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Daily Current Affairs for 1st & 2nd Dec 2017 ( English)

1.       Techno-commercial agreement to provide institutional mechanism for mutual cooperation in field of urban transport and for construction of the three Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) have been signed between India and Spain. RRTS is first of its kind project in India, with design speed of 180 kmph. It will use state-of-the-art technologies for track structure, rolling stock and signaling system. The three RRTS corridors will significantly reduce travel time between important NCR towns. Three RRTS corridors Delhi-Meerut Smart Line, Delhi – Panipat Smart Line and Delhi – Alwar Smart Line have been prioritised for implementation in the first phase. On completion, RRTS will emerge as fastest, comfortable and safe mode of transport in NCR.
2.       December 1 -The World AIDS Day is celebrated every year to raise the public awareness about Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) with the theme for the year 2017 is ‘Right to health‘.
3.       52nd Anniversary of Raising Day of the Border Security Force (BSF), the biggest border guarding force in the world is celebrated on Dec 1,2017. It came into existence on 1st December, 1965. BSF is deployed on Indo-Pakistan International Border, Indo-Bangladesh International Border, Line of Control (LoC) along with Indian Army and in Anti-Naxal Operations.
4.       Core sector growth has grown 4.7% in October 2017, matching September 2017 growth, which has been revised down from 5.2%. This is the highest core sector growth since March 2017. April-October 2017 growth stood at 3.5%, down from 5.6% in the corresponding period last year according to index of eight core industries released by Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The eight core sectors are coal, natural gas, crude oil, refinery products, cement, fertilizers, steel and electricity.
5.       ‘Ajeya Warrior- 2017’-The Combined Military exercise between India and the UK was held at Mahajan Field Firing Range near Bikaner of Rajasthan. It was third joint military exercise between India and UK. The objective of this exercise is to increase mutual cooperation and coordination between two countries. The first exercise was conducted in 2013 at Belgaum, Karnataka and second exercise was held in 2015 in UK.
6.       Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju inaugurated the 7th edition Kathakar: International Storytellers Festival was held at Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi. It aims to preserve art form and also create new audiences for same. It is only oral storytelling festival in India. It is part of bigger initiative Ghummakkad Narain- the Travelling Literature Festival which was started under aegis of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2010. Kathakar is special initiative, to promote the oral storytelling tradition which has existed across the world.
7.       Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC)- The 22nd meeting of Board of Mangement (BOM) of Small Farmers’  was held in New Delhi. Its fundamental objective is to link small farmers to agricultural value chain, which includes investments, technology and markets in association with private, corporate or cooperative sector. It was chaired by Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh. Various activities of SFAC were reviewed during meeting. SFAC is an autonomous society promoted by Union Ministry of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare.
8.       National Strategic Plan 2017-24 aimed at eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030 was  launched on the occasion of World AIDS Day (1st December) by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. will pave a roadmap not only for achieving the target of 90:90:90 Strategy but also strive along with partners towards fast track strategy of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Mission SAMPARK was also launched to trace those who are Left to Follow Up and are to be brought under Antiretroviral therapy (ART) services. It will help in fast-tracking the identification of all who were HIV positive and subsequently linking to ART programme.
9.       Setting up of National Nutrition Mission (NNM) was approved by the Union Cabinet with three year budget of 9046.17 crore rupees commencing from 2017-18. Introducing a very robust convergence mechanism including ICT based Real Time Monitoring system. It will incentivize states/UTs for meeting the targets. It will also incentivize Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) for using IT based tools. It will eliminate registers used by AWWs. It will monitor various schemes contributing towards addressing malnutrition.
10.   India was awarded certificate of commendation for its effort to combat illegal wildlife trade by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The award was given to Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) for its efforts in conducting and coordinating species-specific wildlife enforcement operation, codenamed ‘Operation Save Kurma’. It recognises exemplary enforcement action of WCCB’s regional and global effort to combat illegal wildlife trade. The operation was conducted to combat the proliferating illegal trade of live turtles and its parts from the country to destinations abroad.
11.   The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 2 Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) in November 2017 which  are first ever Bilateral APAs with Netherlands. These two APA’s pertain to Electronics and Technology sectors of economy. It also covers international transactions that include Distribution, Provision of Business Support Services, Provision of Marketing Support Services etc.
12.   18th edition of the Hornbill Festival at the Naga Heritage Village in Kisama, Nagaland was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind. Hornbill Festival also called as the ‘Festival of Festivals’ in Nagaland. The festival coincided with 54th statehood day of Nagaland. Hornbill Festival was established on 1st December 1963 and was inaugurated by the then President Dr. S Radhakrishnan. The festival pays tribute to Hornbill, the most admired and revered bird for the Nagas for its qualities of alertness and grandeur.
13.    The draft text of BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement was discussed in the first meeting of Working Group BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) member countries. The objective of agreement is to facilitate coastal shipping in region to give boost to trade between member countries. It will apply to coastal shipping that is shipping within 20 nautical miles of coastline. The agreement has been drafted by the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India detailing modalities for promoting coastal shipping in region. The BIMSTEC is sub-regional grouping comprising of seven countries of South Asia- India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and South East Asia- Myanmar, Thailand. It was established on 6 June 1997 through Bangkok Declaration. It is headquartered at Dhaka, Bangladesh.
14.   Kapu Reservation Bill, 2017 to provide 5% quota in education and employment has unanimously passed by the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. The reservation to Kapu community will be given by including them in Backward Classes list. With the quota for Kapus, the total reservation in state goes up to 55%, beyond 50% cap set by Supreme Court for reservations. Andhra Pradesh already has 29% reservation for Backward Castes. Apart from this, 15% and 6% reservations exist for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs). Even the Justice Manjunath commission constituted by present government had recommended reservation to Kapu community.
15.India was re-elected to Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) at an assembly of body at its headquarters in London. It secured second-highest 144 number of votes from member-countries, just after Germany’s 146. India was elected under category B that represents nations with largest interests in international sea borne trade. The IMO Council plays crucial role in deciding various important matters within mandate of IMO especially in relation to global shipping industry and its work strategy and budget. IMO is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping.
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