December 20, 2019

National

  1. CPPIB to invest $225 million in Bain, Piramal-led India Resurgence Fund
  • Canada Pension Plan Investment Board will invest $225 million in India Resurgence Fund (India RF), a distressed asset buyout platform.
  • CPPIB, through its wholly-owned subsidiary CPPIB Credit Investments Inc, will infuse money into the fund, which was set up by Piramal Enterprises and Bain Capital Credit.
  • India RF invests in distressed assets by purchasing existing debt and equity securities either through bankruptcy courts or directly from lenders. The fund also has option to invest money through newly-issued india RF had earlier raised $100 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) through its Distressed Asset Recovery Program.
  • IFC has played the role of an anchor investor for India RF and will use its global expertise, alongside that of CPPIB, to help implement environmental, social and corporate governance standards at the fund.
  • Helping to address India’s non-performing loan (NPL) problem will have a very significant positive spillover effect on the economy and and will help create jobs
  • India RF also raised capital from other international high-net-worth investors and family offices through the current round.
  1. QCI Conclave in Uttarakhand
  • Quality Council of India (QCI) along with PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) is organizing its 11th Regional Quality Conclave (RQC) on 20th December 2019 at, Rudrapur, district Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand.
  • The Conclave will be inaugurated by MadanKaushik,Minister of Urban Development Government of Uttarakhand. Faggan Singh Kulaste,Minister of State, Ministry of Steel, Government of India will also attended.
  • The theme of the Rudrapur RQC is “Advance Manufacturing with Quality, Innovation & Technology Interventions.” The objective of the Conclave is to create awareness about significance of quality culture in businesses, deliberate on how organizations could continuously improve and innovate and share the technological advancement like Industry 4.0 and predictive maintenance.
  • The Conclave will have sessions on Adding Value in Manufacturing and Supply Chain with Digital Transformation, Mapping Organization’s Route to Quality, Up skilling for Industry 4.0.
  1. Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot releases Braille Edition of Book “Exam Warriors” written by Prime Minister.
  • Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot released the Braille Edition of the book “Exam Warriors” authored by Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi .
  • The Braille Edition in Hindi and English has been prepared in the Braille Press of Rajasthan Netraheen Kalyan Sangh.
  • This release of Braille Edition of “Exam Warriors” is taking place at an opportune time when Exams of Secondary and Higher Secondary Standards are fast approaching.
  • All the pictures of the book have been well described for the benefit of blinds readers.
  1. 136-km international rail link from Bihar to Kathmandu on track
  • A direct rail ride to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu from India may become possible in the near future. Indian Railways has announced that the survey work on the 136-km international railway from Raxaul on the Bihar border has been completed and is targeted for completion by
  • The project would cost Rs 16,550 crore excluding the cost of acquisition of land by Nepal.
  • Rajesh Kumar, chief spokesperson of East Central Railway (ECR) stated that “The project is the outcome of an initiative by Prime Minister NarendraModi during his visit to Kathmandu on August 31, 2018, when a MoU was signed with the Nepalese PM for the railway project.”
  • The initial survey has been completed and the Ministry of External Affairs of India is to fund the project.
  • A total of 32 road over bridges, 53 underpasses, 259 minor bridges and 41 major bridges will be designed to facilitate the route, which would pass through 39 tunnels.

State

  1. MP police launch e-cop app for women’s safety
  • The Madhya Pradesh police have launched ‘MP e-Cop’, a mobile app to facilitate girls to get immediate back-up just by the push of a button.
  • The MP e-cop app has been introduced amid national debates over women’s safety triggered by a spate of crimes against women all over the country.
  • There is SOS (an international code signal for extreme distress) facility in the app, which would trigger the SMS to Dial 100 and phone numbers fed in the app by the girls/women.
  • The police will find the location of the person in distress after it receives the alert.
  • People can avail several facilities through a single app. They can inform about missing documents and mobile phones from their homes. Secret information can be shared with police without disclosing the name.
  1. Chennai first city in India to get online portal to exchange reusable products
  • Chennai residents can now buy and sell reusable and recycled products online as the Greater Chennai Corporation launched a new website that facilitates waste-trading.
  • The first-of-its-kind website in India, madraswasteexchange.com, has a variety of products made from dry and wet waste such as school bags, slippers, vermi-compost, manure, coconut powder, lemon dishwash among other products.
  • All the products are priced suitably and is available in 210 Resource Recovery Points (RRPs) across the city. Residents can visit the website and sign up for free.
  • If they are sellers, they can drop the products in the RRPs in their area, and, if they are buyers, they can choose from the available products in the RRP and purchase it on the website using credit/debit card.
  • The city currently generates 5,220 metric tonnes of waste daily. Out of this, 2610 MT is wet-waste which is being recycled by the corporation in various composting methods.
  • This website is part of the Smart City Mission and currently, the civic body only sells dry and wet waste.
  1. CM Kamal Nath inaugurates 5th Khajuraho International Film Festival
  • Shri Kamal Nath was inaugurating the 5th International Film Festival in Khajuraho.
  • The 5th Khajuraho International Festival organized in joint aegis of Culture and Tourism Departments in collaboration with Prayas Production, Mumbai was inaugurated with the screening of Gandhi Film on the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • This year the theme of the Film Festival is ‘Comedy’. In this 7-Day festival, films will be screened and the comedians will also give their performances.
  • Training in new film technology will be given to youth of our state through skill development centers so that they could get employment.
  • It will help in providing means of entertainment to the people and on the other because of increase in the economic activities will also generate new employments.
  1. Odisha CM launches ‘Jalsathi’ programme
  • Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has launched the ‘Jalsathi’ programme to ensure supply of safe drinking water to all households in the state.
  • The inclusion of woman volunteers from Mission Shakti for piped water supply will boost their economic empowerment.
  • Patnaik also distributed water quality testing kits and POS (point of sale) machines to the women volunteers – ‘Jalasathis’.
  • Clean water is most important factor for good health. Inclusion of woman volunteers from Mission Shakti for piped water supply is a cherished step as they will serve the people as ‘Jalasathis’.
  • For implementation of the ‘Jalsathi’ programme, the Water Corporation of Odisha (WATCO) and women federations in Bhubaneswar signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
  • The ‘Jalasathis’ will act as links between consumers and the Public Health Engineering Organisation (PHEO) or WATCO.
  • They ‘Jalasathis’ will be responsible for water quality testing, facilitating new water connections, regularising connections, reassessment of demands, meter reading, bill generation, bill delivery, collection of water charges and facilitating complaints redressal.
  1. Gehlot Government starts first Janta Clinic in Rajasthan to treat the needy
  • Chief Minister Gehlot inaugurated the first Janta clinic at ValmikiBasti in the Malviya Nagar area to provide free primary health care to people living in slums.
  • In its first phase, 12 Janta Clinics will be opened in Jaipur where people would get free medicines, and free medical examination in some cases. Later, in the second and third phases of this scheme, Janta Clinics will be opened in other areas.
  • While inaugurating the first Janta Clinic, Gehlot stated that It is to provide free primary health care to poor people living in city slums and we hope to serve as many people as possible.
  • To make healthcare facilities accessible to all. The government is also launching Nirogi Rajasthan for the same purpose.To begin with, the government has chosen areas that currently have no major health facilities but they are soon expected to expand their branches across multiple localities.

International

  1. China Launches Second Aircraft Carrier, to be Deployed in South China Sea.
  • China launched its second aircraft carrier from a key base in the South China Sea, boosting its military ambition in the region where Beijing’s claims of sovereignty is challenged by the US and other nations.
  • The ship named after Shandong Province in east China was launched from Sanya, located in the South China Sea coast by President Xi Jinping, who is also the General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and head of the country’s military. The aircraft carrier is China first domestically-built ship.
  • China currently has one aircraft carrier Liaoning, a re-fit of the Soviet era ship which was commissioned in 2012. It is largely used for training, specially to test the fighter jet J-15, which has been specifically developed to operate from the decks of the aircraft carriers.
  1. Germany moves to ban gay ‘conversion therapy’.
  • The German government signed off on a new law banning “conversion therapies” designed to force heterosexuality on homosexuals.
  • The legislation, set to be introduced next year, would see the practice made punishable with up to a year in prison and fines of up to 30,000 euros ($33,000).
  • In March 2018, the European parliament passed a resolution condemning the practice and urging member states to ban it.
  1. India is world’s third-largest producer of scientific articles.
  • With over 1.35 lakh scientific papers published, India has become the world’s third largest publisher of science and engineering articles, according to a US government agency data, topped by China.
  • As per the statistics compiled by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the number of scientific papers published worldwide increased from 1,755,850 in 2008 to 2,555,959 in 2018.
  • The data, which was released on Tuesday, stated that in 2008, India published 48,998 science and engineering articles.
  • China, which accounts for 20.67 per cent of all global publications in scientific articles, is at the top position, followed by the US at 16.54 per cent.
  1. Google settles USD 327 million tax bill in Australia
  • Google agreed to pay Australian tax authorities 482 million Australian dollars (USD 327 million) to settle a long-running dispute over the tech giant’s multibillion-dollar business in the country.
  • The Australian Tax Office (ATO) stated the payment covered taxes owed for 2008-2018, and brought to 1.25 billion Australian dollars the amount recovered from global e-commerce titans including Microsoft, Apple and Facebook.
  • The ATO launched its crackdown on multinational companies’ accounting practices in 2016 with the adoption of an anti-tax avoidance law and the launch of the taskforce.
  • The ATO’s operation would be extended until 2023 to ensure multinational digital players continue to pay taxes on sales revenue from Australian customers.

Banking & Finance

  1. Gem Partners with UCO Bank and Bank of Maharashtra for Payment Related Services
  • The Government e- Marketplace signed two MoUs with Bank of Maharashtra and UCO Bank on 16 Dec 2019 to offer a number of services including transfer of funds through GeM Pool Accounts (GPA), advising of Performance Bank Guarantees (e-PBG) and Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) to the registered users on the portal.
  • Integration for payments and various banking services is one of the priorities for GeM towards the cherished goal of a paperless, contactless and cashless system. GeM has already signed MoUs with 19 Public Sector and Private Banks to enable these functionalities.
  • GeM is also working with Banks, TReDs, and SIDBI to provide bill discounting and financing of working capital where the cost of capital is linked to the performance & rating of a seller on GeM. This will help the sellers in general and the MSMEs in particular to access easy credit and do better business with the government. In addition, GeM is contemplating the creation of EMD pool account for making it easy for sellers to comply with the EMD requirements while responding to bids.
  • GeM SPV is the National Public Procurement Portal for ensuring efficient and transparent mechanisms for procurement of goods and services by Central and State government organizations. It is an initiative of the Government of India which offers a one stop inclusive platform for facilitating online procurement. GeM provides tools for Direct Purchase, bidding and reverse auction for ensuring transparent and efficient procurement.
  1. GST Council’s decisions On Rate Changes
  • The 38th meeting of the GST Council met under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman .has decided to keep the tax slabs untouched for the time being and has fixed a uniform tax rate of 28 per cent on both state and private lotteries, effective from March 1, 2020.
  • The GST Council recommended the following relating to changes in GST rates, exemptions.
  • lotteries run by state governments attract 12 per cent GST, while those authorised by them and sold outside the state are taxed at 28 per cent.The decision had been pending since last one year. The Central government had formed a Group of Ministers to look into the matter, but despite several meetings they could not reach a consensus. for the first time since the implementation of GST, there was a voting on the issue, with as many as 21 states voted in favour of 28 per cent GST rates as opposed to seven against it.
  • Apart from this, the council rationalised tax rates on woven and non-woven bags to 18 per cent and waived the GST payable for industrial and financial infrastructure plots by an entity with 20 per cent or more ownership of the Central or state government. This change will be effective from January 1, 2020.
  • The council has also relaxed penalty for non-filing of GSTR-1 from July 2017.
  • “The GST Council has decided to waive late fee for taxpayers who have not filed returns from July 2017 to November 2019, if all the returns are filed by January 10, 2020. This has been done to facilitate filing all past returns, as GSTR-1 is important for invoice matching. In case the taxpayer does not file GSTR-1 by January 10, 2020, the e-way bill will be blocked for them,” said revenue
  • The GST council has also extended the annual returns filing date for GSTR-9 and reconciliation form GSTR-9C for FY 2017-18 to January 31, 2020.There was a general apprehension that GST rates will be hiked but sources added that most of the states were against a rate hike.

Sports

  1. 84-year-old Canadian becomes oldest to complete Antarctic Ice Marathon.
  • An 84-year-old Canadian national named Roy Jorgen Svenningsen has become the oldest person ever to complete the Antarctic Ice Marathon.
  • Roy, a retired oil worker, is from the Canadian city of Edmonton, and he has been running since 1964. He spent a year training for 42-km Antarctic marathon.
  • The Antarctic Ice Marathon is the planet’s southernmost race and is considered one of the toughest.
  • For an entry fee of 24,800 Canadian dollars (about $19,000), participants are flown to and from Antarctica via Chile’s southernmost airport and are fed and lodged in tented accommodations and provided professional photos of their once-in-a-lifetime run.
  • The winner of this year’s race was William Hafferty of the US, who set an event record time of 3 hours, 34 minutes and 12 seconds.

Award & Honors

  1. CBI officer wins ”India Cyber Cop of the Year” award
  • CBI officer B P Raju has won the ”India Cyber Cop of the Year 2019” award by NASSCOM-DSCI for cracking a fraud case in an online entrance exam conducted by an engineering college in Rajasthan.
  • The award was given to Raju by Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ajay Prakash Sawhney, during the annual Information Security Summit held at Gurgaon.
  • Raju had investigated the case and exposed the fraud in the online entrance examination.
  • The investigation team headed by B P Raju, arrested nine accused persons and collected incriminating evidence from digital devices, which revealed the modus operandi adapted by the accused. The investigation was also completed within the stipulated time period.

Science, Space & Technology

  1. Apple, Amazon, Google partner to make smart devices compatible with each other.
  • Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc. — three of the biggest smart-home and voice-assistant providers — are joining forces to make internet-connected homes easier to set up and safer to use.
  • The rivals announced that they’re working with the Zigbee Alliance, a foundation that promotes standards for the Internet of Things, and its members including Samsung Electronics Co., Somfy SA and IKEA, on a new standard thatwill ensure their products work with one another.
  • The alliance is aiming to have its new joint protocol ready by the end of 2020.

Obituary

  1. Eminent theatre and film actor Shriram Lagoo passes away
  • Eminent theatre and film actor Shriram Lagoo, who played an important role in the growth of theatre passed away following a cardiac arrest.
  • Lagoo’s roles in Marathi plays such as “Natsamrat” and “Himalayachi Saoli”, and films like “Pinjra” made him popular.
  • He essayed memorable roles in Bollywood films such as “Ek Din Achanak”, “Gharonda” and “Lawaris”
  1. Mohun Bagan president Gitanath Ganguly passes away
  • Mohun Bagan president and retired Justice Gitanath Ganguly passed away, following a cardiac arrest.
  • Ganguly took over as the club president after the Swapan Sadhan Bose-led panel swept the elections in November last year.

Important Days

  1. Goa’s Liberation Day
  • The Liberation Day of Goa is celebrated on 19 December
  • On this date in 1961, Goa was released from the Portuguese dominion after army operation and extended freedom movement.
  • This day is celebrated in commemoration of the Indian armed forces that helped Goa to received freedom from Portuguese rule.
February 7, 2020

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