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Important Current Affairs 8th December 2018

National News

State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART) Project
Over 49 companies including the Tata Group, Amazon, ITC, and Patanjali, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government’s ‘State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART)’ project, assisted by World Bank, to revamp the agricultural value chain and improve the price realisation for the farmer.
Project SMART entails an investment of Rs. 2,000 crore, of which World Bank contributed Rs. 1,500 crore while the State government contributed Rs. 430 crore. The balance Rs. 70 crore was raised by Village Social Transformation Foundation (VSTF) through its partners.
Significance
•    The project is giant step towards transformation of rural economy and empowerment of farmers and also sustainable agriculture through public-private partnership (PPP) model. 
•    It seeks to ensure higher production of crops and create robust market mechanism to enable farmers to reap higher remunerations for the yield. 

Appointments


It unites agriculture-oriented corporates and farmers by providing them common platform.
Ex-Diplomat Elected To UN's Socio-Economic, Cultural Panel 
Former senior Indian diplomat Preeti Saran has been elected unopposed to an Asia Pacific seat on the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) of the UN. Ms Saran will begin her four-year term on January 1, after another former Indian diplomat, Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, completes his third term on the CESCR at the end of this year.
About Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR):
•    The CESCR was set up in 1985 by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.
•    It was constituted with an aim to monitor on its behalf the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR), which has been ratified by 169 countries.
•    The countries that are parties to the covenant are required to submit reports to the CESCR every five years on how they protect the economic, social and cultural rights.

Science and Technology


China Launches 1st Mission to Land on the Far Side of the Moon
China has launched the first mission to land a robotic craft on the far side of the Moon. The Chang'e-4 mission will see a static lander and rover touch down in Von Kármán crater, located on the side of the Moon which never faces Earth. The payload blasted off atop a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The mission will pave the way for the country to deliver samples of Moon rock and soil to Earth.
Von Kármán crater is of interest to scientists because it is located within the oldest and largest impact feature on the Moon - the South Pole-Aitken Basin. This was probably formed by a giant asteroid impact billions of years ago.The landers will characterise the region's geology and the composition of rock and soil.
The mission is part of a larger Chinese programme of lunar exploration. The first and second Chang'e missions were designed to gather data from orbit, while the third and fourth were built for surface operations.

International News

UN launches new framework to strengthen fight against terrorism
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has launched a new framework to combat the scourge of international terrorism and coordinate efforts across the peace and security, humanitarian, human rights and sustainable development sectors. 
Termed the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact, the framework is an agreement between the UN chief, 36 organizational entities, the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the World Customs Organisation, to better serve the needs of Member States when it comes to tackling the scourge of international terrorism.

2023 is international year of millets: FAO 
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has decided to observe 2023 as the International Year of Millets, upon the request from the Indian government. 
This decision was taken at the 160th session of FAO Council, currently underway in Rome, which also approved India’s membership to the Executive Board of the World Food Program (WFP) for 2020 and 2021, it said.

Awards

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy conferred Skoch Award for National Significance

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India has been conferred the Skoch Award for National Significance at an event held recently in New Delhi. The award was received by Secretary, Ministry of New Renewable Energy Shri Anand Kumar.
The award has been conferred on the Ministry considering its purpose and critical role played in installing about 73 GW renewable energy capacity in the country. With 21 per cent of total installed capacity, within the year renewable energy grossed a magic figure of providing one billion units of electricity in the country.
Today, India ranks 4 in the world in wind energy capacity and 5th in solar & total renewable energy capacity installed in the world. India has played a critical role in setting up of international solar alliance. Further, India moved a resolution during the first meeting for making it a global initiative.



 

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