Current Affairs of 29 December

International Rice Research Institute - Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the International Rice Research Institute's South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) campus to the nation in Varanasi. The centre will serve as a hub for rice research and training in South Asia.

Indian Social Science Congress - The 42nd Indian Social Science Congress was inaugurated by Manipur governor Dr Najma Heptulla in Odisha. The theme of the Congress was ‘Human Future in Digital Era.’ 

SAMPANN - Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a comprehensive pension management software SAMPANN to facilitate pensioners of the telecom department. SAMPANN, an acronym for System for Accounting and Management of Pension, will help in timely disbursement of pensions.

One District One Product - The One District, One Product Regional Summit was held at in Varanasi. One District One Product’ scheme is aimed at enhancing the skills of local people and increasing the reach of the  indigenous trades, crafts and products from small towns and small districts in the state. 

Ground Station for Glonass - Even as work on having India's own navigation system using the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) or NavIC constellation of satellites is going on in full swing, the Indian Space Research Organisation's (Isro) is gearing up to host a ground station for the Russian version of global positioning system-Global Navigation Satellite System (Glonass). The ground station, which will help Glonass become more efficient, will come up in Bengaluru.

Colin O'Brady
Colin O'Brady - A 33-year-old man Colin O'Brady from the United States has become the first person to complete a solo trek across Antarctica without any assistance. He finished the 1,500km journey across the frozen continent in 54 days, lugging his supplies on a sledge as he skied in bone-chilling temperatures from north to south. 

Loan For Microfinance - India’s institutional framework to support microfinance would get a boost with Reserve Bank of India clearing a proposal to dig in an existing Rs 1000-crore corpus for funding microlenders. Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) will now use the money to offer soft loans to MFIs on a condition that end borrowers should get loans at 15-17% rate, which is significantly lower than the prevailing 20-22% market rate.

Fraud Cases in Banks - According to data furnished by the Reserve Bank of India, between 2015 and 2017, private lender ICICI Bank penalized the highest number of employees for defrauding bank assets in the last three year out of 60 scheduled commercial banks operating in India. It is followed by State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank. In all, banks took action against a staggering 13,949 officials, of which 16%, or 2,236, belonged to ICICI.

UN Convention on Biological Diversity - India submitted its Sixth National Report (NR6) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), claiming that the country is on track to achieve its 2020 biodiversity targets (conservation of species and ecosystems) at the national level and is also contributing significantly towards achievement of the global goals. The Report contains details of what all the country has been doing to conserve and protect different species of flora and fauna.

UAE Resumed Diplomatic Relation with Syria - United Arab Emirates has resumed its diplomatic service at Damascus in Syria after six years of suspension signaling a thaw in the relations between the two countries, as also with the Arab world. UAE had closed its Embassy in the early years of the Syrian conflict.

Luka Modric
Luka Modric - Croatia captain Luka Modric was named Balkan Athlete of the Year.