20 December 2017 - Daily Current Affairs

20 December 2017 - Daily Current Affairs

20 December 2017 - Daily Current Affairs

International Human Solidarity Day being observed today

  • The United Nation (UN) International Human Solidarity Day is annually held on 20th December to celebrate unity in diversity.
  • The Day aims to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity and encourages debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals including poverty eradication.
  • The United Nations General Assembly established the World Solidarity Fund on 20th December 2002 as a trust fund of the United Nations Development Programme.

Tata Steel Joda Mine Gets Golden Peacock Innovation Award

  • The Joda East Iron Mine (JEIM) of Tata Steel has been honored with the Golden Peacock Innovation Management Award for the year 2017 for driving innovation in mines.
  • The award was received by Debashis Jena (Chief Joda, Tata Steel) at Institute of Directors India’s 2nd Global Convention held at Singapore.
  • Joda East Iron Mine of Tata Steel is one of the fully mechanized captive iron mines of Tata Steel.
Note: Golden Peacock Awards Secretariat receives over 1,000 entries per year for various awards, from over 25 countries worldwide.

India & Sri Lanka completes 2nd phase of joint oceanographic survey

  • Indian Navy in collaboration with its Sri Lankan counterpart has successfully completed the second phase of the joint oceanographic survey conducted off the South-Western Coast of Sri Lanka.
  • The aim of the joint survey was to update all the navigational charts covering the southern Sri Lankan waters with the latest hydrographic data.
  • The Indian side handed over the survey charts to the Commander of the Sri Lankan Navy.
Note: The first phase of the survey was conducted from 29 March to 11 May this year and the third phase is scheduled to be carried out next year.

Indian Railways plans to make all stations cent per cent LED lit by March next year

  • According to the Ministry of Indian Railways, it is actively working to provide 100% LED lighting for energy needs in all stations, railway staff colonies, and platforms.
  • This initiative will reduce consumption by about 10% of the total energy being utilized for its non-traction uses, conserving about 240 million units of electricity.
  • It will save the Railways about 180 crore rupees annually.
  • The national transporter also aims at providing these lights on all coaches and EMUs.
  • The lights in 1300 non-AC second-class and 3-tier sleeper coaches have been fully converted to LED.

Niti Aayog to set up Methanol Economy Fund

  • The ‘Niti Aayog’ is planning to set up a Methanol Economy Fund with a corpus of Rs 4,000-5,000 crore to promote production and use of the clean fuel through this fund.
  • The Objective of Methanol Economy Fund to promote the use of methanol fuel, which is safer, cheaper, and pollution free. 
  • The Niti Aayog is intended to produce the fuel by converting high ash content coal into methanol and such a plant is likely to be set up by Coal India.
  • Niti Aayog is also planning to propose a roadmap to attain its target of increasing the penetration of Methanol as an alternative fuel to petrol and diesel.

NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar retires

  • National Green Tribunal (NGT) Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar has retired from the post after completing his five-year tenure.
  • on December 20, 2012, Justice Kumar resigned as Supreme Court judge after he was appointed NGT chairperson.
  • As NGT chief, he has passed several landmark orders and judgments, like the ban on 10- year-old diesel and 15-year-old petrol vehicles
  • The demolition of illegal hotels in Himachal Pradesh and the ban on plastic items in Delhi, Haridwar, and Punjab.
  • Recently he ordered capping the number of pilgrims at Vaishno Devi to 50,000 per day and also the direction to maintain silence at Amarnath invited ire from various quarters.
  • National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT) is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables the creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues.
  • It draws inspiration from India's constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.

MMRDA signs agreement with DMRC for complete implementation of Metro-6 corridor

  • The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has signed an agreement with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for the complete implementation of Metro-6 corridor (14.5-kilometer).
  • Now, DMRC will invite bids and assign contracts for the execution of civil work for procurement of systems and services required for the project.
  • The Metro-6 corridor, costing about 5,490-crore rupees will have 13 stations.
  • The project will provide rail-based access to areas such as Lokhandwala, SEEPZ, and IIT – Bombay, expected to carry 6.5 lakh commuters daily in 2021.

AP govt signs agreements with Alphabet X for Fiber grid project

  • Andhra Pradesh Govt. has entered into an agreement with the moonshot factory of Alphabet (earlier Google) - X - to bring the breakthrough Free Space Optical Communication (FSOC) technology to provide internet through the government Fibergrid project.
  • The agreement was signed by Nara Lokesh (minister of IT, Government of Andhra Pradesh) during his visit to Mountain View headquarters of Alphabet.
  • Initially, The X Labs will supply the AP government with two thousand FSOC links and the X engineers
  • Experts on site in AP will work with the government personnel to identify and select suitable sites for deployment of the FSOC links.

Ola buys Foodpanda & invest USD200 m in business

  • Germany-based Delivery Hero Group has announced the sale of its Foodpanda India business to Ola in return for shares in the Indian ride-hailing app.
  • Ola has also committed an investment of USD 200 million in Foodpanda.
  • It is a strategic move by Ola to compete with arch-rival Uber’s food ordering and delivery business, Uber Eats, which the US-based MNC launched in India this May.
  • Ola’s initial entry into the food-delivery business, with Ola CafĂ©, fizzled out in the first quarter of calendar year 2016 after a year of unsuccessful operations in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad.

Assam govt. signs MoU with Isha foundation to save rivers

  • The Assam govt has signed an MoU (memorandum of understanding) with Isha Foundation to conserve and rejuvenate the rivers of Assam.
  • Assam became the sixth state in the country to sign MoU with non-profit making and spiritual organization, the Isha foundation.
  • Isha Foundation is led by spiritual leader Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.
  • He has initiated nationwide ‘Rally for Rivers’ campaign for revitalizing India’s rivers.

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