Daily Current Affairs – 25th Dec 2019

Aadhaar to be made mandatory for GST
With 66.79 lakh new dealers registered under the Goods and Service Tax contributing just 15% of the total revenue under the tax regime, the GST Network has decided to make Aadhaar authentication or physical verification mandatory for new dealers from January 1, 2020, to check malpractices.


Afghanistan election: President Ghani on course for second term
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani is on course for a second five-year term after preliminary results showed him winning 50.64 percent of the votes in the September 28 elections.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced the results, putting Ghani’s nearest rival Abdullah Abdullah second with 39.52 percent of the 1.9 million votes. Former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is currently third with 3.85 percent of the votes.

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Ahmedabad Gets Provisional Clearance to Host FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2020 Games
Ahmedabad has been cleared as a provisional venue for FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2020 by the Local Organising Committee (LOC). The World Cup is set to take place in the country next year from November 2-21.
Ahmedabad received the provisional clearance after the FIFA delegation visited the country last month and checked the facilities in Kolkata, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad and Navi Mumbai.


Airlines may fly into a $600-mn loss: CAPA
Aviation consultancy CAPA estimates a full-year loss of $500-600 million for Indian carriers primarily due to a sharp fall in airfares on some of the most profitable routes as the airlines mounted additional capacity in a bid to capture coveted airport slots owned by the now defunct Jet Airways.
The latest estimate for India’s domestic market was its sharpest downward revision from one quarter to the next in 16 years. It had earlier predicted a profit of $500-700 million for Indian airlines.


Anurag Thakur holds 10th pre-Budget consultation meeting
Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur has held 10th and final Pre-Budget Consultation meeting with the leading representatives from Health, Education and Rural Development Sectors in New Delhi.
The main areas of discussion in the meeting were related to improving efficiency in the delivery of health services and devising innovative ways to reach primary health care facilities for marginalised sections.
The reforms related to pension and social protections especially for the weaker sections, public investment in the social sector and ways to boost the economic and social infrastructure of the rural sector were also discussed.


Around $8.7 billion Mumbai region’s realty loans severely stressed, double of NCR, report
As per the ANAROCK property Consultants study, out of total $35 billion loan advances given to developers in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), nearly $8.7 billion or 25% is currently under severe stress. This is exactly double of the total stressed loan amount in the National Capital Region (NCR) at $4.3 billion,
The NCR real estate market has so far received total loans worth $23 billion from banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and housing finance companies (HFCs).
The liquidity crunch in the country’s top 2 real estate markets – MMR and NCR – is unrelenting. Both markets collectively have loans worth $13 billion under severe stress with extremely poor prospects of recovery from the borrowing developers.
Bengaluru’s property market stands apart in terms of the existing stressed loans. Merely 1% or $160 million of the total $16 billion real estate loans in the city are in the ‘red alert’ category.
Bangalore supersedes NCR and MMR markets in servicing its debt to banks, NBFCs or HFCs. The city has much better stress-level readings with over 70% of total loans completely stress-free. In NCR, the stress-free share is at 53% and in MMR, it is 58% of the total loan advances.


Boeing CEO is Out as 737 MAX Crisis Deepens
Dennis Muilenburg was ousted as chief executive officer of Boeing Co., as the company was engulfed in a turmoil after two deadly crashes of its top-selling 737 Max jetliner.
David Calhoun, who had served as chairman since October, will replace Muilenburg as CEO and president Jan. 13
Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will serve as interim CEO during a brief transition period, and board director Larry Kellner will replace Calhoun as chairman.
Boeing is trying to regain its footing amid the Max grounding, one of the worst crises of the modern jet era. The planemaker’s reputation and finances have been battered after the Max disasters killed 346 people and prompted a worldwide grounding.


China attacks US for ‘weaponisation’ of outer space
China warned that the US was turning the cosmos into a battlefield, after USA announced a new military arm called the Space Force.
US President Donald Trump signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which created a new branch of the US military.
The Space Force will be the sixth formal force of the US military, after the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard.


China to lower import tariffs on over 850 products from January
China has said that it will lower import tariffs on over 850 products, including frozen pork, from January next year. The finance Ministry said that the lowered tariffs may help ease the pressure on the country’s depleted pork supply.
China has been hit by a severe pork shortage after African Swine Fever tore through the country’s pig herds.
Other products which will have lower import tariffs include food products — such as fish, cheese and nuts — pharmaceuticals and a range of chemical products.
Goods from countries including New Zealand, Peru, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Iceland, Australia, South Korea, and Pakistan will also be subject to even lower levies under re-negotiated bilateral trade agreements.


Defence Ministry approves additional 1 lakh senior division NCC seats
Union Defence Ministry has approved additional one lakh senior division NCC seats on a self-financing basis. Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said that the NCC strength is set to increase to over 15 lakh with this decision. He said, approximately 100 to 150 schools and colleges will be benefited under it. The scheme will commence in 2020-21 as a pilot project.
The distribution of additional one lakh cadets to all 17 state directorates will be done by the headquarters of the Director-General of the National Cadet Corps.


Govt notifies rules for fixation of microdots identifiers on vehicles
The union government has notified rules for fixation of microdots identifiers on motor vehicles and their parts. Road Transport and Highways Ministry said, microdots will enhance the security of vehicles. The invisible microdots will now come affixed on vehicles and their parts to prevent theft as well as to check fake spare parts.
Microdot technology involves spraying the body and parts of the vehicle or any other machine with microscopic dots, which give a unique identification.


Harsh Vardhan Shringla appointed next foreign secretary
Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s Ambassador to the US, has been appointed as the new Foreign Secretary. Mr Shringla is a 1984-batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service.
He will take over the charge of the foreign secretary on January 29 from incumbent Vijay Gokhale.
The appointment has been cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


Indian weightlifter Rakhi creates two new national records
Indian woman weightlifter Rakhi Haldar (64kg) won a bronze medal at the Qatar International Cup along with creating two new national records. She lifted a total of 218 kg with 95 kg in snatch and 123 kg in the clean and jerk category
India ended the Olympic qualifying silver level event with three medals. Former world champion Mirabai Chanu had won the gold on the opening day while teenager Jeremy Lalrinnunga had claimed silver in a power-packed performance.


Indian-American Dr Monisha Ghosh named 1st woman Chief Technology Officer of US’ communications commission
Indian-American Dr Monisha Ghosh has been appointed as the first woman Chief Technology Officer at the US government’s powerful Federal Communications Commission.
She will advise Indian-American Chairman of the FCC Ajit Pai and the agency on technology and engineering issues, and work closely with the Office of Engineering and Technology. Ghosh will take charge on January 13 next year.
The FCC regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and US territories.


Jharkhand assembly election final result: JMM-Congress-RJD wins 47 seats, BJP 25
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led three-party alliance has wrested power from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Jharkhand Assembly election results 2019. JMM-Congress-RJD — registered a landslide victory bagging 47 seats in the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had a clear majority in the House with 37 seats, managed to win 25 Assembly constituencies in the 2019 Jharkhand poll.
Raghubar Das has been asked to continue as a caretaker chief minister till the next government is formed. In the Jharkhand Assembly polls, he lost to Independent candidate Saryu Roy by over 15,000 votes.
Governor Droupadi Murmu


National Farmers’ Day observed across India on December 23
Kisan Diwas or National Farmers’ Day is observed across India on December 23. This day honours Chaudhary Charan Singh, the 5th Prime Minister of India whose was born on this day. It was in the year 2001, the Government of India decided to observe December 23 every year as Kisan Diwas.
During his tenure as the Prime Minister of India from July 1979 to January 1980, Chaudhary Charan Singh introduced a slew of policies to improve the lives and conditions of farmers in the country. He also played a leading role in the agricultural sector of the country by introducing bills for farmers’ reforms.


Pakistan wins first Test at home in 10 years with victory over Sri Lanka
Pakistan celebrated the return of Test cricket for the first time in over 10 years with a convincing 263-run win over Sri Lanka in the second Test in Karachi, taking the series 1-0. Pakistan had set a daunting 476-run target and reduced the visitors to 212-7 at the close of penultimate day.
Sri Lank lost last three wickets without any addition to their overnight score of 212.


PM Modi chairs first meeting of Cabinet Committee on Investment & Growth
The newly formed Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth held its first meeting on December 23 as the government looked at boosting spending to bring back a sputtering economy on track.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the first meeting of the CCIG, which was set up in June 2019.
The panel has four other members — Home Minister Amit Shah, Highways and MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Commerce & Railways Minister Piyush Goyal.
The meeting came against the backdrop of GDP growth slowing to a six-year low of 4.5 per cent in the July-September quarter as the twin engines of investment and exports sputtered. Adding to the woes is a slowdown in consumption.
This was the sixth consecutive quarter when the growth rate fell.


RBI holds open market operations
The RBI has purchased Rs.10,000-crore worth long-term government securities and sold Rs.6,825 crore of short-term securities through open market operations (OMOs). Last week, the RBI had announced simultaneous purchase and sale of government securities under OMOs for Rs.10,000 crore each.


Sahitya Akademi Winner Dr G Nanjundan Found Dead
Eminent translator and Sahitya Akademi award winner Dr G Nanjundan was found dead at his residence. Dr Nanjundan earned recognition for translating more than a dozen books from Kannada to Tamil. They included Jnanpith award winner UR Ananthamurthy’s ‘Bhava’ and ‘Avasthe’.
He received the Akademi Translation prize in 2012 for his work “Akkaa”, a Tamil translation of short stories of various Kannada women writers.

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