National - 2018 DECEMBER

December 1

Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates the 13th edition of CII Agro Tech India – 2018
The President Shri Ram Nath Kovind has inaugurated the 13 edition of CII Agro Tech India - 2018 in Chandigarh.
A total of 195 exhibitors (including 37 foreign exhibitors from 8 countries) will participate in the expo.
The expo is one of the biggest in fluences of stakeholders from agriculture and allied sectors.
The UK is a partner country at the CII Agrotech this year.

Nitin Gadkari inaugurates the second edition of Khasdar Mahotsav in Nagpur
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has inaugurated the second edition of Khasdar Mahotsav at the Ishwar Deshmukh College of Physical Education in Nagpur.
According to Mr. Gadkari, It is an attempt to provide our next generation with better infrastructure like roads, homes, education, skill development and make them aware of our rich cultural heritage.

NGT slaps Rs 5 crore fine on West Bengal government for failing to curb air pollution
The National Green Tribunal imposed a fine of Rs. 5 crore on West Bengal government to be deposited with Central Pollution Control Board, which fails to comply with the 2 years old directive to improve the air quality in Kolkata and Howrah.
Kolkata and Howrah comes under one of the most polluted cities of the country, so In 2016 NGT recommended several measures to control pollution but West Bengal fails to comply with those direction.

December 2

Cyril Ramaphosa to be the Chief Guest at Republic Day celebrations 2019
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will be the Chief Guest at the 2019 Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.
Ramaphosa's visit will further cement business and people to people ties between India and South Africa.
Since 1950, India has been hosting head of state or government of another country as the state guest of honour for Republic Day (26 January) celebrations in New Delhi.

FSSAI launches heart attack rewind campaign
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched media campaign “Heart Attack Rewind” for the elimination of industrially produced trans-fat in the food supply.
It is in line with FSSAI’s objective to get Freedom from 'Trans Fat: India@75'.
Globally, trans-fat intake leads to more than 500,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease every year.
Trans-fat is made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid and to increase the shelf life of foods.

Government puts imports of gold dore in restricted category
Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under Ministry of Commerce and Industry has put imports of gold dore in restricted category.
This means, now, importer needs a license to import this commodity.
It is semi-pure alloy of gold and silver which is refined for further purification. Proportions of silver and gold can vary widely.
It usually created at site of a mine and then transported to refinery for further purification. Refined gold bars are manufactured from gold dore bar.
India imports about 900 tonnes of gold year making it world’s second-biggest gold consumer after China.

December 3

India’s 1st Engine-Less 'Train 18' Breaches 180 kmph Speed Limit
India’s first locomotive-less train, known as Train 18, has breached the 180 kilometers per hour speed limit during a test run at Kota-Sawai Madhopur section in Rajasthan.
When this indigenously designed train is made operational, it will become the country’s fastest train.
Train 18 is capable of touching 200 kilometers per hour provided the rest of the Indian Railways’ system, such as tracks and signals, permit.
With 16 coaches, the train will have the same passenger carrying capacity as that of the Shatabdi Express.
Train 18 will commence its commercial run from January 2019.

India, China inked protocol on hygiene & inspection requirements for exports
A protocol on hygiene and inspection requirements for the exports was signed in New Delhi.
The Protocol was made During the visit of Chinese Vice Minister, General Administration of Customs of China Hu Wei who is leading a six-member delegation to India.
The move would enable India to commence export of fish meal and fish oil to China.The neighbouring country has so far not allowed these exports by India.
China imports fish oil to the tune of USD 143.29 million per year and fish meal worth USD 263.43 million.

The government has constituted a 6-member committee to oversee the sale of 149 oil and gas fields
The government has constituted a 6-member committee to oversee the sale of 149 oil and gas fields of state-owned ONGC, Oil India and other explorers.
Head of this Committee: Rajiv Kumar (NITI Aayog Vice Chairman)
Members: P.K. Sinha (Cabinet Secretary), Subhash Chandra Garg (Economic Affairs Secretary)

December 4

NGT instructed Delhi government to pay a fine of Rs. 25 crore
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) instructed the Delhi government to deposit an environmental compensation of Rs. 25 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for failing to curb air pollution in the Capital.
A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel announced in case the State government failed to comply with the orders, a sum of Rs.10 crore per month will be levied.
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority had advised a ban on all the private vehicles that run without compressed natural gas (CNG) in Delhi.

December 5

PM To Inaugurate India’s Longest Rail-Road Bridge: Bogibeel Bridge
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Bogibeel Bridge. It is India’s longest rail-road bridge, connecting the north and south banks of the Brahmaputra, falling in the eastern part of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The bridge is 4.94 km long. While former prime minister HD Deve Gowda laid the foundation stone for the Bogibeel bridge in January 1997, the work started only in April 2002 when former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee inaugurated the construction.

Delhi government launched ‘One’ card for ease of commute on metro, buses
Delhi government announced the launch of a common mobility card called ‘One’, with a tagline of ‘One Delhi One Ride’, for easy commute on public transport.
It was launched by Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) managing director Mangu Singh.
This would enable access to Metro and bus services with a single card at a 10% discount.
Further provision of coverage of auto-rickshaws, taxis, RTVs and other modes of transport would be inducted under this card.

December 6

Centre included Gangotri, Yamunotri in Uttarakhand, Amarkantak in MP and Parasnath in Jharkhand under PRASAD Scheme: Tourism Ministry
The central government announced inclusion of Gangotri and Yamunotri in Uttrarakhand, Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh and Parasnath in Jharkhand under the scheme Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASAD).
With this, the number of pilgrimage sites under the scheme increased to 41 sites in 25 states.
The scheme aimed at the following:
Infrastructure development (road, rail and water transport)
Last mile connectivity
Basic tourism facilities like Information/ Interpretation Centers, ATM/ money exchange, eco-friendly modes of transport among others.

December 7

International Film Festival of Kerala begins at Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has inaugurated the 23rd International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) 2018 at Thiruvananthapuram.
190 films from 65 countries will be shown in IFFK 2018.
The objectives of the Academy include being a link between the Government and the film industry.
The event is hosted by Kerala State Chalachitra Academy.

Arvind Kejriwal launches free piligrimage scheme for senior citizens
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched the 'Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana' which offers free travel packages for senior citizens from Delhi to five religious circuits.
1,100 senior citizens from every constituency of Delhi will be able to avail this facility at one go.
Under this free pilgrimage scheme, a Delhi resident above 60 years will be eligible to take free pilgrimage along with his or her spouse.
The applicant can also take along an attendant above the age of 20 years if the applicant or his spouse is above 70 years.

Government Sanctions 254 Projects Under National Mission for Clean Ganga
The government has sanctioned 254 projects worth over 24 thousand crore rupees under National Mission for Clean Ganga.
As per Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari, around five thousand crore rupees have been spent in the last four years under it.
The Announcement was made at the India Water Impact Summit 2018 in New Delhi.
Mr. Gadkari informed that his Ministry has taken up construction of 197 ghats in five states, including Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Ravi Shankar Prasad launches National Challenge ‘Ideate for India – creative solutions using technology'
The Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad has launched National Challenge 'Ideate for India - creative solutions using technology' for school students in New Delhi.
It is a collaboration between National e-governance Division & Intel India, supported by the Department of School Education and Literacy of the Ministry of Human Resources Development.
The challenge will help empower the youth to become the next generation of innovators and technology creators.Over 10 lakh students will participate in the challenge.
The Challenge will focus on the rural youth and it aims at conversion of dreams of children into idea leading to the development of working solutions.

December 8

Union Minister Gehlot Inaugurates Website of Media School ASME
On the 62nd death anniversary of BR Ambedkar, Social Justice and Empowerment minister ThaawarchandGehlot launched the website of a first-of-its-kind media school.
The School named Dr. BhimRaoRamjiAmbedkar School of Media Empowerment (ASME), to train Dalit and tribal youth in journalism.
The media school, ASME supported by the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), will have its branches in Pune, Assam, Uttarakhand, and other regions. The Pune branch will begin shortly.

Cabinet Approves Agriculture Export Policy
The Union cabinet approved an export policy for agriculture, lifting all restrictions on organic and processed food, to help the government’s efforts to double farmers’ income by 2022.
The ‘Agriculture Export Policy, 2018’ seeks to double farm exports to $60 billion by 2022 from $30 billion currently.
The policy will invest 1,400 crore to set up specialized clusters in different states for different produce to push exports.

Ministry of Shipping approves the development of freight village in Varanasi
Ministry of Shipping has approved the development of a freight village in Varanasi adjoining the Inland Waterways Terminal on River Ganga.
It will be developed at a cost 156 crore rupees, serve as a cargo hub and a centre for aggregation.
It will also provide support to stimulate the development of a professional logistics industry in Varanasi.
The freight village is proposed to be developed over a land area of about 100 acres.

Cabinet Approvals
Cabinet approved Amendment of the JallianwalaBagh National Memorial Act, 1951
Cabinet approved implementation of Shahpurkandi Dam (National Project) on river Ravi in Punjab with central assistance of Rs. 485.38 crore
Cabinet approved National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems, worth Rs. 3660 crores, for 5 years
Cabinet approved sale of the Government’s existing 52.63% of total equity shareholding in Rural Electrification Corporation to Power Finance Corporation along with transfer of management control.

Cabinet Approvals with Foreign Countries
Cabinet approved MoC between India and Japan in the field of Environmental Cooperation
Cabinet approved MoC between India and Japan for Cooperation in the Postal field
Cabinet approved Memorandum of Cooperation between India and Japan in the field of Healthcare and Wellness
Cabinet approved revised Model MoU between India and foreign Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) for exchange of information
Cabinet approved MoU between India and the USA concerning Scientific and Technical Cooperation in the Earth Sciences
Cabinet approved MoU between India and France in the field of energy efficiency/ energy conservation
Cabinet approved MoU between India and Tajikistan on Cooperation on Peaceful uses of Space Technology for Development
Cabinet approved MoU between India and Russia on Joint Activities under Human Spaceflight Programme

December 9

Cabinet Approvals with Foreign Countries
Cabinet approved MoU between India and Zimbabwe for cooperation in the field of geology, mining and mineral resources
Cabinet approved Agreement between India and Uzbekistan on Cooperation in the exploration and uses of Outer Space for peaceful purposes
Cabinet approved MoU between India and Morocco for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
Cabinet approved Agreement between India and Algeria on Cooperation in the field of Space Sciences, Technologies and Applications
Cabinet approved MoU between India and Armenia on joint issue of postage stamp

Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) Agricultural Technology Information Centre (ATIC) in New Delhi
ShriRadha Mohan Singh laid Foundation stone of PUSA ‘KisanHaat’ in ICAR’s Agriculture Technology Information Centre (ATIC).
An international Hostel is being constructed in PUSA, ICAR New Delhi.
Pusa Kisan Haat will also have 'Technology Park' in which farmers can see Live crop technologies of Pusa.
It will also have facility for agricultural consultation services, seeds and literature for farmers.

SC approved Centre’s draft of India’s First Witness Protection Scheme 2018
The Supreme Court bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and S. Abdul Nazeer approved the draft of India’s First Witness Protection Scheme 2018 to ensure security to the witness.
This Scheme was drafted by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The draft witness protection scheme, finalised in consultation with the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD).

Centre approves Coordination Centre to tackle smuggling
The Central Government has approved Anti-Smuggling National Coordination Centre (SCord) under the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to tackle Smuggling.
Scord will help India to formulate a national anti-smuggling policy to tackle Smuggling on real time basis.
Border Agencies BSF, Assam Rifles, ITBP, SSB and Coast Guards would be member of SCord and all organization be coordinate with each other on real time basis.

December 10

India inks pact with Iran to pay crude bill in rupee
The MoU was signed following the US letting India and seven other nations to keep buying Iranian oil despite sanctions were reimposed on the Islamic state.
India, the world’s third biggest oil consumer, meets more than 80% of its oil needs through imports. Iran is its third largest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Iran Capital - Tehran, Currency - Iranian Rial

Health Ministry notifies four more devices under Drugs and Cosmetics Act
The Union Government has notified commonly used medical devices nebulizers, blood pressure monitors, digital thermometers and glucometers as drugs (under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act).
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) will regulate the import, manufacture and sale of these devices from January 2020.
DCGI is the Country’s highest drug advisory body.
Now, 27 medical devices (earlier-23) fall under the dentition of drugs under the Act.
Cabinet approves launch of National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems
It will be implemented by Department of Science & Technology under Ministry of Science and Technology for period of five years.
The objective of Mission is to addresses ever increasing technological requirements of the society. It also takes into account international trends and road maps of leading countries for next generation technologies.

December 11

EU's centre of excellence opens at Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE)
India’s first Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence established by the European Union was inaugurated at the Department of European Studies (DES) at Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Manipal by Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to India and Bhutan, Tomasz Kozlowski.
The award comes with a grant of €1,00,000 to pursue India-EU interdisciplinary studies in culture, literature, education and society.
10 Largest Countries In Europe: Russia, Ukraine, France, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Norway

SC bars media from revealing identities of victims of rape, sexual assault
The Supreme Court directed that names and identities of victims of rape and sexual assault should not be disclosed or revealed.
The bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur directed the print and electronic media not to reveal the identity of victims of rape and sexual assault even in a remote manner.
The apex court directed FIRs in cases of rape and sexual assault, including those against minors, should not be put in public domain by police.
The top court ruled this while announcing that it is unfortunate that rape victims are treated as untouchables in society.

December 12

PM Narendra Modi Inaugurated the 4th Partners’ Forum in New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the fourth Partners’ Forum in New Delhi. The objective of the conference is to improve knowledge, alignment and accountability to accelerate action on women’s, children’s and adolescents health.
Ministry of Health in association with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, PMNCH is hosting the two-day international conference. 
About New Delhi:
CM: Arvind Kejriwal
Governor: Anil Baijal
National Parks: National Zoological park

Home Ministry Launched Twitter Account named as '@CyberDost'
Home Ministry has launched a Twitter account named '@CyberDost' to spread awareness about cybercrimes and normal precautions to be taken. 
The Twitter handles is aimed at enhancing people’s basic knowledge about cybercrimes and precautions to be taken for prevention.
This twitter handle will educate people about various channels through which complaints about cyber-crimes can be filed and makes people aware of their duties regarding misuse of cyber space by some people in the country.
Rajnath Singh is the Home Minister of India.

Government of India contribution to NPS raised to 14%, withdrawal made tax
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the rise in contribution of the government in National Pension Scheme (NPS) to 14% from existing 10%, burdening the government by Rs. 2,840 core for 2019-20.
The change in contribution was recommended by Committee of Secretaries (CoS), thus resulting in a total corpus of 24% from the previous 20%.
Out of the 24%, 14% would be contributed by the government and the remaining 10% by the employees.
He also made entire withdrawal amount tax free at the time of retirement by enhancing the tax exemption limit for lump sum withdrawal on exit to 60%.

December 13

Delhi high court banned online medical sales across country
The Delhi High Court ordered a ban on the sale of online medicines by e-pharmacists across the country.
The court directed both Central and state government to ensure immediate implementation of the order.
The HC bench comprising Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V.K. Rao passed the judgment while hearing a PIL filed by Delhi-based dermatologist Zaheer Ahmed who complained that lakhs of medicines were being sold on the internet every day without much regulation, posing a huge risk to patients and doctors alike.
About New Delhi:
CM: Arvind Kejriwal
Governor: Anil Baijal
National Parks: National Zoological park

First ever Agriculture Export Policy 2018 launched by Commerce Ministry
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry released the Year End review of the policies to envision the creation of a ‘Vision of New India’ which would propel the India to become a USD 5 trillion economy before 2025.
The policy a corpus of USD 1 billion has been created to boost 12 champion sectors in services.
It would boost India’s agricultural exports to USD 60 billion by 2022 and to achieve Agriculture Ministry’s target of USD 100 billion.
The recommendations in the Agriculture Export Policy have been organized in two categories – Strategic and Operational.
Ministry of commerce:
Union Minister: Suresh Prabhu.
Minister of State: C.R. Chaudhary.

Prakash Javadekar to inaugurate Kala Utsav National Competition at New Delhi
Union Minister of HRD, Prakash Javadekar will inaugurate ‘Kala Utsav’ (Festival of Arts) at Bal Bhavan, New Delhi
Kala Utsav is an initiative of the Department of School Education and Literacy of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Kala Utsav National Competition was launched in 2015 with a view to promote arts in education by nurturing and show casing the artistic talents of school students, children with special needs too will have the opportunity to display their talents.

December 14

National Medical Devices Promotion Council to be set up under DIPP
To give a fillip to the medical device sector, which is a sunrise sector, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, announced setting up of a National Medical Devices Promotion Council under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
 The Council will be headed by Secretary, DIPP. The announcement was made at the occasion of the 4th WHO Global Forum on Medical Devices, at Andhra Pradesh Medtech Zone in Vishakhapatnam.

Union Minister of State for MSME,Giriraj Singh inaugurated a Multi-Disciplinary Training Centre (MTDC) of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) termed Samadhan at Gandhi Darshan in New Delhi
Samadhan is an industrial training institute set up on Public-private partnership (PPP) mode with the MSME Ministry, to provide comprehensive industry and business related guidance and quality knowledge to entrepreneurs, industries, corporate and institutions.
The Minister inaugurated a mustard-oil manufacturing unit at the KVIC office at Gandhi Darshan, Rajghat and also planted Moringa saplings.

Government sets up GoM headed by Arun Jaitley On Stressed Power Assets
The government has constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to vet the recommendations of a high-level panel on stressed power projects.
The panel, headed by Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha, had submitted its report.
The other members of the GoM are Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Power Minister RK Singh.

9 States achieved 100% household electrification under SAUBHAGYA: Power Ministry
Ministry of Power announced that 9 states have achieved complete household electrification under the PM Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA) scheme.
These 9 states are Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Sikkim, Telangana and West Bengal.
With this, 16 States in the country now have 100 per cent household electrification.
Additionally, 31.68 crore LED bulbs have been distributed under the Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LED for All (UJALA) scheme resulting in estimated cost saving of Rs. 16,457 crore per year.

December 15

ECO Niwas Samhita 2018 Launched By Power Ministry in New Delhi
Ministry of Power has launched the ECO NiwasSamhita 2018, an Energy Conservation Building Code for Residential Buildings (ECBC-R)
The Code was launched on the occasion of National Energy Conservation Day 2018 (14th December) in the presence of Chief Guest Smt. Sumitra Mahajan, Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha
It aims to benefit the occupants and the environment by promoting energy efficiency in design and construction of homes, apartments and townships.

Dam Safety Bill 2018 introduced in LokSabha by MoSPA & WR
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the Dam Safety Bill 2018 in Lok Sabha.
It was introduced on behalf of the Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. The bill will be applied to specified dams across all states.
About Dam Safety Bill 2018:
The Dam Safety Bill, 2018 was drafted by Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD&GR).
The bill aims to provide a robust legal and institutional framework for the safety of dams under Central and state governments.
Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD&GR):
Union Minister: Shri. NitinGadkari.
Minister of State: Shri. Satya Pal Singh, Shri. Arjun Ram Meghwal.

West Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh top beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat: MoSH & FW
Minister of state for health and family welfare Anupriya Patel announced that West Bengal, Bihar and Chhattisgarh emerged the largest beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat.
Till November 2018, the government had spent Rs 798.34 crore on the scheme, of which:
West Bengal was allotted a total of Rs 193.34 crore,
Bihar got an allocation of Rs 188.27 crore, and
Chhattisgarh Rs. 114.43 crore.
About Ayushman Bharat:
Launched: April 2018.
Other Names: PM Jan-ArogyaYojana, National Health Protection Scheme.
Target: 10.74 crore poor families to get benefit of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year.
1st Health centre launched at Bijapur, Chhattishgarh in April 14, 2018.
CEO: Dr. InduBhushan.

December 16

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) approved registration of record 15 new breeds of livestock and poultry in 2018
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh announced that Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) approved registration of record 15 new breeds of livestock and poultry in 2018.
This took the total registered breeds of livestock and poultry to 40 from 2014-18.
In Rashtriya Gokul Mission, more than Rs 2000 crore has been allocated for the improvement and conservation of our indigenous breeds.
Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare:
Union Minister: Shri. Radha Mohan Singh.
Minister of State: Shri Purushottam Rupala, Smt. Krishna Raj and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

To discourage misuse, government to levy fee on ground water extraction from June 2019.
Central Ground Water Authority notified revised guidelines for ground water extraction and levied fee for extraction. It will be effective from June 1, 2019.
The introduction of the concept of Water Conservation Fee (WCF) was done in the guidelines where a fee will be levied on water extraction, to discourage misuse of water by industries.
This would also compel industries to adopt measures relating to water use efficiency.
Central Ground Water Authority:
Headquarters: Faridabad.
Under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
Chairman: Shri. K.C. Naik.

Ministry of Railways has decided to give 25% discount in haulage rate on transport of empty containers and empty flat wagons
The move will come into force with effect from 1st January 2019 and will remain valid for one year, up to 31st December 2019 but there will be a review meeting conducted by the railways after 30 June 2019.
The move is aimed to facilitate movement of containers by rail towards ports, efficient handling of traffic at ports and attract larger share of container traffic to Rail.
Presently 18 private container train operator (CTO) and Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) are operating this container service.
About Ministry of Railways:
Union Minister: Piyush Goyal
Minister of State: Manoj Sinha, Rajen Gohain
Headquarters: Rail Bhavan, New Delhi

Govt to launch broadband readiness index of states: Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan
The Centre is planning to launch broadband services readiness index of states based on parameters like infrastructure, approval processes and utilisation of high speed Internet.
According to a study by ICRIER (a research firm), $100 billion investment will have seven-fold multiplier effect on Gross Domestic Product (GDP). There is a need of a national mission to make this happen. We are going to launch broadband readiness index for states which will be vital for investments.

December 17

Denmark's Foreign Affairs Minister Anders Samuelsen Visits India
Foreign Affairs Minister of Denmark Anders Samuelsen arrived in New Delhi on a two-day official visit to India. Mr. Samuelsen will meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
The two Ministers will hold discussions on various aspects of bilateral ties as well as important regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest. A number of MoUs will be exchanged after the meeting. 
Denmark Currency: Danish krone, Capital: Copenhagen.

Government notifies rules for in-flight, maritime mobile phone services.
Government notified rules for in-flight calls, internet access through mobile phones known as Flight and Maritime Connectivity Rules, 2018,
Thereby allowing Indian & foreign airlines and shipping companies operating in the country to provide in-flight and maritime voice & data services in partnership with a valid Indian telecom licence holder.
This shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.
The in-flight and maritime connectivity (IFMC) can be provided using telecom networks on ground as well as using satellites.
The IFMC services will be activated once the aircraft attains a minimum height of 3,000 metres in Indian airspace to avoid interference with terrestrial mobile networks.
About Ministry of Communications:
Minister: Manoj Sinha, Minister of state (Independent charge)
Headquarters: Sanchar Bhawan, New Delhi

December 18

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on two-day visit in India
Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, arrived in New Delhi for an official visit to India.
France and India are also celebrating the 20th anniversary of their strategic partnership this year.
Holding extensive talks with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj to further boost bilateral ties in key areas. He will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He will also attend the signing of contract for cooperation between Atos (a European IT services firm headquartered in France) C-DAC for the development of supercomputers in India.
About France:
Capital: Paris
Currency: Euro, CFP franc
President: Emmanuel Macron

Cabinet approves construction of new 4- lane bridge across river Ganga at Patna in Bihar
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the project for construction of 5.634 km long new 4 lane bridge parallel to the existing MG Setu on NH-19.
The project is likely to be completed by January 2023
The bridge is proposed to be built by the Union ministry of road, transport and highways utilizing an estimated outlay of Rs. 2,961 crore.
Cabinet also approved establishment of two new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) one at Madurai in Tamil Nadu and another at Bibinagar in Telangana.
These institutes will be set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana.

Shri Prakash Javadekar inaugurates Sangeet Kala Sangam in New Delhi
The Human Resource Development Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar has inaugurated ‘Sangeet Kala Sangam’, at Dr. Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi.
It has been organized under the aegis of Human Resource Ministry, to provide a National Platform to the Art and Music Teachers of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS).
Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan and Navoday Vidyalaya Samiti are two sister organizations of HRD Ministry
The objective of KVS is to provide uninterrupted quality education to the wards of transferable employees of central government, while NVS provides quality education to the talented students, especially from the rural back ground.

December 19

First AC local train in north India next year: railways
The first AC local train in north India will hit the tracks next year, with the railways planning to launch the state-of the-art train for passengers travelling short distances from Delhi
The MEMU (mainline electric multiple unit) train, having eight stainless-steel coaches, will cater to the Uttar Pradesh cities within 200-300 km from Delhi
It has been manufactured at a cost of Rs. 26 crore and has capacity to carry 2,618 passengers

Govt releases a commemorative stamp on freedom fighter Rajkumar Shukla
The Union Communications Minister Manoj Sinha has released a commemorative postage stamp (worth Rs. 5) on freedom fighter Raj Kumar Shukla in New Delhi
Rajkumar Shukla made a seminal contribution culminating in the launch of the ‘Champaran Satyagraha’ (in 1917) by Mahatma Gandhi ji.
With this stamp, the Communication Department has released 43 issues in the current calendar year
Champaran Satyagraha:
The Champaran movement was the rst civil disobedience movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in protest against the injustice meted out to tenant farmers in Champaran district in Bihar.

December 20

NITI Aayog releases Strategy Document for New India.
NITI Aayog unveiled its comprehensive national Strategy for New India titled ‘Strategy for New India @75’, which defines clear objectives for 2022-23. 
The document was released by the Finance Minister of India Mr. Arun Jaitley.
The Strategy Document advocates empowering and encouraging women to participate across all sectors of the economy, to build a strong and inclusive New India.
NITI- National Institution for Transforming India.
NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman - Rajiv Kumar, CEO - Amitabh Kant. 

Surrogacy Bill Passed in Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha has passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 which is aimed at prohibiting commercial surrogacy and unethical practices relating to it.
The Bill has provisions to constitute National Surrogacy Board, State Surrogacy Boards, and appointment of appropriate authorities for regulation of surrogacy.
It permits surrogacy only for couples who cannot conceive a child.
The intending couple must be Indian citizens and married for at least five years with at least one of them being infertile.
The surrogate mother has to be a close relative who has been married and has a child of her own.

Maruti Suzuki India, Ministry of Rural Development sign MoU for training rural youth under DDU-GKY
The Union Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Maruti Suzuki India Ltd for training rural youth for skill development under the flagship Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY)
DDU-GKY is the flagship placement linked skill-training scheme of the Ministry of Rural Development.
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana:
The Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) was launched by the Union government on September 25, 2014.
The Yojana was launched during the 98th birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. Earlier the Yojana was known as Aajeevika Skills Development Programme (ASDP)

New child protection policy drafted by Women and Child Development ministry
This would be the first policy dedicated to the protection of children which was earlier under National Child Policy 2013.
The policy will be applied to all institutions and organizations (including corporate and media houses) government and private sector.
Under this, any abuse on a child can be reported to the helpline number 1098, police or child welfare committee.
Ministry of Women and Child Development:
Union Minister: Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi.
Minister of State: Dr. Virendra Kumar.

December 21

Lok Sabha passes Consumer protection bill.
The Lok Sabha passed the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 that seeks to replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. 
The Bill enforces consumer rights and provides a mechanism for redressal of complaints regarding deficiencies in goods and services.
It seeks to establish Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions at District, State and National levels.
The district Commissions are authorized to look into complaints involving claims worth one crore rupees, which was 20 lakh rupees earlier.
Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution: Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan.

Govt launches Asiatic Lions Conservation Project.
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change launched the “Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” to protect and conserve the population of Asiatic Lion and its associated ecosystem.
The Asiatic Lion Conservation Project is aimed at the conservation and recovery of Asiatic Lion with the help of up to date techniques, instruments, regular scientific research studies, disease management, modern surveillance and patrolling techniques.
The total budget of the project for 3 years amounts to around Rs. 9784 lakh.
The project will be funded under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme- Development of Wildlife Habitat (CSS-DWH) with the Central and State share of 60:40 ratio.
Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change: Dr. Harsh Vardhan

Govt Launches IGOT Programme as Part Of Digital India Initiative.
The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Dr. Jitendra Singh launched the iGOT (Integrated Government Online Training Programme)
Developed by Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions.
The Right to Information (RTI) Portal on Judgments/ Orders of Supreme Court, High Courts and CIC has been developed by the Institute of Secretariat Training and Management (ISTM), New Delhi. 

Nasscom partnered with IIT-Madras to train 4 million workforces in digital skills.
National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) partnered with IIT-Madras to provide re-skilling/ upskilling of four million people on digital skills.
The partnership will be directly with the Sector Skills Council (SSC), the education and skill development initiative of Nasscom, through its FutureSkills Platform.
It would provide reskilling on new emerging technologies like AI, IOT, Cyber Security, Big Data, Cloud and BlockChain.
National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM):
Chairperson: Rishad Premji
Headquarters: Noida
Founded: 1 March 1988

10 monuments adopted under the ‘Adopt A Heritage’ project: Ministry of Culture
Minister of State (independent charge) for Culture and Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, announced the adoption of 10 monuments under the ‘Adopt A Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan’, scheme in his annual report.
10 sites include:
Red Fort (Delhi) and Gandikota Fort (Andhra Pradesh) adopted by Dalmia Bharat Limited
Area surrounding Gangotri Temple, Trail to Gaumukh in Uttarakhand and Mt Stok Kangri Trek, Ladakh adopted by Adventure Tour Operators Association of India
Jantar Mantar, Delhi by Apeejay Park Hotels
Surajkund in Haryana by Bliss Resorts
And Qutub Minar, Delhi, Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra, Leh Palace, Leh, Jammu & Kashmir and Hampi (Hazara Rama Temple), Karnataka adopted by Yatra Online.

December 22

Union Government to set up a panel to look into tax issues faced by startups
The Union government has decided to set up an expert committee to look into all the taxation issues being faced by startups and angel investors.
According to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), no coercive action or measures to recover the demands of completed assessment under income tax would be taken against such firms.
The committee of experts from IITs and IIMs will make recommendations on individual cases of recognized startups. The notification of the committee formation will be issued by the DIPP shortly.

NITI Aayog to release SDG India Index: Baseline Report 2018
Sustainable Development Goal, SDG India Index: Baseline Report 2018 was released by the NITI Aayog in New Delhi.
It aligned with the Prime Minister’s vision of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, which embodies the five P’s of the global SDG movement – people, planet, prosperity, partnership and peace.
Among the states: Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are at the top of the list and running as ‘Front Runners’ with the scores of 69 each for Kerala and Himachal Pradesh and 66 for Tamil Nadu.
Among the Union Territories: Chandigarh and Puducherry ranked the highest with 68 and 65 scores respectively earning the category of ‘Front Runner’
NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant

Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2018: Bill to amend Companies Act 2013 introduced by govt
Government introduced the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2018 to amend the Companies Act, 2013 to further improve the ease of doing business, ease burden of the special courts and modify punishments.
The bill would replace the Companies (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, that was promulgated on November 2, 2018 and would amend provisions in the Companies Act, 2013.
According to the bill, following amendments are going to take place:
A total of 16 types of corporate offences have been shifted from special courts to in-house adjudication, increasing the scope of in-house assessment from 18 to 34 Sections of the Act.
Amending section 441 to enhance the jurisdiction of Regional Director for compound offences,
Amending clause (41) of section 2 to empower the central government to allow certain companies to have a different financial year instead of being determined by the National Company Law Tribunal.
Amending section 12 of Act to empower Registrar to remove names of companies from register of companies if the companies are not operational according to the provisions of the Act.
Finance Ministry:
Union Minister: Shri Arun Jaitley.
Minister of State: Shri Shiv Pratap Shukla, Shri P. Radhakrishnan

MHA authorizes 10 central agencies to access any computer resource
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an order which authorizes ten security and intelligence agencies of the country to access any computer in the country for the purpose of monitoring, decrypting and interception.
The Authorization is given under sub section (1) of section 69 of the Information Act, 2000.
The order mandates the service provider or any person in charge of the computer resource to extend technical assistance to the agencies.
The Non Compliance may result in seven year of imprisonment and fine.
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA):
Union Minister: Rajnath Singh
Minister of State: Kiren Rijiju and Hansraj Ahir

December 23

Logistics Development Committee constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Bibek Debroy, Chairman EAC-PM
Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) constituted a Logistics Development Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. Bibek Debroy, Chairman EAC-PM.
Other members of the committee included Secretaries and heads of the concerned departments/ ministries such as Revenue, Commerce, Logistics, DIPP, Civil Aviation, Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, Railways, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) etc.
The committee would be working on challenges in logistics development and associated commerce and suggest policy reforms for ease of doing trade in India.

NBCFDC Signs MoU with BSE institute Ltd. to facilitate Skill Development Training to its Target Group
National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC), an autonomous corporation under Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BSE Institute Ltd. for facilitating Skill Development Training to the target group of NBCFDC.
The BSE Institute Ltd, which is a 100% subsidiary of Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE Limited), works as a promoter of Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) Sector Skill Council of India constituted under the aegis of Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) which is a nodal body for industry interface and MSDE.
The MoU was signed between Sh. K. Narayan, MD of NBCFDC and Sh. Ambarsh Dutta, MD & CEO of BSE Institute Ltd in the presence of Shri Vijay Sampla, Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment.
About Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship:
 Minister: Dharmendra Pradhan
 Minister of State: Anantkumar Hegde
About Ministry of State for Social Justice & Empowerment:
 Minister: Thawar Chand Gehlot
 Ministers of State: Vijay Sampla, Krishan Pal Gurjar, Ramdas Athawale

Railways launches new EMU train with 130 kmph speed
Train-18 like new generation Mainline Electrical Multiple Unit (MEMU) with under slung equipment and some features from the Train 18 was launched by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai.
The coaches of the new MEMU are longer at 23.1m against 21.3m in the older MEMU and the train is capable of running at around 130 kilometers an hour.
The new train is equipped with a CCTV surveillance system both inside the coaches and outside the driver’s cab, a Talk Back system to enable passengers to talk to the driver in case of emergency and a GPS based passenger information and announcement system.

December 24

PM Modi releases Rs. 100 commemorative coin in memory of Atal Bihari Vajpayee
On the event of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 94th birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released Rs 100 commemorative coin in the memory of the former premier.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birth anniversary, which falls on 25th December, is celebrated as 'Good Governance Day'.
He was conferred with the Bharat Ratna was in 2014.
Mr. Vajpayee served as the Prime Minister thrice and led the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government from 1998 to 2004.

December 25

Prime Minister launched website of Cyber Coordination Centre during DGP Conference
PM Modi launched the website for the Cyber Coordination Centre on the concluding day of 3-Day Conference of Director Generals of Police, which was organized at Kevadiya in Narmada district of Gujarat.
A one stop shop on all cyber related issues, whether it is cybercrime or cyber security, the Cyber Coordination Centre is focused on improving cyber security in the country and on preparing the Police forces to prevent and investigate cybercrimes and financial frauds.
It also act as bridge between law enforcement agencies on the one hand, and academia and private cyber security professionals on the other.
Modi also released a commemorative stamp on the National Police Memorial on the occasion besides releasing a special issue of Indian Police Journal on Police martyrdom, published by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D).
About Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D):
Director General: Dr. A.P. Maheshwari
Headquarters: New Delhi

6th edition of Yuva Natya Samaroh 2018 held in New Delhi
Sahitya Kala Parishad, Department of Art, Culture and Languages, Government of Delhi, organized the sixth edition of five-day long Yuva Natya Samaroh at Kamani Auditorium in New Delhi.
It is a theatre festival of five young directors with some of the best modern, mythological as well as Parsi style drama.
The festival will start with the famous and well-discussed story by Mithileshwar titled Babuji and directed by Rajesh Singh while the Parsi play Safed Khoon directed by Samiruddin (Javed Sameer).

PM Modi innaugrates IIT-Bhubaneswar campus, Paika Rebellion chair in Utkal university in Odisha
At the IIT Bhubaneswar campus, the Prime Minister released a commemorative stamp and coin on the Paika Rebellion.
The Paika Rebellion, also called the Paika Bidroha, was an armed rebellion against British East India Company's rule in Odisha in 1817
The Paikas were the traditional militia of Odisha who served as warriors.
The setting up of a Chair on the Paika Rebellion, in Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, was announced
The Prime Minister inaugurated the Lalitgiri Museum. Lalitgiri in Odisha is a famous Buddhist centre of archaeological importance, comprising Stupa, Viharas (monasteries) and images of Lord Buddha

December 26

I&B Ministry organized India-China Film Festival in New Delhi
Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) organized an India-China Film festival during the first India-China High Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges in New Delhi
A total of seven films including four Chinese and three Indian Films were screened during the Festival
The opening film was CZ12 also known as the Chinese Zodiac. The list of Indian films screened includes Dangal (Hindi), Maacher Jhol (Bengali) and Ventilator (Marathi)
About Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry:
Minister: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
Information and Broadcasting Secretary: Amit Khare.
Headquarters: New Delhi

17-day International Gita Mahotsav, 2018 concluded in Kurukshetra, Haryana.
It is celebrated to commemorate the birth of ‘Srimad Bhagwat Gita’, the sacred scripture that had its inception on the first day of the famous 18-day battle in the Mahabharata
In this year’s edition, Mauritius was the partner country and Gujarat was the partner state
200 famous painters from across the country to draw paintings on the walls of Kurukshetra on the theme of the Mahabharata under the ‘paint-the-wall’ competition
On completion of the International Gita Mahotsav, acting President of Mauritius Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory announced that his country would organise a Gita festival on February 2019
Haryana:
Chief Minister: Shri. Manohar Lal
Governor: Shri. Satyadeo Narain Arya

Government approves Rameshwaram - Dhanushkodi project
The government has approved laying a new broad gauge railway line connecting Rameshwaram with Dhanushkodi, which is believed to be the starting point of Ram Sethu and a major pilgrim destination
The 17-km line will cost around Rs 208 crore and it has been included in the umbrella work for new lines in the current financial year
Dhanushkodi railway station was destroyed and abandoned after the 1964 Rameshwaram cyclone and it remains unattended
The railways has also approved building a new bridge on Pamban channel, which will replace the 104-year-old structure over the sea

Schools can't make Aadhaar mandatory for admissions, cautions: UIDAI
The Unique Identification Authority of India has asserted that schools cannot make the 12-digit biometric identifier a pre-condition for student admission
UIDAI's clarification comes at a time when admissions to nursery and entry-level classes have begun in over 1,500 private schools in Delhi
UIDAI has asked schools to ensure that no child is denied admission for lack of Aadhaar
In September, the Supreme Court had upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar but clipped the scope of the biometric identity project
It had ruled that Aadhaar was not mandatory for bank accounts, mobile connections or school admissions

December 27

Draft rules of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines [Amendment] Rules), 2018 introduced by MeitY
Union Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) announced draft rules of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2018
To end the complete encryption system to trace ‘unlawful’ activities for better national security
These would amend and replace the Information Technology Act, 2000 and would include the inter-ministerial consultations, followed by discussions with major social media platforms like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and WhatsApp and associations representing intermediaries
Online platforms will keep a record of “unlawful activity” for a period of “180 days”, double the 90 days in the older version
When required by lawful order, the intermediary shall, within 72 hours of communication, provide such information or assistance as asked for by any government agency
Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY):
Union Minister: Shri. Ravi Shankar Prasad
Minister of State: Shri. S.S. Ahluwalia

Power ministry mandates use of smart prepaid meters from April 2019
Power Ministry mandated the use of smart prepaid electricity meters in the country beginning April 2019. The transition is expected to be completed by next 3 years
This would help in: reduction in Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses, better health of DISCOMs, incentivizing energy conservation, ease of bill payments and doing away with the paper bills
Smart meters, thus inducted, are a part of the overall advanced metering infrastructure solutions (AMI)
For this, state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) introduced two global tenders for procuring a total of 10 million smart meters.
Additionally, the government also plans to install 10 million prepaid meters in Uttar Pradesh as part of the Saubhagya scheme which aims to electrify over four crore households till March 2019.
Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New & Renewable Energy: RK Singh.

December 28

MSME Ministry for setting up governing council to boost exports
Ministry of Micro,Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) has proposed to establish a governing council, to ensure efficient delivery of all export-related interventions. Under the chairmanship of Secretary, MSME, Dr. Arun Kumar Panda.
It will be co-chaired by Development Commissioner in MSME Ministry, Shri.Ram Mohan Mishra
This council will be a part of the ministry’s action plan to boost shipments from micro, small and medium enterprises.
A strategic action plan titled ‘Unlocking the Potential of MSME Exports’ will be prepared.
Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises:
Minister of State (I/C): Shri. Giriraj Singh

MoU signed to develop a mobile Audio Guide App for five iconic sites
Shri. K.J. Alphons, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, handed over a Memorandum of Understanding under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project to M/s Resbird Technologies for development of a mobile Audio Guide App for five iconic sites
Amer Fort (Rajasthan), Kaziranga (Assam), Colva Beach (Goa), Kumarakom (Kerala) and Mahabodhi Temple (Bihar) are the five iconic sites for which the mobile Audio Guide App is to be developed
About ‘Adopt a Heritage’:
The “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan” project is a collaborative scheme between the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and State/UTs Governments which aims to make our heritage and tourism more sustainable through development, operation and maintenance of world-class tourist infrastructure and amenities at ASI/ State heritage sites and other important tourist sites in India.
About Ministry of Tourism:
Minister: Alphons Kannanthanam (MOS independent charge)
Headquarters: New Delhi

Govt bans Khalistan Liberation Force for alleged involvement in murders, bombings
The government has banned Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) for its involvement in several killings, bombings, and other terror activities during its violent campaign for "secession of Punjab"
The decision to ban the outfit under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) comes in the backdrop of agencies unearthing several KLF modules in recent months which has led to apprehensions that it is attempting to revive militancy in the state.
The Khalistan Liberation Force and all its manifestations have been declared outlawed under the under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), a Home Ministry order said on Wednesday, adding it will be the 40th organization to be prescribed under this law.
According to officials, during the height of militancy in Punjab in the 1980s and 1990s, the group was involved in a series of unlawful activities

Triple Talaq bill Passed in Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha on 27 December 2018 passed The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018
The Bill will replace the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance-2018.
245 members voted in favor while 11 voted against the bill
Bill will now be sent to Rajya Sabha for debate If passed by Rajya Sabha, the proposed law would be applicable to the entire country, except in Jammu and Kashmir.

December 29

Union Cabinet Approvals on 28th December, 2018
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the following:
Cabinet approved hike in Minimum Support Price(MSP) for Copra by more than Rs. 2000 per quintal for 2019 season
Cabinet approved listing of 7 unlisted CPSEs on Stock Exchange
Cabinet approved Indian Human Spaceflight Initiative: Gaganyaan Programme; first phase to cost Rs. 9023 crores
Cabinet approved Amendment in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012
Cabinet approved the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 2018
Cabinet approved setting up of the National Commission for Homeopathy Bill, 2018
Cabinet approved setting up of the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCIM) Bill, 2018

Union Cabinet Approvals with Foreign Countries on 28th December, 2018
Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the following MOUs with the foreign countries.
Cabinet approved Submission of India’s Second Biennial Update Report (BUR) to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Cabinet apprised of two Bilateral MoUs between India and Cuba, and India and South Korea in the area of Biotechnology
Cabinet approved Framework Agreement between India and Sao Tome &Principe for Cooperation in the Exploration and Uses of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes

Nitin Gadkari lays foundation stone of 11 projects for Yamuna rejuvenation
Nitin Gadkari, the current Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Road Transport & Highways and Shipping laid foundation stones for eleven projects for Yamuna Rejuvenation under the Namami Gange Programme in New Delhi.
These projects are being covered by the Yamuna Action Plan (YAP) III which were launched by the Government of India with JICA assistance in Delhi and are located in three drainage zones which are Kondli, Rithala and Okhla.
The executing agency for the projects is the Delhi Jal Board.
About the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation
Union Minister: Shri Nitin jairam Gadkari
Minister of State: Satya Pal Singh, Arjun Ram Meghwal

All vehicles to come fitted with high security number plates from April 1
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, notified about the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 to mandate fitting of high security registration plates (HSRP) for all vehicles from April 1,2019
The official notification mandates that the high security registration plate including the third registration mark shall be supplied by the vehicle manufacturers along with the vehicles manufactured on or after April 1, 2019.
The vehicle dealers can also provide the HSRP plates for old vehicles. The HSRP helps in keeping track of the vehicle, and makes it easier to trace a lost or stolen vehicle.
An HSRP is a chromium-based hologram applied by hot stamping on the number plates both at the front and back besides laser-branding of a permanent identification number

December 30

Hooda panel recommends creation of specialised information warfare units, restructuring of military intelligence
A single-member Hooda panel, set up by the Defence Ministry and the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) has recommended creation of new specialized units for information warfare in areas where the counter-insurgency operations are being conducted
The panel which was set up by the government based on the recommendation of Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, headed by former Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General (retired) DS Hooda who had overseen the surgical strikes conducted across the Line of Control (LoC) in 2016.
About Indian Army:
Chief of the Army Staff (COAS): General Bipin Rawat
Headquarters: New Delhi
Motto: “Service Before Self”

Railways enhances combined reservation quota of lower berths for senior citizens, women
The Railways enhanced the combined reservation quota of lower berths for senior citizens, female passengers of age 45 or above and pregnant women passengers in mail, express, Rajdhani and Duronto trains
In Rajdhani, Duronto and other fully air-conditioned trains, the number of lower berth seats earmarked for Senior citizens, Women of age 45 or more and pregnant women passengers will be increased from 7 to 9.
In Sleeper, AC–Three tier and AC-two tiers trains 12 lower berths seats are presently reserved for Senior citizens, Women of age 45 or more and pregnant women passengers.
The seats in Sleeper, AC- three tiers and AC-two tiers train will be increased to 13 for the trains having single coach of the designated class. For the trains having more than one coach of designated class, the seats will be increased to 15.
Ministry of Railway:
Union Minister: Piyush Goyal
Minister of State: Manoj Sinha and Rajen Gohain
Headquarters: Rail Bhawan, New Delhi

India's first vertical-lift bridge to reconnect Rameswaram with mainland India by train
Ministry of Railways announced their plan to build India’s first lift bridge to reconnect Rameswaram in Arabian Sea with mainland India in the next 4 years
The bridge, over two-kilometre-long, which is likely to cost Rs. 250 crore, will have a 63-metre stretch.
This will replace the existing 104-year-old Pamban bridge which has a total length of 2,058 m.
It will be three-metre higher than the existing bridge with navigational air clearance of 22 metre above sea level

ALIMCO’s 6th Auxiliary Production unit and Limb Fitting Center inaugurated in Ballabhgarh, Faridabad
Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar, attended the inaugural function of ALIMCO’s 6th Auxiliary Production Unit and State-of-the-Art Limb Fitting Center as the Chief Guest in Village Nawada, Tigaon, Ballabhgarh, Faridabad
The foundation stone for establishment of State-of-the-Art Rehabilitation Center was laid on June 16, 2018.
For the establishment, Chief Minister Haryana approved 5 Acre land at Village NawadaTigaon, Block Ballabhgarh, District Faridabad (Haryana) to ALIMCO at the lease rate of Rs. 1/- per Acre per year
This facility is equipped with high-end machines for providing best and quality service to the Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjans)
At Present, it has 5 Auxiliary Production Centres (AAPCs) situated at Bhubaneswar (Orissa), Jabalpur (MP), Bengaluru (Karnataka), Chanalon (Punjab) and a new production unit in Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh)
Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO):
Under Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt. of India.
Headquarters: Kanpur.
Chairman and MD: Shri. D.R. Sarin

NHRC launches toll-free helpline, facility to file complaint through CSC
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) launched a toll-free number 14433 and a facility to file complaints through Common Service Center (CSC)
The toll-free number is 14433 and has been unveiled by Justice (retd.) H.L. Dattu, Chairperson of NHRC at the headquarters of the body, Manav Adhikar Bhawan.
People can now send their complaints related to human rights violation through both the toll free number and CSCs, although the toll-free number will only be available during office hours.
About National Human Rights Commission (NHRC):
Headquarters: New Delhi
Date of Establishment: 12th October, 1993

December 31

PM Narendra Modi renames 3 islands of Andaman Nicobar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi unfurled 150-feet tall tricolor to mark Netaji's hoisting of the national flag 75 years ago in Port Blair. 
The Prime Minister also released a commemorative stamp, its first-day cover and a Rs. 75 coin on this special day. 
The three renamed islands of Andaman and Nicobar are:
Ross renamed as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep
Neil renamed as Shaheed Dweep
Havelock renamed as Swaraj Dweep

Bhutan PM Dr. Lotay Tshering’s 3-Day Visit To India
Prime Minister of Bhutan,Lyonchhen Dr. Lotay Tshering concluded his 3-day visit to India.
This was Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering’s first overseas visit after assuming the office in November 2018.
This was also the Golden Jubilee year of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan.
Visit Highlihghts:
A number of institutional mechanisms between India and Bhutan in areas like security, border management, trade, economy, hydroelectricity, development cooperation and water resources were discussed.
Government of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy to enhance development and economic prosperity based on the priorities of the people and the Royal Government of Bhutan. This will work alongside PM Tshering’s vision of “Narrowing the Gap” on ties between India and Bhutan
Bhutan will soon launch the RuPay cards
Bhutan:
Capital: Thimphu.
Currency: Bhutanese ngultrum

Proposals of several states approved for implementation of Mahila Police Volunteer Scheme
Ministry of Women and Child Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs has approved the proposals of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh for implementation of Mahila Police Volunteer Scheme (MPVs)
The scheme envisages the engagement of Mahila Police Volunteers (MPVs) as a link between police and community and help women in distress with one MPV engaged per Gram Panchayat across the country.
Under the scheme, the Mahila Police volunteer is required to mobilize community to form Mahila and Shishu Rakshak Dals (MASRD) to act as community watch groups.
The MPV would be given a monthly honorarium of Rs 1,000. They should be atleast 21 years old and qualify 12th Class.
The first state to adopt the initiative was Haryana in which the scheme was started at Karnal and Mahindergarh District on a pilot basis under Nirbhaya Fund during the financial year 2016-2017.
About Ministry of Women and Child Development:
Minister: Maneka Sanjay Gandhi
Minister of State: Dr. Virendra Kumar
About Ministry of Home Affairs:
Minister: Rajnath Singh
Minister of State: Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Kiren Rijiju

Railways announces concession in ticket fares for transgender senior citizens
The Indian Railways has decided to grant 40% concession in passenger fares to transgender senior citizens (60 years or above).
It will be available from 1 January 2019.
Though a column for transgender (T) was introduced in the reservation form, the concession was not admissible to them.
Note: The Indian railways grants 40% concession in fares to men aged 60 years or above and 50% concession in fares to women aged 58 years or above.



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