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Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurates 10th Nuclear Energy Conclave in New Delhi
On 25th October 2018, the 10th Nuclear Energy Conclave was inaugurated by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh, in New Delhi.
i. Theme of the conclave was: “Nuclear Power: Towards A Clean And Base Load Energy”.
ii. It was organized by Indian Energy Forum (IEF). A roundtable on “Growth of Nuclear Power: Fleet Mode Implementation” and 2 sessions titled ‘Nuclear Energy Applications in Medical and Agriculture’ and ‘Long term perspective of Nuclear Power’ were conducted.
iii. Industry leaders and scholars from nuclear energy and medicine field, from India and other countries, participated.
iv. Dr Jitendra Singh announced that, “Hall of Nuclear Power”, India’s first permanent exhibition on nuclear power, has been built in New Delhi.
v. Chairman, AEC (Atomic Energy Commission) and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) Dr K N Vyas, announced that, Kaiga Atomic Power Station has set a new world record among Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) with one of its units operating uninterrupted for 895 days.
Union HRD Minister launches web portal of the Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC) in New Delhi
On 25th October 2018, Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar launched the web portal of the “Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC)” in New Delhi.
i. The web portal is available at: www.sparc.iitkgp.ac.in. SPARC scheme aims to improve the research ecosystem of India’s higher educational institutions by enabling academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best institutions in the world.
ii. Under this Scheme, 600 joint research proposals will be awarded for 2 years to enable strong research collaboration between Indian research groups with the best in class faculty and renowned research groups in the top universities of the world.
iii. The areas involved will be advanced fields in science or areas with direct social relevance to the mankind, especially India.
About Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC):
♦ Sanctioned in – August 2018
♦ Total cost – Rs.418 Crore
♦ Implementation period – up to 31.3.2020
♦ National Coordinating Institute – Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur
Govt set up GoM headed by Home minister to look into sexual harassment at work place
On October 25, 2018, the government constituted a group of ministers (GoM) headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to prevent and deal with sexual harassment of women in workplaces.
i. The other members of the GoM are road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and women and child development minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi.
ii. The group will examine and recommend further measures required to strengthen and make the existing provisions for the safety of women within three months.
iii. It would also work on a comprehensive plan of action for ensuring time-bound implementation.
iv. India already has an Act against Sexual Harassment called: Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act.
v.The Ministry of Women and Child Development had already launched an electronic complaints box SHe-Box that enables women, irrespective of their work status, to raise their voice against sexual harassment at workplace.
Ministry of Home Affairs:
♦ Union Minister: Shri. Rajnath Singh.
♦ Minister of State: Shri. Kiren Rijiju, Shri. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir.
♦ Secretary: Shri. Rajiv Gauba.
$777 million deal signed between India and Israel for Israeli missile defence systems
On October 24, 2018, India’s Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) signed a pact with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) worth USD 777 million.
i. Under this contract, the IAI will supply Barak 8 Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM) Air and Missile Defence (AMD) systems for 7 ships of the Indian Navy.
ii. Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) will be the main manufacturer for the project.
iii. With this deal, sales of the Barak 8 over the past few years would total over $6 billion.
About Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI):
♦ Headquarters: Israel.
♦ CEO and president: Nimrod Sheffer
♦ It is Israel’s largest aerospace and defence company.
♦ Headquarters: Bengaluru.
Punjab & Israel signed 4 MoUs for agri research, water conservation and management
On October 24, 2018, the Punjab government signed 4 MoUs with Israeli institutions to address issues of farmers and depleting groundwater level in the state.
i. This was done by the Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on his five-day visit to Israel.
ii. The MoUs will help boost cooperation between Punjab and Israel in areas such as water conservation as well as agricultural research and education.
iii. Among these, 1 MOU is for water conservation and 3 MOUs have been signed for educational purposes. They are as follows:
- For water conservation and management: Punjab Water Resources Managementand Israel’s Mekorot Development and Enterprise Ltd. This would help formulate a Water Conservation and Management Plan for the State of Punjab.
- For agricultural research and student exchange and seminars: Punjab Agricultural University (PAU)with Israel’s ARAVA Institute, Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Galilee International Management Institute.
- For training of 200 scientists and extension workers: The Galilee International Management Institute signed MOU with PAU.
- For Cooperation in Scholarship program with a validity of 5 years between TAU, PAU and Galilee International Management Institute.
Punjab banned use of glyphosate herbicide
On October 24, 2018, the Punjab government banned the sale of “cancer causing” weedicide glyphosate.
i. According to Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, the systemic herbicide is a group 2A cancer causing material and has the potential to damage the human DNA.
ii. Punjab was the fourth State after Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra to regulate the sale of herbicide.
iii. Earlier, the Punjab State Farmers Commission had also recommended the ban on sale of this chemical in the state.
iv. Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee has recommended the herbicide only for use in tea gardens and non-cropped areas.
METRO INOX is India’s First Rooftop Solar Powered Cinema and South Mumbai’s Largest Multiplex
Mumbai’s METRO INOX is now South Mumbai’s largest cinema and India’s First Rooftop Solar Powered Cinema.
i. It has launched two INSIGNIA screens which are 100% solar powered. It has become the first multiplex in India to join the solar revolution.
ii. The INSIGNIA screens also contribute to protecting the environment by reducing 282 tons of CO2 during its operational life.
iii. It is one of nine PSUs under the Union Ministry of Defence of India.
‘Pashu Sanjeevni Sewa’: livestock veterinary scheme introduced by Haryana government
On October 25, 2018, the Haryana Government introduce the ‘Pashu Sanjeevni Sewa’ scheme to provide free of cost health care services to livestock in the state through mobile veterinary clinics.
i. The decision was taken during a meeting of the animal husbandry and dairy department, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
ii. The service will be first started in all the blocks of Jind, Yamunanagar and Nuh districts for pilot run.
iii.Livestock farmers would be able to avail the service of Mobile Veterinary Clinics 24×7 after giving a call on toll free No.1962.
iv. One mobile vehicle would be pressed into service in each block of these 3 districts.
v. Each mobile vehicle would have a three-member team comprising a veterinary doctor, one para vet and one helper-cum-driver.
ICGS Varuna’: Reliance Naval launched training ship for Indian Coast Guard
On October 24, 2018, Anil Ambani-led shipbuilder Reliance Naval and Engineering (RNEL) launched a 3,000-tonne training ship for the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) named ‘ICGS Varuna’.
i. The ship is a 105-metre long training vessel and is the largest ship ever built for the ICG and has a capacity to accommodate 242 personnel.
ii. It was built at a cost of Rs 220 crore and was launched at the shipyard of RNEL at the Pipavav Port in Amreli district of Gujarat.
iii. It is powered by twin diesel engines and can reach speeds of 20 knots.
iv. The ship would be delivered to the ICG in May 2019.
i. Presently, RNEL is constructing 20 ships of three different categories for the defence services of the country.
ii. These projects include 5 naval offshore patrol vessels and 14 fast patrol vessels, apart from the training ship launched. Of this, six vessels are expected to be delivered in 2019.
♦ Headquarters: Gujarat.
♦ Chairman: Anil Ambani.
♦ CEO: Debashis Bir.
Indian Coast Guard:
♦ Director general of the Indian Coast Guard: Rajendra Singh.
Shri J P Nadda addresses 2nd International Conference on Primary Health Care towards UHC & SDGs at Astana, Kazakhstan
On 25th and 26th October 2018, the 2nd International Conference on Primary Health Care (PHC) towards UHC & SDGs, is held in Astana, Kazakhstan.
i. The conference is cohosted by the Government of Kazakhstan, World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund).
ii. The conference aims to renew the commitment to primary health care to achieve universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.
iii. J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare addressed the Second Plenary Session of the conference, on the theme “The Future of Primary Health Care”.
About World Health Organization (WHO):
♦ Director-General – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
♦ Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
India has most outward migrants in 2017: ADB report
On October 25, 2018, according to Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s report titled Asian Economic Integration Report 2018, most of the international migrants in 2017 were from India.
i. The number of international migrants were topped by India, followed by China and Bangladesh.
ii. One third of international migrants were from Asia in 2017.
iii. India had the most outward migrants in 2017 (17 million), followed by China (10 million) and Bangladesh (7.5 million).
iv. The global stock of international migrants from Asia rose 3.9 per cent from 83.6 million in 2015 to 86.9 million in 2017.
v. Intraregional migrants to India largely come from neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh (3.1 million), Pakistan (1.1 million) and Nepal (0.5 million).
vi. Global FDI into the region (measured by gross inward FDI) remains stable at USD 517.5 billion in 2017 from USD 519.9 billion in 2016.
vii. Greenfield or new investments generated some 667,000 jobs in 2017—mainly in India, the PRC, Viet Nam, the Philippines, and Singapore.
viii. These were from sectors of real estate, software and information technology (IT) services, and electronic components, among others.
ix. Asia’s outward foreign direct investment(FDI) moderated by 1.4 per cent in 2017—to USD 487.9 billion from USD 494.9 billion in 2016.
International migrant stock consists of persons crossing borders for various reasons—for employment, family reunification, study, and fleeing from conflicts and violence.
♦ Headquarters: Manila, Philippines.
♦ President: Takehiko Nakao.
♦ Established in 1966.
♦ Members: 67 (48 regional members).
India & Indonesia sign pact to boost maritime cooperation
On October 25, 2018, India and Indonesia decided to boost maritime cooperation by being part of the maritime patrol in the Malacca Straits.
i. This was decided on the wide-ranging talks held between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Indonesian counterpart Gen (Retd) Ryamizard Rycudu on the Indian minister’s 2-day visit to Indonesia.
ii. Apart from this, deepening of defence and security relations were also discussed.
iii. Earlier in May 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Indonesia and signed a MOU on defence cooperation and elevated the ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
BANKING & FINANCE
India’s underinsurance gap still among the highest in the world: Lloyd’s report
On October 18, 2018, according to a Lloyd’s of London’s report – A world at risk- Closing the insurance gap, India has the second largest insurance gap in the world of USD 27 billion (in absolute terms) after China.
About the report:
i. It was prepared by Lloyd’s and Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
ii. This report also includes all the latest non-life underinsurance and insurance penetration data for natural catastrophes for 43 countries across the globe.
iii. It was first published in 2012.
i. The global underinsurance stands at USD 162.5 billion in 2018 which is down only over 3 per cent since 2012 from USD 168 billion.
ii. Emerging countries are the least insured, accounting for USD 160 billion or 96 per cent of the total global insurance protection gap.
iii. For developed countries the gap is just USD 2.5 billion.
iv. The 10 least insured countries are the same as those in 2012, when Lloyd’s launched its first report.
v. Insurance levels are highest in real estate followed by transportation and storage, agriculture, forestry and fishing.
vi. The lowest insurance levels are in the manufacturing sector.
vi. In 2017, cyber-attacks cost businesses between $ 445 billion and $ 608 billion in losses.
viii. India, along with Bangladesh, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia, are among the countries most exposed to risks of natural disasters.
Standing among the nations:
i. Netherlands remains the country with the highest insurance penetration at 7.7 per cent, followed by South Korea with 5%.
ii. On absolute dollar terms, China has an insurance gap of USD 76.4 billion, or 0.6 per cent of GDP. It is followed by India at USD 27 billion and Indonesia at USD 14.6 billion.
iii. For developing countries, the most underinsured countries are: Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Egypt and Nigeria, each having insurance penetration rate of less than 1 per cent.
iv. Bangladesh, has the largest insurance gap relative to GDP (2.1%) followed by Indonesia at 1.4% of GDP, equivalent to an insurance gap of $15bn. India has the seventh-largest insurance gap.
i. India’s insurance gap is $ 27 billion (1% of GDP), which represents an increase from $19.7 billion in 2012.
ii. India’s insurance gap accounts for 17 per cent of the total global insurance gap.
iii. India’s non-life insurance penetration has risen marginally to 0.9 per cent of the GDP.
♦ Chairman: Bruce Carnegie-Brown.
♦ Headquarters: London.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
India the 2nd largest Solar Market; Installs 4.9 GW In H1: Mercom
On October 15, 2018, according to a report titled ‘India Solar Market Leaderboard 1H 2018’ by Mercom Communications India, India stands as the second largest solar market in the world, during the first half of calendar year 2018.
i. India installed 4.9 GW of solar power and was the fifth-largest solar market in the world for total installations.
ii. It follows China which topped during the January-June period.
iii. The top 10 large-scale developers accounted for 55 per cent market share during the reporting period with others making up the remaining 45 per cent.
iv. In that period, there were about 300 utility-scale project developers in the country with projects of at least 5 MW or more in operation.
v. About 16 per cent of solar installations were in the rooftop solar sector, standing at 805 MW.
vi. Rooftop installations rose by 55 per cent Y-o-Y with cumulative installations totalling nearly 2,410 MW as of June 2018.
vii. The top 10 installers made up only 27 per cent of all rooftop projects installed in India.
Standing among the companies:
i. In terms of total cumulative installations and top installer in terms of capacity installed, Adani remained the largest project developer.
ii. ReNew Power had the largest project pipeline among 70 others.
iii. Sterling and Wilson was the top engineering, procurement and construction company cumulatively and during the first half.
iv.Tata Power Solar had the largest cumulative rooftop portfolio.
v. CleanMax emerged as the top rooftop installer in 1H 2018.
vi. Trina Solar was the leading module supplier to India in terms of cumulative shipments.
vii. ZnShine emerged as the top supplier.
Mercom Communications India:
♦ Headquarters: Bangalore.
♦ MD: Priya Sanjay.
♦ CEO and co-founder of Mercom Capital Group: Raj Prabhu.
India to become world’s 3rd largest aviation market around 2024: IATA
On 24th October 2018, International Air Transport Association (IATA) stated that, India will become the world’s 3rd largest aviation market around 2024 surpassing the United Kingdom.
i. India is at present, the world’s 7th largest aviation market. By 2037, out of 572 million new passengers in the world, India will account for 414 million passengers.
ii. The latest update to IATA’s 20-year Air Passenger Forecast has been released. It is projected that, passenger numbers could double to 8.2 billion in 2037.
iii. The Asia-Pacific region is projected to drive the biggest growth with more than half the total number of new passengers in the next 20 years coming from these markets.
iv. China would displace the United States as the world’s largest aviation market in the mid-2020s.
v. Indonesia would be a standout performer, jumping from the world’s 10th largest aviation market in 2017 to the 4th largest by 2030.
About International Air Transport Association (IATA):
♦ Director General and CEO – Alexandre de Juniac
♦ Headquarters – Montreal, Quebec, Canada
NSE got SEBI nod to launch copper large futures contract
On October 23, 2018, National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) got regulatory approval from SEBI to launch copper large futures contract.
i. The copper large futures contract will have a trading unit of 25 tonne at par with international commodity markets.
ii. It is one of the highest traded contracts and is considered as the global benchmark.
iii. With this, NSE aims to provide an onshore hedging platform to large Indian corporates, refiners and various users in the value chain.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ Chairman: Mr. Ashok Chawla.
♦ MD& CEO: Mr. Vikram Limaye.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
MAHE’s Department of European Studies bags prestigious Jean Monnet Centre of excellence award
On October 25, 2018, the European Union announced the selection of Department of European Studies (DES) of Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) for the prestigious Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence (CoE) Award.
i. It became the only Centre of Excellence in European Studies in the country.
ii. The recognition comes along with a grant of close to one lakh euros for various activities planned for the next three years.
iii. Earlier, MAHE had been titled as an Institute of Eminence by the Government of India.
Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE):
♦ Headquarters: Manipal, Karnataka.
♦ Vice Chancellor: Dr H Vinod Bhat.
Tezpur University professor bagged INSA Teachers Award
On October 23, 2018, Indian National Science Academy (INSA) selected Tezpur University professor Ashis Mukherjee for the prestigious “Indian National Science Academy (INSA) Teachers Award (2018)” .
i. He was selected for his consistent and high-level of teaching, and inspiration and mentoring students to take up careers in Science and Technology.
ii. He will be conferred the award at the Anniversary General Meeting of the Academy in December 2018.
iii. He has also received Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in Biotechnology from Calcutta University and the Visitor’s (President of India is the visitor of all central universities of India) Award for Research in Basic and Applied Sciences-2018 from the President of India at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi,
iv. Prof Mukherjee is currently the Dean of Research and Development, the Head and Coordinator of Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Nodal Cell for Medical Colleges and Biomedical Research Institutes of northeastern India.
About the Award:
i. The award founded by INSA, New Delhi is one of the highest recognition for science and technology teachers in the country.
ii. It was constituted in 2012.
iii. Awardee will receive citation and a cash award of Rs. 50,000 and one time book grant of Rs. 20,000.
Indian National Science Academy (INSA):
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ President: Ajay Kumar Sood.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Satish Kumar Gupta appointed as new MD & CEO of Paytm Payments Bank
On 25th October 2018, Satish Kumar Gupta was appointed managing director and CEO of Paytm Payments Bank.
i. Satish Kumar Gupta replaces Renu Satti, who resigned in July 2018, to head Paytm’s new retail business.
ii. Satish Kumar Gupta was former deputy general manager at State Bank of India (SBI).
iii. He also served as chief project officer at National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
About Paytm Payments Bank:
♦ Started – May 2017
♦ Corporate Address – Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Saurabh Kumar named India’s next Ambassador to Myanmar
On 24th October 2018, Saurabh Kumar was appointed the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Union of Myanmar.
i. Saurabh Kumar is an Indian Foreign Service Officer (IFS) of 1989 batch. At present, he is the Ambassador of India to Iran. He will take up this assignment soon.
ii. Saurabh Kumar will succeed Vikram Misri who has been serving as Ambassador of India to Myanmar since 2016. In September 2018, Vikram Misri was appointed the Indian Ambassador to China.
♦ Capital – Naypyidaw
♦ Currency – Kyat
♦ Official language – Burmese
♦ President – Win Myint
♦ State Counsellor – Aung San Suu Kyi
Justice Govind Mathur appointed as acting Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court
On 23rd October 2018, Justice Govind Mathur was appointed as the acting chief justice of the Allahabad High Court.
i. Justice Govind Mathur replaces Chief Justice D B Bhosale, who retired recently.
ii. Initially, Justice Govind Mathur practiced in the Rajasthan High Court. Later he became a judge. In November 2017, he was transferred to the Allahabad High Court.
iii. He has also worked as the standing counsel for the University of Rajasthan, Indian Oil Corporation and Water and Power Consultancy Services, New Delhi.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Indian Railways Rolls out All India Mobile Ticketing Facility via UTSONMOBILE app to book unreserved tickets online to go live from 1 November
Indian Railways Rolls out All India Mobile Ticketing Facility via UTSONMOBILE app to book unreserved tickets online to go live from 1 November
i. This scheme was introduced 4 years ago. It received wide response only in Mumbai. Then, it was launched in Delhi-Palwal and Chennai city.
ii. Railways has already implemented the scheme in 15 of its zones. North East Frontier Railway and West Central Railway are the 2 zones, where it is yet to be implemented.
iii. This app is also available for buying tickets for travelling long distance, platform tickets and monthly passes.
iv. A passenger needs to be around 25-30 metres away from the station to use the UTS app. A user can book only 4 tickets at a time through the app.
v. In the last 4 years, the app gained nearly 45 lakh registered users and around 87,000 tickets were bought per day.
NASA names gamma-ray constellations after Godzilla, Hulk
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has used the names of modern mythical characters “Hulk” and“Godzilla”, to name its new set of 21 gamma-ray constellations to celebrate its Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope’s 10th year of operations.
i. Fermi has mapped nearly 3,000 gamma-ray sources which is 10 times the number known before its launch.
ii. The 21 gamma-ray constellations also include famous landmarks like Sweden’s recovered warship, Vasa, the Washington Monument and Mount Fuji in Japan. Also other names like the Starship Enterprise, the TARDIS, and Albert Einstein.
iii. Since 2008, Fermi’s Large Area Telescope (LAT) has been scanning the sky every day. It maps and measures sources of gamma rays, the highest-energy light in the universe.
About NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration):
♦ Administrator – Jim Bridenstine
♦ Headquarters – Washington, D.C., US
MIT scientists develop cell-sized robots named “Syncells” to help detect diseases
United States’ MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) scientists, have developed a method to mass produce robots the size of a cell named “Syncells” (synthetic cells), that could be used to monitor the interior of an oil or gas pipeline, or to detect disease in the bloodstream.
i. Syncells can be produced in large quantities by controlling the natural fracturing process of atomically-thin, brittle materials.
ii. A process called “autoperforation” directs the fracture lines to produce miniscule pockets of a predictable size and shape.
iii. Inside these pockets electronic circuits and materials are embedded to collect data.
iv. The outer structure of syncells if formed by a two-dimensional form of carbon called grapheme.
World’s Oldest Known Shipwreck Found Intact At Bottom Of Black Sea
On 23rd October 2018, researchers announced that, an ancient Greek trading ship dating back more than 2,400 years has been found virtually intact at the bottom of the Black Sea.
i. This ship is the oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind. The ship is lying on its side with its mast and rudders intact. It has been dated back to 400 BC.
ii. The vessel was found at a depth of more than 2,000 metres (6,500 feet). The vessel is one of more than 60 shipwrecks identified by the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project.
Virat Kohli becomes the fastest cricketer to score 10,000 ODI runs
On 24th October 2018, Virat Kohli became the fastest cricketer to score 10,000 one-day international (ODI) runs in 205 innings.
i. He surpassed the record of Sachin Tendulkar, who achieved this mark in 259 innings.
ii. He reached this feat during the 2nd ODI against West Indies in Visakhapatnam. Sachin Tendulkar was the first in history to reach 10,000 runs in ODIs in 2001.