1. All NGOs, individuals and business entities receiving foreign funds are directed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (HMA) to open accounts in any of 32 designated banks, including one foreign, within a month. Its purpose is to provide higher level of transparency and hassle-free reporting compliance. These accounts opened in 32 designated banks will be integrated with central government’s Public Financial Management System (PFMS). The MHA order comes in exercise of the powers conferred under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010. Government had cancelled registrations of 18,868 NGOs between 2011 and 2017 for violating laws.
2. The Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) is going to roll out Condonation of Delay Scheme . The scheme will be operational for period of three months only. During this period, DIN (Director Identification Number) of disqualified directors will be re-activated temporarily to facilitate Directors of defaulting companies to file all overdue annual returns. It will be operational from January 1 to March 31, 2018. It is expected to come as a relief for disqualified directors and only bona fide directors will be benefitted from the proposed scheme.
3. India’s first-ever broad gauge air-conditioned AC EMU suburban train was flagged off from Borivali station on western railway in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The first of its kind air-conditioned suburban local train local was brought to Mumbai from Integral Coach Factory, Chennai in April 2016. Since then it has undergone 65 trial runs at Kurla and Virar car-sheds. The AC train departed from Andheri Station and reached Churchgate. It has room for total of 5,964 people, with seating capacity for 1,028 and standing space for 4,936. Its coaches have automatic doors, a first in the suburban system. RPF constables will be present in each coach to ensure proper security. Moreover, each coach is provided with passenger alarm indication lights on both sides, which are integrated with alarm chain pulling system. It also has ‘Emergency Talk Back’ facility in passenger areas (four in each coach) to communicate with motorman during any emergency. It is also equipped with GPS-based passenger information system with audio-visual indication of stations for guard-driver and passenger communication.
4. December 25- The Good Governance Day (GGD) is celebrated every year in India to mark the birthday anniversary (25th Dec,1924) of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It aims to make people aware about government commitment for providing a transparent and accountable administration in the country. The day was established by Central Government in 2014 to honor Vajpayee by fostering awareness among the people of accountability in government. It is also celebrated to enhance the welfare and betterment of the people.
5. India’s first home-grown high purity gold reference standard –Bharatiya Nirdeshak Dravya (BND-4201) was launched by India Government Mint (IGM), a unit of Security Printing and Minting Corp of India Ltd. BND-4201, the high purity gold reference standard has been developed through collaboration between IGM, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) — Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-National Physical Laboratory (New Delhi) and National Centre for Compositional Characterisation of Materials (Hyderabad) The BND-4201 is reference material for gold of ‘9999’ fineness (gold that is 99.99% pure with impurities of only 100 parts-per-million). It will be beneficial to the consumers and public at large to ensure purity of gold.
6. Maharashtra tops SGST collections with Rs 18,701 crore. Tamil Nadu is at the second spot with Rs 8,739 crore collection followed by Karnataka and Gujarat with SGST collections of Rs 7,736 crore and Rs 7,375 crore, respectively. Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are top contributors among states and Union Territories in the first five months since the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime in July 1, 2017. The data was revealed by Minister of State (MoS) for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla in reply to a question in Lok Sabha. Maharashtra garnered Rs 3,702 crore and Uttar Pradesh collected Rs 3,549 crore through cess levied on sin and luxury goods. Karnataka ranks third with cess collection of Rs 3,110 crore, followed by Chhattisgarh that raised Rs 2,288 crore as cess. The Central Government has garnered Rs 30,224 crore as cess from July November 2017 period. The GST regime implemented from July 1, 2017 has tax four slabs of 0, 5, 12, 18 and 28%. Additional cess ranging from 1 to 290% is levied over and above highest tax rate of 28% on sin and luxury goods such as tobacco, cigarettes and luxury cars.
7. Karnataka’s Tirthahalli taluk has come under the grip of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), also known as monkey fever. Kyasanur forest disease or monkey fever is tick-borne viral diseases caused by Kyasanur forest disease virus (KFDV), a member of the virus family Flaviviridae, which also causes dengue and yellow fever. It is endemic to South Asia and was first detected in 1957 in Kyasanur Forest of Karnataka. So far, five positive cases, including one death, have been reported in humans. Moreover, deaths of 5 monkeys were reported in the forest of Ghantejanagallu near Suruvinakoppa village. In 2016-17, four persons died of KFD in Tirthahalli and 48 positive cases were reported. The Symptoms includes High fever with headache, followed by haemorrhagic symptoms such as bleeding from nose, throat and gums. It also causes gastrointestinal bleeding, muscle stiffness, tremors, absent reflexes and mental disturbances. Its spread can be prevented through vaccination.
8. A new type of neural network chip using reservoir computing system to improve efficiency of teaching machines to think like humans was developed by the Scientists from University of Michigan in US. The network developed using this system can predict words before they are said during conversation and help predict future outcomes based on the present. It was developed using memristors, a special type of resistive device that can both perform logic and store data. The system has been inspired by brains, neural networks are composed of neurons, or nodes, and synapses, the connections between nodes. Only 88 memristors were used in the system as compared to conventional network that requires thousands for the task and achieved 91% accuracy.
9. The world’s largest amphibious aircraft- China’s home-grown AG600, also known as ‘Kunlong’ took off from the southern city of Zhuhai and landed after roughly an hour-long flight. The AG600 amphibious aircraft can land and take off from water. It has wingspan of 38.8 metres. It is powered by four turboprop engines. It has been designed and built by China’s state-owned manufacturer Aviation Industry Corp of China. It is capable of carrying 50 people and can stay airborne for 12 hours. It has operational range of 4,500-km. The aircraft has military applications but will be also used for firefighting and marine rescue.
10. Saba Karim (50), Former wicketkeeper of India was appointed as the new General Manager (GM) of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). He will report directly to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri. In his new administrative role, Saba Karim will be responsible for implementing operational plans, budgeting, monitoring the match playing conditions and administration of Domestic program.
11. India’s girls and women are at risk of becoming further marginalised in society and at home if they remain digitally illiterate, according to recently released by the State of the World’s Children Report of UNICEF. The theme of this edition of report was Children in a digital world. It provided country-level examples to give a sense of the kinds of barriers girls and women confront. Globally, 12% more men than women used internet in 2017. In India, less than one-third internet users are females. Only 29% of all internet users are female in India. Girls in rural areas of India often face restrictions on their use of ICTs solely because of their gender.
12. An automatic sharing of tax-related information from January 1, 2018 with an aim to combat black money was inked between India and Switzerland. It provided that both countries will start collecting data in accordance with global standards in 2018 and exchange it from 2019 onwards. The AEOI conforms to norm set by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for tax transparency. The automatic exchange of information will discourage Indians from stashing black money in Swiss banks.
13. World University of Design (WUD) - India’s first and only design university has opened its campus at Sonipat, Haryana. The university promoted by Om Parkash Bansal Educational and Social Welfare Trust of Mandi Gobindgarh, Punjab is dedicated to education in creative domain. It underlines movement of design from being purely vocation-oriented to becoming academic-oriented.
14. A new scorpion species named Schaller’s wood scorpion (Liocheles schalleri) was discovered by scientists at Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary, Tripura. Wood scorpions are also called dwarf scorpions. They are smaller than commonly seen large scorpions. They are only about three cm long. It has been named in honour of celebrated wildlife biologist George Schaller who has studied wildlife across the world, including the snow leopards of the Himalayas and central India’s tigers. Schaller’s wood scorpion is the eleventh wood scorpion species to be discovered in India.
15. National Highways Investment Promotion Cell (NHIPC) for attracting domestic and foreign investment for highways projects has been created by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). NHIPC’s primary focus will be to promote foreign and domestic investment in road infrastructure. It will work in close co-ordination with various connected Ministries and Departments of Central Government, State Governments, Apex Business Chambers like FICCI, CII, ASSOCHAM, and InvestIndia etc. The government has set an ambitious target of construction of 35,000 km of national highways in next 5 years involving an investment of Rs 5,35,000 cr under Bharatmala.
16. ‘Ganga Gram’ project at the Ganga Gram Swachata Sammelan held in New Delhi was dformally launched by The Union Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation. Ganga Gram project is an integrated approach for holistic development of villages situated on the banks of the holy River Ganga with active participation of villagers under the clean Ganga mission-Namami Gange Programme.
17. Ganga Swachhata Manch, a forum of individuals, academicians, civil society organisations and the like was also launched on the sidelines of Gram Swachata Sammelan. It has been formed upon initiative of Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation Uma Bharati. This Manch has been created for awareness creation, knowledge sharing, learning and advocacy for Ganga Gram Project.
18. China has successfully launched its second Land Surveying Satellite LKW-2 (also known as Yaogan Weixing-32) into a preset orbit from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert. The LKW-2 has been developed by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). It is probably an electro-optical observation satellite based on the military Jianbing-6 series. Long March 2D is a two-stage rocket developed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology. It is mainly used to launch variety of satellites into low-Earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of approximately 500 kilometers. It was 259th mission of the Long March rocket series. he satellite will be used for remote sensing exploration of land resources. The rocket was launched for the first time in August 1992.