Latest Current Affairs Daily Update

17th and 18th Dec 2020 Current Affairs Headlines

Important Days

Nation Observes 49th Vijay Diwas on 16 December 2020

In India, Vijay Diwas (also called Victory Day) is celebrated every year on December 16. The country is celebrating the 49th Vijay Diwas in 2020.

Vijay Diwas is observed to commemorate the service, valour, and sacrifices of the gallant men of the Indian Armed Forces’ victory over Pakistan in 1971 war.

The Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 which began on December 3 lasted for 13 days and officially ended on December 16, after which Pakistan surrendered to India.

It was on this day in 1971, the chief of the Pakistani forces, General AA Khan Niazi, along with 93 thousand troops, had surrendered unconditionally to the allied forces consisting of Indian Army and Mukti Bahini. The end of the war also resulted in subsequent secession of East Pakistan into Bangladesh.

National News

Government of Maharashtra introduces the Unified Development Control Rules for Real Estate

The Government of Maharashtra has approved the Unified Development Control and Promotion Regulations, (UDCPR), to strengthen and bring uniformity in the real estate construction laws of the state.

This uniform set of regulations will specify everything from the height of buildings to the width of roads and the size of amenity spaces.

The new set of rules will apply on all municipal corporations, councils and Nagar panchayats in the entire state except Mumbai and some neighbouring areas like hill stations, eco-sensitive zones and specified corporation areas.

It will help to increase the stock of affordable housing projects and improve ease of doing business as well as help the developers to improve their resource management.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray; Governor: Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

 PM Modi inaugurates world’s largest renewable energy park in Gujarat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the 30,000 megawatts (MW) capacity hybrid renewable energy park in Kutch district of Gujarat.

It will be the largest renewable energy park of its kind in the world. It is expected to play a major role in fulfilling India’s vision of generating 450 GW (4,50,000 MW) of power by 2030.

The park is being constructed between Khawda and Vighakhot villages near India-Pakistan border

The renewable park will have two dedicated zones, one each for the wind energy and solar energy.

It will be spread over 72,600 hectares of wasteland, including 49,600 hectares for the solar project and 23,000 hectares of land for wind power.

Appointments News

Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati elected as Vice President of ABU

The CEO of Prasar Bharati, Shashi Shekhar Vempati has been elected as the Vice President of Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) for a period of three years. Prasar Bharati is India’s largest public broadcasting agency.

The Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia–based Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), is one of the largest broadcasting associations in the world.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Prasar Bharati Founded: 23 November 1997.
  • Prasar Bharati Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union Headquarters: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union President: İbrahim Eren.
  • Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union Formation: 1 July 1964.

RBI re-appoints Uday Kotak as MD of Kotak Mahindra Bank

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the re-appointment of Uday Kotak as Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Bank for a further period of three years, with effect from January 1, 2021.

Kotak is founder managing director and promoter of the bank.

RBI has also approved the appointment of part-time chairman Prakash Apte and Dipak Gupta as Joint MD of the bank for a period of three years.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Kotak Mahindra Bank Establishment: 2003.
  • Kotak Mahindra Bank Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • Kotak Mahindra Bank Tagline: Lets make money simple.

Defence News

Indian Coast Guard’s OPV ‘Sujeet’ commissioned in Goa

Indian Coast Guard’s (ICG) Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) ‘Sujeet’, which is second in the series of 5 OPVs was commissioned at the Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) in Vasco Town, Goa by Raj Kumar, Secretary (Defence Production).

The vessel has been designed and built indigenously by GSL. The 1st ship in series – ICGS (ICG Ship) Sachet was commissioned by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in May 2020.

The ship was commissioned in the presence of K Natarajan, Director General of Indian Coast Guard and others.

Sujeet has been equipped with features like Integrated Bridge System, Integrated platform management system, power management system and high power external fire-fighting.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Director General of ICG: KrishnaswamyNatarajan
  • Indian Coast Guard Headquarters: New Delhi.

Indigenously-built Coast Guard interceptor boat C-454 commissioned

The interceptor boat C-454, built by Larsen and Toubro at its Hazira plant, will operate from Gujarat under the control of the Commander Coast Guard Region North-West of the Indian Coast Guard. It was commissioned by Surat Police Commissioner Ajay Tomar.

This interceptor boat is built indigenously by L&T Jetty, Hazira. It is capable of a high speed of 45 knots having the capability to operate in shallow waters.

Banking News

Canara Bank unveils “FX 4 U” for forex remittance via Internet Banking

Canara Bank has launched FX 4 U that enables its entire internet banking users to handle forex transactions hasslefree.

FX 4 U is used for forex remittance through internet banking. With this development, eligible customers will be able to undertake a remittance facility in adherence to the FEMA regulations 1999.

Once the letter of credit (LC) module is activated, the corporate customers can make and submit LC applications with documents through internet banking.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Syndicate Bank was amalgamated into Canara Bank on April 2020.
  • Canara Bank Founded: July 1906 by Shri Ammembal Subba Rao Pai.
  • Canara Bank Tagline: Together We Can.
  • Canara Bank MD & CEO: L V Prabhakar.
  • Canara Bank Headquarters: Bangalore, Karnataka.

Economy News

S&P revises India’s GDP contraction forecast in FY21 to 7.7%

S&P Global Ratings (previously Standard & Poor’s) has raised India’s GDP growth projection for the FY21 (2020-21) to – 7.7 per cent from – 9 per cent estimated earlier.

The lower contraction rate is based on rising demand and falling COVID infection rates. The US-based S&P rating agency has projected India’s growth to rebound to 10 per cent in the next fiscal, i.e. 2021-22 (FY22).

Agreements News

Norway signs MoU with Clean Ganga Mission in India

The Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) has signed an MoU with cGanga, a think-tank of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) for development of sludge management framework in India.

Through this initiative, Norway intends to deepen the relationship with India especially in the prevention of climate change and conservation of the environment.

The MoU was signed during the 5th edition of the India Water Impact 2020, held from 10-15 December 2020.

The event is co-organised by National Mission for Clean Ganga and Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Norway Currency: Norwegian krone.
  • Norway Capital: Oslo.
  • Prime Minister of Norway: Erna Solberg.

India and World Bank sign $400 million project to protect India’s poor

The Government of India and the World Bank have signed a $400 million project to protect vulnerable groups in urban and peri-urban areas across the country impacted by COVID-19.

This is the second such assistance in the series of two ‘Accelerating India’s COVID-19 Social Protection Response Programme’. Under the first operation, $750 million was approved by World Bank in May 2020.

World Bank will support India in its efforts at providing social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households, severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The programme will strengthen the capability of state and central governments in India to provide coordinated and adequate social protection to the poor and vulnerable from the shocks triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Headquarters of World Bank: Washington, D.C., United States.
  • President of World Bank: David Malpass.
  • World Bank Founded: July 1944.

Awards News

 SAIL gets the Golden Peacock Environment Management Award 2020

Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has been awarded the prestigious Golden Peacock Environment Management Award for the year 2020 in the Steel Sector by the Institute of Directors.

The company has been the winner of this award for successive two years and this bears testimony to the efforts made by it for sustainable and environmentally responsible steel making. This award is one of the most coveted awards in the category.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chairman of SAIL: Anil Kumar Chaudhary.
  • SAIL Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • SAIL founded: 19 January 1954.

Ranks and Reports News

India ranks 131 in the Human Development Index 2020

According to the report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), India has been dropped two spots to 131 among 189 countries in the 2020 Human Development Index.

Norway topped the index, followed by Ireland, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Iceland, the report showed. Niger is the lowest-ranked country at 189, placed among Low human development category, with a score of 0.394.

India(131), Bhutan (129), Bangladesh (133), Nepal (142), and Pakistan (154) were ranked among countries with medium human development. In the BRICS grouping, Russia was 52 in the human development index, Brazil 84, and China 85.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • UNDP Headquarters: New York, New York, United States.
  • UNDP Head: Achim Steiner.
  • UNDP Founded: 22 November 1965.

Science and Technology

ISRO sets up a dedicated control centre “NETRA” for SSA

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has set up a dedicated Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Control Centre named “NETRA”, at its ISTRAC campus at Peenya, Bengaluru.

The ISRO SSA Control Centre ‘NETRA’ was formally inaugurated by ISRO Chairman K Sivan. The “NEtwork for space object TRacking and Analysis (NETRA)” will monitor, track and protect India’s space assets. It will function as a hub of all SSA activities within India.

It has been set up as a ‘Directorate of Space Situational Awareness and Management (DSSAM)’ aiming to protect high valued space assets from space debris close approaches and collisions.

The state-of-the-art facility, dedicated to SSA activities, will also help to coordinate between Indian agencies, their foreign counterparts and international bodies. The main elements of NETRA would be a radar, an optical telescope facility, and a control centre.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • ISRO Chairman: K.Sivan.
  • ISRO Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka.

NASA selects Raja Chari as commander of SpaceX Crew-3 mission

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have selected Indian-American Raja Chari to be the Commander of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station. Presently Raja Chari is a colonel in the US Air Force.

He will be the commander of SpaceX Crew-3 mission, while Nasa’s Tom Marshburn will be pilot and ESA’s Matthias Maurer will serve as a mission specialist. This mission is expected to be launched next year.

When Chari, Marshburn, and Maurer arrive at the orbiting laboratory, they will become expedition crew members for the duration of their six-month stay. The crew will have a slight overlap with the Crew-2 astronauts, who are expected to launch in the spring of 2021.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • The administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Jim Bridenstine.
  • Headquarters of NASA: Washington D.C., United States.

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