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Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 18 December, 2020

Daily Important News will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

1. ASSOCHAM Foundation Week 2020

– Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver the keynote address at ASSOCHAM Foundation Week 2020 on 19th December at 10:30 AM via video conferencing.

– Prime Minister will also present the ‘ASSOCHAM Enterprise of the Century Award’ to Shri Ratan Tata, who will receive the award on behalf of the TATA Group.


– ASSOCHAM was established in 1920 by promoter Chambers representing all regions of India.

– Having in its fold over 400 Chambers and Trade Associations, and serving over 4.5 lakh members across India, ASSOCHAM has emerged as the fountainhead of knowledge for Indian industry.

Daily Gist of 'The Hindu', 'PIB', 'Indian Express' and Other Newspapers: 18 December, 2020_40.1

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2. Livelihood Enterprise Development Programme

Second Batch of the Livelihood Enterprise Development Programme(LEDP) on Food Processing & Bakery sanctioned by Goa Regional Office was inaugurated by Smt. Usha Ramesh, General Manager, NABARD, Goa in a function organized by Agnel Entrepreneurship Development Institute in Village Hasapur,Pernem  on 16 December 2020.

– Shri Vasant Savardekar, DGM, NABARD, Shri Sushil L Naik, DDM, Master trainers and 30 women members drawn from various SHGs were present during the occasion.

– In her inaugural address, Ms. Usha Ramesh, GM urged the participants to undergo the training in the right spirit, upgrade their skill and use the opportunity provided by the upcoming Mopa International Airport in the village to their benefit by taking up such livelihood activities.

– The State Government is in the process of GI tagging local food delicacies and this will also come handy.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 17 December, 2020

3. Annual Summit of Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI)

– The Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda inaugurated  the two-day Annual Summit of the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) on 17 December, 2020.

– The Minister Conferred the  lifetime achievement and Special Recognition awards during the summit.

– While addressing the summit Shri Gowda said that the contribution of Indian pharmaceutical sector has been reinforced during this pandemic year when the companies, global and Indian, stepped in and stepped up their efforts in service of the country. India is often referred to as ‘the pharmacy of the world.’

– This has been proven completely true during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic when India continued to produce and export critical life-saving medicines to the rest of the world , the minister added.

– The Minister said that India has attracted large scale inflow of foreign direct investment to the pharmaceutical sector and the Medical Devices sector.More and more foreign companies wanted to set up their research,   manufacturing and clinical trials in India.

– The Union Minister said that as a matter of record, pharmaceuticals export from India was over 20 billion dollars in the year 2019-20 and is expected to cross 25 billion dollars by the end of the current financial year.

– This was at a time when the domestic market has crossed 22 billion dollars last year. It is indeed poised for much higher growth.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 16 December, 2020

4. Vivad se Vishwas Scheme

– Income Tax Department, Goa has held an online seminar on Vivad se Vishwas Scheme with Goa Chamber of Commerce & Industry ,Chartered Accountants, Tax Professionals and other stakeholders attending.

– Principal Commissioner of Income Tax Panaji Ms. Amrapalli Das addressed the participants and highlighted the benefits of the scheme. She has requested the participants to impress upon the taxpayers who will be immensely benefited by opting for the scheme.

– She has also advised the taxpayers to file the declaration before 31st December, 2020 so as to avoid last minute rush. Further, she has also said that the last date for filing declaration is 31.12.2020.

About the scheme and benefits

– Vivad se Vishwas Scheme is a well thought scheme brought out by the Government of India to put an end to pending direct tax disputes.

– The benefit under the Scheme is available for all the taxpayers who are in appeal at different levels of appeal matrix.

– The taxpayer can simply pay the disputed tax and can save the interest levied and leviable, further, any penalties levied and leviable.

– It is also available for the taxpayers in whose case the Department is in appeal against the revenue adverse orders. However, in such a case the taxpayers will be asked to pay half of the disputed tax or penalty.

– To get the maximum benefits the taxpayers have to pay the disputed tax on or before 31.03.2021. The scheme caters to all the taxpayers having income tax disputes in India including the non-resident assessees.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 15 December, 2020

5. Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)

– Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare digitally addressed an event by Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) on 17 December, 2020 through Video Conference.

– The theme of the event was “Build Back Better: building resilient health infrastructure and supply chains.”

– Dr Vardhan applauded the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure for organising the webinar with a forward looking perspective on how to make  health infrastructure and supply chains more resilient.

– Reiterating that disaster resilience as an essential area of common interest globally, he stated, “Over the past decades, India and nations of the world have seen unprecedented progress in economic and human development.

– However, as COVID-19 has shown, all of this notable progress is at risk if we do not make our systems resilient. The key lesson from the pandemic is that the principles of resilience must be integral to our quest for economic growth as individual nations and the international community.

Daily Gist of 'The Hindu', 'PIB', 'Indian Express' and Other Newspapers: 18 December, 2020_50.1

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6. 4th India – IndonesiaVirtual Bilateral Meeting

– The 4thBilateral Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting between the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) India and the National Narcotics Board (BNN), Indonesia was held on 17th  December, 2020.

– The Indian delegation was led by Shri Rakesh Asthana, Director General, Narcotics Control Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Indiaand the Indonesian delegation was led by Mr. PujiSarwono, Deputy of Legal Affairs and Cooperation, National Narcotic Board of Indonesia.

– Shri Rakesh Asthana, Director General (DG), NCB, Indiaexpressed his gratitude to the Government of Indonesia and the Head of BNN, Indonesia for conducting this virtual meeting amid the global pandemic COVID-19.

– DG, NCB highlighted issues particularly the trafficking of Heroin and Amphetamine Type Stimulant (ATS) in the country through land and maritime routes originating from the Golden Triangle. He also mentioned the new emerging challenge of trafficking of drugs through the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

– He also emphasized on the emerging trends in the production and trafficking of New Psychoactive Substances and usage of Darknet markets.

– Both the countries agreed on exchange of intelligence information in a timely manner to conduct follow-up investigation in drug seizure cases, New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)and their precursors.

– It was decided to exchange information on illegal entry and exit points of illicit drug trafficking on the Indonesia-India borders and information on technology being used to interdict drug trafficking.

– The 5th India – Indonesia Bilateral Joint Working Group (JWG)Meeting on Drug Control Cooperation will be in India in 2021.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 14 December, 2020

7. Haldibari – Chilahati rail link

– Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Ms. Sheikh Hasina on 17 December, 2020 jointly inaugurated a railway link between Haldibari in India and Chilahati in Bangladesh during the PM level virtual bilateral summit.

– Later on the day, a goods train was flagged off by the Railway Minister of Bangladesh Md. Nurul Islam Sujan from Chilahati station which entered India passing through the international border thus heralding a new era for the people living in both the countries.

– The railway network of India and Bangladesh are mostly inherited from British Era Indian Railways. After partition in 1947, 7 rail links were operational between India and the then East Pakistan (up to 1965). Presently, there are 4 operational rail links between India and Bangladesh.

– They are, Petrapole (India) – Benapole (Bangladesh),  Gede (India) – Darshana (Bangladesh), Singhabad (India)-Rohanpur (Bangladesh),  Radhikapur (India)–Birol (Bangladesh). The Haldibari – Chilahati rail link being made functional from 17.12.2020 is the 5th rail link between India and Bangladesh.

– The Haldibari – Chilahati rail link was operational till 1965. This was part of the Broad Gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri during partition.

– Trains traveling to Assam and North Bengal continued to travel through the then East Pakistan territory even after partition. For example, a train from Sealdah to Siliguri used to enter East Pakistan territory from Darshana and exit using the Haldibari – Chilahati link.

– However, the war of 1965 effectively cut off all the railway links between India and the then East Pakistan. So on the Eastern Sector of India partition of the railways thus happened in 1965.  So the importance of the reopening of this rail link can be well imagined.

– This newly opened rail link will enhance rail network accessibility to the main ports, dry ports, and land borders to support the growth in regional trade and to encourage economic and social development of the region.

– Common people and businessman of both the countries will be able to reap the benefit of both goods and passenger traffic, once passenger trains are planned in this route.

– With this new link coming into operation, tourist from Bangladesh will be able to visit places like Darjeeling, Sikkim, Dooars apart from countries like Nepal, Bhutan etc easily. Economic activities of these South Asian countries will also be benefitted from this new rail link.

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2020 – Set 75, 17 December

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