December 2019

Daily Current Affairs (17-12-19)



Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Economy [Paper-II]: Recent fiscal and monetary policy issues and their impact, structure of Indian Banking and Non- Banking Financial Institutions and reforms

Why in News?

Bank customers will be able to transfer funds through NEFT around the clock on all days including weekends and holidays from December 16, 2019.

News in Detail

  • Individuals will be able to transfer money online any time as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed 24-hour National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) facility throughout all 365 days in a year.
  • This will provide customers with more flexibility to make payments at any time compared to the 8 am-6:30 pm deadline applicable till now.
  • NEFT transactions after usual banking hours of banks are expected to be automated transactions initiated using ‘Straight Through Processing (STP) modes by the banks.
  • People will also be able to transfer money online to other individuals on holidays, enabling them to make urgent transfers without having to wait for banks to open.
  • The existing discipline for crediting beneficiary’s account or returning the transaction (within 2 hours of settlement of the respective batch) to originating bank will continue.

What is NEFT?

  • It is a nation-wide payment system facilitating one-to-one funds transfer.
  • Started in November 2005, it was established and maintained by Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT). IDBRT is an institution exclusively focused on banking technology established by the Reserve Bank of India in 1996.
  • NEFT enables bank customers in India to transfer funds between any two NEFT-enabled bank accounts on a one-to-one basis. It is done via electronic messages.


  • The move is expected to further promote digital transactions in India as bank customers will now be able to transfer amounts higher than IMPS via NEFT on any given day.
  • Till now, only IMPS facility was available on all days, but with online money transfer capped at Rs two lakh.

[Source: Economic Times,]




Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Science and Technology [Paper-II]: ICT and Governance – various Government schemes promoting use of ICT


Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad launched the National Broadband Mission to provide broadband access to all villages by 2022.

What is National Broadband Mission?

  • It aims to fast track growth of digital communications infrastructure, bridge the digital divide, facilitate digital empowerment and inclusion and provide affordable and universal access of broadband for all.
  • NBM is part of government’s National Digital Communications Policy, 2018.

Objectives of NBM

  • Broadband access to all villages by 2022
  • Facilitate universal and equitable access to broadband services for across the country and especially in rural and remote areas
  • Laying of incremental 30 lakhs route km of Optical Fiber Cable and increase in tower density from 0.42 to 1.0 tower per thousand of population by 2024
  • Significantly improve quality of services for mobile and internet
  • Develop innovative implementation models for Right of Way (RoW) and to work with States/UTs for having consistent policies pertaining to expansion of digital infrastructure including for RoW approvals required for laying of OFC
  • Develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) to measure the availability of digital communications infrastructure and conducive policy ecosystem within a State/UT
  • Creation of a digital fiber map of the Digital Communications network and infrastructure, including Optical Fiber Cables and Towers, across the country
  • Investment from stakeholders of USD 100 billion (Rs 7 Lakh Crore) including Rs 70,000 crore from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
  • Address policy and regulatory changes required to accelerate the expansion and creation of digital infrastructure and services
  • Work with all stakeholders including the concerned Ministries / Departments/ Agencies, and Ministry of Finance, for enabling investments for the Mission
[Source: PIB]




Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Social Justice [Paper-I]: Rights Issues (Human rights, Women rights, SC/ST rights, Child rights, etc.)


India was ranked 112th among 153 countries in the annual Global Gender Gap Index for 2020, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

About the Report

  • The Report benchmarks countries on their progress towards gender parity in four dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment.
  • It is based on a methodology integrating the latest statistics from international organizations and a survey of executives.
  • The Report aims to serve as a compass to track progress on relative gaps between women and men on health, education, economy and politics.
  • Through this annual yardstick, stakeholders within each country are able to set priorities relevant in each specific economic, political and cultural context.

Key Findings

  • Globally, the average (population-weighted) distance completed to gender parity is at 68.6%, which is an improvement since last edition.
  • The largest gender disparity is in political empowerment. Only 25% of the 35,127 seats in parliaments around the world are occupied by women, and only 21% of the 3,343 ministers are women.
  • Projecting current trends into the future, the overall global gender gap will close in 99.5 years, on average, across the 107 countries covered continuously since the first edition of the Report.
  • Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world for the 11th time in a row. It has closed almost 88% of its overall gender gap, further improving since last year.
  • Iceland is followed by Norway (2nd, 84.2%), Finland (3rd, 83.2%) and Sweden (4th, 82.0%).
  • At the current pace, gender gaps can potentially be closed in 54 years in Western Europe, 59 years in Latin America and the Caribbean, 5 years in South Asia, 95 years in Sub Saharan Africa, 107 years in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 140 years in the Middle East and North Africa, 151 years in North America, and 163 years in East Asia and the Pacific.

Performance of India

  • India has closed two-thirds of its overall gender gap (score of 66.8%).
  • It has lost four positions since the previous edition, despite a small score improvement, as some countries ranked lower than India have improved more.
  • The economic gender gap runs particularly deep in India.
  • Among the 153 countries studied, India is the only country where the economic gender gap is larger than the political gender gap
  • India was ranked 18th in political empowerment and 4th in the number of years a female or a male ruled a state.
  • It ranks 149th in economic participation and opportunity and 117th in wage equality for similar work. The country ranked 112th in educational attainment and 150th in health and survival.
  • The wide Gender Gap in India is due to Religious and Historical Societal linkages. The process is much slower as compared to other countries because of attitudes prevailing in Indian societal culture.
  • Of the past 50 years, India was headed by a woman for 20 years (ranked 4th).
  • But today, female political representation is low: women make up only 14.4% of the parliament (ranked 122nd) and 23% of the cabinet (ranked 69th).
[Source: Indian Express, Livemint]



  • Amitabha Bagchi’s novel ‘Half The Night Is Gone’ has won the $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019, topping a shortlist of six works of fiction.
  • The winner was announced at the IME Nepal Literature Festival in Pokhara, Nepal.
  • Sridhar Patra was appointed as the chairman-cum-managing director of NALCO.
  • National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) is a Navratna CPSE under Ministry of Mines.
  • It was established on 7th January, 1981, with its registered office at Bhubaneswar.
  • Lt General Manoj Mukund Naravane was appointed as the new Chief of Army Staff.
  • He will succeed Army chief General Bipin Rawat, who is due to retire on December 31, 2019.
  • Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri formally launched DDA Portal 2 in New Delhi.
  • Residents of 1,731 unauthorised colonies can register their details and upload their documents for verification in the portal.
  • A total of 8,268 citizens have already registered on Portal 2 ever since it became operational.

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