Current Affairs of 22 December


GST Council Reduced Rates
GST Council Reduced Rates
GST Council Reduced Rates - GST Council cut rates on 23 commonly used goods and services, including TV screens, movie tickets and power banks. The annual revenue implication of the rate cuts would be Rs 5,500 crore. The council rationalised the 28 per cent slab by bringing down the tax rate on seven items in the highest tax bracket, thereby leaving only 28 items in the slab. Now, the 28 per cent slab is restricted to only luxury and sin goods. The new tax rates will come into effect from January 1, 2019.

Train 18 Will Run Between Delhi And Varanasi
Train 18
Train 18 Will Run Between Delhi And Varanasi - The state-of-the-art engine-less Train 18 will run between Delhi and Varanasi. As many as 36 train set coaches have been planned, to be developed during the financial year 2018-2019 at Integral Coach Factory (ICF), located in Chennai. Train 18, the ‘Make in India’ engine-less train, recently became Indian Railways’ fastest train by crossing the 180 kmph mark during its trials. 

US Will Withdraw Troops From Afghanistan
US Troops in Afghanistan
US Will Withdraw Troops From Afghanistan - U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to pull a significant number of troops from Afghanistan. The move stunned and dismayed diplomats and officials in Kabul who are intensifying a push to end the 17-year conflict with the Taliban. Taliban already controls vast amounts of territory and is causing “unsustainable” Afghan troop casualties.

Partial Shutdown in USA
Partial Shutdown in USA
Partial Shutdown in USA - Democrats refused President Trump’s demand for $5 billion to start erecting his cherished Mexican border wall saying it was unnecessary, resulting in Congress being unable to pass a spending bill that would have kept the government fully funded and functioning. Without the money, numerous federal agencies including those related to homeland security, tax collection, law enforcement and transportation shut down.

Indian Stock Market Overtook Germany
Indian Stock Market Overtook Germany
Indian Stock Market Overtook Germany - India's ascent on the global stage has claimed another victory after its stock market overtook Germany to become the seventh largest in the world. The move reflects India's positive returns this year as companies' reliance on domestic demand enabled them to avoid the meltdown in other emerging markets spurred by Federal Reserve tightening and a trade war between the US and China.

Facebook is Developing Its Own Cryptocurrency stablecoin
Stablecoin
Facebook is Developing Its Own Cryptocurrency - Facebook is developing a cryptocurrency ‘stablecoin’ that will allow users to transfer money on its instant messaging app WhatsApp, according to a report by Bloomberg. Facebook is planning to target India’s remittance market through WhatsApp, which has over 200 million users in the country. Last year, India received $ 69 billion as remittances from its diaspora.

Sovereign Gold Bonds
Sovereign Gold Bonds
Sovereign Gold Bonds - The government said that it will launch the next tranche of sovereign gold bonds on December 24, offering a 2.5% annual rate of interest to investors. This is part of the government’s efforts to discourage import of the precious metal. Applications for the bond will be accepted from December 24 to December 28. The bonds will be issued to eligible applicants on January 1, 2019. The issue price of the bond will be Rs 3,119 per gram.

India Unmade: How Narendra Modi Broke the Economy
India Unmade
India Unmade: How Narendra Modi Broke the Economy - In his new book titled ‘India Unmade: How Narendra Modi Broke the Economy’, former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha has criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his policy decisions.

China Launched Satellite For Broadband Services
China Launched Satellite
China Launched Satellite For Broadband Services - China launched its first communication satellite to provide broadband internet services worldwide in an apparent bid to rival Google and other international firms. The satellite is the first in the Hongyun project planned by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC). The Hongyun project aims to build a space-based communications network to provide broadband internet connectivity to users around the world, especially those in the underserved regions.

US Federal Reserve Raised Interest Rate
US Federal Reserve
US Federal Reserve Raised Interest Rate - US Federal Reserve has raised its key interest rate for the fourth time this year to reflect the US economy's continued strength but signalled that it expects to slow its rate hikes next year. The quarter-point increase, to a range of 2.25 per cent to 2.5 per cent, lifted the Fed's benchmark rate to its highest point since 2008. It will mean higher borrowing costs for many consumers and businesses. US central bank's move came despite President Donald Trump's attacks in recent weeks on its rate hikes. He had complained that the moves are threatening the economy.

Global SME Business Summit
Global SME Business Summit
Global SME Business Summit - 15th Global SME Business Summit was organised by the Ministry of MSME and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with Government e-marketplace in New Delhi. The theme of the event was ‘Building Partnerships through Global Value Chains.’

UAE Will Provide $3 Billion to Pakistan
UAE and Pakistan
UAE Will Provide $3 Billion to Pakistan - The United Arab Emirates said it will soon deposit $3 billion in the central bank of Pakistan to help “enhance liquidity” as the country struggles with a balance of payments crisis. Pakistan is facing a deteriorating balance of payments crisis. 

India and Japan Signed Loan Agreement
India and Japan Signed Loan Agreement
India and Japan Signed Loan Agreement - India and Japan have signed Exchange of Notes and Loan Agreements on Japan’s Official Development Assistance Loan to India -
 Chennai Metro Project (Phase 2) (I) for Japanese Yen (JPY) 75.519 billion
Program for Japan-India Cooperative Actions towards Sustainable Development Goals in India for JPY 15.000 billion
Project for Dairy Development for JPY 14.978 billion.

Sea Levels Will Rise Along The Indian Coast
Sea Levels Will Rise
Sea Levels Will Rise Along The Indian Coast - Sea levels along the Indian coast are projected to rise varyingly by 3.5 inches to as much as 34 inches (2.8 feet) by the end of the century due to global warming. Sharing studies by the Hyderabad-based Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, government told the Lok Sabha that Mumbai and other west coast stretches such as Khambat and Kutch in Gujarat, parts of Konkan and south Kerala were “most vulnerable” to sea-level rise.

National Mathematics Day
National Mathematics Day
National Mathematics Day - Every year, the country celebrates National Mathematics Day on December 22 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.