Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 13th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs for Prelims | PT Exam:

Today Current Affairs: 13th December 2019  for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc.

 

1. India Skills Report :

India Skills Report 2019-20 has been released.

It is a joint initiative by PeopleStrong, a Global Talent Assessment Company, in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) along with partners like UNDP, AICTE, and AIU.

The report also consists of an in-depth study of employability amongst the fresh candidates joining the workforce.

Findings:

  • About 46.21 percent of students were found employable or ready to take up jobs in 2019, compared with 33 percent in 2014, and 47.38 percent in 2018.
  • Female employability witnessed an upward trend at 47 percent this year from 38 percent in 2017 and 46 percent in 2018.
  • Most employable candidates as per the courses were MBA Students at 54 percent as against 40 percent in the last two years.
  • A decline in employability was seen in BTech, Engineering. MCA graduates, Technical & Computer-related courses.

Performance of states:

Top three states in terms of employability: Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh.

 

2. Rare Earth Elements:

The US Army plans to fund the construction of a Rare Earth’s processing facility to secure the domestic supply of minerals that are used to make military weapons and electronics.

This will be the first financial investment by the US military into commercial-scale Rare Earth’s production since the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb during World War II.

The decision comes after China threatened to stop exporting Rare Earth materials to the US amid the ongoing trade war between the countries.

At present, China refines approximately 80%-90% of the world’s Rare Earths, thereby having substantial control over its supply.

What is REM?

The rare earth’s minerals (REM) are a set of seventeen metallic elements.

These include the fifteen lanthanides on the periodic table in addition to scandium and yttrium that show similar physical and chemical properties to the lanthanides.

The REMs have unique catalytic, metallurgical, nuclear, electrical, magnetic and luminescent properties. While named ‘rare earth’, they are in fact not that rare and are relatively abundant in the Earth’s crust.

 

3. Pradhan MantriUjjwalaYojana (PMUY) – Diversion of LPG:

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in a report on the Pradhan MantriUjjwalaYojana (PMUY), has highlighted the risk of diversion of domestic LPG cylinders for commercial use.

Findings of the CAG report are:

  • 1.98 lakh beneficiaries had an average annual consumption of more than 12 cylinders.
  • The CAG said this level of consumption seemed improbable in view of the BPL (below poverty line) status of such beneficiaries.
  • It also exposed a mismatch in the name of 12.46 lakh beneficiaries.
  • The audit also highlighted the delay of more than 365 days in the installation of 4.35 lakh connections against the stipulated time period of seven days.

About PMUY:

Providing clean-cooking fuel to the poor households, which are otherwise vulnerable to health hazards associated with indoor air pollution(which annually causes 10 lakh deaths in India).

It is implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas through its Oil Marketing Companies (i.e., IOC, BPCL and HPCL) and their distributors’ network.

 

4. Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting System (GRAF):

International technology company IBM is planning to develop this high-resolution weather forecast model that will also rely on user-generated data to improve the accuracy of forecasts available in India.

IBM GRAF, as the forecast system is called, can generate forecasts at a resolution of 3 kilometers.

 

5. Lotus emblem on passports:

The opposition has questioned the government over the replacement of ‘Lion’ with ‘Lotus’ symbol on Indian passports. The lotus symbol was printed inside a rectangle on the page near the passport officer’s signature and seal.

Ministry of External Affairs said that this symbol is our national flower and was part of the enhanced security features to identify fake passports.

These security features have been introduced as part of the International Civil Aviation Organisation guidelines. The MEA said the measure would involve the use of other national symbols as well on rotation.

 

6. Parliament passes International Financial Services Centre Authority bill, 2019:

On December 13. 2019, the International Financial Services Centre Authority bill was passed by Rajya Sabha. It proposes to set up an authority to regulate financial services in the International Financial Services Centres in India.

Functions of the authority:

  • The authority will regulate financial products like contracts of insurance, financial institutions, and services, deposits and securities that were previously approved by regulators such as SEBI, RBI, and IFSC.
  • It has the power to regulate services offered by financial bodies as notified by the Union Government. This makes it independent of the government and to work autonomously.

 

7. Minister of External Affairs hosts 6th Indian Ocean Dialogue, Delhi Dialogue XI:

Union Ministry of External Affairs will be hosting 6th Indian Ocean Dialogue (IOD) and Delhi Dialogue XI at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi on 13 December 2019.

This is for the first time that these two dialogues, which are key elements of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), and India-ASEAN calendars will be held consecutively and on similar Indo-Pacific themes.

The theme for the 2019 Delhi Dialogue is– ‘Advancing Partnership in Indo-Pacific’.

 

8. Greta Thunberg named TIME’s 2019 Person of the Year:

The Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who became the voice of a generation facing climate change emergency was named Time magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year.

About Greta Thunberg:

  • She is a Swedish environmental activist on climate change whose campaigning movement, which became known as “Fridays for Future,” prompted millions of people in about 150 countries “to act on behalf of the planet.
  • She had been nominated for a Nobel peace prize, recognized for her mobilization of students in her ‘Fridays for Future’ weekly school strikes.

 

9.FICCI India Sports Awards 2019:

The  FICCI India Sports Awards 2019 were presented to the winners on 11 December 2019 at New Delhi.

The awards are an attempt by FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) to acknowledge and recognize the contribution of sportspersons and various stakeholders who deliver excellent results during the year.

Winners:

  • Sports Person of the Year: Female– Rani Rampal, women’s hockey team captain; Male: Saurabh Chaudhary, ace pistol shooter.
  • Best National Sports Federation: National Rifle Association of India
  • Best Company Promoting Sports (Public Sector): Railway Sports Promotion Board
  • Best Para-athlete: Sandeep Chaudhary (javelin).
  • Breakthrough Sports Person: Amit Panghal (boxing)
  • Lifetime Achievement (Administrator): Govindaraj Kempareddy
  • Lifetime Achievement: Pankaj Advani (cue sport)
  • Best State promoting sports: Odisha
  • Best Sports Journalist: Kamesh Srinivasan.

 

10. Lok Sabha passes Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2019:

Lok Sabha passed the Central Sanskrit University Bill 2019, which seeks to convert three deemed Sanskrit universities, presently functioning in the country, into central universities.

The bill was piloted by Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’.

Features of Bill:

The Bill seeks to upgrade three deemed Sanskrit universities into Central universities:

Which are– Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan in Bhopal, Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in New Delhi and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.

 

11. 73 Countries join Climate Ambition Alliance at COP25:

73 countries have joined the Climate Ambition Alliance (CAA) at the COP25. The alliance is led by Chile and was launched at the Climate Action Summit, New York in 2019.

Both Chile and the UK will work together to mobilize additional actors to join the alliance. They will also work towards COP26 that is to be held in November 2020 at Glasgow, UK.

About Climate Ambition Alliance:

  • The CAA will focus on Nationally Determined Contributions in order to achieve Net Zero by 2050.
  • It will focus on resilience in infrastructure, management of water and sustainability of cities.
  • The main purpose of the alliance is to upscale 2020 targets of members of the UN and to achieve Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050.

 

12. Rajya Sabha passes Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019:

Rajya Sabha passed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 on 12 December 2019 by voice vote.

The bill seeks to amend Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 to include three tribes namely– Parivara, Talwara, and Siddi community of Dharwad and Belagavi districts, in the list of Scheduled Tribes in Karnataka.

The bill was introduced by Tribal Affairs Minister of State Renuka Singh Saruta in Upper House.

Features of Bill:

The tribal and tribal communities which are deemed to be Scheduled Tribes (STs) are specified in the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950. Thus the Bill amends Part VI of the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 which specifies the Scheduled Tribes in Karnataka.

 

13. Constitution (126th Amendment) Bill, 2019:

Parliament has passed the Constitution (126th Amendment) Bill 2019 with Rajya Sabha approving it. Lok Sabha has already passed it. It seeks to extend the reservation for SCs & STs in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies by another 10 years till January 25, 2030.

About:

The Constitution provides for reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) and representation of the Anglo-Indian community by nomination, in Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies of states.

This has been provided for a period of 70 years since the enactment of the Constitution and will expire on January 25, 2020. The Bill seeks to extend the reservation for SCs and STs by another 10 years till January 25, 2030.

 

14. Substance Abuse:

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment informed Parliament about the substance abuse trends in the country. The data was determined by a National Survey conducted in 2018 to collect state-wise data on the Extent and Pattern of Substance Use.

Age Group 10-17 years: The country has 30 lakh individuals in the age group 10-17 years who consume alcohol, with a prevalence of 1.3 %.

Age Group 18-75 years: For individuals in the age-group 18-75 years, alcohol users number 15.1 crore (17.10 %).

 

15. Licypriya Kangujam:

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP-25 being held at Madrid, Spain, the eight-year-old environmental activist Licypriya Kangujam – known as Indian ‘Greta’ – urged global leaders to take immediate action to save the planet.

About:

  • Licypriya Kangujam (born 2011) is a child environmental activist from Manipur.
  • In October 2019, Kangujam started the “Great October March 2019” at India Gate, New Delhi with nearly thousands of her supporters to enact the climate law in India.
  • Licypriya has come out with a symbolic device called SUKIFU (Survival Kit for the Future) to curb air pollution. SUKIFU, a wearable plant is almost a zero budget kit designed from trash to provide fresh air into our body when the pollution rate is high.

 

16. Chartered Designs Of India (CDI); Design Education Quality Mark (DEQM):

The India Design Council (IDC) has launched two new Initiatives to promote Design Education and Standards namely the Chartered Designs of India (CDI) and the Design Education Quality Mark (DEQM).

About:

These two initiatives of IDC and National Institute of design, Ahmedabad will help to address the 5 challenges of scale, quality of design, quality of education for design, raising the priority for design in industry and design for a public purpose.

The DEQM will benchmark design education programs on predetermined standards and will accord Design Education Quality Mark to institutions that meet the provisions of the published standard.

India Design Council (IDC):

India Design Council (IDC) is an autonomous body of the Government of India established under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

 

17. ISRO’s Rocket Launchpad:

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has begun preparatory works for setting up a third rocket launchpad in the small coastal hamlet of Kulashekhrapattinam in the Thuthukudi district of Tamil Nadu.

About:

At present, the ISRO has two launch pads at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

The demand for additional launch pads has arisen as a result of the increase in the number of satellite launches from India, both for domestic and international customers. ISRO says that it had launched as many as 17 missions in 2018 alone.

Recently, the Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office informed Rajya Sabha that the government had a proposal to set up a rocket launching pad near Kulasekarapattinam in Tamil Nadu.

 

18. President gave his assent to the 2019 Citizenship Amendment Bill:

The Bill will grant citizenship to non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who came to India before 31 December 2014. President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on 12 December 2019.

The bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955. The Bill was passed in Lok Sabha in January 2019 but lapsed without being cleared in Rajya Sabha. The law came into effect on 12 December.

Provisions:

  • As per the Act, the members of Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, and Parsi communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till 31 December 2014 will not be treated as illegal immigrants.
  • The Bill will grant citizenship to non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who came to India before 31 December 2014.
  • The Bill will provide citizenship to six communities namely Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and Parsis.
  • It will help the minority communities who face religious persecution.
  • The government said that the new law will be followed by a National Register of Citizens. Hence, the Muslims must prove they were original residents of India and not refugees from these three countries.

 

19. A contraction in the Index of Industrial Production:

According to the data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), the quick estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) stands at 127.7 for October 2019, which is 3.8% lower as compared to the level in the month of October 2018.

This contraction is due to the demand slump in the economy and fall in activity across sectors such as manufacturing, electricity, infrastructure, etc.

Index of Industrial Production:

  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) maps the change in the volume of production in Indian industries.
  • It is estimated and published on a monthly basis by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) under MoSPI.
  • It is currently calculated using 2011-2012 as the base year.
  • The IIP is basically divided into three sectors, though a use-based classification is also provided by the CSO.
  • The three sectors include Mining, Manufacturing, and Electricity.

 

20. National Financial Reporting Authority:

The National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) was constituted on 1st October 2018 by the Government of India under section 132 (1) of the Companies Act, 2013.

Need: In the wake of accounting scams, a need was felt to establish an independent regulator for enforcement of auditing standards and ensuring the quality of audits so as to enhance investor and public confidence in financial disclosures of companies.

Functions and Duties:

  • Recommend accounting and auditing policies and standards to be adopted by companies for approval by the Central Government.
  • Monitor and enforce compliance with accounting standards and auditing standards.

 

Other Daily Current Affairs

1. V.S. Sirpurkar Commission: The Supreme Court set up an inquiry commission led by its former judge, Justice V.S. Sirpurkar, to probe the circumstances of the police ‘encounter’ killing of four persons accused in the gang-rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad.

2. Haryana Police has adopted a unique barcoding software — Trakea — to ensure that thousands of forensic reports that form the backbone of the criminal investigation system and subsequent trials in the courts of law are not tampered with.

3. India Design Council (IDC) launched two initiatives, called Design Education Quality Mark (DEQM) and Chartered Designs of India (CDI), with the objective to support and set standards for the design profession.

4. The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet on December 11, 2019, cleared the Disha Bill that proposed harsh punishment for crimes against women. Disha bill is also known as the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) bill.

5. Warship builder Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) has delivered a Landing Craft Utility (LCU) to the Indian Navy. The LCU delivered is 7th out of eight such vessels being built for the Indian Navy by GRSE, which will add to India’s maritime security prowess.

6. Food regulator FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) and Nasscom Foundation, a trade association of Indian IT and Business Process Outsourcing industry, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly build a technology platform to prevent food wastage and encouraging food donation by developing an app for the purpose. The collaboration is a significant step in the direction of leveraging technology for solutions to social problems.

7. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been named as the world’s most powerful woman by Forbes in the 2019 list of the 100 most powerful women in the world.

8. The European Union (EU) left Poland out of a 2050 climate neutrality agreement. The agreement is part of a plan to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent.

9. The second 2+2 dialogue between India and the US has been scheduled to be held on 18 December 2019 in Washington, the US.

10. Ravi Mittal has been appointed as the new Information and Broadcasting Secretary. He will replace Mr. Amit Khare who has been appointed as the new secretary of the Department of higher education.

11. Food and beverage giant PepsiCo has partnered with Bollywood actor Salman Khan as the brand ambassador of Pepsi brand of carbonated beverage in India.

12. Odisha State government was honored with the 2019 World Habitat Award. The award recognized the State’s ambitious project Jaga Mission.: The program has set a global benchmark to empower the urban poor.

13. A three-day National Tribal Dance Festival will be held in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. The festival is to be held on 27-29 December 2019.

14. State Bank of India (SBI) announced a reduced 1-year marginal cost-based lending rates (MCLR) by 10 bps. MCLR will be reduced to 7.90% from 8%.

15. The Ministry of Jal Shakti has constituted a three-member Supervisory Committee to settle the issue of Mullaperiyar dam between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

16. Samagra Shiksha: an integrated scheme for school education’.

This was all for today’s current affairs

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