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♦ Assembly elections 2018: K. Chandrashekhar Rao sworn in as Telangana CM
- Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) president K. Chandrashekhar Rao was sworn in as Chief Minister of Telangana once again on Thursday.
- Unlike Telangana, however, the ruling and opposition parties of the outgoing Assemblies in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram are switching sides. While Zoramthanga of Mizo National Front (MNF) will take over as the Chief Minister of Mizoram on Saturday, the Congress MLAs have endorsed party president Rahul Gandhi to decide the chief ministerial candidate.
- The BJP, after losing power in the Hindi heartland, will be conducting a series of review meeting in New Delhi, beginning Thursday. Party national president Amit Shah will preside over these meetings.
♦ Moody’s puts PFC & REC for ratings downgrade
- Moody’s Investors Service has placed on review for downgrade the Baa3 issuer ratings of Power Finance Corporation Limited (PFC) and REC Limited (REC) after government last week grant an ‘in principle’ approval for PFC acquisition of the government’s entire 52.6% stake in REC.
- Moody’s has placed on review for downgrade the (P) Baa3 foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program ratings and Baa3 foreign currency senior unsecured ratings of PFC and REC,” said a Moody’s statement adding that it has also placed on review for downgrade PFC and REC’s standalone credit profiles of Baa3.
- Moody’s review will assess whether PFC will be required to make an open offer to minority investors in REC, and thus acquire a stake greater than just the 52.6% government stake.
♦ Home Affairs has launched a Twitter account – @CyberDost
- The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has launched a Twitter account to spread awareness about cyber crimes and normal precautions to be taken.
- The Twitter handles – @CyberDost – is aimed at enhancing people’s basic knowledge about cyber crimes and precautions to be taken for prevention.
♦ Mary Kom Indian sportsperson has been honoured with Meethoileima title
- Ace Indian pugilist MC Mary Kom has been honoured with the title “Meethoileima” (par excellent queen) by the Manipur Government at a function in Imphal on December 11, 2018.
- Recently, Mary Kom has won the historic sixth gold medal at the 2018 Women’s World Boxing Championship in New Delhi. Now, she is the most successful boxer in the history of the championship and won the gold exactly 16 years after she had won it for the first time in 2002. She had won gold in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010 editions of the Championship.
♦ Jamal Khashoggi named Time magazine’s 2018 “Person of the Year”
- Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in October 2018 at his country’s embassy in Istanbul, has been named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” for his work in journalism along with other journalists who faced politcal persecution for their work.
- Time Magazine referred to Khashoggi as a “Guardian of the Truth”. The magazine has also honoured Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo — currently imprisoned in Myanmar among others.
♦ Rajiv Mehrishi Indian personality has been appointed as Vice-Chair of UN Panel of Auditors for 2019
- Rajiv Mehrishi, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, has been appointed as Vice-Chair of UN Panel of Auditors for the year 2019.
- The United Nations Panel of Auditors consists of External Auditors of the United Nations and its agencies. Presently, the panel consists of 11 countries — India, Germany, Chile, Canada, France, Italy, Philippines, Ghana, Indonesia, Switzerland and United Kingdom. Currently, the panel is chaired by CAG of the UK.
- The panel held its annual meeting in New York from 3 to 4 December 2018 and discussed various issues concerning audit of United Nations and the agencies under the United Nations System.The panel also elected the CAG of the UK as Chair of the Panel for another term (2019). The next meeting of the panel will be held in in Bonn, Germany in November-December 2019.
♦ Indo-China joint military exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand’ has started
- The armies of India and China has started the 7th edition of joint military exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand 2018’ from Dec 11-23 at Chengdu in China.
- The purpose of the joint military drill is to improve the capabilities of the two armies in fighting terrorism and promote mutual understanding. Both sides have fielded 100 personnel to take part in the exercise that focusses on tactical level operations in an International Counter Insurgency/Counter Terrorist environment as per UN mandate.
- The drills are being held after a gap of one year as they could not be held in 2017 because both armies were locked in a 73-day standoff at Doklam in the Sikkim sector.
♦ Arundhati Bhattacharya has been appointed as new SWIFT India Chairman
- Arundhati Bhattacharya, former chairman of State Bank of India (SBI) has been appointed as SWIFT India Chairman. She will succeed former banker M V Nair.
- SWIFT India is a joint venture of top Indian public and private sector banks and SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication).
♦ The portal ‘ENSURE’, which has been launched by Ministry of Agriculture
- Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Radha Mohan Singh launched an online portal ‘ENSURE’ – National Livestock Mission-EDEG developed by NABARD. The portal will be operated under the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries.
- Under the Mission’s component called Entrepreneurship Development and Employment Generation (EDEG), subsidy payment for activities related to poultry, small ruminants, pigs etc. through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) goes directly to the beneficiary’s account.
- The aim of the ENSURE is to connect with Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) and provide simple, useful and transparent system to the beneficiary. Under the new process, controlling officer/branch manager of the bank, after scrutinizing & sanctioning of proposal, uploads the subsidy claims in the portal. The subsidy will be approved within 30 days from the date of sanction of loan.
♦ Indian Air Force Indian Armed Force has conducted its first-ever exercise ‘CROSS BOW-18
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) has successfully conducted its first-of-its-kind exercise code-named CROSS BOW-18 from the Air Force Station at Suryalanka in Andhra Pradesh on 05th, 07th & 08th Dec 2018, both by day & night in an integrated networked environment.
- It’s a combined guided weapons firing of Surface-to-Air Missiles, which saw the successful firing of four different classes of missiles like Akash, Spyder, OSA-AK-M and IGLA. The exercise helps improve the combat skills of the missile squadron crew and also strengthen the country’s air defence preparedness.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♣
- Extradition (noun) – The action of surrendering/handing over a fugitive (a person who has escaped from being confined/accused of crime) from one jurisdiction to another by mutual agreements between the two countries. deportation, handover, expulsion.
- Flee (verb) – run away, take flight, escape.
- Fugitive (adjective) – escaping, runaway, fleeing.
- Throes (plural noun) – agony, pain, suffering/torment.
- Raging (adjective) – extreme, huge, severe.
- Tussle (noun) – fight, skirmish/scuffle; quarrel.
- Proceedings (plural noun) – lawsuit, action, litigation.
- Susceptibility (noun) – vulnerability, sensitivity, openness.
- Perception (noun) – insight, understanding, discernment.
- Adverse (adjective) – dangerous, unfavourable, disadvantageous.
Providing health for all
Japan and India are exchanging ideas and expertise in many projects to promote universal health coverage
Today, on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, I wonder how many readers are aware of what UHC is. According to the World Health Organisation, UHC means “ensuring that everyone, everywhere can access essential quality health services without facing financial hardship”. It sounds basic, yet the basics often pose a major challenge. Japan has been leading the international efforts towards UHC, including its inclusion in the sustainable development goals and G20 agenda under our chairmanship next year, because health is one of our fundamental rights.
India has taken the vital first step towards UHC through Ayushman Bharat. This challenge is reminiscent of the path that Japan took more than half a century ago. Japan created national health insurance coverage in 1961, when it was yet to take off economically. A major political decision was required to expand national health insurance and establish medical schools all over Japan. The implementation of UHC could only have been possible through an early and vast national investment, and through a comprehensive government effort, with the Ministries of Health, Finance and Education, as well as local governments, working together.
This investment has paid off. UHC has increased the number of healthy people and healthy workers in Japan. It has contributed to the economic miracle of Japan. Moreover, UHC has ensured social equity by functioning as a mechanism for redistribution of incomes. Even in the remotest of places in Japan, you do not have to worry about healthcare. The peace of mind which UHC ensures to the Japanese is an indispensable ingredient of our overall well-being.
We are also partnering with India in wide-ranging projects for better healthcare. Japan has previously worked with India to eradicate polio in India. Today, Japanese and Indian doctors are exchanging ideas and expertise at a research and control centre on diarrhoea established by Japan in Kolkata, and precious lives of newborns are being saved daily in a children’s hospital constructed in Chennai. In 17 cities across Tamil Nadu, urban healthcare systems are being strengthened with our cooperation.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Japan at the end of October, India and Japan signed a new Memorandum of Cooperation on healthcare to pursue the synergies between Ayushman Bharat and Japan’s Asia Health and Wellbeing Initiative. We aim to pursue our cooperation in various fields, such as honing skills of doctors in surgery of trauma as well as providing technical training for Indian nurses studying in Japanese caregiving facilities. We hope these efforts will lead to a better health ecosystem and the promotion of UHC in India. Japan is also willing to learn from India. For instance, Ayurveda can bring a new dimension to Japan’s healthcare system. The path towards UHC is not short. But India has taken the first bold step, and Japan will march along with India on this path, sharing its lessons, as a friend.
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