• Current Affairs , 19 December 2019

    • December 19, 2019
    • Posted By : upliftlife
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    1. National Broadband Mission
    2. Finance Ministry has set Rs 1.1 lakh crore monthly GST collection target
    3. TheRecycling of Ships Bill, 2019
    4. CSIR and National CNRS signed MoU on Scientific & Technological Research promotion
    5. Bharat Vandana Park
    6. Phase-III of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana launched
    7. Judge rules in favor of US effort to take Snowden book money
    8. Poland: SC attacks govt’s proposal to overhaul judicial system
    9. Australia experiences hottest day on record
    • US opposes lifting key sanctions against North Korea
    1. Portuguese PM to be on two-day visit to India
    2. Indonesia increases jail term for Polish man
    3. Under-17 tournament: Indian women football team
    4. Sports Minister announces cash awards to SAG medalists
    5. Mumbai girl bags silver in National Schools Chess Championship







    1. National Broadband Mission


    • The Minister for Communications, Law & Justice and Electronics and Information Technology(IT), Shri Ravi Shankar Prasadlaunched National Broadband Mission (NBM) in New Delhi.
    • The mission’s aim is to enable all the people to engage in digital communication infrastructure. The minister also launched logo of NBM and a booklet on the occasion.

    The Mission has adopted certain objectives based on 3 principles such as universality, affordability and quality. The objectives are as follows:

    • Broadband access to all villages by 2022. Nationwide access to broadband services, especially in rural and remote areas.
    • Route for OFC:Laying of incremental 30 lakhs route kilometers of Optical Fiber Cable(OFC) and increasing the tower density from 0.42 to 1.0 tower per thousand of population by 2024.
    • Investment: $100 billion(Rs 7 Lakh Crore) investment from stakeholders including Rs 70,000 crore from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)


    1. Finance Ministry has set Rs 1.1 lakh crore monthly GST collection target


    • The Ministry of Finance(MoF) has setRs 1.1 trillion monthly GST (Goods and Services Tax) target for the remaining four months of the fiscal year(FY 2019-20) and asked tax officials to step up efforts to achieve the goal.
    • The announcement was made in a meeting amid government may fall short of tax collection target in a slowing economy.
    • The GST target was set at Rs 1.10 trillion every month between December 2019 and March 2020.Out of these 4 months, Rs 1.25 trillion collections have to be achieved in at least one month.
    • Both the GST as well as the Rs 13.35 trillion target for direct taxes for 2019-20 will have to be achieved. Out of the Rs 13.35 trillion direct tax collection target, about Rs 6 trillion (45%) of the annual target, has been collected till October 2019.
    • For 2019-20, the Union government is targeting Rs 6.63 trillion from its share of GST revenues
    • Tax officials:Members of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), as well as other top officials will have to achieve tax targets both for direct and indirect taxes.
    • Conduct of Drives:A drive will also be conducted to recover past arrears during the next three months.
    • Data from GST return information will be provided to income tax departments to detect any suppression of turnover in the cases and proper tax can be recovered.
    • Field visits: The senior officers including members of CBIC and CBDT, Principal Chief Commissioners(PCC) & Chief Commissioners and other field machinery will have to undertake field visits on a regular basis every week.


    1. TheRecycling of Ships Bill, 2019


    • The President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind approvedthe Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019. After his assent the bill became an Act with effect from December 13, 2019. The act provides recycling of ships by setting certain international standards and laying down the statutory mechanism for enforcement of such standards. India also acceded to Hong Kong International Convention for Safeand Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 with effect from 28th November, 2019.
    • The already existing Shipbreaking Code (revised),2013 and the provisions of the Hong Kong Convention, 2009 will be dovetailed (joined together) in this act.
    • The act prohibits the use or installation of hazardous materials in the ship irrespective of whether the ship will be recycled or not.
    • Ships shall be surveyed and certified on the inventory of hazardous materials used in ships.
    • A statutory duty on ship recyclers will be imposed under the act.
    • Existing ships will be given5-year compliance to remove the hazardous material.
    • New Ships will be prohibited to use the hazardous material with immediate effect from December 13, 2019 onwards.
    • Warships and other non-commercial ships will not be given restriction on usage of the hazardous material.
    • Ship recycling facilities are required to be authorized and ships shall be recycled only in such authorized ship recycling facilities.
    • Ships to be recycled in India will need to obtain a ‘Ready for Recycling Certificate’ in accordance with the Hong Kong Convention. In this regard, a large number of recycling plots, especially at Alang,Gujarat, have obtained Statement of Compliance (SOC) with the Hong Kong Convention.
    • Number of global ships entering into Indian Shipyards for recycling will be increased under this act and would also boost employment and business opportunities.
    • The brand value of Ships Recycling Yards located at Alang in Gujarat, Mumbai Port(Maharashtra), Kolkata Port (West Bengal) & Azhikkal in Kerala will be increased.
    • 10% of the country’s secondary steel needs, will be met in an eco-friendly manner.
    • The act would ensure environment friendly recycling process of ships and adequate safety of the workers in the shipyard. The act is mainly focused with the workers’ safety concerns.



    1. CSIR and National CNRS signed MoU on Scientific & Technological Research promotion


    • The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), India and the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a framework for promoting and supportingscientific and technological research by cooperation. CSIR and CNRS have had long standing relations since 1975.
    • The MoU was signed by Director General(DG) of CSIR, Dr.Shekhar C Mande and President and CEO of CNRS France, Prof Antoine Petit.
    • As per the MoU, both the organisations will explore strengthening their cooperation to foster joint innovation and transfer of technologies applicable to India or/and France and to other nations.
    • The cooperation includes sharing good practices, promoting technology transfer and enhancing industry-academia cooperation and the research areas include biotechnology including plant and marine biotechnology; health research; environment and climate change etc.


    1. Bharat Vandana Park


    • Amit Shah, Union Minister of Home Affairs (MHA) presided over in the ceremony to lay foundation stone for the Bharat Vandana Park,Dwarka, New Delhi in the presence of Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal, Member of parliament (MP) Parvesh Verma and Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari at New Delhi.
    • The park will be a major tourist attraction covering an area of 200 acres at a cost of Rs.550 crores, the park is located near the Indira Gandhi International Airport and metro station. The park is to be developed by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and will be completed by March 2022.
    • The space will consist of a relaxation area, a conservatory, an amusement park, an eco-trail, an adventure park, a restaurant with lake view, replicas of monuments and a dense green zone that consists of Herbal Vatika, meant for the display of medicinal plants.


    1. Phase-III of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana launched


    • Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar today launched Phase-III of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana in New Delhi to further enhance connectivity of villages with hospitals, schools and agricultural markets.
    • The Phase-III of PMGSY aims at consolidation of 1 lakh 25 thousand Kilometers through Routes and Major Rural Links that connect habitations to Gramin Agricultural Markets, Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals with an estimated cost of 80 thousand 250 crore rupees for the period 2019-20 to 2024-25.
    • The Central Share will be 53 thousand 800 crore rupees. The funding pattern for the scheme will be 60:40 between Centre and the States. For North-East and the Himalayan States the ratio will be 90:10.
    • Addressing a gathering, Mr Tomar said that PMGSY is an important program for the nation. The Minister hailed the vision of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said that he was determined to complete this difficult task and it was his vision and efforts that today more than 6 Lakh Kilometres of Roads have been constructed across rural India.
    • The Minister highlighted the importance of roads in bringing about all-round positive development and empowering the villages.
    • Mr Tomar emphasised that States must ensure that maintenance of roads is done on a regular basis to ensure that the quality of roads remains good. He further said that now with the launch of Phase III of PMGSY, States must begin preparing and ensure effective implementation of the scheme.
    • He expressed happiness that as on 16th of this month, a total of one lakh 53 thousand 491 rural road works have been completed under the PMGSY Scheme connecting 97.27 per cent of the eligible and feasible habitations and adding up a road length of 6 lakh 7 thousand 900 Kilometres across the country.
    • A road length of 36 thousand 63 Kilometres has been constructed using green technologies, a major portion of which includes Waste plastic and cold mix technology.






    7. Judge rules in favor of US effort to take Snowden book money


    • In the United States, a judge has ruled that former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden violated secrecy agreements with the government that allow it to claim proceeds from a memoir he published earlier this year.
    • Snowden was charged under the US Espionage Act. He now lives in Russia in order to avoid arrest.
    • US District Judge Liam O’Grady in Alexandria, Virginia, ruled that Snowden is liable for breach of contract with the government because he published the book “Permanent Record”, without submitting it for a pre-publication review. This is in violation of agreements he signed with both the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency.
    • In the book, Snowden explains how he viewed himself as a whistleblower by revealing details about the government’s mass collection of emails, phone calls and internet activity in the name of national security.


    8. Poland: SC attacks govt’s proposal to overhaul judicial system



    • In Poland, the Supreme Court has attacked the government’s latest proposal to overhaul the judicial system.
    • The Court warned that the plan could lead to Poland leaving the European Union. The proposals would allow judges to be dismissed if they questioned the government’s judicial reforms.
    • Judges said, the proposals threaten the primacy of European Union law and could be an attempt to gag the judiciary. Under the proposals put forward by the socially conservative Law and Justice party government, judges can be punished for engaging in political activity.
    • Poland has already been referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) regarding rules for judges.
    • The warning from the Apex Court is the latest salvo in a bitter battle over the rule of law in Poland that dominated the ruling Law and Justice party’s first term in office. Politicians will start discussing the proposals tomorrow.


    9. Australia experiences hottest day on record


    • Australia yesterday experienced its hottest day on record with the national average temperature reaching a high of 40.9 centigrade.
    • The Country’s Bureau of Meteorology said extensive heat exceeded the previous record of 40.3C set on 7th January, 2013.
    • The record comes as the nation battles a severe drought and bushfire crisis.
    • Forecasters had predicted the most intense heat would come later in the week, meaning the record could be broken again.


    1. US opposes lifting key sanctions against North Korea


    • United States has said that it opposes a draft resolution proposed by China and Russia that would terminate UN sanctions on key North Korean exports.
    • The US called the measure premature at a time when Pyongyang is taking provocative actions and is refusing to meet with US officials to discuss denuclearisation.
    • The US State Department said, President Donald Trump remains committed to making progress toward commitments he made with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at their First Summit in Singapore in June 2018.
    • The draft resolution circulated to UN Security Council members would terminate sanctions on North Korean exports including textiles, seafood and statues with the intent of enhancing the livelihood of the civilian population. It would also lift a ban on North Koreans working overseas and terminate a decision to repatriate all those earning income abroad by December 22.
    • China and Russia made these and other proposals 16 days before Kim’s end-of-December deadline for the United States to come up with new proposals to revive nuclear diplomacy.
    • Negotiations faltered after the US rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of the North’s nuclear capabilities at Kim’s second summit with Trump last February.





    1. Portuguese PM to be on two-day visit to India

    • Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa will be on a two-day visit to India from tomorrow.
    • He will attend the second meeting of the Organising Committee on the celebrations for the 150th Birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
    • The Organising Committee meeting will be presided over by President Ram Nath Kovind.
    • The Portuguese Prime Minister is also scheduled to hold official talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow afternoon.
    • This will be the third official meeting between the two leaders in a span of 3 years.
    • They have met on the sidelines of various multilateral events. This visit will be Mr Costa’s first bilateral visit outside Europe after being re-elected as Prime Minister on 6th of October.
    • Our correspondent reports that the high-level political exchanges between India and Portugal have imparted a robust momentum to bilateral relations, including in several new areas such as science and technology, defence, startups, shipping, youth exchanges and culture.
    • This visit will provide another opportunity for the leaders to review the whole gamut of bilateral relations and forge closer cooperation in areas of mutual interest.



    1. Indonesia increases jail term for Polish man


    • In Indonesia, country’s supreme court today increased the jail term for the Polish man Jakub Fabian Skrzypski convicted of treason over links to separatist guerrillas in restive Papua.
    • The sentence has been raised to seven years’ prison from five. The ruling overturned an earlier court decision that affirmed the five-year jail term, which was lighter than the 10 years originally demanded by prosecutors.
    • Jakub was arrested in August last year, accused of making contact with outlawed rebels in the country’s easternmost territory and plotting to overthrow the Indonesia government.
    • The European Parliament has described Skrzypski as a political prisoner and called for his transfer back to Poland






    1. Under-17 tournament: Indian women football team


    • In football, Indian women entered the final of three-nation Under-17 tournament in Mumbai last evening. Hosts edged out Thailand 1-0 in the last round-robin game.
    • India will take on Sweden in the final tomorrow.


    1. Sports Minister announces cash awards to SAG medallists


    • Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju today announced a cash reward of 1.5 lakh rupees each for the 174 gold medallists of the South Asian Games held in Nepal.
    • The South Asian Games concluded yesterday with India topping the table for the historic 13th time in a row, winning 312 medals including 174 gold, 93 silver and 45 bronze medals. The silver winners will receive one lakh rupees and bronze winners  50,000 rupees each.
    • Speaking at a felicitation ceremony for the medallists, Mr Rijiju said going forward, the government will have a structured cash reward policy for medallists in South Asian Games, like other multi-sporting events like the Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.


    1. Mumbai girl bags silver in National Schools Chess Championship


    • Shashini Puvi from Karnataka has won the coveted gold medal in the recently held National Schools Chess Championship in Aurangabad.
    • Mumbai girl Myrah Sachdev has bagged the silver medal in the championship
    • A media release issued today said, the margin was narrow between the top two.  
    • While Myrah finished on 7.5 points out of possible nine, Shashini’s score was eight in the end.
    • Six-year-old Myrah is now tipped to officially represent India in the Asian and World Schools Chess Championships that are scheduled to be held next year. 



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