24 December 2019 - Daily Current Affairs

24 December 2019 - Daily Current Affairs

24 December 2019 - Daily Current Affairs

1. Harsh Vardhan Shringla appointed as new foreign secretary of India

  • On 23rd December 2019, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Harsh Vardhan Shringla (IFS 1984 Batch) as the next Foreign Secretary of India.
  • At present, he is an ambassador to the United States and will become the 33rd Foreign Secretary of the country.
  • He will replace Vijay Gokhale whose term will be completed on January 28, 2020.
  • Harsh Vardhan Shringla served as an ambassador to Thailand from 2014 to 2016 and later as a High Commissioner to Bangladesh for two years.
  • He has also served at UNESCO in France, the UN in New York besides Vietnam, Israel and South Africa.
  • He was also instrumental in steering the America policy with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
  • He was critical in ensuring that the decisions of Article 370 and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) do not adversely impact bilateral relations between New Delhi and Washington DC.
Source: India Today

2. Dr. Sangita Reddy appointed as the President of FICCI

  • Joint Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals Group, Dr. Sangita Reddy has taken over as the President of the industry chamber FICCI for 2019-20 at the 92nd Annual Convention of the Chamber.
  • She replaced Sandip Somany, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, HSIL.
  • The Walt Disney Company APAC President and Star & Disney India Chairman Uday Shankar has been elevated as Senior Vice-President of the chamber.
  • Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director, HUL, has taken charge as Vice- President of the FICCI.

3. Urban India, except Bengal, declared open defecation-free

  • On December 23rd, 2019 the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry announced that the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban had achieved its goal of making urban India free of open defecation.
  • Though it was said that the urban local bodies in West Bengal had not been declared open defecation free (ODF).
  • Under the SBM, which was launched on October 2, 2014, the government had declared rural India ODF on October 2, while the deadline for urban India had been pushed while third-party audits and compliance from West Bengal were awaited.
Source: The Hindu

4. Prez Kovind releases mobile app of Red Cross Society of India in Hyderabad

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has released the mobile app of the Red Cross Society of India in Hyderabad.
  • He inaugurated the mobile app formally at a dinner hosted by Telangana governor Tamilisai Sounderarajan at Rajbhavan in his honour.
  • Developed by the Telangana Centre for Good Governance in less than three months, the mobile app is accessible in all languages.
  • So far, 13 lakh members including junior red cross members downloaded the app.

State Affairs 

5. 'Chilai-Kalan' begins in Jammu & Kashmir

  • The 40-day harshest winter period in Kashmir (known as 'Chillai-Kalan') has begun with the upper reaches of the valley receiving snowfall.
  • These 40 days are when the chances of snowfall are the highest and the maximum temperature drops considerably.
  • The night temperature across Kashmir Valley improved by several degrees last night due to the cloudy sky.
  • Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature at 1.2 degrees Celsius with day temperature settling at 9.6 degrees Celsius.
  • The Srinagar-Leh highway and Mughal Road continue to remain closed for vehicular traffic.

6. Rajasthan government starts first Janta Clinic

  • Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot inaugurated the first Janta Clinic in the Malviya Nagar area of Jaipur to provide free primary health care to people living in slums.
  • In its first phase, 12 Janta Clinics will be opened in Jaipur where people would get free medicines and free medical examinations in some cases.
  • Later, in the second and third phases of this scheme, Janta Clinics will be opened in other areas.

7. Andhra CM launches YSR Nethanna Nestham for weavers

  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy launched the 'YSR Nethanna Nestham' scheme for handloom weavers.
  • This scheme as per his promise made to the handloom weavers during his 3,648 km Praja Sankalpa Yatra.
  • The scheme will benefit 85,000 handloom weaver families in the State. “Under the scheme, Rs 24,000 will be credited directly into the bank accounts of the weavers having own looms every year. The amount will not be adjusted to the old dues of the beneficiary to the bank.
  • Under the scheme, every beneficiary will receive a total aid of Rs 1.2 lakh in the next five years and will greatly benefit the weavers to overcome their financial problems.

Banking and Economy 

8. Bank of Baroda partners with Gujarat govt to provide MSME loans

  • Bank of Baroda has signed an MoU with the Gujarat government to facilitate the flow of credit to the MSME sector.
  • As per the MoU, the financial aid will be provided for greenfield projects, startups, women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs from backward areas.
  • These loans will be provided under the Gujarat Single Window Clearance Act 2017 & Ordinance Number 1 of 2019 dated October 24, 2019.
  • To avail the credit, the BoB customers should register their request on the link available single-window portal of the Gujarat government. BoB will take a further step,after the lead generated on the portal submitted to it.
  • In order to deal with the leads on a priority basis & to ensure in-principle approval is conveyed within 30 days, the bank also has dedicated central processing cell in Mumbai and Gujarat.

Science and Defence

9. India successfully test-fires Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile system

  • On December 23rd, 2019, India successfully test-fired its Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) system from a base off Odisha coast.
  • The missile system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is likely to be inducted into the armed forces by 2021.
  • The QRSAM weapon system, which operates on the move, comprises a fully automated command and control, active array battery surveillance radar, active array battery multifunction radar and launcher.
  • With this mission, the developmental trials of the weapon system have been successfully completed and it is expected to be ready for induction by 2021.
Source: TOI

10. Indian Coast Guard conducts 'Swachchh Samundra NW-2019'

  • The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) conducted a two-day regional level pollution response exercise named 'Swachchh Samundra NW-2019' at sea off Vadinar in Gulf of Kutch.
  • The exercise was conducted to validate and reinforce the response mechanism for oil pollution incidents and enable the Indian Coast Guard to fine-tune the actions required in such eventualities.
  • The exercise was conducted in two phases. During phase one a tabletop exercise simulating oil spill from a tanker was conducted
  • While a real-time demonstration of the oil spill scenario was conducted during the second phase of the exercise.
  • The Gulf of Kutch (GoK) region handles 70 percent of the oil imported by India and 11 Single point Moorings (SPMs) out of a total of 27 SPMs i.e. 42 percent in the country are located in this area.
  • Thus, the exercise was planned to evaluate the preparedness for Pollution Response Operations for any such incident in this highly ecologically sensitive area.
Source: Business Standard

11. India is the world’s third-largest producer of scientific articles: Report

  • As per the report compiled by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), India has emerged as the world’s third-largest publisher of science and engineering articles.
  • China, which accounts for 20.67 percent of all global publications in scientific articles, is at the top position, followed by the US at 16.54 percent.
  • As per the report in 2008, India published 48,998 science and engineering articles. This increased to 1,35,788 articles in 2018 and the country now accounts for 5.31 percent of the total world publications in science and engineering.
  • India’s emergence as the third-largest publisher is mainly due to a phenomenal double-digit growth rate in the last decade from 2008 to 2018.
  • The other countries which made it to the top 10 list are Germany (1,04,396), Japan (98,793), UK (97,681), Russia (81,579), Italy (71,240), South Korea (66,376) and France (66,352).
Source: The Hindu business line


12. Qatar to host African Football Super Cup until 2022

  • Qatar Football Association signed an agreement with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) stipulating that Doha will host the African Super Cup for the next three years.
  • The African Super Cup in Doha with the next edition will be held on February 14, 2020.
  • At the beginning of this year, Qatar hosted the African Super Cup for the first time when the Moroccan "Confederation" champion of the Confederation succeeded in beating the Tunisian "champions" Esperance 2-1.

13. ‘Oxygen Parlour’ at Nashik Railway Station to combat air pollution

  • In a unique initiative to battle rising air pollution in cities, an ‘Oxygen Parlour’ has been opened at Nashik railway station to provide an experience of breathing clean air to the commuters.
  • The initiative comes with the efforts of the Airo Guard in collaboration with the Indian Railways.
  • The concept of Oxygen Parlour is based on the recommendation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
  • In 1989, NASA had conducted a study in which they identified some plants that better absorb the five most harmful pollutants from the air. In the same line here most of those plants are planted.


14. Hindustani Classical Vocalist Vidushi Savita Devi passes away

  • Renowned Hindustani classical vocalist Vidushi Savita Devi (80) has passed away.
  • Daughter of late Padma Shri winner Siddheshwari Devi, Savita Devi was considered a doyen in the field of classical music field for her mastery on various semi-classical vocal forms, such as thumri, dadra, chaiti, kajri and tappa of the Banaras Gharana (Purabang).
  • She authored a biographical work on her mother, titled "Maa... Siddheshwari" and was the head of the Music Department at Delhi University's Daulat Ram College for many years.
Source: Economic Times

International Affairs

15. Dr. Monisha Ghosh appointed 1st woman CTO of US' Communications Commission

  • Indian-American Dr. Monisha Ghosh has been appointed as the first woman Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the US government's powerful Federal Communications Commission.
  • She will advise Indian-American Chairman of the FCC Ajit Pai and the agency on technology and engineering issues, and work closely with the Office of Engineering and Technology.
  • Ghosh will take charge on January 13, 2020, and replace Dr. Eric Burger.
  • The FCC regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and US territories.
  • An independent US government agency overseen by Congress, the FCC is the federal agency responsible for implementing and enforcing America's communications law and regulations.
Source: India Today

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