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Cabinet Approvals on November 1, 2017
On November 1, 2017, Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved following initiatives and bilateral agreements.
i. Cabinet approves amendment in the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993
ii. Cabinet approves Special Banking Arrangement (SBA) for payment of outstanding subsidy to fertilizer companies during 2016-17
iii. Cabinet approves signing an Agreement between India and Armenia on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters.……………………….Click here to Read more
India-US Ocean Dialogue held in Goa
On 1st November 2017, the India-US Ocean Dialogue, hosted by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, began at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO) in Goa.India-US Ocean Dialogue:
i. The India-US Ocean Dialogue is aimed at promoting sustainable development of the Blue Economy. Blue Economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.
ii. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Judith Garber leads a high-powered American delegation.
iii. Discussions would be held on the Blue Economy, cooperation in sustainable marine resource management, fisheries governance, marine pollution, maritime law enforcement, and scientific research.
About Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO):
♦ Research type – Advanced science and technology
♦ Director – Prof. Sunil Kumar Singh
President of India inaugurates Global Clubfoot Conference in New Delhi
On 1st November 2017, the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the Global Clubfoot Conference, organised by the CURE India in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in New Delhi.
Global Clubfoot Conference:
i. Clubfoot is one of the most common orthopaedic birth defects that affects the child’s mobility. It can cause permanent disability if not treated early.
ii. The President said that, public hospitals are partnering with CURE International India to treat as many children as possible. The programme is now active in 29 states of India.
iii. He stated that, still as per the current rate only 8,000 fresh cases are brought for treatment every year. Whereas 50,000 children are born every year in India with clubfoot.
About CURE International:
♦ Purpose – International child healthcare organization
♦ President and CEO – Roger Spoelman
Delhi to host 9th global green film festival
The 9th edition of ‘CMS Vatavaran’, a global film festival on environment and wildlife, will begin on November 2, 2017 in New Delhi.More information about ‘CMS Vatavaran’:
i. 113 films, including four films from Kashmir will be showcased during this five-day film festival, ‘CMS Vatavaran’.
ii. Theme of CMS Vatavaran is “Conservation 4 Water”.
iii. Seminars, workshops, exhibitions and an award ceremony focusing on the environmental, social and economic aspects of water conservation will also be held during the course of this film festival.
iv. Aim of this festival is to spread awareness about water conservation and sensitize people through films and discussions regarding water conservation.
v. The event is supported and partnered by Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, National Geographic, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Maximum age of joining NPS increased from 60 to 65 years: Finance Ministry
On November 1, 2017, Union Ministry of Finance increased the maximum age of joining the National Pension System (NPS) from the existing 60 years to 65 years.
NPS for subscribers in 60-65 year age bracket:
i. On account of this decision, subscribers who are willing to join NPS at the later stage of life i.e. after attaining the age of 60 will be able to avail the benefits of NPS.
ii. Such subscriber who will join NPS beyond the age of 60 years will have the same choices of pension fund and investment, which is available to individuals who have subscribed before attaining the age of 60 years.
iii. They will have an option of normal exit from NPS after completion of three years.
iv. In case of seeking exit from NPS before completion of three years, he/she will have to utilize at least 80 percent of the corpus for purchase of annuity and can withdraw the remaining amount in lumpsum.
Centre allocated Rs 109 cr to promote tourism projects in Puducherry
Central Government has earmarked Rs 109 crores to promote heritage and spiritual tourism projects under ‘Swadesh Darshan’ Scheme in Puducherry.
i. Announcement in this regard was made by Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on November 1, 2017, while addressing public on the occasion of the 63rd Liberation (De facto) day of Puducherry.
ii. Union Tourism Ministry’s Swadesh Darshan Scheme focuses on integrated development of tourist circuits around specific themes.
iii. It is to be noted that Puducherry and its port cities Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam became free from the French rule on November 1, 1954.
Shivaji statue to be world’s tallest at 210m
On October 30, 2017, Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) approved Maharashtra State government’s application to increase the height of the proposed statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (off the coast of Mumbai) from the earlier 192 metres to 210 metres.i. Maharashtra government has laid out a plan to build a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the sea off the Mumbai coast, on a rocky outcrop of 15.96 hectares.
ii. With an approval for 210 metres height, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue will be world’s tallest statue surpassing the Spring Temple Buddha statue in China which stands 208 metres tall.
iii. As a result of increase in height, the estimated cost to construct this statue has also been revised to Rs. 4000 crore from Rs. 3600 crore earlier.
iv. The Shivaji memorial will also have a temple, hospital and a museum showcasing highlights of Shivaji’s life.
India leaps 30 places to 100th rank in World Bank’s ‘ease of doing business’ index
India has leaped to 100th rank out of 190 countries on World Bank’s latest edition of ‘ease of doing business’ index. This marks a forward leap of 30 places as compared to 130th rank in the previous edition of the index. In the report titled ‘Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs’, India has been recognised as one of the top 10 improvers in this year’s assessment…………………………Click here to Read more
Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs’ – Top 5 Countries:
Indian Air force contingent leaves for Israel to Participate in ‘Ex Blue Flag-17’
On October 31, 2017, a 45 member contingent of the Indian Air Force left for Israel to participate in exercise ‘Blue Flag-17’.About Exercise ‘Blue Flag-17’:
i. Blue Flag is a bi-annual multilateral exercise held by Israeli Air Force with air forces of other countries.
ii. Objective of this exercise is to strengthen military cooperation amongst participating nations.
iii. The Indian contingent for exercise ‘Blue Flag – 17’ is led by Gp Capt Maluk Singh VSM.
iv. By participating in this exercise, Indian Air Force is operating with Israeli Air Force in a multilateral exercise setting for the first time.
v. Indian Air Force is participating in ‘Blue Flag -17’ with C-130J special operations aircraft along with ‘Garud’ commandos.
vi. This exercise will serve as a platform for sharing of knowledge, combat experience and best practices among air forces of participating nations.
China, ASEAN hold joint naval drills
China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have held their largest- ever joint maritime rescue exercise, signalling a calm in South China Sea tensions.
i. The exercise, which took place on 31stof oct 2017, in the waters off the southern coast of China’s Guangdong Province, was “the largest of its kind for China and ASEAN members.
ii. It involved about 1,000 participants aboard 20 ships and three helicopters from China, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar Laos, Philippines and Brunei, rival claimants in the South China Sea with Vietnam notably absent.
iii. China asserts authority over almost all of the South China Sea in the face of rival claims from its Southeast Asian neighbours including four ASEAN members.
iv. It has rapidly reclaimed reefs, creating artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.
v. Despite a 2015 pledge by Chinese President Xi Jinping not to further militarize the islands, China has continued to add infrastructure and weapons as it seeks to reinforce effective control of much of the waterway.
♦ Abbreviation – Association of South East Asian Nations
♦ Headquarters – Indonesia
♦ Established – 8th Aug 1967
BANKING & FINANCE
Govt fixes Sovereign Gold Bond rate at Rs 2,945 per gram
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced that purchase price for the latest Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) series which opened on October 30, 2017 has been fixed at Rs 2,945 per gram.i. These bonds can be subscribed from Monday to Wednesday every week.
ii. The price is based on the simple average closing price for gold of 999 purity of the last three business days of the week preceding the subscription period.
iii. Investors applying online and making the payment digitally will be eligible for a discount of Rs 50 per gram. Thus for such investors, the issue price will be Rs 2,895 per gram of gold.
iv. Investment in these bonds can be done in multiples of 1 gm of gold.
v. Investors have an option to hold these bonds in either physical or dematerialised form.
SBI cuts benchmark lending rate by 0.05 pc across maturities
With effect from November 1, 2017, State Bank of India (SBI) has cut its benchmark lending rate by 0.05 per cent across maturities.
i. This decision has reduced SBI’s marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) from 8.00 per cent to 7.95 per cent.
ii. SBI’s MCLR on overnight borrowings has been reduced from 7.75 per cent to 7.70 per cent, while the rate for three-year tenures has been lowered to 8.10 per cent from 8.15 per cent.
iii. Aanother public sector bank, Allahabad Bank too reduced MCLR rate by 0.15 per cent across maturities. Allahabad Bank’s one-year MCLR now stands at 8.30 per cent
iv. Reserve Bank of India has been urging that banks should make efforts to transmit the benefits of earlier cuts in the policy rates to borrowers.
AIIB grants Rs. 13,000 cr loan to Andhra Pradesh
On October 31, 2017, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) approved Rs. 13,000 crore loan for five
project in Andhra Pradesh.
i. Five projects for which the loan has been granted, includes two projects of roads and buildings department, one project each of rural safe drinking water department and municipal and urban development departmentand one project of Panchayat Raj department.
ii. Few months ago, Andhra Pradesh state government had sent proposals to the Union Government seeking aid for these five projects.
iii. Union Government recommended these projects to AIIM for further help and clearance.
iv. AIIB team of technical representatives headed by Dr D. J. Pandiyan held a meeting with Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary Dinesh Kumar for an elaborate discussion about these proposed projects.
Quick Facts about Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB):
♦ Opened for business on – January 16, 2016
♦ Headquarters – Beijing, China
♦ Current President – Jin Liqun
Core sector growth hits 6-month high of 5.2% in September
As per data released by Union Commerce and Industry Ministry on October 31, 2017, core industries registered a growth of 5.2% in September 2017. i. Coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity are together referred to as core industries.
ii. In September 2017, Production of coal, natural gas, refinery products, electricity generation and steel products increased. Crude output and cement production was stagnant while fertilisers output contracted.
iii. 5.2% growth in September 2017 marks a 6-month high for the index of core industries. Core industries grew at 4.4% in August 2017 and 5.3% in September 2016.
iv. Strong core sector growth implies higher industrial output in September 2017 as core industries have 41% weight in the Index of Industrial production.
v. On half yearly basis, for April-September 2017, core sector output was placed at 3.3% compared to 5.4% in the same period last fiscal
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
K Satchidanandan selected for Ezhuthachan Puraskaram
Noted Malayalam Poet and literary critic, K Satchidanandan, has been selected for 2017 Ezhuthachan Puraskaram award, Kerala government’s highest literary honour.
K Satchidanandan – Ezhuthachan Puraskaram:
i. K Satchidanandan is given the Ezhuthachan Puraskaram award for his contributions to Malayalam literature and poetry. He has published several books of poetry, criticism, plays, travelogues and translations of poetry and plays and edited several magazines.
ii. This award is instituted in the name of Ezhuthachan, the father of Malayalam language. This award carries a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh and a citation.
iii. His important works are Kurukshetram and Anchusooryan. He has edited several magazines like ‘Jwala’, ‘Uttaram’ and ‘Pachakkutira’. He was a former editor of Indian Literary Journal and former secretary of Sahitiya Akademi.
About K Satchidanandan:
♦ Works – Poetry, criticism, travelogue, translation, drama
♦ Language – Malayalam
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Suresh Chukkapalli appointed as Consul General of South Korea
Suresh Chukkapalli, Chairman of Phoenix Group of Hyderabad, has been appointed as Honorary Consul General in Hyderabad, by South Korea, with consular jurisdiction over the state of Telangana.
Suresh Chukkapalli – Consul General of South Korea:
i. The Ministry of External Affairs, notified this appointment. Suresh Chukkapalli took charge as Consul General of South Korea on 1st November 2017 at a ceremony in New Delhi.
ii. Suresh Chukkapalli was former Director of Lanco Group and former Member of Central Board of Film Certification. The Honorary Consulate General office in Hyderabad will be opened soon to extend support to developing trade relations with South Korea.
iii. South Korea is the fourth largest economy in Asia and the 11th largest in the world.
About South Korea:
♦ Capital – Seoul
♦ Currency – South Korean won
♦ Official languages – Korean, Korean Sign Language
♦ President – Moon Jae-in
♦ Prime Minister – Lee Nak-yeon
UN names Knut Ostby as new Myanmar resident coordinator
On 31st October 2017, the United Nations announced that, it has appointed Knut Ostby as interim resident coordinator in Myanmar and resident representative for the U.N. Development Program in Myanmar.Knut Ostby – Myanmar resident coordinator:
i. Knut Ostby took charge as interim resident coordinator in Myanmar on 1st November 2017. He is a Norwegian national. He has served as a U.N. resident coordinator for more than 11 years.
ii. He has previously served as resident coordinator in Timor Leste, Iran, Fiji, etc. He has replaced Renata Lok-Dessallien, as the Myanmar resident coordinator.
iii. Renata Lok-Dessallien had been removed from the position as a result of her failure to prioritize human rights in Myanmar. The U.N. said that, Renata Lok-Dessalien will take another assignment at U.N. headquarters.
♦ Capital – Naypyidaw
♦ Currency – Kyat
♦ Official language – Burmese
♦ President – Htin Kyaw
Neelamani N. Raju is Karnataka’s first woman police chief
On 31st October 2017, Karnataka government announced that, Neelmani N. Raju is the next Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG & IGP) of Karnataka, making her the first woman police chief of Karnataka.
Neelamani N. Raju – Karnataka’s first woman police chief:
i. Neelamani N. Raju took charge as the new Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG & IGP) in Karnataka. She has replaced Rupak Kumar Dutta, who has retired from service.
ii. Neelamani N. Raju is a 1983 batch IPS (Indian Police Service) officer. She is the second woman IPS officer to join the Karnataka cadre. She is a native of Uttar Pradesh.
iii. She served in Karnataka for 10 years and went to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in 1993. She served in the IB for 23 years. In 2016, she returned to Karnataka and served as the DGP of Internal Security Division and Fire and Emergency Services.
♦ Seventh largest Indian state by area
♦ Eighth largest Indian state by population
Bharti AXA Life appoints Vikas Seth as CEO
On 1stNov 2017, the Bharti AXA Life Insurance, a subsidiary of Bharti Enterprises, appointed Vikas Seth as chief executive officer (CEO).
i. The appointment is subject to requisite IRDAI approval. Prior to joining Bharti AXA Life, Vikas was with the Aditya Birla Group, where he worked for nearly 10 years in different roles.
ii. Vikas has 21 years of experience in diverse industries, including life insurance, telecom and FMCG.
iii. In this new company, Seth will be responsible for managing the overall business, driving new partnership tie-ups as well as the growth roadmap of the organisation.
iv. He succeeds Sandeep Ghosh, CEO, Bharti AXA Life Insurance.
Bharti AXA Life Insurance
♦ Founded – 2008
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, India
♦ CEO – Sanjeev Srinivasan
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Centre clears mega project to acquire 111 helicopters for Navy
On October 31, 2017, Union Defense Ministry approved a major project to acquire 111 utility helicopters for the Indian Navy at a cost of Rs.21738 crore.i. The proposal to acquire these helicopters was cleared at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Union Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman.
ii. Out of the 111 helicopters, 16 will be procured at a fly away condition while 95 will be manufactured in India.
iii. These helicopters will be acquired under the strategic partnership model.
iv. As per the strategic partnership model unveiled by Indian Government in May 2017, Indian private firms will be roped in to build military platforms such as submarines and fighter jets in India in partnership with foreign entities.
v. For the acquisition of 111 utility helicopters, Indian Government will soon start the process to identify a foreign helicopter manufacturer and an Indian defence firm for a joint venture for the project.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Giriraj Singh launches MSME Samadhan Portal for delayed payments
On 30th October 2017, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Giriraj Singh launched MSME Delayed Payment Portal named MSME Samadhaan (http://msefc.msme.gov.in).
i. The MSME Samadhaan was introduced to enable Micro and Small Entrepreneurs (MSE) to directly register their cases related to delayed payments by Central Ministries, Departments, CPSEs (Central Public Sector Enterprises) and State Governments.
ii. The MSME Samadhaan Portal will give information about the pending payment of MSEs with individual CPSEs, Central Ministries, State Governments, etc.
iii. The CEO of CPSEs and the Secretary of the Ministries will be able to monitor the cases of delayed payment and issue instructions to resolve the cases. The MSEs will be able to access the portal and monitor their cases.
About Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises:
♦ Purpose – formulation and administration of rules, regulations and laws relating to micro, small and medium enterprises in India
♦ Minister responsible – Giriraj Singh (Minister of State – Independent Charge)
Pakistan will host the 2018 Asian Cricket Council (ACC)
On 29th October 2017, it was announced that, Pakistan will host the next Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Emerging Nations Cup in April 2018.
2018 Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Emerging Nations Cup in Pakistan:
i. The 2018 Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Emerging Nations Cup would be held in Pakistan in more than one city. This was announced by PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) chairman Najam Sethi.
ii. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chairman Thilanga Sumithipala said that, his team is interested to participate in the 2018 Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Emerging Nations Cup in Pakistan.
iii. Six teams would play in the tournament. Out of the six teams, five will be full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC). The sixth team will be the qualifier team from the qualifying rounds.
About Asian Cricket Council (ACC):
♦ Headquarters – Colombo, Sri Lanka
♦ President – Shehreyar Khan
Geeta Phogat wins Gold in All India Police Championship
On 30th October 2017, Indian wrestler Geeta Phogat won a gold medal at the All India Police Championship 2017.Geeta Phogat – Gold in All India Police Championship 2017:
i. Geeta Phogat has won a gold medal at the All India Police Championship 2017. She won India’s first-ever gold medal in women’s wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in 2010. She became the first woman wrestler from India to qualify for the Olympic Summer Games.
ii. She is 28 years old. Her life has been portrayed in the movie Dangal. She has married fellow wrestler Pawan Kumar Saroh.
About Geeta Phogat:
♦ Sport – Wrestling
♦ Event – Freestyle wrestling
Bopanna wins Erste Open, Myneni-Prashanth clinch Vietnam Open trophy
On 29th October 2017, Rohan Bopanna and Pablo Cuevas won the Erste Open title in Vienna, and Saketh Myneni and Vijay Sundar Prashanth pair won theVietnam Open trophy at the Ho Chi Minh City, in Vietnam.
Erste Open title & Vietnam Open trophy:
i. In Vienna, Rohan Bopanna and Pablo Cuevas played with Sam Querrey and Marcelo Demoliner by 7-6(7), 6-7(4), 11-9. Bopanna and Cuevas were down by 7-9 in the deciding super tie-breaker but had saved two match points and won the title.
ii. It was third title of the season for Rohan Bopanna. He had won Chennai Open and Monte Carlo Masters earlier this season.
iii. In Vietnam, Indian pair of Saketh Myneni and Vijay Prashanth defeated Japanese pair Go Soeda and Ben Mclachlan by 7-6(3), 7-6(5) in the finals of the $50,000 event.
iv.I t was first title of the season for Saketh Myneni and first Challenger level trophy for Vijay Prashanth.
About 2017 Vietnam Open (tennis):
♦ Date – 23 – 29 October 2017
♦ Surface – Hard
♦ Location – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
About Erste Open 2017 (tennis):
♦ Date – 23 – 29 October 2017
♦ Surface – Hard
♦ Location – Vienna, Austria
World Vegan Day – November 1
On 1st November 2017, World Vegan Day was celebrated all over the world.World Vegan Day:
i. World Vegan Day is an annual event celebrated by vegans all over the world every 1 November. In 1994, Chairperson of the Vegan Society, Louise Wallis decided to set November 1 as World Vegan Day.
ii. The benefits of veganism for humans, animals and the natural environment are celebrated through activities such as setting up stalls, hosting potlucks and planting memorial trees.
iii. Various restaurants all over the world organize special events and present specially designed dishes to people on this day to promote veganism.
About Vegan Society:
♦ CEO – George Gill
♦ Slogan – Promoting ways of living free from animal products for the benefit of people, animals and the environment