Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 12th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs for Prelims | PT Exam:

Today Current Affairs: 12th December 2019  for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc.

 

1. Dec 11: the birth anniversary of Subramanian Bharati.

About Subramaniya Bharathiyar:

  • He was a poet, freedom fighter and social reformer from Tamil Nadu.
  • He was known as Mahakavi Bharathiyar and the laudatory epithet Mahakavi means a great poet.

Bharthi as a social reformer:

He was against the caste system. He declared that there were only two castes-men and women and nothing more than that. Above all, he himself had removed his sacred thread.

 

2. Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme:

Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme gets cabinet nod.

Features of the scheme:

It allows for the purchase of high-rated pooled assets from financially-sound non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and housing finance companies (HFCs) by public sector banks (PSBs).

The window for a one-time partial credit guarantee offered by the government would remain open till June 30, 2020, or till such date by which Rs 1 lakh crore worth of assets get purchased by the banks.

 

3. Social Security code:

Labour Minister has introduced the Code on Social Security, 2019, in the Lok Sabha.

Objectives:

To amalgamate a clutch of existing laws and proposes several new initiatives including universal social security for unorganized sector workers and, insurance and health benefits for gig workers.

To Corporatize of existing organizations like EPFO and ESIC headed by people other than the labor minister.

Features of the code:

The Code will merge eight exiting labor laws including employees’ Compensation Act, 1923; Employees‘ State Insurance Act, 1948, Employees‘ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952; Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.

The bill seeks to establish a social security fund and tap the corporate social responsibility fund to offer unorganized sector workers medical, pension, death and disability benefits via the employee’s state insurance corporation.

It proposes to offer a gratuity to fixed-term employees after one year of service on a pro-rata basis as against the current practice of five years.

 

4. Infrastructure Investment Trust:

Cabinet authorizes NHAI to set up Infrastructure Investment Trust and monetize National Highway projects.

About the Infrastructure Investment Trust:

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will set up the Infrastructure Investment Trust(s) (InvIT) as per InvIT Guidelines issued by SEBI.

This will enable the NHAI to monetize completed national highways that have a toll collection track record of at least one year and the NHAI reserves the right to levy a toll on the identified highway.

InvIT as an instrument provides greater flexibility to investors and is expected to create specialized O&M concessionaires, attract patient capital for around 30 years to the highways market.

 

5. RISAT-2BR1:

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its fiftieth flight (PSLV-C48), has successfully launched RISAT-2BR1 along with nine commercial satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.

This is PSLV’s 50th successful mission and the 75 launch vehicle mission from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.

What is RISAT-2BR1?

  • It is a radar imaging earth observation satellite.
  • It provides services in the field of agriculture, forestry and disaster management.
  • Its mission life is 5 years.

The RISAT, which was first deployed in orbit on April 20, 2009, as the RISAT-2, uses synthetic aperture radars (SAR) to provide Indian forces with all-weather surveillance and observation, which are crucial to notice any potential threat or malicious activity around the nation’s borders.

What is PSLV?

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is an indigenously-developed expendable launch system of the ISRO.

It comes in the category of medium-lift launchers with a reach up to various orbits, including the Geo Synchronous Transfer Orbit, Lower Earth Orbit, and Polar Sun Synchronous Orbit.

 

6. NAVIC: Navigation in Indian Constellation :

US Congress has consented to designate India’s Navigation in Indian Constellation (NavIC) as its “allied” navigational satellite system along with the Galileo of the European Union and QZSS of Japan.

What is NAVIC?

Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland.

Services provided:

IRNSS would provide two types of services, namely Standard Positioning Services available to all users and Restricted Services provided to authorized users.

 

7. Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi):

  • Bharti Airtel has introduced Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi), a first for India
  • Wi-Fi Calling makes use of high-speed Internet connection, available via broadband, to make and receive high definition (HD) voice calls.
  • Users don’t have to pay extra for these calls as it is using a Wi-Fi network.
  • Wi-Fi Calling is aimed especially for areas where cellular networks are not strong.

This is not much different from a voice call using WhatsApp or any other over-the-top messaging platform, but here the call is from one number to another, and not using an app.

 

8. Assam protests against Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB):

In the protests in the Northeast against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2019, the outrage has been most intense, sustained and widespread in Assam.

Large parts of the other Northeastern states have been exempted from the ambit of the CAB, although there have been protests there too. On the other hand, the larger part of Assam is under CAB.

Reason for protests in Assam:

Against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill rooted in a fear that illegal Bengali Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, if regularized, will threaten cultural and linguistic identities.

 

9. Genocide Case Against Myanmar:

Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is attending the proceedings of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Netherlands to lead her country’s defense against charges of carrying out a genocide against its Muslim Rohingya minority.

Background:

An estimated 7.3 lakh Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since 2017 when the Myanmar military launched a brutal crackdown on Rohingya villages in the country’s Rakhine state. In August, the UN said the army action was carried out with “genocidal intent”.

Recent development:

The Gambia, which is predominantly Muslim, went to the ICJ in November 2019, accusing Myanmar of genocide, which is the most serious of all international crimes. The Gambia is backed by the 57-member Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

 

10. United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):

The US, Mexico, and Canada have finalized the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that will replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The USMCA will now go to the countries’ legislatures for final approval.

Features:

  • USMCA is intended to last 16 years and will be reviewed every 6 years.
  • USMCA gives the U.S. greater access to the dairy markets of Canada. Tariffs of up to 275% have kept most foreign milk out of the Canadian market.

NAFTA :

  • It is an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America.
  • The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994.

 

11.World’s first fully electric commercial aircraft:

The world’s first fully-electric commercial aircraft took its inaugural test flight in Vancouver, Canada.

Significance:

  • The range is enough to start the revolution, adding that batteries and electric motors will eventually be developed to power longer flights.
  • It marks the start of the electric aviation age. The technology would mean significant cost savings for airlines, not to mention zero emissions.

 

12. Cabinet approves Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019:

Union Cabinet has approved certain amendments in Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (code)

Through Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019, The amendments aim to remove certain difficulties being faced during the insolvency resolution process to realize objects of code, protect corporate debtors, prevent ill-thought-out triggering of bankruptcy proceedings and to further ease doing business (ADB).

 

13. Cabinet approves Aircraft (amendment) bill, 2019:

The Union Cabinet on December 11, 2019, approved the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to amend the Aircrafts act, 1934. The main objective of the bill is to fulfill the safety requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Features of the Bill:

  • The Bill intends to regulate the areas of air navigation.
  • It enhances the punishment from 10 lakh rupees to 1 crore rupees for those failing to comply norms of the Government of India.
  • Also, the bill will enable three regulatory bodies namely the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB).
  • It will increase the safety and security of air transport in the country.

 

14. BIMSTEC: International Seminar on Climate Smart Farming Systems held in New Delhi:

A three day “International Seminar on Climate Smart Farming systems” is being held in New Delhi. It was inaugurated on December 11, 2019. The seminar is being organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

The objective of the seminar is to enable the improvement of tropical smallholder farming systems that is resilient to climate change and will provide greater productivity.

About BIMSTEC:

The seminar is being organized by the Government of India as an initiative at the fourth BIMSTEC summit that was held at Katmandu in August 2019.

As all the BIMSTEC countries are lying in adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal and have a similar type of climate, the solutions provided at the seminar are suitable and more reliable for all the countries.

 

15. Cabinet approves Indo-Japan pact in Steel Sector:

Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between the Government of India and the Government of Japan to constitute ‘India-Japan Steel Dialogue’ to strengthen cooperation in the steel sector. MoC will help in capacity building for high-grade steel manufacturing in India.

 

16. Heavy Metals Contaminating India’s Rivers:

Recently, the Central Water Commission (CWC) has reported that the samples from two-thirds of the water quality stations spanning India’s major rivers are contaminated by one or more heavy metals, exceeding safe limits set by the Bureau of Indian Standards.

  • The samples from only one-third of water quality stations were safe whereas 65% were polluted by heavy metals.

 

17. Shore Temple:

  • The shoreline on the northern side of the Shore temple in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu is facing severe sea erosion.
  • Shore Temple is one among a number of Hindu monuments at Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), on the Coromandel Coast of Tamil Nadu.
  • It is considered the finest early example of medieval southern Indian temple architecture.

 

18. Taj Trapezium Zone:

Recently, the Supreme Court has permitted Northern Railways to cut over 400 trees in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) for construction of an additional rail track between Delhi and Agra on the condition of mandatory compensatory afforestation.

About TTZ:

  • TTZ is a defined area of 10,400 sq km around the Taj Mahal to protect the monument from pollution.
  • TTZ is so named since it is located around the Taj Mahal and is shaped like a trapezium.
  • It comprises monuments including three World Heritage Sites the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri.

 

19. DISHA ACT:

AP cabinet approves Disha Act to provide harsher punishment for crimes against women, children

The Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, also known as the Disha Act, was passed by the Andhra Pradesh cabinet recently for its enactment. The Act proposes harsh punishment for those who commit a crime against women.

The legislation aims to protect women and children in Andhra Pradesh. One of the sections of the act calls for a speedy trial of a case involving a heinous crime against women such as rape.

 

20. Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 passed in Rajya Sabha:

The Rajya Sabha on December 11, 2019, passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019. 125 MPs voted in favor of the Bill, while 105 MPs voted against the legislation. Once the Bill receives the signature of President Ram Nath Kovind, it would become an Act.

 

21. Atal Bhujal Yojana:

The World Bank has approved Atal BhujalYojana (ABHY), an Rs.6,000 Crore Central Sector Scheme, for sustainable management of groundwater resources with community participation. The funding pattern is 50:50 between the Government of India and the World Bank.

The scheme envisages active participation of the communities in various activities such as:

  • the formation of Water User Associations.
  • monitoring and disseminating groundwater data, water budgeting.
  • preparation and implementation of Gram-Panchayat wise water security plans and Information, Education & Communication (IEC) activities related to sustainable groundwater management.

 

Daily Important Current Affairs one-liner:

  1. Inauguration of Navarms 2019 4th International Seminar Cum Exhibition on Naval Weapon Systems
  2. The fourth edition of International Seminar cum Exhibition on Naval Weapon Systems ‘NAVARMS – 2019’ with the theme ‘Make in India’.
  3. FICCI India Sports Award 2019 presented to Railway Sports Promotion Board in the category of Best Company Promoting Sports(public sector).
  4. Union Government contracts an additional 12,660 MT of Onions taking the total import quantity to approximately 30,000 MT; Arrivals of new contracts to begin from 27th December; MMTC issues fresh tenders for 15,000 MT.
  5. The Forest Department and experts from Kerala and northeastern States will begin the maiden survey of butterfly species in the Papikonda National Park (PNP).
  6. UNESCO and Dell Technologies will launch a new education program where they will train 4,000 Indian teachers in Artificial Technology.
  7. 12 December: International Universal Health Coverage Day.
  8. The Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi gave its approval for signing an Agreement on Social Security between India and Brazil. The Social Security Agreement is being signed by India with several other countries in order to protect the interests of the professionals and skilled workers living abroad.
  9. Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval to Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and Saudi Food and Drug Authority in the field of Medical Products Regulation. The MoU was signed on 29 October 2019 during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  10. NANAVATI COMMISSION: The Gujarat government tabled in the Assembly the report of the Nanavati Commission, which it had appointed to probe the burning of the Sabarmati Express in 2002 and the subsequent riots in the state.

This is all for today’s current affairs.

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