Current Affairs December 09, 2018

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of December 09, 2018 in Short Notes form for preparation of IBPS, Banking, CLAT, SSC, Railway, UPSC, IAS/PCS, UPPSC, BPSC, MPPSC, RPSC, TNPSC, MPSC, KPSC and all other competitive examinations of India.

1. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has approved India’s proposal to observe 2023 as the International Year of Millets. This decision was taken at the 160th session of FAO Council, currently underway in Rome. The move will enhance global awareness to bring back these nutri-cereals to the plate. In addition, the FAO Council has also approved India’s membership to the Executive Board of the United Nations World Food Program for 2020 and 2021. Millets consists of Jowar, Bajra, Ragi and minor millets together termed as nutri-cereals.

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2. On December 8, the Japanese government enacted a new law to bring more blue-collar foreign workers into the country, in a controversial move to address chronic labour shortages. Under the new law, Japan plans to bring in 345,000 foreign workers in construction, food services, nursing and other sectors for 5 years. The law will take effect in April 2019 and create two new visa categories. The first status allows foreign nationals with skills in sectors facing severe shortages to obtain five-year visas, which will not allow them to bring their families. The second status allows foreign workers in those fields who hold stronger qualifications and pass a more difficult Japanese language test will be able to obtain a visa that can be extended indefinitely, eventually leading to residency, and will be able to bring over family.

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3. Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free by 2019. The move is aimed at addressing environmental issues and the problem of traffic congestion. Apart from providing free public transport, Luxembourg also intends to legalise cannabis and introduce two new public holidays. Earlier, Luxembourg introduced free transport for all people under the age of 20.

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4. The International Volunteer Day (IVD) is observed every year by The United Nations (UN) on December 5 to recognise the volunteers worldwide and their efforts in making peace and sustainable development a reality. It offers an opportunity for volunteer-involving organizations and individual volunteers to promote volunteerism, encourage governments to support volunteer efforts and recognize volunteer contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local, national and international levels. The 2018 theme “Volunteers build Resilient Communities” focuses on how volunteers can build resilient communities. The IVD 2018 celebrates volunteer efforts that strengthen local ownership and the resilience of the community in the face of natural disasters, economic stresses and political shocks.

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5. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the nodal Ministry of the Government of India (GoI), has been conferred the Skoch Award for National Significance at an event held recently in New Delhi. The award was received by Secretary of MNRE, Anand Kumar. The award has been conferred on the Ministry considering its purpose and critical role played in installing about 73 GW renewable energy capacity in the country. With 21% of total installed capacity, within the year renewable energy grossed a magic figure of providing one billion units of electricity in the country. Today, India ranked 4th in the world in wind energy capacity and 5th in solar & total renewable energy capacity installed in the world. India has played a critical role in setting up of international solar alliance. Further, India moved a resolution during the first meeting for making it a global initiative.

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6. On December 07, the Annual Startup India Venture Capital Summit 2018 has been organised by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in collaboration with the Government of Goa with theme ‘Mobilizing Global Capital for Innovation in India’ in Goa. The focus of the Summit was on the huge return-generating potential of India’s vast and diverse market monetized through cutting-edge technologies and supported by investor-friendly regulations. The event showcased the Indian startup opportunity for funds from around the world. Over 150 participants attended the event. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a sister organisation of the World Bank Group, and the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (IVCA) were partners for this initiative.

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7. Kolkata-Patna has become the India’s second container cargo sector on Inland Waterways. The Inland Waterways Authority of India’s (IWAI) vessel ‘MV RN Tagore’ will be the first cargo vessel to reach Patna’s Gaighat IWT terminal on river Ganga (National Waterway-1). On December 6, the vessel sailed from Kolkata’s Garden Reach Jetty with the PepsiCo and Emami Agrotech products. It will reach the IWT terminal at Patna in 6-7 days after an 815 kms long voyage on river Ganga (National Waterway-1). The cargo will be unloaded at IWAI’s inter-modal terminal at Gaighat in Patna from where onward cargo will be loaded. Earlier, on 12th November 2018, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had received the India’s first IWT containerised cargo that reached Varanasi from Kolkata. The Ministry of Shipping is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 Km) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 5369 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.

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8. Government think tank Niti Aayog has partnered with Perlin – a Singapore-based AI start up – to launch the ‘AI 4 All Global Hackathon’ for developing solutions aimed at creating social and economic impact in the country. The purpose of this hackathon is to promote awareness and subsequently develop solutions that deliver the twin benefit of efficient computing to address the infrastructure challenges. The hackathon will be run in two stages with stage one ending on January 15, 2019 and stage two, which will only include shortlisted participants from the previous stage, will conclude on March 15, 2019. The first stage will invite ideas for use cases of multi-party computation in areas such as Healthcare, Education, Agriculture, Urbanization, Financial Inclusion. The second stage will call for these ideas to be matured and developed, with a focus on privacy preserving AI and distributed computing. Over 2,000 submissions were received of which Top 10 teams were awarded at the summit.

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9. Under PRASAD Scheme, the Government of India (GoI) has recently included Gangotri and Yamunotri in Uttrarakhand, Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh and Parasnath in Jharkhand to develop pilgrimage and heritage destinations in the country. With the new additions, the number of sites under the scheme has now become 41 in 25 states. The acronym ‘PRASAD’ stands for ‘Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’. It was launched by Ministry of Tourism in 2014-15. The scheme aimed at infrastructure development such as entry points (road, rail and water transport), last mile connectivity, basic tourism facilities like Information/ Interpretation Centers, ATM/ money exchange, eco-friendly modes of transport, lighting and illumination with renewable sources of energy, parking, drinking water, toilets, cloak room, waiting rooms, first aid centers, craft bazars /haats/ souvenir shops/ cafeteria, rain shelters, telecom facilities, internet connectivity etc.

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10. The Delhi government has recently launched the ‘Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana’ for senior citizens — which offers free travel packages on five religious circuits for senior citizens from the national capital. 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. Under the scheme, any resident of Delhi above 60 years of age will be eligible for the scheme and those above 70 years can have one attendant. The scheme does not have any income criterion, but preference will be given to those who are from the economically weaker section. It will be given out on first-come-first-served basis. The pilgrimage duration will be of three days and two nights and will be for any of the following routes: Delhi-Mathura-Vrindavan-Agra-Fatehpur Sikri-Delhi; Delhi-Haridwar-Rishikesh-Neelkanth-Delhi; Delhi-Ajmer-Pushkar-Delhi; Delhi-Amritsar-Wagah border-Anandpur Sahib-Delhi; or Delhi-Vaishno Devi-Jammu-Delhi.

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