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5-member expert panel sought public comments on easing norms for setting up petrol pumps
On November 8, 2018, the 5 member expert committee set up to recommend easing norms for setting up of petrol pumps have sought public opinion for the same.
i. This committee was set up by the Oil ministry on October 2018 and the 1st meeting was held on November 2, 2018.
ii. The committee desired to obtain the views/suggestions of all the stakeholders/ general public regarding the issues of granting marketing authorization of market fuels – petrol, diesel, and aviation turbine fuel (ATF).
iii.The views or comments have been asked on the subject within 2 weeks.
iv. As per the existing guidelines, to obtain a fuel retailing license in India, a company needs to invest Rs 2,000 crore in either hydrocarbon exploration and production, refining, pipelines or liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.
v. The reports will be furnished after 60 days of consultations with the stakeholders.
About the Committee:
i. The 5 member committee consists of the following members:
- Economist Kirit Parikh,
- Former oil secretary G C Chaturvedi,
- Former Indian Oil Corp (IOC) chairman M A Pathan,
- IIM Ahmedabad Director Errot D’souza and
- Ashutosh Jindal, joint secretary in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas.
Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas:
♦ Minister: Shri. Dharmedra Pradhan.
♦ Secretary: Dr. M M Kutty.
Indian & Republic of Singapore Navies exercise – SIMBEX 18 – marked Silver Jubilee in 2018
On November 10, 2018, the 25th edition of SIMBEX, an acronym for “Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise” started off of Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal.
i. The 2018 edition marks the Silver Jubilee of SIMBEX and will continue till November 21, 2018.
ii. The sea phase of this year’s edition is being conducted under the Command of Rear Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, NM, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet.
iii. SIMBEX 2018 will be the largest edition since 1994 in terms of scale and complexity.
iv. It will consist of the following:
- The initial harbour phase will be held at Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands from 10 to 12 November,
- Sea Phase from 12 to 16 November in the Andaman Sea.
- The second harbour phase from 16 to 19 November will be held at Visakhapatnam – ‘the City of Destiny’.
- The final sea phase would be held in the Bay of Bengal from 19 to 21 November.
v. The Silver Jubilee Commemoration Ceremony will be undertaken during the phases consisting of: various professional and training interactions, 10 Km ‘Friendship Run’ during the Annual Vizag-Navy Marathon, joint cultural programmes.
vi. The number of missiles and torpedo firings being undertaken will be the largest the Indian Navy has undertaken with any foreign Navy till date.
vii. It will also witness the highest numbers and variety of platforms fielded by both sides.
♦ Capital: Singapore.
♦ Currency: Singapore dollar.
NBCC inks pact with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to buy out HSCC
On 6th November 2018, state-owned NBCC (formerly National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited) signed an agreement with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to acquire Hospital Services Consultancy Corporation (HSCC).
i. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and NBCC (India) Ltd signed the share purchase agreement for the transfer of 100 % share holding of HSCC to NBCC.
ii. In September 2018, NBCC had announced that, it will buy the government’s stake in HSCC for Rs 285 crore.
iii. HSCC functions under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It offers consultancy services in healthcare and other social sectors in India and other countries.
Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio launched GPS mapping of govt schools
On November 6, 2018, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio launched GPS Mapping of Government Schools and Personnel Location System in Kohima.
i. This would help in computerization and digitization of records of all the government schools.
ii. This is a first in the country initiative and was under taken by the School Education Department of the state.
♦ Capital: Kohima.
♦ Chief Minister: Neiphiu Rio.
♦ Governor: Shri. P. B. Acharya.
♦ National Parks & Wildlife Sanctuaries: Intanki National Park, Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary, Puliebadze Wildlife Sanctuary, Rangapahar Wildlife Sanctuary.
♦ Festivals: Amongmong festival, Hornbill festival, Tuluni festival, Yemshe festival, Nazu festival, Sekrenyi festival.
Welfare boards to come up for Namasudra, Matua communities: WB cabinet
On November 7, 2018, West Bengal cabinet, headed by CM Mamata Banerjee, decided to set up development boards for the Matua and Namasudra communities.
i. The names of the two boards will be:
- West Bengal Namasudra Welfare Board and
- West Bengal Matua Welfare Board.
ii. The chairperson and members of the welfare boards will be decided by the State Chief Minister, Ms. Mamata Banerjee.
iii. This decision was taken for social representation and welfare of the 2 communities present in large numbers in the state.
iv. The boards will also ensure better implementation of the government’s developmental projects.
i. 41.11 acres of land at Pirachandi and Pirabani mouzas in Salboni area of West Midnapore district will be given to West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd
ii. This will be helpful to set up a 10 MW solar power grid in the area.
iii. A welfare board for All India Namasudra Vikash Parishad has been promised as well.
iv. The state government has decided to introduce a bill in the next Assembly session for giving land rights to those residing in the enclaves in Cooch Behar district.
♦ Chief Minister: Mamata Banerjee.
♦ Governor: Kesari Nath Tripathi.
♦ National Parks: Jaldapara National Park, Sunderbans National Park, Gorumara National Park, Neora Valley National Park, Singalila National Park, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary.
♦ Airports: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Cooch Behar Airport, Bagdogra Airport, Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport.
Bangalore ranked India’s most congested city, Pune Ranked 7th : NBER
On November 9, 2018, according to a recent research by National bureau of economic research (NBER), analysis of the current status of mobility in urban India, using Google maps was conducted.
i. The name of the research paper is: ‘Mobility & Congestion in Urban India,’.
ii. It is the first large-scale analysis of traffic congestion in 154 Indian cities using Google maps.
iii. Researchers also analysed 22 million potential trips throughout the prominent cities of the country.
i. According to the findings, Bangalore tops the index for most congested city, and Mumbai ranked 2nd.
ii. The other top 5 cities in the list of congested cities are: Delhi (3rd) , Chennai (4th) and Kolkata (5th).
iii. Hyderabad was in the 6th place, while Pune followed in the seventh place.
iv. This list consisted of 20 cities with Bhopal ranking last at the 20th place.
v. In another index of traffic speed, Kolkata has been found to be the slowest city, while Pune ranked 20th.
vi. Bangalore ranked 2nd in the list followed by Hyderabad, Mumbai and Varanasi.
vii. This list also consisted of 20 cities.
viii .In another index measuring the fastest cities, Ranipet topped the list of 10 cities followed by Srinagar.
ix. Panipat ranked 10th at the bottom of the list.
In order to install their own traffic monitoring system, Pune tied up with a Dutch-based software company calledTomTom NV.
National bureau of economic research (NBER):
♦ Headquarters: Massachusetts, USA.
♦ President & CEO: James Poterba
Indian, Chinese troops held high level meeting in Arunachal, vow to boost ties
On November 9, 2018, Indian Army officials and Chinese PLA troops organized a high-level meeting at Bumla, near Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh.
i. The two sides reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen friendship and maintain peace along the 4057-km-long Line of Actual Control separates India from China.
ii. India was by led by Major General PGK Menon and the Chinese side had Major General Li Xi Zhong.
iii. This was the first time major generals of the two countries took part in a border personnel meeting (BPM), since its initiation in 1990.
Separate High Court for Andhra Pradesh gets Supreme Court approval, to function from January 1, 2019
Supreme Court has approved a separate High Court for Andhra Pradesh and it will start functioning from 1st January 2019.
i. This will be the 25th High Court in India. It will temporarily function from a makeshift building. A permanent structure is built in the Justice City complex in Andhra Pradesh’s de-facto capital Amaravati.
ii. At present, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have a common High Court at Hyderabad. This court will be known as the Telangana High Court from 2019.
iii. The temporary building for Andhra Pradesh High Court would be ready by December 15, 2018.
iv. The government would be hiring villas for residences of judges at Amaravati as a temporary arrangement till the Justice City gets completely constructed.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Andhra Pradesh:
♦ Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary
Election Commission sets up ‘Sangwari’ polling booths in various constituencies of Chhattisgarh to encourage women voters
Election Commission has set up ‘Sangwari’ polling booths in various constituencies of Chhattisgarh to encourage women voters to vote in the Assembly elections.
i. ‘Sangwari’ means friend, in Chhattisgarhi dialect. These women friendly booths will be manned by all-female staff like presiding officers, supervisors and security personnel.
ii. Chief Electoral Officer of Chhattisgarh, Subrat Sahoo announced that, 5 Sangwari Polling Centres have been set up for women in every assembly segments.
China taps India as digital economy partner
China has involved India as a digital partner, as part of Beijing’s drive to cyber-connect with Eurasia, its new frontier for trade and investments.
i. At a conference on defining common international standards for two-dimensional (2D) barcodes, Chinese officials announced that India is already on board in this global exercise.
ii. In November 2017, Zheng Chao, Executive Director of the Global Unified Two-Dimensional Code Registration Management Center (UTC), based in Beijing, signed a strategic cooperation agreement on 2D coding with his Indian counterpart.
iii. This resulted in the formation of UTC (India). Tian Furong is the director of the India Universal Two-dimensional code registration center.
Fifth World Internet Conference (WIC) held in China
From November 7 to 9, 2018, the 5th World Internet Conference (WIC), also known as the Wuzhen Summit, was held in Wuzhen, China.
i. The conference aimed to bring out exchanges, mutual learning, cooperation and sharing in the digital fields and stressed on peace and development of the global cyberspace.
ii. Top 15 of the latest scientific and technological achievements in the global internet industry were unveiled.
iii. They were selected from more than 400 candidate projects and programs, aimed at reaching faster Internet speed, more digital profit, and better web security.
iv. Two reports were released on Internet development in China and the world. More than 20 themed forums and discussions were conducted.
♦ Capital – Beijing
♦ Currency – Renminbi
♦ Official language – Standard Chinese
♦ President – Xi Jinping
Palau became the First Country in the World to ban Reef-Killing Sunscreen
On November 10, 2018, Palau became the first country in the world to impose a ban on sunscreens toxic to coral reefs.
i. The laws passed by the Western Pacific nation will go into effect in 2020.
ii. According to the law, retailers will be fined $1,000 for selling sunscreens that contain 10 chemicals deemed harmed for coral and marine life.
iii. This is part of a larger push to reduce the impact of tourism on the archipelago.
iv. Other than Palau, Hawaii also passed a reef-harming sunscreen ban which will come into effect in 2021.
v. Additionally, Thailand also announced in October that it would have to close Maya Bay indefinitely.
Sunscreen containing certain chemicals is a threat because studies have found these chemicals can make coral less resistant to the coral bleaching that accompanies climate change. They can also inhibit the growth of young corals.
However, sunscreens that use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, can be worn as they do not harm coral reefs.
♦ Capital: Ngerulmud.
♦ Currency: US dollar.
CIMAP signed agreement with US-based RIFM for improving the quality of fragrant oils
On November 10, 2018, the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) signed an agreement with US-based Research Institute for Fragrant Materials (RIFM) for improving quality of fragnant oils.
i. It was signed by:
- Anil Kumar Tripathi, Director CSIR-CIMAP and
- Jim Romane, President of the RIFM at the conclusion of the two-day annual conference of the International Fragrance Association in Paris.
ii. This MOU will help in standardizing the fragrant material produced in India and bringing it to an international level.
About 2-day annual conference of International Fragrance Association (IFRA):
i. From November 7-9, 2018, the 3-day 2nd annual International Fragrance Association conference was held in Paris, France.
♦ President: Martina Bianchini.
♦ Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
BANKING & FINANCE
Enforcement Directorate flagged RBI of ponzi scheme in name of Islamic banking
On November 9, 2018, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) flagged the RBI about the activities of a Karnataka-based firm charging it with running a ponzi scheme “in the name of Islamic banking or halal investment”.
i. It collected Rs 950 crore funds from gullible investors till now.
ii. The name of the firm is Ms Ambidant Marketing Private Limited, which is run by one S Fareed Ahmed and S Afaq Ahmed.
iii. Islamic banking or halal investment is illegal in India.
31 NBFC registrations cancelled by RBI
On November 9, 2018, the Reserve Bank of India cancelled the certificate of registrations of as many as 31 non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) for unspecified reasons.
i. A majority 27 of the 31 companies which lost their licences are from Bengal.
ii. Bengal is followed by Uttar Pradesh, which has seen four NBFC licence cancellations.
iii. A majority of voluntary application for licence cancellation are also from Bengal.
iv. This can be seen from the fact that it also cancelled the certificate of registrations of 17 NBFCs following a request by them for the same.
The List is as follows: Click Here
The NBFC sector is facing liquidity troubles following non-payment of dues by the troubled infra lender IL&FS since late August.
There are more than 12,000 registered NBFCs in the country under the regulation of the RBI.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
India pipped US to become 2nd largest smartphone market behind China
On November 9, 2018, according to a report by research firm Canalys, India overtook US as the 2nd largest smartphone market after China.
i. China saw a shipment of 100.6 million smartphones in the 3rd quarter followed by India which saw 40.4 million units during the same period.
ii. US was at 40 million units in the July-September 2018 period.
iii. Worldwide smartphone shipments fell by 7.2 per cent year-on-year to 348.9 million units during July-September 2018, a fourth consecutive quarter of decline.
iv. This was also the worst third quarter performance since 2015.
v. 3 markets (among the top 10) that registered growth were Indonesia, Russia and Germany.
vi. Samsung led the vendor tally with 20.4 per cent share in the said quarter, followed by Huawei, Apple, Xiaomi and Oppo.
♦ Headquarters: Singapore.
Nokia, Infosys collaborate to drive enterprise digital transformation
On November 8, 2018, Finnish mobile telecom network maker Nokia and Indian IT services firm Infosys joined hands to work in AI and machine learning driven solutions.
i. The partnership will help drive digital transformation in various sectors, such as:
Industries, transportation, energy and manufacturing, media and entertainment, and education.
ii. It will couple technology, products and services from Nokia with platform solutions, engineering and operations management expertise from Infosys.
India to export 50,000 tonnes of sugar to China
On November 10, 2018, a contract was signed for exporting 50,000 tonnes of raw sugar by the Indian Sugar Mills Association with COFCO, a government of China PSU.
i. The export of raw sugar from India to China will begin early 2019.
ii. It is a part of India’s move to export 2 MT of raw sugar to China from 2019 onwards to reduce the $60 billion trade deficit.
iii. Raw sugar is the second product after non-basmati rice that China will import from India.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
Jawahar Lal Sarin conferred with France’s highest civilian honour
On November 9, 2018, Jawahar Lal Sarin was conferred with France’s highest civilian honour ‘Knight of the Legion of Honour’.
i.It was given by French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler.
ii. He received the honor due to his outstanding contribution to enhancing Indo-French cultural cooperation and promoting the French language.
iii. He is currently the president of the governing body of Alliance Franaise.
♦ Capital: Paris.
♦ Currency: Euro
Indian journalist Swati Chaturvedi wins 2018 London Press Freedom Award for Courage in UK
On 8th November 2018, Swati Chaturvedi, an Indian freelance journalist, won the 2018 London Press Freedom Award for Courage.
i. She received the award at the 1st award ceremony organised by the United Kingdom chapter of Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) or Reporters Without Borders in London.
ii. She was one among the four worldwide winners who received awards at the ceremony.
iii. She is the author of the book ‘I am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of the BJP’s Digital Army’.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Ashok Kumar Gupta appointed as the chairman of Competition Commission of India
On November 9, 2018, former IAS officer Ashok Kumar Gupta was appointed the chairperson of the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
i. This wa done by the Corporate Affairs Ministry.
ii. The appointment would be till October 25, 2022 — the date when he attains the age of 65 years — or until further orders, whichever is the earliest.
iii. He replaced acting chairperson Mr. Sudhir Mittal.
♦ The CCI keeps a tab on unfair business practices across sectors.
♦ Headquarters: Delhi.
Ministry of Corporate Affairs:
♦ Union Minister: Shri. Arun Jaitley.
♦ Minister of State for Corporate affairs and Law and Justice: Shri. P. P. Chaudhary.
3 IRS officers- PK Dash, Akhilesh Ranjan and Neena Kumar inducted as members of CBDT
On November 9, 2018, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, appointed 3 IRS officers as the members of CBDT.
i. The 3 appointments are as follows:
P K Dash, Akhilesh Ranjan and Neena Kumar.
ii. They are the 1982-batch of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers.
iii. They are a part of a 6-member team of CBDT having a strength of five members and a chairman.
iv. The other 2 members are: IRS officers Aditya Vikram and P C Mody while the borad’s Chairman is Sushil Chandra.
v. Prior to this appointment, P K Dash was the principal chief commissioner of I-T (PCCIT) in Bhopal, Ranjan and Kumar have been serving as the PCCsIT in Delhi.
♦ Full Form: Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
♦ It frames policy for the I-T Department that is tasked to enforce direct tax laws in the country.
♦ It functions under the Union finance ministry.
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
Centre cleared appointments of Chief Justices of 4 High Courts
On November 10, 2018, the Central government cleared the appointment of Chief Justices of 4 High Courts namely: Allahabad, Patna, Madhya Pradesh and Tripura.
i. The most senior judge of the Rajasthan High Court, Justice Govind Mathur, was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.
ii. The most senior judge of the Allahabad HC, Justice A P Sahi, was appointed the Chief Justice of Patna HC.
iii. The senior-most judge of the Madhya Pradesh HC, Justice S K Seth, was appointed as the Chief Justice of the MP High Court.
iv. The most senior judge of Himachal HC, Justice Sanjay Karol, was appointed as the Chief Justice of Tripura HC.
v. Also, Justice M R Shah, who has been the CJ of Patna HC has been elevated as a Supreme Court judge.
♦ Chief Justice of India: Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
Abhay Kumar appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Madagascar
On 9th November 2018, Abhay Kumar was appointed the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Madagascar.
i. He is an Indian Foreign Service Officer (IFS) of the 2003 batch. At present he is Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) at the Indian Embassy of Brasilia.
ii. He has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Madagascar. He will replace Subir Dutta. He will take up this assignment soon.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
World’s First AI News Anchor Unveiled In China
On 8th November 2018, Xinhua, China’s state-run press agency, unveiled the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) anchor that can read news in English and Chinese.
i. Two AI news anchors were unveiled. One reads news in English and the other in Chinese.
ii. They have been developed by Xinhua and Chinese search engine, Sogou. They were launched at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China.
iii. The virtual newsreaders combine the images and voices of human anchors with AI technology. They have minimal facial expressions and lip movements.
NASA’s Ralph probe set to visit Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids in 2021
NASA’s Ralph, a space instrument, will travel with the Lucy mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, in 2021.
i. The Lucy spacecraft carries a near-twin of Ralph named L’Ralph. L’Ralph will investigate Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids.
ii. Lucy will fly by 6 Trojans and 1 Main Belt asteroid, which is more than any other previous asteroid mission.
iii. L’Ralph will detect the chemical fingerprints of Trojan asteroids. These data would be helpful in finding how organic molecules form in primitive bodies, a process that might have led to the emergence of life on Earth.
IIT Researchers Develop Carbon Nanomaterials for Simultaneous Detection & Destruction of Cancer Cells
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, have developed fluorescent carbon nanodots for simultaneous detection and destruction of cancer cells.
i. The nanosized (10-9 metre) carbon materials would serve as therapeutic and diagnostic agents for cancer. They have been extracted from the leaves of the rosy periwinkle plant.
ii. The research team is led by P Gopinath. The research is supported by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Union Ministry of Science and Technology.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman inducts K9 Vajra, M777 howitzer guns into Army in Nashik, Maharashtra
On 9th November 2018, the Army inducted new artillery guns and equipment, including K9 Vajra and M777 howitzers, at Deolali artillery centre in Nashik district, Maharashtra.
i. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Army chief General Bipin Rawat were present in the induction ceremony.
ii. M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers and the K-9 Vajra were inducted. The ‘Composite Gun Towing Vehicle’ was also inducted for towing the existing guns in service with India.
iii. K-9 Vajra is a self-propelled artillery gun. It is the first-ever artillery gun manufactured by the Indian private sector. The first regiment of K9 Vajra is expected to be finished by July 2019.
iv. K-9 Vajra has a maximum range of 28-38 km. It can burst fire 3 rounds in 30 seconds, intense firing of 15 rounds in 3 minutes and sustained firing of 60 rounds in 60 minutes.
v. The Army will also raise 7 regiments of 145 M777 howitzers. The first regiment will be finished by October 2019.
vi. The gun has a range of 30 km. It can be moved to desired locations using helicopters and service aircraft.
Former India U-19 speedster Saurabh Netravalkar named captain of United States national cricket team
Saurabh Netravalkar, a former Mumbai medium pacer and India U-19 cricketer, has been appointed captain of the United States national cricket team.
i. Saurabh Netravalkar is a 27-year-old software engineer. He had left to United States from India, to study computer science in Cornell University.
ii. He was India’s highest wicket-taker in the 2010 U-19 World Cup. He also played Ranji Trophy for a season
Veteran Marathi actor Lalan Sarang dies in Pune at 79
On 9th November 2018, theatre and Marathi film actor Lalan Sarang passed away due to age-related ailments in Pune, Maharashtra.
i. She was 79 years old. She was born on December 26, 1938 in Mumbai.
ii. She had received ‘Grahini Sachiv Award’ of Ga Di Ma Pratishthan. She had also written few books: “Natakanmagil Natya”, “Mi ani Majhya Bhumika” and “Bahardar Kisse”.
World Science Day for Peace and Development – 10 November
On 10th November 2018, World Science Day for Peace and Development was celebrated all over the world.
i. When: In 2001, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared November 10 as World Science Day for Peace and Development. It was first celebrated in 2002.
ii. Why: It highlights the key role of science in society and the importance and relevance of science in our daily lives.
iii. Theme: for 2018 World Science Day for Peace and Development is “Science, a Human Right”
About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
♦ Director-General – Audrey Azoulay
♦ Headquarters – Paris, France
Uttarakhand celebrates its 18th Foundation Day – November 9
On 9th November 2018, Uttarakhand celebrated its 18th Foundation Day.
i. On 9th November 2000, Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh and formed as a separate state.
ii. The main function was held at the Police Lines in Dehradun. The police women pipe band, dog show, anti-terrorist squad demo, SDRF demo, motorcycling and horse riding etc. were part of the event.
iii. Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya honoured 3 “President Police Medal” recipients and 18 “Police Medal” recipients.