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Current Affairs 31 October 2020

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Top 20 Current Affairs of 31 October 2020


Harsh Vardhan Launches DST Initiative SERB–POWER for Women ScientistsDST launches schemes for women scientists researchers in science and engineering

i.On October 29, 2020 Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science & Technology e-launched a scheme titled ‘SERB-POWER’(Science and Engineering Research Board-Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research), which is designed exclusively for women scientists.
ii.The scheme has been initiated by SERB, a Statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.
Harsh Vardhan– Chandni Chowk, New Delhi
<<Read Full News>>

India and Maldives get Three new UNESCO Biosphere ReservesUNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves

On October 29, 2020, International Coordinating Council (ICC) of UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme included 3 sites to the list of UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves. They are Panna Biosphere Reserve (Madhya Pradesh) in India, Fuvahmulah Biosphere Reserve (Maldives) and Addu Atoll Biosphere Reserve (Maldives).
The MAB-ICC which met online from 27-28th October, 2020 approved these additions.
About UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization):
Director-General – Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters – Paris, France
<<Read Full News>>

President signs Ordinance to Constitute Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining areasPresident promulgates Ordinance to constitute Air Quality Management Commission in NCR

On October 29, 2020, President Ram Nath Kovind promulgated the ‘Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020’ for Air Quality Management in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining areas.
The ordinance proposes the setting up of a permanent commission which will work for better coordination, research, identification and resolution of problems surrounding air quality index and other connected issues.
About Delhi:
Chief Minister – Arvind Kejriwal
Governor – Anil Baijal
<<Read Full News>>

Kabartal Wetland of Bihar Designated as Ramsar SiteKabartal-in-Bihar-designated-as-Ramsar-Sites

i.On October 16, 2020 Ramsar Convention declared Kabartal Wetland also known as Kanwar Jheel in Begusarai, Bihar as a site of international importance. Kabartal Wetland has been included in the ‘List of Wetlands of International Importance’ established by Article 2.1 of the convention.
ii.After designating Asan Conservation Reserve(ACR), Dehradun, Uttarakhand and Kabartal Wetland, Begusarai, Bihar, as Ramsar sites, the total number of Ramsar Sites in India is 39, the highest in South Asia.
About Secretariat of The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands: 
Secretariat– Gland, Switzerland
Secretary General– Martha Rojas Urrego
<<Read Full News>>

Cabinet Approvals on October 29, 2020Cabinet-approval-on-October-29-2020

On October 29, 2020, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the following proposals which were detailed by Union Minister Prakash Keshav Javadekar, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting during a press conference.

  • Cabinet approves Externally Aided Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project – Phase II and Phase III
  • Cabinet approves Extension of Norms for Mandatory Packaging in Jute Materials under the Jute Packaging Material (JPM) Act, 1987.
  • Cabinet approves Mechanism for procurement of ethanol by Public Sector OMCs under EBP Programme

About Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB):
Establishment– January 2016
President– Jin Liqun
Headquarters– Beijing, China
Members– 103 Nations
About World Bank (WB):
Establishment- 1944
President– David Robert Malpass
Headquarters– Washington, D.C., United States (US)
Members– 189 Countries
<<Read Full News>>

Cabinet approval with Foreign Countries on October 29, 2020Cabinet-approval-with-Foreign-countries

i.On October 29, 2020, Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the following proposals:

  • The Union Cabinet gave its approval for signing a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) between India and Japan in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to promote human capacity building and further development of the startup ecosystem.
  • The Union Cabinet has also approved the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Cambodia on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine through joint initiatives and technology development.

About Cambodia:
Capital– Phnom Penh
Currency– Cambodian riel
Prime Minister– Hun Sen
About Japan:
Capital– Tokyo
Currency– Japanese yen
Prime Minister– Yoshihide Suga
<<Read Full News>>

PM Modi Inaugurates 4th Edition of 2020 India Energy Forum by CERAWeekPM-Modi-Inaugurates-4th-edition-of-India-Energy-Forum

On October 26, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Inaugurated the 4th Edition of India Energy Forum by CERAWeek (Cambridge Energy Research Associates). CERAWeek is a global platform to understand best-practices, discuss reforms, and inform strategies for accelerating investments into Indian Oil and Gas value chain.
i.The Theme of 2020 edition is “India’s Energy Future in a world of Change”.
ii.This is the fifth such event organized by NITI Aayog and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. 
About Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas:
Union Minister – Dharmendra Pradhan
Headquarters – New Delhi
<<Read Full News>>


Nitin Gadkari: Feni Bridge connecting India & Bangladesh to be completed By December 2020Feni Bridge Connecting India-Bangladesh Will Be Completed By Dec 2020

i.On 27th October 2020, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport &Highways announced that the 1.8 kilometer Feni Bridge, the Reinforced Cement Concrete(RCC) bridge over the river Feni which connects Sabrum in Tripura, India and Ramgarh in Chittagong, Bangladesh will be completed by December 2020.
ii.The announcement was made over a virtual event organised for laying foundation stone on 9 national highway projects in Tripura.
About Tripura:
Chief Minister– Biplab Kumar Deb
Governor– Ramesh Bais
Capital– Agartala
<<Read Full News>>

India, Mexico hold 8th Joint Commission Meeting; agree to strengthen ‘Privileged Partnership’India-&-Mexico-to-further-work-on-strengthening-Privileged-Partnership

The 8th India-Mexico Joint Commission Meeting was held virtually on 29th October, 2020. The meeting was co-chaired by S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India and Marcel Ebrard, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Mexican States.
Key Points:
i.Both countries appreciated the progress made in bilateral trade and commercial relations between India and Mexico.
ii.The Countries agreed to strengthen their ‘Privileged Partnership’.
iii.They agreed to add new momentum in the fields of Trade and Commerce, Agriculture, Health, Space, Science & Technology, Energy, Culture & Education.
iv.The two sides exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, in context of post Covid economic recovery plans.
v.Based on convergence of view on global and regional issues, both sides agreed to coordinate closely at multilateral forums.
About Mexico:
President – Andrés Manuel López Obrador
Capital – Mexico City
Currency – Mexican Peso (MXN)


IFSCA approves Bullion Exchange Regulations, 2020 & Global In-House Centres Regulations, 2020IFSCA-approves-two-new-regulations

i.On October 27, 2020, the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) approved the International Financial Services Centres Authority (Bullion Exchange) Regulations, 2020 and International Financial Services Centres Authority (Global In-House Centres) Regulations, 2020 during a meeting chaired by Injeti Srinivas, Chairman of IFSCA.
ii.The Bullion Exchange Regulations, 2020 are approved to provide an integrated platform for all the market intermediaries to facilitate transparency in the bullion market and standardization of bullion contracts.
iii.The Global In-House Centres) Regulations, 2020 are for GICs providing financial service to provide services relating to financial products and financial services.
About International Financial Services Centre Authority (IFSCA):
On April 28, 2020, the Union government notified the setting up of the IFSCA as a unified authority to regulate all financial services in IFSCs across the country.

  • Injeti Srinivas was appointed as the first chairman of IFSCA.
  • Headquarter– Gandhinagar, Gujarat

<<Read Full News>>

RBI Revises Norms for Housing Finance Firms: October 2020RBI revises norms for housing finance firms

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released final guidelines for housing finance companies (HFC) stating that these home financiers  should have at least 60% of their net assets deployed in the business of providing finance for housing by March 31, 2024, with individual loans making up at least 50% of all assets.

  • Also HFCs should also have minimum net owned funds (NOF) of Rs 20 crore to commence housing finance as its principal business or carry on the business of housing finance as its principal business.
  • The new rules are based on the recommendations made in July. They also mandate HFCs to ensure sufficient high-quality liquid assets to survive an acute liquidity stress scenario lasting for 30 days.

Criteria for HFCs not having 60% of its net assets deployed for housing loans
They must get 50% of its books utilised for home loans by March 31, 2022, 55% by March 31, 2023 and 60% by March 31, 2024. Minimum percentage of total assets towards housing finance for individuals during this period should be raised to 40%, 45% and 50%, respectively.

  • Such HFCs shall be required to submit to the Reserve Bank, a Board approved plan within three months to fulfil the above-mentioned criteria.
  • HFCs unable to fulfil the above criteria as per the timeline shall be treated as NBFC – Investment and Credit Companies (NBFC-ICC) and they will be required to approach the Reserve Bank for conversion of their Certificate of Registration (CoR) from HFC to NBFC-ICC.

Criteria for HFCs not having minimum net owned funds (NOF) of Rs 20 crore
HFCs holding a CoR and having net owned fund of less than Rs 20 crore, may continue to carry on the business of housing finance, if such company achieves net owned fund of Rs 15 crore by March 31, 2022 and Rs 20 crore by March 31, 2023, if fails, their registration will be cancelled.


Remittances to India to Fall by 9% in 2020: World Bank ReportRemittances-to-India-to-drop-by-9%-in-2020-World-Bank-report

On October 29, 2020 As per the latest estimates published in the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief 33, remittance to India will fall by 9% to USD 76 billion due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and global economic recession. The top 5 countries in 2020 to receive foreign remittances are expected to be India, China, Mexico, the Philippines, and Egypt, unchanged from 2019.
i.There will be a 14% decline in the amount of money migrant workers send home by 2021, compared to the pre-COVID-19 levels in 2019.
ii.It is to be noted that in 2020 for the 1st time in recent history, the stock of international migrants is likely to decline as new migration has slowed and return migration has increased.
Other Key Projections:
i.The remittance flows to Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) are estimated to decline by 7%, to USD 508  billion in 2020. In 2021, there will be a further decline of 7.5%, to USD 470 billion.
ii.The remittance flows to LMICs reached a record high of USD 548 billion in 2019, that is over the FDI(Foreign Direct Investment) flows(USD 534 billion) and overseas development assistance (about $166 billion).
iii.The gap between the remittance flows and FDI is likely to enlarge further as the FDI is expected to decline more sharply.
iv.The remittance to South Asia is estimated to fall by around 4% in 2020 to USD 135 billion.
v.The declines in 2020 and 2021 will affect all the regions. The sharpest drop is expected in Europe(by 16%) and Central Asia(by 8%), followed by East Asia(by 11%) and the Pacific (by 4%).
Major Factors that drives decline in remittances
The major factor that drives the decline in remittances include a weak economic growth and employment levels in migrant-hosting countries, weak oil prices, and depreciation of the currencies of remittance-source countries against the US dollar.
About World Bank:
Headquarters – Washington D.C., United States (US)
President – David Robert Malpass


Justice Bansi Lal Bhat gets 3rd Extension as Officiating Chairperson of NCLAT till December 31, 2020NCLAT-officiating-Chairperson-Justice-BL-Bhat-gets-another-extension

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has extended the tenure of Justice Bansi Lal Bhat as the officiating Chairperson of National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) till 31st December 2020 or till a regular Chairperson is appointed or until further orders.

  • This extension marks the 3rd extension for BL Bhat since his appointment as NCLAT’s chairperson on 15th March 2020 for three months following the retirement of first Chairperson Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya.
  • Bhat was issued a 3-month extension on 15th June and later extended for a month till 16th October 2020.

About BL Bhat:
i.Justice BL Bhat, a former judge of the Jammu & Kashmir High Court joined NCLAT as the judicial member on 17th October 2017.
ii.He served as the judicial member of the armed Forces tribunal and presided over the benches at Chandigarh, Shimla, Jaipur and Delhi.
About NCLAT:
i.NCLAT was established under the Companies Act, 2013 for hearing appeals against the orders of the National Company Law Tribunal(NCLT).
ii.This is also the appellate tribunal for the appeals against NCLT’s Orders under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India.
iii.NCLAT als hears the appeals against the orders of the Competition Commission of India.


Indian Navy Warship INS Kora Test-fires Anti-Ship Missile (AShM) in Bay of BengalAnti-Ship Missile

On October 30, 2020, Indian Navy’s Guided Missile Corvette INS Kora (Indian Naval Ship) tested fired Anti-Ship Missile (AShM) in Bay of Bengal.
The missile successfully hit the target at maximum range with precise accuracy.
i.INS Kora is a Kora-class guided missile corvette of Indian Navy. It was commissioned into service in 1998.
ii.It was designed by the Navy under Project 25A, and is equipped with Kh-35 Anti-Ship Missile.
About Indian Navy:
Chief of Navy Staff (CNS) – Admiral Karambir Singh
List of Destroyers in Indian Navy – Kolkata Class (INS Kolkata, INS Kochi, INS Chennai), Delhi Class (INS Delhi, INS Mysore, INS Mumbai), Rajput Class (INS Rajput, INS Rana, INS Ranvir, INS Ranvijay)
<<Read Full News>>


Mesut Yilmaz Former PM of Turkey & Veteran Politician Passed Away at 72Former Turkish PM and veteran politician Mesut Yilmaz dies

On 30th October 2020, Former Turkish Prime Minister (PM) Mesut Yilmaz, a veteran Politician who served as the PM for three terms passed away at the age of 72 in a hospital in Istanbul, Turkey. He was born on 6th November 1947 in Istanbul, Turkey.
About Mesut Yilmaz:
i.Mesut Yilmaz served as the leader of the now-defunct centre-right Motherland Party (Anavatan Partisi – ANAP) from 1991 to 2002. He was one of the founding members of the party.
ii.Out of his three terms as Prime Minister, two terms lasted only for a few months due to the fall of the coalition government.
iii.He formed his 3rd government (which lasted 18 months) following the 1997’s military memorandum which resulted in the fall of the coalition government of Necmettin Erbakan.
iv.Previously he served as the Minister of Foreign affairs and culture under the premiership of Turgut Ozal.
He was the first PM of Turkey to be tried in the Supreme court of Turkey on the charges of misfeasance in public office” for alleged attempts to influence a tender for Turkbank, a private bank.


UP Governor Anandiben Patel Released World’s First Scientoon Book “Bye Bye Corona” on COVID-19Bye Bye Corona

On 29th October 2020, Anandiben Patel, Governor of Uttar Pradesh(UP) released the world’s first scientoon book titled “Bye Bye Corona” at an event organised at Raj Bhawan, Lucknow. The book was authored by Dr. Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, Scientoonist and former Senior Principal Scientist at CSIR-CDRI (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Central Drug Research Institute) and published by Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous agency under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.
Along with Dr. Pradeep Srivastava, 7 student scientoonist (Lakiesha Inacia Coehlho E Costa, Da Costa Maria Scimran Blossom, Priyanka Shanke, Samaradini Paigankar, Selcea Savia Da Costa, Bhomkar Shreesiddhi Vinod and Prathamesh P. Shetgaonkar) from Parvati Bai Chowgule College, Madgaon, Goa and Vishal Mulia, a school teacher in Gujarat contributed to the book.
About “Bye Bye Corona”:
i.The book holds comprehensive information on the COVID-19 pandemic, its symptoms and methods of prevention through precautions.
ii.The book aims to create awareness about COVID-19.
iii.The book is also available in e-book format:Bye Bye Corona
iv.Following the launch of the book in India it will also be released in Brazil under Brazil-India Network Program and will possibly be translated into Portuguese.
v.To ease the multilingual adaptation of the book across India and abroad, the 3D version of the book is also planned.
About Pradeep Kumar Srivastava:
Pradeep Kumar Srivastava coined the term “Scientoons” and later a new branch of science called Scientoonics, Radio Scientoons, Puppet Scientoons, Postcard Scientoons and Awadhi Scientoons(scientoons in Awadhi language).
i.He received “The Outstanding Young Person of the World” the annual award of Junior Chamber of International, United States and “The Outstanding Young Person of India” from Indian Junior Chamber in 1990.
ii.He received the National Award for Science Writing from Indian Science Writers Association(ISWA).
He co-authored the book titled “Scientoonic Tell Tale of Genome and DNA” with Dr Lalji Singh and Dr M W Pandit of CSIR-CCMB (CSIR-Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology), Hydreabad.


Punjab Govt Signed MoU With GAME to Support MSMEsPunjab-signs-MoU-with-GAME-to-support-MSMEs

i.On October 29, 2020  Punjab Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship (GAME) for a 2 year project on transforming the ease of doing business MSMES(Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) in Punjab.
ii.The agreement is supported by Omidyar Network India (ONI) under its  ReSolve Initiative.
iii.Dr KP Krishnan, Chair of the GAME Taskforce on MSME, who is a former Secretary, Government of India will lead the project.
About Punjab:
Chief Minister– Capt.Amarinder Singh
Dances– Jindua, Bhangra, Malwai Giddha, Kikli,  Luddi, Jaago, Jhumar, Jindua.
<<Read Full News>>

Tamil Nadu Governor gives Assent to 7.5% NEET Quota Bill; Government School students to benefitTamil-Nadu-Governor-Banwarilal-Purohit-gives-assent-to-the-Bill

On October 30, 2020, Tamil Nadu (TN) Governor Banwarilal Purohit gave his Assent to “Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Courses in Medicine, Dentistry, Indian Medicine and Homeopathy on Preferential Basis to Students of Government Schools Bill 2020”.
It provides 7.5% reservation to students of state government schools who have cleared the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance (NEET) Test in admission to medical courses.
About Tamil Nadu:
Rivers – Kaveri, Thamirabarani River, Bhavani River, Palar River, Vaigai River.
Ports – Chennai Port, V.O. Chidambaranar Port (Thoothukudi), Kamarajar Port Limited (also known as Ennore Port, Chennai)
<<Read Full News>>


Venkaiah Naidu, VP of India Launches Virtual Festival of ‘Parampara Series 2020-National Festival of Music and Dance’

On October 27, 2020 M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India launched the virtual festival of ‘Parampara Series 2020-National Festival of Music and Dance’. The Parampara Series 2020 is organised by Natya Tarangini in partnership with the United Nations. This has been organized to coincide with the World Day for Audio-visual Heritage 2020 on October 27. For the 24th year the Natya Tarangini has organised the Parampara Series.

Government eMarketplace integrated with the Central Public Procurement Portal

Government of India Initiative eMarket called GeM (Government eMarketplace) has been integrated with eProcurement System of India Central Public Procurement Portal (CPPP) for creation of a Unified Procurement System. This will consolidate the entire public buying foods and services into a single platform. This will improve buying and selling experience and processes for ministries, departments and other agencies involved in the system. The GeM portal was launched in August 2016 for online purchases of goods and services by all Central Government Ministries and Departments.


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Current Affairs Today (AffairsCloud Today)

S.noCurrent Affairs 31 October 2020
1Harsh Vardhan Launches DST Initiative SERB–POWER for Women Scientists
2India and Maldives get Three new UNESCO Biosphere Reserves
3President signs Ordinance to Constitute Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining areas
4Kabartal Wetland of Bihar Designated as Ramsar Site
5Cabinet Approvals on October 29, 2020
6Cabinet approval with Foreign Countries on October 29, 2020
7PM Modi Inaugurates 4th Edition of 2020 India Energy Forum by CERAWeek
8Nitin Gadkari: Feni Bridge connecting India & Bangladesh to be completed By December 2020
9India, Mexico hold 8th Joint Commission Meeting; agree to strengthen ‘Privileged Partnership’
10IFSCA approves Bullion Exchange Regulations, 2020 & Global In-House Centres Regulations, 2020
11RBI Revises Norms for Housing Finance Firms: October 2020
12Remittances to India to Fall by 9% in 2020: World Bank Report
13Justice Bansi Lal Bhat gets 3rd Extension as Officiating Chairperson of NCLAT till December 31, 2020
14Indian Navy Warship INS Kora Test-fires Anti-Ship Missile (AShM) in Bay of Bengal
15Mesut Yilmaz Former PM of Turkey & Veteran Politician Passed Away at 72
16UP Governor Anandiben Patel Released World’s First Scientoon Book “Bye Bye Corona” on COVID-19
17Punjab Govt Signed Mou With Game to Support MSMEs
18Tamil Nadu Governor gives Assent to 7.5% NEET Quota Bill; Government School students to benefit
19Venkaiah Naidu, VP of India Launches Virtual Festival of ‘Parampara Series 2020-National Festival of Music and Dance’
20 Government eMarketplace integrated with the Central Public Procurement Portal