Current Affairs December 27 2018

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Current Affairs December 27 2018

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Draft rules of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines [Amendment] Rules), 2018 introduced by MeitY
On December 24, 2018, the Union Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) announced draft rules of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2018.
Objective:
To end the complete encryption system to trace ‘unlawful’ activities for better national security.
Key points:
i. These would amend and replace the Information Technology Act, 2000 and would include the inter-ministerial consultations, followed by discussions with major social media platforms like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and WhatsApp and associations representing intermediaries.
ii. According to the amended rules under Section 79 of the IT Act,

  • It will be mandatory for online platforms to deploy technology to enable access to content seen as “unlawful”.
  • Information about “unlawful acts” can be sought from the intermediaries by “court order”
  • the parameter to judge unlawful acts would be Article 19(2)of the Constitution, which places restriction on freedom of speech and expression.
  • the measures proposed include breaking end-to-end encryption so that the origin of messages can be traced.
  • online platforms will keep a record of “unlawful activity” for a period of “180 days”, double the 90 days in the older version.
  • When required by lawful order, the intermediary shall, within 72 hoursof communication, provide such information or assistance as asked for by any government agency.
  • The intermediary should publish on its website the name of the Grievance Officer and his contact details.

iii. Furthermore, the intermediary who has more than fifty lakh users in India or is in the list of intermediaries specifically notified by the government of India shall:

  • Be a company incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 or the Companies Act, 2013;
  • Have a permanent registered office in India with physical address; and
  • Appoint in India, a nodal person of contact and alternate senior designated functionary, for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies and officers to ensure compliance to their orders/requisitions made in accordance with provisions of law or rules.

For more information: Click Here
Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY):
♦ Union Minister: Shri. Ravi Shankar Prasad.
♦ Minister of State: Shri. S.S. Ahluwalia.

Smart prepaid meters to be used from April 2019: Power ministry
On December 24, 2018, the Power Ministry mandated the use of smart prepaid electricity meters in the country beginning April 2019. The transition is expected to be completed by next 3 years.

Smart prepaid meters to be used from April 2019i. This would help in:

  • reduction in AT&C losses,
  • better health of DISCOMs,
  • incentivising energy conservation,
  • ease of bill payments and
  • doing away with the paper bills.

ii. Smart meters, thus inducted, are a part of the overall advanced metering infrastructure solutions (AMI).
iii. For this, state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) introduced two global tenders for procuring a total of 10 million smart meters.
iv. Additionally, he government also plans to install 10 million prepaid meters in Uttar Pradesh as part of the Saubhagya scheme which aims to electrify over four crore households till March 2019.

  • Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New & Renewable Energy:RK Singh.

485 schemes of 37 depts launched by CM of Haryana under ‘Digital Haryana’ initiative
On December 25, 2018,on the eve of former late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 94th birth anniversary dubbed as ‘Good Governance Day’, Chief Minister of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar launched 485 schemes of 37 departments under ‘Digital Haryana’ initiative.
i. Among the schemes thus launched on the occasion, the following states a few:

  • The chief minister inaugurated 22 ‘Antyodya Saral Kendras’ for all district headquarters from Karnal,
  • This made Haryana the first state to have a launch of 4,000 Atal Seva Kendras in rural areas,22 at district headquarters, 51 at sub-divisional level and 20 Antyodya Saral Kendras at Tehsil level, simultaneously
  • A toll free Antyodaya Helpline number was inaugurated
  • SARAL App would be launched so that people could get all information about schemes on their smart phones at home.

ii. The CM of Haryana also renamed the childcare institutes under one name of ‘Jagannath Ashram’, clubbing them because of their common goal of all-round development of the children.
Haryana:
♦ Capital: Chandigarh.
♦ Chief Minister: Manohar Lal Khattar.
♦ Governor: Shri. Satyadeo Narain Arya.
♦ National Parks: Sultanpur National Park, Kalesar National Park.
♦ Wildlife Sanctuary: Abubshehar  Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhindawas  Wildlife Sanctuary, Chhilchila  Wildlife Sanctuary, Khaparwas  Wildlife Sanctuary, Nahar Wildlife Sanctuary.

West Bengal cabinet approved online system for mutation of property; Flipkart to set up hub in WB at a cost of Rs. 991 crores
On December 24, 2018,the West Bengal cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced approval of an online system for mutation of property.
Objective:
To ease the process of property mutation and check illegal practices.
Other News:
i. The cabinet also approved a proposal by Flipkart to set up a logistic hub at Haringhata, in the Nadia district, at an estimated investment of Rs 991 crore.
ii. The cabinet has also given its nod for regularizing land ownership in Midnapore’s Khas Mahal, which is a government land that was leased out to individuals for residential purposes for a fixed period of time.
What is Mutation of Property?
♦ In all legal transactions, mutation (transfer of title) is a mandatory process, in which the buyer transfers the ownership title of the property he just bought.
♦ Once the property is mutated, the details are updated in the revenue records of civic bodies.
♦ The Block Land & Land Reform Office facilitates the mutation process.
West Bengal:
♦ Chief Minister: Mamata Banerjee.
♦ Governor: Kesari Nath Tripathi.
♦ National Parks: Jaldapara National Park, Sunderbans National Park, Gorumara National Park, Neora Valley National Park, Singalila National Park, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary.
♦ Airports: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Cooch Behar Airport,  Bagdogra Airport, Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated over 150 projects in Lucknow
On December 25, 2018, on the eve of the 94th Birth Anniversary of the Former Prime Minister Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated 158 Development Projects in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
i. He also laid the foundation stone for 418 projects, making it a total of 576 projects worth Rs.161 crores.
ii. He also announced that foundation stone of two more flyovers will be laid by February 2019. This project would have 104 km long, 8 lane road across Lucknow to minimize traffic congestion problems.
Ministry of Home Affairs:
♦ Union Minister: Shri. Rajnath Singh.
♦ Minister of State: Shri. Kiren Rijiju, Shri. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir.

Atal Ayushman Uttarakhand Yojana launched in Uttarakhand
On December 25, 2018, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Singh Rawat launched the ‘Atal Ayushman Uttarakhand Yojana’ in Dehradun.
About the scheme:
i. Under the scheme, each household in the state will be able to avail medical treatment of up to 5 lakh rupees annually.
ii. A total of 99 government and 66 private hospitals have been selected under the scheme
iii. Under this, the CM also signed MOUs with private hospitals and also announced availability of free of cost OPD facilities for children and elderly people in the state.
iv. It will benefit 23 lakh households and cover 1,350 critical diseases.
v. He also distributed scheme-related golden cards to beneficiaries.
vi. He also launched the mobile application and website for ‘Atal Ayushman Uttarakhand Yojana’.
vii. Additionally, the chief minister also announced that the state’s dedicated air ambulance service will be operational from 26 January, 2019.
Uttarakhand:
♦ Chief Minister: Trivendra Singh Rawat
♦ Governor: Smt. Baby Rani Maurya.
♦ National Parks: Jim Corbett National Park, Gangotri National Park, Govind National Park, Nanda Devi National Park, Rajaji National Park, Valley of Flowers National Park.

Madhya Pradesh: Kuno notified as national park; Gir lions from Gujarat to be translocated
On December 24, 2018, Kuno, in Madhya Pradesh, was notified as ‘national park’.
i. This move was made after the compliance with the last condition imposed by a Supreme Court was met.
ii. This would enable translocation of lions from Gir in Gujarat to Kuno.
Madhya Pradesh:
♦ Chief Minister: Shri. Kamal Nath.
♦ Governor: Smt. Anandiben Patel
♦ National Parks in Madhya Pradesh: Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhav National Park, Panna National Park, Bandhavgarh National Park.

Tribal community Baduga celebrates annual Heddaiyamman festival: Tamil Nadu
On December 26, 2018, the tribal Baduga community in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu celebrated their annual Heddaiyamman festival.
i. In connection to this festival,

  • People will observe 48 days fast and walks in religious processions and holding up a holy shaft which symbolizes the miracle of the traditional Badaga goddess.
  • Week long celebrations will continue in different villages including Petthala, Beragani, and Ketti.

Background:
♦ The Badagas are an indigenous tribal group in the Nilgiris and occupy more than 400 remote hill villages in the district.
♦ National Parks of Tamil Nadu : Mudumalai National Park, Anamalai National Park, Guindy National Park

UP cabinet approves setting up of Bundelkhand, Poorvanchal development boards
 On 24th December 2018, the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet, presided over by the chief minister Yogi Adityanath, gave its nod to constitute a Bundelkhand Development Board (BDB) and a Poorvanchal Development Board (PDB).
Key Points:
i. The development boards for Bundelkhand and Poorvanchal will be headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath or someone nominated by him.
ii. Besides Chairman, the board will include two deputy-chairmen, two experts, 12 official members and 11 non-government members and their tenure would be for a period of three years.
iii. The cabinet also approved the setting up of the UP Traders Welfare Board to address the problems faced by traders in the state with regards to the GST.
iv. The cabinet also gave its nod to a proposal of giving 25 per cent discount to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on the purchase of land for establishing a Rs 2,300-crore software development unit in Noida which would employ 30,000 people.
v. The cabinet also approved the proposal for grant of “exceptional pension” to police personnel who slip into a coma as a result of serious injuries suffered during discharging their duties.
About Uttar Pradesh:
♦ Capital: Lucknow
♦ Chief Minister: Yogi Adityanath
♦ Deputy Chief Minister: Dinesh Sharma and Keshav Prasad Maurya
♦ Governor: Ram Naik

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Thailand 1st Southeast Asian nation to legalise medical marijuana and kratom
On December 25, 2018, Thailand approved the licensed use of marijuana and kratom for medical use and research.

Thailand 1st Southeast Asian nation to legalise medical marijuana and kratomThailand 1st Southeast Asian nation to legalise medical marijuana and kratomi. It became the first country in Southeast Asia to take such action.
Thailand:
♦ Capital: Bangkok.
♦ Currency: Thai bhat.

Japan announces International Whaling Commission (IWC) withdrawal to resume commercial whaling
On 24th December 2018, The Japanese government officially announced to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), enabling Japan to pursue commercial whaling in its adjacent waters, including its Exclusive Economic Zone.

Japan announces International Whaling Commission (IWC) withdrawalKey Points:
i. Japan will resume commercial whaling in July 2019 and the whaling area will not include the Antarctic Ocean or the Southern Hemisphere.
ii. The move came more than three months after the global body for the conservation of whales rejected a Tokyo-led proposal to lift a 32-year ban on the commercial hunting of the ocean mammals.
iii. Japan could no longer take advantage of the IWC exemption for scientific whaling because the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas requires its signatories to work through “the appropriate international organizations” for marine mammal conservation.
iv. The country consumes between 3,000 tons to 5,000 tons of whale meat in a year according to the government of Japan.
About Japan:
♦ Capital: Tokyo
♦ Currency: Japanese yen
♦ Prime minister: Shinzō Abe

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Govt extended ban on import of milk products from China for 4 months will April 23, 2019: DGFT
On December 24, 2018, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) announced extension of ban on import of milk and its products, including chocolates, from China for four months till April 23, 2019.
i.The ban was first imposed in September 2008 and later extended due to the suspicion of presence of melamine in some milk consignments from China.
ii. The ban has been imposed as a preventive measure as India doesn’t import milk and its products from China.
Background:
♦ India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of milk. It produces around 150 million tonne milk annually.
♦ Uttar Pradesh is the leading state in milk production, followed by Rajasthan and Gujarat.
About the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT):
♦ Under Ministry of Commerce.
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ Director General: Shri. Alok Chaturvedi.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Mohammed Rafi Award conferred to late music composer Laxmikant and singer Usha Timothy in Mumbai
On December 24, 2018, the Mohammed Rafi Award was conferred to late music composer Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and playback singer Usha Timothy in Mumbai.

Mohammed Rafi Award conferred to late music composer Laxmikanti. Kudalkar, of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo, was given the Mohammed Rafi Lifetime Achievement Award consisting of 1 lakh rupees and a trophy.
ii. He had a successful and long partnership with Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma and as music composers.
iii. Timothy was honoured with the Mohammed Rafi Award and 51,000 rupees.
iv. She had sung 1,000 songs in multiple Indian languages such as Hindi, Malayalam, Punjabi, Bhojpuri and Marathi, among others.
v. The awards, instituted by the NGO Spandan Arts, were handed over by Shelar.

Aadi Sai Vijaykaran,first Indian to win the “Top Debater in the World” title
On 26th December 2018, 13 years old class 8 student from KC High School in Chennai, Aadi Sai Vijaykaran became the first Indian to win the Junior Debate Championship at the World Scholar’s Cup held at Yale University, USA from November 16-21.

Aadi Sai Vijaykaran,first Indian to win the “Top Debater in the World” titlei. The theme for the cup was ‘An Entangled World: diplomacy, human relationships, the science of memory, and literature, art and music’.
ii. The Tournament of Champions of World Scholar’s Cup is a competition for young debaters from around the world in which only 2000 participants out of 40,000 qualified for the final of “The tournament of Champions”.

DIPP Swachch Bharat Grand Challenge Awards Presented
On 26th December 2018, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) organized a Swachch Bharat Grand Challenge as a part of the Swachhta Pakhwada held from 1st to 15th November 2018 to reward innovative solutions by DIPP recognized Start-ups in the country.
The awards were given away by Secretary DIPP, Ramesh Abhishek in New Delhi.
Key points
i. Four areas of sanitation, waste management, water and wastewater management and air management were selected for the grand challenge.
ii. In Air sector the first prize was given to Maclec technical project laboratory pvt. Ltd of Delhi and 2nd Prize to Small Spark Concepts Technologies Private Limited of Pune.
iii. In sanitation sector  1st Prize was given to Altersoft Innovations India Private Limited of Kerala (Cochin) and  2nd Prize was given to Naturesani Private Limited of Telangana.
iv .In waste sector 1st Prize was given to Sanshodhan An E-Waste Exchange Private Limited of Telangana and 2nd Prize was given to Flycatcher Technologies LLP of Maharashtra (Mumbai).
v.In water sector 1st Prize was given to REVY Environmental Solutions Pvt Ltd of Gujarat and  2nd Prize was given to EF Polymer Private Limited of Rajasthan.
vi. Prize money for the Swachch Bharat Grand Challenge Was Rs. 2 lakh for the 1st prize and Rs. 1 lakh for the 2nd prize along with a certificate of appreciation.

Sitarist Manju Mehta conferred ‘Tansen Samman 2018’ by Madhya Pradesh government
On December 26, 2018, the Madhya Pradesh government honoured noted sitar player Manju Mehta with the 2018 Tansen Samman, at the Tansen Music Festival in Gwalior.
i. She received the award from Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar,for her contribution to the field of music.
ii. The award consisted of a cash award of Rs 2 lakh and a memento.
Other News:
The Raja Mansingh Tomar Honour was given to the Sankat Mochan Pratishthan in Varanasi for 2017 and the Natrang Pratishthan of New Delhi for 2018.
About the Tansen Music Festival:
♦ The Tansen Music Festival is organised every year by the MP culture department in memory of Tansen, one of the greatest artists in Indian history.
♦ It is being held in Gwalior for the past 94 years.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Retired IAS official Bijay Kumar appointed as deputy MD of IL&FS
On December 26, 2018, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd appointed retired Indian Administrative Service official Bijay Kumar as its deputy managing director.
i. The company also appointed N Srinivasan as a non-executive director.
Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd:
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ Chairman: Mr. Uday Kotak.
♦ Vice Chairman & MD: Mr. Vineet Nayyar.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

BizBarde App: Isolated Turkmenistan launches first messaging app
On 24th December 2018, the isolated central Asian country, Turkmenistan, where many of the social media sites including Facebook and Whatsapp are banned, launched its own and the first Turkmen messaging app BizBarde that will allow the exchange of messages, files, photos and videos.

BizBarde App Isolated Turkmenistan launches first messaging appKey Points:
i. Eziz Beknazarov is the CEO of BizBarde app developing company.
ii. The privately developed BizBarde app can be installed via the Google Android platform in addition to Apple’s iOS and Microsoft home windows.
iii. Turkmenistan, the ex-Soviet republic, is one of the world’s most isolated regimes that have blocked many western services including Twitter and Viber, along with popular Russian networks Odnoklassniki and VKontakte.
iv. The country regularly finds itself at the bottom of global rights and press freedom rankings because only officially sanctioned media are allowed to operate and internet access is provided solely by the state-owned Turkmen Telecom.
About Turkmenistan:
♦ Capital: Ashgabat
♦ Currency: Turkmenistan Manat

Coast Guard deploys faster vessels for enhanced security in Sir Creek with Pakistan
On 25th December 2018, Indian Coast Guard deployed two new hovercrafts which will be responsible for carrying out round the clock surveillance in the Sir Creek area with Pakistan. In addition to this three Interceptor Vessels are also located there for the operations.
Key points
i. Coast Guard Director General Rajendra Singh inaugurated a new hoverport at the Jakahu base which is responsible for providing security to the Sir Creek area.
ii. The Sir Creek area in the Kutch district of Gujarat has been used by the infiltrators from Pakistan to enter the Indian Territory.
iii. The hovercraft operate at high speeds between 30-40 knots (around 50-60 kilometres) per hour and can be highly useful in pursuit of any suspicious boat or individuals in the waters around there.
iv. Coast Guard Director General Rajendra Singh provided around Rs 50,000 to the local village there for enhancing cleanliness in the surrounding areas.
About Indian Coast Guard
♦ Headquarter: New Delhi
♦ Indian Coast Guard day: 1 February
♦ Director General: General Rajendra Singh

ENVIRONMENT

Italy’s Mount Etna erupts, closing Sicily’s Catania Airport
On 24th December 2018, Italy’s Mount Etna which is Europe’s highest and most active volcano erupted causing temporary closure of Catania Airport on the Sicily’s eastern coast.
Key points
i. The Volcanic eruptions leads to an earthquake on magnitude 4.8 on Richter scale on 26th December 2018.
ii. According to the national institute for geophysics and vulcanology (INGV) the earthquake happened in the middle of the night and was only one kilometre deep. The epicentre was located in north of Catania.
ii. Richter Magnitude scale or Richter’s scale is a device invented by Charles F. Richter to measure the strength of Earthquakes.
iii. Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy, in the Metropolitan City of Catania, between the cities of Messina and Catania.
About Italy
♦ Capital: Rome
♦ President: Sergio Mattarella
♦ Currency: Euro

SPORTS

India’s Arjun Bhati wins US Kids Junior Golf World Championship held in Malaysia
On 21st December 2018, the 14 year old, Indian junior golfer Arjun Bhati bagged the first position against America’s Axl Mohru during the three-level final match in the U.S. Kids Junior Golf World Championship held in Malaysia.

India's Arjun Bhati wins US Kids Jr Golf World ChampionshipKey Points:
i. Indian Junior Golfers bagged 11 medals, including 4 Gold, scripting history by hallmarking India’s name at the US Kids Golf World Championship.
ii.The gold medallists of India include Arjun Bhati (boys’ 13-14 group), Aarnav Nath (boys’ 12 group), Gurnavjeet Singh Bhatia (boys’11group) and Kartik Singh (boys’ 8 group).
iii. The winners list also included Harjai Milkha Singh, son of India’s most famous golfer Jeev Milkha Singh. Harjai won bronze in the category for Boys-8 years.
iv. The competitions started from Under-7 and went right up to the age group of 15-16 for both boys and girls.
About Malaysia:
♦ Capital: Kuala Lumpur
♦ Currency: Malaysian Ringgit

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting inducted into ICC Hall of Fame
On 26th December 2018, Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting became the 25th Australian cricketer to be officially inducted into the International Cricket Council’s Hall of Fame at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting inducted into ICC Hall of FameKey Points:
i. A three-time World Cup winner (including two World Cups as captain in 2003 and 2007), Ponting received his commemorative cap during the tea break on Day-1 of the Boxing Day Test between India and Australia at MCG.
ii. In February 2018, he was also inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.
iii. Ponting is the highest run scorer for Australia in both Tests and ODIs, with 13,378 runs in the longest format and 13,704 runs in the 50-over format.
iv. Other 2018 inductees in the list include India’s Rahul Dravid and England’s Claire Taylor, bringing the total members in the prestigious list to 87.
About Australia:
♦ Capital: Canberra
♦ Currency: Australian Dollar
About International Cricket Council:
♦ Chairperson: Shashank Manohar
♦ CEO: Dave Richardson
♦ Headquarters: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

OBITUARY

Padma Shri awardee Sulagitti Narasamma passes away at Bengaluru, Karnataka
On 25th December 2018, Social worker and Padma Shri awardee Sulagitti Narasamma passed away following a chronic lung disease at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital in Bengaluru, Karnataka at the age of 98.
i. She had helped deliver more than 15,000 babies in Krishnapura, a remote village in Pavagada taluk in Karnataka.
ii. Narasam was honored with the National Citizen’s award in 2013 and honorary doctorate in 2014 from Tumkur University.
iii. The Vayoshreshtha Samman, a lifetime achievement award, was also presented to her by then president Pranab Mukherjee.

BOOKS & AUTHORS

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh released the book ‘Prince, Patron and Patriarch Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala
On 24th December 2018, Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, released the book ‘Prince, Patron and Patriarch Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala’, co-authored by the Maharaja’s grandson, Brigadier (Retd) Jagjit Singh, and Cynthia Frederick in Chandigarh.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh released the book 'Prince, Patron and Patriarch Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of KapurthalaKey Points:
i. Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore was also present on the occasion of the launch of the book.
ii. The book which is published by Roli Books is a candid tribute by a grandson to the erstwhile exceptional royal king of Kapurthala.
iii. Maharaja Jagatjit Singh is considered as one of the scripters of modernization of Kapurthala who brought Patiala and Kapurthala on the world map through modernization.
 About Punjab:
♦ Capital: Chandigarh
♦ Governor: V.P. Singh Badnore
♦ Chief Minister: Amarinder Singh
♦ Wildlife Sanctuaries (WLS) in Punjab: Abohar WLS, Bir Motibagh WLS, Bir Bhadson WLS, Harike Lake WLS, Nangal WLS, Jhajjar Bacholi WLS.