Indian Polity

 Witness Protection Scheme: The Supreme Court of India has approved the Witness Protection Scheme 2018 and has directed the state and central government to enforce the same. The scheme has been framed in response to PIL seeking protection for witnesses. The scheme aims to ensure that investigation, prosecution and trial of criminal offences does not turn out to be biased as witnesses are intimidated or frightened to give evidence without protection from violent or other criminal recrimination.

PRASAD Scheme: Union Government has included Gangotri, Yamunotri in Uttarakhand, Amarkantak in MP and Parasnath in Jharkhand in the PRASAD scheme. Now the sites under the PRASAD scheme has shot up to 41 from 25. PRASAD stands for Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive. It was launched in the year 2014-15 by the Union Ministry of Tourism. It aims at integrated development of pilgrimage destinations in planned, prioritised and sustainable manner to provide complete religious tourism experience.

Indian Armed Forces Flag Day: Indian Armed Forces Flag Day is observed every year on December 7 since 1949. It is observed to honour soldiers, airmen and sailors of the country. It serves as an important occasion to remind nation of its obligations to look after veterans, disabled soldiers, war widows and dependent of those who have sacrificed their lives for honour, safety and integrity of the motherland.

Navy Day: This week on December 04, the country observed Indian Navy Day. This year it was 47th Indian Navy day. The day commemorates launch of Operation Trident by Indian Navy against Pakistan on 4th December, 1971. During 1971, Indian Navy played a significant role in bombing of Karachi harbour, the stronghold of Pakistani Navy. Indian Navy sank four Pakistani vessels and ravaged Karachi harbour fuel fields. In this operation, three missile boats of Indian Navy - INS Nirghat, INS Nipat and INS Veer had played a pivotal role in the mission. Operation Trident had also resulted in first use of anti-ship missiles in the Arabian Sea region. The roots of Indian Navy dates back to 1612 AD when Great Maratha ruler Chatrapati Shivaji formed Indian Navy in his forces. So he is called the fatter of Indian Navy.

International Affairs

 World Customs Organisation (WCO): It is independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administration. It was established in 1952 as Customs Co-operation Council. It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. It has more than 180 countries as its members. It was in news recently as the 80th Session of Policy Commission of World Customs Organisation was held in Mumbai.

Qatar shall leave OPEC from January 2019: This week Qatar has announced its withdrawal from Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries from January 2019. Qatar will become the first gulf country to leave OPEC. Qatar has been member of the OPEC since 1961. Its decision has come after it is under boycott from its neighbouring gulf allies including Saudi Arabia since August 2017. It is to be noted that Qatar is world’s largest exporter of LPG and 17th largest exporter of Crude. It holds around 2% of the world’s global oil reserves.

Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries: OPEC is intergovernmental organisation of 15 oil-exporting nations that coordinate and unifies the petroleum policies of its member countries. It was established in 1960 in Baghdad in Iraq. It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria. Its member countries are from Africa, Latin America and Asia. African members include Algeria, Angola, Libya, Congo, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Its Asian members include Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Qatar. Its Latin American members include Ecuador and Venezuela.

SHINYUU Maitri-18: SHINYUU Maitiri-18 is the first bilateral air exercise between India and Japan. It began at Air Force Station Agra.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 03: The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed every year on December 03 to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development. The theme for the year 2018 is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.” It focuses on empowering persons with disabilities for an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as part of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

India to host G20 Summit in 2022: India will host 22nd summit of G20 group. 2022 is India’s 75th Independence year. This year G20 summit was held in this week of December in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina. G20 is premier forum for international economic cooperation and consist of 19 countries and 1 European Union. It represent 85% of the global GDP, 80% of the international trade, 65% of the world’s population. It was started in 1999 as meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank governors in the aftermath of the Southeast Asian Tigers. It was in 2008 when first G20 Leaders’ Summit was held in Washington DC, US. Prior to this it was merely a forum for meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.

International Day for Abolition of Slavery: The International Day for Abolition of Slavery is observed every year on December 2. The day remarks the adaptation of resolution ‘Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Prostitution of the Others’ by UN. As per the International Labour Organisation, more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery and one in four victims of modern slavery are children. Modern slavery is an umbrella term covering practices such as forced labour, forced marriage, human trafficking and debt bondage. ILO has adopted a binding protocol designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour, which entered into force in November 2016.

Economic Affairs

 Repo Rate: Repo Rate is also known as Repurchase Agreement. Under this rate, the RBI lends the money to commercial banks for a short term, usually on an overnight basis and buys them back the following day. Repo rate was in news as the RBI has kept the Repo Rate unchanged at 6.5%. The reverse repo rate has been kept unchanged at 6.25%.

Kandhamal Haldi: Odisha’s Kandhamal Haldi will be awarded Geographical Indication. Kandhamal Haldi is famous for its healing properties. It is main cash crop of tribal people in Kandhamal. Apart from domestic use, it is also used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. GI tag is name or sign used on certain products which correspond to specific geographical location or origin. It is used for agricultural, natural and manufactured goods having special quality and established reputation. The purpose of GI tag enables while earning a premium and derive an improved livelihood.

WIPO report on Indian Patents: World Intellectual Property Indicators 2018 report released by UN WIPO has revealed that India has witnessed 50% increase in number of patents filed in the year 2017. WIPO is a global body for promotion and protection of intellectual property of rights. It is one of the 15 specialised agencies of the United Nations. It was established in the year 1967 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It encourages and provides assistance to all its 188 member countries in formulating national IPR policy however, it does not dictate or prescribe any mandatory measures. India is a member country of WIPO and party to several of treaties of WIPO.

Kimberley Process: Kimberley process is joint initiative of governments, industry and civil society to stem flow of ‘conflict diamonds’, rough diamonds used by rebel groups to finance wars against legitimate governments. It is also described in the UNSC resolutions. India is one of the founding members of the KPCS. At present, KPCS has 54 members representing 81 countries including EU with 28 members. The KPCS completely bans import and export of rough diamonds without certification. KPCS was in news as India will chair Kimberley Process Certification Scheme from 1st January 2019.

Import of Gold Dore in Restricted Category: Director General of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has put imports of Gold Dore in restricted category. Gold Dore is semi-pure alloy of gold and silver which is refined for further purification. It is usually created at the site of a mine and then transported to refinery for purification. India imports roughly around 900 tonnes of gold every year making it world’s second biggest gold consumer after China. The imports mainly take care of demand of the jewellery industry.

Environment and Ecology

 World Soil Day: Every year December 5 is observed as World Soil Day. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN. The day aims to communicate messages on importance of soil quality for food security, health ecosystems and human well-being. It also advocates for sustainable management of soil resources. The Theme for the year 2018 is ‘Be the Solution to Soil Pollution’. It aims to raise awareness and call people to stop soil pollution.

COP24: The 24th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC began in Katowice, Poland. COP24 is expected to finalise guidelines for implementation of Paris Agreement adopted in 2016. Delegates from nearly 200 nations are participating in COP24. UNFCCC is international environmental treaty negotiated at Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and entered into full force in 1994. It has near universal membership as it has 196 countries and European Union as its members. Its parent treaty is 1997 Kyoto protocol which was ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties.

Science Affairs

 GSAT-11: GSAT-11 is ISRO’s heaviest satellite so far that was launched from French Guyana. GSAT-11 is also known by the name Big Bird. It has been indigenously developed by ISRO. It has a weight of 5854 kg. It will provide high data rate connectivity to Indian mainland and islands. It is going to provide a strong push to BharatNet project of India which is part of Digital India Programme to give a push to broadband connectivity in rural India.

OSIRIS-REx: NASA’s first every OSIRIS-REx mission designed to visit asteroid and return sample of its dust back to Earth reached its destination, Bennu, two years after its launch. OSIRIS-REx stands for Origins, Spectral, Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer. It was launched in September 2016.

Bennu: Bennu is near-Earth carbonaceous asteroid about the size of a small mountain in the Apollo groups. It was discover in September 1999 by the LINEAR Project. It orbits close to Earth’s path around the Sun. It is one of the oldest asteroid known to NASA.

Kepler Space Telescope: The scientists have discovered cache over 100 new exoplanets using data from NASA’s Kepler Space telescope or KST. KST is unmanned space observatory launched in the year 2009 by NASA. It was tased with determining how many Earth-like planets occur throughout the Milky Way galaxy.


 Sahitya Akademi Award 2018: India’s National Academy of Letters or Sahitya Akademi gave away India’s prestigious literary awards - Sahitya Akademi Award 2018. Sahitya Akademi Award is literary honour that is conferred annually on Indian writers for their outstanding works of literary merit. The Sahitya Akademi Award was established in the year 1954. It is conferred annually on writers of outstanding works in one of the 24 Indian languages that include - 22 Scheduled languages besides Rajasthani and English. The award consists of a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, a shawl and a cheque of Rs. 1 lakh.

Blue Cross: Blue Cross is the highest award of the International Shooting Sport Federation or ISSF. The award is conferred for outstanding contribution to the sport of shooting and honours distinguished members of the international shooting fraternity. Indian shooter, Abhinav Bindra who is still India’s only individual olympic gold medallist has been awarded the Blue Cross.

Person in News

 Cyril Ramaphosa: The South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will be the chief guest at India’s 70th Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2019.

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Khandagale Dhammapal Rank-1020 Year-2017 (IAS)
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