Daily GK Update: 23rd December 2019

India test fires Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile System

  • Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile System (QRSAM) developed by DRDO has been successfully flight tested on Monday from Integrated Test Range in Odisha’s Chandipur.
  • The missile was flight tested with full configuration in deployment mode intercepting the target in mid-air and meeting mission objectives. The entire event was monitored by Ground Telemetry Systems, Range Radar Systems, Electro Optical Tracking System, etc.

Source: India Today

First Tripartite Agreement on Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Fund

  • The first tripartite Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the department of Fisheries Government of India, NARBARD and the Government of Tamil Nadu for the implementation of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Fund (FIDF).
  • Speaking on the occasion Shri Giriraj Singh, Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said that a dedicated fund has been created namely the Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund with a total of Rs. 7522.48 crore to address the infrastructure requirement for fisheries sector.  He urged the coastal states to pay attention to deep sea fishing, post harvesting, cage culture and export promotion.
  • FIDF provides concessional finance to the eligible entities, cooperatives, individuals and entrepreneurs for development of identified fisheries infrastructure.
  • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NARBARD), National Cooperatives Development Corporation (NCDC) and all scheduled banks are Nodal Loaning entities (NLEs) to provide concessional finance under the (FIDF).

Source : Press Release Page

Indian Railways to modernize its Signalling system

  • Indian Railways has decided to modernize its Signalling system on its entire network by implementing Modern Train Control system.
  • Ministry of Railways said, this is one of the most ambitious modernization projects which envisages up-gradation of a signaling system for improving safety, Line Capacity and to run trains at a higher speed.
  • The Ministry said, four works of the total 640-kilometre route at a cost of 1810 crore rupees have been sanctioned as pilot projects in Supplementary Works Programmes  2018-19 for extensive trials of Modern Train Control System.
  • The work of Modernization of Signalling system has been included in Works Programme 2018-19 at a cost of around 78 thousand crore rupees.
  • The work includes revision of Automatic Train Protection System, Electronic Interlocking System and Remote Diagnostic and Predictive Maintenance System.

Source: News Services Division

India, Iran explore Tehran visit by Foreign Minister Jaishankar

  • India and Iran are exploring visit by Foreign Minister S Jaishankar to Tehran at an early date to give impetus partnership amid fast changing geopolitics and regional dynamics.
  • During Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale’s visit to Tehran on Sunday and Monday it was decided to hold the next round of Joint Commission Meeting at the level of External Affairs Minister at an early date in Iran.
  • Gokhale met Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Seyyed Abbas Araghchi, Foreign Minister Dr. Javad Zarif, and Ali Akbar Velayati, Senior Advisor to Supreme Leader.

Source: The Economic Times

Nearly 67 % of imported toys are dangerous for kids: QCI survey

  • Nearly 67 per cent of imported toys have failed the testing survey of the Quality Council of India (QCI). According to the survey report, 66.90 per cent of imported toys failed the test, and only 33.10 per cent passed all the tests. The testing was conducted by the QCI on toys available in the markets of Delhi and NCR.
  • Nearly 67 per cent of imported toys have failed the testing survey of the Quality Council of India (QCI). According to the survey report, 66.90 per cent of imported toys failed the test, and only 33.10 per cent passed all the tests. The testing was conducted by the QCI on toys available in the markets of Delhi and NCR.
  • In the case of soft toys, 45 per cent failed on the admissible levels of phthalates. In the case of electric toys, 75 per cent of the sample failed on mechanical properties. 85 per cent of the toys sold are imported from China, followed by Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Germany, Hongkong, and the USA. RP Singh, Secretary-General, QCI, said that toys failing in mechanical testing can damage the skin of children.

Source: The Economic Times

National Mathematics Day on December 22

  • December 22, the birth anniversary of India’s famed mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, is celebrated as National Mathematics Day.
  • In his memory, the prestigious Royal Society, of which Ramanujan became a Fellow in 1918, tweeted on Sunday: “Srinivasa Ramanujan FRS, the Indian mathematician, was born #OnThisDay in 1887. Though he passed away aged just 32, his talent and research left an indelible mark on mathematics”

Source: Indian Express

Ebola emerges again in Congo, 11 new cases confirmed

  • Health officials in eastern Congo have documented the first relapse of the current Ebola epidemic.
  • The Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo has so far infected more than 3,300 people and killed more than 2,200 since the middle of last year, making it the second-worst on record.
  • According to WHO, this recent relapse happened in the Aloya district where a motorcycle taxi operator is said to have come into contact with 33 people potentially the cause of 11 new confirmed Ebola cases in the past week.

Source: DD News

Manuel Marrero Cruz appointed as Cuba’s first PM in more than 40 years

  • In Cuba, President Miguel Díaz-Canel has appointed Manuel Marrero Cruz as the country’s first prime minister in more than 40 years.
  • It was reinstated under the rules of a new constitution for the communist-run island passed earlier this year.
  • Marrero, who has served as tourism minister for 16 years and is an architect by trade, helped boost Cuba’s economy by making tourism one of the engines of growth. The post of prime minister was scrapped in 1976 by the then-revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.
  • On the other hand, critics say any such changes are purely cosmetic as the Cuban Communist Party and the military remain the only two real decision-making institutions in the country.

Source: News Services Division

Assam govt to approach Centre to declare Assamese as state language

  • While various organisations, students, artists, social-activists of Assam have intensified their protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, the BJP-led Assam government on Saturday has decided several important schemes, measures by aiming to protect the Assamese language, land rights of the indigenous people.
  • The Assam cabinet on Saturday decided that the Assam government will approach the Union government to declare the Assamese language as the state language of Assam excluding Barak Valley, BTAD area and Hill districts by amending Article 345 of Constitution of India.

Source: India Today

Eight African countries rename currency, severe ties with CFA’s franc

  • Eight West African countries have agreed to change the name of their common currency to “Eco” and severed the CFA franc’s links to former colonial ruler France.
  • The CFA franc was initially pegged to the French franc and has been linked to the euro for about two decades.
  • Ivory Coast President announced the “three major changes”. These included “a change of name” of the currency, “stopping holding 50 percent of the reserves in the French Treasury” and the “withdrawal of French governance” in any aspect related to the currency.
  • Macron hailed it as a “historic reform”, adding that the Eco will see the light of day in 2020.

Source: DD News

Harshest winter phase ‘Chillai-Kalan’ begins in Kashmir with upper region receiving heavy snowfall

  • Chillai-Kalan, a 40-day long period of extreme cold in Kashmir, began on December 21 and will continue till January 31 followed by Chillai-Khurd and Chillai-Bachha.
  • A 20-day long Chillai-Khurd (small cold) starts from January 31 to February 19 and a 10-day long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold) occurs between February 20 and March 2. As per India Meteorological Department, the period mostly remains wet as the upper part of the Valley received heavy snowfall and the maximum temperature drops considerably.
  • During this period, water bodies like lakes, river and stream get frozen with a thick layer of sheets.

Source: Business Standard

Built with Indian assistance, girls’ hostel for Nepal Armed Police Force School inaugurated

  • A girls’ hostel building for the Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) School in Kirtipur, Kathmandu, which has been built with Indian assistance, was inaugurated on Sunday.
  • Dr Ajay Kumar, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India handed over the building to the school by formally inaugurating it at a ceremony which was attended by Ramesh Maharjan, Mayor of Kirtipur Nagarpalika, Saraswoti Khadka, Deputy Mayor of Kirtipur Nagarpalika, Ramsharan Paudel, Assistant Inspector General, Armed Police Force, Nepal, and others.

Source: Business Standard

National Farmer’s Day 2019

  • India is a land of Agriculture and farmers of India are considered to be the backbone of the economic development. Thus in the year 2001, the Government of India decided to observe December 23 every year as Kisan Diwas. The day is celebrated to promote awareness among the citizens of the country to understand the importance of the contributions of the farmers to the society and overall economic and social development of the country.
  • Kisan Diwas or National Farmers Day is observed on December 23 across the country. The day was chosen to honour the birth anniversary of the fifth Prime Minister of India, Choudhary Charan Singh. Chaudhary Charan was born on December 23, 1902.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to Chaudhary Charan Singh on his birth anniversary, have a look.

Source: India Today