Current Affairs Daily Digest – December 17 2019
1. Amitabha Bagchi won the 2019 South Asian Literature award
Amitabha Bagchi’s novel Half The Night Is Gone won the South Asian Literature 2019 award. Pradeep Gyawali, minister for foreign affairs of Nepal presented the award to Bagchi at the IME Nepal Literature Festival in Pokhara, Nepal. Bagchi won the prize money of $25,000. The novel topped among the chosen six works of fiction.
2. Air Marshal D Choudhury is the new Commandant of National Defence College
Air Marshal D Choudhury took charge as Commandant of National Defence College on 16 December 2019. He previously served as the Senior Air Staff Officer at the Headquarters of Western Air Command, New Delhi. He replaced Vice Admiral Srikant.
3. Sridhar Patra was appointed as the CMD of NALCO
Sridhar Patra was appointed as the chairman-cum-managing director of the National Aluminium Company (NALCO). Patra is currently serving as the Director (Finance) in the National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO). He will be serving as the CMD of NALCO till the date of his superannuation, i.e. 31 October 2024.
4. SBI, KfW sign agreement for energy-efficient housing programme in India
State Bank of India (SBI) has signed a loan agreement with KfW, the German development bank, worth $277 million on 16 December 2019. The arrangement of the loan and the grant facilities was facilitated by SBI’s investment banking subsidiary SBI Capital Markets Ltd.
5. Lt General Manoj Mukund: The Next Army Chief
Lt General Manoj Mukund Naravane is set to become the next chief of the Indian army. The three-year tenure of the current Army Chief Bipin Rawat ends on December 31 as he retires.
However, GoI is yet to announce the name of the first Chief of Defence Staff as announced by PM Modi in his Independence Day address. The CDS is considered as one of the biggest reforms of Indian military as he will be the head of all three services and will possess nuclear arsenal powers.
6. NPIC to export UPI, sets up subsidiary: RBI Governor
The Unified Payment Interface was introduced in India in 2016. Based on its performance, Google has recommended similar service called FedNow to the US Federal Reserve Board.
With its growing popularity, the RBI on December 16, 2019 announced that NPCI will set up a subsidiary to export UPI. India is already extending the app to other countries. Recently, PM Modi launched the service in Singapore during his visit to the country.
7. World Economic Forum Report: India slips to rank 112 in Gender Gap
On December 17, the World Economic Forum released its report according to which India ranked 112th in terms of gender gap. The report said that the India was ranked in bottom-five in terms of survival and economic participation.
8. India to Host International Geological Congress 2020
India is set to host the 36th International Geological Congress (IGC) in New Delhi during the first week of March 2020. The theme for next year conference is ‘Geosciences: The Basic Science for a Sustainable Development’.
About International Geological Congress (IGC)
It is popularly described as ‘Olympics of Geosciences’. The IGCs are a prestigious global geoscientific events held once in four years and participated by nearly 5000-6000 geoscientists from all across the world.
9. ADB, India sign $250 million loan to expand energy efficiency investments in India
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India on 16th December 2019 signed a $250 million loan to Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) to expand energy efficiency investments in India that will benefit agricultural, residential and institutional consumers. In addition, $46 million financing will be provided from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), to be administered by ADB.
10. Bernard Arnault briefly becomes world’s richest person passing Bezos
French billionaire Bernard Arnault, the Chairman of Louis Vuitton owner LVMH, briefly became the world’s richest person surpassing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Monday. Arnault ended the day with a net worth of $108 billion, compared to Bezos’ $110.1 billion, according to Forbes. Bezos had transferred Amazon stake currently worth $35 billion as part of the divorce settlement with MacKenzie.
11. Facebook most downloaded app of decade; 3 of its other apps in top 5
Facebook was the most downloaded app of this decade, as per data by app analytics firm App Annie. Following Facebook were three apps owned by it, namely Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. Snapchat was the fifth most downloaded app of the decade, with Skype, TikTok, UC Browser, YouTube and Twitter taking the remaining five spots on the list.
12. Will take 99.5 years to achieve gender equality worldwide: WEF
World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2020 revealed that it will take 99.5 years to attain gender equality worldwide. However, WEF said that the gap between men and women, measured in terms of political influence, economic gain, health and education, has narrowed over the last year. In 2018, the gap was calculated to take 108 years to close.
13. Visit of Prime Minister of Portugal to India
Prime Minister of Portugal Mr Antonio Costa will be visiting India on a working visit from 19-20 Dec on an invitation extended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the second meeting of the Organising Committee on the celebrations for the 150th Birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on 19 Dec 2019.
The high level political exchanges between India and Portugal have imparted a robust momentum to bilateral relations, including in several new areas such as science and technology, defence, startups, shipping, youth exchanges and culture.
14. Vistara CCO Sanjiv Kapoor resigns, CSO Vinod Kannan to take over
Vistara chief commercial officer (CCO) Sanjiv Kapoor on Monday resigned from his position citing personal reasons, the airline said in a statement. Vinod Kannan, chief strategy officer, will take over as the CCO at the Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines joint venture carrier.
“As part of the transition process since Kapoor’s resignation, some of the portfolios had been moved under Kannan’s leadership, while some are still in the movement process,” the airline said.
15.Karanji Lake Festival begins
The two-day Karanji Lake Festival began on Monday with the caretaker of the lake, Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens or Mysuru Zoo, hosting various awareness activities focusing on lake conservation and lake management.
16. Fifth EAC meeting of 15th Finance Commission held in New Delhi
The fifth meeting of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) of the Fifteenth Finance Commission was held in New Delhi yesterday. After the meeting, Chairman NK Singh said that future revenue is the most critical issue for the Finance Commission. He said, tax regime needs predictability and certainty.
In the meeting, possible macro assumptions related to real growth, inflation, ongoing structural reforms, tax revenue including GST, adherence to Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act and fiscal transparency were discussed. Further, Advisory Council was informed about submission of the 2020-21 report and Commission’s next course of actions pertaining to preparation of the report for 2021-26 period.
Recently, the fifteenth Finance Commission submitted its report for the period 2020-21 to President Ram Nath Kovind.
17. Nagaland Governor R N Ravi to hold additional charge of Meghalaya
Nagaland Governor R N Ravi has been given additional charge of Meghalaya, a statement issued by the Rastrapati Bhavan said. “The President of India is pleased to appoint R N Ravi, Governor of Nagaland to discharge the functions of the Governor of Meghalaya, in addition to his own duties, during the absence on leave of Tathagata Roy, Governor of Meghalaya,” it said, without citing further details.
18. Reliance-BP ink new fuel retail JV; to set up 5,500 petrol pump outlets in 5 years
Eight years after they partnered to produce hydrocarbons in India, Reliance Industries Ltd and British oil major BP Plc have come together again to open a nationwide network of fuel retailing outlets. Together, the companies plan to set up 5,500 fuel retail stations across the country, which may include the 1,378 retail outlets RIL independently runs across India at present.