Mercy plea should be removed from POCSO Act: President Kovind
President Ram Nath Kovind has expressed serious concern over the safety of women, saying that under the POCSO Act, there should have no right to file mercy petitions.
The President was addressing a two-day conference organized by the Brahmakumari institution on women’s empowerment.
Also, the Home Ministry rejected the mercy petition filed by one of the convicts of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case.
Home Ministry sanctioned Rs 100 crore to set up women help desks in police stations
The Home Ministry has sanctioned Rs 100 crores from the Nirbhaya Fund for setting up women help desks in police stations in all states and Union Territories (UT) across the country.
The women help desks will be focused on making police stations more women-friendly and approachable. Women police officers will be deployed at the help desks which would be the first and single point of contact for any woman walking into a police station.
Heat Wave 2020: 4th Workshop on management of Heat Wave begun in Bengaluru, Karnataka
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in collaboration with Karnataka govt. has organised a two-day national workshop “Heat Wave 2020” on preparedness, mitigation and management of Heat Wave in Bengaluru city of Karnataka.
The workshop has been conducted well in advance of the heat wave season to manage the hot weather conditions for the year 2020.
Climate change led to rise of average summer temperature by 0.5°C in the past five years.
This is the 4th annual workshop in a series that NDMA has been conducting since 2017.
First Mega Food Park of Central India inaugurated in Dewas
This central India’s first food park is spread over more than 51 acres. Its construction cost is one hundred and 50 crores.
About five thousand local people will get employment from this mega food park. Soyabean, gram, wheat, and other food grains and vegetables will be processed in this park.
A similar, warehouse would be started in Ujjain, Indore, Agar, and Dhar in the next phases.
Odisha’s famed ‘Kalia’ scheme to be merged with Centre’s PM-KISAN
The Odisha government has decided to merge its flagship scheme to provide assistance to farmers with the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) yojana, apparently due to financial constraint.
According to the provisions of the ‘Kalia’ scheme, farmers, mostly small and marginal cultivators, are entitled to get Rs 10,000 in two instalments for two crops in a year. The landless agricultural farmers are also eligible to get Rs 12,000 per annum for three years.
The state government has already paid first instalment (of Rs 5,000) under Kalia scheme and process is on to disburse the second one.
Under PM-Kisan scheme, the central government is providing annually Rs 6,000 in three equal instalments to about 14 crore farmers.
According to the new guidelines, the farmers will get Rs 10,000 per annum as provided under the ‘Kalia’ scheme. Cultivators would not be able to avail the central’s assistance of Rs 6,000 annually after the merger.
Poor farmers of the state can expect to get Rs 16,000 (Rs 10,000 from ‘Kalia’ and Rs 6,000 from PM-Kisan) a year, but, according to the new guidelines, they will get just Rs 10,000.
Of the annual financial assistance of Rs 10,000, the state government will give Rs 4,000 to farmers while the rest will be provided from the Centre’s scheme.
Telangana CM, K. Chandrashekar Rao releases book on Kaleshwaram project by Sridhar Rao Deshpande
Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhar Rao, Chief Minister of Telangana released a book named “Kaleswaram project: Telangana Pragathi Ratham” (Kaleswaram project: The Telangana Development Chariot) at Pragati Bhavan.
The book was authored by CM’s officer on special duty (OSD, Irrigation) Sridhar Rao Deshpande.
The book is about the details and History of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS), it also states the efforts taken by Chandrasekhar Rao from the initiation to the execution of the project and the data of water flow from Central Water Commission (CWC).
The Kaleswaram Project was completed in three years and has started supplying water to the farming community in the state.
The event was also attended by Juluri Gowri Shankar, poet and writer and Kaleswaram, Engineer in chief and other members.
Saudi Aramco announces biggest ever IPO
Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, has raised USD 2,560 million (Rs 1.82 lakh crore) from the IPO. It is the world’s largest public issue.
The previous record was named after China’s e-commerce company Alibaba. It raised USD 2,500 million (Rs 1.57 lakh crore) through the US stock market IPO in 2014.
Aramco fixed the IPO price at USD 8.53. Accordingly, the value of its 20,000 crore shares is 1.70 lakh crore dollars (121 lakh crore rupees).
IAF chief RKS Bhadauria participated in PACS 2019 held in Hawaii, US
Pacific Air Force Chiefs Conference (PACS-2019) was held at the American military base in Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, United States(US).
Air chiefs of the Air forces of various countries participated in the conference. Representing India, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria participated in the conference.
Theme: The theme of the conference for the year 2019 is ‘Collaborative approach towards Regional Security‘.
Various issues related to regional security, domain awareness, multi-domain awareness, interoperability, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) were discussed during the meeting.
This cooperation has been expected to strengthen the existing cooperation between the air forces of the participating countries.
Banking & Finance
RBI proposes new prepaid card for transactions up to Rs. 10,000
The Reserve Bank proposed the introduction of a prepaid payment instrument (PPI) for transactions up to Rs. 10,000 on goods and services.
PPIs have been playing an important role in promoting digital payments and bringing in the new PPI will further facilitate its usage.
Such PPIs can be issued on the basis of essential minimum details sourced from the customer. The RBI said it will give instructions in this regard by December 31, 2019.
PPIs are instruments to facilitate purchase of goods and services, including financial services, remittance facilities among others against the value stored on such instruments.
There are currently three kinds of PPIs allowed by RBI — closed system PPIs, semi-closed system PPIs and open system PPIs.
RBI issues final guidelines for on-tap licence to small finance banks(SFB)
India’s central Bank, the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has released the final guidelines on the facility to apply ‘on- tap’ for licenses to Small Finance Banks (SFBs).
Under the decree, the minimum paid-up voting equity capital limit has been doubled to Rs 200 crore from Rs 100 crore.
The payment banks which have completed 5 years of operations, are eligible to become SFBs if they meet the regulatory requirements.
Business & Economy
Mastercard joins hands with Thailand Tourism Authority (TAT) to tap more tourists from India
Mastercard, an American multinational financial services corporation has partnered with Thailand Tourism Authority (TAT) to tap more tourists from India & enable digital payments for a more experiential visit for them.
As per Mastercard data, there is 20% increase in the amount of spends done by Indians via cashless transactions in Thailand & TAT witnessed a growth of nearly 25% in arrivals from India, taking the total to 1.60 million in 2018-19. Airports of Mumbai & Delhi account for more than 50 % of departures to Thailand.
Bangkok (Thailand’s capital) has ranked No.1 in Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index 2019 as the world’s best travel destination. Cardholders spent more than 88% in Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and Krabi cities.
Mastercard ties-up with Thailand’s Central Group, whose businesses include shopping malls, brand management, hospitality, etc to enable a more effortless customized experience through digital payments, and targeted discounts for Mastercard cardholders.
India’s forex reserves crossed $450 billion for the first time
The Indian foreign exchange (forex) reserve for the first time crossed $450-billion mark. This was mainly due to strong inflows which enabled the central bank to buy dollars from the market.
The forex reserves were at $451.7billion on December 3, 2019, which is an increase of $38.8 billion compared to that of March 2019.
At $451.7 billion, the country’s import cover is now over 11 months.
The total reserves had risen by $347 million to $448.596 billion in the week to November 27, 2019.
Forex reserves: Foreign exchange reserves are assets held in reserve by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in foreign currencies. These reserves are used to back liabilities and influence monetary policy.
Appointment & Resignation
Rajendran Chinna Veerappan reappointed as the MD and CEO of CSB Bank
Rajendran Chinna Veerappan was appointed as the Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB) bank, Thrissur, Kerala by the Board of Directors of CSB bank in the Board meeting held on 2nd December 2019 for a three year term effective from 9th December 2019 to 8th December 2022.
Veerappan was in the Board of CSB bank since 2016 and his term of office was to end on December 8 while the Board decided to reappoint him as the MD and CEO.
Veerappan previously served as the chief executive of the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) and has 40 years of experience in banking and finance. He has previously worked in Corporation Bank, Andhra Bank and Bank of Maharashtra.
Award & Honors
UNICEF honours Priyanka Chopra with Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award
Priyanka Chopra has been honoured with UNICEF’s Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award.
The India star was named the 2019 recipient of the Humanitarian Award by the United Nations Children’s Fund in June this year and received the award at the Snowflake Ball.
President of India presents the National Florence Nightingale Awards
The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, presented the National Florence Nightingale Awards to nursing personnel in New Delhi (December 5, 2019) on the occasion of International Nurses Day.
Nurses play a vital role in delivering quality and cost effective healthcare, addressing multiple health challenges and responding to health needs of individuals, families and communities.
The world is more and more in need of care and compassion, and nurses indeed are a symbol of seva, shushrusha, karuna. For patients and their families, nurses are the face of healthcare services.
World Health Organisation has announced 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Mid-wife.
Science, Space & Technology
IIT Hyderabad partnered with 4 Japanese institutions for research in Earthquake Engineering
The Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IIT-H) will collaborate with 4 Japanese institutions for research purpose in areas which includes earthquake engineering, and doctoral programs.
The Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) in this regard was signed by IIT-H director Budaraju Srinivasa Murty with the 4 institutions during his visit to Japan. The MoU will boost the Indo-Japanese research ties.
Bob Willis, former cricket captain of England dies at 70
Robert George Dylan Willis, former cricket captain of England dies at the age of 70 after a prolonged illness. Robert Willis was born in Sunderland, England and was the captain of the England cricket team from 1982 to 1984.
Bob Willis was well known for his memorable performance in the third Ashes test in 1981 against Australia, it was also known as ‘Botham’s Ashes’ for the remarkable performance of England in the test match.
He finished his test match career with 325 wickets making him the fourth in all-time list of wicket-takers with James Anderson, Botham and Stuart Broad taking the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively.