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Govt to divest 100% stake in Air India’s ground handling firm AIATSL
On November 28, 2018, the Central government announced 100% disinvestment of Air India’s ground handling subsidiary- Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL) to partially pay off the accumulated Rs 500 billion debt of Air India.
i. The decision was taken by an inter-ministerial panel, Air India Specific Alternate Mechanism, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Ministry of Civil Aviation:
♦ Union Minister: Shri. Suresh Prabhu.
♦ Minister of State: Shri. Jayant Sinha.
♦ Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey.
Government brought 2000 Public Authorities Under the purview of RTI Act 2005
On November 25, 2018, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh stated that PM Modi led government has brought most of the public authorities under the purview of the RTI act to maintain maximum transparency in the institutions.
i. The nodal department for the RTI Act is the Department of Personnel and Training(DOP&T), and it has so far inducted nearly 2000 public authorities under the purview of the Act.
i. Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information.
ii. It replaced Freedom of Information Act, 2002 and covers the whole of India except Jammu & Kashmir.
Department of Personnel and Training (DOP&T):
♦ Under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions.
♦ Minister of State: Dr. Jitendra Singh.
NITI Aayog organized the 2nd phase of Urban Water Management in New Delhi
On November 26, 2018, NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) & Temasek Foundation (TF) Internationalorganized the 2nd Phase of Urban Management Programme on ‘Water Recycling and Reuse’ at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi.
i. This event was in accordance to an MOU signed by the NITI Aayog and TF International to develop recycled water as part of sustainable and diverse water portfolio.
ii. The event focused on capacity building programme on management of water, particularly its recycling & reuse, and its importance for future urban planning and policy.
iii.8 States/UTs were selected for the capacity building workshops through a Challenge Method. They were –Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Puducherry and West Bengal.
The broader capacity building engagement with SCE also includes a series of interactive workshops, advisory sessions and an expository visit to Singapore.
♦ Capital: Singapore.
♦ Currency: Singapore dollar.
Defence Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman launched ‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti’ in New Delhi for promotion of IPR in defence sector
On November 27, 2018, Defence Minister, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, launched ‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti’ in New Delhi.
To provide a boost to the Intellectual Property Right (IPR) culture in indigenous defence industry
i. The event showcased the successful outcomes of adopting and utilizing the Intellectual Property Right (IPR) applications which enhanced inventions and innovations among Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).
ii. Department of Defence Production and Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA) had a significant role in spreading awareness about the benefits of creating the Intellectual Property culture in the defence sector.
iii. Thus, the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) was further entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating and implementing the programme to fulfill its objective.
With the involvement of IPR, an IP Facilitation Cell was established in April 2018 which has worked tirelessly to achieve ambitious targets of training 10,000 personnel of OFB and DPSUs on IPR and to facilitate filing of at least 1,000 new IPR applications.
Ministry of Defence:
♦ Union Minister: Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.
♦ Minister of State: Shri. Subhash Bhamre.
♦ Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO: Dr G Satheesh Reddy.
WB Green varsity to be renamed as Rani Rashmoni Green University
On 26th November 2018, State assembly of West Bengal passed “West Bengal Green University (Amendment) Bill 2018” to rename the West Bengal Green University as Rani Rashmoni Green University in the commemoration of Rani Rashmoni’s 225th Birth anniversary.
i. West Bengal Green University Act was passed in year 2017 for setup of University in Hooghly.
ii. Rani Rashmoni had played a very important role in the field of education in West Bengal.
CSIR to establish a High-End Skill Development Centre in Chandigarh
On 27th November 2018, India’s Premier National Research Laboratory, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Institute of Microbial Technology (CSIR – IMTECH) announced a new partnership with a leading German Science and technology company, Merck to establish a “High End Skill Development Centre” at CSIR- IMTECH in Chandigarh.
i. The first of its kind, this High End Skill Development Centre in Chandigarh will augment India’s Initiative for Skilling India in the area of Life Sciences. The Centre will train Indian students and researchers in Life Science Technologies.
ii. The Centre will be equipped with next generation technologies like Gene editing and Single-Molecule Biomarker detection.
Overview of EAM Sushma Swaraj’s 2-day official visit to Laos PDR
- On November 22-23, 2018, External Affairs Minister of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, paid a 2-day Official Visit to Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR).
- She co-chaired the 9th India-Lao PDR Joint Commission Meeting along with H.E. Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith, Foreign Minister of Lao PDR
- They held constructive discussions covering cooperation in agriculture, trade and investment, defence, education, culture, information technology, energy and mining.
- India agreed to grant a total line of credit proposal offer of USD 250 million to Lao PDR……………………………Click here to Read more
Nepal launched contribution based Social Security Scheme for formal sector workers
On November 27, 2018, Nepal government launched a contribution based Social Security Scheme for formal sector workers in Kathmandu. It was inaugurated by PM of Nepal, KP Sharma Oli.
i. The scheme has been introduced to address that issue of accountability of the state to its people.
ii. The scheme will be compulsorily applicable to formal sector workers and will be further extended to informal sector workers.
iii. It will come into effect in May 22, 2019 and would be a contribution based scheme where
- Private sector employees will have to mandatorily contribute 11per cent of their basic salary to the social security fund (SSF),
- While employers will have to contribute another 20 per cent of the employees’ basic salary.
iv. Of the 31 percent, 1 percent will go for medical treatment, health protection and maternity scheme; 1.40 percent for accidents and disability plan; 0.27 percent for dependent family plan; and 28.33 percent for pension or old-age security scheme.
♦ Capital: Kathmandu.
♦ Currency: Nepalese rupee.
First 3-day Sustainable Blue Economy Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya
On November 28, 2018, the First 3-day Sustainable Blue Economy Conference concluded at Kenyatta International Convention Center, KICC, in Nairobi, Kenya,which begins on November 26, 2018.
It aims to work through the framework of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
To advance the global conversation on the sustainable development of the Blue Economy.
i. The theme of this conference was ‘The Blue Economy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’.
ii. It was primarily hosted by the Government of Kenya with Canada and Japan as co-hosts and supported by UNDP through a multi donor basket fund.
iii. The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference was built on the momentum of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 2015 Climate Change Conference in Paris and the UN Ocean Conference 2017 ‘Call to Action.‘
iv. From India Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari participated in the conference.
v. Other important players attending the conference were:
- The World Wildlife Fund, WWF,
- International Maritime Organization, IMO,
- International Seabed Authority, ISA,
- the World Bank,
- Ocean Foundation etc.
For more information: Click Here
♦ Capital: Nairobi.
♦ Currency: Kenyan shilling.
Saudi-India Business Meeting held in Riyadh to discuss trade and regional cooperation
On November 28, 2018, Saudi-India Business meeting was held in Riyadh with the Council of Saudi Chambers during the visit of the Indian Infrastructure & Housing delegation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
i. Indian side was led by Manoj K Bharti, Additional Secretary, ED Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
ii. The meeting was aimed for business, trade and regional cooperation between the 2 countries.
iii. India is one of the 8 countries on the preferred list of Saudi Arabia.
Joint Communication on India-EU partnership released; EU-India to be partners for the next decade and a half
On November 26, 2018, India welcomed the release of Joint Communication by the European Commission on India-EU partnership with theme of – “A Partnership for Sustainable Modernisation and Rules-based Global Order”.
i. It was released on November 20, 2018 and covers a strategy of India-EU partnership over the next 10 to 15 years.
ii. This partnership enables greater India-EU political, security and defence cooperation.
iii. With a bilateral goods and services turnover in excess of US$ 100 billion, the EU is India’s largest trading partner.
BANKING & FINANCE
Survey on India’s Startup Sector (SISS) launched by RBI
On November 27, 2018, the Reserve Bank of India launched a Survey on India’s startup sector (SISS) to create a profile of the startup sector in India consisting of dimensions relating to turnover, profitability and workforce.
To understand the problems faced by the startup sector.
i. The details of the start-up entities were made available by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India in March 2018.
ii.In a recent NASSCOM-Zinnov report titled “Indian Start-up Ecosystem 2018: Approaching Escape Velocity,”, India has emerged as the third largest startup hub in the world.Bangalore becoming one of the fastest growing technology startup hubs.
For more information: Click Here
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Second quarter GDP growth likely to slow to 7.5-7.6 per cent: SBI Ecowrap
On November 26, 2018, according to the ‘SBI Ecowrap’ report released by the State Bank of India, the GDP growth in the September quarter (which is the 2nd quarter) is expected to decelerate to 7.5-7.6 per cent over the previous three-month period.
i. This could be concluded from the result of the SBI Composite Leading Indicator (CLI), a basket of 21 leading indicators for September quarter of the current fiscal.
ii. The reasons for this declining trend is due to slowdown in rural demand.
iii. In the previous quarter of April-June quarter of 2018-19, the GDP was 8.2 per cent at constant prices (2011-12).
iv. Furthermore, the second quarter GVA growth was slowing down due to decline in demand as observed in October 2018.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
National Projects Construction Corporation Limited (NPCC) has been conferred with the status of Miniratna
On 27th November 2018 the Government of India conferred the National Projects Construction Corporation Limited (NPCC) with the status of Miniratna: Category –I. This status will empower the company to take speedy decisions.
i. With the status of Miniratna the company will have greater autonomy as the board’s power would get enhanced.
ii. One of the premier construction companies, NPCC has also been awarded with the ISO 9001:2015 Certification.
iii. The National Projects Construction Corporation Limited (NPCC), is a schedule ‘B’ Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the administrative control of Ministry of Water Resources and was incorporated in 1957.
iv. The Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) which have made profits in the last three years continuously and have positive net worth are eligible to be considered for grant of Miniratna status.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Nageshwara Rao Guntur appointed as Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) Chief
On 26th November 2018, renowned scientist Nageshwara Rao Guntur has been appointed as chairperson of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) by the Ministry of Personnel and Training for the period of three years.
Presently Shri Guntur is the chairman, Project Design Safety Committee, Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) and former distinguished scientist of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).
About Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) :
i. It was established in November 1983 by President of India to carry out certain regulatory and safety functions in the fields of nuclear and radiation safety on a countrywide basis.
ii. It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
IAS Ranbir Singh appointed as Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi
On 27th November 2018, 1991-Batch IAS Officer, Ranbir Singh who had earlier served as the commissioner of East Delhi Municipal Corporation was appointed as the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Delhi.
i. Ranbir Singh will succeed Vijay Kumar Dev who had been appointed as the chief secretary of the Delhi Government. The Post of Chief Secretary of Delhi was vacant after the transfer of Anshu Prakash.
Elysium Capital appoints Sachin Khandelwal as Strategic Adviser
Elysium Capital Advisory, a real estate-focused investment bank, has appointed Sachin Khandelwal as a strategic advisor and mentor. Khandelwal will guide Elysium to strengthen existing business lines and help taking informed strategic decisions to pursue new growth areas.
Before this, Khandelwal’s most recent engagement was as a key member on the board of Magma Fincorp and he was MD and CEO for their housing finance company. Also he had worked as MD and CEO of ICICI Home Finance Company.
About Elysium Capital
♦ Managing Partner: Leo D. Corradini
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
FitLoo: MIT’s smart toilet detects cancer, diabetes through urine
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and European space agency along with Sanitation Specialists have developed Smart toilet named “FitLoo” which can detect diseases like Cancer and Diabetes by screening the Urine and directly shares the data on users’ smartphone.
i, The Smart Toilet ‘FitLoo’ is based on the automated sample testing technology used by astronauts at International Space Station (ISS).
ii. The toilet will screen Human Urine for the presence of extra proteins and glucose with the help of sensors located inside the bowl.
‘Miko 2’: IIT-Bombay graduates launch India’s first advanced personal robot for kids
On 27th November 2018, Graduates of Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-B) who are Co-founders of a start-up called Emotix have launched India’s first advanced personal robot Miko 2 for Kids.
i. IIT Bombay graduates Sneh Rajkumar Vaswani along with his batchmates Prashant Iyengar and Chintan Raikar have founded the Tech start-up Emotix.
ii. Miko 2 is India’s first advanced robot that can see, hear, sense, express, talk, recognize faces, remember names, Identify moods and initiate a conversation. It learn from its own environment to develop a bond with the child.
Manav Thakkar settles for bronze in Belarus Open
On November 16 2018, India’s Manav Thakkar settled for a bronze medal in the U-21 Men’s singles category in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open held in Minsk, Belarus.
i. Manav Thakkar lost to Russia’s Denis Ivonin in the semifinals by 2-3 to miss out on the gold.
ii. Zhao Zihao of China won the gold medal in the U-21 singles category by defeating Denis Ivonin of Russia.
♦ Capital: Minsk
♦ Currency: Belarusian Ruble
Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018 Inaugurated at Kalinga Stadium
On 27th November, 2018 the 14th edition of Hockey Men’s World Cup kicked off with a grand opening ceremony at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik declared the Hockey World Cup open. The event is being held from 28th November to 16th December 2018.
i. The three-hour opening ceremony show witnessed the performance of many renowned musicians and the troupe including global musical icon AR Rahman and Bollywood stars Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit.
ii. The event concluded with the official song of the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018 -‘Jai Hind Hind, Jai India’ which is sung and composed by Rahman and written by veteran writer Gulzar.
iii.A total of 16 teams are playing and are drawn into four groups, each containing four teams.
iv. Turtle ‘Olly’ is the official mascot for the Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup. It represents the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles that travel thousands of miles in the ocean and arrive in millions every year on Odisha’s beaches for their annual nesting.
♦ Odisha CM: Naveen Patnaik
♦ Odisha Governor: Ganeshi Lal
International Hockey Federation (FIH)
♦ Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland
♦ FIH President: Narinder Batra
♦ Hockey India President: Mohd. Mushtaque Ahmad
SpongeBob SquarePants Creator Stephen Hillenburg Passes Away
On 26th November 2018, 57 year old SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg passed away due to Motor Neuron Disease also known as ALS, a disease he had been diagnosed with in 2017.
i. SpongeBob which was aired for nearly two decades since its premiere in 1999 is Nickelodeon’s biggest hit. Hollywood actor David Hasselhoff was starred in SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
BOOKS & AUTHORS
President of India Receives the First Copy of the book “Making of New India:Transformation under Modi Government”:Released by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
On 27th November, 2018 The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, received the first copy of the book “Making of New India: Transformation under Modi Government”, from Arun Jaitley, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
i. The book is edited by the nationalist think tank Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation (SPMRF) and members of the Niti Aayog: Dr Bibek Debroy, Dr Anirban Ganguly and Shri Kishore Desai.
ii. The book contains 51 essays on themes ranging from economy to diplomacy, education to public health.
ii. The book endeavours to elaborate on how the government has set out to realise the vision of a New India.
iii. Recently Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had also unveiled a curated coffee table book titled ‘The Illustrated History of Indian Hockey: A Saga of Triumph, Pain and Dreams’ on 22nd November 2018.
Former PM Manmohan Singh launched the book “Fables of Fractured Times”
On 26th November 2018, Former Prime Minister of India, Shri Manmohan Singh launched a book authored by his former Cabinet colleague Manish Tewari “Fables of Fractured Times”. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah was also present during the launch of Manish Tewari’s Book. The Book is a compilation of articles written by Manish Tewari on a wide array of issues, trends and events of National and International Arena between 2017 and 2018
i. The Book “Fables of Fractured Times” deals with India’s engagement with different nations, the challenges and its foreign policy and contemporary concerns in India’s geopolitics.
ii. Manish Tewari, the National Spokesperson of the Indian National Congress is a leading Supreme Court Lawyer and former Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the UPA Government.
Some Other Books authored by Manish Tewari: Tiding of the troubled times, Decoding a Decade: The Politics of Policymaking
70th NCC Raising Day
On 25th November 2018, World’s largest Uniformed Youth Organization, National Cadet Corps (NCC) celebrated 70th NCC Raising day all over India with Cadets participating in Marches, Cultural activities and Social Development Programme.
i. In 2018, NCC Cadets have contributed immensely in various relief operations during Kerala Floods. NCC Cadets also paid a pivotal role in spreading awareness about government initiatives like Swatch Bharat Abhiyan, Digital literacy, Yoga, Blood donation etc.