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Tribunal set up to decide on ban on two Tripura militant groups: Home Minister
On November 16, 2018, the Home Ministry set up a tribunal to decide on banning 2 militant groups from Tripura.
i.The tribunal is headed by Delhi High Court Judge Justice Suresh Kait.
ii.This was set up under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
iii.The 2 concerned militant groups are: the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF).
On October 2018, a fresh ban of five years were imposed on the two insurgent groups of Tripura by the central government last month for their “violent and subversive activities”.
♦ Chief Minister: Biplab Kumar Deb.
♦ Governor: Kaptan Singh Solanki.
♦ National Parks: Clouded Leopard National Park, Rajbari National Park.
Women and Child Development Ministry approves setting up over 1023 fast-track courts to dispose off rape, POCSO cases
Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry has approved setting up of 1023 Fast Track Special Courts to dispose off pending cases of rape and POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act throughout India.
i. Law and Justice Ministry had sent a proposal regarding this to WCD Ministry. The Empowered Committee of officers for the Nirbhaya Fund headed by Women and Child Development secretary Rakesh Srivastava approved the proposal.
ii. Total financial implication of the project is over Rs 767.25 crore.In the first phase, 777 fast track special courts will be established in 9 states. In the second phase, 246 fast track special courts will be established.
iii. WCD Ministry also approved the proposal of Home Ministry for procurement of forensic kits for sexual assault cases. The project will cost nearly Rs 107 crore.
iv. WCD Ministry also approved a proposal from Konkan Railway Corporation Limited to set up a video surveillance system at 50 Railway Stations with a total cost of nearly Rs 18 crore.
About Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry:
♦ Minister of Women and Child Development – Maneka Sanjay Gandhi
♦ Minister of State – Dr. Virendra Kumar
2-day 9th Session of the India – Kyrgyz IGC concluded in New Delhi
On November 16, 2018, the 2-day 9th Session of the India-Kyrgyz Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation (IK-IGC) concluded in New Delhi. It started on November 15, 2018.
i. The IK-IGC was co-chaired by:
- Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu,and
- Mr. Kosmosbek Cholponbaev, Minister of Health, Government of the Kyrgyz Republic.
ii. The following topics were priority areas of discussion between the 2 parties:
Healthcare and pharmaceutical, environmental and technical safety, agriculture, information, tourism and culture, textiles and clothing, banking, labor and social development, mines and standards, metrology and certification sector.
iii. Kyrgyz proposed the creation of joint food and food processing ventures for agriculture and meat product for export to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) markets.
iv. India would assist in incubation methods and breeding of fresh water fish, fish disease prophylactic treatment, primary processing and storage of fish and fish products, creation of electronic data base for the pastures, monitoring, assessment and conducting of remote sensing of mountainous pastures including geo-information system.
v. Both the parties decided to hold the 10th meeting of the Kyrgyz-Indian inter-governmental Commission on Trade-Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic.
♦ Capital: Bishkek.
♦ Currency: Kyrgyzstani som.
DIPP Hosts Global Digital Content Market 2018
On 14th and 15th November 2018,The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry hosts, 2 days conference of Global Digital Content Market 2018 (GDCM 2018) in New Delhi .
i. It was the 2nd edition of the conference, 1st edition was held in Geneva in 2016. India has been chosen as the host nation for GDCM 2018 by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
i. GDCM 2018 will feature various sessions on Films, Music, Broadcasting and Publication as well as collective management, emerging models and implication for market and the police makers.
ii. Asia Pacific region is the focus of this year’s conference.
iii. The aim of this year’s conference is to provide industry stakeholders a platform to come together and discuss new avenues in the music, gaming, music and creative industry.
iv. India has improved its ranking by 24 places from that of 2015 and now ranks 57thin Global Innovation Index 2018.
World Intellectual Property Organization
♦ Director General:Mr. Francis Gurry.
♦ Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland.
Department of Commerce and Industry
♦ Union Minister:Mr. Suresh Prabhu
♦ Minister of State:Mr. C.R. Chaudhary .
Government to pay employers 7-weeks maternity leave given to staff
On 15th November 2018,The Women and Child Development Ministry announced that the Government will reimburse employers the salaries for 7 of the 26 weeks of maternity leave for women,who is earning more than Rs 15,000 a month
i. This decision was taken to encourage the employers to hire women and keep them employed during maternity period.
ii. To become eligible for maternity benefits, a woman must has worked for 80 days in last 12 months.
iii. The salary of female employees will be refunded from labor Welfare Cess. As per government, till March 2017, 7500 crores out of 32632 crores of labor welfare cess fund was not utilized. So this fund will be used for reimbursement of salary of female employees.
iv. Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill 2016 increases the maternity leaves from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
Ministry of Woman and child development
♦ Union Minister :Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi
♦ Minister of state:Dr. Virendra Kumar.
4-day Regional meeting of World Customs Organisation held in Jaipur
On November 13, 2018, a 4-day Regional meeting of the World Customs Organisation was held in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
i. It was attended by representatives of 33 member countries of Asia.
ii. The meeting is being jointly chaired by:
- WCO Deputy Secretary General Ricardo Travino Chapaand
- Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs Chairman S Ramesh.
iii. The meeting focused on the following:
- Steps required for the capacity building and reforms in customs,
- The amended Kyoto protocol,
- Digital customs,
World Customs Organisation:
♦ Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium.
♦ Secretary-General: K. Mikuriya.
♦ January 26: International Customs Day.
India’s First Elephant Hospital unveiled in Mathura, UP
On November 17, 2018, India’s first specialized hospital for elephants was unveiled at Churmura village in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh
i. It is located close to the elephant conservation and care centre of Wildlife SOS.
ii. The medical centre offers the following:
wireless digital X-ray, laser treatment, dental X-ray, thermal imaging, ultrasonography, hydrotherapy and quarantine facilities, medical hoist for lifting elephants,
iii. It also has an observation deck which will allow veterinary students to observe elephant’s behavior.
♦ Chief Minister: Yogi Adityanath.
♦ Governor: Ram Naik.
♦ National Parks: Dudhwa National Park, Philibit Tiger Reserve , Sandi Bird Sanctuary.
♦ Uttar Pradesh has 23 wildlife sanctuaries across 27 districts covering over 5,000 sq km.
India, Morocco signed pacts to combat global terror including ISIS
On November 16, 2018, India and Morocco signed extradition, mutual legal assistance and defence cooperation treaties to jointly fight threats from ISIS under their counter-terror partnership.
i. The agreements were inked during Moroccan Justice Minister Mohamed Auajjar’s visit to Delhi on November 2018,
About the MOUs:
i. The counter-terror cooperation agreement will help in bilateral legal arrangements between the 2 countries through Morocco’s well-established school of counter-terrorism.
ii. The Indo-Moroccan Extradition Agreement will provide a strong legal base for the extradition of persons accused of economic offences, terrorism and other serious crimes in one contracting state and found in another contracting state.
iii. The Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters will enhance cooperation in the service of summons, judicial documents, letters of request, and the execution of judgments, decrees and arbitral awards.
Both India and Morocco are part of the Non-Aligned Movement.
♦ Capital: Rabat.
♦ Currency: Moroccan dirham.
9th Annual Defence and Security Dialogue between India and China held in Beijing
On November 13, 2018, India and China held the 9th Annual Defence and Security Dialogue in Beijing, China.
i. It was held between the two defence delegations headed by:
Defence secretary Sanjay Mitra and
Li Zuocheng, China’s deputy chief of Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission.
ii. This was after a one-year gap due to the Doklam standoff.
iii. The defence dialogue was held ahead of the 21st round of border talks between the special representatives of the two countries in the Chinese city of Dujiangyan on November 23-24.
iv. During the dialogue, both countries agreed:
- To enhance military exchanges and interactions,
- On specific defence exchanges for 2019,
- To exchange views on regional and global issues.
v. The next round will be held in India in 2019.
i. Mitra also called on Chinese state councillor and defence minister General Wei Fenghe.
ii. The two militaries will hold the annual ‘Hand-in-Hand’ drills in December 2018 in China after a one-year gap.
iii. The 21st round of border talks would be held National security advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi.
The annual dialogue did not take place in 2017 following the 73-day tense standoff between the two militaries at Doklam, which was triggered by the Chinese PLA’s plan to build a road close to the narrow ‘Chicken’s Neck’ corridor connecting India’s northeastern states in an area also claimed by Bhutan besides China.
♦ Capital: Beijing.
♦ Currency: Renminbi.
BANKING & FINANCE
Government of India and ADB signed $300 Million Loan to support IIFCL in India
On November 17, 2018, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $300 million Loan Agreement to support lending by India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL) in New Delhi.
i. It was signed by:
- Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance,
- Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission.
ii. The last-tranche funding would help at least 13 sub-projects involving roads and renewable power generation through IIFCL project.
iii. The Project entails:
- Long-term finance for PPP projects,
- Improvement of operational capacity of IIFCL, and
- Expansion of the portfolio of infrastructure financing instruments available to IIFCL.
iv. Further, this loan would help prepare for the financial closing of $2.4 billion in investments.
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ MD: Shri. Pankaj Jain.
Government of India and ADB signed $105 Million Loan to Support Hydropower Transmission in Himachal Pradesh
On November 16, 2018, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $105 million loan to continue financing the transmission system upgrades in Himachal Pradesh.
i. This was the tranche 3 loan of the $350 million multi-tranche financing facility (MFF) for Himachal Pradesh Clean Energy Transmission Investment Program approved by the ADB Board in September 2011.
ii. This loan would help in increased supply of hydropower to the state and the national grid and supports the institutional capacity development of the state transmission utility.
iii. The executing agency for this project is: Himachal Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Limited (HPPTCL).
iv. The loan will have a 25-year term, including a grace period of 5 years.
v. It will have an annual interest rate based on the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR), and a commitment charge of 0.15% per year.
♦ Headquarters: Manila, Philippines.
♦ President: Takehiko Nakao.
♦ Established in 1966.
♦ Members: 67 (48 regional members).
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Fitch Affirms India’s rating at ‘BBB-‘; outlook stable
Credit Rating Agency Fitch affirmed India’s “Long term Foreign-currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR)” at ‘BBB-‘with a stable outlook.Fitch kept India’s Credit rating unchanged for the 12th year in a row.
i. Fitch Ratings is one of the big three credit agencies of the world. Other two are Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.
ii. Fitch had last upgraded India’s Sovereign rating from ‘BB+’ to ‘BBB-‘with stable outlook in 2006.
iii. Fitch expects India’s economy to grow with a growth rate of 7.8 in fiscal year ending on 31 March 2019 and 7.3 in FY20 and FY21.
iv. Fitch expected current-account deficit to widen to 3 per cent in FY2018-19 and 3.1 per cent in FY2019-20 from 1.9 per cent in FY2017-18.
v. Fitch says that Indian Economy is vulnerable to shifts in global market sentiments due to global trade tensions and U.S. Monetary tightening.
Points to Remember:
In World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking,India ranked 77th out of 190 Countries after Jumping 53 Position ahead in just two years.
♦ CEO:Paul Taylor
♦ President:Ian Linnell
♦ Headquarter:New York, U.S.A.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
Dr. Saroj Suman Gulati conferred with Global Education Leaders Award 2018
Educationist Dr. Saroj Suman Gulati has been conferred the Global Education Leaders Award 2018 at the 2nd edition of India-UAE Partnership Summit (IUPS), held at The Atlantis, Dubai, on 30th and 31st October 2018.
i. Dr. Saroj Suman Gulati is the Director of Blue Bells Group of Schools. She was awarded in recognition of her remarkable contribution to ‘K-12 education and promotion of Art and Culture’.
ii. The award was conferred by His Highness Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, member of the Cabinet and Minister of State for Tolerance, United Arab Emirates. Mr. Ashish Gulati, Vice-chairman, Blue Bells Group of Schools, received the award on her behalf.
iii. She was among the 9 Indian educationists who were awarded the Global Education Leaders Award. Other award winners are:
- Globalisation of Indian Education – Dr. Atul Chauhan
- Exemplary Contribution to the Growth & Development of Indian K-12 Education – MME. Grace Pinto
- Exemplary Contribution to Higher Education & Women’s Empowerment – Dr. M.K. Madan
- Exemplary Contribution to Research, Innovation & Institution Building in Higher Education – Prof. (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar
- Sustained Advocacy of Human Capital Development – Dilip Thakore
- Shaping the Dreams of Millions of Medical & Engineering Aspirants – J.C. Chaudhry
- Exemplary Contribution to the Growth & Development of K12 to Higher Education in Eastern India – Prof. Samit Ray
- Creating an Innovative Career Guidance Platform for Students – Prateek Bhargava
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
British Prime Minister Theresa May appoints junior health minister Stephen Barclay as new Brexit Secretary
On 16th November 2018,Stephen Barclay, Junior Health Minister who voted to leave European Union in the 2016 referendum has been appointed as the new Brexit Secretary by British Prime Minister Theresa May.
i. Stephen Barclay replaced Dominic Raab who resigned over Theresa May’s draft plan for leaving EU.
ii. Barclay will focus on domestic readiness for Brexit.Earliers he served as a financial services minister.
♦ Currency:Pound Sterling.
Oracle veteran Thomas Kurian to become CEO of Google Cloud
Indian-American Thomas Kurian, former Oracle President of product development and technologist, will become the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Google Cloud in early 2019.
i. Thomas Kurian will replace Diane Greene. Thomas Kurian will join Google Cloud on 26th November 2018.
ii. Diane Greene will continue as CEO till January 2019 and help Thomas Kurian transition into the leadership role.
iii. Thomas Kurian resigned from Oracle in September 2018. He had worked in Oracle for 22 years. He had been a member of Oracle’s Executive Committee for 13 years. He hails from Bengaluru.
♦ CEO – Sundar Pichai
♦ Headquarters – California, United States
Ex-IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh joins OYO as CEO for India, South Asia
On 15th November 2018, budget hospitality chain OYO Hotels appointed Aditya Ghosh as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for its India and South Asia operations with effect from December 1, 2018.
i. Aditya Ghosh was President of IndiGo Airlines for 10 years. He was also wholetime director of IndiGo Airlines. He resigned from IndiGo in July 2018.
ii. He was an advisor to Tata Trusts. He is a lawyer by profession.
iii. At present, South Asia region for OYO Hotels only includes India and Nepal.
About OYO Hotels:
♦ Founded – 2013
♦ Founder and Group CEO – Ritesh Agarwal
OP Bhatt resigned from External Expert of Search & Selection Committee of Yes Bank
On November 17, 2018, former SBI chairman O P Bhatt resigned from the External Expert on the Search and Selection Committee (S&SC) panel due to potential conflict of interest.
i. He presented his resignation to the Nomination & Remuneration Committee (‘NRC’) of Yes Bank which accepted his resignation with immediate effect.
ii. He is under CBI’s scanner in connection with loans given to the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, promoted by fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
China builds an ‘artificial sun’ that reaches temperatures six times that of Sun
China has built an ‘artificial sun’ that reaches 100 million °C, 6 times the temperature of Sun’s core of 15 million °C.
i. On 13th November 2018, scientists from China’s Institute of Plasma Physics announced that plasma in their Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) also called the “artificial sun”, reached 100 million °C, the temperature required to perform nuclear fusion on Earth.
ii. The EAST reactor has been designed to replicate processes happening at the Sun to turn hydrogen into cost-effective green energy.
iii. EAST is 11 metres tall. It has a diameter of 8 metres. It weighs nearly 360 tonnes.
iv. The record temperature was achieved through various new techniques in heating and controlling the plasma. But they were able to maintain the state for only about 10 seconds.
♦ Capital – Beijing
♦ Currency – Renminbi
♦ Official language – Standard Chinese
♦ President – Xi Jinping
Ad Guru Padmashri Alyque Padamsee passes away at 90
On 17th November 2018, ad film maker Alyque Padamsee, known as the Brand Father of Indian advertising, passed away in Mumbai.
i. Alyque Padamsee was 90 years old. In 2000, he was awarded the Padmashri. He was also named Advertising Man of the Century by The Advertising Club in Mumbai.
ii. He was the former Chief Executive of advertising firm Lintas in India and former regional coordinator for Lintas in South Asia.
iii. He had developed several iconic and memorable Indian ad campaigns. He was also known for his role as Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Oscar-winning film “Gandhi” (1982).
BOOKS & AUTHORS
‘Toxic’ declared Oxford Word of the Year 2018
On November 15, 2018, Oxford Dictionary announced ‘Toxic’ as the Word of the year 2018.
i. The sheer scope of its application that has made it the standout choice as there has been a 45% increase in the number of times people have looked up the word on its website.
ii. The word of the year is chosen from a shortlist “drawn from evidence gathered by (its) extensive language research programmer from 150 millio nwords of current English from web-based publications each month.
iii. In 2017, the word was “youthquake” and in 2016 it was “post-truth”.
International Students Day
November 17th is annually seen as the International Students’ Day all over the world.
i. It is seen an international observance of student activism as the date commemorates the anniversary of the 1939 Nazi storming of the University of Prague.
ii. The day was first marked in 1941 in London by the International Students’ Council.
National Epilepsy day
November 17th is seen annually as National Epilepsy Day to create awareness about epilepsy in India.
i. According to World Health Organization (WHO), about 50 million people have epilepsy across the world, out of which 80 percent people are living in developing countries.
ii. Globally, the World Epilepsy Day or better known as Purple Day is observed on March 26th annually.