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P.M.Modi laid the foundation stone for city gas work in 129 districts of 18 states under 9th bidding round
On November 22, 2018, Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for City Gas Distribution(CGD) in 129 districts of 18 states under the 9th CGD bidding round, at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
This would cover over a quarter of India’s population.
At the 9th round:
i. 78 out of the 86 Geographical Area’s put on offer in the 9th round of bidding, were awarded licenses by Downstream regulator Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB).
ii. These were awarded to Adani Gas, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Torrent Gas.
iii. Out of this, he laid foundation stones for work in 65 Geographical Area’s,in 129 districts.
i. He also launched the 10th round of bidding for award of city gas licenses in 124 new districts, which have been clubbed into 50 Geographical Areas (GAs).
ii. Thus after the 10th round,
- More than 400 districts would be covered under the City Gas Distribution network, covering around seventy percent of the population.
- CNG stations too would more than double to 10,000 and
- Piped cooking gas connections would reach 2 crore.
India, Singapore reaffirmed defence ties at 3rd India-Singapore Defence Ministers’ Dialogue held in Visakhapatnam
On November 21, 2018, on concluding day of 3rd India-Singapore Defence Minister dialogue(DMD) in Visakhapatnam, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman reaffirmed deepening defence ties between India and Singapore.
i. The meeting was co-chaired by the Defence ministers of the 2 countries.
ii. Earlier to attending the DMD, the Singaporean minister attended the final phase of 25th Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise SIMBEX on board INS Shakti.
i. The significance of the meeting was the renewal of Bilateral Agreement for Conduct of Joint Army Training as well as exercises for Singapore Armed Forces in India.
ii. Further cooperation among the countries is anticipated and the disputes would be solved via international laws to promote stability in ASEAN region and tackle terrorism.
iii. As part of the mutual cooperation, Singapore Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen and Indian Defence Minister Ms Sitaraman have agreed to step up intelligence and information sharing particularly in areas of maritime.
iv. The 4th Defence Minister’s dialogue was announced to be held in Singapore in 2019.
The DMD commenced after both countries signed the revised Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) in 2015 to further strengthen the long-standing defence relationship between the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Indian Armed Forces.
♦ Capital: Singapore.
♦ Currency: Singapore dollar.
India to host 4-day 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health next year in Hyderabad
On November 23, 2018, the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) released the agenda to host the 4-day 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Hyderabad on 30 October – 2 November 2019.
i. The conference theme will be: “Ending the Emergency: Science, Leadership, Action”.
ii. It would be held after the first ever United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting on TB and the third UN High-Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases.
The Indian government has committed to eliminate TB in India by 2025.This year the conference held in The Hague,Netherlands.
6th India Skills Report: Andhra Pradesh topped in employability rate, talent quality
On November 23, 2018, as per the 6th edition & 2019 version of India Skills Report, Andhra Pradesh topped the list of states with the highest employability followed by Rajasthan and Haryana.
The report was launched in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
i. Andhra Pradesh is one of the preferred hiring destinations in India, with the highest employability in India.
ii. Employability has risen to 47%, with female employability at 46% and male participation at 48%.
iii. It is high in B.Tech/ B.E. whereas that of MBAs are low.
iv. Growth can be seen in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities despite absence of IITs and IIMs.
About the Report:
i. It was a joint initiative of Wheebox, a Global Talent Assessment Company, PeopleStrong, a leading HR Tech Company and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
ii. It was supported and backed by renowned partners like United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Association of Indian Universities (AIU).
iii. The sixth edition of India Skills Report test was spread out to 5200 Universities and Professional Institutions in India.
iv. 3 lakh students across 29 States and 7 Union Territories were tested.
Rs. 351 Crore project launched to conserve Gir Asiatic lions for next 5 years: Gujarat Government
On November 20, 2018, the Gujarat government launched Rs 351 Crore project for the conservation of the Asiatic lions for next five years, after the Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) outbreak,that claimed 23 Asiatic lions lives in their only dwelling Gir National park in Saurashtra.
i. The project also includes an emergency ambulance van akin to the 108 emergency service.
ii. It also includes a ‘state of the art’ veterinary hospital to be built at Rs 50 crore in Sasan Gir region.
iii. Additionally, a special veterinary cadre of 120 personnel will be created for the conservation of lions.
i. It was also decided to set up five Safari Parks. They are:
- A lion safari will come up at Gandhinagar,
- A Tiger Safari at Kevadia near the Statue of Unity and
- 2 leopard safari parks will be set up in Mandvi in Surat district and Dangs in South Gujarat.
ii. Also, special breeding centres would be created for near-extinct bird species like the Great Indian Bustard and vultures.
4-day 12th World Congress on Mountain Medicine held in Kathmandu
On November 21, 2018, 4-day 12th biennial World Congress on Mountain Medicine commenced in Kathmandu, Nepal.
i. The theme of the congress was “Mountain Medicine in the Heart of the Himalayas”.
ii. The flagship event of the International Society for Mountain Medicine (ISMM) was held for the first time in Nepal and hosted by Mountain Medicine Society of Nepal (MMSN).
♦ Capital: Kathmandu.
♦ Currency: Nepalese rupee.
India, Nepal agreed to set up hotline for effective coordination in checking smuggling
On November 21, 2018,India and Nepal decided to set up a hotline to ensure effective coordination to combat smuggling, improve border management and facilitate trade.
i. The decision was made by :
- Chief of India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, D P Dash and
- Director General, Customs, Nepal, Toyam Raya.
ii. It was decided at the 2-day-19th annual Indo-Nepal Director General-level talks in Kathmandu which held on November 19-20, 2018.
Indian embassy in Nepal and CII organized 3-day exhibition ConMac 2018 in Nepal
On November 22 to 24th November, 2018, the Embassy of India in Nepal and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organized a 3-day exhibition of construction equipment and technology-ConMac 2018 in Bhaktapur near Kathmandu, Nepal.
i. It was inaugurated by Nepal’s Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth.
ii. Ambassador of India to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri will be the Guest of Honour
iii. The exhibition aims to further enhance high level engagement between construction industries of the two countries.
For more information: Click Here
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ President: Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal.
BANKING & FINANCE
HDFC ERGO General Insurance set up remote sensing lab for crop insurance
On November 23, 2018, HDFC ERGO General Insurance set up a remote sensing lab for crop insurance.
i. This will help in early detection of information and will be used to alert the farmers.
ii. The lab will work accurately for assessing the risks of the insurers and will also be able to give early warnings about the losses.
iii. Furthermore, a specialist in the area of remote sensing are hired to look into the data and assess the information so that predictions can be made.
iv. This will enable scanning of the area through the use of satellite to get better information of the region.
HDFC ERGO was one of the first non-life insurers to use drones on a pilot basis to look into estimate losses from any catastrophic events for the crop areas that they covered.
About Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY):
♦ Launched: 13th Feb 2016.
♦ This Crop Insurance Scheme is in line with One Nation – One Scheme theme. The PMFBY replaced two schemes National Agricultural Insurance Scheme as well as the Modified NAIS.
♦ It envisages a uniform premium of only 2 per cent to be paid by farmers for Kharif Crops, and 1.5 per cent for Rabi crops. The premium for annual commercial and horticultural crops will be 5 per cent.
HDFC ERGO General Insurance:
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ Chairman: Mr. Deepak S. Parekh.
European Investment Bank & State Bank of India to expand cooperation in wind energy financing projects
On November 23, 2018,1st offshore wind investment conference held in New Delhi,During which the European Investment Bank (EIB) and State Bank of India (SBI) agreed to cooperate on financing renewable energy and wind energy projects across India.
i. This collaboration will be under the dedicated EUR 600 million renewable energy financing programme which supports large-scale solar investment across the country.
ii. EIB also approved a new line of credit worth USD 100 million to Yes Bank to boost private investment in clean energy projects.
European Investment Bank (EIB):
♦ Headquarters: Luxembourg.
J&K Bank to be brought under purview of RTI as per guidelines of CVC and J&K State Legislature: Governor of J&K
On November 23, 2018, as per the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) guidelines and the State Legislature, the Jammu and Kashmir bank was brought under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) act.
i. The decision was taken by the State Administrative Council (SAC) chaired by Governor Satya Pal Malik.
ii. The objective of the decision was to strengthen better corporate governance.
iii. As per the proposal, hereafter, the J&K Bank Limited will be treated as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU).
iv. It shall be accountable to the State Legislature like other state PSUs and the Annual Report of the bank shall be placed before the State Legislature through the State Finance Department.
v. It is the only state government promoted bank in the country, with the Jammu and Kashmir government currently holding 59.3 per cent of the shares.
Jammu & Kashmir Bank:
♦ Headquarters: Srinagar.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
SEBI unveils amended rules for reclassification of promoter as public investor
On November 16, 2018, markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) released the amended Securities and Exchange Board of India (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements)(Sixth Amendment) Regulations, 2018 with new rules for re-classification of a promoter as a public investor.
i. This was suggested by the 24-member Kotak panel on corporate governance led by Uday Kotak.
ii. It was amended from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015.
iii. According to the new rules,
- An outgoing promoter will have to give up special rights as well as control over the affairs of the listed firm and
- He cannot hold over 10 per cent stake in the firm.
- The promoter seeking re-classification must not be a willful defaulter or a fugitive economic offender.
- Only compliant listed entities are eligible to apply for re-classification, those who have 25 per cent minimum public shareholding requirement.
iv. A listed entity will be considered as a ‘listed entity with no promoter’ if the entity does not have any promoter due to re-classification, as opposed to ‘professionally managed’ which was the earlier norm.
For more information: Click Here
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ Chairman: Shri. Ajay Tyagi.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
India winner of 3rd edition of UN Environment award for combating transboundary environmental crime
On November 22, 2018, United Nation Environment awarded Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India with the 3rd Asia Environment Enforcement Awards, 2018 for combating transboundary environmental crime.
i. Decided by a selection panel set up by the UN Environment, this is the second time in a row India is the recipient of the awards are being given by UN Environment.
About the Award:
i. The 2018 Awards are presented by UN Environment in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, INTERPOL, USAID, Freeland Foundation, and the Government of Sweden.
ii. It publicly recognizes and celebrates excellence in enforcement by government officials and institutions/teams combating transboundary environmental crime in Asia.
iii. The 2018 edition had the theme of “Fighting Transboundary environmental crime”
iv. Overall 9 winners were selected for various categories.
For more information: Click Here , Click Here
i. WCCB was conferred this award in Innovation category.
ii. It had taken many initiatives including an online Wildlife Crime Database Management System to get real time data.
iii. This helps analyze trends in crime and devise effective measures to prevent and detect wildlife crimes across India.
WCCB had carried out many operations like such as Operation SAVE KURMA, THUNDERBIRD, WILDNET, LESKNOW, BIRBIL, THUNDERSTORM, LESKNOW-II along with other enforcement agencies resulting in the arrest of 350 wildlife criminals.
♦ Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya.
8th Forbes India Leadership Awards 2018 awarded to business heads in Mumbai
On November 23, 2018, the 8th Forbes India Leadership Awards (FILA) was released in Mumbai.
i. The award has 9 categories to acknowledge the outstanding contributions of CEOs, entrepreneurs and business leaders of diverse backgrounds.
ii. The winners and their categories are as follows:
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Azim Premji,Chairman, Wipro Limited.
- Best Company—Public Sector award: Energy Efficiency Services Limited.
- Best CEO–MNC: Sanjiv Mehta, HUL.
- Best CEO—Private Sector: Rajeev Jain,Bajaj Finance.
- Entrepreneur of the Year: Vivek Chaand Sehgalof Motherson Sumi.
- Outstanding Start-up Award: R Narayan Founderand CEO, Power2SME.
- GenNext Entrepreneur: Adar Cyrus Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India.
- Entrepreneur with Social Impact: Gayathri Vasudevan, CEO, LabourNet Services India.
- Conscious Capitalist Company of the Year: Narayana Health.
ii. The Theme of the Award was: “Celebrating Achievers and their remarkable journeys against all odds.
Vice President of India,M. Venkaiah Naidu Presented 2018 NASI-Scopus Young Scientist Awards to the winners in a ceremony held in NewDelhi
On 22nd November 2018,Honorable Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, distributed the 12th National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI)-Scopus Young Scientist Awards 2018 at a gala ceremony held at Vigyan Bhawan in the nation’s capital New Delhi.
i.This year’s award is a joint collaboration between Elsevier and National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI) to celebrate the best and brightest young scientists in India, whose works cut across a broad spectrum of key research disciplines such as the “Make in India”, “Digital India”, “Healthy India” and “Clean India” initiatives.
ii.The winners of the awards include:
|Agriculture, Plant Sciences and Rural Development||Dr. Jitender Giri, National Institute of Plant Genome Research, New Delhi|
|Biomedical Research and Healthcare||Dr. Maddika Subba Reddy, Group Leader and Staff Scientist- V, CDFD, Hyderabad|
|Environmentally Sound Sustainable Development||Dr. Vimal Chandra Srivastava, Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee, Roorkee|
|Innovation in Engineering and Physical Sciences||Dr. Ajay S. Karakoti, Associate Professor, Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad|
|Women in Science||Dr. Zhumur Ghosh, Bose Institute, Kolkata|
iii.Each award winner received a citation and a plaque, along with a cash prize of INR 75,000.
About National Academy of Science:
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
UNICEF appoints singer Nahid Afrin as first ‘Youth Advocate’ of northeastern region
On 22nd November, 2018 popular Assamese singer, Nahid Afrin was appointed as the first ‘Youth Advocate’ of the north eastern region by the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) to fight for child rights at an event held in Guwahati.
i. Nahid Afrin from Biswanath Chariali, Assam made her playback debut in 2016 in the Bollywood film Akira, starring Sonakshi Sinha and won several awards.
ii. The 17-year-old Nahid received the best female playback singer award at the Assam state Film Award 2018.
iii. UNICEF India also appointed Hima Das as India’s Youth Ambassador on 15th Nov 2018.
♦ Assam CM: Sarbananda Sonowal
♦ Assam Governor: Jagdish Mukhi
♦ Assam Capital: Dispur
♦ UNICEF Headquarter: New York
State Bank of Mauritius appoints Sidharth Rath as MD of India operation
On 21st November 2018,State Bank of Mauritius (SBM) has appointed Sidharth Rath as the Managing Director & CEO of SBM Bank (India). Before this he was working with Axis Bank as Group Executive and Head of Corporate, Transaction Banking and International Banking.
i. SBM Bank (India) has been recently granted licence by the RBI to carry on business as a scheduled commercial bank under the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, with effect from 1st December.
ii.It claims to be the first foreign bank to have been granted a universal banking licence under RBI’s wholly-owned subsidiary scheme. Currently SBM Bank has a total of four branches across Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ramachandrapuram.
Rahul Johri to continue as CEO of BCCI
On 21st November, 2018 the Committee of Administrators (CoA) appointed three-member probe panel cleared Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) CEO Rahul Johri of allegations of sexual harassment, dismissing the charges levelled by two women as “mischievous and fabricated” and allowed him to resume duties.
i. The probe panel was headed by Justice (retd) Rakesh Sharma while former Delhi Commission of Women chairperson Barkha Singh and lawyer-activist Veena Gowda were its other members.
ii. Currently the Supreme Court-appointed, Committee of Administrators (CoA) consists of the Chairman Vinod Rai and former Indian women’s team captain Diana Edulji.
About Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)
♦ President: C.K. Khanna
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Women’s team coach: Ramesh Powar
♦ Men’s team coach: Ravi Shastri
Apollo Tyres ropes in Sachin Tendulkar as brand ambassador
On 22nd November, 2018, leading tyre maker Apollo Tyres has roped in the cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar as its brand ambassador for the period of 5 years. This is for the first time that the company has associated itself with a celebrity as the face of its brand.
i. Apollo Tyres also sponsors the English Premier League club – Manchester United besides German football club Borussia Monchengladbach. In Indian football leagues, the company is the principal sponsor of Chennaiyin FC of Indian Super League and title sponsor of Minerva Punjab FC of I-League.
ii. Earlier Sachin Tendulkar was associated with MRF for over two decades which is now endorsed by Indian team Captain Virat Kohli.
iii. Apart from Apollo Tyres, Tendulkar is also the brand Ambassador for BMW in India.
AirAsia India appoints Sanjay Kumar as CCO
Effective from 3rd December 2018, Former Senior Executive of Indigo, Mr. Sanjay Kumar has been appointed as the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of AirAsia India.
i. Last month Sunil Bhaskararan from Tata Group has appointed the Managing Director and CEO.
ii. Mr. Sanjay Kumar will look after commercial operations and he will be responsible for shaping next phase growth at the Bangalore-headquartered AirAsia India.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
World’s First ‘Ion Drive’ Plane with No Moving Parts created by MIT Scientists
On 23rd November 2018,Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA have created the first ever ‘Ion Drive’ plane with no moving part by adapting a technology that is previously used in Spacecraft.
i. Due to absence of moving parts, the plane will not produce any harmful exhaust. The Maintenance cost will also reduce and the plane will not create any noise.
ii. Ion Drives work by firing out a stream of charged particles which will propel the vessel forward. Ion drives have been used in spacecraft since 1960s.
iii. The research will pave the way for the possibility of silent drones in the near future. The research can be the first step towards the revolution of aviation industry.
About Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
♦ Chancellor: Cynthia Barnhart
♦ President: L. Rafael Reif
♦ Motto: Mens et Manus (Mind and Hand)
New ‘pinwheel’ Star System Discovered
An International team of scientists has discovered a massive star system in the Milky Way Galaxy that challenges the existing theories related to the death of big stars.
i. The star system described in the Journal “Nature” is around 8000 light years away from earth and adorned with a dust “pinwheel” strangely moving with a slower speed.
Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba announces retirement at 40
On 21st November 2018, 40 years old Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba announced his retirement after a career of 20 years. He began his career at French side Le Mans in 1998.
i. Ivorian Footballer, Didier Drogba had been playing for Phoenix Rising in United States. He had won four Premier League titles in his 20 years career.
ii. Didier Drogba had made 100 appearances for Ivory Coast. He has also voted African Footballer of the year twice.He also won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2006-07 and 2009-10.
Noted Indian classical musician Ustad Imrat Khan dies at 83 in US
On 23rd November 2018,Indian classical music doyen, Ustad Imrat Khan, a musical virtuoso of the sitar and surbahar, has passed away in St Louis, United States at the age of 83 after a stroke. The son of Ustad Enayat Khan and younger brother of Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ustad Imrat Khan was a legend in his own right.
i. He belonged to the Etawa Gharana where training was passed down from father to son for almost 400 years.
ii. In 1988, Imrat Khan received a Sangeet Natak Akademi Award from the president of India.
iii. In 2017, he was conferred with the Padma Shri, however he refused to accept the award stating “It is too little and came little too late” as several of his juniors and those who trained under him were presented with Padma awards earlier.
India-born Pakistani poet, human rights activist Fahmida Riaz passes away
India-born, a well-known Urdu writer, poet and human rights activist Fahmida Riaz who had worked with Radio Pakistan and BBC Urdu Services (Urdu) died after a prolonged illness in Lahore at an age of 73.
i. She was born in July, 1945 at Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. She always raised her voice for women rights and Democracy in Pakistan.
ii. She lived in India in Self-exile for nearly seven years during the rule of former military dictator of Pakistan, Gen Zia-ul-Haq.
Former MP Baishnab Parida passes away at the age of 77
On 22nd November 2018, Prominent Politician, writer and Promoter of Odia Language Baishnab Charan Parida passes away following a prolonged illness in Bhubaneswar at the age of 77.
The Senior Leader Baishnab Parida was elected to the Rajya Sabha in July 2010 and his term ended in July 2016. He had been fighting to bring Odisha Official Language Act, 1954.
Communal Harmony Campaign Week & Flag Day being observed by National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) from 19th to 25th November
On November 19, 2018, National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH), an autonomous organization under Home Ministry, started observing the Communal Harmony Campaign and Fund Raising Week from 19th to 25th November 2018.
Flag Day was celebrated on November 22, 2018.
i. As a part of the celebrations,
- Programmes were conducted to promote the ethos of Communal Harmony and National Integration,
- The programme was presided over by Shri Manoj Pant, Secretary, NFCH,
- Publicity material like Flag stickers, wrappers, posters, brochures, pamphlets etc. were dispatched to about 1.23 lakh units for the occasion all over the country during year 2018,
- Out of these one Lakh units were educational institutions,
- Six children, two from Jammu & Kashmir and one each from Gujarat, Manipur, Bihar and Chhattisgarh, were invited by the Foundation.
i. The Communal Harmony Campaign and Fund Raising Week is annually observed from 19th to 25th November. The Week’s last working day today was observed as the Flag Day throughout the country.
ii. This was done to generate financial support for destitute children affected by communal, caste, ethnic or terrorist violence.
Ministry of Home Affairs:
♦ Union Minister: Shri. Rajnath Singh.
♦ Minister of State: Shri. Kiren Rijiju, Shri. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir.
549th Guru Nanak Jayanti, Kartik Purnima was celebrated across the country
On November 23, 2018, 549th Guru Nanak Jayanti or Gurpurab and Kartik Purnima was celebrated all over the country.
i. The day marks the birth of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak, who laid the foundation of Sikhism.
ii. Kartik is the eighth lunar month as per the Hindu calendar and is considered the holiest month among all lunar months.