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Important Current Affairs 8th December 2018

National News

State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART) Project
Over 49 companies including the Tata Group, Amazon, ITC, and Patanjali, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government’s ‘State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART)’ project, assisted by World Bank, to revamp the agricultural value chain and improve the price realisation for the farmer.
Project SMART entails an investment of Rs. 2,000 crore, of which World Bank contributed Rs. 1,500 crore while the State government contributed Rs. 430 crore. The balance Rs. 70 crore was raised by Village Social Transformation Foundation (VSTF) through its partners.
Significance
•    The project is giant step towards transformation of rural economy and empowerment of farmers and also sustainable agriculture through public-private partnership (PPP) model. 
•    It seeks to ensure higher production of crops and create robust market mechanism to enable farmers to reap higher remunerations for the yield. 

Appointments


It unites agriculture-oriented corporates and farmers by providing them common platform.
Ex-Diplomat Elected To UN's Socio-Economic, Cultural Panel 
Former senior Indian diplomat Preeti Saran has been elected unopposed to an Asia Pacific seat on the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) of the UN. Ms Saran will begin her four-year term on January 1, after another former Indian diplomat, Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, completes his third term on the CESCR at the end of this year.
About Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR):
•    The CESCR was set up in 1985 by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.
•    It was constituted with an aim to monitor on its behalf the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR), which has been ratified by 169 countries.
•    The countries that are parties to the covenant are required to submit reports to the CESCR every five years on how they protect the economic, social and cultural rights.

Science and Technology


China Launches 1st Mission to Land on the Far Side of the Moon
China has launched the first mission to land a robotic craft on the far side of the Moon. The Chang'e-4 mission will see a static lander and rover touch down in Von Kármán crater, located on the side of the Moon which never faces Earth. The payload blasted off atop a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The mission will pave the way for the country to deliver samples of Moon rock and soil to Earth.
Von Kármán crater is of interest to scientists because it is located within the oldest and largest impact feature on the Moon - the South Pole-Aitken Basin. This was probably formed by a giant asteroid impact billions of years ago.The landers will characterise the region's geology and the composition of rock and soil.
The mission is part of a larger Chinese programme of lunar exploration. The first and second Chang'e missions were designed to gather data from orbit, while the third and fourth were built for surface operations.

International News

UN launches new framework to strengthen fight against terrorism
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has launched a new framework to combat the scourge of international terrorism and coordinate efforts across the peace and security, humanitarian, human rights and sustainable development sectors. 
Termed the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact, the framework is an agreement between the UN chief, 36 organizational entities, the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the World Customs Organisation, to better serve the needs of Member States when it comes to tackling the scourge of international terrorism.

2023 is international year of millets: FAO 
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has decided to observe 2023 as the International Year of Millets, upon the request from the Indian government. 
This decision was taken at the 160th session of FAO Council, currently underway in Rome, which also approved India’s membership to the Executive Board of the World Food Program (WFP) for 2020 and 2021, it said.

Awards

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy conferred Skoch Award for National Significance

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India has been conferred the Skoch Award for National Significance at an event held recently in New Delhi. The award was received by Secretary, Ministry of New Renewable Energy Shri 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 per cent 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 ranks 4 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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Important Current Affairs 5th December 2018

National News

Union Environment Minister at inauguration of Indian Pavillion at COP-24.
Union Environment Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan at the inauguration of Indian Pavilion at the 24th meeting of Conference of Parties (COP-24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is being held at Katowice, Poland.

This  year  the  theme  of  India  Pavilion  is  ‘One  World  One  Sun One  Grid’  as  highlighted  by  our  Hon’ble  Prime  Minister  Shri Narendra Modi during first assembly of the International Solar Alliance  on  October  2018.  The Hon’ble Prime Minister has set an   ambitious   target   that   40   per   cent   of   its   installed   power capacity will be from non-fossil fuels by 2030.

PM extends greetings on Navy Day
The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has greeted Indian Navy personnel and their families on Navy Day (4th Dec).
Navy Day in India is observed on 4 December every year to celebrate the achievements and role of the naval force to the country. The Indian Navy is the marine branch of the Indian Armed Forces and is led by the President of India as Commander-in-Chief. 
The official history book of the IN for the decade 2001-2010, titled, 'Blue Waters Ahoy!  The Indian Navy 2001- 2010' was launched by the Chief of the Naval Staff  in presence of the Hon'ble President of India at Navy House on 04 December 2018.

80th Session of Policy Commission of World Customs Organization

The 80th Session of the Policy Commission of the World Customs Organization (WCO) meeting is being organized by the WCO and hosted by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), India in Mumbai during December 3 - 5, 2018.
Some of the important topics to be discussed during the meeting include trade facilitation, controlling illicit financial flow, performance measurement, challenges of small island economies, etc.

India Water Impact Summit-2018 to be held from 5th December

Jointly organized by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga) from 5-7 December 2018 in New Delhi.
To discuss, debate and develop model solutions for some of the biggest water related problems in the country. The discussions this year will be on rejuvenation of the Ganga River Basin.
The Summit will focus on three key aspects:
Spotlight on 5 states: Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi and Bihar. The objective is to showcase the efforts and works going on within the respective states.
Ganga Financing Forum: The 2018 Summit also introduces the inaugural Ganga Financing Forum that will bring a number of institutions to a common knowledge, information and partnership platform. The Hybrid Annuity Model has redefined the economic landscape of water and waste-water treatment in India. 

Space News

5.8 –tonne GSAT- 11 Ready for launch. 
A team of top officials and engineers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (IISRO), now stationed in the Guiana Space Centre, South America, is going over the last steps before it sees off the heaviest Indian communication satellite, GSAT-11, to its space orbit. The liftoff is slated for the wee hours of Wednesday, December 5, India time
GSAT-11 is part of ISRO’s new family of high-throughput communication satellite (HTS) fleet that will drive the country's Internet broadband from space to untouched areas; the broadband domain is now ruled by underground fibre and covers partial and convenient locations.

Appointment

Shri A. N. Jha appointed as Finance Secretary 
The  Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved designating Shri A. N. Jha, IAS , Secretary, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance as Finance Secretary.

(International News)

Qatar to quit OPEC
Qatar's Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi said the country would withdraw from OPEC on January 1, 2019, ending a membership which has stood for more than half-a-century.
It is one of the world's largest producers of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Since June 2017, OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia — along with three other Arab states — has cut trade and transport ties with Qatar, accusing the country of supporting terrorism and their regional rival, Iran. Qatar denies the claims, saying the boycott hampers its national sovereignty.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC,) is an intergovernmental organisation of 15 nations, founded in 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela), and headquartered since 1965 in Vienna, Austria.

(Sports News)


Gautam Gambhir Retires From All Forms of Cricket
Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir has announced his retirement from cricket on Tuesday.
The Ranji Trophy game between Delhi and Andhra starting Thursday at the Feroz Shah Kotla will be his last game.
He made his debut in 2003 and last played for India in a Test against England in Rajkot in 2016. He retires with nine Test centuries and 11 ODI centuries to his name.
He is the fourth highest run-scorer in IPL with 4217 runs from 154 matches, and also led Kolkata Knight Riders to the title twice.

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Chandrasekaran Appointed Tata Motors Chairman

Tata Motors has appointed Tata group chief designate N. Chandrasekaran as its chairman with immediate effect.
●    In a regulatory filing, the company said “the Board of Directors have today appointed Natarajan Chandrasekaran as additional director and Chairman of the board with immediate effect.”
●    The appointment comes within a week of Tata Sons announcing Mr. Chandrasekaran as its executive chairman.
●    Popularly known as ‘Chandra’, the 54-year-old will take charge of Tata Sons, the main holding company of the salt-to-software conglomerate from February 21.
●    At Tata Motors, he will have to take the responsibility of turning around the struggling homegrown auto major which is trying to regain lost ground, specially in the passenger vehicles segment. 

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TCS CEO N Chandrasekaran appointed Tata Sons chairman

Tata Sons on 12 January 2017 appointed Natarajan Chandrasekaran as its Executive Chairman. With this appointment, Chandrasekaran becomes the first non-Parsi person to head Tata group. 
●    He will take charge of the company on 21 February 2017.
●    The Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Chandrasekaran, will succeed Cyrus Mistry, who was removed as group Chairman of Tata Sons in October 2016. In absence of Cyrus Mistry, Ratan Tata was looking after the company as the interim chairman.
●    The 53-year-old old businessman is only the third non-Tata after Nowroji Saklatwala and Cyrus Mistry to be named as Tata Sons chairman.
●    The decision to appoint Chandrasekaran was as per the unanimous recommendation of the Selection Committee and was finalised at the company’s board meeting in Mumbai.
●    An official release from the company read, “This is as per the unanimous recommendation of the Selection Committee. Chandrasekaran shall take charge from February 21, 2017”.
●    The Board of Directors of Tata Sons believes that Chandrasekaran will inspire the entire Tata group worth of the 103-billion US dollar.

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Lieutenant General Sarath Chand Takes over as Vice Chief of Army Staff 

Lieutenant General Sarath Chand took over as Vice Chief of Army Staff and paid homage at Amar Jawan Jyoti, today. Before taking over as Vice Chief of Army Staff, the General officer was commanding South Western Command. 
●    The General Officer was commissioned into the Garhwal Rifles in June 1979. During career spanning over 38 years, he has served in all operational theatres and has participated in many active combat leadership roles at every stage of command. 
●    The early operational service of the General includes the command of Company in the Kargil Sector of Ladakh and in active operations during Operation PAWAN as part of the IPKF in Sri Lanka. He commanded battalion in Operation RHINO and Operation FALCON, an Infantry Brigade in the deserts and a Counter Insurgency Force deployed in the Kashmir Valley and thereafter commanded a strategically important 4 Corps. 
●    He has also held a number of important staff as well as instructional appointments during his career. The General Officer has served at the United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNOSOM-II). 
●    The General Officer in his capacity as Vice Chief will head the General Staff Branch at the Army Headquarters and will provide crucial support to the Army Chief in discharge of his duties. 

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TCS CEO N Chandrasekaran appointed Tata Sons chairman

Tata Sons on 12 January 2017 appointed Natarajan Chandrasekaran as its Executive Chairman. With this appointment, Chandrasekaran becomes the first non-Parsi person to head Tata group. 
●    He will take charge of the company on 21 February 2017.
●    The Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Chandrasekaran, will succeed Cyrus Mistry, who was removed as group Chairman of Tata Sons in October 2016. In absence of Cyrus Mistry, Ratan Tata was looking after the company as the interim chairman.
●    The 53-year-old old businessman is only the third non-Tata after Nowroji Saklatwala and Cyrus Mistry to be named as Tata Sons chairman.
●    The decision to appoint Chandrasekaran was as per the unanimous recommendation of the Selection Committee and was finalised at the company’s board meeting in Mumbai.
●    An official release from the company read, “This is as per the unanimous recommendation of the Selection Committee. Chandrasekaran shall take charge from February 21, 2017”.
●    The Board of Directors of Tata Sons believes that Chandrasekaran will inspire the entire Tata group worth of the 103-billion US dollar.


 

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Air Marshal Sanjay Sharma takes over as Air Officer-in-Charge Maintenance at Air Headquarters 

Air Marshal Sanjay Sharma assumed the responsibilities of Air Officer-in-Charge Maintenance at Air Headquarters, New Delhi on 01 January 2017.
●    The Air Marshal was commissioned in the Aeronautical Engineering (Electronics) branch of IAF on 12 July 1979. He is a graduate in Electronics Engineering from University of Indore and post graduate in Computer Science and Data Processing from IIT Kharagpur. He is also an alumnus of the prestigious National Defence College. He has rich and varied experience in the fields of High Power Radars, Real Time Data Processing Systems, Automation of Command & Control Systems and Communication & Information Technology.
●    Prior to assuming the present appointment,  the Air Officer had held various important staff and field appointments, notably, Chief Technical Officer of THD 1955 Radar Stations, Senior Project Engineer (Radar) at erstwhile RCPO, Director IACCS (Tech Planning), Director Signals (Air), Principal Director of IACCS, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Signals & IT) at Air HQ, Deputy Senior Maintenance Staff Officer at  HQ Maintenance Command, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Maintenance and Planning) and Director General (Aircraft) at Air HQ.  
●    He has also commanded a major Communication Hub Centre and was deputed to Government of Botswana for three years to oversee installation & commissioning of Radar Automation System of Botswana Defence Forces besides setting up the Technical Training Wing for their Air Defence Operations Centre.
●    For his distinguished service, Air Marshal has been commended twice by Chief of Air Staff on 08 October 1998 and on 26 January 2007.

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Prof. David R. Syiemlieh to perform duties of Chairman, UPSC 

The President has appointed Prof. David R. Syiemlieh, Member, Union Public Service Commission, to perform the duties of the post of Chairman, Union Public Service Commission, with effect from the forenoon of January 4, 2017 till further orders or till completion of his term as member on 21.01.2018, whichever is earlier.
He studied in Dr Graham's Homes, Kalimpong (1958–1970) and graduated with history honours from St.Edmund's College, Shillong. 
This was followed with a master's degree in History (1976), MPhil(1980) and PhD (1985) from the North Eastern Hill University, Shillong. 
He taught undergraduates in St. Edmund's College (1977–1979) before joining the Department of History, NEHU, in 1979. 
He rose in the profession to become Professor in the Department of History. 

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Preeti Sudan assumes charge as Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution 

Ms. Preeti Sudan, IAS (Andhra Pradesh: 1983) today assumed charge as Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on superannuation of Ms. Vrinda Sarup (IAS). 
●    Prior to her appointment, Ms. Preeti Sudan has served in various capacities in the Union Ministries/Departments including Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Defence.
●    During a career span of more than 33 years Ms. Sudan has served in various capacities in his cadre state of Andhra Pradesh. 
●    She served in various department including Revenue Department, Disaster Management Department, Health and Family Welfare, Finance, Seeds/Agriculture Corporation.
●    Ms. Preeti Sudan has done M.Phil. in Economics. Ms. Sudan is proficient in Hindi, English, Punjabi and Telugu.

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Air Marshal SB Deo takes over as Vice Chief of the Air Staff of Indian Air Force 

Air Marshal SB Deo PVSM AVSM VM VSM ADC paid homage at Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate this morning before taking over as Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS) at Air HQ, today. On his arrival at the Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhawan), the Air Marshal was accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour.
●    Air Marshal SB Deo was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the IAF on 15 Jun 79. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. He is a FCL (Fighter Combat Leader) and a “Cat A” Qualified Flying Instructor with over 3800 hours of operational and training flying. He was also Directing Staff at TACDE.
●    Air Marshal SB Deo has been AOC of a major fighter base. He commanded a Mig-21 BISON Squadron and a Signal Unit besides being the Chief Ops Officer of a forward base. As Station Commander of the Signal Unit he was actively involved in the induction of modern assets and sensors in the IAF. 
●    Prior to taking over as VCAS, he was the AOC-in-C of Western Air Command (WAC), AOC-in-C, Eastern Air Command (EAC), DG Air (Ops), AOC COBRA Group, AD Commander & Air I at HQ CAC and has held various staff appointments and worked in Ops/Plans Directorates at Air HQ (VB).
●    In recognition of his meritorious service and exceptional professionalism, he was awarded Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vayu Sena Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal and ADC by the President of India.
●    He is married to Mrs Anjana Deo, they have a son who is a fighter pilot in the IAF. Air Marshal Deo is an avid reader and interested in creative writing and technology.

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