DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS : December 14, 2019

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PM Modi reviews progress of Namami Gange project in Kanpur


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired the first meeting of the National Council for Ganga and reviewed the progress of the Namami Gange project aimed at cleaning river Ganga.
  • Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat, Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Modi, several union ministers, including Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Dr. Harshvardhan, RK Singh, Prahlad Patel, Mansukh Mandavia, Hardeep Singh Puri and many officers of the central and state governments attended the meeting in Kanpur.
  • The Prime Minister reviewed the progress of work done and gave suggestions for cleaning the Ganga.
  • Prior to the meeting, the Prime Minister visited an exhibition on Namami Ganga Mission, showcasing the work done for cleanliness of the Ganga.

FASTags to become mandatory for all vehicles from tomorrow

  • FASTags or prepaid rechargeable tags for toll collection, that allow automatic payment, will become mandatory for all vehicles from tomorrow (DEC 15, 2019). The facility will be effective from 8 AM.
  • The government launched the National Electronic Toll Collection System which provides for the collection of user fee through FASTag to save fuel and time, curb pollution and ensure seamless movement of traffic. With the help of a FASTag, drivers will not have to stop their vehicles at toll plazas to pay tax.
  • National Highways Authority of India has equipped all fee plazas with Electronic Toll Collection System.
  • All lanes, except one on each side in fee plazas, will be declared FASTag lanes. A FASTag uses radio frequency identification technology to enable direct toll payments from a moving vehicle.
  • If anyone goes into an electronic toll collection lane without a FASTag, he or she has to pay double charges.

Over 1 crore 65 lakh farmers registered on e-NAM: Narendra Singh Tomar

  • Over one crore 65 lakh farmers across the country have been registered on National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) platform.
  • Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar gave this information in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha yesterday. He said 585 wholesale regulated markets have already been integrated with e-NAM platform and additional 415 markets have been approved for integration with it.
  • In reply to another question, the Minister said till November this year, 2 crore 99 lakh metric tonnes of agri-commodities at a value of 84 thousand 842 crore rupees have been recorded on e-NAM platform.

Delhi Dialogue-XI gets underway in New Delhi

  • Delhi Dialogue-XI got underway at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi this evening. The theme for this year’s Delhi Dialogue is Advancing Partnership in Indo-Pacific.
  • In his welcome remarks, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said that this theme is very timely as the Indo- Pacific concept has gathered momentum.
  • He said that in recent years, nations have recognized that there is a certain inevitability about the Indo-Pacific concept.
  • He said that the notion of shared maritime space is not new.
  • The Minister added that goods, ideas, and services have been shared by these nations throughout history. Mr Muraleedharan hoped that the discussions in the Dialogue will yield a rich harvest of ideas.

Six coal mines marked for end-use under allotment process: Govt

  • The Coal Ministry has said that it is considering allotment of six coal mines that have been marked for end-uses like power, iron and steel and sale of coal.
  • The ministry said in a release that applications were received in the case of six out of 15 coal mines, for which it had initiated the auction process for various specified end-uses like Power, Sale of Coal and Iron & Steel.
  • It said, on the basis of evaluation of applications received in the allotment process, mines are under consideration for the allotment.
  • The mines will add over 5 million tonnes coal per annum to the country’s coal output besides reducing the dependence of industries on imported coal.

Defence Minister chairs Parliament’s meeting of Consultative Committee

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chaired a meeting of the Consultative Committee of Parliament for the Ministry of Defence in New Delhi yesterday. The subject of the meeting was Border Roads Organisation, BRO. Director General BRO Lt Gen Harpal Singh gave a detailed presentation on the working of the organisation, especially on maintaining operational road infrastructure for the armed forces in border areas.
  • The Ministry said in a statement that Defence Minister lauded the efforts of BRO in building border infrastructure and contributing to the improvement of lives of people residing in the border areas.
  • It said, during the course of discussion Members gave valuable suggestions, which Defence Minister appreciated.
  • The meeting was also attended by Minister of State for defence Shripad Yasso Naik and Members of Parliament Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Manish Tewari, A. Raja, K. J. Alphons, Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma, V. Lakshmikantha Rao, Supriya Sule, Saugata Roy and Pushpendra Singh Chandel.

PM Modi reiterates India’s commitment for strong, democratic and peaceful Maldives

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reiterated India’s commitment to partner the Government of the Maldives for a strong, democratic, prosperous and peaceful Maldives. 
  • Interacting with Foreign Minister of Maldives Abdulla Shahid who called on him in New Delhi yesterday, Mr Modi conveyed his compliments on the achievement of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in its first year.
  • He noted with satisfaction the enhanced level of engagement between India and Maldives and the positive outcomes of bilateral cooperation during the last one year.  

    The Maldivian Foreign Minister thanked Mr Modi for his vision and strong leadership in driving the India-Maldives relationship. Mr Shahid is in India for the 6th India-Maldives Joint Commission Meeting, which was held in New Delhi yesterday. Three MoUs were signed and exchanged after the meeting.

Swati Maliwal demands immediate implementation of Disha Bill in entire country

  • Delhi Commission of Women Chief Swati Maliwal has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today demanding immediate implementation of Disha Bill in the entire country. 
  • The bill was recently approved by the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet mandating disposal of cases of atrocities against women within 21 days.
  • Ms Maliwal, who has been on a hunger strike which reached 12th day today, demanding capital punishment for rapists.

Andhra Pradesh govt decides to bring new laws to protect women & children

  • The Andhra Pradesh Government has decided to bring new laws to protect women and children.
  • The state Cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy has approved to enact the new law, Andhra Pradesh Disha Act, Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2019 and Andhra Pradesh Special Court for Specified Offences against Women and Children Act- 2019.
  • Our correspondent reports that draft DISHA ACT provides for harsher punishments, including death sentence, to those guilty of heinous crimes against women.
  • The Act would cover sexual offences against women and children, acid attacks and harassment of women. It also provides for completion of the judgement process in 21 working days.

V Prez Venkaiah Naidu on two-day visit to Gujarat from today

  • Vice President Venkaiah Naidu will be on two-day visit to Gujarat from today. He will visit National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) campus at Anand in the morning and will be the Chief Guest at the Foundation Day ceremony of Institute of Rural Management (IRMA) in Anand. 
  • In the afternoon, Mr Naidu will be present at the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of Charutar Vidya Mandal as Chief Guest. Mr Naidu will be the Chief Guest at the convocation ceremony of Sardar Patel University in Vallabh Vidyanagar tomorrow morning. Later he will confer President’s Police Colours to Gujarat police at Gujarat Police Academy at Karai in Gandhinagar. In the evening Mr Naidu will proceed for Dhordo in Kutch where he will participate in the ongoing Rann Utsav.


India, Indonesia resolve to strengthen cooperation in several areas

  • India and Indonesia resolved to strengthen cooperation in areas of defence and security, connectivity and trade during talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi in New Delhi yesterday.
  • The two sides reviewed the entire gamut of ties at the 6th India-Indonesia Joint Commission Meeting (JCM).
  • The External Affairs Ministry in a statement said that during the meeting, both sides reiterated their commitment to strengthen ties in the areas including people-to-people exchanges.  
  • As key partners in the Indo-Pacific, both sides called for greater synergy in the region, guided by the shared vision on maritime cooperation.

15 Indian-origin politicians elected to House of Commons in UK

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative party registered a thumping majority. Indian-origin candidates across both, the ruling Conservative and Opposition Labour parties registered equally strong results of seven wins each. Around a dozen MPs retained their seats alongside some new faces, making the number in the UK’s lower house to 15.
  • The former UK Home Secretary Priti Patel is likely to remain in Johnson’s top team in the new Cabinet, after her comfortable win.
  • Gagan Mohindra and Claire Coutinho won for the Conservative Party, Navendru Mishra for Labour and Munira Wilson for the Liberal Democrats is among the first-timers.
  • Among other winners are former International Development Minister Alok Sharma, Shailesh Vara, Goan-origin Suella Braverman, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Preet Kaur Gill, Virendra Sharma among others.
  • The far-right Brexit Party, which had fielded a number of Indian-origin candidates, failed to make a dent in the election, which marked the biggest win for the Conservatives since the 1980s.


North Korea conducts another crucial test at Sohae launch site

  • North Korea conducted another crucial test at its Sohae satellite launch site yesterday.
  • A spokesman for the National Academy of Defence Science of North Korea said the research successes will be applied to further bolstering up the reliable strategic nuclear deterrent of the country.
  • Nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington remain deadlocked with a deadline approaching.

US and China reach trade agreement calling for structural reforms & tariff concessions

  • The US and China have announced the phase one trade agreement, bringing a big breakthrough after over 18-month-long bruising trade war between the world’s two largest economies threatening to roil the global economy.
  • The phase one of the deal requires structural reforms and other changes to China’s economic and trade regime in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange.
  • The deal says if China breaks any part of the agreement, the Trump administration has the ability to re-implement tariffs. US negotiators are offering to significantly reduce existing tariffs on Chinese imports worth about 360 billion dollars.
  • In return, China has promised to buy large quantities of US soybeans, poultry and other agricultural products.


Veteran Telugu actor and writer Gollapudi Maruti Rao passes away

  • Former Nandi Award winner and renowned Telugu actor and writer Gollapudi Maruti Rao passed away recently.
  • He enthralled people with his writings and acting for several decades and also acted in around 250 films in about four decades.
  • He was a multi-faceted personality as he was a journalist, playwright, writer, actor and television personality.
  • Some of his memorable films as an actor include ‘Intlo Ramayya, Veedhilo Krishnayya’, ‘Challenge’, ‘Samsaram oka Chadarangam’, ‘Aditya 369’ and ‘Leader’.

Botanist David Bellamy Passed Away

British botanist David Bellamy, who has died aged 86, fired the imagination of millions of television viewers with the beauty and complexity of the natural world.

American Actor Danny Aiello Passed away at the age of 86

  • Actor who specialised in playing New York mobsters and other tough-guy roles Danny Aiello, centre, as Sal in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, 1989, with John Turturro and Richard Edson.
  • His final films included two tough crime dramas, The Neighborhood (2017) and Making a Deal With the Devil (2019).

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