1. For the first time a list of alien invasive animal species, totaling 157 was compiled by Zoological Survey of India (ZSI). This compilation was announced on the sidelines of National Conference on Status of Invasive Alien Species in India organised by the ZSI and Botanical Survey of India (BSI).
2. An MoU was signed with Alphabet InC.’s X (Google X) by Andhra Pradesh government to bring Free Space Optical Communication (FSOC) technology to India. This association with X labs to implement FSOC in Andhra Pradesh is first in the world to provide wireless internet connection at higher speed of up to 20Gbps and to a distance of up to 20kms. By using FSOC technology, Andhra Pradesh will be able to use better bandwidth data to every house hold including houses in tribal belt.
3. Indian diaspora is world’s largest, with slightly more than 15.6 million people from India living overseas according to UN World Migration Report(2018). The report was released by International Organisation for Migration. According to the report, Mexico has the second largest diaspora after India followed by Russia (3rd), China (4th), Bangladesh (5th) and Pakistan (6th).The Indian diaspora constitutes 6% of the total number of international migrants (people living outside the country of their birth), which was estimated at 243 million in 2015. The Gulf nations house biggest share of the Indian diaspora — nearly 3.5 million or 22% of total Indian diaspora.
4. Gabon, declared as a “polio-free country” by the World Health Organization (WHO). Polio is caused by the poliovirus (highly-infectious viral disease. here is no cure for polio virus, it can only be prevented by immunization. Now the disease is endemic is prevalent only in two South Asian countries Afghanistan and Pakistan, where WHO recorded four cases—two in each country this year. In 2016, there were 37 cases globally.
5. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has discovered eighth planet circling Kepler-90, a Sun-like star which is 2545 light-years far from Earth. The eight planet was discovered by Researchers Christopher Shallue and Andrew Vanderburg by applying Google’s machine-learning technology to data collected by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. It was dubbed as Kepler-90i. It is around 30% larger than Earth. It is thought to have an average surface temperature of 425 degrees Celsius.
6. SpaceX(US based private rocket launching company) for first time ever has successfully launched used Dragon spacecraft with a used Falcon 9 rocket. The 2 pre-flown rocket parts were launched together for the first time as part of resupply mission to International Space Station (ISS).
7. Dec 18 - The United Nations (UN) International Migrants Day is observed every year to recreate awareness about the protection and safety of the migrants with the theme for year 2017 is “Safe Migration in a World on the Move”..
8. PV SIndhu loses to Japan’s Yamaguchi in Dubai World Super series final held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She won the silver medal.
9. The Union Cabinet led by PM Modi approved the introduction of new Central Sector Scheme –North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme ( NESIDS) from 2017-18.The Scheme is being introduced to fill up the gaps in the creation of infrastructure in specified sectors till March 2020.It would be fully funded by the central government.
10. The Union Cabinet Chaired by PM Modi on 15th Dec 2017 approved the continuation of Centrally sponsored scheme of NAM ( National Ayush Mission) from 1st April 2017 to 31 March 2020. NAM is implemented by the ministry of AYUSH with the objective of providing cost –effective AYUSH services. t aims to address gaps in health services through supporting efforts of State/UTs for providing AYUSH health services and education in country, particlarly in vulnerable and far-flung areas
11. The Karnataka High Court has struck down 2014 amendment rules that mandated pictorial health warnings to cover 85% of tobacco product packaging space, holding that they violated Constitutional norms. However, it made it clear that 40% pictorial health warning rule, which existed prior to amendment rules, will remain in force.
12. Capital Investment Subsidy amounting to Rs.264.67 crore to four industrial units located in North Eastern Region (NER) including Sikkim has been approved by the cabinet committee on economic affairs( CCEA). The grant of subsidy to industrial units will provide incentives to operational units and also boost confidence of existing investors as well as potential investors in 8 states of NER including Sikkim. It has been approved under Central Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CCISS), 2007 of North East Industrial Investment and Promotion Policy (NEIIPP),2007.
13. India’s first social audit law was launched by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma at a national convention in Shillong. Meghalaya became first state in country to operationalize The Meghalaya Community Participation and Public Services Social Audit Act, 2017, a law that.makes social audit of government programmes and schemes a part of government practice.
14. New Central Sector Scheme of North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme” (NESIDS) from 2017-18 was approved by the Union Cabinet. The scheme will broadly cover creation of infrastructure under following sectors (i) Physical infrastructure relating to water supply, power, connectivity and specially the projects promoting tourism. (ii) Infrastructure of social sectors of education and health. It will be 100% funded by Central Government to fill up gaps in creation of infrastructure in specified sectors in North east till March, 2020.
15. Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charges on transactions up to Rs. 2,000 made through debit cards, BHIM UPI or Aadhaar-enabled payment systems (AePS) will be borne by the government as decided by the Union cabinet to promote digital transactions. It will be for two years with effect from 1 January, 2018 by reimbursing the same to the banks. As a result of this approval, consumer and merchant will not suffer any additional burden in form of MDR thereby leading to greater adoption of digital payment modes for such transactions. It will help to move towards less cash economy since such transactions account for sizeable percentage of transaction volume.