December 16 – India celebrates Vijay Diwas:
- The nation celebrates 16 December as Vijay Diwas to commemorate India’s victory over Pakistan in 1971 war.
- The Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 which began on December 3 lasted for 13 days and officially ended on December 16, after which Pakistan surrendered to India.
- It was on this day in 1971, the chief of the Pakistani forces, General AA Khan Niazi, along with 93 thousand troops, had surrendered unconditionally to the allied forces consisting of Indian Army and Mukti Bahini.
- The end of the war also resulted in subsequent secession of East Pakistan into Bangladesh.
Wholesale Price Inflation Rose To 0.58% In November:
- The annual rate of inflation based on monthly Wholesale Price Index (WPI)rose to 0.58% in November as opposed to 0.16% in October, the previous month, according to an official statement released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
- The government data comes after it was reported that retail inflation rose to 5.54% in November indicating higher food prices.
- Prices of several vegetables increased in October after supplies were diminished following heavy rainfall that damaged harvests.
Moody Cuts India’s GDP Forecast For FY20 To 4.9% From 5.8%:
- As India’s growth has been languishing and in the September ended quarter of the current financial year it reported a growth rate of just 4.5% in comparison to the 5% figure recorded for the earlier quarter, Moody’s Investors Service on December 16 reduced its India GDP forecast for FY 20 from 5.8% earlier to 4.9%.
- Further even though rate of economic growth in India is expected to gain pace from next year onwards due to spill over impact from policy stimulus, GDP is expected to be lower than what has been recorded for recent years.
Reliance Industries Topples IOC To Become India’s Largest Company:
- Boosted by its consumer-facing businesses like organised retail and telecom, Reliance Industries ended state-owned Indian Oil Corporation’s (IOC) 10-year reign as India’s largest company, topping the Fortune India 500 list.
- State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) was ranked third, same as in 2018. It was followed by State Bank of India, Tata Motors and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) -all with no changes in their ranking between 2018 and 2019.
Govt Took Several Initiatives For Providing Ease Of Doing Business:
- The Corporate Affairs Ministry has taken several initiatives for providing Ease of Doing Business to law-abiding corporates.
- This is in pursuance of the objective of providing greater Ease of Doing Business, bring about greater transparency in corporate structure and fostering better corporate compliance to enhance the efficiency of the process under the Companies Act of 2013.
- They include the creation of an institution of a robust Insolvency and Bankruptcy framework. India has improved its ranking on the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report moving up 14 positions to 63rd position as compared to 77th position in 2018.
- India’s leap of 14 ranks in the Ease of Doing Business ranking is significant considering that there has been a continuous improvement since 2015 and for the third consecutive year India is amongst the top 10 improvers.
- The Ministry has contributed towards insolvency resolution. India’s ranking jumped 56 places to 52 in 2019 from 108 in 2018.
- Recovery rate increased from 26.5 per cent in 2018 to 71.6 per cent in 2019. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 12th of December, 2019.
FASTags becomes mandatory for all vehicles from 15th December 2019:
- FASTags or prepaid rechargeable tags for toll collection have become mandatory for all vehicles from 15th December 2019.
- The FASTags or prepaid rechargeable tags allows automatic payment of toll. The government launched the National Electronic Toll Collection System which provides for the collection of user fee through FASTag to save fuel and time, curb pollution and ensure seamless movement of traffic.
- National Highways Authority of India has equipped all fee plazas with Electronic Toll Collection System.
- With the help of a FASTag, drivers will not have to stop their vehicles at toll plazas to pay tax.
- A FASTag uses radio frequency identification technology to enable direct toll payments from a moving vehicle.
Ministry of Coal to establish “Sustainable Development Cell” to promote clean mining:
- The Coal Ministry will establish ‘Sustainable Development Cell’ (SDC) for promoting sustainable coal mining in the country.
- It will address environmental concerns during the decommissioning or closure of mines.
- The Cell will advise, mentor, plan and monitor the mitigation measures taken by the coal companies for maximizing the utilization of available resources in a sustainable way, minimizing the adverse impact of mining and mitigating it for further eco-system services.
- Sustainable Development Cell will also formulate the future policy framework for the environmental mitigation measures including the Mine closure Fund.
- The Sustainable Development Cell envisages to address the environmental mitigation measures in a systemic manner and to provide a better environment to people working and residing in the vicinity of Mines.
Bengaluru City Police First In India To Have Bicycle-Borne Cops:
- In the wake of increasing criminal activities in Bengaluru’s Cubbon Park, and neighbouring areas, the city police have initiated ‘Pedal Police. This is the first time the BCP has saddled up to fight crime on a bicycle. The pedal police were launched by Bengaluru City Police Commissioner (BCP) Bhaskar Rao, IPS. Five bicycles were sponsored by a non-profit trust, Citizens for Sustainability (CiFoS), as a part of #ABetterBangalorean campaign.
- The pedal police branded bicycles equipped with police lights, alarms, reflective vests and helmets were distributed to police personnel of the Cubbon Park Police station by Commissioner Rao. Rao said that the idea behind pedal police is to cover all parts of the city as there are several areas where taking a four-wheeler or two-wheeler will be difficult and with this patrolling can be eco-friendly.
West Bengal Tops In A 100-Day Work Programme For Promoting Livelihoods:
- West Bengal has been selected for the 1st prize in 100-Day Work Programme for Promoting Livelihoods.
The Rural Development Ministry has selected Bankura and Cooch Behar Districts of the state for 1st and 2nd positions among districts in the country in implementation of rural job scheme.
- Disclosing this in a Facebook post today, the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also informed that Baburmahal Gram Panchayat of Kulpi in South 24 Parganas District has also bagged best performance award from the Centre.
Over 7700 Cases Settled By National Lok Adalat In J&K, Ladakh:
- Over 7,700 cases were settled yesterday at the day-long National Lok Adalat across the twin union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
- A total of 11,461 cases were taken up by 128 benches at various courts of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh during the Lok Adalat.
- 7,728 cases were disposed of and an amount of over 15.87 crore rupees was awarded as compensation and settlement in various cases, including that of civil, criminal and labour disputes.
Sri Lankan Govt Formally Releases Its New National Policy Framework:
- Sri Lankan government today formally released its new National policy Framework meant to guide the government ministries and departments in implementing their policies. The framework titled ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor’ is aimed at achieving fourfold outcome of being a productive citizen, a contented family, a virtuous, disciplined and just society and a prosperous nation.
- Among the main objectives are maintaining a 6.5 per cent or higher GDP growth rate under the macroeconomic programme, achieving a per capita income exceeding 6,500 US dollar during 2020 to 2025. The policy further elaborates to keep the unemployment rate below 4 per cent and the inflation rate below 5 per cent, as well as to manage the government revenue and expenditure to keep the budget deficit below 4 per cent of GDP.
- The policy mandates to implement a national and international partnership based on principles of priority to national security, friendly and non-aligned foreign policy. It also mandates an administration free from corruption and new constitution that fulfills people’s wishes.
China Suspends Additional Tariffs On US Goods After Two Sides Announce Major Breakthrough In Trade War:
- China suspended additional tariffs on US products today after Washington and Beijing announced a major thaw in their trade war Friday.
- China’s finance ministry announced today that it will suspend the planned addition of 10 percent and 5 percent tariffs on some US imports. The Ministry also said that China will continue to suspend additional tariffs on US-made autos and spare parts.
- The move follows US President Trump’s cancellation of new tariffs on Chinese products as part of a phase one trade deal
- On Friday, China’s commerce ministry said, it had agreed with the US a mini-deal that includes a progressive rollback of tariffs and the protection of intellectual property rights.
- The two sides have yet to sign the agreement, which represents a major breakthrough in the 21-month standoff between the world’s two largest economies.
Nuad Thai massage included in UNESCO heritage list:
- Thailand’s famous 2000-year-old massage, Nuad Thai was added to UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) prestigious heritage list.
- Nuad Thai is an intense form of massage in which the body is pulled and rotated well with the help of the thumb, elbow, knees and feet.
- Thai massage originated in India and brought it to Thailand about 2,500 years ago by doctors and monks who carried its secrets for generations.
Prime Minister chairs 1st meeting of National Ganga Council:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chaired the first meeting of the National Ganga Council.
- The meeting was held in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The first meeting of the Council aimed at reinforcing the importance of a ‘Ganga-centric’ approach in all departments of the concerned states as well as relevant Central Ministries.
- The Council has been given overall responsibility for superintendence of pollution prevention and rejuvenation of River Ganga Basin, including Ganga and its tributaries.
- Prime Minister urged for a holistic thinking process where ‘Namami Gange’ evolves to ‘Arth Ganga’ or a sustainable development model with a focus on economic activities related to Ganga.
- The income generated from encouraging eco-tourism and Ganga wildlife conservation and cruise tourism etc. would help to generate sustainable income streams for cleaning of Ganga.
WDO to launch World Design Protopolis in Bengaluru:
- The World Design Organization is all set to launch its new global programme World Design Protopolis in Bengaluru. It is aimed at implementing holistic progress in megacities across the world and thus making them sustainable.
- The project also aims to measure the progress of the city, attract investments and solve problems so that the city becomes a better place for citizens.
- The mega event, witnessed the convergence of policymakers and government officials, design professionals from India and abroad, architects, interior designers, heads of various companies, thought leaders, besides the general public.
Rashtrapati Bhavan hosted university heads’ conference:
- Rashtrapati Bhavan hosted a conference of 46 Heads of Central Universities and Institutes of Higher Learning in several fields including agriculture, pharmaceuticals, aviation, design, petroleum and energy.
- Each of these institutes will be instrumental to the realization of the country’s socio-economic goals.
- The Central Agricultural Universities can support the national goal of promoting sustainable agriculture, productivity and supporting farmers with useful research.
- During the conference, different sub-groups comprising of heads of various institutes made presentations on issues such as the promotion of research, promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship among students and building industry-academia linkages.
Amazon’s Audible Launches App “Audible Suno” In India:
- Amazon earlier this month launched a portable, battery powered smart speaker – Amazon Echo Input Portable – especially for Indian market. And now the company has launched a new app that, like the portable smart speaker has been launched exclusively for the Indian audience.
- Amazon-owned company, Audible, has launched the Audible Suno app on the Google Play Store and it offers audio content from nearly 60 content creators including celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Karan Johar, Tabu and Anurag Kashyap, both in Hindi and in English.
- On Apple’s App Store, these shows are available in the company’s existing Audible app.
Google Earth covers 98 percent of entire population:
- Search engine giant Google has revealed that it’s powerful mapping service, Google Earth now covers more than 98 per cent of the world, and has captured 10 million miles of Street View imagery, a distance that could circle the globe more than 400 times.
- Google Earth, the software that lets you browse the globe with 3D representation, right from the comfort of your couch, offers 6 million square miles of high definition satellite images, covering more than 98 per cent of the entire population.
Edelweiss AMC launches India’s 1st corporate bond ‘Bharat Bond ETF’:
- Edelweiss Asset Management Company (AMC), a subsidiary of Edelweiss Capital Limited (ECL) has launched India’s 1st Corporate Bond ETF (exchange trade fund) called the Bharat Bond ETF.
- The ETF is a government initiative and Edelweiss AMC was given the mandate to design and manage the product.
- Edelweiss aims to raise an initial amount of Rs 3,000 crore through this bond from institutional players with a greenshoe option of Rs 2,000 crore in the 3-year maturity period (2023) and Rs 4,000 crore with a greenshoe option of Rs 6,000 crore in the 10-year maturity bucket (2030).
- Small retail investors will have to invest at least Rs 1,000 in this fund.
- After this, there is a facility for multiple investments. Here they can invest up to 2 lakhs.
- At the same time, the minimum amount for anchor investors has been fixed at Rs 10 crore.
Former PM Abdelmadjid Tebboune elected as the President of Algeria:
- Abdelmadjid Tebboune, former Prime Minister (PM) of Algeria was elected as the President of Algeria succeeding Abdelkader Bensalah.
- He served as the PM from May 2017 to August 2017, under the governance of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Ben Stokes Wins Prestigious BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2019 Award:
- England all-rounder Ben Stokes has won the esteemed BBC sports personality of the year 2019 award for his role in the ICC World Cup 2019 and the home Ashes series. The 28-year-old is only the fifth cricketer, and the first after Andrew -Flintoff in 2005, to have collected this award.
- The honour, announced, is part of BBC’s annual sporting award, and commemorates the best of British sports, with the public voting on shortlisted prospect. England men’s ODI team was named team of the year for their World Cup victory, while the win itself was picked greatest sporting moment of 2019.
Toni-Ann Singh crowned Miss World 2019:
- Tony-Ann Singh of Jamaica was announced as the winner of the Miss World 2019 beauty pageant held at the ExCeL London.
- She was crowned by her predecessor Miss World 2018 Vanessa Ponce from Mexico.
- Ophelia Mezino of France and Suman Rao of India were the first and second runners up of the beauty pageant respectively.
- Miss World 2019 was the 69th edition of the contest and contestants from 120 countries competed for the title.
Bureau of Energy Efficiency organises 29th National Energy Conservation Awards:
- Bureau of Energy Efficiency has organised the “29th National Energy Conservation Awards” under the guidance of Ministry of Power, Government of India.
- India celebrates the National Energy Conservation Day every year on 14th December to recognise and celebrate the efforts towards energy conservation.
- The day highlights the importance of energy conservation in Country’s sustainable development approach.
- During the event, a Handbook for Implementation of Provisions of Energy Conservation Act 2001 was also released.
World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen Becomes No.1 Fantasy Premier League Player:
- Magnus Carlsen is a No. 1 player in both reality and fantasy.
- The world chess champion from Norway is showing he has a flair for another game by moving to the top of the standings in Fantasy Premier League, an online soccer competition played by more than 7 million people.
Viswanathan Anand launches his autobiography ‘Mind Master’:
- Viswanathan Anand has launched his autobiography ‘Mind Master’. Anand’s autobiography is co-authored by sports journalist Susan Ninann.
- It has been published by THG Publishing Private Limited. The book covers wonderful memories of Viswanathan Anand’s journey.
New Zealand three-times Olympic champion Peter Snell passes away:
- New Zealand’s 3-times Olympic middle-distance champion Peter Snell passed away.
- He was the last male athlete to have completed the 800m and 1500m double at an Olympic Games, which he achieved in Tokyo in 1964.
- He also won 2 gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in 1962 in the 880 yards and one mile run in Perth.