Current Affairs 11th December 2018

NATIONAL NEWS

Govt contribution to NPS raised to 14%, withdrawal made tax free

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Centre has decided to increase its contribution to the NPS for the central government employees to 14 per cent and also made the entire withdrawal amount tax free at the time of retirement.

  • The central government’s contribution to the National Pension System (NPS) will be increased to 14 per cent from the current 10 per cent. The minimum employee contribution stands at 10 per cent.
  • Additional burden due to the increase in government’s contribution on the exchequer will be Rs 2,840 crore for the 2019-20 fiscal.

Storytelling festival for differently-abled children at Bhubaneswar

An international storytelling festival “BhuFeSto” was organised for the differently- abled children in Bhubaneswar where special storytelling sessions for children with visual and hearing disabilities was organised.

  • Ramayana was performed in form of musical storytelling by artist Deepa Kiran with a twist while children enjoyed the musical narration. The storytelling was both verbal and in Indian Sign Language by the artists. Apart from Indian storytellers, several international storytellers shared stories about their culture.

Lepa Rada becomes 24th district of Arunachal Pradesh

The 24th district of Arunachal Pradesh Lepa Rada was formally inaugurated a day after Shi Yomi became a new district. Lepa Rada is carved out of the Lower Siang district, comprising four administrative circles – Tirbin, Dari, Sago and Basar. 

  • Chief Minister Pema Khandu unveiled the vision statement of the new district in presence of Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, and also inaugurated a 4-km PMGSY road from Basar to Lape.

Tamil Nadu Government launches 24-hour helpline 181 for women

The Tamil Nadu government launched a 24-hour helpline for women, among others, facing domestic violence and sexual harassment. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami launched the initiative, developed at a cost of Rs 62.70 lakh.

  • Women, who are facing domestic violence and sexual harassment at home or workplaces can contact the toll-free helpline 181, to get assistance ranging from police help, legal aid or medical services including ambulance. The service will be available 24 hours on all days.

Search committee constituted for Lokayukta in Odisha

A seven-member search committee headed by Justice Amitabh Ray has been constituted for the appointment of Lokayukta in the state. The selection committee of the Lokayukta under the Chairmanship of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Orissa High Court Chief Justice, Justice KS Jhaveri set up the search committee.

Economist Surjit Bhalla resigns from PM’s Economic Advisory Council

Economist Dr Surjit S Bhalla announced that he has resigned as a part-time member of EAC-PM (Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister). Bhalla, who was amongst the economists who had hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for demonetisation in 2016, was appointed to EAC-PM last year.

  • He served as executive director of the Policy Group, India’s first non-government funded think tank. Since 1999, he has been on the governing board of India’s largest think tank, National Council of Applied Economic Research.

Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla Resigns

Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla evening submitted his resignation to Governor Kummanam Rajasekhar after the Congress suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of opposition Mizo National Front (MNF).

  • Thanhawla, who earlier successfully contested the Assembly elections a record nine times, this time lost in both constituencies Champai South and Serchhip from where contested.

Raman Singh resigns as Chhattisgarh CM

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh resigned taking moral responsibility for the BJP’s stunning defeat in Assembly election. He said that he had sent his resignation to Governor Anandiben Patel. 

  • Raman Singh, who was Chief Minister for 15 years, said as it became clear that the Congress was headed for a thumping victory in the 90-member House.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Israel becomes 38th member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

Israel became a full member of the global financial watchdog on money laundering and terror financing after having previously been blacklisted by the organisation.

  • Membership of the FATF would present Israel “as a safe and attractive place for investments” from around the world. FATF president Marshall Billingslea welcomed Israel on becoming the group´s 38th member.
  • Extra info.:
    Financial Action Task Force: Headquarters: Paris, France

Sino-India Joint Exercise Hand-in-Hand 2018 begins in China

India and China began the 7th round of their ‘Hand-in-Hand’ military drills in the Chinese city of Chengdu as part of the focussed efforts by the two militaries to improve ties after last year’s standoff at Doklam.

  • The drills are being held after a gap of one year as they could not be held last year because both armies were locked in a 73-day standoff at Doklam in the Sikkim sector. The drills would conclude on December 23. 
  • The aim of the Hand-in-Hand exercises is to build closer relations between the militaries of India and China. The exercises involve tactical level operations in an International Counter Insurgency/ Counter Terrorist environment as per UN mandate.

India hands over 50 housing units in Rakhine province to Myanmar

India has handed over 50 housing units in the Rakhine province to Myanmar during President Ram Nath Kovind‘s maiden visit to the country. The housing units are part of a bigger developmental project, within which India is building 250 houses in Myanmar’s Rakhine province.

  • Two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) have also been signed between Myanmar and India during President Kovind’s visit, one in the area of judicial training and another on science and technology cooperation.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Centre, ADB sign $31mn loan to boost tourism in TN

A project to boost tourism in Tamil Nadu will be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to the tune of $31 million (about Rs 222.84 crore). An agreement in this regard was signed between the government of India and ADB. 

  • The loan was signed for Infrastructure Development Investment Program for Tourism (IDIPT), which aims to build opportunities for local communities and boost the local economy by enhancing tourism in three other states – Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand besides Tamil Nadu.
  • The total cost of the project is USD 44.04 million, of which the government will provide USD 13.04 million. The estimated completion date is June 2020.

SPORTS

Virat Kohli becomes first Asian skipper to win a Test in South Africa, England and Australia

Virat Kohli had to wait for seven long years to be part of a winning Test team in Australia. However, when he did so, he became the first-ever Indian captain to help the visitors take a 1-0 lead on an Australian tour.

  • The historic win – India’s first Down Under since Anil Kumble-led team’s victory at Perth in 2007-08 also meant Kohli became the first Asian captain to win Tests in South Africa, England and Australia.
  • The top-ranked Test side have also become the first team from Asia to win Tests in South Africa, England, and Australia in the same calendar year.
  • Not just captain Kohli, Rishabh Pant also had a record-setting day as he equalled the world record of Jack Russell and AB de Villiers for the most number of catches in Test by a wicketkeeper.
  • With 11 catches in the ongoing Adelaide Test, Pant, who was very chirpy behind the wickets, went past Wriddhiman Saha’s Indian record of 10 catches in a match.

Virat Kohli maintains top spot in ICC Test rankings

In the latest ICC cricket rankings, India Captain Virat Kohli maintains his top spot. Cheteshwar Pujara‘s knocks of 123 and 71 were the cornerstone of India’s victory in the opening Test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval. This has given him the career-best ranking to top five.

  • India fast bowler Bumrah has achieved a career-high ranking of 33rd, after his three for 47 and three for 68 at Adelaide which helped him to rise five places.

SAIL Hockey Academy wins Aga Khan Gold Cup tournament

Steel Authority of India’s Hockey Academy beat Army XI Danapur 2-1 to clinch the 115th All India Aga Khan Gold Cup hockey tournament. Jay Prakash Patel scored the match-winning goal for the SAIL Hockey Academy (SHA) in the final match played at Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium in New Delhi. 

  • Aga Khan Gold Cup is one of the oldest hockey tournaments in the country.

APPOINTMENTS

Shaktikanta Das to be new RBI Governor

The government appointed former Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das as the new RBI Governor, a day after Urjit Patel suddenly resigned. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Shaktikanta Das, former Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a period of three years.

  • Das, a 1980 batch IAS officer from Tamil Nadu cadre, was a member of the Finance Commission of India.

AWARDS

Khashoggi nominated for Time’s Person of the Year

Slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is on the shortlist for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2018. Apart from Khashoggi, prominent world figures also feature in the list including United States President Donald Trump, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • The Time said that Khashoggi was a “prolific commentator and critic of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

Naomi Osaka’s coach becomes first ever WTA Coach of the Year

Sascha Bajin, coach of the world number five Naomi Osaka, has become the first-ever recipient of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Coach of the Year Award. WTA Coach of the Year Award is given to the coach with not only success on-court, but also who serves as an ambassador of the sport and brings coaching to the forefront of the game.

OBITUARIES

Senior Congress Leader C.N. Balakrishnan passes away

Senior Congress leader and former Kerala Minister C.N. Balakrishnan passed away at a private hospital in Kochi due to pneumonia. A long standing aide of former Kerala Chief Minister K. Karunakaran, Balakrishnan was the Thrissur district Congress committee president for 17 years and was also the treasurer of the state unit for long.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Mountain Day

The United Nations General Assembly designated 11 December “International Mountain Day”. As of 2003, it has been observed every year to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build alliances that will bring positive change to mountain peoples and environments around the world.

  • “MountainsMatter” is the theme chosen for the 2018 celebration of International Mountain Day (IMD). The theme will highlight how mountains matter for youth, water, disaster risk reduction, food, indigenous peoples and biodiversity.

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