Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 17-12-2020

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Useful compilation of Civil Services oriented - Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 17-12-2020

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    • SECTION 1 - TEN NEWS HEADLINES
  1. Polity & Governance – SC moots panel for farmer-govt. talks – Talks between the Union government and farmer leaders on the three controversial agriculture laws had broken no ground and were bound to fail, the Supreme Court said on December 16. A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde, proposed the setting up of a committee of farmer leaders from across the country, including the Bharatiya Kisan Union that has been at the forefront of the protests, and government representatives to resolve the issue. The court has impleaded BKU (Rakesh Tikait), BKU-Sidhupur (Jagjeet S. Dallewal), BKU-Rajewal (Balbeer Singh Rajewal), BKU-Lakhowal (Harinder Singh Lakhowal), BKU-Dakaunda (Buta Singh Burjgill), BKU-Doaba (Manjit Singh Rai) and Kul Hind Kisan Federation (Prem Singh Bhangu). Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the farmers had turned their back on the government’s efforts to talk.
  2. Polity & Governance – Cabinet clears spectrum auction – The Union Cabinet has approved the auction of 2,251.25 megahertz of spectrum with a reserve price of ₹3.92 lakh crore, a move that should help boost the quality of 4G telecom services in the country. Spectrum in the frequency bands of 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz, 2,300MHz and 2,500MHz would be offered for 20 years. The notice inviting applications would be issued this month and the auction conducted by March 2021. Bidders will have to comply with conditions, including block size, in which bidders will be able to submit their bids, spectrum cap or the maximum amount of spectrum that can be held by a bidder after completion of auction, roll-out obligations and payment terms.
  3. Covid-19 – Covaxin Phase-1 trials show promising results – Phase-1 results show that Covaxin, a COVID-19 vaccine candidate, is safe. It was well-tolerated in all dose groups and generated a “robust immune response”. The interim findings from the Phase-1 placebo-controlled randomised double-blind trial on the safety and immunogenicity of three different formulations of BBV152 reported the results of the trial on 375 participants, with one adverse event which was found to be unrelated to the vaccine. The vaccine is being developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  4. Polity & Governance – Citing national security, govt set to bar Chinese telecom gear – In a first, the government has decided to issue a National Security Directive for the telecommunication sector to mandate scrutiny of telecom equipment and sources, in what is seen as its latest economic offensive against Chinese equipment vendors, amid heightened tension at the Ladakh border. The action, finalised by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), will result in a list of trusted sources and products from the government, which will also amend the licence norms for telecom companies. Although the government refrained from specifying the country that will be impacted, it was clearly aimed at India’s aggressive neighbour, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE likely to face enhanced scrutiny, and even rejections, to ward off any covert operation and possible threat to the telecom infrastructure.
  5. Economy – SBI sees recovery narrowing FY21 GDP contraction to 7.4% – India’s GDP is expected to shrink 7.4% in FY21 on a better-than-projected recovery, SBI said in a research report, upgrading its earlier forecast of a 10.9% contraction. SBI’s research team also opined that it would take seven quarters from the fourth quarter of FY21 for GDP to reach the pre-pandemic level in nominal terms. It said the revised GDP estimates were based on SBI’s ‘Nowcasting Model’ with 41 high-frequency indicators associated with industry activity, service activity, and the global economy. Based on this model, GDP growth for third quarter was forecast to be about 0.1% (with downward bias). Out of the 41 high-frequency indicators, 58% were showing acceleration in the third quarter. Apart from Q3, the growth in Q4 would also be in positive territory (at 1.7%). FY22 GDP growth was forecast at 11%, primarily due to base effect. It further said even as growth outlook had improved, the decline in government expenditure had been quite significant to ₹3.62 lakh crore in Q2, from ₹4.86 lakh crore in Q1.
  6. Economy – U.S. puts India on ‘currency manipulators’ monitoring list – The U.S. Treasury has labeled Switzerland and Vietnam as currency manipulators and added three new names, including India, to a watch list of countries it suspects of taking measures to devalue their currencies against the dollar. The U.S. Treasury has said that in the year through June 2020 Switzerland and Vietnam had intervened heavily in currency markets to prevent effective balance of payments adjustments. To be labeled a manipulator by the U.S. Treasury, countries must at least have a $20 billion-plus bilateral trade surplus with the U.S., foreign currency intervention exceeding 2% of GDP and a global current account surplus exceeding 2% of GDP.
  7. Study/Research – With just 1 in 5 workers ‘skilled’, India ranks 129 in Human Development Report – Barely one in five Indians in the labour force is “skilled” according to the just released Human Development Report (HDR) 2020. With the figure at 21.2%, India is 129th among 162 countries for which this data is available. The countries closest to India in sharing this dubious distinction are Ivory Coast, Sudan, Liberia and Cameroon, most of which are classified in the low human development category. Others with similar level of skill in their labour force are mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. The United Nations Development Programme’s HDR ranks countries according to a wide range of human development parameters apart from core economic factors like GDP and per capita income. The report defines skilled labour as people who are 15 years or older and have “intermediate” or “advanced” level of education as classified by the Unesco.
  8. Education – JEE (Main) to be held four times in 2021 – The Joint Entrance Examination (Main) will be held in February, March, April and May of 2021. With school syllabi having been reduced due to the pandemic, the question paper pattern has also been changed. The dates are: February 23-26, March 15-18, April 27-30, and May 24-28. According to the National Testing Agency, which conducts the exam, online applications can be submitted till January 16, with the application portal reopening after each session.
  9. Education – Modi to be first PM at AMU event since 1964 – PM Modi will be the chief guest at Aligarh Muslim University’s centenary celebrations on December 22. The last time an incumbent PM attended an AMU event was in 1964, when Lal Bahadur Shastri delivered the convocation address. Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank will also be attending the AMU event. Earlier, AMU officials had said that President Ram Nath Kovind would be attending the centenary celebrations. Now he has deferred his plan and will be attending in February 2021. All events will be held online as Covid-19 restrictions are in place.
  10. Economy – Cabinet clears ₹3,500-cr. subsidy for sugar exports – The Centre has approved a ₹3,500-crore subsidy to sugar mills to incentivise them to export 60 lakh tonnes of surplus stock in the 2020-21 season, helping them to clear payment arrears due to cane farmers. The decision would benefit five crore cane farmers and an equal number of mill workers. The move comes at a time when thousands of farmers, including a group of cane farmers from U.P., are agitating on the borders of the national capital. The sugar industry as well as the farmers were in crisis with production at 310 lakh tonnes against the annual domestic consumption demand of 260 lakh tonnes.

Important Exam Notifications

S. No

Institution

Exam or Post Name

Vacancies or Seats

Qualification

Last Date to Apply

Link for Details

1

CSIR-NAL

Junior Secretariat Assistant, Junior Stenographer

24

12th Class

27-12-2020

http://khoj.nal.res.in/Khojadmin/jsp/postdetails.jsp

2

Cochin Shipyard Ltd          

Project Officer, Medical Officer

8

Degree (Engg), MBBS

31-12-2020

https://cochinshipyard.com/uploads/career/e22aa4172d69d4632f429b47261ee1b5.PDF

3

CLRI

Pro. Asso. I, II, Pro. Asst., Sc. Admin.

31

DMLT, Diploma, Degree, PG

23-12-2020

http://www.clri.org/WriteReadData/Opportunity/1903140857_Notification-No.4-2020.pdf

4

MNIT, Jaipur

Librarian, Dy Registrar, Asst Registrar

17

B.E/ B.Tech, PG (Relevant Disciplines)

16-01-2021

http://www.mnit.ac.in/cms/uploads/2020/12/Advertisement_-_Administrative_Staff_-_17.12_.2020_(1)_.pdf

5

NTPC Limited

Executive, Head of Mine Surveyor, Asst Mine Surveyor

19

Diploma, Degree (Engg)

30-12-2020

http://open.ntpccareers.net/2020_ExpSenMgmtExt/index_files/adeng.pdf

 
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    • SECTION 2 - DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS
  • [message]
    • 1. CONSTITUTION AND LAW (Prelims, GS Paper 2, Essay paper)
1.1 Not Available Today
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    • 2. ECONOMY (Prelims, GS Paper 3, Essay paper
2.1 India Post Payments Bank launches ‘DakPay’
 

 
Highlights –
  • Union Minister for Communications, Electronics and IT, and Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad has launched digital payments app ‘DakPay’ by India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), which will provide doorstep financial assistance to customers.
  • DakPay offers online payments and home delivery of financial services.
  • This innovative service is likely to give access to banking services and postal products online. It is a unique concept where one can order and avail postal financial services at doorstep.
  • Services by DakPay include Domestic Money Transfers, Scan QR code and make payment for services/merchants digitally (Virtual debit card & with UPI), enabling cashless ecosystem through biometrics, providing interoperable banking services to the customers of ANY BANK (AePS) and Utility Bill Payment services.

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    • 3. ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY (Prelims, GS Paper 3, Essay paper)

3.1 Not Available Today  

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    • 4. FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Prelims, GS Paper 2, Essay paper)

4.1 Martyred Intellectuals Day 2020
 

 
Highlights – 
  • Martyred Intellectuals Day is observed on 14 December in Bangladesh to commemorate those intellectuals who were killed by Pakistani forces and their collaborators during the 1971 Liberation War, particularly on 25 March and 14 December 1971.
  • On 14 December 1971, just two days before Bangladesh got liberation, the Pakistani occupation forces with the help of their local collaborators named Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams, went on a torture and killing spree of the most prominent intellectuals of the country.
  • The killings were undertaken with the goal of annihilating the intellectual class of what was then East Pakistan.
  • Two days after the events of 14 December, on 16 December, Bangladesh became independent through the surrender of Pakistani forces.
  • The horror of the torture and killing came to light after Bangladesh attained independence on 16 December 1971.
  • In memory of those were killed, a memorial known as the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial (Badhya Bhumi Smriti Soudha) was built at Rayer Bazaar, Mohammadpur Thana in Dhaka.
  • The memorial was designed by architect Farid U Ahmed and Jami Al Shafi.
  • The initial proposal for a memorial at Rayer Bazar was brought forward by Projonmo 71 (organisation of the children of the martyrs of liberation war), who also laid a temporary foundation stone in 1991.
4.2 News Round-up – India and the World
 

  • External Affairs Minister in Dec 2020 held a virtual conversation with Roberto Alvarez, Foreign Minister of Dominican Republic.
  • India and the US signed Memorandum of Understanding on Intellectual Property cooperation. The MoU will facilitate exchange and dissemination of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP among the public, and between and among the industry, universities, research and development organizations, and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
  • The fifth presidium meeting of the BRICS Media Forum was held via video link on Nov 30, 2020, with members pledging joint efforts to improve the forum mechanism and step up post-COVID-19 exchanges and cooperation among media organisations of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).
  • During the inaugural meeting of the Counternarcotics Working Group (CNWG), held virtually on November 24, India and the US agreed to enhance their data sharing operations to combat the production, distribution, diversion, and export/import of drugs and precursor chemicals.
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called on UAE's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Nov 29, 2020 and discussed with him the prospects for economic cooperation between India and the Gulf country in the post-COVID-19 era.
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Omani counterpart Badr Albusaidi on Dec 2, 2020 discussed ways to bolster bilateral cooperation. The two leaders also exchanged views on regional and international issues.
  • Oman has announced to establish Oman-India Friendship Association, in what would be the first such initiative in West Asia led by the Foreign Ministry. This was announced by Oman’s Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr Albusaidi on Nov 29, 2020.
  • China has started importing Indian rice for the first time in at least three decades due to tightening supplies and an offer from India of sharply discounted prices. India is the world’s biggest exporter of rice and China is the biggest importer. Beijing imports around 4 million tonnes of rice annually but has avoided purchases from India, citing quality issues.
  • M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India & Chair of the SCO Council of Heads of Government in 2020, launched the first ever SCO Online Exhibition on Shared Buddhist Heritage, during the nineteenth Meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government (SCO CHG), held on November 30, 2020 in New Delhi, in videoconference format.
  • Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman delivered a Keynote Address at the inauguration of the 20th Edition of Sri Lanka Economic Summit (SLES) 2020 in virtual format on December 1, 2020. The theme for this year’s event is “Roadmap for Take-off: Driving a People – Centric Economic Revival”.
  • Exim Bank released a study titled ‘Building Infrastructure: Opportunities for India’ on Dec 3, 2020 during the Inaugural Session of the 6th India-CLMV Business Conclave 2020. CMLV comprises Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR and Vietnam.
  • The US House of Representatives has passed a legislation that would establish an exchange initiative between the US and India to study the work and legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. The Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act authorises the State Department, in cooperation with the Indian government, to establish an annual educational forum for scholars from both countries that focuses on the legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
  • India on Dec 4, 2020 summoned the Canadian High Commissioner and conveyed to him that the comments made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and some other leaders there on the farmers’ agitation constituted an “unacceptable interference” in the country’s internal affairs.
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    • 5. GOVERNMENT SCHEMES (Prelims, GS Paper 2, GS Paper 3)
5.1 Not Available Today
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    • 6. MISCELLANEOUS (Prelims, Various GS Papers)
6.1 News Round-up – Corporate World
 

 
  • IndianOil launched premium grade Petrol (Octane 100) on Dec 1, 2020. Branded as XP100, the premium grade petrol was launched across ten cities by Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
  • Engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) said it has entered into a sales agreement with Rolls-Royce for its UK-based integrated marine automation solutions provider Servowatch Systems. The move is in line with the company’s plan to divest its non-core assets.
  • TVS Motor has acquired Intellicar Telematics Private Limited, an integrated IoT solution with fleet tracking and predictive maintenance solutions to a wide range of vehicle types.
  • Data giant S&P Global Inc has agreed to buy IHS Markit Ltd in a deal worth $44 billion that will be 2020’s biggest merger, creating a heavyweight in the increasingly competitive market in financial information.
  • Facing regulatory backlash worldwide, the Libra Association, which manages Facebook's cryptocurrency project, has decided to change its name to Diem Association in a bid to reinforce its organisational independence. The Diem Association (diem means day in Latin) will have its subsidiary called Diem Networks to serve as the payment system operator.
  • Fintech major Paytm said it will waive all charges on merchant transactions, and enable its merchant partners to accept payments from Paytm wallet, UPI apps and RuPay cards at zero charges. Paytm will absorb Rs 600 crore in MDR charges annually by banks and other charges to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) during the ongoing pandemic.
  • 'Pandemic' has been chosen as the top word of 2020 by Merriam-Webster dictionary. With roots in Latin and Greek, pandemic is a combination of pan, for all, and demos, for people or population.
  • Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has topped the Fortune India-500 list for the second straight year, accounting for seven per cent of cumulative revenues and 11 per cent profit of the companies featured. RIL is followed by Indian Oil Corporation, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, State Bank of India and Bharat Petroleum Corporation in top-5.
  • Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India, is among six people named “Asians of the Year” by Singapore’s leading daily, The Straits Times for their work in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has collaborated with the University of Oxford and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for making the COVID-19 vaccine, “Covishield”, and is conducting trials in India. The other five named in the list are Chinese researcher Zhang Yongzhen, China’s Major-General Chen Wei, Japan’s Dr Ryuichi Morishita, Singapore’s Professor Ooi Eng Eong and South Korean businessman Seo Jung-jin.


  • Media executive Uday Shankar has been named as the President-Elect of industry chamber FICCI for the year 2020-21. Shankar is the President of The Walt Disney Company for Asia Pacific and the Chairman of Star and Disney India.
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    • 7. POLITY (Prelims, GS Paper 2)
7.1 No Winter Session of Parliament in 2020
 
Highlights – 
  • The government has said there will be no Winter Session of Parliament in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Parliament will meet for the Budget Session in January 2021.
  • The winter session of Parliament normally starts from the last week of November or the first week of December.
  • The Constitution broadly stipulates one major rule that there should not be a gap of more than six months between two sessions of Parliament.
  • However, it has been a convention to hold three sessions of Parliament – budget, monsoon and winter – in a year.
7.2    Goa Liberation Day 2020
 
 
Highlights –
  • Goa Liberation Day is observed on December 19 every year in India.
  • The Goa Liberation Day is celebrated in commemoration of the Indian armed forces freeing Goa from Portuguese rule.
  • Goa, an Indian state, was liberated on December 19, 1961, from around 450 years of Portuguese rule.
  • The BJP government in the state has already announced various programmes from December 19, 2020 to December 19, 2021 to mark the diamond jubilee of the Liberation Day and requested Rs 100 crore from the Centre.
History –
  • It was following the success of Operation Vijay, that Goa was finally relieved from foreign rule.
  • Considered as one of the most significant historic events in Goa’s history before and post-independence, this military operation had brought a complete end to the long dominion of the Portuguese rule.
  • Even after the independence of India from British Rule, Goa still remained under the Portuguese. However, looking back to history we get to know that the Portuguese were not quite ready to free Goa and let it assimilate with Union of Independent India.
  • Though there were many requests made from our government to the Portuguese empire regarding this issue, every single one of them went unheard.
  • Thus, the government decided to take some concrete steps in this direction. So, towards the end of 1961, Indian Armed Forces were deployed within the Portuguese occupied boundaries.
  • During this time there were also many rumours which claimed that the Portuguese have supersonic interceptors and air-force on stand-by to defeat the Indian army, but in the end, it was the Indian side which won.
  • It is said that on December 17, 1961 close to 30,000 Indian ground troops successfully conquered the Portuguese navy amounting to 3,000 men which led to the formal closure of the issue and merger of Goa to the Union of India.

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    • 8. SOCIAL ISSUES (Prelims, GS Paper 1, GS Paper 2)

8.1 NY Nurse – the first American to receive FDA-approved Covid vaccination
 

 
Highlights – 
  • Sandra Lindsay, a New York City intensive care unit nurse has become the first person in the US to receive a coronavirus vaccine.
  • Lindsay was inoculated at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in the New York City borough of Queens, an early epicentre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, receiving applause on a livestream with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
  • Similar scenes played out at select hospitals in other cities, including Los Angeles, where California Governor Gavin Newsom applauded as a Kaiser Permanente emergency room nurse rolled up her sleeve for a needle jab on live television.
  • The made-for-TV events, the first US coronavirus immunisations outside of clinical trials were part of a broad campaign by public health authorities and political leaders to reassure Americans of the vaccine’s safety as they launched a national immunisation program of unprecedented scope.
  • Developed by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE, the vaccine, given as two doses three weeks apart, won US emergency-use authorization on December 11.
  • The vaccine's arrival provided hope as the country has lost 300,000 lives till now. More than 16 million US coronavirus cases have been recorded to date.
Other details –
  • The initial doses have been earmarked for healthcare professionals and nursing home residents, with essential workers, elderly people and individuals with chronic health conditions next in line.
  • As part of a national security protocol aimed at ensuring continuity of government in the event of an emergency, senior leaders in the executive branch, Congress and judiciary were also being offered early vaccines.
  • It will take months before vaccines become widely available to the public at large, and health officials have warned Americans to remain diligent about social distancing and the wearing of face masks to curb virus transmissions.
  • US Operation Warp Speed top adviser Moncef Slaoui said the plan is to have about 40 million vaccine doses, enough for 20 million people distributed by year's (2020) end. That would include vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna Inc.
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    • 9. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (Prelims, GS Paper 3)
9.1 Not Available Today
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    • 10. FACTS, CHARTS, RANKINGS and EDITORIALS (Prelims + GS Mains)
10.1 Not Available Today
 
10.2 Daily dose of  FIVE Facts -
  • Gujarat hosted the 80th All India Presiding Officers’ conference in Nov 2020?
  • US-based investment company T. Rowe Price is a major shareholder in UTI Mutual Fund.
  • Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has constituted a committee chaired by Shashi Shekar Vempati to review guidelines on Television Rating agencies in India.
  • WEF released its ‘Future of Jobs Report 2020’ in October.
  • MasterCard and CAIT (Confederation Of All India Traders) have partnered with Indian NGO ACCESS to launch the Small Business Support Coalition.
10.3 Today's best editorials to read
  • We offer you 7 excellent editorials from across 10 newspapers we have scanned. 
CLICK HERE TO OPEN AND READ!

  • [message]
    • SECTION 3 - MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions)

Solve the online quiz given, right now. Check scores, and relative performance!





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revenues,1,Technology and environmental issues in India,16,Telecom,1,Terroris,1,Terrorism,64,Terrorist acts,1,Terrorist organisations and leaders,3,The Hindu editorials analysis,58,Tournaments,1,Tournaments and competitions,3,Treaties and Alliances,1,Treaties and Protocols,16,Trivia and Miscalleneous,1,Trivia and miscellaneous,34,UN,98,United Nations,2,UPSC Mains GS I,486,UPSC Mains GS II,2917,UPSC Mains GS III,2367,UPSC Mains GS IV,159,US,59,USA,2,Warfare,2,World and Indian Geography,24,World Economy,311,World figures,15,World Geography,15,World History,20,World Poilitics,1,World Politics,425,WTO,1,WTO and regional pacts,1,अंतर्राष्ट्रीय संस्थाएं,10,गणित सिद्धान्त पुस्तिका,13,तार्किक कौशल,10,निर्णय क्षमता,2,नैतिकता और मौलिकता,24,प्रौद्योगिकी पर्यावरण मुद्दे,15,बोधगम्यता के मूल तत्व,2,भारत का प्राचीन एवं मध्यकालीन इतिहास,47,भारत का स्वतंत्रता संघर्ष,19,भारत में कला वास्तुकला एवं साहित्य,11,भारत में शासन,18,भारतीय कृषि एवं संबंधित मुद्दें,10,भारतीय संविधान,14,महत्वपूर्ण हस्तियां,6,यूपीएससी मुख्य परीक्षा,90,यूपीएससी मुख्य परीक्षा जीएस,117,यूरोपीय,6,विश्व इतिहास की मुख्य घटनाएं,16,विश्व एवं भारतीय भूगोल,24,स्टडी मटेरियल,265,स्वतंत्रता-पश्चात् भारत,14,
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PT's IAS Academy: Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 17-12-2020
Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 17-12-2020
Useful compilation of Civil Services oriented - Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 17-12-2020
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PT's IAS Academy
https://civils.pteducation.com/2020/12/Daily-Current-Affairs-Civil-Services-DCA-CS-17-12-2020.html
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https://civils.pteducation.com/2020/12/Daily-Current-Affairs-Civil-Services-DCA-CS-17-12-2020.html
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