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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad unveiled new initiatives in the first MeitY Start-up Summit 2019 in New Delhi
On October 21, 2019 the Union minister of law & justice, communications, electronics & Information Technology(IT), Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad unveiled new initiatives by the Ministry of Electronics & Information (MeitY) in the first MeitY Start-up Summit 2019 held in New Delhi. Some of the important events in the summit are as follows
i. BHIM 2.0 with new functionalities: BHIM 2.0 apart from the existing 13 languages, now supports additional languages namely Konkani, Bhojpuri and Haryanvi. ‘Donation’ gateway, increased transaction limits for high value transactions are the other additional features.
ii. Hub portal :MeitYStartUp Hub(MSH) portal was launched in the summit. The portal is a collaborative platform.
iii. Indian software products registry: Indian software products registry, was launched. It acts as a single window portal to collate(collect and combine) Indian software product database………………….Click here to  Read more

Uttar Pradesh tops the list of states in crimes against women: Crime in India Report 2017
On October 21, 2019, The annual Crime in India Report 2017 was released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) after a delay of 2 years (last in 2016). 3,59,849 cases of crime against women were reported in India. Uttar Pradesh topped the list of states with the most number of crimes against women with 56,011 cases. It was followed by Maharashtra with 31,979 cases and West Bengal with 30,002 cases.
Key Points:
i. India registered a 6.16% rise in crimes against women in 2017 in comparison to 2016.
ii. Assam registered the highest total rate of crime against women while Lucknow emerged as the most unsafe city for women………………..Click here to Read more

USISPF summit 2019  held in New Delhi
On October 21, 2019 the members of the US (United States) India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) under the delegation of its chairman Mr. John Chambers, called on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in New Delhi for the USISPF summit 2019. This meet was part of US-India’s combined partnership in fields of economic growth, entrepreneurship, employment-creation, and innovation.
Key points
i. Shri Modi ensured the govt.s target of ease of living  with India’s unique strength of three D’s. They are Democracy, Demography and Dimaag(Brain). Ease of Doing Business like reduction of corporate tax and labour reforms were also discussed.
ii. The delegation also expressed its faith in PM’s vision of the country in the next 5 years which would define the next 25 years of the world.
iii. Union petroleum &steel minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of railways and commerce and industry Shri PiyushGoyal and various other officials were present during the summit.
iv. Shri Dharmendra Pradhan also invited US(United States) businesses to deploy technology, capital and new business models and participate in India’s biofuel revolution. From less than 1%  ethanol blending in 2015, India has increased the EBP(Ethanol Blending Programme) to 6% in 2019. Crude oil import from US, inclusive of Liquified Natural Gas(LNG) 2018-19 stood at over 7 billion dollars.
About USISPF:
♦ It is a non-profit organization, with the key focus on strengthening India-US bilateral and strategic partnership in fields of economic growth, entrepreneurship, employment-creation, and innovation.
♦ USISPF India president and Chief Executive Officer(CEO)- Dr. MukeshAghi.
♦ Managing Director(MD), India-  NiveditaMehra.

Government approves purchase of indigenously developed military equipment worth over Rs 3300 crore
On October 21, 2019, The Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the purchase of more than Rs 3300 crore of military equipment for the armed forces, including indigenously designed and developed anti-tank guided missiles.
Key points:
i. Approved projects:

First two: The first two projects include the purchase of a third-generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM)  to increase the firepower of Indian Tanks & auxiliary power unit (APU) for T-72 and T-90 battle tanks. The APU will enable various upgrades to the Fire Control System and to add night fighting capability to the tanks.
ii.Implementation:  Both these projects will be implemented under the ‘Make-II’ category and it will be indigenous to the private sector to promote research and development. This is the 1st time that the Defense Ministry entrusts work to private companies of the country to design, develop and manufacture military equipment.
iii. Third one: The 3rd homegrown project will be related to Electronic Warfare (EW) which will be used in high places and mountains. It will be developed through DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), Whereas its design and production will be made by an Indian industry.
About Armed forces:
♦ Service branches: Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi

AYUSH and Defence ministry signed MoU for traditional medicine services in New Delhi
On October 21, 2019 Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH(Ayurvedic, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) and Defence Shri Shripad Yesso Naik signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) between the ministry of AYUSH and Defence to provide health services of AYUSH under the health establishments of Directorate General of Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS). The MoU was signed during the inauguration of Ayurveda Palliative Care Unit at Palliative Care Centre, base Hospital in New Delhi.
Key points
i. Ayurveda Units will also be established at Palliative Care Centre, Army Research and Referral Hospital, Air Force Hospital, Hindon,Uttar Pradesh and 5 identified Ex- servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) Poly clinics in Delhi under the MoU.
ii. Members present: Secretary of AYUSH shri Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Director General(DG) of Armed Forces Medical Services Ltd.(AFMS) General BipinPuri and other officials were present during the event.

Indian railways allows e-commerce companies to use its EMU services under its new pilot project
On October 22, 2019, Indian Railways has allowed e-commerce companies to use its EMU (electric multiple unit) services under its new pilot project. Eastern Railway has also allowed Amazon to use the vendor compartment from Sealdah – Dankuni (West Bengal) EMU Local (suburban services) to carry its goods.
However, e-commerce companies will be able to avail this facility of Railways only in non-peak hours (from 11 am to 4 pm during the day).
Key points:
i. This railway pilot project is initially for a period of three months, where a total of 7 metric tonnes (MT) of the consignment has been allowed to be carried per day. This pilot project of booking consignment in EMU service is the 1st  of its kind in Indian Railways.
ii. The rate chargeable is that of Luggage Rate that is Rs 5,537 per day.
iii. Both Indian Railways and e-commerce company Amazon will benefit from this service.
By providing this kind of service, the railways have got a new way of earning without any special effort, while Amazon can take its goods from here to there in a short time.
About Indian Railways:
♦ Founded
:8 May 1845
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Minister of Railways: Piyush Goyal
About EMU:
♦ EMU are preferred for suburban section as it have high acceleration and phenomenal stopping distances allowing them to achieve higher speed at a short time and stopping efficiently hence it ultimately offers high throughput.

IIT Bombay again topped in 2nd edition of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) India University Rankings 2020
i. On October 22, 2019, In the latest 2nd edition of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) India University Rankings 2020, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) has again topped all Indian Institutes in the list with an overall score of 88.5 followed by IISc- Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (ranked 2nd with 84.7 score) & Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD),which has improved a notch to rank 3rd with  82.2 scores.
ii. The ranking has been based on 8 parameters which have different weightage. It includes academic reputation (30%), employer reputation (20%), faculty student ratio (20%), staff with PhD (10%), Papers per faculty (10%), citation per paper (5%), international faculty (2.5%) and international students (2.5%)………………….Click here to Read more

BANKING & FINANCE

India’s revenue growth in banking sector dropped from 22% to 10.3%: McKinsey’s Global Banking Annual Review 2019
On October 22, 2019, McKinsey & Company released its Global Banking Annual Review 2019. According to the report, Indian revenue growth within India’s banking sector reduced from 22% (2002-07) to 10.3% (2010-18).
i. Indian banks experienced a dramatic drop in ‘return on tangible equity’ from 17.7% in 2013 to 2.3% in 2018.
ii. Over 50% of the world’s banks will not survive a downturn as they are unprepared and exposed to unviable assets.
iii. 60% banks saw their return on equity (ROE) lower against the cost of equity with the trend deteriorating over the 2009-2019 period.
iv. The report recommends banks to adopt zero based budgeting that includes outsourcing compliance…………………Click here to Read more

SBI & Pine labs join hands to provide monthly EMI for debit card customers
On October 22, 2019, Pine Labs,an Indian merchant platform company has joined hands with Indian multinational, public sector bank, State Bank of India (SBI) to offer EMIs (equated monthly instalments) for debit card transactions.
Key points:
i.
The tie-up will enable SBI to widen its EMI facility at the Pine Labs Point-of-Sales (PoS) terminals at more than 40,000 merchants across over 1,500 cities.
ii. Pine Labs currently offers credit and debit card EMI services for over 85,000 merchants across 120,000 stores in India. It has created a network of 90 brands and 19 banking and financial institutions.
iii. Earlier on September 23, 2019, Pine Labs partnered with Federal Bank with the aim to enable 5.7 million Federal Bank debit cardholders to avail EMI at the Pine Labs terminals instantly. It has also partnered with Bank of Baroda (BOB) to offer EMI to the bank’s debit cardholders.
About EMI: A fixed payment amount made by a borrower to a lender at a specified date each calendar month. Equated monthly installments are used to pay off both interest and principal each month.
About Pine Labs:
♦ Founded
:1998
♦ Headquarters : Noida,Uttar Pradesh
♦ Executive Chairman : Lokvir Kapoor
♦ Chief Executive Officer: Vicky Bindra
About SBI:
♦ Formation
: 1 July 1955
♦ Headquarters :Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Chairman :Rajnish Kumar
♦ Tagline: The Nation banks on us ;Pure Banking Nothing Else ;With you all the way

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Overview of Asian Academy Creative Awards 2019 Regional Winners 
The Asian Academy Creative Awards 2019 Regional Winners were announced. The awards will be presented over two nights on December 5 and 6, 2019 at the Victoria Theatre, Singapore. These awards are the constituent event of the Singapore Media Festival and hosted by the Singapore Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). These awards are given for creative excellence.
Key Points:
i. Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt starrer ‘Gully Boy’, India’s official entry to the 92nd Oscar Awards, was named as the best film from India. It is directed by Zoya Akhtar.
ii. Netflix series Delhi Crime won for Best Actress, Best Direction, Best Drama Series, Best Editing and Best Original Programme. It is directed by Richie Mehta and the story is based on the 2012 gang rape case that took place in Delhi………………Click here to Read more

Delhi students’ “Rakshak” and “VisionAir” apps won 2019 Marconi Society’s Celestini Programme awards 
On October 21, 2019, a team of students from Bharti Vidyapeeth College of Engineering, Delhi, won the 2019 Marconi Society’s Celestini Programme awards for their innovative solutions for addressing challenges of women’s safety and air pollution. The team won first prize of $1500 for the app “Rakshak” that sends an SOS (save our souls) alert based on audio snippets in case of an emergency. It detects speech patterns & commands requesting help or saying “stop” in a distressed tone.Another team from the same college has won the second prize of $500 for the app “VisionAir” that uses photos of the horizon taken from a smartphone to estimate the air quality.

2019 Marconi Society’s Celestini Programme awards About Marconi Society’s Celestini Programme:
The award is named after Nobel laureate (Physics) Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937), who invented the radio in 1908. The Society was set up in 1975 by his daughter Gioia Marconi Baraga to give annual awards for outstanding contributions in science and the principle of creativity in the service of humanity.
The Celestini Programme India is partnered with IIT(Indian Institute of Technology)-Delhi.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Godavarthi Venkata Srinivas concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Cabo Verde 
On October 22, 2019, The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of the Government of India notified that Mr Godavarthi Venkata Srinivas was concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Cabo Verde, with residence in Dakar. At present, he serves as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Senegal. He is the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) Officer of 1993 batch, succeeding Mr Rajeev Kumar.
About Republic of Cabo Verde :
Capital: Praia
Currency: Cape Verdean escudo

Pankaj kumar got appointed as CEO of UIDAI
On October 22, 2019, As per the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), Government of India(GoI), Pankaj Kumar (a 1987 batch Indian Administrative Service -IAS officer of Nagaland cadre) has been appointed as  the new CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). He replaces Ajay Bhushan Pandey.Pankaj kumar got appointed as CEO of UIDAIKey points:
i. Pankaj kumar presently serving as the additional secretary in the Ministry Of Electronics and IT(Information Technology).
ii. UIDAI:It  is a statutory authority established under the provisions of the Aadhaar on July 12, 2016 by the government under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
Objective: To issue Unique Identification numbers (UID), named as Aadhaar, to all residents of India to eliminate duplicate and fake identities.
Some other appointments are:
i. Braj Raj Sharma, the current secretary in Home minister Department of Border Management, has been appointed as the chairman of the Staff Selection Commission (SSC). He replaces Ashim Khurana.
ii. Rajesh Bhushan will be Secretary (Coordination) in the Cabinet Secretariat. He will replace IAS Arun Goyal.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Scientists discover 6 new lizard species of ‘Dravidogecko’ family at western ghats in Aurangabad, Maharashtra
On October 22, 2019, A group of scientists have discovered Six new species of Lizard in the Western Ghats Mountains in Aurangabad,Maharashtra. The discovery is crucial as only one species of the ‘Dravidgerco’ family (of Dravidogecko anamallensis described in 1875 by German-born British zoologist Albert Gunther was recognised under this genus) showed up to date.
Key points:
i. The six new species have been named as Dravidogecko septentrionalis, D janakiae (after botanist Janaki Ammal from Kerala), D tholpalli, D meghamalaiensis, D douglasadamsi (after British author and satirist Douglas Noel Adams) and D smithi (in honour of British herpetologist Malcolm Arthur Smith).
ii. The research that has been written about this new species has been published in New Zealand’s ‘Zootaxa’ journal. The leader of the study team was Bengaluru-based herpetologist R Chaitanya.
iii. Dravidergo was evolved when the Indian subcontinent separated from Africa around 58 million years ago. They are usually nocturnal and capable of wandering around.
In addition to the jungle, they build nests in abandoned houses and tree trunks.
The Western Ghats:
It is a group / chain of mountains along the western coasts of Gujarat,Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Lt. Gen (Dr) Rajesh Pant launched an online portal of India’s technological capability named ‘TechSagar’
On October 21, 2019, Lt. Gen (Dr) Rajesh Pant, National Cyber Security Coordinator of India launched an online portal of India’s technological capability named ‘TechSagar’. It was launched by the National Cyber Security Coordinator’s office in partnership with Data Security Council of India (DSCI). It can be accessed at: www.techsagar.inTechSagar’ launchedKey Points:
i. This repository will help to facilitate new opportunities for businesses and academia to collaborate, connect and innovate, in future.
ii. It lists every technology-based business and research entities starting from the Information Technology (IT) Industry, startups, Academia to Individual Researchers.
iii. It currently features over 4,000 entities across 25 technology areas.
About DSCI:
It is a not-for-profit premier industry body on data protection in India, setup by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).
Headquarters: New Delhi
CEO: Rama Vedashree

SPORTS

Bengal Warriors beats Dabang Delhi to clinch their first title in Vivo Pro Kabaddi season 7 for the year 2019
The 7th season of 2019 Vivo Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) had begun on July 20, 2019 and concluded on October 19, 2019 in which Bengal Warriors won their first title by defeating Dabang Delhi by 39-34 points at the EKA Arena by TransStadia, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.Bengal Warriors beats Dabang DelhiKey Points:
i. Team Bengal Warriors was led by Maninder Singh and coach was BC Ramesh.
ii. Team Dabang Delhi was led by Joginder Narwal and coach was Krishan Kumar Hooda.
iii. The total prize money of the tournament was Rs 8 crore.
iv. Pardeep Narwal of Patna Pirates became the first player to score 1,000 raid points in PKL history against the match with Tamil Thalaivas at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium in Kolkata, West Bengal.
v. Most Valuable Player award was bagged by Naveen Kumar from Dabang Delhi; Best raider to Pawan Kumar Sehrawat from Bengaluru Bulls; Best defender award to U Mumba’s Fazel Atrachali and New Young Player of the season to UP (Uttar Pradesh) Yoddha’s Sumit.

13-year-old Raunak Sadhwani from Maharashtra becomes India’s 65th chess grandmaster and youngest from state
A 13-year-old Raunak Sadhwani from Nagpur, Maharashtra became the 65th chess Grandmaster (GM) of India. Raunak achieved this feat in the FIDEChase.com (Federation Internationale des Echecs or International) Grand Swiss 2019, an 11-round Swiss tournament took place from 10-21 October 2019 in the COMIS Hotel and Golf Resort in Douglas, Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland. At 13 years, nine months and 26 days, he is the ninth youngest GM in the world. He also Maharashtra’s youngest and Nagpur’s first chess Grandmaster.

Raunak sadhwaniKey points:
i.
With a rating of 2479, Sadhwani has already received 23 points to cross the stipulated mark of 2500 in live ratings. At the 9th round, he stunned Russian GM Alexander Motylev, who, at 2651, was the lowest-rated opponent he faced in the tournament.
ii. Sadhwani  worked with former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), who has trained Raunak along with 5 other young Indian talents. Raunak was also part of the Kramnik Microsense India Chase program in Switzerland in August 2019.
iii. Sadhwani achieved the Grand Master’s first standard at the Aeroflot Open. At the same time, the second Norm made it to the Portisio Open 2019 in the same year.
iv. The winner qualifies for the 2020 FIDE World Championship Candidates’ tournament, which is to be held in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
About Grand Master :
It is awarded to chess players by the governing body of international chess competition FIDE, which connects various national chess federations all over the world. It was founded in Paris, France.

Overview of 16th Danisa Denmark Open 2019 
Danisa Denmark Open 2019, a Super 750 badminton tournament, was held at Odense Sports Park, Odense, Denmark from October 15-20, 2019. It was the 16th tournament of the 2019 Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour and a part of the Denmark Open championships.
i. It was organized by Badminton Denmark with sanction from the BWF.
ii. The prize money for the tournament was $775,000.
List of Winners:

CategoryWinnerRunner
Men’s SinglesKento Momota (Japan)Chen Long (China)
Women’s SinglesTai Tzu-ying (Taiwan)Nozomi Okuhara (Japan)
Men’s DoublesMarcus Fernaldi Gideon & Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Indonesia)Mohammad Ahsan & Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia)
Women’s DoublesBaek Ha-na & Jung Kyung-eun (South Korea)Chen Qingchen & Jia Yifan (China)
Mixed DoublesPraveen Jordan & Melati Daeva Oktavianti (Indonesia)Wang Yi Lyu & Huang Dong Ping (China)
About BWF:
Formation: 1934
Headquarters: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
President: Poul-Erik Høyer

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Stuttering Awareness Day observed on October 22, 2019
The International Stuttering Awareness Day(ISAD) is observed annually on October 22 to raise awareness on the people of 1% of the world’s population having speech disorder of stuttering (also known as stammering). This ISAD is organised by 3 organisation. They are the European League of Stuttering Associations(ELSA), International Fluency Association (IFA) and International Stuttering Association(ISA). The day was designated to be observed in 1998, sixteen years ago by these organisations. The theme for the year 2019 is “Growth Through Speaking”.International Stuttering Awareness Day 2019

STATE NEWS

Assam govt announces ”no govt jobs for those with more than two kids starting from 2021”&“a New Land Policy
On October 22, 2019, the govt. of Assam has announced two new policies in its state regarding govt jobs and on land. They are as follows:

  • Govt job policy: 2 years after adopting “Population and Women Empowerment Policy of Assam” the state govt. has announced that no person will be considered for govt job if he/she has more than 2 children. This policy will become effective from January 1, 2021.
  • Land policy: Under the new land policy, a landless indigenous person would become eligible to hold 3 bighas of land (43,200 square feet) for farming and half a bigha(14,400 square feet) for house construction. These lands can be sold only after 15 years of use.
  • Other decision made: The cabinet has also made a decision to increase bus fares by 25% and also to provide Rs 300 per month from the previous amount of Rs 250 under Indira Miri Universal Widow Pension (IMUWP). The scheme also entails a one-time grant of Rs. 25,000 for women who became widows on or after April 1, 2019.

CM Arvind Kejriwal agrees to implement Central scheme PM-KISAN in Delhi
On October 21, 2019, The Government of Delhi headed by the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has agreed to implement the Central scheme Pradhan Mantri , Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) in Delhi. Earlier, West Bengal and Delhi Governments had refused to implement the scheme in respective states. At present, the Delhi Government has sent names of 11,000 farmers  for availing the benefits.
About PM-KISAN:
It is a Central Sector scheme (CSS) launched in February 2019 with 100% funding from Central government. Under the scheme, the Centre is crediting an income support of Rs.6,000 per year in three equal instalments directly into the bank accounts of farmers.