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Current Affairs November 17 2018

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Two important North East Circuits under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Central Tourism Ministry inaugurated in Arunachal Pradesh.
i. Two important projects were inaugurated on November 15 under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India at PTSO Lake in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.
ii. These projects are launched as a part of Development of North East Circuit:

  • Bhalukpong – Bomdila – Tawang Project:It was sanctioned by Ministry of tourism in March 2015 for Rs. 49.77 Crores.
  • Nafra – Seppa – Pappu, Pasa, Pakke Valley – Sangdupota – New Sagalee – Ziro – Yomcha Project: It was sanctioned by Ministry of Tourism in December 2015 for Rs. 97.14 Crores…………………..Click here to Read more

NITI Aayog constituted the Himalayan State Regional Council chaired by member of NITI Aayog
On November 16, 2018, NITI Aayog constituted the ‘Himalayan State Regional Council’ in New Delhi.
To ensure sustainable development of the Himalayan region.
Key Points:
i. It will be chaired by the Dr VK Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog.
ii. Other members consisting the council are:

  • Chief Secretaries of the Himalayan States as well as the Secretaries of key Central Ministries, senior officers of NITI Aayog special invitees.

iii. The council will review and implement the identified action points based on the Reports of five Working Groups.
iv. It will be the nodal agency for the Sustainable development in the Himalayan Region which consists of the 12 States namely Jammu &Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, two districts of Assam namely Dima Hasao and KarbiAnglong and Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal.
Five Working Groups were constituted by NITI Aayog on June 2, 2017.
NITI Aayog:
♦ Chairperson: PM Narendra Modi.
♦ CEO: Shri. Amitabh Kant.
♦ Vice-Chairperson: Dr. Rajiv Kumar

2-day South Asian Regional Conference on Urban Infrastructure held in New Delhi
On November 15th and 16th,2018,2 day South Asian regional conference,was co-hosted by NITI Aayog,held in Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi.

South Asian Regional Conference on Urban Infrastructure held in New DelhiObjective:
To discuss the key issues, perspectives and the way forward in the Urban Infrastructure.
Key Points:
i. It was hosted by:

  • NITI Aayog,
  • The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and
  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB).

ii. The theme of the conference was: “Urban Infrastructure: New Approaches to Public & Private Partnerships and Municipal Finance Innovations”.
iii. It was inaugurated by CEO, NITI Aayog  Amitabh Kant and Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance Subhash Chandra Garg.
iv. Concerning the deficit of infra implementation against demand, India alone, until 2040, requires investments estimated of around $4.5 trillion in the infrastructure space.
v. Various other issues discussed were:

  • Need to ensure adequate return on investments in infrastructure through properly structured Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs),
  • To evolve unique models and systems of urban planning,
  • The need to decentralised urbanization,
  • Digitalised delivery of goods & services.

The population in South Asia is expected to grow by around 250 million till 2030, while that in India is expected to reach around 590 million during the same period.
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP):
♦ Headquarters: Bangkok, Thailand.
♦ Executive Secretary: Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana.
♦ Headquarters: Manila, Philippines.
♦ President: Takehiko Nakao.
♦ Established in 1966.
♦ Members: 67 (48 regional members).

2nd Mega Food Park in Maharashtra inaugurated in Aurangabad by MoFPI
On November 16, 2018, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Smt Harsimrat Kaur Badal inaugurated the second Mega Food Park in Maharashtra.
i. It is located in Wahegaon and Dhangaon village in Paithan Taluka of Aurangabad district and has been promoted by M/s Paithan Mega Food Park Pvt Ltd.
ii. It has an area of 102 acre and was built at a cost of Rs. 124.52 crore.
iii. The Central Processing Centre (CPC) of this park has various facilities and has a common Administrative building for office and other uses by the entrepreneurs and 3 PPCs at PaithanAlephata and Kannad.
iv. It will leverage an additional investment of about Rs. 250 crore in 25-30 food processing units in the park.
v. It is expected to fetch a turnover of about Rs. 450-500 crore annually.
Other News:
3rd Mega Food Park has been sanctioned by the Ministry in Maharashtra and is under implementation in Wardha District while the first Park was inaugurated on 1st of March 2018 in Satara district.
i. Under Mega Food Park Scheme , Government of India provides financial assistance upto Rs. 50.00 Crore per Mega Food Park project.
ii. Projects under it are merged under comprehensive flagship scheme of ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana’.
♦ Capital: Mumbai.
♦ Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis.
♦ Governor:  C. Vidyasagar Rao.
♦ National Parks: Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve, Chandoli National Park, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Navegaon National Park.

Andhra govt revealed its State Emblem inspired by Amaravati art
On November 15, 2018, after 5 years of bifurcation in 2014, Andhra Pradesh government unveiled its new emblem for official use.

Andhra govt revealed its State Emblem inspired by Amaravati artAbout the state emblem:
i. It consists of “Dhamma Chakka” – “the Wheel of Law” embellished with a ring of Triratnas alternating with pinnate leaves and precious stones.
ii. The three circles of decorative beads are in ascending order of numbers:
48 in the inner, 118 in the middle and 148 in the outer circle.
iii. It has a “Puna Ghataka” or “The vase of Plenty” is at the hub of the Dhamma Chakka which is decorated with a four-banded garland on the main body with medallions and tassels.
iv. Also, there is a braid around the thin neck and a flaring mouth.
v. Further, the National Emblem is placed at the bottom of the emblem.
vi. It has been inspired by the Amaravati School of Art.
vii. The colours used in the symbol are: green, red and yellow.
i. The bifurcation in 2014 was done as per provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, popularly known as the Telangana Act.
ii. Also, the National Emblem should never be reduced to a size of less than 24 mm in height.
Andhra Pradesh:
♦ Chief Minister: N Chandrababu Naidu.
♦ Governor: E.S.L Narasimhan.
♦ Capital: Amaravati.
♦ National Parks: Sri Venkateswara National Park, Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Papikonda National Park.

Sri Ramayana Express flagged off from Safdarjung railway station in Delhi
On November 16, 2018, Shri Ramayana Express was flagged off from Safdarjung Railway Station in New Delhi.

Ramayana Express flagged off from Safdarjung railway station in Delhii. It is a the 800-seat special tourist train that would run on the Ramayana circuit to cover major spots related to the Hindu epic.
ii. The pilgrimage circuit it will travel on, named- Shri Ramayana Yatra-Sri Lanka, consists of two travel components –one each in India and Sri Lanka.
iii. The train aims to complete its journey till Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, in 16 days.The railways has decided the fare for 16-day trip at Rs. 15,120 per person.

15-day Aadi Mahotsav festival commenced in Delhi
On November 16, 2018, 15-day Aadi Mahotsav festival commenced in the national capital Delhi. It would be attended by Tribal Affairs MinisterJual Oram.
i. The theme of the festival is ‘Celebration of the spirit of tribal culture, craft, cuisine and commerce’.
ii. There are 2 venues of the festival- Delhi Haat and Central Park in New Delhi.
iii. It will feature exhibition-cum-sale of tribal handicrafts, art, paintings, fabric, jewellery and much more through one hundred stalls.
iv. The highlights of the festival are expected to be fashion show for tribal textiles and tribal cuisines.

26th Conference of Central and State Statistical Organization (COCSSO) held in Himachal Pradesh
On November 15, 2018,26th Conference of Central and States Statistical Organizations was held at Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh,the conference took place for 2 days on 15th and 16th November.
i. It was organized by Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
ii. The theme of this year’s Conference is “Quality Assurance in Official Statistics”.
iii. It was inaugurated by Union Minister Vijay Goel along with Himachal Pradesh food, civil supplies and consumer affair minister Kishan Kapoor.

Nongkrem dance festival celebrated in Meghalaya
On 11th and 12th November 2018, Nongkrem dance festival, was celebrated by the people of the Khasi Hills, in Meghalaya.

Nongkrem dance festival celebrated in Meghalayai. This festival is celebrated annually. People pray for good harvest, peace, and prosperity of the community.
ii. A unique dance named “Ka Shad Mastieh” is performed by the male members of Hima Khyrim, a sub-tribe of the indigenous Khasi tribe.
iii. At the beginning of the celebrations a goat sacrifice ceremony is done at Smit located 15 kilometers to the southwest of Shillong.

Kerala Government launches ‘Gau Samridhi Plus scheme’ for dairy farmers
On 16th November 2018, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched the ‘Gau Samridhi Plus scheme’ or ‘Cow Samridhi Plus Scheme’ to offer insurance coverage to dairy farmers in Kerala.

Kerala Government launches ‘Gau Samridhi Plus scheme’ for dairy farmersKey Points:
i. Cow Samridhi Plus Scheme is a government subsidized scheme. It will provide insurance coverage to dairy farmers at low premium rates.
ii. Farmers from general category will receive 50% subsidy on premium. Farmers from Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) category will receive 70% subsidy on premium.
iii .Also, the Kerala government in collaboration with the Central government has decided to establish a regional autism and research centre at the National Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (NIPMR) in Thrissur.
Some National Parks in Kerala:
♦ Anamudi Shola National Park
♦ Eravikulam National Park
♦ Mathikettan Shola National Park


Overview of PM Modi’s 2 day visit to Singapore

    • On November 15, 2018, PM Narendra Modi attended the 33rd edition of the ASEAN Summit (Nov 11 to 15) held at Suntec Singapore Convention Centre, Singapore. The theme of Singapore’s Chairmanship was “Resilient and Innovative”.
    • On November 15, 2018, PM Narendra Modi attended the 13th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Singapore.
    • On November 15, 2018, PM Narendra Modi attended the 16th ASEAN-India Breakfast Summit in Singapore.
      It was followed by the 13th East Asia Summit.
    • The PM, on November 15, 2018, felicitated the six winning teams, including three from India, of the first India-Singapore Hackathon.
    • Prior to the PM’s visit to attend the ASEAN summits, the 17th ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Council Meeting was held in Singapore on November 12, 2018…………………………Click here to Read more

UNSC unanimously agrees to lift sanctions against Eritrea after nine years
On 14th November 2018, United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously agreed to lift sanctions against Eritrea after 9 years.

UNSC agrees to lift sanctions against EritreaKey Points:
i. UNSC conducted a vote on the resolution that was drafted by the United Kingdom and backed by the United States and its allies.
ii. UNSC unanimously adopted a resolution 2444 to lift arms embargoes, travel bans, asset freezes and targeted sanctions on Eritrea imposed in 2009.
iii. They were imposed on Eritrea due to claims that Eritrea supported al-Shabab militants in Somalia.
iv. The sanctions have been lifted amid the improvement in relations between Eritrea and its neighbouring countries following years of conflict.
v. On 9th July 2018, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki signed a peace agreement and announced normalization of ties, ending a 20-year conflict.
vi. Eritrea and the UN-backed government in Somalia signed a joint cooperation agreement recently.
vii. The leaders of Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia met recently in northern Ethiopia to enhance regional economic development.
About Eritrea:
♦ Capital – Asmara
♦ Currency – Nakfa
♦ President – Isaias Afwerki

India-Taiwan SME Development Forum held in Taipei, Taiwan
From 13th to 17th November 2018, the India-Taiwan SME Development Forum was held in Taipei, Taiwan.

India-Taiwan SME Development Forum held in Taipei, TaiwanKey Points:
i. Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME), Dr.Arun Kumar Panda, led the Indian Delegation.
ii. 20 enterprises from India in the field of general engineering, auto components, electronics & plastics are taking part in the forum.
iii. These enterprises aim to seek linkages in their respective fields with the Taiwanese enterprises.
iv. Dr.Arun Kumar Panda addressed the forum. He stated that, MSME is the second largest employment generating sector in India.
v.I ndia has more than 63 million MSMEs with over 111 million persons employed. It produces over 8,000 products.
vi. He expressed that, India welcomes investment both in technology transfers and FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) by Taiwanese companies in India with Indian SMEs.
About Taiwan:
♦ Capital – Taipei
♦ Currency – New Taiwan dollar
♦ Official language – Taiwanese Mandarin (de facto)
♦ President – Tsai Ing-wen


RBI imposed fine of Rs 3 crore each on Deutsche Bank, J&K Bank
On November 14, 2018, Reserve Bank of India imposed a fine amounting to Rs. 6.1 crores fine on two lenders —- Deutsche Bank and Jammu and Kashmir Bank.
i. A monetary penalty of Rs 30.10 million on Deutsche Bank was imposed. The reasons are:

  • for non-compliance with the directions issued by RBI on Income Recognition and Asset Classification (IRAC) norms,
  • Know Your Customer/Anti-money Laundering (KYC/AML) norms, and
  • on disclosure of monetary penalties imposed by the regulator.

ii. Similarly, it also fined Rs 30 million on The Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd for non-compliance with the directions issued by RBI on IRAC norms and KYC/AML norms.
Deutsche Bank:
♦ Headquarters: Frankfurt, Germany.
Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd:
♦ Headquarters: Srinagar, J&K.

Induslnd Bank launches India’s first interactive credit card named ‘Nexxt Credit Card’
On November 14 2018, IndusInd Bank has launched a credit card Named Nexxt Credit Card which is India’s first Interactive card with buttons.
i.The main feature of this card is that it provides customer the choice of payment options at the point of sale (POS) such as Credit, EMI with four tenure options which are 6, 12, 18, 24 Months and Using Accumulated Reward Points.
ii.As per banks the card is loaded with features which will elevate the shopping experience of the customer.
Induslnd Bank launches India's first interactive credit card named ‘Nexxt Credit Card’Key Points
i. The card shows 3 Options using LED Lights.
ii. The customer needs not to fill any form, Call Bank or visit the bank’s website.
iii. It was developed in partnership with Dynamics Inc., headquartered in Pittsburgh USA
Static GK Points
♦ CEO MD of IndusInd Bank – Mr. Romesh Sobti
♦ Headquarter of IndusInd Bank – Mumbai


UNICEF appoints Hima Das as India’s first ever Youth Ambassador
On 14th November 2018, Asian Games gold-medallist sprinter Hima Das was appointed as the first ever youth ambassador of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) India.

UNICEF appoints Hima Das as India's first ever Youth AmbassadorKey Points:
i.  As a Youth Ambassador, Hima Das will work towards creating awareness about the rights and needs of children.
ii. She hails from Nagaon district of Assam. She had won gold medal in Women’s 4 x 400 m Relay event at the 2018 Asian Games. She had also won a silver medal in Women’s 400m Race event with a timing of 50.59 seconds.
iii.S he is the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in a track event at the IAAF World U20 Championships. She was awarded Arjuna Award in 2018.
About United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF):
♦ President‎ – ‎Tore Hattrem
♦ Headquarters – New York, United States

Nina Tshering La concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Congo
On 5th November 2018, Ms Nina Tshering La was appointed the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Congo.
Key Points:
i. At present Nina Tshering La is the Ambassador of India to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
ii. She has been concurrently appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Congo, with residence in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. She will take up this assignment soon.
About Republic of Congo:
♦ Capital – Brazzaville
♦ Currency – Central African CFA franc (XAF)
♦ Official language – French
♦ President – Denis Sassou Nguesso
♦ Prime Minister – Clément Mouamba

Infosys names its executive VP Jayesh Sanghrajka as interim CFO
Infosys has appointed its executive vice-president Jayesh Sanghrajka as its interim Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and a Key Managerial Personnel with effect from November 17, 2018.
i. At present, Jayesh Sanghrajka is the deputy CFO of Infosys. He will replace outgoing CFO M D Ranganath.
ii. Jayesh Sanghrajka has been working with Infosys for more than 13 years and has held positions such as vice president and corporate financial controller. He is a Chartered Accountant.
iii. He has held top positions in other companies like: vice president, finance, Mu Sigma; Head, finance,; director, corporate accounting, Tishman Speyer India.


Indian Navy completes refit of Maldivian Coast Guard Ship (MCGS) Huravee
On 15th November 2018, Indian Navy successfully completed refit of Maldivian Coast Guard Ship (MCGS) Huravee at Naval Dockyard Visakhapatnam and formally handed over the ship to Major Mohamed Jamshad, Commanding Officer MCGS Huravee.
Key Points:
i. The refit to MCGS Huravee is an initiative by the Indian Navy to further Indian Navy’s diplomatic outreach to friendly foreign navies in the Indian Ocean Region.
ii. MCGS Huravee arrived at Visakhapatnam on 12th July 2018. The refit was completed on 14th November 2018.
iii. During the refit, major repairs were done on the ship’s hull, main propulsion and auxiliaries.
iv. Various systems and equipment were upgraded. Equipment were put through extensive harbour and sea trials to achieve full combat capability.
About Maldivian Coast Guard Ship (MCGS) Huravee:
♦ It was originally commissioned as INS Tillanchang
♦ It is a Trinkat class patrol vessel
♦ It was built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata, in March 2001
♦ It was gifted to Maldives by the Government of India in April 2006


Cyclonic storm ‘GAJA’ over coastal Tamil Nadu
On 16th November 2018, cyclonic storm ‘Gaja’ crossed near Tamil Nadu causing severe damage to certain coastal regions.Six districts of Tamilnadu including Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur met big disaster due to this cyclone.Vedaranyam (Nagapattinam district), Mannargudi (Tiruvarur) are disaster struck regions and expects for government rehabilitation schemes.


Cyclonic storm ‘GAJA’ over coastal Tamil NaduKey Points:
i. The cyclonic storm ‘Gaja’ crossed the Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam, nearly 300 km from Chennai, and Vedaranniyam.
ii. Nagapattinam district was the worst affected with the maximum rainfall of 48.4 mm recorded as on 16th November 2018. The storm also made landfall in Nagapattinam with winds upto a speed of 120 kmph.
iii. Coastal towns including Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Thondi and Pamban in Tamil Nadu and Karaikkal in Puducherry received moderate rainfall.
iv. 20 people were killed due to the storm as on 16th November 2018. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has announced a relief fund of Rs 10 lakh each for the families of the deceased from the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund (CMPRF).
v. Victims with severe injuries will be offered Rs 1 lakh each, and people who had simple injuries will receive Rs 25,000 as relief.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Tamil Nadu:
♦ Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Vallanadu Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Cauvery North Wildlife Sanctuary


Viswanathan Anand beats Hikaru Nakamura to win Chess India Blitz Tournament
On 14th November 2018, five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand won the inaugural Tata Steel Chess India Blitz Tournament in Kolkata.
Key Points:
i. Viswanathan Anand secured six wins and three draws in the nine rounds and levelled with world number three Hikaru Nakamura of America.
ii. In the play-off, Viswanathan Anand beat Hikaru Nakamura 1.5-0.5 and won the inaugural Tata Steel Chess India Blitz Tournament title.

India’s ace cueist Pankaj Advani wins third straight IBSF billiards crown, takes overall world title tally to 20
On 15th November 2018, Indian cueist Pankaj Advani won his 3rd straight IBSF (International Billiards and Snooker Federation) billiards title in the 150-up format, in the IBSF 150-up Billiards Championship, held at Yangon, Myanmar.

India's ace cueist Pankaj Advani wins third straight IBSF billiards crown, takes overall world title tally to 20Key Points:
i. Pankaj Advani defeated Mynamar’s Nay Thway Oo 6-2 in the final and won the World Billiards Championship (150-Up) 2018 title.
ii. With this win, he has increased his world titles tally to 20. Also, this marks a hat-trick of wins for Pankaj Advani in the 150-Up format.
iii. He had won the previous two titles in the 150-Up format in Bengaluru in 2016 and in Doha, Qatar, in 2017.
About IBSF (International Billiards and Snooker Federation):
♦ President – Mubarak Al-Khayarin
♦ Headquarters – Doha, Qatar


‘A Great Association-Glimpses into the Life of Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha’, a book on Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha released
‘A Great Association-Glimpses into the Life of Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha’, a book authored by Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha, was released by Prasar Bharati’s CEO Shashi Shekar Vempati.
i. The book has been written on the life of Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha, the renowned saint of Narayanashrama Tapovanam, Kerala.


National Press Day – November 16
On 16th November 2018, National Press Day was celebrated in India.

National press dayi. National Press Day commemorates the day on which Press Council of India (PCI) started functioning.
ii. PCI was constituted on 4 July 1966 and started functioning on November 16, 1966. This day is a symbolism of a free and responsible press in India.
iii. Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley inaugurated the National Press Day celebrations organised by PCI in New Delhi.
iv. He presented National awards for excellence in journalism for 2018. Winners are listed below:

  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy Award: N Ram
  • Rural Journalism: Ruby Sarkar
  • Developmental Reporting: VS Rajesh
  • Photo Journalism-Single News: Subhash Paul
  • Photo Journalism-Photo Feature: Mihir Singh
  • Best Newspaper Art: covering cartoons, caricature and illustrations: P Narasimha

International Day for Tolerance – 16 November
International day of tolerance is observed of 16 November every year to educate people about the negative effects of intolerance and make people aware about the need of tolerance in society. It is an annual observance declared by UNESCO in 1995.

international-day-for-toleranceWorld Tolerance Summit Inaugurated in Dubai:-
The First ever World Tolerance Summit held in Dubai on November 15-16. It was organized by International Institute of Tolerance. Leaders from all over the world had visited the summit.
Key Points
i. The aim of the summit was to discuss the importance of tolerance, equality and peace among the people of different religion, Color and race.
ii. The Theme of the Summit was ‘prospering from Pluralism: Embracing Diversity through Innovation and Collaboration’.
iii.UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence award which is given biennially is given to Social entrepreneur and filmmaker Manon Barbeau (Canada) and the Coexist Initiative, a non-profit organization working to end violence against women (Kenya).
iv.The United Nations has launched a new campaign TOGETHER to promote tolerance, respect and dignity across the world.
v. Indian Ambassador Navdeep Suri congratulated UAE for successful organization of summit.
Static GK Points
♦ Capital of UAE – Abu Dhabi
♦ Currency of UAE – UAE Dirham
♦ President of UAE – Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan