It will consist of a chairperson and six members.
          6. Sensitive personal data may be transferred outside India for processing if explicitly consented to by individual. However, such data should continue to be stored in India.
          7. Bill states several Exemptions that may enable government to exempt any of its agencies from provisions of the Act
          8. Offences include -
            1. Processing / transferring personal data, punishable with a fine of Rs 15 crore or 4% of turnover of fiduciary, whichever is higher.
            2. Failure to conduct a data audit, punishable with a fine of five crore rupees or 2% of the annual turnover of the fiduciary, whichever is higher. 
            3. Re-identification and processing of de-identified personal data without consent is punishable with imprisonment of up to 3 years, or fine, or both.
          9. Government may direct data fiduciaries to provide it with any non-personal data and anonymised personal data for better targeting of services.
          10. Bill amends IT Act 2000 to delete provisions related to compensation payable by companies for failure to protect personal data.
        3. Code on Social Security 2019 -
          1. It replaces nine laws related to social security, including Employees’ Provident Fund Act 1952, Maternity Benefit Act 1961 and Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act 2008. 
          2. It states that central / state government may notify specific schemes for workers, which also includes unorganised sector workers to provide various benefits, such as life and disability cover.
          3. Code specifies different applicability thresholds for the schemes.  For example, EPF Scheme will apply to establishments with 20 or more employees. ESI Scheme will apply to certain establishments with 10 or more employees, and establishments which carry out hazardous or life-threatening work.
          4. EPF, EPS, EDLI, and ESI Schemes will be financed through a combination of contributions from the employer and employee. Schemes for gig workers, platform workers, and unorganised workers may be financed through a combination of contributions from the employer, employee, and the appropriate government.
          5. Code provides for the establishment of several bodies to administer the social security schemes.  These include -
            1. Central Board of Trustees (headed by Central Provident Fund Commissioner) to administer EPF, EPS and EDLI Schemes,
            2. Employees State Insurance Corporation to administer the ESI Scheme.
            3. National and state-level Social Security Boards to administer schemes for unorganised workers.
            4. State-level Building Workers’ Welfare Boards to administer schemes for building workers.
          6. Government may appoint Inspector-cum-facilitators to inspect establishments covered by Code, and advise employers and employees on compliance with Code.
          7. Code specifies penalties for various offences, such as failure by an employer to pay contributions after deducting employee’s share, punishable with imprisonment between 1 - 3 years and fine of 1 lakh rupees, and falsification of reports, punishable with imprisonment of up to 6 months.
        4. Central Sanskrit Universities Bill 2019 (introduced in Lok Sabha) -
          1. Presently, there 3 three deemed-to-be Sanskrit universities - Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan (New Delhi), Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth (New Delhi) and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth (Tirupati). Bill seeks to convert these into Central Sanskrit Universities, with appropriate Authorities and 15 member executive council.
          2.  President of India will be the Visitor of the University. He may appoint persons to review and inspect the functioning of the University. 
        5. Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill 2019 (introduced in Lok Sabha ) -
          1. Bill amends Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007.  
          2. Bill adds several terms definition of childen - step-children, adoptive children, children-in-laws, and legal guardian of minor children.  Act defines parents to include biological, adoptive, and step parents.  Bill expands definition of parents to include parent-in-laws, and grandparents.
          3. Bill expands definition of maintenance to include provision of healthcare, safety, and security for parents and senior citizens to lead a life of dignity.
          4. Under the Act, state governments constitute maintenance Tribunals to decide on maintenance payable to senior citizens.  These Tribunals may direct children and relatives to pay 10000 monthly to senior citizens.  Bill removes the upper limit on the maintenance fee. 
          5. Act requires children and relatives to deposit maintenance amount with relevant senior citizen within 30 days of being ordered to do so.  Bill reduces this to 15 days.
          6. Act provides for senior citizens to appeal decisions of maintenance Tribunal. Bill allows children and relatives also to appeal decisions of Tribunal.
          7. Bill increases penalty for abandonment of a senior citizen to 3 - 6 months, or fine of up to Rs 10000.
          8. Act provides for a maintenance officer to represent a parent during proceedings of Tribunal.  Bill requires maintenance officers to ensure compliance with orders on maintenance payments, and act as a liaison for parents.
          9. Under the Act, state governments may set up old age homes. Bill provides that care homes can be set up by government / private organisation.
          10. Act provides for certain facilities for senior citizens in government hospitals.  Bill requires all hospitalsto provide these facilities for senior citizens.  Homecare facilities will be provided for senior citizens with disabilities. 
          11. Bill requires every police station to have at least one officer, not below rank of Assistant Sub-Inspector, to deal with issues related to parents and senior citizens​.  State governments must constitute a special police unit for senior citizens in every district.
        6. Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill 2019 -
          1. Bill provides for prevention of maritime piracy and prosecution of persons for such piracy related crimes. It will apply to all parts of sea adjacent to and beyond limits of Exclusive Economic Zone of India. EEZ refer to area of sea to which India has exclusive rights for economic activities.
          2. An act of piracy will be punishable with imprisonment for life or death, if act of piracy includes attempted murder, or causes death.  Offences will be considered extraditable.  This means that the accused can be transferred to any country for prosecution with which India has signed an extradition treaty.
          3. Seizure may be carried out only by Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard or ships / aircrafts on government service.
          4. Govt may notify Sessions Courts to be Designated Courts under this Bill. 
          5. Court will not have jurisdiction over offences committed on a foreign ship, unless an intervention is requested by country of origin of ship, ship owner, or any other person on ship. Warships and government ships employed for non-commercial purposes will not be under jurisdiction of Court.
        7. Industrial Relations Code 2019 (introduced in Lok Sabha) -
          1. It seeks to replace three labour laws - Industrial Disputes Act 1947, Trade Unions Act 1926, and Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act 1946.
          2. Under the Code, seven or more members of a trade union can apply to register it.  Trade unions with membership of at least 10% of workers or 100 workers, whichever is less, will be registered. 
          3. Code provides for a negotiation union in an industrial establishment for negotiating with employer.
          4. Code prohibits employers, workers, and trade unions from committing any unfair labour practices, including restricting workers from forming trade unions, establishing employer sponsored trade unions and coercing workers to join trade unions.
          5. Industrial establishments with at least 100 workers must prepare standing orders on matters listed in Code. 
          6. Employers of industrial establishments with at least 100 workers are required to take prior permission of the central or state government before lay-off, retrenchment or closure. 
          7. Industrial establishments with 50 to 100 workers are required to pay 50% of basic wages and dearness allowance to a worker who has been laid off, and give one month’s notice and wages for such period to a worker.
          8. Government may appoint conciliation officers to mediate and promote settlement of industrial disputes. 
          9. Code provides for constitution of Industrial Tribunals for the settlement of industrial disputes.  An Industrial Tribunal will consist of two members. Central government may also constitute National Industrial Tribunals for settlement of industrial disputes.
      4. Withdrawn Bills -
        1. Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 1987
        2. National Commission for Human Resources for Health Bill 2011
        3. Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2013
        4. International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill 2019
      5. Notable Information provided during Question hour During Winter session 2019 -
        1. Government will establish a National Maritime Heritage Museum at Lothal in Gujarat, in association with Portugal. It will also act as an independent research center for archaeology of boat building, reconstruction of maritime history and materials traded. It will hold display of salvaged materials from shipwreck sites in Indian Ocean waters.
        2. Under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), 20.84 crore loan accounts totalling an amount of Rs 10.24 lac crore have been sanctioned upto end of October 2019.
        3. Under Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWT&T) between India and Bangladesh, Port of Mongla is declared as Port of Call under PIWT&T and Chattogram port is not part of PIWT&T.  Mongla and Chattogram are declared as Ports of Call under the “Coastal Shipping Agreement” between India and Bangladesh.
        4. Archaeological Survey of India has identified 138 numbers of monuments as Must-See Monuments. There are 38 World Heritage Sites in India.
        5. ISRO will set up 5 Space Technology Cells at the premier institutes in order to carry out research activities. It includes IISc, IITs in Kharagpur, Bombay, Madras and Kanpur.
        6. MP Sarojni Hembram from Odisha for the first time spoke in a tribal language called Santhali, raising matter of public importance during zero hour. This makes it first ever use of Santhali tribal language in Rajya Sabha.
        7. Government has approved seven projects for setting up of FM transmitters in premises of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) for strengthening FM coverage along Indo-Nepal border.
        8. UNICEF ( United Nations Children’s Fund ) in association with WCD Ministry jointly launched “YuWaah- (Generation Unlimited India)”, aimed at promoting secondary education and training to build skills young people need for productive lives and work & also boost number of quality work opportunities available to youth.
        9. MPs unanimously decided to abolish food subsidy in canteen of Parliament, saving around 15 crores annually.
        10. Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned 18 projects under the schemes PRASHAD and Swadesh Darshan, with INR 1456 crores allocated for the same.
        11. Government has approved strategic disinvestment of 33 Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), with sale of majority stake of Government and transfer of management control.
        12. “Indian Ranking Society” was approved by HRD ministry in August 2019, to develop methodologies and systems to rank higher educational institutions in country. At present, educational institutes are ranked according to National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), with 5 broad generic groups of parameters.
        13. Railways recorded an operating ratio of 98.44% in 2017-18, worst in last 10 years.  Operating ratio is a measure of expenditure against the revenue. It shows the operating efficiency of the railway and the health of its finances.
  20. Dec 12, 2019
    1. Dec 12 is observed as UN Universal Health Coverage Day, designated by UN in 2017. 2019 theme is Keep the promise.
      1. The day marks anniversary of UN’ unanimous endorsement of universal health coverage (UHC) and providing affordable, quality health care in 2012. On 12 December 2017, UN proclaimed 12 December as International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day).
      2. Dec 12 is observed as UN International Day of Neutrality, proclaimed by UN in 2017. The resolution was put up by Turkmenistan.
    2. Forbes ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ List -
      1. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman  ranked 34th.
      2. India's HCL Corporation CEO and Executive Director Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Biocon Founder Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Indian-Origin Dubai based Businesswoman Renuka Jagtiani (CEO of Landmark Group ).
      3. Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also featured on the list on the 29th position.
      4. Top 5 and Notable Names -
      5. S.No. Name Country
        1 Angela Merkel Germany
        2 Christine Lagarde France
        3 Nancy Pelosi United States
        4 Ursula von der Leyen Belgium
        5 Mary Barra United States
        29 Sheikh hasina Bangladesh
        34 Nirmala Sitharaman India
        54 Roshni Nadar Malhotra India
        65 Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw India
        96 Renuka Jagtiani India
        100 Greta Thunberg Sweden
    3. Odisha received World Habitat Award, a global recognition for its ambitious initiative - Jaga Mission. It is given by World Habitat, a UK-based organization, in partnership with United Nation - Habitat. Jaga Mission is a slum land titling project, benefiting a million urban-poor living in the slums.
    4. Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries launched tanker Suiso Frontier at Kobe Works yard, as World’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier. It aims at tapping carbon-free energy potential of lightest element. Ship will demonstrate international hydrogen energy supply chain, by shipping fuel from Australia to Japan.
    5. HDFC Bank became 3rd Indian Company (and 1st bank) to attain 7 lakh crore market capitalisation (M-cap), after Reliance Industries and Tata Consultancy Services.
    6. India will renew its pact with Kazakhstan for supply of uranium from 2020 to 2024. Kazakhstan has so far supplied 9000 tonne of uranium to India. India sources nearly 80 per cent of its uranium requirement from Kazakhstan.
    7. Data networks Firm Sterlite Technologies partnered with IIT Madras for conducting research and developments in 5G technology. STL will sponsor a Chair Professorship in 5G technology at the institute.
    8. Reliance Industries signed agreement with UAE's Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to explore a joint venture for building an ethylene dichloride (EDC) facility in Ruwais (UAE). EDC is a basic building-block for manufacture of PVC, a polymer product in increasingly higher demand globally. ADNOC would supply ethylene and RIL will deliver operational expertise and entry to Indian vinyls market.
    9. US, Mexico and Canada signed revamped version of their regional trade pact after several months of negotiations. US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will now go to each countries' legislatures for final approval. It is meant to replace North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a deal in place since 1994.
    10. Puducherry UT government unveiled a start-up policy, aiming to create a corpus fund of 10 crores to support the setting up of start-up incubators and develop co-working spaces. The department plans to provide a grant of 3 lakh to projects recommended by incubators as a start-up grant.
    11. Department of Social Justice and Empowerment launched National award for outstanding services in the field of Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug abuse, to be given to institutions / individuals working in field of prevention of alcoholism and drug abuse. The award will be presented on International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26th of June next year.
    12. WTA (Women's Tennis Association) Awards 2019 -
      1. Player of the Year - Ashleigh Barty (Australia). Her coach Craig Tyzzer named coach of the year.
      2. Doubles Team of the Year - Tímea Babos (Hungary) AND Kristina Mladenovic (France)
      3. Most Improved Player of the Year - Sofia Kenin (US)
      4. Newcomer of the Year - Bianca Andreescu (Canada)
      5. Comeback Player of the Year - Belinda Bencic (Switzerland)
    13. IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India) constituted a working group (WG) headed by IRDA member T. L. Alamelu to make recommendations for loss prevention & minimization in the general insurance industry.
    14. Govt. appointed Shrikant Madhav Vaidya as new Chairman of Maharatna PSU Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.
    15. Govt. updated composition of Group of Ministers (GoM) on Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST), wit Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman opting out as head of GoM. It will now be headed by Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi.
    16. NASA scientists mapped global wind circulation patterns in upper atmosphere of Mars. Circulation patterns were mapped 120 to 300 kilometers above Mars’s surface showing “ripple effects”.
      1. Study noted that average circulation patterns from season to season were very stable on Mars. But, shorter-term variability of winds in upper atmosphere was greater than anticipated.
    17. Gurugram-based startup blue Sky Analytics's application ‘Zuri’ won Copernicus Masters Award also called Space Oscars, under Social Entrepreneurship category. Award was given by Earth observation program managed by European Commission (EU) and European Space Agency (ESA).
      1. Application uses satellite data to provide improved monitoring, supply chain and pricing analysis and allocation of crop waste to be used as raw materials in other industries.
  21. Dec 11, 2019
    1. Cabinet Approvals (Dec 11, 2019) -
      1. MOUs -
        1. Japan - Coopration in Steel Sector and Electricity Distribution
        2. Saudi Arabia - Medical Products Regulation.
        3. Brazil - Social Security.
      2. General Approvals -
        1. Approved Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme to be offered by Government to Public Sector Banks (PSBs) for purchasing high-rated pooled assets from financially sound Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) / Housing Finance Companies (HFCs).
          1. Amount of guarantee is limited to first loss of up to 10 % of fair value of assets being purchased by banks under Scheme, or 10000 crores, whichever is lower.
          2. Window for one-time partial credit guarantee offered by Gol will remain open till 30th June, 2020 or till such date by which 100000 crores assets get purchased by Banks, whichever is earlier.
          3. Earlier in Union Budget 2019-20, it was announced that - For purchase of high-rated pooled assets of financially sound NBFCs, amounting to a total of Rupees one lakh crore during the current financial year, Government will provide one time six months' partial credit guarantee to Public Sector Banks for first loss up to 10%.

        2. Approved providing additional equity support to IIFCL to tune of 5300s crores in 2019-20 and 10000 crore in 2020-21. Cabinet also approved increasing authorized capital of IIFCL from 6000 crores to 25000 crores.
          1. This will enable IIFCL to create requisite headroom for borrowing, thus enabling it to finance big ticket infrastructure projects in line with Government's target to invest 100 lakh crore in infrastructure sector over 5 years.
        3. Approved amendments in Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 (code), through Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill 2019, aiming to remove certain difficulties faced during insolvency resolution process.
          1. Amendment Bill seeks to amend sections 5(12), 5(15), 7, 11, 14, 16(1), 21(2), 23(1), 29A, 227, 239, 240 and insert new section 32A in IBC 2016 (Code). 
        4. Approved authorizing National Highways Authority of India(NHAI) to set up Infrastructure Investment Trust(s) (InvIT) as per InvIT Guidelines issued by SEBI.
          1. This will enable NHAI to monetize completed National Highways that have a toll collection track record of atleast 1 year and NHAI reserves right to levy toll on identified highway. InvIT as an instrument provides greater flexibility to investors.
        5. Approved revision in funding pattern of 3 approved priority corridors of Delhi Metro Phase-IV projects, with sharing of land cost in the ratio of 50:50 between Government of India (GoI) and Government of Delhi (GNCTD).  Total cost of project wpould stay same - 24948 crores. Contribution from GoI increases from 4154 to 4643 crores.
        6. Approved introducing Aircraft (Amendment) Bill 2019 for carrying out amendments to Aircraft Act 1934.  Bill enhances limit of fine from 10 lakhs to 1 Crore. It also enlarges the scope of the existing Act to include regulation of all areas of Air Navigation.
          1. Amendments would fulfil the requirements of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). This will enable the three regulatory bodies in the Civil Aviation sector in India, namely Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau to become more effective.
      3. CCEA Approvals -
        1. Approved extension of timeline upto 31.03.2022 and revisionof approved components of PMs Development Package for development of Horticulture in UTs of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture.
          1. To extend timeline for implementation of PMDP approved in 2016 beyond 31st March 2019 by 3 years i.e. up to 31st March 2022. Additional 12 months may be provided, if required.
          2. Revision of earlier approved components of PMDP within outlay of 500 crore between UTs of J&K and Ladakh (40 crore for Ladakh and 460 crore for Jammu & Kashmir). Additional provision of up to 500 crores, if required.
          3. Earlier in, PM's special package for J&K for 500 crore with Rs. 450 crore Gol Share towards development of horticulture in State of Jammu & Kashmir was approved, for implementation over 3 years, upto 31.03.2019.
    2. India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C48 launched RISAT-2BR1 along with nine commercial satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota
      1. RISAT-2BR1 is a radar imaging earth observation satellite weighing about 628 kg. The satellite will provide services in the field of Agriculture, Forestry and Disaster Management. The mission life of RISAT-2BR1 is 5 years.
      2. The nine customer satellites of Israel, Italy, Japan and USA were precisely injected into their designated orbits. It Included Duchifat-3 satellite made by an Israeli student. It is a remote sensing satellite through which students from all schools across country will be able to experiment and carry through Earth observation.
      3.  This is 50th mission of PSLV and also 75th vehicle mission from Sriharikota.
    3. India Design Council (IDC) launched 2 initiatives - Design Education Quality Mark (DEQM) and Chartered Designs of India (CDI), to support and set standards for design profession.
      1. DEQM will benchmark design education programmes on predetermined standards and will accord a quality mark to institutions that meet standards.
      2. CDI is an institution that will establish and uphold professional standards of design practice in India.
    4. Boris Johnson got re-elected as Britain’s prime minister for his 2nd term, after 3rd general election in Britain in four years was won by Conservative Party.
    5. Misc. Secretary Level Appointments -
      1. Chandan Sinha - Director General in National Archives of India.
      2. Subhas Chandra Lal Das - Director General of Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
      3. Ravi Mittal - Secretary in Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
      4. Sunil Kumar - Secretary in Ministry ofPanchayati Raj.
      5. Praveen Kumar - Secretary in Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
      6. Sushil Kumar - Secretary in Ministry of Mines
    6. FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) India Sports Awards 2019 Winners -
      1. Sports Person of the Year (Female) - Rani Rampal (Hockey).
      2. Sports Person of the Year (Male) : Saurabh Chaudhary (Shooting).
      3. Best National Sports Federation - National Rifle Association of India
      4. Best Company Promoting Sports (Public Sector) - Railway Sports Promotion Board
      5. Best Para-athlete - Sandeep Chaudhary (javelin).
      6. Breakthrough Sports Person - Amit Panghal (boxing)
      7. Lifetime Achievement (Administrator) - Govindaraj Kempareddy
      8. Lifetime Achievement - Pankaj Advani (cue sport)
      9. Best State promoting sports - Odisha
      10. Best Sports Journalist - Kamesh Srinivasan
    7. Swedish Teenager Climate Activist Greta Thunberg is named as Time magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year. Other honors
      1. Athlete of the Year - US Women’s Soccer Team
      2. Guardians of the Year - US Public Servants
      3. Entertainer of the Year - Singer Lizzo
      4. Business Person of the Year - Disney CEO Bob Iger
    8. Andhra Pradesh Cabinet approved Disha Bill that proposes harsh punishment for crimes against women, also known as the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) bill.
      1. Cabinet also approved establishment of special courts for offences against women and children under Women and Children Act 2019.
      2. Act specifies that judgement for every case registered should be pronounced with in 21 days.
      3. Act also includes strict actions against persons uploading degrading posts against women on social media. In this case, the first-time offenders will be punished with 2 years of jail term and 2nd term offenders will be punished with 4 years of jail term.
    9. National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) issued its first audit report of IL&FS Financial Services Limited for 2017-18. It is first report submitted by authority since its constitution in October 2018.
      1. Prior to NHRA, audit of IL & FS financial services were conducted by Deloitte Haskins and Sells (DHS), which is said to be inadequate by NHRA. IL & FS is 3 decades old infrastructure projects financing NBFC, which has been facing severe cach crunch recently.
      2. After establishment of NFRA, India is eligible for membership of International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators, a global member organization that includes regulators from 53 jurisdictions.
    10. National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), India’s anti-doping body selected Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty as its brand ambassador.
    11. BioAsia 2020 will be held in Hyderabad in February 2020, with Switzerland as partner nation and Theme Today for Tomorrow.
    12. South Pacific Archipelago of Bougainville voted to become independent of Papua New Guinea., with 98% of 1.8 Lakh voters voting to get independent from Papua New Guinea.
      1. Bougainville is largest island of Solomon Islands Archipelago, and has world’s largest copper deposits.
      2. Country is yet to prove its recognition in United Nations. By international law, a country should recognize other for later to become an independent country, which be proved by new country through United Nation Resolution. If majority of countries vote in favour of membership of country. 195 countries are currently by United Nations.
    13. 3 day “International Seminar on Climate Smart Farming systems” held in New Delhi, attended by all 7 BIMSTEC countries. It includes Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Myanmar.
    14. Dec 11 is observed as UN International Mountain Day, being observed since 2003. 2019 Theme is Mountains matter for youth.
      1. Dec 11 is also formation day of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), established on this day in 1946.
    15. Poland left 2050 Climate Neutrality Agreement of European Union as Union demanded for more funds to support nuclear power and for economic transition. Poland's 80% energy needs are relied on coal currently. Poland had requested to extend plan execution deadline to 2070.
      1. European Union 2050 Climate Neutrality Plan is a key commitment under 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It is a 100 billion Euro plan for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
      2. Under Paris Agreement, the EU had committed to reduce its emission by 40% by 2030 as compared to 1990. There were no goals set for 2050 initially. Under new plan, 2030 target is increased to 50% and a new 100% target has been set for 2050.
    16. Canada's Vancouver-based airline Harbour air tested world's first all-electric commercial plane DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver , across Fraser River in Richmond (British Columbia).
    17. Ministry of Culture and Tourism launched Indian Culture web portal at URL, which brings together all the cultural resources of country on one platform. It has been jojntly developed by IIT Bombay and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
    18. UNESCO MGIEP (Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace) and Dell Technologies will launch a new education programme to train 4,000 Indian teachers in Artificial Technology, in 3 phases. In the first phase, teachers in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka will be trained. In second phase, face-to-face familiarization training will be provided. In third phase, teachers will be provided 12 months training.
    19. Food regulator FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) and IT Industry Body Nasscom Foundation signed MoU to jointly build a technology platform to prevent food wastage and encouraging food donation by developing an app for the same. A 24×7 helpline number and a mobile application ‘Food Donation in India’ will be launched, to enable donating food to the needy.
  22. Dec 10, 2019
    1. General Conferences (Dec 1 - 10, 2019) -
      1. India and Gambia signed a MoU on refurbishing personnel administration of Gambia, during visit of Vice Chairman of Public Services Commission of Gambia, Awa Auber.
      2. Himachal Pradesh Govt. approved selling Yamuna water from state's share at Tajewala corridor, expected to earn revenue of 21 crores per annum.
      3. 20th edition of GeoSmart India conference 2019 held in Hyderabad (Telangana), as largest geospatial event of India with aim of bringing the geospatial and emerging technologies together.
      4. Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar  inaugurated Gurgaon’s ambitious Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC), developed as nerve centre to provide multifaceted online smart services to people.
      5. ‘Digital Exhibition on History of Constitution of India’ event held in New Delhi.
      6. Punjab Govt launched Enable Startup Track Acceleration (ESTAC) programme during Progressive Punjab Investors Summit-2019, to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in the state.
      7. National Disaster Management Authority organised Heat Wave 2020 workshop on management of Heat Wave in Bengaluru (Karnataka).
      8. 8th editon of Indian Embassy’s annual film festival titled “Ambassador’s Choice: Screening of Films” held at Riyadh (Saudi Arabia).
      9. Jal Shakti Ministry organized 4th water impact summit in New Delhi, with focus on integrated management of water resources in rural and urban areas.
      10. National Convention on ‘Empowerment of Women for Social Transformation’ held at headquarters of Brahma Kumaris in Mount Abu (Rajasthan).
      11. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu launched new Rotavirus vaccine ROTAVAC-5D, developed by Bharat Biotech. ROTAVAC was realized through a partnership between scientists from India and USA.
      12. Government included 3 airports - Jeypore in Koraput, Rourkela in Sundergarh & Utkela in Kalahandi district of Odisha under regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik), to be developed under UDAN 4.0.
      13. Uttar Pradesh government approved setting up of 218 fast track courts in Uttar Pradesh, amid rising cases of crime against women. Odisha also approved setting up 45 Fast track courts.
      14. Human Library, which seeks to replace books with humans, held in Mysuru (Karnataka), organized by international non-profit organization Human Library.
      15. 3rd edition of National Public Procurement Conclave held in New Delhi, organized by Government e-Marketplace (GeM) in association with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
      16. Ministry of Corporate Affairs launched Independent Director’s Databank in accordance with provisions of Companies Act 2013, to strengthen institution of Independent Directors, accessible at or
        1. It aims to provide an easy to navigate platform for registration of existing Independent Directors and individuals aspiring to become independent directors.
      17. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu launched ‘Bharatiya Poshan Anthem’ in New Delhi, which aims towrads taking message of making India malnutrition free to all corners of country. It has been penned by Prasoon Joshi and sung by Shankar Mahadevan.
      18. Pension week celebrated across Nation between November 30 to December 6.
      19. Konark Festival & International Sand Art Festival 2019 held in Konark (Odisha).
      20. Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is organized a “Multi Media Exhibition” at World War II museum, Kisama in Nagaland.
    2. 2019 South Asian Games (13th edition) held in Kathmandu and Pokhara (Nepal) -
      1. 2715 Athletes from 7 Nations participated in 317 events of 26 sports.
      2. Medal Table -
        1. Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
          1  India  174 93 45 312
          2  Nepal  51 60 95 206
          3  Sri Lanka 40 83 128 251
          4  Pakistan 32 41 59 132
          5  Bangladesh 19 33 90 142
          6  Maldives 1 0 4 5
          7  Bhutan 0 7 13 20
    3. Visits to India (Dec 1 - 10, 2019)
      1. King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia Visited India.
        1. MOUs -
          1. Cooperation in Science and Technology, polar science.
          2. MOU on promoting safety of maritime environment. Under this, seafarer certificates will be recognised pursuant to Regulation I/10 of International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch. It is 1st first maritime cooperation agreement between these two nations.
          3. MOU for India-Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre in New Delhi, aiming to develop an ecosystem of open innovation to which start-ups and healthcare delivery stakeholders can use to collaborate and address challenges in healthcare.
        2. King and queen of Sweden inaugurated 14 MLD (megalitres per day) Sewage Treatment Plant at Sarai village in Haridwar, Uttarakhand.
        3. India-Sweden High-Level Dialogue on innovation policy in areas such as digital health, artificial intelligence (AI), future mobility and circular economy was inaugurated.
        4. Swedish companies will to help India in building climate neutral smart city in Gurgaon (Haryana). M3M, a Gurgaon based developer signed an agreement with Swedish company to develop 165-acre smart city project. It would attract $ 2 billion.
      2. Foreign Minister Guinea, Mamadi Toure visited India. India extended Line of Credits for one water supply and two solar projects in Guinea.
      3. Bangladesh Navy Chief Aurangzeb Chowdhury Visited India.
      4. Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth Visited India on an Informal Visit.
      5. Kinga Singye, Foreign Secretary of Bhutan Visited India for Second India-Bhutan Development Cooperation Talks.
    4. Visits from India (Dec 1 - 10, 2019) -
      1. Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat visited Japan.
      2. Minister of State for Human Resource and Development Sanjay Dhotre inaugurated India Pavilion at 33rd International Book Fair 2019 in Guadalajara, Mexico. India is “guest of honour” for 2019 book fair and is first Asia country to have received this honour.
    5. Dec 10 is observed as International Human Rights Day. 2019 theme is Youth Standing up for Human Rights. On this day in 1948, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was proclaimed by UN. Later in December 1993, UNGA announced to celebrate Human Rights Day annually.
    6. US retail major Walmart will open 25 institute hubs in India in next five years, to train 50,000 MSME entrepreneurs, under 'Walmart Vriddhi Supplier Development Programe'.
    7. National Stock Exchange launched interest rate options on 10 year Government bonds, expected to provide institutional investors the ability to manage risk through a non-linear product. Interest rate options are based on the underlying ten-year government bonds, which are 7.26 % 2029 bond and 6.45 % 2029 bond.
    8. Indian Rafale fighter jets will fly with the tail sign ‘BS’, to honor recently retired Air Force Chief Birender Singh Dhanoa. Air Force has decided to put tail numbers in 30 Rafale jets with ”BS” initials. Six Rafale trainer aircraft will carry RB series tail numbers which stand for RKS Bhadauria, current Chief of Air Staff.
    9. 'Iron Union 12', joint military exercise between Armies of UAE and US began.
    10. World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned Russia for four years,  from participation in global sporting events. It includes 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
      1. Ruling means Russian athletes will still be allowed to compete at the Tokyo Olympics as neutrals, but only if they can demonstrate that they were not part of what WADA believes was a state-sponsored system of doping.
      2. Earlier, WADA accused Russia of tampering with a Moscow laboratory database to hide several doping cases and falsely shift blame onto whistle-blowers.
    11. Inaugural edition of Siu-Ka-Pha Award presented to noted educationist, Botanist and folklore researcher Padmeswar Gogoi, instituted by central committee of different ethnic groups and organizations of Golaghat district (Assam).
    12. Abanindranath Tagore’s Book ‘Nalak’ featuring the journey of life of Gautama Buddha, has been translated to English by Urbi Bhaduri. Abanindranath Tagore is Rabindranath Tagore’s nephew.
  23. Dec 09, 2019
    1. Dec 09 is observed as International Anti-Corruption Day, marked by United Nations in 2003. 2019 Theme is United Against Corruption. Ending corruption is important to achieve Sustainable Development Goals 16 and 17.
      1. Dec 09 is also observed as International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime.
    2. Malaysia reported first case of Polio in 27 years, with an infant being diagnosed with polio. Last polio case in Malaysia occurred in 1992, and in 2000, it was declared polio-free.
    3. As per a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report, global arms sales rose by 5% in 2018. Turn over of 100 biggest arms manufacturers was 420 billion USD. US manufacturers accounted for 59% of global weapon market, followed by Russia (8.6%), UK (8.4 %) and France (5.5%). Study did not include China as there was insufficient data.
    4. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released Human Development Index 2019 (189 countries) -
      1. India ranked 129 on list, which is one rank ahead of its previous position.
      2. South Asia is fastest growing region, with 46% growth between 1990 and 2018.
      3. Top 5 - Norway (1), Switzerland (2), Ireland (3), Germany (4), Hong Kong (5)
      4. Bottom 3 - Niger (189), Central African Republic (188), Chad (187)
      5. Neighbors - Bangladesh (135), Pakistan (152), Nepal (147), Sri Lanka (71)
    5. US has shut down Appeal Court of World Trade Organization that acts as trade dispute settlement body for members. This 7 member body was cut down to a 3-member body in 2018 is now completely blocked by US.
      1. Without WTO’s appellate body, dispute settlement will return to pre-1995 GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) status quo.
      2. GATT legal agreement was signed by 23 nations in 1947. In 1993, 76 members of GATT and European community came together to create World Trade Organization.
    6. 2nd phase of Russia’s SIRIUS Deep Technology Learning and NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission concuded, in Sochi (Russia).
      1. SIRIUS is Scientific International Research in Unique Terrestrial Station, as series of experiments that investigate flights to moon. It was started in 2017.
      2. In 2017, joint SIRIUS experiments were conducted by US and Russia, called SIRIUS-17. In March 2019, SIRIUS-19 was conducted.
    7. A MoU is signed between National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) and Suadi Aramco (Asia) for development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Ecosystem in India in Oil & Gas Sector. It will pave way for accredited Indian MSMEs to carve out a space as vendors in Global space.
    8. 3rd India-Australia Secretary-level 2+2 dialogue held in New Delhi. India was represented by Defense Secretary Ajay Kumar and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, while Australian delegation was led by Australia’s Defense Secretary Greg Moriarty and Foreign Secretary Frances Adamson.
    9. Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Girish Chandra Murmu inaugurated Draj Bridge in Rajouri (J&K), to provide all-weather and speedy movement of Army troops and locals. This 72-metre-long bridge connects Draj Area with Tehsil Kotranka area under District Rajouri, constructed under Project Sampark of Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
    10. India Skills Report released by CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) in association with AICTE and UNDP. It provides employability of citizens across the states / cities.
      1. Maharashtra topped list with the highest employable talent, followed by Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
      2. Among cities, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune are most employable.
      3. Gender wise - Employability scores of male and female for year 2019 was 46% and 47% respectively.
    11. In order to secure CPEC sea route, China and Pakistan signed a deal to build drones with maximum payload of 480 kg, with top speed of 370 km. The drones are called Loong II. Pakistan and China have agreed to build 48 drones in Pakistan soil.
    12. Indian Railways commenced flow of additional 50 MW power (Total 100 MW) from Bhartiya Rail Bijli Company Limited (BRBCL) in Bihar, To reduce cost of electricity for traction. It will lead to an annual saving of 110 Crores. Additional flow of 10 MW power from BRBCL has also been started in the Rajasthan.
      1. Bhartiya Rail Bijli Company Limited (BRBCL) is a joint venture company of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Ministry of Railways to produce electricity for traction purpose to Railways at a low cost. Equity participation of NTPC & Railways at 74% and 26% respectively.
    13. Misc. Competition Commission of India Approvals -
      1. Approved subscription of compulsorily convertible debentures (CCDs) of Piramal Enterprises by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (Canada). Upon conversion, equity shareholding of CDPQ in Piramal Enterprises will increase from 3.68 % to 8.99 %.
      2. Approved acquisition of stake in Future Supply Chain Solutions Limited (Future Supply) by Nippon Express (South Asia & Oceania). Nippon Express is a Singapore-based wholly owned subsidiary of Nippon Express Co. Ltd.
      3. Approved acquisition of 16.01% paid up share capital of SBI General Insurance Company by Napean Opportunities LLP. Napean is a newly incorporated entity and belongs to PI Opportunities Fund – I and Azim Premji Trust.
  24. Dec 08, 2019
    1. Odisha government decided to merge its KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) scheme with Central Government’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) yojana.
      1. Under 'Kalia' scheme, farmers are entitled to get Rs 10,000 in two instalments for two crops in a year. Landless agricultural farmers are also eligible to get Rs 12,000 per annum for 3 years. Under PM-Kisan, central government is providing annually Rs 6,000 in three equal instalments to about 14 crore farmers.
      2. Under new guidelines, farmers will get Rs 10,000 per annum - 4000 by state govt and 6000 as per Centre's PM Kisan scheme. Landless farmers will, however, continue to get Rs 12,000 per year under the 'Kalia' scheme.
    2. Indian table tennis player Manav Thakkar won U-21 men’s singles title at ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) Challenge Plus Benemax-Virgo North American Open Series held in Markham (Canada), defeating Argentina’s Martin Bentancor.
    3. 4 diplomats have been honoured with The Diwali – Power of One award at UN Headquarter in New York (US). Awardees -
      1. Kairat Abdrakhmanov (Representative of Kazakhstan to UN)
      2. Nicholas Emiliou (Representative of Cyprus to UN)
      3. Frantisek Ruzicka (Representative of Slovakia to UN)
      4. Volodymyr Yelchenko (Representative of Ukraine to UN)
      5. ‘Diwali – Power of One Award’ was established by Diwali Foundation in 2017, given to diplomats for selfless work in creating a peaceful and secure world for all.
    4. China based Xiaomi launched Mi Credit personal loan service in India, its second Mi-branded financial solution service after Mi Pay. Xiaomi defines Mi Credit as “an online curated marketplace for lending, to offer the best personal loans to Mi Fans".
    5. Dec 8 is observed as SAARC Charter Day, commemorating establishment of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) by Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka at First Summit meeting in Dhaka (Bangladessh). Afghanistan later joined as 8th SAARC member in 2007.
    6. 15th Finance Commission  submitted its report for FY 2020-21 to President Ram Nath Kovind. It was constituted in November 2017 under Article 280 of Constitution. At that time, It was mandated to give recommendations for 1st April 2020 – 31st March 2025.
      1. Earlier in November 2019, Govt. Approved 15th FC to submit first report for first FY 2020-21 and to extend tenure of 15th FC to provide for presentation of final report covering FYs 2021-22 to 2025-26 by 30th October, 2020.
      2. Extension will enable it to examine various comparable estimates for financial projections in view of reforms and the new realities to finalise its recommendations for 2020-2026.
      3. 15th FC was constituted in November 2017, to give recommendations for devolution of taxes and other fiscal matters for 5 years, commencing 1 April 2020.
      4. Commission's chairman is N. K. Singh, with members being Ajay Narayan Jha, Ashok Lahiri and Anoop Singh. Commission also has a part-time member in Ramesh Chand. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das also earlier served as a member.
    7. IIT Hyderabad will collaborate with 4 Japanese institutions for research in areas including earthquake engineering and doctoral programs. Institutions Include Japan's National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience, Shizuoka University, Saitama University and National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS).
    8. Rajya Sabha constituted an informal group to study issues related to pornographic content on internet and social media platforms, to be headed by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh.
    9. Singapore based Grab launched GrabPay Card, as Asia’s first numberless card. It offers high end security and access to an expanded rewards ecosystem, to bring cashless convenience to people.
    10. US Based Market Research Firm Frost & Sullivan released 3rd edition of GIL Index for Economic Development in India for 2019 -
      1. This year, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh, along with Tamil Nadu, are named top 5 states in overall economic development in country. This Annual index evaluates India’s states / UTs on 100 indicators across 10 pillars.
      2. Frost & Sullivan presented Growth, Innovation & Leadership Award for Economic Development in India to Tamil Nadu Govt, to commemorate Tamil Nadu’s second ranking in Growth, Innovation & Leadership Index for Economic Development, for 3rd time consecutively.
    11. Aberdeen Police station in Andaman and Nicobar Islands ranked as best-performing police station in country, in Home Ministry's list of ten best-performing Police stations. Balasinor police station in Gujarat ranked 2nd and Ajk Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh got 3rd position.
    12. India's Exim Bank provided USD 500 million line of credit to Bangladesh for defence-related procurement, as per an agreement signed in April 2019.
      1. As per agreement, Goods and services including consultancy services of value of at least 75 % of contract price shall be supplied by sellers from India. Reduction may be considered on a case-to-case basis.
    13. India requested for early delivery of Meteor air-to-air missiles from France, to take on US supplied AMRAAM missiles possessed by Pakistan Air Force.
      1. Meteor missiles were to come by late 2020. However, India is insisting for delivery of at least 10 missiles in advance along with first set of Rafale fighter jets, which are to arrive in May 2020.
    14. RBI tightened norms for Asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) by barring them to bilaterally buy assets from banks /financial institutions (FIs) which is its sponsor, lender or has subscribed to the fund raised by ARC.
      1. However, RBI allowed ARCs to participate in auctions of financial assets, that should be conducted in a transparent manner, on arm’s length basis and the prices are set by market forces only.
    15. As per Euro Monitor International's Top 100 city destinations ranking -
      1. Delhi ranks 11th in list, forecasted to rise to 8th rank in 2019.
      2. Hong Kong remains topmost for three consecutive years (2017, 2018 and 2019), Followed by Bangkok, London, Macau and Singapore.
  25. Dec 07, 2019
    1. Dec 7 is observed as Armed Forces Flag Day, being observed annually since 1949. This day marks responsibility of every citizen to take care of families and dependents of armed forces personnel.
    2. Dec 7 is observed as International Civil Aviation Day, ezstablished in 1994 and officially recognised by UN in 1996. On this day in 1944, participants from 54 nations gathered in Chicago, US had signed Convention on International Civil Aviation, known as ‘Chicago Convention’.
    3. 8th India-China joint training exercise 'HAND-IN-HAND 2019' began at Umroi (Meghalaya), with theme counter terrorism. It is a 14 day long training exercise.
    4. 2nd edition of Startup India Global Venture Capital Summit organized in Goa, by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Theme is- ‘India Opportunity- Investing in tomorrow together’.
    5. President Ram Nath Kovind laid foundation stone to memorial being built in memory of Paika rebellion, a two hundred year old armed revolt against British East India Company in Odisha.
      1. Odisha Govt had earlier demanded 1817 revolt to be recognised as India’s first mutiny against the British. A chair in name of Buxi Jagabandhu who led this revolt has been established with a Rs 5 crore grant and memorial coin and stamp issued to mark 200 years of the event.
    6. Duchifat-3 satellite made by an Israeli student will be launched from ISRO’s Sriharikota launch site. It is a remote sensing satellite through which students from all schools across country will be able to experiment and carry through Earth observation.
    7. Sanna Marin has been elected as Finland’s prime minister. At just 34-years age, she is youngest PM of Finland ever.
    8. Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa has won Miss Universe 2019 pageant (68th edition), held in Atlanta (US). This is South Africa's third win, and crowning of first black woman winner since 2011 (Leila Lopes).
    9. Federation of Indian Association (FIA) invited Super 30 founder Anand Kumar to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations in New York.
      1. FIA is oldest organisation of the non-resident Indians, completing 50 years in 2020.
      2. Super 30 programme prepares 30 students from underprivileged sections of society for prestigious IIT entrance test every year, without any fees.
    10. Duncan Hamilton (UK) won 31st William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, becoming the only author to have won it 3 times. He won it for his biography of Guardian’s late cricket correspondent Neville Cardus, titled The Great Romantic: Cricket and the Golden Age of Neville Cardus. Award carries £30,000 cash prize.
      1. Football is most successful topic (7 awards), followed by cricket (6) and boxing (5).
      2. William Hill Sports Book of Year prize awarded annually since 1989.
    11. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, beamed back its first observations from edge of the sun’s scorching atmosphere. Launched in August 2018, It has already flown closer to the sun than any spacecraft before. Some observations Include -
      1. Solar Winds -
        1. Previously, scientists observed that sun’s wind has two main components - fast one that travels around 700km per second (and comes from giant coronal holes in sun’s polar region) and a slow wind travelling below 500km per second, whose origin is unknown.
        2. Parker probe traced slow wind back to small coronal holes dappled around sun’s equator – solar structures that were previously not known. Coronal holes are cooler, less dense regions, through which magnetic fields stream out into space, acting as channels for the charged particles to flow along.
      2. Why Sun's Corona is very hot and as compared to sun's Surface -
        1. Particles in solar wind appeared to be released in explosive jets, rather than being radiated out in a steady stream. This rapid release of energy from the sun’s interior into its atmosphere explains why sun's atmosphere is so staggeringly hot compared to its surface.
      3. New observations were made when Parker was about 15m miles (24m km) from sun, but it will eventually fly to about 6 KM (3.83 Miles) of its surface - more than seven times closer than previous closest mission, Helios 2 in 1976.
    12. RBI increased limits imposed on peer-to-peer lenders to 50 lakh, as total amount of money any investor can invest across all P2P platforms.
      1. Earlier, limits for both borrowers and lenders across all P2P platforms were 10 lakh.
      2. In P2P industry, individual borrowers are connected to lenders through digital platforms, acting as a marketplace.
    13. Global Payments Firm Mastercard partnered with Thailand Tourism Authority (TAT), to help tap more tourists from India.
    14. Namibia's President Hage Geingob has been re-elected for his second term.
    15. Noted Hindi poet Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari will be honoured with Gangadhar National Award. It includes cash prize of 50000 and is bestowed in remembrance of renowned poet Gangadhar Meher from Odisha.
    16. Republic TV Chief Arnab Goswami is elected as president of News Broadcasters Federation (NBF).
  26. Dec 06, 2019
    1. Telugu Book on ‘Kaleshwaram Project — Telangana’s chariot of Progress’ authored by Sridhar Rao Deshpande has been released.
    2. Assam government has set up 15 Anti-Depredation Squads of the Forest department to deal with human-wildlife conflicts in state. They will be equipped with all logistics required for mitigating conflict and will have 12 bore pump action guns and rubber bullet ammunition.
    3. Minister for food processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal inaugurated Avantee mega Food Park in Dewas (Madhya Pradesh), as first food park of central India. It is spread over 51 acres and has been constructed at a cost of about 150 crore rupees.
    4. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) will invest about $600 million in India's National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) through NIIF Master Fund. It includes commitment of $150 million in NIIF Master Fund and co-investment rights of upto $450 million in future opportunities.
      1. NIIF is India’s first sovereign wealth fund that was set up by the Government in February 2015. It manages over $4 billion of capital commitments across three funds.
    5. RBI released guidelines for ‘on tap’ Licensing of Small Finance Banks in Private Sector.
      1. Payments banks willing to convert into small finance banks (SFBs) can apply for such a licence only after 5 years of operations.
      2. Minimum capital for setting up an SFB has been mandated at 200 crores. Urban co-operative banks that wish to become SFBs, initial requirement of net worth will be 100 crores, which will have to be increased to 200 crores within 5 years.
      3. SFBs will be given scheduled bank status immediately upon commencement of operations.
    6. India's foreign exchange reserves crossed $450-billion mark for first time ever, amid strong inflows that enabled RBI to buy dollars from market, checking any sharp appreciation of rupee. India’s foreign exchange reserves reached highest ever mark of $451.7 billion.
    7. Indian Actress Priyanka Chopra has been awarded Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award from UNICEF. Priyanka Chopra is associated with UNICEF for 15 years as a Goodwill Ambassador.
      1. Award is named after actor Danny Kaye, an American actor, dancer, and singer. He became first goodwill ambassador of UNICEF in 1954. He was awarded Honorary Oscar for the film about his work with UNICEF.
      2. Priyanka Chopra was also awarded at Festival International Du Film De Marrakech (FILM) 2019 in Marrakesh (Morocco) for completing 20 years in Cinema.
      3. Priyanka Chopra also topped IMDb (Internet Movies Database) 2019 top 10 list of Indian Celebrities, followed by Disha Patani and Hrithik Roshan.
    8. Saudi oil giant Aramco announced its initial public offering (IPO) at $25.6 billion, which is world’s largest ever. It surpassed $25 billion raised by Chinese online retail giant Alibaba in 2014 when it went public. The IPO, comprising 3 billion shares or 1.5 percent of the company, will be offered for 32 riyals ($ 8.00 to $8.53 per share), giving company a total valuation of $1.7 trillion.
    9. Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) signed a deal deepening their output cuts, setting target as 500000 barrels a day. It is being done to eliminate surplus and bolster crude prices.
      1. OPEC has 15 Member Countries – Algeria, Angola, Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, IR Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Venezuela.
      2. India imports 80% of its petroleum needs from OPEC countries. However, India has been reducing its dependence on OPEC countries. In October 2019, India imported 4.56 million barrels per day from OPEC, 3.3% low as compared to previous year.
      3. The deal was signed during 7th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting in Vienna (Austria).
    10. National Stock Exchange appointed Girish Chandra Chaturvedi as its new chairman. The post was vacant since January 2019 when Ashok Chawla resigned amid a corruption case.
    11. Jharkhand’s Mahuamilan station Under East Central Railway (ECZ) zone became 5500th station in Country to get free wifi facility, under RailWire Project, implemented by RailTel Corporation of India. RAILTEL is digital arm of Indian Railways.
    12. Nirav Modi has been declared a fugitive economic offender by a court of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), becoming second to be declared guilty under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act 2018. Earlier, Vijay Mallya was declared an economic offender.
      1. Nirav Modi is accused of a Rs 14,000 crore scam, causing Punjab National Bank to incur heavy losses.
    13. Government felicitated Ripu Daman Bevli, popularly known as Plogman of India and named him as Plogging Ambassador of India.
      1. Nation-wide Plogging Ambassador Mission was also launched, under which Indians who have been running and cleaning their cities/ towns/ districts, will be nominated as Plogging Ambassadors of their region.
    14. Ministry of Defence authorized every member of Coast Guard under Coast Guard Act 1978, to visit, board, search and seize any suspicious vessel and arrest people for offences within Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of country. It has empowered Indian Coast Guard and will enhance coastal security.
    15. Air India subsidiary Alliance Air flagged-off its first flight operations between Guwahati (Assam capital) to Dimapur (largest city of Nagaland) and to Imphal (capital city of Manipur), under Regional Connectivity Scheme - Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (RCS-UDAN).
      1. Flight from Dimapur to Imphal Was a long pending demand from the region, which will cut down travelling time across region tremendously.
    16. Dec 06 is Mahaparinirvan Diwas (Death anniversary) of Babasaheb Ambedkar, Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee. He was also 1st Minister of Law and Justice.
      1. Dec 6 is also observed as Civil Defence Day in India.
    17. Home Ministry sanctioned Rs.100 crore from Nirbhaya fund for setting up and strengthening of women help desks in police stations across country. It is being done after recent incident of a young veterinarian being raped and murdered near Hyderabad, leading to protests across nation. Lady police officers would be deployed at these help desks.
      1. Nirbhaya Fund was established in 2013, after tragic December 16 2012 gangrape case in New Delhi. It aims to support initiatives aim to ensure safety of women and children. Govt. contributes Rs 1000 crores to the fund.
  27. Dec 05, 2019
    1. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's Business-to-Consumer (B2C) E-commerce Index 2019 -
      1. India ranked 73rd out of 152 countries, in terms of economy's preparedness to support online shopping. India moved seven places up in the list, compared to last year. India scored 152 nations in terms of readiness for online shopping, worth an estimated USD 3.9 trillion globally in 2017, up 22 per cent from previous year.
      2. Netherlands at top for 2nd consecutive year, with European nations holding 8 of top 10 spots. Non-European countries on the top 10 list - Singapore (3) and Australia (10).
      3. Top 5 - Neterlands (1), Switzerland (2nd), Singapore (3), Finland (4), UK (5).
      4. Neighbours - Nepal (112), Pakistan (114), Bangladesh (103), Sri Lanka (86).
    2. 5th RBI Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Committee Review -
      1. Monetary Policy Rates -
        1. Repo Rate - 5.15 %
        2. Reverse Repo - 4.90 %
        3. Bank Rate - 5.40 %
        4. CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio) - 4 %
        5. SLR(Statutory Liquidity ratio) - 18.75 % (RBI decided to reduce SLR from to 18.0% in six quarterly instalments beginning January 2019)
        6. Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) Rate - 5.40 %
      2. RBI revised GDP growth Forecast for 2019-20 downwards to 5%, from 6.1% in October Monetary Policy Review.
      3. Monetary Policy Committee is responsible for fixing the benchmark interest rate in India, meets 4 times a year. Itcomprises six members - 3 RBI officials and 3 external members nominated by Government. Governor of RBI (Shashikanta Das Currently) is chairperson of MPC.
    3. Global Climate Risk Index 2020 by International Environmental think tank Germanwatch -
      1. India was 5th most climate-affected country in 2018.
      2. Japan, Philippines and Germany are most climate-affected countries in 2018 followed by Madagascar, India and Sri Lanka.
    4. Dec 5 is observed as International Volunteer Day, to show gratitude towards people who help others without monetary benefits. 2019 theme is Volunteer for an inclusive future. It was proclaimed by United Nations in 1985.
      1. Dec 5 is also observed as World Soil Day, proclaimed by Food and Agriculture Organization of UN in 2013. 2019 Theme is Stop Soil Erosion, Save our Future.
      2. Dec 5 is also observed as Honey Bee Day in Nagaland, with 2019 being 2nd edition of the same.
    5. Govt. approved allocation of 5 coal blocks, after a long gap of four years. It is expected to generate revenue of over 17000 crores over 30 years.
      1. For first time, successful bidders shall have the flexibility to sell 25 % of coal produce in open market.
      2. 2 mines are allocated to Birla Corporation and one each to Vedanta, Prakash Industries and Powerplus Traders.
    6. Government will establish a National Maritime Heritage Museum at Lothal, a Harappan site on Saurashtra coast in Gujarat. It is first such museum in India, aimed at boosting Underwater or marine archaeology in India. It is being set up with technical help from Portuguese Maritime Heritage Museum.
      1. There are estimated 3 million undiscovered shipwrecks lying on ocean floor, according to UNESCO. Between 1824 and 1962, over 12,000 sailing ships and war vessels were lost at sea. Many of them got wrecked in Indian coastal waters.
    7. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) updated rules related to Mobile Number Portability (MNP), effective from Dec 16, 2019.
      1. It will be mandatory for companies to provide MNP facility within three days of application, down from 15 days currently.
      2. Validity of 8 digit Unique Porting Code is reduced to 4 days , from 15 days earlier.
      3. It will be applicable everywhere except Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), Assam and North East Region, where validity of UPC code is unchanged at 30 days.
    8. Punjab government partnered with World Economic Forum (WEF) to design a public-private pilot project on shared, clean and electric mobility, To combat growing problem of environmental pollution.
    9. Haryana’s Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala led Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) has been recognised as a ‘state party‘ in Haryana by the Election Commission of India (ECI).
    10. India witnessed sharp reduction in malaria cases between 2017 and 2018, according to WHO World Malaria Report 2019.
      1. India, with 28 % reduction in malaria cases, is one of only two nations that achieved a reduction in malaria cases among the 11 nations that carry maximum burden of malaria across world. Only other nation that reported reduction in malaria cases was Uganda (11 % drop).
      2. Estimated 228 million cases of malaria had occurred across world in 2018.
    11. Aquatic life forms found in Ganga river will be preserved as India’s first ‘Ganga Centralised Aqualabs’ at Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun. As first such aqualab for any river in India, it will maintain genes of each species found in Ganga alongside crafting baseline data of river which is undergoing tremendous changes due to extreme water extraction.
    12. United Kingdom(UK) hosted 2019 NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Summit in London.
      1. NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries, formed in 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO's Headquarters is in Evere, Brussels, Belgium.
    13. Researchers discovered a new species of tree frog from West Bengal, named Brown Blotched Bengal Tree Frog (Polypedates bengalensis). It belongs to the genus Polypedates- a genus of tree frog found throughout South and Southeast Asia.
    14. Swiss Tennis Player Roger Federer became first ever living Swiss to have his face engraved in Swiss coin. Roger’s image was engraved in a 20-Franc silver coin by Swissmint, official mint of Swiss Confederation.
    15. National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), IIT Gandhinagar and IIT Kharagpur partnered to create “Gandhipedia” or “Gandhi Encyclopedia”, an online repository holding Books, Letters, and Speeches written by M K Gandhi.
    16. Andhra Pradesh Govt launched YSR Law Nestham scheme for lawyers in state, granting 100 crores to Lawyers’ Welfare Fund and also provided stipend of Rs 5,000 to junior lawyers. Candidate should be under 35 years age and must be a graduate in Law.
  28. Dec 04, 2019
    1. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has launched ‘Madhu’ as an e-learning application, which will help school students to understand their subjects in a better and most efficient way. It is named after ‘Utkal Gourab’ Madhusudan Das, the first graduate and advocate of Odisha.
    2. American actor Joaquin Rafael Phoenix, best known for his Act in ‘Joker’ Movie, has been bestowed with the PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) ‘Person of the Year’ Award 2019.
    3. Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB) and Canara, HSBC, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Life Insurance Company signed Bancassurance MoU for selling life insurance products through branches of KVGB.
    4. Uttar Pradesh government anounced 25 % subsidy and 100 % stamp duty waiver for setting up defence industry in state, amending UP Defence, Aerospace Unit and Employment Promotion Policy 2018.
      1. Biennial DefExpo India will be held for the first time in Lucknow in February 2020, held earlier in 2018 in Tamil Nadu.
    5. Indo-American Sundar Pichai has been promoted as Alphabet Inc. CEO, Parent firm of Google which was formed in 2015 after corporate restructuring. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped down from leadership role of Alphabet.
      1. Alphabet and Google will no longer need two CEOs and a President and Sundar Pichai will be CEO of both Google and Alphabet.
    6. Dec 04, is observed as Indian Navy Day, being observed in commemoration of Operation Trident which celebrates bravery of Indian Navy that forced Pakistan to admit defeat during Indo-Pak war of 1971.
      1. Pakistani army attacked India on December 03, 1971. India launched 'Operation Trident' in retaliation as the result 1971 war began. India targeted Pakistani Navy headquarters in Karachi with a tremendous attack, resulting port of Karachi being completely destroyed.
      2. On this occasion, Sub-Lieutenant Shivangi became Indian Navy's first woman pilot (a front-line combat role).
      3. Indian Navy was established in 1612, when East India Company formed an army in form of the East India Company's Marine to protect its ships. It was renamed Bombay Marine in 1686. Later in 1892, it was renamed as Royal Indian Marin.
      4. Dec 04 is also Birth anniversary of Former President of India, R. Venkataraman.
    7. US passed a bill named Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, that aims to address mass captivity of over 1 Million Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslim minorities in China. It proposes that US redirect its resources to address mass detainment of Turkic Muslims. It is expected to attract a sharp reaction from China.
      1. Uyghur Human Rights Policy bill calls to put a stop to the human rights abuses, the detainment, torture and harassment of the Uyghur Muslim communities in China. 
      2. Uyghurs are a predominantly Muslim minority Turkic ethnic group, whose origins can be traced to Central and East Asia. Their native region is considered to be the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China.
      3. According to reports, since 2016, over a million Uyghur Muslims have been detained in Xinjiang re-education camps by the Chinese Government.
    8. India PM Narendra Modi and President of Maldives, Ibrahim Mohammed Saleh jointly inaugurated 4 important development projects in Maldives through video conference. These include - Three Fish Processing plants, Launch of RuPay card in the Maldives, Lighting up of Male with LED lights and Fast Interceptor Craft Kaamyaab given to the Maldives.
    9. US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) cleared Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Test facility at CSIR-IICT Hyderabad, after inspection.
      1. Research institute has largest facility of NMR laboratory in country, equipped with 9 NMR spectrometers. With USFDA clearance, it will gain further motivation to high quality research.
      2. NMR spectroscopy is important for structural characterization of chemical molecules used in pharmaceuticals. USFDA certification is important to increase chemical and pharmaceutical exports to US.
      3. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance is an analytical technique to determine purity of a sample and its molecular structure, used to infer basic structure of unknown compounds.
    10. New Zealand cricket team has been awarded Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket award 2019, for their sporting conduct following a dramatic defeat by England in ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 final at Lord’s (England).
      1. Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket award was created in 2013, in memory of Martin-Jenkins, former MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) president.
    11. Pacific Air Chiefs Symposium 2019 (PACS 2019) held at Hawaii (USA), attended by Chief of Indian Air Force Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria on India's Behalf. Theme was A Collaborative Approach to Regional Security’.
    12. As per report by Comparitech (Britain-based tech research firm), India is fifth worst country after China, Malaysia, Pakistan and United States in terms of extensive and invasive use of biometric data.
      1. India shares fifth position with Indonesia, Philippines and Taiwan.
      2. 5 Best Countries - United Kingdom, Portugal, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania.
    13. Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) signed MoU with the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to leverage the expertise available in CSIR with effort of KVIC for promotion of honey production and also enable wider outreach of CSIR technologies.
      1. CSIR and BHEL signed an MoU to cooperate and pursue industrial application oriented research programmes and its commercialization in large scale. Thus, indigenously developed technologies by CSIR shall be commercialised & implemented jointly by BHEL & CSIR in country.
    14. President Ram Nath Kovind conferred National Florence Nightingale Awards to 36 awardees, instituted in 1973 to recognize meritorious services rendered by nurses to society.
    15. Cabinet Approvals (Dec 04, 2019) -
      1. MOUs -
        1. Maldives - cooperation in electoral management and administration.
        2. Germany - cooperation on strategic projects in Railways.
      2. General Approvals -
        1. Authorised India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) to transfer 3.7 acres of land at Pragati Maidan on a 99 year fixed lease, for development of a 5 start hotel, to be done jointly by India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and IRCTC.
      3. CCEA -
        1. Approved creation of Bharat Bond Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) to create an additional source of funding for Public Sector Units, as first corporate Bond ETF in country.
          1. ETF will be a basket of bonds issued by CPSE/CPSU/CPFI/any other Government organization Bonds (Initially, all AAA rated bonds).
          2. Features Include Tradable on exchange, Small unit size (Rs 1,000), Transparent NAV (Periodic live NAV during the day), Transparent Portfolio (Daily disclosure on website) and Low cost (0.0005%).
          3. Index will be constructed by an independent index provider – National Sock Exchange Different indices tracking specific maturity years - 3 and 10 years.
          4. It will be managed by Edelweiss Asset Management.
          5. Benefits -
            1. CPSEs -
              1. Bond ETF would offer CPSEs, CPSUs, CPFIs and other Government organizations an additional source of meeting their borrowing requirements apart from bank financing. It will expand their investor base.
              2. Bond ETF trading on the exchange will help in better price discovery of the underlying bonds.
            2. Investors -
              1. Bond ETF will provide safety (underlying bonds are issued by CPSEs and other Government owned entities), liquidity (tradability on exchange) and predictable tax efficient returns (target maturity structure).
  29. Dec 03, 2019
    1. New book by Writer Ashwin Sanghi, named ‘The Vault of Vishnu’, will be released during Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) in January 2020.
    2. Typhoon Kammuri, known in Philippines as Typhoon Tisoy, has hit Philippines with speeds up to 215 km/h.
    3. Andhra Pradesh Govt launched Dr YSR Aarogyasri Aasara scheme aimed at providing Post-Operative Sustenance allowance of Rs 225 per day or Rs 5000 per month during recuperative period after treatment at Guntur General Hospital, aimed at benefitting approx 4.5 lakh people. New Arograsri cards will be issued to those having an annual income less than Rs 5 lakhs.
    4. New fish species discovered in Meghalaya's West Khasi Hills district, named Schistura syngkai. It was discovered at Twahdidoh stream, a tributary of Wahblei river. It has golden-brown bodies with blackish lateral stripes and slightly emarginate tail fins.
    5. New book titled “The Legacy of Militancy in Punjab: Long Road to Normalcy‘”, by Inderjit Singh Jaijee and Dona Suri has been released.
    6. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spotted Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander on Moon, with debris belonging to Vikram visible. Indian engineer Shanmuga Subramanian gave evidence related to wreck, to NASA.
      1. Debris of Vikram Lander is outlined with green dots in picture, while blue dots show difference in moon's surface after crash. The letter 'S' shows the debris of the lander identified by scientist Shanmuga Subramanian.
      2. Image -
    7. Dec 3 is observed as International Day of Persons with Disabilities, being observed by UN since 1992. 2019 Theme is Promoting participation of persons with disabilities and leadership.
      1. On this occasion, Vice President M. Venkiah Naidu conferred ‘National Awards for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities 2019’ in New Delhi. 65 awards in 14 categories were conferred on Institutions / Individuals for achievements towards empowerment of PwDs.
      2. Dec 3 is also Birth anniversary of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, first President of India.
    8. Election Commission will enable Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System (PPRTMS) from 1st January 2020, to facilitate tracking of status of application by applicants. Applicant will be able to track the progress of his / her application and will get status updates.
      1. Registration of Political Parties is governed by section 29A of Representation of People Act 1951. Party seeking registration has to submit application to Commission within a 30 days following date of its formation.
    9. Ministry of Civil Aviation launched 4th round of Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) -  Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik( UDAN), to enhance connectivity to remote and regional areas. In last three years MoCA has successfully completed three rounds of bidding under the Scheme and awarded about 700 routes. Key features Include
      1. Revision of (Viability Gap Funding) VGF cap – Provision of VGF for Category 2 / 3 aircraft (more than 20 seater) has been enhanced for operation of RCS flights in Priority Area(s) (UT of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, North Eastern State, UT of Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar).
      2. Promoting short-haul routes  - The provision of VGF would be restricted for routes with stage length up to 600 kms, for operation of Category 2 / 3 aircraft, beyond it no monetary support would be provided.
      3. Well defined Prioritization framework 
      4. Flexibility to change the frequency of flight operation.
      5. Inclusion of helicopter and sea plane operation under NSOP license.
      6. Progress so far -
        1. Scheme

          Valid RCS Route / Awarded

          RCS Airports (including Heliports and Water Aerodromes)

          RCS routes operationalized



          43 (31 unserved, 12 undeserved)




          30 Airports (25 unserved, 5 underserved) + 31 Heliports


          UDAN-3 (including 3.1)


          33 airports (20 unserved, 3 underserved, 10 water aerodromes)




          106 Airports+ 31 Heliports


    10. Indian Railways Named Mumbai Central Railway Station as country’s first “Eat Right Station” as certified by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), under “Eat Right Station” movement which was launched in 2018 by FSSAI. It has been given 04 Stars rating by FSSAI, on the basis of measures of compliance of food safety and hygiene.
    11. India won Tie match with Pakistan for International Tennis Federation’s (ITF’s) Davis cup 2020, held in Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan).
      1. India's Leander Paes bettered his own Davis Cup record which he created in 2018 by winning 43rd doubles match, surpassing Italian Nicola Pietrangeli. He has now extended record by winning his 44th doubles match along with debutant Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan.
      2. In singles match, India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan defeated Pakistan’s Muhammad Shoaib in opening singles match. Sumit Nagal defeating Huzaifa Abdul Rehman in second singles match.
    12. Government's Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) launched Operation Clean Art, to crackdown illegal trade in mongoose hair, as first such operation in India. Mongoose is a small carnivoran found in southern Eurasia and mainland Africa, whose smuggling is a non-bailable offence under Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
  30. Dec 02, 2019
    1. As per India Corruption Survey 2019 by Local Circles and Transparency International India, Rajasthan and Bihar fared worst with 78% and 75% of respondents admitting to paying bribes, while Telangana topped in south India. Uttar Pradesh was ranked third in list. Kerala is least corrupt, where only 10% of people admitted to paying a bribe.
    2. Dec 2 is observed as International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, being observed since 1986.
      1. Dec 2 is also observed as National Pollution Control Day in India, to commemorate people who lost their lives in unfortunate incident of Bhopal Gas Tragedy that occurred on this day in 1984.
      2. Dec 2 is also observed as World Computer Literacy Day, launched by Indian IT Firm NIIT in 2001.
    3. Punjab cabinet amended Punjab Village Common Land (Regulation) rules 1964, aimed at creating land banks in rural areas to boost industrial development in state. Amendment included a Rule that provides special provision to transfer shamlat land or common land to the development of industrial projects. Shamlat land is the land that does not come under cultivation and habitation.
      1. Gram Panchayat can transfer shamlat land to industries with approval from state government. Land Banks are to be set up under Gram Panchayat to implement this.
    4. Government launched its flagship scheme ‘Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0’ to focus on full immunization coverage of 272 districts spread over 27 states and 652 blocks of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar among hard-to-reach and tribal populations.
      1. Mission Indradhanush 2.0 will be carried out between December 2019 and March 2020. It aims To prevent 8 diseases and escalate efforts to achieve goal of attaining 90% national immunization coverage across India.
    5. China will require telecom operators to collect face scans when registering new phone users at offline outlets, as China continues to tighten cyberspace controls. Telecom operators should use "artificial intelligence and other technical means" to verify people's identities when they take a new phone number.
    6. American Retail Giamt Walmart launched a co-branded credit card with HDFC Bank, for members of its Best Price Modern Wholesale "B2B Cash & Carry" stores.
    7. Argentine footballer Lionel Messi won prestigious football honor Ballon d'Or for record 6th time. Megan Rapinoe won this award in the women category. Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal has won this award five times.
      1. Kopa Trophy (for best player in world under age of 21) (1st time awarded in 2018) - Matthijs de Ligt of Netherlands.
      2. Yashin Trophy (for best goalkeeper in the world) (1st time awarded in 2019) - Alisson Becker of Brazil.
      3. Ballon d'Or is an annual football award presented by France Football, being awarded since 1956. Although between 2010 and 2015, an agreement was made with FIFA, and the award was merged with FIFA World Player of the Year and known as FIFA Ballon d'Or. However , partnership ended in 2016.
    8. World Bank Group arm IFC anchored an investment round of USD 200 million in Mahindra and Mahindra Financial Services, to create a dedicated pool of financing for MSMEs in low-income states. At least USD 100 million will be earmarked for women-owned MSMEs, supported by blended finance from IFC-Goldman Sachs' Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility.
    9. Masatsugu Asakawa (Japan) has been elected as 10th president of Manila (Philippines) based Asian Development Bank. He will replace Takehiko Nakao (Japan).
    10. Global Migration Film Festival (GIFF) organised in Dhaka (Bangladesh), with theme migration and its various aspects. It was organised by International Organisation of Migrants (IOM) and Dhaka University Film Society with support of European Union.
    11. Saudi Arabia became first Arab nation to take over G20 presidency, as it seeks to encounter global uproar over its human rights record. G20 presidency is taken over by Saudi Arabia from Japan, an will host G20 global summit in Riyadh in November 2020.
    12. India become first country to completely digitize the Haj process, with various services added to online application service like e-visa, haj mobile app, e-messiah health facility, stay and traffic information in Mecca Medina and Haj pilgrimage information.
      1. Government also linked all Haj Group organizers on It is for the first time that a portal of Haj Group organizers has also been made for the convenience of transparency and Haj pilgrims.
  31. Dec 01, 2019
    1. Dec 1 - Statehood day of Nagaland, formed on Dec 1, 1963.
      1. Dec 1 is also formation day of Border Security Force (BSF), border defence organisation of India. It is one of the seven Central Armed Police Forces of India, and was formed on 1 December 1965. Yearly magazine ‘Borderman’ was released on this occasion.
      2. Dec 1 is also obbserved as ‘Indigenous Faith Day’ in Arunachal Pradesh.
      3. Nov 30 is observed as Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare, observed by UN since 2005.
    2. 7th edition of Exercise India - Sri lanka Joint army exercise MITRA SHAKTI 2019 began at Aundh Military Station (Pune).
    3. Dec 1 is observed as World AIDS Day, to raise public awareness about Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), caused due to infection of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). 2019 theme is “Communities Make the Difference.” It is being observed since 1988.
    4. First night trial of long-range nuclear capable Agni-III surface-to-surface Ballistic Missile has been failed, carried out at Integrated Test Range (ITR) at APJ Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast. Flight trajectory of missile was set for nearly 2,800 km.
    5. 20th edition of Nagaland's 10 day Hornbill Festival began at Naga Heritage Village at Kisama in Nagaland. It is named after hornbill bird.
    6. Government appointed Soma Roy Burman as new Controller General of Accounts (CGA) of India.
    7. English author Tony Joseph won 12th ‘Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize’ 2019 for his book, ‘Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came’. This award was instituted in 2008 and carries a trophy and a cash prize of Rs.2 lakh.
    8. Prithvirajsing Roopun has been appointed as new President of island nation Mauritius.
    9. Indian Railways signed MoU with Department for International Development (DFID) of United Kingdom, As part of its obligations & commitment to reduce carbon footprints by taking several initiatives in field of Green Energy.
    10. Global Rating Agency Standard and Poor's reaffirmed Sovereign Credit Rating of India  at BBB- with outlook as stable. It stated that India’s economy continues to achieve impressive long term growth rates despite a recent deceleration.
    11. India signed $206 million loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB), to develop water supply and sewerage infrastructure in 5 cities of Tamil Nadu and strengthen capacities of urban local bodies (ULBs) for improved service delivery. This is 2nd project loan for ADB-supported $500 million multi-tranche financing for Tamil Nadu Urban Flagship Investment Programme approved in September 2018.
    12. Ursula von der Leyen (Germany) has been appointed as President of European Commission, as first woman to hold the post.
    13. Hari Mohan has been appointed as new Chairman of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
    14. Gross GST revenue collected in November 2019 was Rs 103492 crores (CGST - 19592 crore, SGST - 27144 crore, IGST - 49028 crore, and Cess 7727 crore).
    15. Mercedes's British Racer Lewis Hamilton won Season Ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2019 -
      1. Earlier, Lewis Hamilton (UK) had won his 6th F1 world championship by winning 2019 F1 Season, only behind Michael Schumacher in all time list.
      2. Formula 1 Season 2019 -
        1. Round Grand Prix Winner date
          1 Australian Grand Prix Valtteri Bottas (Finland) 17 March
          2 Bahrain Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton (UK) 31 March
          3 Chinese Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton (UK) 14 April
          4 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Valtteri Bottas (Finland) 28 April
          5 Spanish Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton (UK) 12 May
          6 Monaco Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton (UK) 26 May
          7 Canadian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton (UK) 9 June
          8 French Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton (UK) 23 June
          9 Austrian Grand Prix Max Verstappen (Belgian-Dutch) 30 June
          10 British Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton (UK) 14 July
          11 German Grand Prix Max Verstappen (Belgian-Dutch) 28 July
          12 Hungarian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton (UK) 4 August
          13 Belgian Grand Prix Charles Leclerc (Monaco) 1 September
          14 Italian Grand Prix Charles Leclerc (Monaco) 8 September
          15 Singapore Grand Prix Sebastian Vettel (Germany) 22 September
          16 Russian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton (UK) 29 September
          17 Japanese Grand Prix Valtteri Bottas (Finland) 13 October
          18 Mexican Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton (UK) 27 October
          19 United States Grand Prix Valtteri Bottas (Finland) 3 November
          20 Brazilian Grand Prix Max Verstappen (Belgian-Dutch) 17 November
          21 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton (UK) 1 December