21 December 2019 - Daily Current Affairs

21 December 2019 - Daily Current Affairs

21 December 2019 - Daily Current Affairs

1. Devesh Srivastava appointed GIC Chief

  • The government has appointed Devesh Srivastava as Chairman and MD of national reinsurer General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re).
  • Srivastava succeeds Alice Vaidyan, who retired in July 2019, since then the GIC Re was functioning without a full-time chief.
  • The appointment comes nearly four months after the Banks Board Bureau made its recommendation on appointments to the government.
  • Until his appointment, Srivastava handled the departments of HR, worldwide reinsurance, health and innovation center at GIC Re.
  • GIC Re accounted for about 60% of premiums ceded by Indian insurers to reinsurers during FY17. The corporation had gone public in 2017.
  • The government has also appointed Malay Kumar Poddar as Chairman and MD of Agriculture Insurance Corporation of India.
Source: Times of India

2. IPS officer Atul Karwal appointed as Director of National Police Academy

  • Atul Karwal (1988 batch IPS) has been appointed as the Director of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad.
  • Presently he is working as ADG, CRPF as Director, SVP NPA by temporarily downgrading the post to the level of Additional Director General for a period up to 05.12.2021.
  • The proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs for his appointment has been approved by the cabinet committee of appointment.
Source: Business Standard

3. The upgraded version of Pinaka rocket successfully test-fired from the base on Odisha coast

  • An upgraded version of India's indigenously developed Pinaka guided rocket system was successfully test-fired from a base on Odisha coast.
  • The multi-barrel rocket launch system, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will boost the Army's artillery power.
  • The weapon system, mounted on a Tatra truck, is equipped with a state-of-the-art guidance kit comprising an advanced navigation and control system.
  • The sophisticated system has a maximum range of 40 km for Mark-I and 75 km for the Mark-II variant and can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 seconds.
Source: Economic Times

International Affairs

4. Afghanistan becomes the first country to recognize Indian Pharmacopoeia

  • The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has become the first country to recognize Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP) pursuant to the efforts of the Department of Commerce and Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • It has been recognized formally by the National Department of Regulation of Medicines and Health Products of the Ministry of Public Health Afghanistan.
  • It will also be used based on the requirement as reputable pharmacopeia in the laboratory of medicines and health product quality.
  • With this, a new beginning has been made and Afghanistan has become the first country to recognize IP pursuant to the efforts of the Department of Commerce and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • IP is an officially recognized book of standards as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules 1945 thereunder. The IP specifies the standards of drugs manufactured and marketed in India in terms of their identity, purity, and strength.

5. International Astronomical Union names new star 'Sharjah'

  • The International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced the names of the newly discovered stars and planets, where the namSharjahe "" was chosen for a star with "Barjeel" being the name of one of its planets.
  • The announcement was made on 20th December 2019 during a press conference of the IAU in the French capital, Paris, celebrating the centennial of the union.
  • During the announcement, the organizers lauded the efforts and contributions of the Emirate of Sharjah to the global scientific community.
News on Air

6. Indian-American computer scientist to lead National Science Foundation

  • US President Donald Trump has picked Indian-American computer scientist Sethuraman Panchanathan to lead the prestigious National Science Foundation.
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a US government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • Dr Sethuraman Panchanathan brings to this position a wealth of experience in research, innovation, academic administration, and policy as exemplified by his long and distinguished career.
  • Panchanathan, 58, would succeed in France Cordova when her six-year term as the NSF Director ends in 2020. NSF Director is a Senate-confirmed position.

 Economy and Banking

7. India Signs $490 Million Loan Agreement with ADB To Upgrade Madhya Pradesh Roads

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the union government has signed a $490 million loan for public-private partnership (PPP) project.
  • This agreement is to upgrade about 1,600 km of state highways and major district roads (MDRs) from single-lane to two-lane widths in Madhya Pradesh.
  • An additional $286 million investment will be mobilized through private sector participation under the PPP modality.
  • This agreement will open a new partnership by introducing PPP through the Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM), thereby leveraging government financing and improving the sustainability of capital investments.
  • The HAM is a mix of engineering, procurement, construction, and build-operate-transfer.
  • Under this model, the government will release 60% of the total project cost during construction, to be paid to the concessionaire in tranches linked to completion milestones. The remaining 40% is arranged by the concessionaire in the form of equity and commercial debt.
  • Once the project is completed, the government will repay the concessionaire's financial investment over 10 years.
Source: Business Standard

8. RBI to buy, sell government bonds worth Rs 10,000 crore

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on December 23, 2019, will simultaneously purchase and sell government securities worth Rs 10,000 crore under a special Open Market Operation (OMO).
  • Such exercises are done by the central bank when the proceeds from the sale of short-term securities are used to buy long-term government securities or bonds in a bid to bring down interest rates on long-term securities.
  • The purchase will be for government securities worth Rs 10,000 crore for the instrument ‘6.45 percent GS 2029’.
Source: BuisinessLine

9. Former HC Judge CV Ramulu appointed as Lokayukta of Telangana

  • Former High Court Judge Justice CV Ramulu has been appointed as the Lokayukta of Telangana. Governor Tamilisai Sounderarajan has issued the orders to this effect. Former Law Secretary V Niranjan Rao has been appointed as Upa Lokayukta.
  • The governor also appointed another former judge Justice G Chandraiah as Chairman of the State Human Rights Commission.
  • This is the first time that the state government has constituted the Lokayukta and Human Rights Commission since the state was formed in 2014.
Source: News on AIR


10. Belgium crowned FIFA Team of the Year again

  • Belgium has been crowned FIFA's Team of the Year for finishing top of the world rankings for the second December in a row.
  • Roberto Martinez's side will end 2019 at the top of the standings after winning all 10 of their international 'A' matches this year to secure qualification for Euro 2020.
  • World champions France conclude the year in second place, with Brazil third, England fourth and Uruguay fifth.
  • World Cup runner-up Croatia and Nations League Finals winner Portugal join Spain, Argentina, and Colombia in the top 10.
  • The Mover of the Year accolade goes to Qatar, which gained 138 rankings points over the course of 2019.
The Hindu

11. Mirabai Chanu wins gold at Qatar International Cup

  • Former world champion weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu has won the women's 49kg category gold medal at the 6th Qatar International Cup.
  • The 25-year-old Chanu won gold with an effort of 194kg in the Olympic qualifying silver level event, the points from which will come in handy when the final rankings for 2020 Tokyo Olympics cut are done.
  • However, Chanu's performance was way below her personal best of 201kg which she lifted during this year's World Championships in Thailand.
  • In the men's 67kg category, India's Jeremy Lalrinnunga won the silver medal with a total lift of 306kg (140kg in snatch and 166kg in clean and jerk).
Source Times of India

12. ICC extends partnership with UNICEF for Women’s T20 World Cup in 2020

  • On December 20, 2019, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that it has extended its partnership with UNICEF for ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 with the focus on empowering women and girls through cricket.
  • The extension of the partnership will once again see the ICC provide UNICEF with a platform for fundraising to help bring positive change to women and girls and drive awareness for the work that UNICEF does as a global champion for children’s rights in cricket playing nations.
  • During the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, UNICEF raised $180,000 as part of One Day 4 Children and this money will go directly to fund a girls’ cricket project in Afghanistan.
Source: The Hindu Businessline

Summit and Conference

13. 5th Edition of ARTECH to be held in New Delhi

  • Ministry of Defence is to hold the ARTECH seminar in New Delhi on 23rd December 2019. ARTEC is Army Technology Seminar that is being held since 2016.
  • The fifth edition of ARTEC is to be organized by the Indian Army under the Ministry of Defence on “Technologies for Non-contact Warfare”.
  • Speakers from diverse industries, subject matter experts, think tanks have been invited to address at the seminar.
  • The seminar was launched as a part of the “Make in India” campaign. It is a flagship event of the Indian Army that focuses on harvesting indigenous capabilities of the Defence sector.

14. PM Modi addresses ASSOCHAM Annual Conference

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 20th December 2019 addressed the annual general meeting of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India in New Delhi.
  • The theme of the event was 'New India Aspiring for a USD 5 trillion economy'. The event was organized on the completion of 100 years of ASSOCHAM.
  • During which he says, India's progress towards becoming a USD 5 trillion economy will be strengthened by investment of Rupees 100 lakh crore in infrastructure; also helped by an investment of Rupees 25 lakh crore in the rural economy.
  • He further said measures such as an increase in digital transactions to GST and from Aadhar linked payments to DBT has provided a positive move towards a disciplined economy.
DD News

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