Current Affairs 19th December 2017 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Business Affairs : Ola, operated by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd has acquired food delivery start-up Foodpanda India Pvt. Ltd from its German parent Delivery Hero AG in an all-stock deal that will see the ride-hailing major infuse $200 million in Foodpanda’s India operations. Under the deal, Foodpanda’s India business will be transferred to Ola in exchange for the latter’s stock. The share-swap arrangement and details of the transaction are still not disclosed.

The International Migrants Day is organized across the world on 18th December. The theme for IMD 2017 is 'Safe Migration in a World on the Move.' On 4 December 2000, the General Assembly proclaimed 18 December as International Migrants Day. On that day, in 1990, the Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

Joda East Iron Mine (JEIM) of Tata Steel honoured with the prestigious Golden Peacock Innovation Management Award for the year 2017 for driving innovation in mines. The award was given at Institute of Directors India’s 2nd Global Convention held at Singapore. Golden Peacock Awards Secretariat receives over 1,000 entries per year for various awards, from over 25 countries worldwide.

Eminent Bengali poet Joy Goswami will be given the 31st Moortidevi Award for the year 2017. The committee, headed by poet and scholar Satya Vrat Shastri, unanimously decided to confer the award upon Goswami for his poetry collection titled Du Dondo Phowara Matro. It is the first time the award will be given to a Bengali poet. Du Dondo Phowara Matro is an autobiographical account of the poet's life featuring his close ones including a pet cat. The award consists of a Saraswati Statue, a Citation Plaque and cash award of Rupees 4 lakh.

Iraq overtook Saudi Arabia for the first time to become India's top crude oil supplier in the current fiscal, according to the Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Saudi Arabia traditionally has been India's top oil source but in the April-October period of 2017-18, Iraq dethroned it, supplying 25.8 million tonnes (MT) of oil.  Iran was India's second biggest supplier of crude oil after Saudi Arabia till 2010-11 but western sanctions over its suspected nuclear programme relegated it to the 7th spot in the subsequent years.

Goa celebrated its 56th Liberation Day. The state was liberated on 19th December in 1961 from Portuguese control after almost 450 years of colonial rule. The main program was organized at the Sports Authority of Goa Ground, Campal in state capital Panaji. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar unfurled the national flag at the Goa Liberation Day celebrations in Panaji.

India currently ranks 60th out of 127 countries on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2017 as compared to 66th rank on GII 2016. The list was topped by Switzerland. NITI Aayog, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) together launched a mega initiative “India Innovation Index”. This Index will rank states on Innovations through country’s first online innovation index portal that will capture data on innovation from all Indian states on innovation and regularly update it in real time.

India’s top-ranked junior shuttler Aakarshi Kashyap won U-17 and U-19 singles titles at Badminton junior Nationals in Guwahati, Assam. In Under-17 category, 16-year-old from Bhilai defeated Malvika Bansod in the final. In under 19 categories final, Kashyap has beaten Vaidehi Choudhari.

As per the IT Ministry, the government will bear the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charges on transactions up to Rs 2,000 made through debit cards, BHIM UPI or Aadhaar-enabled payment systems to promote digital transactions. MDR is charged on payments made to merchants through BHIM UPI platform and AePS (Aadhaar enabled Payment System). The merchant discount rate (MDR) will be borne by the government for two years with effect from January 1, 2018 by reimbursing the same to the banks.

The government has engaged private lender ICICI Bank to enable online payments at 470 mandis integrated with the national portal of electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM). At present, e-NAM participants are doing payments through traditional ways via bank branches, debit cards, and net banking. ICICI Bank will enable BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) and Unified Payments Interface (UPI) on the e-NAM portal for making cashless payments.

Indian junior boxers clinched total 11 Medals (six gold, four silver and a bronze medal) at the fifth International Sven Lange Memorial Tournament to finish as overall champions in the German city of Schwerin. Bhavesh Kattamani (52kg) picked up the best boxer trophy along with his gold medal. In the three-day tournament, the other gold-medallists for India were Vijeydeep (63kg), Akshay (60kg), Ish Pannu (70kg), Lakshay Chahar (80kg) and Vinit (75kg). India was named the tournament's best team.

India will host a meeting of WTO member countries in February 2018 to muster support for food security and other issues. The announcement was made by Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi. The proposed meeting would be in the backdrop of developed nations forming groupings to prepare the ground for pushing investment facilitation, preparing rules for e-commerce, promoting gender equality and reducing subsidy on fisheries.

The Lok Sabha was informed that the national medical entrance exam, the NEET, and engineering entrance exam JEE might be conducted twice a year to give an opportunity to the students to bring out their best performance. The Centre is setting up a National Testing Agency (NTA), an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation, to conduct the entrance exams for the higher educational institutions, Mr Kushwaha said in response to a written question in the Lower House of Parliament. According to a statement from union government, the establishment of NTA will benefit about 40 lakh students appearing in various entrance examinations. It will relieve CBSE, AICTE and other agencies from the responsibility of conducting these entrance examinations, and also bring in high reliability, standardized difficulty level for assessing the aptitude, intelligence and problem-solving abilities of the students.

G. Satheesh Reddy, Scientific Adviser to Raksha Mantri and Director General, Missiles and Strategic Systems, has been conferred with the prestigious National Design Award. He has bagged this award for his significant national contribution towards indigenous design and development of diversified missile systems, guided weapons, avionics technologies and for his sustained efforts leading to the advancement of aerospace technologies and industries in India.

The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet approved a scheme to provide a pension of Rs 1500 to transgenders above 18 years of age in the state. Under this scheme the transgenders will be provided ration cards, plots and scholarships, also skill development for financial stability. After Kerala and Odisha, Andhra Pradesh becomes the next state to sanction pension scheme for the transgender community.

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