Current Affairs 12 December, 2019

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1. Vikas Swarup appointed as the Secretary West in Ministry of External Affairs.

  • Senior diplomat Vikas Swarup is appointed as the Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs. The Appointments Committee the Cabinet (ACC) of the Cabinet has approved the appointment.
  • Swarup is a 1986 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer. As the Secretary (West), he will be responsible for India's affairs with the UK and other European nations.
  • In another appointment, career diplomat Sanjay Bhattacharyya has been appointed Secretary of Consular, Passport, Visa and Overseas Indian Affairs. Bhattacharyya is a 1987 batch IFS officer. He is currently India's Ambassador in Turkey.

2. Cabinet approves Social Security Agreement between India and Brazil.

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi gave its approval for signing Agreement on Social Security between India and Brazil. The Social Security Agreement is being signed by India with several other countries in order to protect the interests of the professionals and skilled workers living abroad
  • The agreement also allows export of social security benefits of the Indian workers after they relocate from Brazil.
  • The agreement helps to avoid double social security contributions made by the workers. It also avails easy remittance of benefits offered by the governments of the respective countries. The agreement also allows the NRIs to aggregate the contribution periods. This will help to avoid loss of benefits.

Foot Notes:
About Brazil
Capital: Brasília
President: Jair Bolsonaro
Currency: Brazilian Real

3. Asian Development Bank reduced India's economic growth forecast for FY 2019-20 to 5.1%.

  • Asian Development Bank reduced India's economic growth forecast for FY 2019-20 to 5.1%. It reduced upon analyzing the slowing job prospects, rural distress exacerbated by poor harvest and credit crunch.
  • The bank has predicted the growth will pick up to 6.5% next year on supportive government policies. The bank has also reduced the estimate for the next fiscal, FY 2020-21 to 6.5% from 7.2%.
  • In September 2019, ADB forecasted the GDP growth of 6.2% in 2019 and 6% in 2020.

Foot Notes:
About Asian Development Bank
Headquarters: Mandaluyong, Philippines
President: Masatsugu Asakawa

4. US replaces Kuwait as India's 6th biggest oil supplier.

  • The United States has surpassed Kuwait to become India's sixth largest oil supplier as it supplied 70 per cent more crude to the world's third largest energy consumer during April-September.
  • According to data furnished by the oil ministry to parliamentary committee, the US supplied 5.4 million tonnes of crude oil during the first six months of 2019-20. This compared to about 3.1 million tonnes of oil sourced from the US in the same period a year back.
  • Iraq continues to be India's top crude oil supplier, meeting close to one-fourth of the country's oil needs. Iraq sold 26 million tonnes of crude oil to India during April to September.

Foot Notes:
About United States
President: Donald Trump
Capital: Washington, D.C.
Currency: United States Dollar

About United States
Capital: Kuwait City
Currency: Kuwaiti dinar
Prime Minister: Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah

5. International Universal Health Coverage Day observed on 12 December.

  • International Universal Health Coverage Day is observed on 12 December every year. The day is observed globally to highlight the importance of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for strong and resilient health systems.
  • The day reminds that every person, despite who they are or where they live, should be able to get the quality health care they need without facing financial hardship.
  • The theme of the International Universal Health Coverage Day is to 'Keep the promise'.
  • On 12 December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed the resolution on global health and accelerated the progress toward Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Foot Notes:
About United Nations General Assembly
President: Tijjani Muhammad-Bande
Headquarters: New York, United States

6. Lok Sabha passed the 2019 International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill.

  • The Lok Sabha passed the International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill, 2019. The bill proposes setting of an authority to develop and regulate the financial services market in the International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) in India.
  • The bill will be applicable to all the International Financial Services Centres in India, which were set up under the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005.

Foot Notes:
Finance Minister: Nirmala Sitharaman

7. Andhra cabinet approves Disha Act providing for harsher punishments for crimes against women.

  • The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet under Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy approved the enactment of the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act also known as the Disha Act that provides for harsher punishments, including death sentence, to those guilty of heinous crimes against women.
  • The offenders in such cases will be served with the punishment of 10 to 14 years and in case of severity in the committed crime, the punishment would be extended from 14 years to lifetime imprisonment. The cabinet has approved to extend the imprisonment for such crimes under POCSO Act.

Foot Notes:
About Andhra Pradesh
Governor: Biswabhusan Harichandan
Chief Minister: Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy

8. Bougainville: World’s newest nation after voted for independence from Papua New Guinea.

  • The South Pacific region of Bougainville was voted to become the world’s newest nation by gaining independence from Papua New Guinea. The chairman of Bougainville Referendum Commission Bertie Ahern declared that 98% of the voters backed independence.
  • In the total of 1,76,928 people that voted, only 3,043 voted in favour of remaining with Papua New Guinea itself with more autonomy.
  • Bougainville is an island in Papua New Guinea. The Bougainville referendum is a key part of a 2001 peace agreement that ended a civil war in which at least 15,000 people died in the cluster of islands to the east of Papua New Guinea mainland.

Foot Notes:
About Papua New Guinea
Capital: Port Moresby
Currency: Papua New Guinean kina
Prime Minister: James Marape

9. Urdu author Manto’s Shikari Auratein translated to English by Saba Mahmood Bashir.

  • Urdu author, Saadat Hasan Manto’s book Shikari Auratein was translated to English by Indian author Saba Mahmood Bashir as ‘Women of Prey (Shikari Auratein): Stories’ published by Speaking Tiger. The book was originally published in the year 1955. Manto was born in Punjab, India.
  • The new book contains hilarious short stories and two sketches that bring together the different side of Monto, some of his other short stories include, Toba Tek Singh’, Kaali Shalwar Boo and Khol Do.

10. Tara Sinha, the first woman to set up a national advertising agency in India passed away.

  • Tara Sinha, the founder of ad agencies Clarion and Tara Sinha Associates, passed away Mumbai, Maharashtra. She was 88 years old. She was the first woman to set up a national advertising agency in India.
  • Sinha completed the advertising diploma in the early 1950s from London. She joined DJ Keymer, Kolkata. In 1955, Sinha and others launched Clarion. She became its first director at 23.

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