Current Affairs of 29th December 2019

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1. All India Radio organizes National Symposium of Poets-2020

National Symposium of Poets – 2020 was organized by All India Radio. This poet symposium was attended by select poets of all 22 languages recognized in the constitution. It is being held continuously every year since 1956. 
Poets from all corners of the country gave their presentations and captivated the hearts of the people.
Such National symposium is organized every year and broadcast on the eve of Republic Day and at all the centres of AIR at 10:00 PM. In a special conversation with AIR News, senior litterateur Dr Chitra Mudgal said that such events unify the country.

2. Pakistan to import polio markers from India

The Federal Cabinet of Pakistan has decided to import polio markers from India in a bid to reduce the price of medicines. The Federal Cabinet took the decision to give one-time permission for import of polio markers from India as it would reduce prices of 89 medicines by at least 15%.

The prices of 89 medicines were decreased in line with the Pricing Policy of 2018 as prices of innovator drugs have to be reduced by 10% after three years of their launch in the market. After considering all the aspects we decided to decrease the prices by 15%, said Dr. Rana Safdar, National Coordinator of the Emergency Operation Centre for Polio.

Pakistan had suspended trade ties with India following New Delhi’s decision to abrogate Article 370 on August 5, 2019 to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The markers used to mark the fingers of children after administering them polio vaccine are approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO). There are only two WHO pre-qualified manufacturers in the world, India and China, which manufacture non-toxic markers to prevent children from swallowing the ink. Though WHO procures markers for us and, in the past, it had purchased markers from China, there were issues with the quality of markers.

3. Alliance Air commences daily flight operations on KALABURAGI-BENGALURU- MYSURU routes under RCS-UDAN

Alliance Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, started daily direct flight operations from Kalaburagi to Bengaluru and onward to Mysuru under the RCS-UDAN scheme, today. The Kalaburagi airport was built by the Airport Authority of India in collaboration with State Government. This airport is operationalised under the RCS-UDAN of Govt. of India to fulfill the long-awaited demand of the people. The development of this airport has paved a way for direct connectivity to the state headquarters and other commercial centers.

Until now, the people had the option to travel by train which takes more than 15 hours or travel 13 hours by road to reach Mysuru from Gulbarga. Now, natives can travel at ease by taking a 3-hour flight. The commencement of flight operations on this route will also ensure easy connectivity for the pilgrims. With the commencement of the Kalaburagi-Bangalore-Mysuru route, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has operationalized a total of 238 routes under RCS-UDAN.

4. FSSAI, NASVI organised street food festival in Delhi

National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) and food regulator FSSAI will jointly organise national street food festival in the national capital during December 25-29.

The 11th National Street Food Festival will be organised at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi and around 75,000 people are expected to visit the festival.

During the event, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will also organise its second edition of the ‘National Eat Right Mela’ to promote healthy foods.

The theme of this year’s festival is ‘healthier diets’ where the idea is to focus various initiatives of FSSAI around healthy eating through gamification (in an interactive manner through games and quizzes).

Food Safety pavilion will focus on demonstration of rapid food testing kits/devices. On December 26, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will launch the ‘Network for Scientific Co-operation for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’ (NetSCoFAN), a network of research and academic institutions working in the area of food and nutrition.

5. Government announces India’s first Chief of Defence Staff

Government has approved the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). The officer to be appointed as Chief of Defence Staff will be a four-star General and will also head the Department of Military Affairs, announced Union minister Prakash Javadekar.

Javadekar added, “CDS will have all powers of a secretary-level officer. The files need not go through defence secretary and the CDS will be empowered to send to it directly to the defence minister.”

Among the priority areas for the new Chief of Defence Staff would be better utilisation of funds and more efficiency when it comes to procurement as well as better synergy between the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.

The post of the Chief of Defence Staff was first recommended after the 1999 Kargil conflict. A review committee set up to examine the armed forces’ performance during the conflict, among other recommendations, suggested forming the post of a Chief of Defence Staff to work as a single-point advisor to the government on all matters military. The Chief of Defence Staff was proposed to be a four-star or ‘four-and-a-half-star’ officer who would be senior to the three service chiefs, all of whom are four-star officers. A CDS, the committee and other analysts have argued, would better integrate the functioning of the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.

6. India-Swiss air service pact to be amended

The union cabinet in India chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the signing of the protocol to amend the agreement between the Swiss Federal Council and the government of India related to air services and to exchange diplomatic notes with Switzerland.

This aims to bring the amendments in the air services agreement into force as per Article 17 thereof.

This, in turn, will bring it in tune with the developments in the civil aviation sector. It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides ensuring greater safety and security. The Air Services Agreement decides the number of airlines that can fly between both countries. It also notifies a number of destinations in each country to which flight operations can be conducted by other country’s airline.

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