December 31, 2019

National

  1. 7-member GoM constituted for effective implementation of BSNL, MTNL revival plan
  • In order to track the implementation of the Rs 69,000 crore revival plan for state-owned telecom corporations Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), a seven-member Group of Ministers (GoM) has been constituted.
  • The revival includes crucial elements like allocation of 4G spectrum and asset monetization worth Rs 37,500 crore.

Committee members:

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, IT and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

International

  1. Taliban council agrees to ceasefire in Afghanistan
  • The Taliban council recently agreed for a temporary ceasefire throughout Afghanistan. The Taliban council can also sign a peace deal with the US during this period.
  • It is quite possible that this deal will allow the US to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan and end its 18-year-old military presence there.
  • The ceasefire period has not mentioned but it may remain to continue for the next 10 days. There are currently about 12 thousand American soldiers in Afghanistan.
  1. UNGA approved resolution to draft treaty to combat cybercrime
  • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has given its approval for a new Russian resolution which will draft a new international treaty to combat cyber-crime. The Russian draft resolution was approved by the 193-member world body of UNGA by a vote of 79-60 with 33 abstentions (declining to vote).
  • The UNGA also approved a resolution which strongly condemns human rights abuses against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims and other minorities.
  • The UNGA adopted $3.07 billion operating budget for 2020 and also for the very 1st time included funding for the investigation of war crimes in Syria and Myanmar.

Banking & Finance

  1. Report on trends and progress of banking in India-2018-19
  • The Reserve Bank of India recently released ‘Trends and Progress of Banking in India 2018-19’ report.
  • According to the report on banking trends and progress in India, the gross non-performing assets ratio of banks remained stable at 9.1 percent for the quarter ended in September 2019.
  • Currently, six banks (4 PSBs and 2 PVBs) fall under prompt corrective action (PCA) framework.
  1. KVG Bank and Selco signed MoU to finance solar power-based livelihood solutions
  • The Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank (KVGB) which is a regional rural bank (RRB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with social enterprise Selco Solar Light Pvt Ltd, for solar lighting and livelihood solutions.
  • Under this MoU, finance livelihood solutions that are backed by solar power will be provided by the bank. This is done to improve the quality of life of micro and small entrepreneurs, economically weaker sections(EWS), sustainable agriculture and for women’s empowerment.
  • KVGB is among the first of the banks to formulate a scheme for financing solar systems, and has been extending finance to solar systems since 1994.

Business & Economy

  1. India can become fourth-largest economy by 2026: Report
  • The report released by the UK-based Center for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) stated that India could overtake Germany to become the fourth-largest economy in 2026.
  • It has also estimated in the report that India would overtake Japan in 2034 and will be a third-largest economy after US and China.
  • CEBR has also stated that India’s GDP will reach 5 trillion by 2026. However, the PM Modi government has set a target of 2024. The report titled – World Economic League Table 2020.

Sports

  1. Russia Challenges WADA sanctions
  • Russia has challenged the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for imposing a four-year ban on athletes.
  • Russia has also sent a letter to WADA that clarifies its strong stand against doping. Russia’s anti-doping agency has been claiming stern action against doping for a long time.
  • Russia is the ninth country to be banned in the Olympics. If the ban continues, it will be for the first time when the Russian flag will not be there in the Olympics.

Appointment & Resignation

  1. Ajit Pawar becomes Deputy CM of Maharashtra
  • Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra during the first expansion of Uddhav Thackeray cabinet.
  • Aditya Thackeray, son of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, along with 36 new MLAs from Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, also sworn in as ministers.
  • Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ashok Chavan also took oath as a cabinet minister.
  1. Hemant Soren sworn in as 11th Chief Minister of Jharkhand
  • Hemant Soren sworn in as the 11th Chief Minister of Jharkhand at the oath-taking ceremony took place at Morabadi Ground in Ranchi for the second term.
  • He is succeeds Mr. Raghubar Das who served for the period of 28th December 2014 – 29th December 2019.
  • He is the president of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), a political party in Jharkhand.
  • He started his career as a Member of the legislative assembly and later became deputy CM of Jharkhand.

Award & Honors

  1. NASA astronaut Christina Koch sets new record for longest single space mission by a woman
  • Christina Hammock Koch (40), an American engineer and the United States (US) Space agency-NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) astronaut has created history by becoming the longest-lived woman in space.
  • She overtook the record of NASA’s astronaut Peggy Whitson of 289 days, 5 hours and 1 minute in 2017.
  • Koch, who arrived at the space station March 14,2019, will return from ISS on February 6, 2020 after spending 328 days / nearly 11 months in space.The record for the longest (340 days) stay in the ISS was held by Scott Kelly, who was in space during 2015-16.
  • Earlier in October 2019, Astronaut Koch & Jessica Meir have created history by taking a walk outside the ISS. This is the 1st time that only a team of women astronauts has walked outside the ISS.
April 13, 2020

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