December 18, 2019


  1. ITBP launches a matrimonial portal for its staff
  • The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has created a matrimonial portal to help personnel to find a suitable match within the force.
  • It is for the first time when any paramilitary force has taken such a step. ITBP has about 2500 unmarried men and 1000 women in various ranks.
  • ITBP started this service because many personnel are deployed in remote areas and it has become very difficult for them to find a good match.
  1. BEL & HAL organise roadshow urging active participation in DefExpo 2020
  • Defence PSUs Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL)organised a roadshow in the run up to the 11th edition of DefExpo scheduled to be held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh from February 5-8, 2020. The roadshow was organised to urge vendors from the private sector, MSMEs and startups based in Delhi-NCR to actively participate in the upcoming Defence exhibition and take advantage of the potential business opportunities in the offing.
  • The theme of DefExpo 2020 is ‘Digital Transformation of Defence’. The event would provide a common platform for Defence industries, both public and private, MSMEs and startups to showcase their capabilities and R&D strengths to potential customers from both India and abroad.
  • General Manager (Network Centric System & Unit Head) BEL Ghaziabad ShriJoydeep Majumdar made a detailed presentation on DefExpo and elaborated the advantages of participating in the show to the business enterprises.
  • The roadshow, which ended with an interactive session, was a grand success with participation from more than 170 vendors from across Delhi-NCR.
  1. India donates solar-powered lamps to marginalised Palestinian children
  • India has donated solar powered study lamps to Palestinian elementary school children from a marginalised Bedouin community to spread the principles of self-sufficiency and raise awareness towards the adverse effects of climate change.
  • The lamps were donated as part of the 150th Gandhi Jayanti Students Solar Ambassador Workshop. The solar powered study lamps supplied by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay aims at making the student beneficiaries for the future propagators of renewable energy.
  • Representative of India (ROI) in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Sunil Kumar, visited the Governorate of Jericho and Jordan Valley where he was received by Governor Jehad Abu Al-Asal, Director of the Jericho Directorate of Education, and representatives of the local community.
  • As part of India’s outreach and cooperation programme in the local Palestinian community, Kumar visited the Ka’abneh Bedouin School with Palestinian dignitaries where he presented portable solar-powered lamps to the elementary school children.
  • Addressing the students and the local community, he underlined India’s time-tested support to Palestine, especially highlighting New Delhi’s capacity building efforts with emphasis on the educational sector.


  1. India-Nepal joint military exercise ‘Surya Kiran’ concludes
  • The ‘Surya Kiran’ military exercise between India and Nepal concluded on December 16, 2019. It is an annual military exercise.
  • About 300 soldiers from the Indian and Nepal armies took part in this year’s ‘Surya Kiran’ exercise.
  • The armies of both countries shared their prior experiences in retaliatory operations and counter-terrorism operations during this exercise.
  1. UNESCO removes ‘anti-Semitic’ Belgian carnival from heritage list
  • Belgian carnival has been removed from UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list after officials found the “recurrence of racist and anti-Semitic representations” to be incompatible with its principles.
  • Aalst Carnival was recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), but has been widely condemned by Jewish organizations.
  • The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity announced Friday it would remove the Aalst Carnival from its heritage list.
  • “Further to a proposal submitted by the Secretariat of UNESCO, the Committee based its decision on the fact that the recurrence of racist and anti-Semitic representations is incompatible with the fundamental principles of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage,” a spokesperson for UNESCO stated.

Banking & Finance

  1. India joins elite club to enable free 24×7 NEFT funds transfer facility
  • India moved to round-the-clock payment transfer system effectively joining only a handful of countries globally to do so. On top of it, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stated that effective fromJanuary 1, banks should not charge anything to their savings account holders for availing such a facility through online or mobile modes.the facility got activated, and banks have started offering their customers round-the-clock NEFT services, except for a half an hour br
  • The RBI joins an elite club of countries having payment systems which enable round the clock funds transfer and settlement of any value .
  • So far, Australia, Hong Kong, Mexico, Sweden, Turkey, the UK, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, and China have such payment system after midnight in some cases.
  1. Fifth EAC meeting of 15th Finance Commission held in New Delhi
  • The fifth meeting of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) of the Fifteenth Finance Commission was held in New Delhi. After the meeting, Chairman NK Singh stated that future revenue is the most critical issue for the Finance Commission. He futher stated that tax regime needs predictability and certainty.
  • In the meeting, possible macro assumptions related to real growth, inflation, ongoing structural reforms, tax revenue including GST, adherence to Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act and fiscal transparency were discussed. Further, Advisory Council was informed about submission of the 2020-21 report and Commission’s next course of actions pertaining to preparation of the report for 2021-26 period.
  • Additional info
  • The Fifteenth Finance Commission (15-FC) is an Indian Finance Commission constituted in November 2017 and is to give recommendations for devolution of taxes and other fiscal matters for five fiscal years, commencing on 1 April 2020.
  • The commission’s chairman is N. K. Singh, with its full-time members being Ajay Narayan Jha, Ashok Lahiri and Anoop Singh. In addition, the commission also has a part-time member in Ramesh Chand.
  • Shaktikanta Das served as a member of the commission from November 2017 to December 2018.

Business & Economy

  1. Ramco enters into agreement with China Aircraft Services.
  • RAMCO Systems, aviation software provider has signed an agreement with China Aircraft Services Limited (CASL) to manage its end-to-end line and base maintenance operations.
  • Through this collaboration, Ramco will provide its integrated Aviation Suite with modules for maintenance and engineering, MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) contracts, supply chain, and finance to help CASL manage its endto- end line and base maintenance, ground handling and cabin services.
  • The mobile-enabled application will also offer realtime processing for work order, thereby reducing the overall turnaround time.
  • Hosted on cloud with mobility and optimization features, the solution will replace disintegrated systems across various departments and seamlessly interface with other third-party airline, flight following and HR systems.
  • Ramco’s intelligent platform with in-built analytics will also enable with real-time decision making,” stated by Andreas Meisel, CEO, CASL. Ramco has developed application compatibility on Microsoft HoloLens to bring augmented reality.
  1. India is 112th in WEF rankings on gender gap, Bangladesh does better
  • India is 112th among nations ranked in terms of the gap between genders, and it was among the bottom five for women’s health and survival and economic participation.
  • Iceland remained the world’s most gender-neutral country on the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report. India moved down the ladder from its 108th position last year to rank below countries like China (106th), Sri Lanka (102nd), Nepal (101st), Brazil (92nd), Indonesia (85th) and Bangladesh (50th).
  • Yemen is ranked the worst (153rd), while Iraq is 152nd and Pakistan 151st.


  1. ViratKohli retains top spot in ICC Test rankings
  • Indian skipper ViratKohli retained his top spot among batsmen in the latest ICC Test rankings With 928 points, Kohli is 17 points clear of Australia’s Steve Smith who scored 43 and 16 in the first Test against New Zealand which Australia won by 296 runs.
  • Cheteshwar Pujara with 791 and Ajinkya Rahane 759 held on to their fourth and sixth spots respectively.
  • Among the bowlers, Bumrah slipped to the sixth spot in the list headed by Australia’s Pat Cummins.
  • India’s RavindraJadeja, meanwhile, remained at number two, behind Jason Holder of the West Indies among Test all-rounders.
  • In the ICC World Test Championship, India stand on top with 360 points, way ahead of Australia 216, Sri Lanka 80, New Zealand 60 and England 56.

Appointment & Resignation

  1. Lieutenant General Manoj Mukund Naravane to be next Indian Army Chief
  • Lieutenant General Manoj Mukund Naravane, who is currently Vice Chief of Army Staff, has been named as next Indian Army Chief.
  • He is also the Colonel of the Regiment of the Sikh Light Infantry.
  • Naravane will replace General Bipin Rawat, who became Army Chief on December 31, 2016.
  1. Vistara CCO SanjivKapoor resigns, Vinod Kannan to take over
  • Vistara’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Sanjiv Kapoor has resigned from his position over ‘personal reasons’.
  • The airline’s Chief Strategy Officer, Vinod Kannan, will take over as the new CCO.


  1. Veteran Bollywood actress Gita Siddharth passes away
  • Actress Gita SiddharthKak passed away in Mumbai.
  • The actress is best known for her role in M.S. Sathyu’s 1973 classic ‘GarmHava’.
  • Gita made her debut in Gulzar’s 1972 film, Parichay, starring Jeetendra and Jaya Bhaduri. She was a familiar face on the Bollywood screen of the seventies and eighties, featuring in films such as “Sholay”, “Trishul”, “Disco Dancer”, “Ram Teri Ganga Maili”, “Nooriea, “DeshPremee”, “Dance Dance”, “Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki”, “Shaukeen”, “Arth”, aceMandi”, “EkChadarMaili Si”, “Gaman” and “Doosra Aadmi”.
February 7, 2020

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