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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 6th December 2018 English

Awards

Sahitya Akademi awards announced
Seven books of poetry, six novels, six short stories, three of literary criticism and two of essays have won the Sahitya Akademi Awards, 2018.
Those who have won the award for their collection of poetry include Sananta Tanti in Assamese, Paresh Narendra Kamat in Konkani, S Ramesan Nair in Malayalam and Dr Rama Kant Shukla in Sanskrit.
Writers who won the awards for short stories include Sanjib Chattopadhyay in Bengali, Mushtaq Ahmed Mushtaq in Kashmiri and Prof Bina Thakur in Maithili.Inderjeet Kesar in Dogri, Anees Salim in English, Chitra Mudgal in Hindi are among the awardees in the novel category.
Akademi.An eminent short-story writer, Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq, bagged the Award for his collection of short stories “AAKH’’. 

National news


Mumbai startup first Indian private firm to have satellite in space
ExseedSAT 1 was launched into space by Space X along with 63 other satellites from 17 countries.
Exseed Space has become the first Indian privately-funded startup to successfully send a satellite into space.
About Exceed SAT 1
1.    Its an open radio transponder.
2.    Built by Santacruz based startup Exceed Space.
3.    People can receive signals at 145.90 Mhz with help of TV tuner .


Kandhamal Haldi likely to get GI tag
Famous for its healing properties, is a few steps away from receiving GI tag as the Geographical Indications Journal has advertised its application seeking objections.
About GI Tag
A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.


Government notifies dual fuel usage for agriculture, construction vehicles
The Ministry Road Transport & Highways has notified dual-fuel usage for agricultural and construction equipment vehicles. "These include tractors, power tillers, construction equipment vehicles and combine harvesters which have originally been manufactured as dual- fuel with diesel as primary fuel and CNG, Bio CNG as secondary, or have been converted as such from in-use diesel vehicles.

Sports news

Luka Modric wins Ballon d’Or 2018
Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric won Ballon d’Or 2018 in Paris
The last player to win the award outside of Ronaldo and Messi was Brazilian great Kaka in 2007.
Real Madrid midfielder Modric overtook former teammate Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann to win the award for the first time.
The 33-year old Croatian was awarded the FIFA’s World Cup 2018 MVP, UEFA’s Player of the Year 2018, Best FIFA Footballer of the Year and the number one player by International Federation of Football History and Statistics.

Environment news


India third largest contributor to carbon emission.
India, the third-highest contributor, is projected to see emissions rise by 6.3% from 2017. The 2.7% projected global rise in 2018 has been driven by appreciable growth in coal use for the second year in a row, and sustained growth in oil and gas use, according to the study that was published simultaneously Wednesday in several leading scientific journals.
The 10 biggest emitters in 2018 are China, U.S., India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Canada. The EU as a region of countries ranks third.

Economy news

Govt forms panel to look at selling of OIL, ONGC fields to private companies
The government has constituted a six-member committee to look at selling as many as 149 small and marginal oil and gas fields of state-owned ONGC and OIL to private and foreign companies to boost domestic output.
The panel is headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar.

International news


Patents granted by India up by 50% in 2017: UN
The number of patents granted by India shot up by 50 % in 2017.
Last year’s number was more than double the 6,022 patents granted in 2015, according to WIPO statistics. 
While India ranked 10th in the number of patents given last year, no Indian company or university figures in last year’s global list of the top 50 patent applicants.
About WIPO
The World Intellectual Property Organization is one of the 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations.
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
CEO: Francis Gurry

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Priyanka Chopra wins 2nd People's Choice Award

Priyanka Chopra on 18 January 2017 won the Favourite Dramatic TV Actress at the 43rd People’s Choice Award. 
●    She won the honour for her role in the American drama TV series Quantico.
●    This is the second People’s Choice Award for Chopra. 
●    She had won her first award in 2016 in the ‘Favourite Actress in a New TV series’ category for her role in Quantico.
●    The People's Choice Awards is an American awards show.
●    It recognizes the people and the work of popular culture, voted on by the general public.
●    It has been held annually since 1975.
●    The creator of the award show was Bob Stivers, who produced the first show in 1975.
 

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IIT Kharagpur alumnus Parag Havaldar wins Technical Oscar Award

IIT Kharagpur alumnus Parag Havaldar on 9 January 2017 won the prestigious Technical Achievement Award, popularly called the Technical Oscar which is awarded by the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences.
●    He was awarded for the development of expression-based facial performance-capture technology at Sony Pictures Imageworks.
●    He will be awarded a certificate from the Academy at Beverly Hills on 11 February 2017.
●    Parag Havaldar graduated from IIT-Kharagpur in 1991 with a degree in computer science and engineering. 
●    Presently, he is a software supervisor at Sony Pictures Imageworks leading the team in the area of performance capture. 
●    The technology developed by him and his team is being used to create stylized character animations.
 

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Shankar Balasubramanian received Knighthood

Shankar Balasubramanian, an Indian-origin British professor of chemistry and DNA expert at Cambridge University, has received a Knighthood along with Olympic stars Andy Murray and Mo Farah among others by Queen Elizabeth II for their contributions.
●    Prof. Balasubramanian (50), Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Cambridge University, has been recognised for his work as a co-inventor of Next Generation DNA sequencing, described as the most transformational advance in biology and medicine for decades.
●    Murray, Farah and British track and field athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill are among others honoured in the 2017 New Year Honours list, which also includes big names from the entertainment world, including actors Mark Rylance and Patricia Routledge.
●    Rio 2016 men’s tennis champion Murray and double gold- winning athlete Farah receive Knighthoods, while heptathlete Ennis-Hill becomes a Dame.

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Sahitya Akademi Award 2016 announced

Sahitya Akademi on 21 December 2016 announced the Sahitya Akademi Awards for the year 2016 in 24 languages. Eight books of poetry, seven books of short stories, five books of novel, two books of criticism, one book of essays and a book of play have won the prestigious awards for the year.
●    The awards were recommended by distinguished jury members representing 24 Indian languages and approved by the Executive Board of the Sahitya Akademi, under the Chairmanship of Dr. Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari, President of the Akademy.
●    The prestigious award will be presented to the winners at a special function to be held on 22 February 2017 in New Delhi. The Award includes a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, a shawl and a cheque of Rs. 100000.
●    
●    The Sahitya Akademi Award is a literary honour in India.
●    It is conferred annually on writers of the most outstanding books of literary merit published in any of the major Indian languages recognised by the Sahitya Akademi.
●    The Award was established in 1954.
●    Indian film-maker Satyajit Ray is designer of the plaque awarded by the Sahitya Akademi.
 

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Maneka Sanjay Gandhi gives away National Level Awards to 97 Anganwadi workers from across the country 

The Minister of Women & Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi gave away National Awards to Anganwadi workers for exceptional achievement for the year 2014-15 and 2015-16 in the presence of Minster of State for Women & Child Development, Smt Krishna Raj. The Awards were given away at a function in New Delhi today. A total of 97 Anganwadi workers (49 for the year 2014-15 and 48 for 2015-16) from different states/UTs were conferred National level awards for the above years. Representatives from various States/UTs and heads of various organizations under the Ministry were also present at the function.
●    Smt Maneka Gandhi exhorted the anganwadi wokers to ensure the following:
●    Spread awareness about BBBP for giving good nutrition & education to the girl child.
●    Ensure that every child & every parent has an AADHAR Card.
●    Give education about cashless payments especially in the villages.
●    Selection of Anganwadi workers for the National Level Awards has been done out of State level awardees and their performance has been judged on the basis of contribution to (i) Supplementary Nutrition; (ii) Child Care; (iii) Convergence with Health Department; (iv) Pre-School Education; (v) Nutrition and Health Education (NHED); (vi) Community Participation; (vii) Cleanliness & Hygiene; and (viii) Innovations.
●    The Award comprises of Rs.25,000/- cash and a citation. National level Awards to AWWs for the year 2011-12, 2012-13 & 2013-14 were given to 118 awardees during a function held last year at New Delhi. Thus, awards pertaining to the last five years have been given.

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Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad Presents Digital India Awards 2016 

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Minister for Communications and Information Technology and Law and Justice presented ‘’Digital India Awards’’ to the distinguished winners here yesterday. The Government of India has initiated the ambitious programme of “Digital India” on its axiom of “Minimum Government and Maximum Governance”. To facilitate Government of India’s effort to promote and uphold the use of World Wide Web for enhancing efficiency and transparency of Government Machinery and encouraging its speedy transition towards Digital India. 
●    For Most Innovative Citizen Engagement, MyGov won the Platinum Award. Online Management, Monitoring and Accounting System (OMMAS) for Pradhan Mantri Gram SadakYojana (PMGSY) won the Gold Award. The Silver Award was won by Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation. The Jury Choice was given to IT Initiatives of SimhasthKumbh, Ujjain. 
●    In the Outstanding Digital Initiative by Local Body Platinum Award was bagged by Surat Municipal Corporation, followed by Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation and Web and Mobile based Integrated Complaint Logging and Resolution Tracking System - Madurai Corporation winning the Gold and Silver award respectively. 
●    The Jury Choice was given e-NagarSewaUP – Electronic Workflow based Reform for ULBs in Uttar Pradesh. 
●    For Best Mobile App, Citizen Cop Mobile App Chattisgarh won the Platinum Award. Mid-Day Meal Mobile App, Himachal Pradesh won the Gold Award. The Silver Award was won by GARV - GrameenVidyutikaran App Ministry of Power. 
●    For Web Ratna - Ministry / Department category, the Platinum was bagged by Ministry of Human Resource Development, Gold by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Silver by Ministry of External Affairs. 
●    For Web Ratna - State/ UT category the Platinum award has been won by Rajasthan followed by Tamil Nadu and Haryana in the Gold and Silver section respectively. For Web Ratna - District category the Platinum award has been won by Website of Collectorate, North Goa, followed by e-Governance friendly website & Initiatives of District Kupwara, J&K and district administration Udham Singh Nagar website, Uttarakhand in the Gold and Silver section respectively. 

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Shah Rukh Khan chosen for Yash Chopra Memorial Award

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan featured in some of the biggest hits helmed by filmmaker Yash Chopra.
●    Now he has been selected for an award instituted in the memory of late Bollywood legend.
●    The 'Badshah of Bollywood" will receive the fourth National Yash Chopra Memorial Award.
●    The award jury, comprising Chopra's wife Pamela, filmmaker Boney Kapoor, Simi Garewal, Padmini Kohlapuri, Subbarami Reddy, Any and Shashi Ranjan, announced.
●    The award - whose previous recipients were Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchanand Rekha - will be presented on February 25.
●    Pamela said the two biggest reasons why the 51-year- old actor was chosen are that he was extremely close to Chopra - he did four films with Shah Rukh, which were all big hits - and also because of the iconic status that SRK enjoys.
 

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National Commission for Protection of Child Rights gets SKOCH Awards for POCSO e-Box 

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) of Ministry of Women and Child Development has been conferred the Skoch Silver and Skoch Order-of Merit award. The award was received by NCPCR Chairperson Smt. Stuti Kacker from Sh. Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Electronics & IT at an event attended by representatives of Technology Companies, Govt. Departments, Public Sector Undertaking, Research Organisations in New Delhi last week. 
●    The two awards were received by NCPCR for applying technology to develop an electronic drop box, POCSO e-Box for registering complaints on Child Sexual Abuse. Speaking on the occasion, Smt. Kacker said that everybody should stand up against Child Sexual Abuse, a heinous crime that leaves permanent scars on the psyche of the child.
●    The competition saw more than 3000 participants and NCPCR’s project, POCSO e-box was considered among the top 30 entries.
●    POCSO e-box is a unique endeavour by NCPCR for receiving online complaint of Child Sexual Abuse directly from the victim. The system maintains confidentiality of the victim/ complainant. Through a well defined procedure complaints are directly followed up by a team which counsels the victim, providing further guidance for required legal action. 
●    Through a short animation film embedded in the e-box it assures the victim not to feel bad, helpless or confused as it’s not her fault. With the e-box, it is easy to register complaint through a step-by-step guided process.
●    According to a study, conducted by Ministry of Women & Child Development during 2007, about 53% of children surveyed, reported having faced one or the other form of sexual abuse in their lifetime.  It has been found that in most cases, the offender is a family member/near relative or an acquaintance.  The child victim in such cases generally does not report such incidences. 
 

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