31 December 2019 - Daily Current Affairs

31 December 2019 - Daily Current Affairs

31 December 2019 - Daily Current Affairs

1. General Bipin Rawat appointed first Chief of Defence Staff

  • Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has been appointed as the country's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) who is set to retire Army Chief on 31st December 2019.
  • CDS will function as a single-point advisor to the government on matters related to the military and will focus on the better synergy between the Army, Air Force, and the Navy.
  • The defence ministry had recently amended the army, air force and navy rules by bringing in a new clause that allows the Chief of Defence Staff to serve up to a maximum age of 65 years.
  • Recently in a landmark decision, the Union Cabinet had given its approval to create the post of Chief of Defence Staff in the rank of a four-star General with salary and perquisites equivalent to a Service Chief.
  • The Chief of Defence Staff will also head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), to be created within the Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary.
  • The Chief of Defence Staff, apart from being the head of the Department of Military Affairs, will also be the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. He will act as the Principal Military Adviser to Defence Minister on all tri-Services matters.
Source: News on AIR

2. General Mukund Naravane takes charge as new Army chief

  • On 31st December 2019, General Manoj Mukund Naravane took over as the 28th Chief of Army Staff.
  • He will helm the 1.3 million-strong force at a time India faces evolving security challenges such as cross-border terrorism and an assertive Chinese military along the border.
  • Gen Naravane will succeed Gen Bipin Rawat, who is appointed the country's first Chief of Defence Staff.
  • Gen Naravane, the alumnus of the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy headed the Army's Eastern Command that takes care of India's nearly 4,000-km border with China.
  • In his 37 years of service, Gen Naravane served in numerous command and staff appointments in peace, field and highly active counter-insurgency environments in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.
  • Gen Naravane was commissioned into the 7th battalion, the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment in June 1980.
  • He has been awarded the 'Sena Medal' (Distinguished) for effectively commanding his battalion in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • He is also a recipient of the 'Vishisht Seva Medal' for his services as the Inspector General Assam Rifles (North) in Nagaland and the 'Ati Vishisht Seva Medal' for commanding of a prestigious strike corps.

3. To ease of doing business at airports Biometric enabled CACS & e-BCAS Project launched

  • On December 30th, 2019, Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (I/C) for Civil Aviation launched the Biometric enabled Centralised Access Control System (CACS) and ‘e-BCAS Project Training Module in New Delhi.
  • These e-Governance initiatives are in the direction of enhancing the security system and ease of doing business at airports.
  • Covering 43 Airports of AAI and 5 Joint Venture airports at present, the CACS project is aimed to digitize the employee movement process at the airports.
  • This is a multi-layered security system that encompasses the uniqueness of the Airport Entry Permit (AEP) users, biometric authentication in addition to PIN-based identity verification through contactless smart card technology.
  • The objective of the project ‘e-BCAS is to help more than 1.5 lac employees of various stakeholders by migrating from manual process of training to a digital platform.
  • The objective of the e-BCAS project is to make all the activities in the BCAS transparent, user-friendly, and efficient and above all, the project intends to provide an ease of doing business with the stakeholders.
Source: PIB

Committees and Commissions

4. GoM constituted to expedite revival plan of BSNL and MTNL

  • The government of India has constituted a seven-member Group of Ministers (GoM) to expedite and oversee the implementation of the Rs 69,000 crore the revival plan of state-owned telecom corporations BSNL and MTNL.
  • The high-level group will expedite the smooth implementation of recent decisions taken on the revival of BSNL and MTNL that includes crucial elements like allocation of 4G spectrum and asset monetization.
  • The GoM includes Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, IT and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
  • In October 2019, the government had approved a Rs 69,000 crore revival package for BSNL and MTNL that includes merging the two loss-making firms, monetizing their assets and giving VRS to employees so that the combined entity turns profitable in two years.
Source: Economic Times

5. MOSPI constitutes a committee on economic statistics headed by Pronab Sen

  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has set up a single standing committee on economic statistics (SCES).
  • This committee is to develop methodologies in conducting surveys on industry, services sector and employment in place of multiple panels on these issues.
  • The committee will consist of 27 members which will be headed by India’s first chief statistician Pronab Sen.
  • The first meeting of the SCES is scheduled on January 6, 2020.
  • The single standing committee will subsume the four standing committees viz.
  1. Standing Committee on Labour Force Statistics (SCLFS),
  2. Standing Committee on Services Sector (SCSS),
  3. Standing Committee on Industrial Statistics (SCIS) and
  4. Standing Committee on Services Sector and Unincorporated Sector Enterprises (SCSSUSE).
  • The committee has been set up at a time when the credibility and independence of India’s official statistics have been doubted on various grounds, including the gross domestic product (GDP) growth numbers and methodology, employment and expenditure surveys.

Banking and Economy

 6. Nirmala Sitharaman unveils ₹102 lakh crore national infrastructure plan

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced 102 lakh crore for the National Infrastructure Pipeline.
  • India plans to invest about ₹102 lakh crore in the infrastructure sector in the next five years to achieve the GDP target of $5 trillion by 2024-25.
  • The finance ministry admitted that the availability of quality infrastructure is a pre-requisite to achieve broad-based and inclusive growth on a sustainable basis.
  • Earlier in September, the government had set up a task force headed by Economic Affairs Secretary to prepare a road map for the "national infrastructure pipeline" from 2019-20 to 2024-25 under the ₹100 lakh crore infra plan.
  • The task force was planning a list of 10 major infrastructure projects including greenfield and brownfield projects costing above ₹100 crores each.
Source: LiveMint

7. Karnataka Grameena Bank signs MoU on sustainable energy solutions

  •  Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB) and SELCO Solar Light Pvt. Ltd. have signed a memorandum of understanding on solar lighting and livelihood solutions.
  • Under the MoU, finance livelihood solutions that are backed by solar power will be provided by the bank.
  • This is done to improve the quality of life of micro and small entrepreneurs, economically weaker sections(EWS), sustainable agriculture and for women’s empowerment.
  • SELCO Solar Light Pvt is a social enterprise that provides sustainable energy solutions to under-served households and businesses.

8. HDFC Life ties up with Paytm to expand its distribution

  • HDFC Life Insurance has partnered with Paytm to enable customers of Paytm to purchase insurance products from HDFC Life.
  • HDFC Life has been doing strategic partnerships and tie-ups across industries to have a wider reach.
  • HDFC Life insurance constantly exploring opportunities to create and sustain new partnerships to strengthen our distribution network.
  • And tie-up with Paytm enables the life insurer to reach out to the vast customer base of Paytm and secure them financially.
  • Paytm has approximately 450 million registered users which are potential customers for HDFC Life Insurance.
Source: Economic Times

9. Sitharaman launches common e-auction platform for assets attached by banks

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has launched an eBkray, an online platform to increase the transparency in auctioning of assets attached by banks.
  • The platform is equipped with property search features and navigational links to all PSB e-auction sites, provides single-window access to information on properties up for e-auction as well as a facility for comparison of similar properties, and also contains photographs and videos of uploaded properties.
  • As of 27 December, a total of 35,000 properties were uploaded on the platform by Public Sector Banks (PSBs) and PSBs have attached assets worth over ₹2.3 lakh crore in the last three fiscal years.
Source: Live Mint

10. Mastercard steps up on cybersecurity, acquires RiskRecon

  • American global financial services provider Mastercard has decided to take over RiskRecon.
  • RiskRecon is one of the leading providers of data analytics solutions and artificial intelligence focused on cyber-risk and security and offer solutions to mitigate cyber risks faced by the companies.
  • The acquisition would enhance the cyber-security systems for MasterCard which offers payment processing services on a global scale.
  • RiskRecon’s pioneering scanning and evaluation technologies, companies would be able to proactively manage cyber risks, better safeguarding critical intellectual property and consumer and payment data.
  • In addition to supporting Mastercard solutions, RiskRecon will continue to provide cybersecurity solutions across a broader set of industries, including healthcare and manufacturing.
Source: Economic Times

11. SBI to launch OTP-based ATM cash withdrawal from January 1

  • The country's largest public-sector lender, the State Bank of India (SBI), set to introduce a one-time password (OTP)-based cash withdrawal system for its ATMs.
  • This facility will be available for transactions above Rs 10,000 between 8 pm and 8 am and this facility will be applicable from January 1, 2020 across all SBI ATMs.
  • SBI cardholders will receive an OTP on their mobile number registered with SBI bank at the time of initiating the cash withdrawal process at the ATM.
  • The OTP is a system-generated numeric string of characters that authenticates the user for a single transaction. This additional factor of authentication will protect SBI cardholders from unauthorized ATM cash withdrawals.
  • This facility will not be applicable for transactions, where an SBI cardholder withdraws cash from another bank's ATM.
Source: Economic Times


12. 49th border coordination conference between BSF, BGB in Delhi

  • Border guarding forces of India and Bangladesh holds Directors General level talks in New Delhi from December 25 to 30, 2019.
  • The DG level talks between India and Bangladesh have been continuing since long. The talks are held twice every year - once in India and once in Bangladesh.
  • The talks follow the methodology of border level coordination conferences.

State Affairs

13. 11-day long ‘Dhanu Jatra’ begins in Odisha

  • On 31st December 2019 the famous 11-day long ‘Dhanu Jatra’, has begun in Odisha.
  • This is considered the largest open-air theatre in the world. begins at Bargarh in western Odisha today.
  • The Jatra is based on the mythological story of Lord Krishna and his demon uncle King Kansa.
  • It is about the episode of Krishna and Balaram's visit to Mathura to witness the Dhanu ceremony organized by their (maternal) uncle King Kansa.


14. Australia fast bowler Peter Siddle announces retirement from international cricket

  • Australia fast bowler Peter Siddle has announced his retirement from international cricket. In his 11 years career, he played 67 test matches and took 221 wickets in it.
  • He started his International Cricket career against India in 2008.
  • Siddle will continue to play domestic cricket for Victoria state and Twenty20 side Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League, along with English county cricket for Essex.
Source: India Today

15. Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah in Wisden’s T20I team of the decade

  • India skipper Virat Kohli and pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah were the only two Indians who found a place in Wisden’s T20 International team of the decade.
  • Australia’s Aaron Finch was named captain of the team, which has two more Australian in Shane Watson and Glenn Maxwell.
  • England’s Jos Buttler and David Willey, Afghanistan all-rounders —Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, and New Zealand’s Colin Munro and Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga are included in the team.
Source: The Hindu

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