Current Affairs Today – December, 19th, 2017 | Latest News and Updates


Cabinet approves bill to replace Medical council of India

  1. The Union cabinet has give the approval for the giving of the bill to replace the muchcriticised medical education regulator Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new commission to ensure transparency and reform.
  2. “The MCI as the regulator of medical education in the country has repeatedly failed on all its mandates over the decades,” it had said.
  3. “Compared to MCI — a primarily elected body with nominees from the state or centre —NMC will have a “hybrid structure” with a few non-medical members and primacy for selected members,” a senior government official said. “At least 16 and up to 22 of its members would be medical professionals and all selected members would be finalised by a search committee chaired by the cabinet secretary,” the official told ET.
  4. “NMC has been empowered to frame guidelines to determine the fees for up to 40% of the seats in private colleges and deemed universities, said the official. This would give all “meritorious” students access to medical seats irrespective of financial status,” the person said.
  5. “The bill, which would replace the Medical Council Act of 1956, is expected to end “heavy handed” regulatory control over medical education institutions and would signal a shift towards outcome-based monitoring,” said the official.
  6. “The bill also expects to open up the medical education sector, leading to significant addition in the number of undergraduate and postgraduate seats and enable “substantial” new investment in the infrastructure sector,” the official said.


Meghalaya launches India’s first social audit law

  1. Anita Pattanayak, Deputy CAG officer in Meghalaya, said, “This is a grassroots method of auditing and stems from the people themselves. I hope it will make auditing more meaningful.” But isn’t auditing, by definition, meant to involve people on the outside? Pattanayak said, “The social audit facilitator will provide an outside perspective, but it will take into account what people directly benefitting or meant to benefit from the scheme have to say. The report will eventually come to us, autonomous auditors.”
  2. Rights activist Aruna Roy called it an extension of the larger accountability framework: “Social audit puts into practice the signature slogan of the Right to Information movement in India — “Hamara Paisa, Hamara Hisab”. This is the institutionalisation of participatory democratic governance.” Nikhil De of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan termed it “an important step forward in the lexicon of participatory governance in India, and indeed the world”.



Hyderabad Metropolitan Development authority ties up with ford

  1. Ford and Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the set of the some of the feasibility of the common digital mobility solution for city commuters.
  2. “Hyderabad has a significant advantage due to its excellent infrastructure and connectivity. This MoU would further it and make commute within the city more convenient for all,” said IT & Municipal Administration Minister K.T. Rama Rao.
  3. “We are working with cities to help address growing transportation challenges by partnering with local development authorities like HMDA and offer technology solutions to help find new ways to make commuters’ journey seamless,” said R. Mahadevan, Director, Ford Smart Mobility, India.
  4. In the starting of this year there has been the, Ford started working with Indore and Mumbai to find customised mobility solutions for multi-modal transport, encouraging use of public transit system and improving road safety.



Iran opens first museum dedicated to female artist exiled for decades

  1. Iran has open the one of the museum that has given the dedicate for the one of the lady, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, who has received widespread international attention during decades of exile.
  2. “All my inspiration has come from Iran – it has always been my first love,” Farmanfarmaian told the Guardian from Tehran on the eve of the opening. “When I travelled the deserts and the mountains, throughout my younger years, all that I saw and felt is now reflected in my art.”
  3. Farmanfarmaian said she gifted her works because she wanted to honour her last husband, Abolbashar Farmanfarmaian. “He was a law professor at the University of Tehran, and so I gifted them 51 pieces – this museum is now the first for a female artist in Iran,” she said.
  4. “It is a fitting tribute for one of the most important living artists today,” she said. “This museum really becomes a window on to Iranian modernity, showing the ways Monir has brought together abstraction with Islamic geometry to create a uniquely Iranian art form.”
  5. Balaghi said the artist’s return to Iran had stimulated her creativity. “Monir has called this her ‘graceful twilight’ but in fact it’s been the most productive and successful time for her as an artist.”
  6. “not distinct from Iranian architecture … starting with a triangle, then moving towards a 10-sided polygon. So I want to show the infinite possibilities of creating new forms out of these geometric forms.”
  7. Kiarostami said the venue for the new museum, a Qajar-era palace complex, was suitable because “a lot of her mirror works belong to the era of Qajar dynasty and Safavid dynasties, when these kinds of mirror work were being used routinely”.
  8. “She never wanted to work outside the patterns seen in the Iranian traditional architecture. In modern life, for many people there seems to be a disconnect with that tradition but she never felt like that.”




World’s Steepest funicular railway line opens in Switzerland

  1. Swiss engineering and technology has get at the new height from the world’s steepest funicular rail line. The €44.6m Schwyz-Stoos funicular (Standseilbahn Schwyz-Stoos in German), that has opened for the public of there place from Sunday, has been hailed as a triumph of modern design engineering.
  2. The function that has opened at there will give the manage of the space-age-looking carriages, accessible to all users, to remain horizontal while speeding up the mountain at up to 10 metres a second. It is due to be opened by the Swiss president, Doris Leuthard, in the Alpine resort of Stoos, 1,300 metres above sea level in central Switzerland on Friday.
  3. The train, two lines of cylindrical carriages, resembling beer barrels, will allow passengers to remain upright at all times, even as they ascend – or descend – the 1,720-metre track, climbing or descending 743 metres a second along gradients as steep as 110% (47.7º).
  4. Ivan Steiner, a spokesperson for the railway, said the funicular replaced an older one that had operated since 1933. “After 14 years of planning and building, everyone is very proud of this train,” he said.
  5. “The Stoos funicular is designed with an inclination adjustment system. This means that the four 34-passenger rotating cabins on each train remain horizontally level throughout the journey.”




No transaction fees on debit card payments of upto Rs.2000

There has been the one of the statement given the Banks that there will be the n transaction charge will be applicable upto the Rs 2,000 for at least two years.

In an effort to boost digital payments, the Union Cabinet has decided to waive the merchant discount rate (MDR) applicable on all debit cards, BHIM and UPI transactions up to Rs 2,000. The government will reimburse the same to the banks for a period of two years, starting January 1, 2018.

“Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) applicable on all debit card/BHIM UPI/ AePS transactions up to and including a value of Rs 2000 will be borne by government for 2 years with effect from 1 January, 2018 by reimbursing same to the banks,” the Cabinet decided on Friday.

“It is estimated that the MDR to be reimbursed to the banks in respect of transactions less than Rs 2,000 in value would be Rs.1,050 crore in FY 2018-19 and Rs.1,462 crore in FY 2019-20,” the government release said.

A report by Kotak institutional equities had said, “MDR reduction: marginally negative for acquirers. The RBI’s move to reduce merchant discount rates (MDR) for debit card transactions for smaller merchants and QR-code based transactions will likely bode well for broad-based and asset-light adoption of cashless modes of transactions in the medium-term. However, volume is unlikely to make up for the shortfall in reduction of fees in the short term and hence, the near-term impact would be marginally negative for a few players like Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and SBI (State Bank of India). Debit card fee is a small but a key area of growth for most of these.”


Ola offers insurance cover for driver partners

  1. Cab aggregator Ola has announced that it has did the partnership with the Bajaj Allianz to provide the comprehensive insurance programme for the driver partners on its platform, offering them a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh.
  2. “‘Chalo Befikar’ Insurance will be provided to all active driver partners on the Ola platform offering a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh. This comprehensive scheme provides daily benefits in case of hospitalisation that cover business losses, apart from taking care of outstanding car loans and children’s education,” Ola said in a statement.
  3. “The insurance programme will cover outstanding vehicle loan obligation of driver partners, irrespective of the loan amount; children’s education fee (up to Rs 24,000 per year) per child till class 10th and business loss reimbursement of up to Rs 750 per day for three months, in case of temporary disability,” it added.
  4. “This new programme illustrates how a company can leverage local intelligence and work together with its beneficiaries to create an offering that is extremely relevant, but unavailable so far in the traditional structure,” Ola Chief Operating Officer Vishal Kaul said.


Customs duty on Smartphones hiked

  1. Prices of top iPhone models has been raised by the amount of the 3.5%, except for iPhone SE which Apple Inc. assembles in India, after the government raised import duty on mobile phones by five percentage points on Friday.
  2. “After the customs duty increase, we could also see a rise in prices of feature phones in the market as their imports had gone up considerably recently,” an industry executive said on condition of anonymity.
  3. “I feel like we’re making good progress there and are gaining understanding of the market, but we still have a long way to go, which I sort of see as an opportunity instead of a problem. And I do feel great about the growth rate. And so that’s India,” Cook had then said.
  4. According to documents posted with the Registrar of Companies, “Apple India Pvt. Ltd posted sales of Rs11,619 crore ($1.8 billion) for the year ended March 2017, compared with Rs9,937 crore in the year-ago period—which translates to an increase of 17%. However, in the preceding 12 months ended March 2016, Apple India had reported a growth of 53%.”




US lab makes the world’s strongest superconducting magnet

  1. The scientist of the Field Laboratory has created and developed the most powerful superconducting magnet ever, shattering the world record.
  2. “This is a transformational step in magnet technology, a true revolution in the making,” said MagLab Director Greg Boebinger.
  3. “Not only will this state-of-the-art magnet design allow us to offer new experimental techniques here at the lab, but it will boost the power of other scientific tools such as X-rays and neutron scattering around the world.”
  4. “We’ve opened up an enormous new realm,” said Huub Weijers, who oversaw the magnet’s construction. “I don’t know what that limit is, but it’s beyond 100 tesla. The required materials exist. It’s just technology and dollars that are between us and 100 tesla.”




Kings XI Punjab Name Brad Hodge as Head Coach

  1. Former Australia batsman Bard Hodge has been given the position of the head coach of the Indian Premier League franchise Kings XI Punjab for a three-year term. Hodge, who is 42 years old, held a similar role with Gujarat Lions for the last two seasons and will now report to KXIP’s mentor-cum director of cricket, Virender Sehwag.
  2. Sehwag informally held KXIP’s head coach’s job after India team’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar resigned in December 2016. “We have signed a three-year agreement with Brad, who will be our head coach,” Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
  3. “Viru (Sehwag) will be actively involved, too, as our director of cricket.” Hodge continues to feature as an active player and will be playing for Melbourne Renegades in the 2017-18 Big Bash League (BBL) before joining KXIP as the head coach.



Wajib won the Suvarna Chakoram award at the 22nd International Film Festival of Kerala

  1. Palestinian film Wajib, that has directed by Annemarie Jacir, which told the story of the fragile relationship between an estranged father and son, has won the Suvarna Chakoram (Golden Crow Pheasant) award at the 22nd International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) on Friday.
  2. Thai filmmaker Anucha Boonyawatana has won the Rajatha Chakoram (Silver Crow Pheasant) award for the best director for his film Malila – The Farewell Flower. The board of the Film has get happy to see the combination of the way that the director merged the physical and metaphysical quest of her characters, producing a film at once sensuous yet deeply meditative.
  3. I Still Hide to Smoke, which is the Algerian filmmaker Rayhana’s powerful debut on the suppression of women’s freedom under the Islamist regime in Algeria won the Audience Poll award for the best film.
  4. Sanju Surendran won the Rajatha Chakoram award for the best debut director for his film Aedan – Garden of Desire. The film also won the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) award for the best Malayalam movie.



Goa Liberation Day

  1. The Goa liberation movement that has started for the sought of the Portuguese colonial rule in Goa, India. The movement has started as the small number of the scale and uprisings of the 19th century, and grew powerful during the period 1940-1961.
  2. This moment has started from the both of the place that is inside and outside from the Goa, and was characterized by a range of tactics including nonviolent demonstrations, revolutionary methods and diplomatic efforts.
  3. There has been the Portuguese control of its Indian colonies ended only when India invaded Goa in 1961 and incorporated the territories into the Indian Union.


Sandeep Kumar

Hi Guys, I am Sandeep Co-founder of IASpaper and UPSCToday Staying in Mumbai (India) and pursuing graduation in Computer Science and Engineering from Mumbai University. I love helping Aspirants. You may join me on Facebook

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