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Important Current Affairs 31st December 2019

National

Nirmala Sitharaman releases Report on NIP for 2019-2025

• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on December 31 that India needs to spend about Rs. 100 lakh crore to achieve a GDP of USD 5 trillion by 2024-25.

• Sitharaman said that infrastructure projects worth Rs 100 lakh crore will have 39-39 percent share of Centre and States, while the remaining 22 percent of projects will be done by the private sector.

• Finance Minister highlighted that about Rs 25 lakh crore has been earmarked for the energy project, Rs 20 lakh crore for the road and about Rs 14 lakh crore for the railway projects under National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP).

11-day long ‘Dhanu Jatra’ begins at Bargarh in Odisha

• Dhanu jatra, an annual drama-based open air theatrical performance began in Bargarh, in western Odisha on December 31, 2019.

• The famous 11-day long ‘Dhanu Jatra-2019’ will continue till January 10, 2020.

• Dhanu Jatra is considered as the world’s largest open air theater, which also finds a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.

• The Jatra is based on the mythological story of Lord Krishna and his demon uncle King Kansa.

High-Level GoM Set Up To Speed Up Implementation of Rs 69,000 crore BSNL-MTNL Revival Plan

• Government has constituted a high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) to fast-track and oversee the smooth implementation of revival plan for state-owned telecom corporations BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd) and MTNL (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd).

• In October 2019, the government had approved Rs 69,000 crore revival package for BSNL and MTNL that includes:

• Merging the two loss-making firms,

• Monetising their assets and allocation of 4G spectrum

• Giving VRS to employees so that the combined entity turns profitable in two years

India’s forest & tree cover shows an increase of 5,188 sq. km in ‘India State of Forest Report’ 2019

• The Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar released the ‘India State of Forest Report (ISFR)’ 2019 on December 30, 2019, a biennial report by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), which assesses  the country’s forest resources.

• The ‘India State of Forest Report (ISFR)’ 2019 is the 16th edition of the report, which gives out data of not just forests but of mangrove, forest carbon, bamboo resources and forest fires as well.

International

Russia, Ukraine finalize deal on gas transit to Europe

• Russia and Ukraine have signed an agreement for the next five years on the transit of Russian gas to Europe via Kiev, Ukraine.

• The deal had a deadline of December 31st as the previous deal expires on the same day.

• According to the various media reports, about 18% of the European Union’s (EU) natural gas supply comes from Russia.

Sports

Cycling to be part of next Khelo India Games

• Third Khelo India Games will be started from January 10, 2020, where 6500 athletes from 37 teams will participate in the games.

• Avinash Joshi, CEO of Khelo India, recently announced that Lawn Bowls and Cycling will also be the part of Khelo India games for the first time.

• Apart from that, there will be an exhibition of indigenous games that will represent various sports of India.

Indian Olympic Association withdraws boycott of 2022 Commonwealth Games

• Indian Olympic Association (IOA) announced that it will not boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games for Shooting's exclusion.

• IOA also decided to submit a formal proposal to host next (2026 or 2030) commonwealth games.

• Indian Olympic Association said that India can host the event as it has already hosted the 2010 edition in Delhi NCR.

Appointment

General Manoj Mukund Naravane Takes Over as 28th Chief of Army Staff

• General Manoj Mukund Naravane took charge as the 28th Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on December 31, 2019.

• He succeeds General Bipin Rawat, who completed his term as the COAS on December 31.

• Prior to the appointment as the COAS , General Naravane served as the 40th Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) of the Indian Army.

ITBP Chief, SS Deswal, Given Additional Charge to Head CRPF

• Surjeet Singh Deswal, who is the incumbent Director General (DG) of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has been given the additional charge to head Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), as the new head has not been announced yet.

• Deswal, a 1984-batch Haryana cadre IPS officer will head the country’s largest paramilitary force CRPF with effect from December 31, 2019, till the appointment and joining of the successor or until further orders, whichever is earlier

Ranking

Indore grabs first position in cleanliness survey

• The central government has recently announced the cleanliness survey of India. Indore emerged as India's cleanest city for the fourth time in a row.

• Bhopal ranked second (for April-June quarter) while Rajkot stood second (for July-September quarter) in the results.

• Surat (Gujarat) stood third in the first quarter and Navi Mumbai grabbed the third position in the second quarter.

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