- Monsoons fail, 33% dip in food production likely
- Karnataka has had another difficult year with both the southwest and the northeast monsoons failing. It has rendered drinking water scarce and is likely to drag down food production by 33%.
- Although the summer crop is pending, the state government has already revised its food production target for the year 2018-19. At the beginning of the year, the government had estimated food production at 135 lakh tonnes, but it has now reduced that forecast to 126 lakh tonnes.
- Statistics for the southwest monsoon show 14 districts received deficient rainfall and seven districts received negative rainfall. However, since the departure from average was not more than -19%, they will be reported as districts that received normal rainfall.
- While poor rain and consecutive droughts has resulted in over dependence on groundwater, its non-availability has hurt most parts of the state with districts in North Karnataka affected the most.
· India opposes move to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as fifth province
- India voiced strong opposition to Pakistan’s reported move to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as its fifth province.
- The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir has been and shall remain part of India.
- India has called upon Pakistan to vacate all occupied territory.
· Luxembourg to become first country to make all public transport free
- Luxembourg is set to become the first countryin the world to make all public transport free, implementing the move in 2020.
- The move is aimed at addressing environmental issues and the problem of traffic congestion.
- Earlier this year, Luxembourg introduced free transport for all people under the age of 20.
· India to retain top position in remittances with USD 80 billion:World Bank
- The World Bank has said India will retain its position as the world’s top recipient of remittances this year with $80 billion.
- India is followed by China, Mexico, the Philippines and Egypt, according to World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief.
- A foreign remittance is money transferred from a foreign worker to their family or other individuals in their home countries.
· Vanessa Ponce de Leon crowned as Miss World
ð Miss Mexico Vanessa Ponce de Leon, 26, a Mexican model and volunteer, has been crowned Miss World at a glitzy event on the tropical Chinese island of Hainan. She holds a degree in international business, volunteers for “Migrantes en el Camino” and is on the board of directors of a rehab centre for girls. She was crowned as the 68th Miss World by last year’s winner, Manushi Chhillar of India, in the coastal city of Sanya.
ð First runner-up was Thailand’s Nicolene Pichapa Limsnukan, a 20-year-old studying business administration. Miss Belarus Maria Vasilevich, Miss Jamaica Kadijah Robinson and Miss Uganda Quiin Abenakyo were among the final five. It is the eighth time the Miss World final has been held in Sanya, which first hosted the pageant in 2003.
· Gangotri, Yamunotri included under PRASAD scheme
- The Centre has included Gangotri and Yamunotri in Uttrarakhand, Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh and Parasnath in Jharkhand under a central scheme to develop pilgrimage and heritage destinations in the country.
- With the new additions, the number of sites under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) launched by the ministry in 2014-15 has now become 41in 25 states.
- A total 24 projectsin 15 states have been approved with estimated expenditure of Rs 727.16 crore and a total amount of Rs 331.15 crore has been released for these projects under the scheme since its inception till date.
· Centre approved SCord to tackle smuggling
- In an attempt to tackle smuggling, the Central government has approved Anti-Smuggling National Coordination Centre(SCord) under the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).
- All the border agencies like BSF, ITBP, Assam Rifles, SSB and Coast Guards would be the members of SCord, which will help India to formulate a national anti-smuggling policy.
· Cabinet approved the Agriculture Export Policy
- Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhuannounced that the Union Cabinet approved the Agriculture Export Policy. The policy aims at increasing India’s exports to $60 billion by 2022 from the current $37 billion. The objectives of the policy are, apart from doubling farmers’ income, to diversify the export basket and destinations, and to boost high-value and value-added exports, with a focus on perishables.
- The policy also aims to promote the export of novel, indigenous, organic, ethnic, traditional and non-traditional agricultural products. It also aims to provide an institutional mechanism for market access, tackling barriers, and dealing with sanitary and phytosanitary issues.
- Prabhu said that agriculture exports have been increased to$37 billion from $30 billion in just one year. With this policy, it aims in increasing that to $60 billion by 2022.
· Centre notified amendments to the Citizenship Rules, 2009
- Union Home Ministryhas notified amendments to the Citizenship Rules, 2009, to include a separate column in the citizenship form for applicants belonging to six minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. Still, the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, is pending in Parliament. The Centre has made the changes under Section 18 of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The Ministry has notified new rules on December 3.
- Under the amendments, a separate entry in the form will ask the applicant, if they belong to one of the minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Sikhs and Christians.
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