Current Affairs of 13th December 2019

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India, Maldives vow to deepen maritime ties, boost anti-terror cooperation

India and the Maldives on Friday vowed to boost anti-terror cooperation and expand their maritime security ties to deal with common challenges in the Indian Ocean, a region where China has been rapidly expanding its military presence.

A vast range of bilateral and regional issues were discussed at the 6th Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) addressing by Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Maldivian Abdulla Shahid.

In that meeting, Jaishankar and Shahid inked two pacts providing for cooperation in financial intelligence and election-related issues besides exchanging an instrument of ratification for a treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. The bilateral defence cooperation includes key infrastructure projects such as the construction of a training center for Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), the setting up of the coastal surveillance radar system as well as training programs for MNDF officials in India.

Tamil Nadu overtakes Karnataka to become No 1 in renewable energy

Tamil Nadu has overtaken Karnataka to become India’s top renewable power generating a state in FY20 (till October).

Of the total renewable power generation in the country, nearly 17.2% was from Tamil Nadu. According to Central Electricity Authority (CEA) data in 2019-20 (up to October) 85,774.92 million units (MU) of power was generated through renewable energy, of which 14,771.69 MU was generated by Tamil Nadu followed by Karnataka (14,730.08 MU), Gujarat (10,505.54), Andhra Pradesh (9,638.70), Maharashtra (8,942.55) and Telangana (3794.99).

The wind was the major source of renewable energy in the state. Of the total generation, 11,614.85 MU came from wind, followed by 2,733.37 MU from solar and rest are from other sources.

Nirmala Sitharaman among Forbes’ world’s 100 most powerful women 2019

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, HCL Corporation CEO and Executive Director Roshni Nadar Malhotra and Biocon Founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw have been named among the world’s 100 most powerful women by Forbes.

The Forbes 2019 list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ has been topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, followed by President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde in the second spot and Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, ranked third. Also on the list is Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (29).

Sitharaman, a newcomer on the Forbes most powerful women list, is ranked 34th. India’s first female finance minister, Sitharaman has also served as the country’s defence minister.

Nadar Malhotra is ranked 54th on the list. As CEO of HCL Corporation, she is responsible for all strategic decisions for the $8.9 billion technology company.

Mazumdar-Shaw, ranked 65 on the list, is India’s richest self-made woman and founder of the country’s largest biopharmaceutical firm Biocon in 1978.

T V Somanathan has been appointed as Expenditure Secretary

Senior IAS officer T V Somanathan was on Friday appointed Expenditure Secretary, the post lying vacant since October, as part of a top-level bureaucratic reshuffle effected by the Centre.

Somanathan, a 1987-batch IAS officer, is at present serving in his cadre state Tamil Nadu. He has been appointed as the Expenditure Secretary.

Recent Appointments

  1. Former Expenditure Secretary Girish Chandra Murmu was named as the Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir on October 25.
  2. Ravi Mittal has been named Information and Broadcasting Secretary in place of Amit Khare. Mittal, a 1986-batch IAS officer of Bihar cadre, is at present Special Secretary, the Department of Financial Services.
  3. Amit Khare will now serve as Secretary, the Department of Higher Education, in place of R Subrahmanyam, who has been appointed as Secretary, the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment.
  4. Senior bureaucrat Sushil Kumar will be Secretary Mines. He is an Additional Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education, and Secretary, Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
  5. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the rank and pay of Secretary to Sanjay Kumar Mishra, Director of Enforcement Directorate. He is a 1984-batch officer of the Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax).
  6. Culture Secretary Arun Goel has been transferred and appointed as Secretary, Department of Heavy Industry in place of Asha Ram Sihag, who superannuates on December 31.
  7. Kshatrapati Shivaji, Executive Director, Asian Development Bank is now Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances. The officer will also hold additional charge of the post of Secretary, Department of Pensions and Pensioners Welfare. Shivaji is a 1986-batch IAS officer of Maharashtra cadre.
  8. Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary (Coordination), Cabinet Secretariat, will now be Secretary, Department of Rural Development in place of Amarjeet Sinha, who retires this month-end.
  9. V P Joy, Director General of Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has been appointed as Secretary (Coordination), Cabinet Secretariat in place of Bhushan.
  10. Sunil Kumar has been appointed as Secretary, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj. He is a Special Secretary, the Department of Commerce.
  11. Barun Mitra will be Officer on Special Duty, the Department of Justice. Mitra, a 1987-batch IAS officer of Manipur cadre, is at present Special Secretary, the Department of Defence Production.
  12. Senior bureaucrat Praveen Kumar has been appointed as Secretary, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in place of K P Krishnan, who superannuates on December 31. Kumar is Special Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

2 plus 2 India-US dialogue to be held on Dec 18

The Second India-US2 Plus 2 Ministerial Dialogue will be held in Washington DC on 18th December 2019. Defence MinisterRajnath Singh and External Affairs MinisterS Jaishankar will lead the Indian delegation.

FIH unveils new world ranking system for 2020


The International Hockey Federation (FIH) unveiled a new world ranking system for 2020 in Lausanne, Switzerland today.

It will come into effect from the first of next month. For a better reflection of current performances, the new ranking will be match-based instead of tournament-based calculation. 

The FIH said that the new world ranking system has been launched after 12 months of painstaking research, analysis and testing. The old model allowed nations to earn ranking points two to three times per year.

British PM Boris Jhonson wins General Elections in the UK


British Prime MinisterBoris Johnson has won the historic UK General Election as his Conservative Party crossed the magic number of 326 required for a majority in the Parliament.

Indonesia Foreign Minister arrives in India on 2-day visit

Foreign Minister of Indonesia Retno L. P. Marsudi arrived in New Delhi this morning on a two-day visit to India. She will meet External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar this evening and will co-chair the 6th India-Indonesia Joint Commission Meeting.

Later Ms Marsudi will give her Ministerial Keynote Address at the combined session of 11th Delhi Dialogue and 6th Indian Ocean Dialogue.

The Ministry of External Affairs is hosting the events in New Delhi.

The theme for this year’s Delhi Dialogue is “Advancing Partnership in Indo-Pacific.The theme of Indian Ocean Dialogue is “Indo-Pacific: Re-imagining the Indian Ocean through an Expanded Geography.”

Trakea: A Unique bar-coding software used by Haryana Police

Haryana Police has adopted a unique barcoding software — Trakea — to ensure that thousands of forensic reports that form the backbone of the criminal investigation system and subsequent trials in the courts of law are not tampered with.

According to the police, Trakea ensures foolproof security of the samples collected from the scene of the crime, and the forensic analysis reports, and is different from traditional methods that the state police force has been following for decades.

Haryana Police claims it is the country’s first police force to have introduced this unique barcoding for forensic reports. The software was originally designed by Amit Mishra (33), a prisoner who was lodged in Bhondsi jail for 13 months. A software engineer by profession, the man was facing charges of having murdered his wife but was ultimately acquitted by the trial court.

Trial run on Dhaka-Gangtok, Dhaka-Darjeeling bus routes start

The trial run on Dhaka-Gangtok and Dhaka-Darjeeling bus routes started on Thursday. The official spokesperson of the Road transport department confirmed that two buses with about 35 passengers including officials of the Road Transport department left Dhaka in the evening.

Currently, buses operate on five cross-border routes between Bangladesh and India — Dhaka-Kolkata-Dhaka, Dhaka-Agartala-Dhaka, Dhaka-Sylhet-Shillong-Guwahati-Dhaka, Agartala-Dhaka-Kolkata-Agartala and Dhaka-Khulna-Kolkata-Dhaka.

Nationwide economic census to be completed by March 2020: CSC e-Governance Service India

The 7th Economic Census, which is being conducted nationwide through Common Services Centres (CSCs), is expected to be completed by March 2020, CSC e-Governance Service India CEO Dinesh Tyagi said on December 13.

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) has tied up with CSC e-Governance Service for the 7th Economic Census. The survey was launched in Delhi on Friday.

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