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Government puts imports of gold dore in restricted category
On 30th November 2018, The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) which works under Ministry of Commerce and Industry has put the imports of gold dore in restricted category. It means that an importer now, needs a license to import this commodity.
i. Gold dore is a semi-pure alloy which is refined for further purification. Refined gold bars are manufactured from gold dore bar.
ii. India, the world’s second-biggest gold consumer after China, imports about 900 tonnes of gold,a year.
iii. Also in a separate notice, the DGFT prescribed wastage norms and value addition in respect of gold religious idols (only gods and goddess) -both plain and studded, of eight carats and above (up to 24 carats).
- The DGFT prescribed that percentage of wastage for plain gold idols will be 2.5 per cent and for studded gold idols it will be 5 per cent.
- It added that percentage of value addition for plain gold religious idols will be 10 per cent; and 14 per cent in case of idols studded with colour gems stones.
- Similarly the percentage for value addition in case of idols studded with diamonds will be 15 per cent.
iv. Also the DGFT has allowed export of gold idols (only gods and goddess) of eight carats and above (up to 24 carats) from domestic tariff area with condition that 100 per cent examination of these exports be done by the approved government valuer.
About Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT):
♦ Director General of Foreign Trade (DG): Shri Alok Chaturvedi
♦ DGFT Headquarters: New Delhi
About Ministry of Commerce and Industry :
♦ Minister responsible: Suresh Prabhu; C.R.Chaudhary (Minister of State),
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
Govt forms six-member panel headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar to look at selling 149 fields of ONGC, OIL to private companies
A six-member committee has been constituted by the government which will look at selling as many as 149 small and marginal oil and gas fields of state-owned ONGC and Oil India to private and foreign companies to boost domestic output.
i. The committee will be headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar and includes Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, Oil Secretary M M Kutty, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker.
ii. Earlier on 12thOctober, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a meeting to review domestic production profile of oil and gas and the roadmap for cutting import dependence by 10 per cent by 2022 from the over 77 per cent dependence in 2014-15. But the dependence has only increased and is now over 83 per cent.
♦ Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister: Shri Dharmendra Pradhan
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Oil and Natural Gas Corporation(ONGC) Chairman & MD: Shashi Shanker
♦ ONGC Headquarters: New Delhi
Centre proposes ban on use of animals in circuses, performances
On 29th November 2018, the Centre has proposed ban on the use of animals for performances, exhibition at any circus or mobile entertainment facilities.
i. The environment ministry, in a draft notification dated November 28, has invited comments from various stakeholders on the issue within 30 days.
ii. According to drafting notification in the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, under rule 13, the following shall be added to 13A prohibit exhibiting and training of animals for specified performances.
Train 18: India’s 1st engineless train crosses 180 kmph during trials
On 2nd December 2018, India’s first locomotive-less train named Train 18, crossed the 180 kmph speed limit during a test run in the Kota-Sawai Madhopur section.
i. Train 18 will become India’s fastest train when it is made operational. This train has been developed indigenously, costing Rs 100 crore.
ii. It is a high-tech, energy-efficient, self-propelled (engine-less) train. It features aerodynamically designed driver cabins at both ends for quicker turn-around at destinations.
iii. It has an advanced regenerative braking system to save power. It is fully air-conditioned. It has 16 coaches.
iv. Train 18 is expected to start its commercial run from January 2019. It is expected to replace the current Shatabdi Express.
v. Integral Coach Factory (ICF) will launch one more Train 18 this fiscal and 4 by the next fiscal.
Visit of Romanian Foreign Minister H.E. Mr. Teodor Melescanu to India
From 24-27 November 2018, Foreign Minister of Romania, H.E. Mr. Teodor Melescanu visited India.
Highlights of Visit
i. He visited India to commemorate 70 years of bilateral diplomatic relations with India and five years since the Joint Statement on establishing an Extensive Partnership between India and Romania. Also it was a follow up on the recent visit of the Vice President of India, Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu to Romania in September 2018.
ii. The Foreign Ministers from both the sides expressed desire to raise the bilateral trade turnover, which stands at USD 810 million, to higher levels in the coming years.
iii. In his visit Foreign Minister Mr. Teodor Melescanu reaffirmed Romania´s support for a permanent seat for India in a reformed United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
iv. During the visit, Romania formally opened its Honorary Consulate in Chennai.
v. He also delivered a lecture on ‘Going Global vs. staying local: Romania’s agenda as a connector between Europe and Asia’ at the Observer Research Foundation.
♦ Capital: Bucharest
♦ Currency: Romanian Leu
♦ President: Klaus Iohannis
Visit of Foreign Minister of Maldives H.E. Abdulla Shahid to India
From 24-27 November 2018, Foreign Minister of Republic of Maldives H.E. Abdulla Shahid paid an Official visit to India.
Highlights of Visit
i. He was accompanied by H.E. Ibrahim Ameer, the Minister of Finance, H.E. Fayyaz Ismail, the Minister of Economic Development, H.E. Ahmed Khaleel, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and H.E. Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, Foreign Secretary.
ii. He held bilateral consultations with Smt. Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister (EAM) , Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister and Hon’ble President Shri Ram Nath Kovind. CII hosted a business interaction meeting for the Minister and his delegation.
iii. During the meeting, the Foreign Ministers agreed for the State Visit of President Solih to India and it will take place on December 17, 2018.
iv. EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj welcomed Maldives into the Indian Ocean Rim Association as its newest member and praised Maldives’ decision to rejoin the Commonwealth and expressed India’s support for it.
v. The Foreign Ministers agreed to hold the meeting of the bilateral Consular Dialogue and the meeting of the Joint Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers at the earliest besides agreeing to hold the next meeting of the Defence Cooperation Dialogue between both countries in the first half of December 2018.
vi. EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj agreed to pay a bilateral visit to the Maldives on the invitation of Maldivian Foreign Minister.
vii. Maldives had requested India to give it a Dornier aircraft and the External Affairs Ministry of India promised to deliver it very soon.
♦ Capital: Malé
♦ Currency: Maldivian rufiyaa
♦ President: Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
Nagaland signs MoU with Estonian academy on e-governance
On 30th November 2018, Nagaland government signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with e-Governance Academy of Estonia to provide advisory and technical knowledge for setting up of e-Governance Academy of Nagaland (e-GAN).
i. The MoU is aimed at strengthening bilateral technical cooperation in the fields of information technology and e-governance.
ii. The agreement was signed during the on-going 4thedition of the e-Naga Summit, by department of IT&C commissioner and Secretary of the state, KD Vizo and Arvo Ott, director e-Governance Academy of Estonia.
♦ Nagaland CM: Neiphiu Rio
♦ Nagaland Governor: Padmanabha Acharya
♦ Nagaland Capital: Kohima
♦ Nagaland National Parks (NP) and Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS): Intanki NP, Fakim WLS, Puliebadze WLS, Rangapahar WLS and Singphan WLS
Government holds Workshop on Developing ‘Ganga Museum’ in New Delhi
On 29th and 30th November 2018, an international workshop on “Developing a Ganga Museum Concept: Exchanging Experiences and Ideas between India and Europe” was held in New Delhi.
i. The workshop was organized by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) along with GIZ India, as a part of Indo German Development Co-operation. Experts from India and the European Union participated.
ii. NMCG is planning to set up a Ganga Exhibition and a Ganga Museum for public outreach, portraying river Ganga’s history and mythology, its importance for the livelihood of a huge population, and efforts for Ganga Rejuvenation.
iii. In the workshop, ideas and experiences related to the proposed Ganga Museum and Ganga Exhibition, were discussed.
Maharashtra allows citizens to inspect government records under RTI
On 26th November 2018, Maharashtra government issued a government resolution allowing citizens to inspect records in district-level offices and local bodies throughout Maharashtra under the Right To Information (RTI) for 2 hours every Monday.
i. This move aims to bring transparency in the functioning of the government and to reduce RTI applications and appeals.
ii. People don’t need to file RTI applications or pay any fee. They can directly go to the offices and inspect the records.
iii. All district-level offices and local bodies like municipal corporations and councils, zilla parishads, etc, have been instructed to allow inspection from 3 pm to 5 pm every Monday.
iv. This resolution is not applicable to Mantralaya, the state secretariat of Maharashtra, due to logistical issues.
v. If a public holiday falls on Monday, inspection would be allowed on the next working day.
Some National Parks in Maharashtra:
♦ Gugamal National Park
♦ Sanjay Gandhi National Park
J-K guv launches AB-PMJAY scheme
On 1st December 2018, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik launched the ambitious “Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY)” at Teacher’s Bhawan in Jammu.
i. The scheme which would benefit over 31 lakh residents in the state will provide medical facilities to the poor and vulnerable families in secondary and tertiary care hospitals of the country.
ii. Marking the launch of the scheme, the Governor along with other dignitaries distributed Golden Cards among 10 eligible beneficiaries for availing the annual health cover facility.
iii. Recently the state received ‘Best Performing Large State’ award on account of high reduction in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in a single year and for effective implementation of health schemes by the India Today group at the “State of the States Conclave 2018”.
About Ayushman Bharat –Pradhan Mantri Jan AarogyaYojana (AB-PMJAY):
i. The AB-PMJAY was launched by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi on 23rd September, 2018 at Ranchi, Jharkhand.
ii. This is the “world’s largest government funded healthcare program” targeting more than 50 crore beneficiaries.
iii. The scheme will provide a cover of up to Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year, for a cashless and paperless access to secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
iv. 1,50,000 Health and Wellness Centres will be created at primary level for covering both maternal and child health services and non-communicable diseases, including free essential drugs and diagnostic services. The first Health and Wellness Centre was launched by the Prime Minister at Jangla, Bijapur, Chhatisgarh on 14th April 2018.
About Ministry of Health and Family Welfare:
♦ Minister of Health and Family Welfare: Jagat Prakash Nadda
♦ Minister of State: Anupriya Patel, Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey
BANKING & FINANCE
World Bank unveils USD 200 bn in climate action investment for 2021-25
On 3rd December 2018 , the World Bank unveiled USD 200 billion in climate action investment for 2021-25, adding this amounts to a doubling of its current five-year funding.The move coincides with a UN climate summit in Katowice (Poland).
i. The breakdown of 200 billion dollars would comprise approximately 100 billion in direct finance from the World Bank. Around one-third of the remaining funding will come from two World Bank Group agencies with the rest private capital mobilised by the World Bank Group.
ii. In the 2018 fiscal year, running from July 2017 to June 2018, the World Bank had committed USD 20.5 billion to climate action, compared with an annual average of USD 13.5 billion for the 2014-2018 period.
iii. UN climate summit started on 03rd December 2018 in Katowice (Poland) with a warning that today’s generation is the last that can prevent catastrophic global warming, as well as the first to be suffering its impacts. This Climate conference has been called as Paris 2.0.
iv. Agreement saw countries commit to limiting global temperature rises to well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and to the safer cap of 1.5C if at all possible.
About World Bank
♦ Headquarter: Washington DC, United States.
♦ President: Jim Yong Kim.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
GDP in India will grow 7.2% in the year ending March 2019, says Moody’s
On 03rd December 2018, Moody’s expects the real gross domestic product (GDP) in India to grow 7.2 per cent in the year ending March 2019 and 7.4 per cent in the following year.
i. Earlier Moody’s Investors service growth prediction for India was 7.5% in 2018-19, 7.5% in 2019-20 released on 23rd August,2018.
ii. This growth is driven by investment growth and strong consumption.
iii. Moody’s said in its report it has a stable outlook on the Indian banking system for the next 12-18 months.
iv. The stable outlook is based on six parameters — operating environment, asset quality, capital, funding and liquidity, profitability and efficiency, and government support.
♦ Headquarter:- New York, United States.
♦ CEO: Raymond W. McDaniel Jr.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Vashkar Bhattacharjee from Bangladesh and Tencent(Private sector enterprise) from China to receive UNESCO/ Emir Jaber al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities
On 3rd December 2018, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had awarded Disabilities’ Advocate from Bangladesh, Vashkar Bhattacharjee and Private sector enterprise of China, Tencent with UNESCO/Emir Jaber al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities at a ceremony organized on International Day of Persons with disability at UNESCO headquarter in Paris, France.
i. Individual Category award winner, Vashkar Bhattacharjee from Bangladesh is a leading advocate who collaborated with Local, National as well as international organization to produce learning resources dedicated to persons with disabilities and to train teachers to use the accessible reading materials.
ii. Organization Category award winner, Tencent from China is an Internet based technologies and cultural organization recognized for its outstanding contribution towards employment of person with disabilities using inclusive digital technologies.
iii. This year’s theme for the International day of Persons with disability focuses on empowerment of persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality which is a part of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development that pledges to “leave no one behind”.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
♦ Headquarter: Paris, France
♦ Director General: Audrey Azoulay
♦ Capital: Dhaka
♦ Currency: Taka
♦ Prime Minister: Sheikh Hasina
♦ Capital: Beijing
♦ Currency: Yuan or Renminbi
♦ President: Xi Jinping
Delhi Minister Imran Hussain gets PETA ‘Hero to Animals’ award for banning Chinese manjha
On 1st December 2018, Mr. Imran Hussain, Delhi Minister of Food Supplies, Environment and Forest was awarded “Hero to Animals” by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for banning Chinese Manjha ( A thread use in Kites) in Delhi.
i. In July 2018, Mr Imran Hussain banned the sale, production, storage, supply, import and use of Chinese manjha made of Nylon because Sharp edges of manjha hurt the birds and animals sometimes even children.
ii.Other winners of Hero to Animals Award 2018:
- Purvi Doshi received aCompassionate Designer Award for using only handwoven fabrics made from plants and hadn’t used animal-derived materials.
- Corkiza received an Innovative Fashion Award for developing stylish bags and wallets using sustainable cork fabric.
- Nutriva received an Innovation in Food Award for creating Peanut Buttermilk plus, the world’s first non-dairy buttermilk, made from cultured peanuts and spices.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Pawan Singh is the first Indian to be elected in ISSF’s judges committee
On 2nd December 2018, Pawan Singh became the first Indian to be elected as one of the 7 members of the Judges Committee of the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF).
i. Pawan Singh is also the Joint Secretary General of National Rifle Association of India (NRAI). He was a former coach of the Indian shooting team.
ii. Members of the administrative council of ISSF voted to select the committee, at the elections held at Munich.
iii. The Judges Committee consists of: a Chairman and 7 members. It is responsible for the uniform application of shooting rules. It offers guidelines for international judges. It prepares and conducts courses for judges and jury members.
iv. It approves applications for judge’s licenses’ and proposes juries to the executive committee for championships and games. It meets at least once a year and reports to the administrative council.
About International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF):
♦ President – Olegario Vazquez Rana
♦ Headquarters – Munich, Germany
Ravindra Kumar Verma assumes charge as Technical Member in the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity
Ravindra Kumar Verma has taken charge as Technical Member in the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL), Ministry of Power, for a period of 3 years.
i. Justice Manjula Chellur, Chairperson of APTEL, administered the Oath of Office and Secrecy to Ravindra Kumar Verma.
ii. Ravindra Kumar Verma has occupied various posts in Central Electricity Authority (CEA) for over 37 years.
iii. He had superannuated as Chairperson of CEA and Ex-officio Secretary to the Government of India on 30th June 2018.
iv. He has a vast experience in power sector related to Generation, Transmission, Distribution and Grid Operation.
Commonwealth Senior Fencing Championships in Canberra, Australia
From 23rd to 28th November 2018, Commonwealth Senior Fencing Championships, was held in Canberra, Australia.
i. India won a total of 3 medals: 2 gold and 1 bronze, in the championship. The medal tally was topped by England with 6 gold, 6 silver and 4 bronze medals.
ii. Indian medal winners:
- Bhavani Devi won gold medal in the Senior Women’s Sabre event. She has become the first Indian to win a gold medal in the Commonwealth Championship.
- Karan Singh won bronze medal in the Senior Men’s Sabre event.
- Karan Singh teamed with Sagar Sahi, Manpreet Singh and Vishal Thapar and won gold medal in the Senior Men’s Sabre team event.
About Commonwealth of Nations or Commonwealth:
♦ Secretary-General – Patricia Scotland
♦ Member States – 53
♦ Headquarters – London
Tata Open India International Challenge 2018 (Badminton)
From 28th November to 2nd December 2018, Tata Open India International Challenge 2018 was held in Mumbai.Prize Money of the Event is USD 25,000.
|Men’s Singles||Lakshya Sen (India)|
|Women’s Singles||Ashmita Chaliha (India)|
|Men’s Doubles||Arjun M.R., B. Sumeeth Reddy (India)|
|Women’s Doubles||Ng Wing Yung, Yeung Nga Ting (Hong Kong)|
|Mixed Doubles||Nipitphon Phuangphuapet, Savitree Amitrapai (Thailand)|
Ullas Narayan wins India’s first international medal in ultra running
On 2nd December 2018, Ullas Narayan became the first Indian individual medal winner in an international ultra running event by winning bronze in the 2018 International Association of Ultra Running (IAU) 24 Hour Asia & Oceania Championships in Taipei, Taiwan.
i. Ullas Narayan secured third position as he completed 250 km. He finished behind Japanese runners Yoshihiko Ishikawa (253 km) and Nobuyuki Takahashi (252 km).
ii .In the Team Event,Indian team, comprising Ullas Narayan (250 km), Sunil Sharma (202 km) and L L Meena (192 km), also won a bronze medal with their combined distance of 644 km.
iii. In the team event, Japan won gold with a distance of 756 km and Australia got silver with 684 km.
iv. Ultra races consisted running over extremely long distances which are much longer than the traditional races.
v. They are contested in 2 different types of race modalities: over a set distance or a set time.
vi. The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) joined IAU, the official body for Ultra Running, in 2017.
About Athletics Federation of India (AFI):
♦ President – Adille Sumariwalla
♦ Location – New Delhi
Atlawim Debebe of Ethiopia wins Pune International Marathon
On 2nd December 2018, Atlawim Debebe of Ethiopia, won the Full Marathon with the timing of 2 hours 17 minutes 17 seconds in Pune International Marathon.
i. Second and third positions were secured by Ethiopians Teshome Getachew and Bekele Asefa respectively.
ii. In women’s Full Marathon Kenya’s Pascalia Chepkogei came first with a timing of 2 hour 50 minutes 27 seconds. Belew Mekonnen and Fekede Tilahun of Ethiopia occupied the second and third positions respectively.
iii. Dekebe Tafa and Degefa Gezmu from Ethiopia won the men’s and women’s half marathon respectively.
iv. Among Indian runners, Karan Singh of Bombay Engineering Group came first in the Men’s category. In women’s Full marathon, Urvi Tambe came first amongst Indians.
v. This was the oldest International Marathon of 2018. This is the 33rd year of Pune International Marathon.
BOOKS & AUTHORS
Book: “”Architecture of Justice: A Pictorial Walk-through of the Supreme Courts and High Courts of India”” released by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi”
On 30th November 2018, the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi released a book authored by father-son duo Vinay Thakur and Amogh Thakur named “ Architecture of Justice: A pictorial walk-through of the supreme court and High courts of India” in New Delhi.
i. The book is a one of its kind, never before seen photographic rendition of the Supreme Court of India, the 24 High Courts and its 12 benches.
ii. The book is a sequel to Vinay Thakur earlier book ‘The Courts of India: Past to Present’ (2016).
iii. Supreme court judge Justice Sharad Bobde was also present.
About Supreme Court
♦ Location:- New Delhi
♦ Justice Ranjan Gogoi is 46th Chief Justice of India.
♦ Dipak Mishra was 45th Chief Justice of India.
Book on ‘anti-farmer policies’ of Modi government launched
On 26th November 2018, A book named “Modiraj Main Kisan, Double Aamad Ya Double afat” authored by Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav launched by agricultural economist Ashok Gulati and the Punjab State Farmers’ and Farm Workers’ Commission Chairman Ajay Vir Jakhar in New Delhi.
Book detailing how Modi government’s policies have led to a drop in farmers’ income and caused rural distress across the country.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities – 3rd December
December 3 is observed as United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities or World Disability Day.The theme for this year is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”.
i. Since 1992 December 03 is celebrated as United Nations international Day of Persons with Disabilities.
ii. This theme focuses on the empowering persons with disabilities for the inclusive, equitable and sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.Estimated one billion people living with disabilities worldwide.
iii. As part of World Disability Day, the UN launch a UN Flagship Report on Disability and Development 2018 for persons with disabilities.
About United Nations
♦ Headquarter: New York, United States.
♦ Secretary General: António Guterres.