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Current Affairs October 19 2018

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Prime Minister chaired 6th meeting of NDMA
On October 18, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the sixth meeting of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) at New Delhi.

i. Other delegates present in the meeting were: Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and officials of NDMA.
ii. The agenda of the meeting was:

  • Review of ongoing projects undertaken by the NDMA,
  • Review of effective management and response to disasters,
  • Coordination between the various stakeholders for better implementation of joint projects,
  • Need to bring in global expertise in the field of disaster management.

♦ Headquarters:New Delhi,India.
♦ Chairman: PM Narendra Modi.
♦ Under Ministry of Home Affiars.

India’s highest tricolour unfurled in Mumbai by Mukhtar Naqvi
On October 17, 2018, Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi unfurled India’s highest tricolor flag at the majestic Haj House in Mumbai.

i. The flag is 20×30 feet in dimensions and stands 350 feet above the ground.
ii. It is atop a 20-metre high mast on top of the iconic building near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in south Mumbai.
iii. This makes it the highest tricolour installed on the terrace of any building of such height in the country.
iv. This flag has been manufactured by Flag Company.
v. The minister also inaugurated a special ‘viewers gallery’ atop the Haj House to overlook the gems of Mumbai.
vi. He also announced the schedule of Haj 2019 which will be 100 per cent subsidy free.
vii. Further he announced the upcoming app designed for the online application process for Haj.
♦ 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.

4th International Film Festival of Shimla 2018
On October 14, 2018, the 4-day 4th International Film Festival of Shimla “IFFS 2018” concluded in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

i. It was organised by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in collaboration with Himalayan velocityDepartment of Language & Culture (LAC) & Department of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Government of Himachal Pradesh.
ii. Participants ranged from 23 countries including the US, Russia, Japan, Iran, Dubai, Argentina, Cyprus, Bangladesh, Canada, Israel, France, Australia, Belarus, Nepal among others.
iii. A total of 80 international and national films were screened at the festival.
iv. The chief guest of the closing ceremony was famous writer and member of Sahitya Academy, S N Joshi.
v. For the first time in the history of Indian film festivals, a special screening of the film festival was done at the Central Jail, Kanda.
Some of the Winners of the 4th IFFS are:
Best Short Film(International Category)-“The Fog” by Ali Shoorvarzi, Hoseyn Mahroughi
Special Jury Short Film-“Its Also Love” by Masao Konno/ Japan and “Opaque” by Anish Kunnath/ Singapore
Best Documentary award-“BURKINABÈ RISING -The art of resistance in Burkina Faso” by Lara Lee from Burkina Faso
Best short film(National)-“Anahut” (Marathi) by Umesh Bagade
Special Jury Short Fiction award-“Plucked” (Kannad) by Tejus Yakhob
Best Feature Film-“Sinjar” by Sandeep Pampally
Himachal Pradesh:
♦ Capital: Shimla.
♦ Chief Minister: Jai Ram Thakur.
♦ Governor: Acharya  Devvrat.
♦ National Parks: Great Himalayan National Park, Pin Valley National Park.

Bihar’s Shahi litchi gets GI tag
On October 18, 2018, the famous Shahi litchi of North Bihar has got the 4th Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

i. Earlier, Jardalu mangoKatarni rice and Magahi paan from the state got the GI tag.
ii. Shahi Litchi is mainly cultivated in Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Vaishali, East Champaran and Begusarai
iii. The GI registration was done in the name of Litchi Growers Association of Bihar, which had applied for the tag
iv.Bihar produces 40 per cent of the litchi grown in the country on 38 per cent of the area.
According to agriculture scientists, due to high calcium content in the soil, litchi is better in these areas.
♦ Chief Minister: Nitish Kumar.
♦ Governor: Lalji Tandon.
♦ National Parks: Valmiki Tiger Reserve, Pant (Rajgir)  Wild Life Sanctuary, Udaipur  Wild Life Sanctuary, Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin  Wild Life Sanctuary, Kaimur  Wild Life Sanctuary.
♦ Festivals: Chatth Puja, Sama-Chakeva, Ramnavami, Makar-Sankranti, Bihula, Madhushravani, Basant Panchami, Shivratri, Raksha Bandhan, Holi, Durga Puja, Deepawali, Id.

Punjab cabinet approved hike in stamp duty rates to mobilise resources
On October 17, 2018, the Punjab cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, approved an ordinance to enable increase in stamp duty rates on 17 items.
i. This was done by amending Schedule 1-A of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899.
ii. This will boost the revenue receipts of the state.
iii. Punjab raises Rs 50 crore from the stamp duty, which would go up by Rs 100 crore-150 crore with the increase in rates.
iv. Among the items whose rates have been increased are:

  • Adoption deed,
  • Affidavit (including an affirmation or declaration in the case of persons by law allowed to affirm or declare),

Agreement or memorandum of an agreement, relating to

  • sale of a bill of exchange, sale of a government security or share in an incorporated company or other body corporate,
  • sale of immovable property, article of association of a company, when the authorised capital of the company does not exceed Rs 1 lakh.

v.The Personnel department, on the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission, had approved the inclusion of officials drawing a grade pay of Rs.3800/- to Rs. 4900/– in Group B Service.
The last revision in the rates was done in 2009.

50% reservation for women to chairpersons for panchayat samiti, zila parishad: Punjab
On October 18, 2018, the Punjab Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, approved extension of the enhanced 50 per cent reservation for women the office of the chairperson of panchayat samitis and zila parishads.
i. Earlier,the reservation for women in these bodies are 33%.
ii. The government has amended:

  • The Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, 1994 and
  • The Punjab Reservation for Office of Sarpanches and Gram Panchayats and Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishad Rules, 1994.

iii. Along with this, reservation in subsequent elections will start from the first non-reserved constituency in this roster in the order Scheduled Caste-Scheduled Caste Women-Women.
♦ Chief Minister: Amarinder Singh.
♦ Governor: V.P Singh Badnore.
♦ National Parks: Abohar WLS, Bir Aishvan WLS, Bir Bunerheri WLS, Bir Bhadson WLS, Bir Dosanjh WLS, Bir Gurdialpura WLS, Bir Mehaswala WLS, Bir Motibagh WLS, Harike Lake WLS, Jhajjar Bacholi WLS, Kathlaur Kushlian WLS, Takhni-Rehampur WLS, Nangal WLS.

Punjab Cabinet approves new sand and gravel policy to curb illegal mining & boost revenue
On 17th October 2018, the Punjab Cabinet approved policy changes to enable the government to grant contracts by auction of mining blocks in strategically established clusters through progressive bidding.
Key Points:
i. Earlier, auction was done by individual mines. This move has been made to improve transparency. This decision was taken at the Cabinet meeting on 17th October 2018.
ii. The new policy will come to force in 2 months after the Cabinet approval to the Punjab State Sand and Gravel Policy, 2018 and amendment to the Punjab Minor Mineral Rules, 2013.
iii. This will increase the royalty receipt of the state exchequer, offer necessary supply at fair price to the consumer and eliminate illegal mining.
iv. The department of mining will launch an online Punjab Sand portal for sale of sand to consumers.
v. The mining rights of concession quantity of sand and gravel in mining blocks would be put to bidding through transparent e-auction process.

Punjab Cabinet has decided to amend the Industrial and Business Development Policy 2017
Punjab government has decided to amend the Industrial and Business Development Policy 2017 to give investment incentive through ‘Net SGST (Net State Goods And Services Tax) Incentive’ on intrastate sale.
Key Points:
i. It has also approved global tendering for the upcoming hi-tech Cycle Valley on a 100-acre industrial park in Ludhiana.
ii. These decisions were taken at the Cabinet meeting, to enhance industrial development in Punjab.
iii. The incentive under current policy will only be applicable for investment proposals where Common Application Form has been submitted by March 31, 2020.
iv. Plan for implementing the Cycle Valley project and layout plan of the project has been finalised and approved by the competent plan approval committee.
v. Punjab government will also construct an 8.8-kilometre road linking Hi-Tech Cycle Valley to the Chandigarh-Ludhiana highway.
About Punjab:
♦ Capital – Chandigarh
♦ Governor – V P Singh Badnore
♦ Chief Minister – Captain Amarinder Singh

Punjab Government extends Universal Health Cover to 43 Lakh Families; signs MOU with Centre for implementation of PMJAY
On 17th October 2018, Punjab government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Centre to implement the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) in Punjab.
Key Points:
i. By implementing PMJAY in Punjab, the scheme will be extended to cover more than 43 lakh families, instead of the proposed 14.96 lakh families.
ii. On October 3, 2018, Punjab cabinet approved the merger of Punjab’s Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojana (BPSSBY), with PMJAY. Through this, the existing cover of Rs 50,000 per year per family was extended to Rs 5 lakh per year per family.
iii. The period of BPSSBY, expiring on October 31, has been extended to December 31, 2018.
iv. The MoU was signed by Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Satish Chandra, on behalf of Punjab with Ayushman Bharat CEO Dr Indu Bhushan.
v. PMJAY will be launched on January 1, 2019 in Punjab. The cost of PMJAY will be shared between the central government and Punjab in the ratio of 60:40

3% sub-quota for sportspersons in recruitments: Tamil Nadu CM
On October 17, 2018, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy announced 3 percent sub-quota in recruitments for sportspersons in a function organized jointly by sports associations in Chennai.
i. It will be extended for recruitments in Government Departments and public sector undertakings.
ii. A panel led by the state Chief Secretary has been formed to help implement the proposal.
iii. Earlier in the Independence Day, he had announced to provide 2% reservation for the sportspersons which has been increased to 3% due to requests from various organizations.
Other News:
He announced the set-up of a badminton academy in the state costing the state Rs. 10 crore.
Tamil Nadu:
♦ Chief Minister: Edappadi K Palaniswamy.
♦ Governor: Thiru Banwarilal Purohit.
♦ National Parks: Mukurthi National Park, Mudumalai National Park, Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Guindy National Park, Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.


Fulpati, the seventh day of 10-day long Dashain festival celebrated in Nepal
On October 16, 2018, Nepal celebrated the festival of Fulpati.
i.  In Nepalese, “Phool” means flower and “Pati” means leaves and plants.
ii. It is observed on the seventh day of Dashain festival.
iii. The tradition in Nepal is to bring nine types of Fulpati into the home on the seventh day of Navaratri.
iv. More than 21 lakh people have left Kathmandu valley to celebrate Dashain at their native places with family, relatives and friends.
v. The main function was held at Basantpur Durbar Square in Kathmandu, where Fulpati was brought to Dashainghar from Jamal in a traditional procession with Vedic rituals.
vi. A special parade was also held at Army Pavilion in Kathmandu.
vii. President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun, Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, Heads and representatives of diplomatic missions, senior army and government officers attended the programme.
Dashain is the biggest festival of Nepal.
♦ Capital:Kathmandu.
♦ Currency: Nepalese rupee.


NBFCs Bajaj Finance and Sundaram Finance increased fixed deposit rate of interest
On October 18, 2018, NBFC Bajaj Finance increased its FD rates.
i. The increase rates are as follows:

Customers Tenors Minimum Deposit New Rates
New Customers 12-23 months 25,000 8.00%
24-35 months 8.15%
36-60 months 8.75%
Special tenor scheme 15 months 1,00,000/- 8.05%
Senior Customers 12-23 25,000 8.35%
24-35 8.50%
36-60 9.10%
Special tenor scheme 15` 1,00,000/- 8.40%
Employees/Existing FD or Loan customers 12-23 25,000 8.25%
24-35 8.40%
36-60 9.00%
Special tenor scheme 15 1,00,000 8.30%

ii. The changes will be effective from October 17, 2018.
iii. Another NBFC, Sundaram Finance too has announced increase in interest rates.
iv. The changes would be effective from October 19, 2018.
v. Its changes are as follows:
12-18 months 7.50% 7.75%
24-36 months 7.75% 8.00%
Senior citizen (12-18 months) 8.00% 8.25%

About Bajaj Finance:
♦ Headquarters: Pune.
♦ Chairman: Rahul Bajaj.
♦ Subsidiary of Bajaj Finserv.


5 eminent personalities selected for Rachana Awards 2018
On October 18, 2018, Rachana – Catholic Chamber of Commerce and Industry selected 5 eminent people for the Rachana Awards 2018.

i. The award ceremony would take place in at Milagres Jubilee Hall on November 17, 2018 in Mangaluru.
ii. The 5 selected awardees are:

  • Aloysius Richard Lobo for Rachana NRI of the Year award,
  • Lawrence Pinto for Rachana Agriculturist of the Year award,
  • Ronald Castelino for Rachana Entrepreneur of the Year award,
  • Faye D’Souza from Mirror now for Rachana Professional of the Year award.
  • Sr Maria Jyothi AC for Rachana Woman of the Year award.

iii. These awards would be given by Rev Peter Paul Saldanha, Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese.
About the Award:
♦ Instituted: 2003.
♦ President, Rachana – Catholic Chamber of Commerce and Indust ry: Stany Alvares.
♦ A 25-member jury selected the awardees in each of these category.
♦ Initially took place annually but after 2016, it became biennial award.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 bagged by Marsel van Oosten
On October 18, 2018, Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten has won Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018.

i. It was awarded by London’s Natural History Museum.
ii. He got the award for his photo titled “The Golden Couple,” which is the striking photo of a pair of endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys in central China’s Qin Ling Mountains.
iii. Second place in the competition was awarded to Skye Meaker, 16, who won the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 award.
iv. The two winning images will be showcased in an exhibition featuring 98 other entries at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, running from 19 October until 1 July 2019, by the Natural History Museum in London.
Other Awardees:
i. National Geographic photographer, Thomas Peschak won in the birds category with the photo of a sharp-beaked finch.
ii. National Geographic photographer, Jen Guyton, won the plants and fungi category with a photo of a desert plant called a welwitschia found in Namibia and Angola.
iii. Contributor to National Geographic magazine and Dutch nature photographer, Frans Lanting won the organization’s first-ever lifetime achievement award.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award:
♦ Instituted: 1965.
♦ Presented by: Natural History Museum, London.
♦ Awarded for: Wildlife Photography.


Former SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya as independent director: RIL
On October 18, 2018, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) inducts former SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya as the independent additional director.
i. The appointment has been for a period of 5 years starting from October 17, 2018.
ii. Prior to this, she was the first woman to head the bank as Chairman in 2013 after she joined SBI in 1977 as a probationary officer.
Other News:
Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), today acquired 12.7 per cent shareholding in US-based SkyTran Inc.
♦ Chairman: Mukesh Ambani.
♦ Business across: energy, petrochemicals, textiles, natural resources, retail, and telecommunications.

Nimesh Chandan appointed as head of investment-equity in Canara Robeco Mutual Fund
On 16th October 2018, Canara Robeco Mutual Fund elevated Nimesh Chandan as the Head – Investment, Equity with immediate effect.
Key Points:
i. This position has been newly created. In this role, Nimesh Chandan will guide the equity team in providing a strategy for equity funds.
ii. Nimesh Chandan has over twenty years of experience in the financial services sector. He had joined Canara Robeco Mutual Fund as a senior fund manager.
iii. Earlier, he had worked with ICICI Prudential Asset Management, SBI Mutual Fund and Birla Sunlife Mutual Fund, Strategic Capital (Stratcap) Securities.
iv. Recently, Canara Robeco Mutual Fund appointed Krishna Sanghavi as Head of Equity, replacing Ravi Gopalakrishnan.
About Canara Robeco Asset Management:
♦ Joint venture between – Canara Bank and Robeco of the Netherlands, a global asset management company
♦ CEO – Rajnish Narula
♦ Corporate Office – Mumbai

MJ Akbar no longer minister of state for external affairs
On October 17, 2018, Minister of state for external affairs MJ Akbar resigned on the account of rising amount of sexual allegations against him.
i. PM Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind accepted his resignation.
ii. He was inducted into the Union Council of Ministers by PM Narendra Modi on 5 July 2016.
iii. He is also a veteran Indian journalist and author.
iv. He also launched, as editor, India’s first weekly political news periodicals in India including India Today, Headlines Today, The Telegraph, The Asian Age and Deccan Chronicle among others.
Ministry of External Affairs:
♦ Union Minister: Smt. Sushma Swaraj.
♦ Minister of State: General Vijay Kumar Singh.
♦ Secretary: Shri. Vijay Gokhale.


CSIR develops affordable Water Disinfection System with trade name “OneerTM”
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR), Lucknow, has developed an innovative technology for “Drinking Water Disinfection System” with the trade name “OneerTM”.
Key Points:
i. The “OneerTM” technology was transferred to M/s Bluebird Water Purifiers, New Delhi, on 17th October 2018.
ii. It will be used in continuous treatment of water and will eliminate disease causing pathogens like virus, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and cyst.
iii.  It will provide safe drinking water to domestic use and communities as per National and International standards for potable water (BIS, WHO etc.).
iv. It will offer safe and clean drinking water at a cost of  2 Paise / Ltr. The Community level model is of 450 LPH capacity. It can be scaled up to 5000 to 1 lakh L/day. It is maintenance and membrane free.
v. The smaller unit of Oneer will be suitable for homes, street food vendors, and small establishments.
About Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR):
♦ Director General – Dr. Shkekar C Mande
♦ Corporate Office – New Delhi

Scientists discover “Hyperion”, the largest known structure of early universe, million, billion times massive than the Sun
Scientists at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have discovered a galaxy proto-supercluster named “Hyperion”, the largest and the most massive structure in the early universe known so far.
Key Points:
i. The discovery was made by astronomers led by Olga Cucciati of Bologna’s National Astrophysics Institute.
ii. Hyperion was found using data from VIMOS Ultra-Deep Survey done by VIMOS instrument on European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope in Chile.
iii. VIMOS is an instrument that measures objects at a distance of billions of light years away. It enables scientist to see what the early universe was like.
iv. Hyperion’s mass is estimated to be a million billion times that of our own Sun (nearly 1,048 Jupiters, or 333,000 Earths).
v. Hyperion is located in the constellation of Sextans. It has a very complex structure. It has at least 7 high-density regions connected by filaments of galaxies.


Stephen Hawking’s final book “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” launched
On October 18, 2018, Stephen Hawking’s final work “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” was launched.

i. It has been completed by the theoretical physicist’s family and academic colleagues, with material drawn from his vast personal archive.
ii. It tackles various issues including existence of God , potential time travel and human intelligence during the next 100 years.

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