Current Affairs 6th December 2018

NATIONAL NEWS

Number of patents granted by India shot up by 50% in 2017: UN

The number of patents granted by India shot up by 50 % in 2017, keeping up a trend of steep increases, according to the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). The patents granted by India increased from 8,248 in 2016 to 12,387 last year, the WIPO’s World Intellectual Property Indicators 2018 report released in Geneva said.

  • Japan’s Canon ranked at the top with 24,036 patent applications during the years 2013–2015; South Korea’s Samsung followed with 21,836 and China’s State Grid Corporation with 21,653.
  • Extra info.:
    WIPO HQ: Geneva, Switzerland

Centre approves SCord to tackle smuggling

In an attempt to tackle smuggling, the Central government has approved Anti-Smuggling National Coordination Centre (SCord) under the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).

  • All the border agencies like BSF, ITBP, Assam Rifles, SSB and Coast Guards would be the members of SCord, which will help India to formulate a national anti-smuggling policy. On a real-time basis, all these border agencies can share intelligence information in a coordinated manner.

Rs 3,719 cr assistance given to Kerala, Nagaland, Andhra

The Centre approved additional assistance of Rs 3,719.07 crore to Kerala, Nagaland and Andhra Pradesh that were affected by floods, landslides and cyclone over the past few months.

  • From the National Disaster Response Fund, Rs 3,048.39 crore will be provided to Kerala, Rs 131.16 crore to Nagaland and Rs 539.52 crore to Andhra Pradesh. The decision was taken in a committee meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

DIPP organises startup India venture capital summit in Goa

The commerce and industry ministry is organising a day-long startup India centre capital summit in Goa with an aim to attract global capital into the country. The theme of the summit is ‘Mobilizing Global Capital for Innovation in India.’

  • The event will showcase the Indian startup opportunity for funds from around the world. It will bring together government officials, domestic and international startups, global fund managers and India’s vibrant entrepreneurial community on one platform.
  • Extra info.:
    Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Parent agency: Ministry of Commerce and Industry

ADB enters an arrangement with World Bank for co-financed projects

Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it has entered into an arrangement with the World Bank to put in place a single framework that will make co-financed projects more efficient.

  • ADB’s first Alternative Procurement Arrangement (APA) with the World Bank will allow procedures on co-financed projects to follow a single procurement framework. The APA is a step further towards reducing procurement timelines in line with Strategy 2030.

India 4th, China 1st highest carbon dioxide emitter: Study

India is the fourth highest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, accounting for 7 per cent of global emissions in 2017, a study by the Global Carbon Project released recently.

  • The top four emitters in 2017, which covered 58 per cent of global emissions, were China (27 per cent), the US (15 per cent), the European Union (10 per cent) and India (7 per cent), according to the projection by the Global Carbon Project.

Indian Coast Guard conducts Exercise ‘Clean Sea-2018’ at sea off Port Blair

The Indian Coast Guard has conducted the Regional Level Marine Oil Pollution Response Exercise titled ‘Clean Sea – 2018’ at sea off Port Blair. The preparedness of all agencies during the exercise was conducted under observation of Inspector General Maneesh V Pathak, Commander Coast Guard Region (Andaman and Nicobar Islands).

  • Coast Guard ships Viswasth, Vijith, Rajveer, Rajshri, 4 interceptor boats and its air assets Dornier and Chetak helicopters participated in the exercise.

Pune court is first in India to get facility of e-payment

To bring transparency to cash transactions, the Pune district court administration is starting an e-payment facility in the Shivajinager district and sessions court. This is the first time in India that practising lawyers and litigants in various cases will be able to make payments online.

  • The facility will be available into the nazar (clerical) offices in the court and civil lawyers and litigants can pay court fees, various fines, penalties, judicial deposits, rent, maintenance, etc. The court administration informed that the e-payment facility will be available. 

Maharashtra CM Fadnavis launches SMART initiative for Agribusiness

In a bid to transform rural Maharashtra, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has launched a unique initiative called “SMART”, which stands for State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation. This World Bank assisted project aims to revamp agricultural value chains, with special focus on marginal farmers across 1,000 villages.

  • The project will entail an investment of 300 million US dollars of which World Bank would contribute 210 million US dollars.

Delhi government launches free pilgrimage scheme for senior citizens

The Delhi government launched the ‘Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana’ which offers free travel packages on fivereligious circuits for senior citizens from the national capital. The scheme, approved by the Cabinet in July, was launched by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the Delhi Secretariat.

  • The scheme will enable 1,100 senior citizens from each Assembly constituency of Delhi per year to undertake free pilgrimage, the expenses for which will be borne by the Delhi government. A total of 77,000 pilgrims will be able to avail this facility every year.

U’khand govt constitutes 4-member committee to probe complaints against ‘Kedarnath’

The Uttarakhand Government constituted a four-member committee under tourism minister Satpal Maharaj to probe complaints related to the film ‘Kedarnath’. The government will take a decision on screening the movie in Uttarakhand after the committee submits its report.

  • Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court will hear a plea against the Sushant Singh Rajput and Sara Ali Khan-starrer.
  • The petition, filed by lawyers Ramesh Chandra Mishra and Prabhakar Tripathi, seeks to reassess the film by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on grounds that “it hurts religious sentiments and promotes love-jihad”.
  • Extra info.:
    CBFC Headquarters: Mumbai
    Agency executive: Prasoon Joshi (Chairman)

112 India: Nagaland becomes second state to adopt pan-India women helpline

Nagaland became the first state in the Northeast and second in the country, after Himachal Pradesh, to launch a pan-India single-number emergency mobile application which will have a special women safety feature for immediate assistance from police and volunteers.

  • Announcing the launch in Kohima, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said a ‘SHOUT’ feature has been made available exclusively for women in the ‘112 India’ mobile app which is connected to the Emergency Response Support System (ERSS).
  • This app will assist the first responders in locating and tracking the woman in distress using GPS for effective response. The ERSS has been integrated with police (100), fire (101), health (108) and women (1090) helpline numbers to provide emergency services through the emergency number 112.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

World’s 1st 3D-Printed Functional e-Bike Made In Germany

German firm BigRep claims it has produced the world’s first fully functioning e-motorbike NERA using a 3D printer. The NERA has “groundbreaking features like airless tires, embedded electronics, and forkless steering,”. The bike was conceptualised and developed in 12 weeks and includes 15 parts, which are all 3D printed except its motor and battery.

UAE Passport Ranked Most Powerful Globally: Arton Capital

The UAE now has the world’s most powerful passport, achieving the top ranking in an achievement hailed as a tribute to the legacy of the Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed, and the country’s diplomacy.

  • The number 1 spot in the global Passport Index was achieved just as the UAE celebrates it 47th National Day and its achievements since 1971.
  • The index, compiled by Arton Capital, ranks national passports based on the number of countries a holder can enter without a visa or by obtaining one on arrival.
  • The UAE passport holder can now travel to 167 countries without the need for pre-visa requirements, which is 84 per cent of the number of countries listed in the index. Singapore ranks second with 166 countries.

BANKING & FINANCE

Axis Capital CEO Dharmesh Mehta Resigns

Leading Investment Bank Axis Capital said its MD & CEO Dharmesh Mehta has stepped down. The bank also said it has elevated Salil Pitale and Chirag Negandhi as Joint Managing Directors and Co-Chief Executive Officer. Pitale and Negandhi’s appointment will be with immediate effect. Both are currently Co-Head of Investment Banking at Axis Capital since 2016.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Fitch Cuts India’s Growth Forecast To 7.2% In FY19

Fitch Ratings slashed India’s GDP growth forecast to 7.2 per cent for current fiscal, from 7.8 per cent projected in September, citing higher financing cost and reduced credit availability.

  • In its Global Economic Outlook released, Fitch estimated India’s GDP growth to be 7 per cent and 7.1 per cent in financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21 respectively.
  • Extra info.:
    Fitch Ratings HQ: New York, United States

SPORTS

Eliud Kipchoge And Caterine Ibarguen Named IAAF Athletes Of The Year

Kenya’s marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Colombian jumper Caterine Ibarguen were honoured as IAAF athletes of the year at athletics’ annual awards ceremony in Monaco.

  • Olympic champion Kipchoge shattered the world marathon record by 78 seconds as he completed the Berlin Marathon in two hours, one minute and 39 seconds while Ibarguen was the Diamond League champion in both the long jump and triple jump. Both are first-time winners of the award.

Yasir Shah becomes fastest bowler to take 200 Test wickets

Breaking an 82-year-old record, Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah became the fastest bowler in the world to reach the milestone of scalping 200 Test wickets.

  • Earlier, the record was held by former Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett who had scalped 200 wickets in 36 Tests. Shah, on the flip side, did the same in just 33 Test matches.

APPOINTMENTS

Atul Sahai appointed as New India Assurance CMD

The Government announced that Atul Sahai will be appointed as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of New India Assurance (NIA) for a five year period.

  • The post has been vacant since July 2018 after former CMD G Srinivasan retired.

AWARDS

G. Venkatasubbaiah gets Bhasha Samman for South

Centenarian lexicographer G. Venkatasubbaiah has been chosen for the Sahitya Akademi’s Bhasha Samman for South (2017). The award has been given in recognition of his contribution in the field of classical and medieval literature.

  • The akademi also announced an award for Kannada writer K.G. Nagarajappa for his work on literary criticism, Anushreni-Yajamanike, for 2018. He is among the 24 award winners announced by the akademi in various languages.

Rattan Lal honoured with Glinka World Soil Prize 2018

Rattan Lal, a distinguished university professor of soil science at the Ohio State University, has won the Glinka World Soil Prize 2018 in a ceremony at the Rome headquarters of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for his outstanding contribution to sustainable soil management.

  • The Glinka World Soil Prize, named after the pioneering Russian scientist Konstantin D. Glinka, is considered the highest honour in the soil science profession.

OBITUARIES

Former National Champion Swimmer Arun Kumar Shaw passes away

Seven-time former national champion swimmer Arun Kumar Shaw passed away following a prolonged illness. He was 82. He was the first swimmer from Bengal to receive the Arjuna Award in 1967. 

  • An elegant butterfly swimmer, Shaw won his first national championship in 1958 as a member of the Bengal team before joining the South Eastern Railway.

Noted agriculturalist Jayaraman passes away

Noted agriculturalist Jayaraman, who pioneered the protection and propagation of indigenous paddy varieties in Tamilnadu, passed away in Chennai. He has been credited with documenting and protecting more than 170 paddy varieties.

  • His diligent work in the field of protecting the gene prototypes of indigenous paddy varieties won him the National Award in 2015 and a state award in 2011.

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