• Current Affairs, 20 December 2019

     

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    1. 2nd Coeus Age report
    2. CAA protest: Several metro stations closed, Section 144 imposed
    3. NIA to take over UAPA cases against two Kerala students
    4. INDO-Russia Joint Tri-Services Exercise Indra- 2019
    5. FM holds 6th Pre-Budget Consultation with prominent Industrialists
    6. FM holds Pre-Budget Consultation with representatives of various Trade Unions and Labour Organisations
    7. Harsh Vardhan dedicates the CGHS Wellness Centre, Vikaspuri, New Delhi to the CGHS beneficiaries
    8. Vision of achieving 5 trillion dollar economy possible with villages’ due consideration: Tomar
    9. SSB to ensure that India’s borders with friendly neighbours are not misused for activities against the country
    • NITI Aayog to draft roadmap for achieving population stabilization
    1. Madhya Pradesh: MLAs resolve to declare assets
    2. CAA protest: Scores detained in Hyderabad
    3. Trump becomes third US president in history to be impeached
    4. Australia declares state of emergency as heatwave fans bushfires
    5. India beat West Indies by 107 runs in 2nd ODI

     

     

    NATIONAL NEWS

     

     

    1. 2nd Coeus Age report

     

    • Research and consulting organization Coeus Age Consulting has released a report titled “Digital States of India – A Comparative Analysis”.
    • The report which is a 2nd in series with the first report launched in 2017, is about mapping all the States and Union Territories(UT) of India on their policy and infrastructure readiness and mission mode project’s performance.
    • As per the report’s mapping, Chhattisgarhhas emerged as the top state.
    • Top 5 states:Chhattisgarh was followed by Maharashtra, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th place respectively. It is to be noted that 5th ranked Madhya pradesh was ranked 1st in 2017.
    • Biggest leap:Haryana made the biggest leap in the ranking moving from 10th place in 2017 to 3rd place in 2019.
      The assessment of states and UTs were made using two broad constructs -Policy and Infrastructure Readiness (PIR) and Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) performance.
    • 128 parameters across PIR and MMPs, and 15 state specific MMPs were considered for the study.
    • The states and UTs were grouped in 4 clusters. They were Leading, emerging, promising, and lagging digital states.

     

    1. CAA protest: Several metro stations closed, Section 144 imposed

     

    • Entry and exit gates of 19 metro stations in Delhi have been closed due to a protest against the amended Citizenship Act.
    • Delhi Metro Rail Corporation said in a tweet that entry and exit gates of Lal Quila, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk and Vishwavidyalaya are closed and trains will not be halting at these stations. Gates of Jamia Millia Islamia, Jasola Vihar Shaheen Bagh, Munirka, Patel Chowk, Lok Kalyan Marg, Udyog Bhawan, ITO, Pragati Maidan, Barakhamba, Janpath, Rajeev Chowk and Khan Market are also closed.
    • Trains will not be halting at these stations. Entry and exit gates of Central Secretariat metro station are also closed. However, interchange facility is available at this station.
    • Gates of Vasant Vihar and Mandi House have also been closed. Interchange facility is available at Mandi House.
    • Delhi Police has imposed prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144 at the Red Fort area and some parts of northeast Delhi.
    • Delhi police officials told AIR that it has not given permission for a protest at Red Fort and Mandi House.
    • Meanwhile, Delhi Police has arrested 12 more persons in connection with the violence during protests in the northeast part of the National Capital.
    • Earlier, the police had arrested nine people in connection with the violence.
      Delhi Police has requested protest organizers to hold protests against the amended Citizenship Act at designated places only.
    • Delhi Police PRO M S Randhawa appealed to them to cooperate with the police.

     

     

    1. NIA to take over UAPA cases against two Kerala students

     

    • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has decided to take over the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) cases against two students.
    • They were arrested by the Kerala police recently from Kozhikode for allegedly distributing pro-Maoist pamphlets.
    • The Kerala High Court in November had dismissed the bail plea of two student activists of ruling CPI(M)– Thwaha Fazal and Alan Suhaib, who were arrested under UAPA.
    • The court had admitted the evidences submitted by the police to prove their Maoist links and denied them bail.

     

    1. INDO-Russia Joint Tri-Services Exercise Indra- 2019

     

    • The second edition of bilateral tri-services Exercise INDRA-2019 between Indian and Russia concluded today at Babina, Pune and Goa. The exercise included joint training in counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations under the United Nations mandate. Important lectures, demonstrations and drills related to counter terrorism operations were rehearsed and executed jointly. Both the contingent shared their expertise and experience.
    • As part of validation exercise held on 19 December 2019, troops of both the countries carried out specialised joint counter terrorist operations which was witnessed by dignitaries of services of both countries. The validation exercise was reviewed by Hon’ble Rajya Raksha Mantri Shri Shripad Yesso Naik in presence of Lieutenant General SK Saini, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command and other senior officers of both the participating countries. The Russian side was represented by Lieutenant General Sergei Serukov, Deputy Commander, Eastern Military District. The exercise concluded on 19 December 2019 with a ceremonial closing ceremony by both the contingents.
    • Exercise INDRA-2019 was very successful in increasing the bonhomie and camaraderie amongst both the participating nations. The exercise provided an opportunity to both the Armies for greater understanding and strengthening of mutual trust and cooperation.

     

    1. FM holds 6thPre-Budget Consultation with prominent Industrialists

     

    • Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman held her 6th Pre-Budget Consultation with leading Industrialists here today in connection with the forthcoming General Budget 2020-21.
    • Along with the Union Finance Minister, the meeting was attended by Shri Anurag Singh, Thakur, Union Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs; Shri Rajeev Kumar, Finance Secretary; Shri Injeti Srinivas, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Secretary; Shri Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, DEA; Shri Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Revenue Secretary; Shri Tuhin Kant Pandey, Secretary, DIPAM, Shri Guruprasad Mohapatra, Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT); Shri Amit Yadav, DG, Directorate General of Foreign Trade; Shri Pramod Chandra Mody, Chairman, CBDT; Dr K.V. Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser besides many senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.
    • During interactive session lasting over 2 hours, prominent Industrialists spoke about improving regulatory environment to safeguard investments through Ease of Doing Business, increasing export competitiveness, reviving private investment and kick-starting growth of economy.
    • Industrialists suggested many ways to boost the rural economy, especially ways to increase consumption. Other suggestions included ideas to improve IBC in relation to NCLTs and banks; faster mergers, acquisitions & demergers processes , ways to reduce time for FDI approval; structural changes in laws for effective and stable business environment; time-bound decisions for augmenting Ease of Doing Business both at Central & State levels; new investment of capital for building infrastructure; CAPEX for infrastructure to boost economy; preventing predatory pricing and dumping in India; facilitating R&D in India to boost Make in India; harnessing Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) by leveraging social funding through a new programme; ensuring liquidity for NBFCs with focus on rural economy and ways to increase consumption in economy.
    • Leading Industrialists who participated in the Pre-Budget meeting included Shri Sunil Bhrati Mittal, Founder & Chairman of Bharti Enterprises; Shri B.V.N. Rao, Business Chairman, GMR Group; Shri Vipin Sondhi, Managing Director and CEO, Ashok Leyland Ltd.; Shri Sanjiv Goenka, Chairman, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group; Shri Jatin Dalal, Global Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Wipro Ltd.;  Shri Manoj Chugh, President, Group Public Affairs and Member-Group Executive Board,  Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.; Shri Ravi Raheja, Group President, K Raheja Corp Group;  Acharya Balkrishan , Chairman Patanjali Ayurved Ltd.; Shri Vikram Kirloskar, President, CII; Shri Sandip Somany, President,  Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI);  Shri Balkrishan Goenka, President, ASSOCHAM among others.

     

    1. FM holds Pre-Budget Consultation with representatives of various Trade Unions and Labour Organisations

     

    • Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman held her 5th Pre-Budget Consultation with the representatives of various Trade Unions and Labour Organisations here today in connection with the forthcoming General Budget 2020-21.
    • During the course of meeting, representatives of Trade Unions and Labour Organisations shared their views and suggestions regarding labour and employment issues. Discussions were held on skilling, re-skilling and up-skilling of existing labour force. Quality of job creation and ensuring minimum wages of workers were discussed.
    • Along with the Union Finance Minister, the meeting was attended by Shri Anurag Singh, Thakur, Union Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs; Shri Rajeev Kumar, Finance Secretary; Shri Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, DEA; Shri Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Revenue Secretary; Shri Pramod Chandra Mody, Chairman, CBDT; Dr K.V. Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser; Shri Heeralal Samariya, Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment; Shri H. Srinivas, DG, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute and other senior officials of Ministry of Finance.
    • During the meeting, representatives of Trade Unions and Labour Organisations shared their views and suggestions regarding job creation, labour concerns and quality of employment issues. The participants aired their concerns about provision of social security to labour besides skilling, re-skilling and up-skilling of existing labour force. They also emphasised quality of job creation and ensuring minimum wages of workers in detail besides the need for streamlining various schemes to have better results. Experts and representatives from various Trade Unions (TUs) and Labour Organisations gave suggestions related toskill development in labour intensive areas, alignment of  skill development initiatives with cluster developments, creation of dedicated fund for skill enhancement ,  allocation of more funds to MGNREGA scheme, increase of number of days of work under MGNREGA,  legislation for various welfare schemes for permanent benefits, profiling job according to skill-sets, separate fund for revival of job creation via MSMEs,   increase in social sector spending, unorganised sector workers’ benefits including land less farm labourers , strengthening of tripartite & bipartite mechanisms, consultations with TUs for finalising Code on Safety , Industrial Relations & Social Security .
    • Participants from various labour organisations included Shri B. Surendran, All India Organising Secretary, Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh BMS); Shri Santosh Roy, National Secretary, All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU); Shri Anil Bhardwaj, President, Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME); Shri Ashok Singh, Vice President, India National Trade Union Congress (INTUC); Shri Satyawan, Member, All India Secretariat All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC);  Shri M. Shanmugam, M.P. General Secretary, Labour Progressive Federation (LPF); Ms Amarjeet Kaur, General Secretary, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC); Shri Swadesh Dev Roye, National Secretary, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU);  Shri Mukesh Galav, Secretary, Hind Mazdoor Sabha; Ms Malini Shah, National Secretary, Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA);  Mr Satoshi Sasaki, Dy. Director, ILODWT for South Asia and Country Office for India; Shri K.V. Shekhar Raju, Immediate Past National President, The Federation of Association of Small Industries of India (FASII);  Shri Sanjay Katkamar , General Secretary, Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC); Shri D.L. Sharma, Managing Director, Vardhman Yarns & Threads Ltd.; Shri Arvind Francis, Assistant Secretary General, FICCI, Shri Pawan Kumar, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) among others.

     

    1. Harsh Vardhan dedicates the CGHS Wellness Centre, Vikaspuri, New Delhi to the CGHS beneficiaries

     

    • “CGHS services shall be now be extended  to 100 cities”. This was stated by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare as he inaugurated the new CGHS Wellness Centre at Vikaspuri, New Delhi, in the presence of Shri Parvesh Saheb Singh Verma, Member of Parliament, West Delhi. The Union Health Minister added that at present the scheme is operational across 72 Cities through 329 Allopathic Wellness Centres and 86 AYUSH Centres. It serves 12.09 lakh primary cardholders and 35.72  lakh  beneficiaries, out of which around 17 lakh beneficiaries belong to Delhi/NCR. There are more than 2.5 lakh beneficiaries aged 75 years and above. About 58% of CGHS beneficiaries avail of CGHS facilities at least once in a year.
    • Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that after 2014, the number of CGHS Wellness centres have expanded to 72 cities from the earlier figure of 30, which shows the exemplary commitment of the government to the health and wellness of the employees. Soon CGHS shall be extended to other cities like Itanagar, Kannur, and Kozhikode, he stated. He added that recently the Ministry has elicited the feedback and suggestions from the various stakeholders, beneficiaries and others to improve the delivery of health services through CGHS centres. As an innovative feature, for beneficiaries above 80 years of age, doctors from CGHS wellness centres call at least once in a month to enquire about their wellbeing / make a home visit if residing within 5 km.
    • The Union Health Minister stated that it is a reflection of the commitment to the health sector by the government, that the number of AIIMS have now increased to 21. Six of the AIIMS are now operational, he stated. Work is also progressing on setting up 157 Medical Colleges mainly in the aspirational districts of the country to ensure that people of these regions are provided superior health services, and they do not have to travel long distances to avail of them. He also highlighted the “Eat Right India” and “Fit India” campaigns of the Government aimed towards preventive, promotive and positive health, which also is the underpinning thought for the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres. “It is sad that the people of Delhi have been deprived of the invaluable tertiary health services under Ayushman Bharat PMJAY, which have benefitted more than 69 lakh people from various parts of the country through more than 19,000 empanelled hospitals”, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated. He added that these needy and poor people could not have dreamed of such health care facilities earlier, in the absence of PMJAY.
    • The Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) is a contributory health scheme for serving / retired Central Government employees and their dependent family members. The scheme was started in 1954 in Delhi. It provides comprehensive health care facilities to the beneficiaries that include OPD Consultation from CGHS Medical Officers and specialists, issue of medicines, investigations at Govt. hospitals and private empanelled centres, specialist consultation and hospitalization at Govt. and private empanelled hospitals, etc. OPD consultation from CGHS empanelled private hospitals on referral from CGHS Wellness Centre is also done as part of the scheme.

     

    1. Vision of achieving 5 trillion dollar economy possible with villages’ due consideration: Tomar

    • Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has said, the vision of achieving 5 trillion dollar economy and taking the nation to the path of development will be impossible if the progress of villages is not given due consideration.
    • He said, removal of imbalance between the lifestyle of villages and cities is need of the hour.
    • Mr Tomar was speaking at  National Awards Distribution Function in New Delhi today.
    • He stressed on the need to provide all the basic facilities equipped with modern technology to every village. He said, steps should be taken to increase the agri-productivity which can cater to the need of the entire nation.
    • The Minister said, all these combined efforts can empower villages and reduce the practice of mass migration of villagers to cities.
    • the MNREGA and other welfare schemes, Mr Tomar said, the budget of MNREGA in 2014 was 38 thousand crore but the government has increased it to 60 thousand crore in the last five years.
    • He said, under the third phase of PM Gram Sadak Yojna, the government has set a target of completing 1 lakh 25 thousand Kilometers by 2024-25 with a budget of nearly 80250 crore. He said, the government is very much committed to its completion.
    • Around 266 awards were given to individuals, institutions, Panchayats, blocks for their exemplary contribution in the rural development.
    • Tamil Nadu bagged the Golden award for running a maximum number of developmental programmes at the village level.

     

     

    1. SSB to ensure that India’s borders with friendly neighbours are not misused for activities against the country

    • Union Minister for Home Affairs, Shri Amit Shah said that Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) must ensure that India’s borders with friendly neighbours are not misused for activities against the country, while seeing to it that the people living in border areas are not adversely affected. He said that India has an open border of around 2,450 kilometres with neighbouring countries Nepal and Bhutan and SSB has performed a good job in ensuring that not a single infiltrator sneaked into our country. Presiding over the 56thRaising Day Parade of SSB in New Delhi today, the Home Minister praised the force for nabbing over 50 intruders, mostly Pakistanis, at Indo-Nepal border in the last one year, besides nabbing contraband items including drugs worth Rs. 380 crores.
    • Shri Shah informed that by the end of 2020, over 12000 vacancies in both Gazetted and Non-Gazetted ranks would be filled to make SSB stronger, besides easing the work pressure. He said that Modi Government had initiated a number of welfare schemes for the jawans. In near future, the government would ensure that the jawans spend at least 100 days with their family. He also talked about steps like opening schools for children and initiating skill development programmes for families of SSB, in naxal affected areas, among other measures. The Minister encouraged the officers and jawans of SSB to scout for in-house talent in sports, who would represent the country at Olympics.
    • The Minister complimented SSB for the dedicated and outstanding performance over the years in securing the borders of the Nation and giving supreme sacrifices to protect the citizens of the country in naxal affected areas. “The jawans of SSB have always kept their duty before their life. I bow my head to salute this fearless dedication and commitment towards the security of the Nation. To commemorate supreme sacrifices of police forces of the country, Modi Government has developed the National Police Memorial”, he said. He also paid tributes by laying wreath at the Martyrs memorial, inspected the parade and awarded gallantry medals to the officers and jawans at 25thBattalion, SSB, Ghitorni.
    • The Home Minister acknowledged that the Nation cannot become a global economic power if its borders are not secure, especially when the country has hostile neighbours that are constantly engaged in cross border terrorism, insurgency, illicit trafficking of humans, drugs, fake currency, cattle, among others. He also commended the dedicated performance of SSB in a number of duties ranging from facilitating free and fair elections across the country to saving lives and property during natural calamities.
    • SSB is the first CAPF that included women in its ranks. Shri Shah noted that the lady officers marched ahead shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts and earned accolades with their brilliant performance within the country as well as UN Missions abroad. He said that at present 22 women jawans of SSB are participating in the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Congo.

     

    1. NITI Aayog to draft roadmap for achieving population stabilization

     

    • NITI Aayog is organising a National Consultation titled “Realizing the vision of population stabilization: leaving no one behind”tomorrow on 20 December 2019 at NITI Bhavan, New Delhi.
    • The consultative meeting beingorganised in partnership with Population Foundation of India (PFI) will bring together senior officials, experts and subject matter specialists to discuss ways and means of strengthening India’s population policy and family planning programmes. The recommendations from the consultation will contribute to a NITI Aayog working paper to help achieve India’s vision of attaining population stabilization, as voiced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 August 2019.
    • The working paper is expected to address key gaps in India’s family planning programmes. It will offer constructive recommendations to address regional disparities in outcomes by focusing on adolescents and youths, inter-departmental convergence, demand generation, access to contraceptive services and quality of care.
    • Increasing the basket of contraceptive choices, with greater focus on spacing methods and helping women make informed choices about delaying pregnancy and spacing between children.
    • Addressing social determinants of health such as age at marriage and sex-selective practices.
    • Strengthening quality of care, including counseling services, managing side effects and family planning support.
    • Increasing budgetary allocations for family planning, to align with the unmet needs of India’s young people who constitute nearly 30 per cent of our population.
    • Addressing existing socio-cultural barriers towards contraception by investing extensively in innovative behaviour-change communication strategies.
    • Treating population stabilisation and family planning as a national priority, fostering inter-departmental convergence and ensuring multisectoral participation and integration.

     

    1. Madhya Pradesh: MLAs resolve to declare assets

    • Madhya Pradesh assembly has unanimously passed a resolution to declare assets of all legislators and their dependents in the House by June 30 next year.
    • The details of assets shall be submitted to Principal Secretary of state Assembly and will also be displayed on Assembly website. The aim of the resolution is to bring transparency in the political system.
    • The government is also planning to bring about a law on this matter. The resolution was tabled by Minister of General Administration, Govind Singh yesterday.

     

    1. CAA protest: Scores detained in Hyderabad

     

    • In Telangana, police have taken leaders of different political parties and a number of students into custody when they were protesting against amended Citizenship Act in Hyderabad.
    • Despite there was no permission for public demonstrations from police, several organizations called for protests.
    • When the police prevented students and agitators from taking out a rally at Exhibition grounds in Hyderabad, the activists tried to barge into the nearby BJP office in Hyderabad forcing police to take them into custody.
    • Meanwhile, similar demonstrations were also held in the campus of the University of Hyderabad, led to arrests of students.

     

     

     

     

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. Trump becomes third US president in history to be impeached

     

    • Donald Trump has become the third US President in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives, setting up a trial in the Senate that will decide whether he remains in office.
    • The House voted on two charges – that the President abused his power and that he had obstructed Congress.
    • Nearly all Democrats voted for the charges and every Republican against.
    • President Trump’s Republicans control the Senate so it is highly unlikely he will be removed from power.
    • The White House released a statement saying that the President was confident that he will be fully exonerated in a Senate trial.
    • Earlier, the House of Representatives where the Democrats are in a majority, held a lengthy debate whether to impeach him on these charges.
    • The vote for the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, was passed 230-197 and the second, for obstruction of Congress, 229-198.
    • Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were other two former Presidents who had been impeached.

     

    1. Australia declares state of emergency as heatwave fans bushfires

    BBC

    • In Australia’s New South Wales, authorities have declared a seven-day state of emergency as a record heatwave fanned unprecedented bushfires raging across the region.
    • The New South Wales, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state of emergency is due to catastrophic weather conditions.
    • Authorities predicted more intense heat today and later in the week.

     

     

     

     

     

    SPORTS NEWS

     

     

    1. India beat West Indies by 107 runs in 2nd ODI

    • India won the second ODI against the West Indies by 107 runs at Visakhapatanam last night.
    • Chasing a target of 388 runs, the West Indies were all out for 280. With this win, India levelled the three-match series 1-1.
    • Spinner Kuldip Yadav achieved a hat-trick during the second ODI. He became the first India player to claim two hat-tricks in international cricket, joining an elite band that includes pace legend Wasim Akram.
    • The 25-year-old from Uttar Pradesh, who had claimed his first ODI hat-trick against Australia in Kolkata in 2017, dismissed Shai Hope, Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph in the last three deliveries of the 33rd over to achieve the milestone.
    • Riding on Kuldeep Yadav’s hat-trick of 3 for 52, India bowled out West Indies for 280, with 6.3 overs to spare.

     

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