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“Smart India Hackathon 2017” launched by HRD ministry
i. Shri Prakash Javadekar, Union Human Resource Development Minister, inaugurated the world’s largest digital national building initiative “Smart India Hackathon 2017”on November 9, 2016, by handing over a torch to technology students over the country.
ii. The ‘Smart India Hackathon 2017’ is a pan-India 36-hour nonstop digital programming competition which will take place in more than 20 centres simultaneously.
iii. The HRD minister announced the first set of 250 problem statements that was received from various ministries. The students will be required to solve these problem statements during the Hackathon that will take place in early 2017.
iv. The Hackathon will have nearly 500 problem statements in all which will be published on http://mygov.in.
Seventh Session of the Conference of Parties (COP7) to WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) kicked off
i. The Seventh Session of the Conference of Parties (COP7) ) to WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is being held in India from 7-12 November, 2016, at India Exposition Mart Ltd., Greater Noida, District Gautam Buddha Nagar, Uttar Pradesh.It is the first time that the occasion is being held in India.
ii. The Conference was inaugurated by Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare.
iii. On the opening day of the conference, Mozambique became the 181st party to join the Conference of Parties (COP7)
iv. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) on November 8, 2016, launched a project to strengthen implementation of the global tobacco control treaty
1st International Agro-biodiversity Congress concluded with Delhi Declaration adoption
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first ever International Agro-biodiversity Congress, (IAC) in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on November 6, 2016. The four day event (6-9 November) was organised by the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources and Biodiversity International, a CGIAR Research Centre headquartered in Rome, Italy and attended by 900 delegates from 60 countries
ii. The Congress was concluded with the adoption of Delhi Declaration on Agro-biodiversity Management.
iii. During the Conference, various aspects related to the access, conservation and use of the agro-biodiversity were discussed by the delegates of all the countries. The congress comprised of 16 technical sessions, four satellites sessions, a gene-bank roundtable, a public forum, a farmers’ forum and poster sessions
AFSPA extended to 3 districts of Arunachal Pradesh to check Naga faction
i. A notification has been issued by the centre to extend the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
ii. The Home Ministry’s notification was issued on November 4, to extend AFSPA in the districts of Tirap, Changlang and Longding, each bordering Assam.
iii. The Centre has mentioned “extortion and intimidation” by the cadres of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), NSCN-IM, who are desperate to regain control from NSCN-K, (Khaplang), as the basic reason for such notification.
iv. AFSPA, enacted in 1958, gives powers to the army as well as state and central police forces to shoot, kill, search houses and destroy any property that is “likely” to be used by insurgents in areas declared as “disturbed” by the home ministry.
Uttarakhand High Court orders declaring hill stations as eco-sensitive
i. On 8 November 2016, the Uttarakhand High Court ordered all hill stations and glaciers in the state to be declared as eco-sensitive within three months as well as put a ban on any kind of construction within 25 km radius of the glaciers.
ii. The High Court comprising of divisional bench Justice Rajeev Sharma and Justice Alok Singh also ordered restriction on the number of people visiting the glaciers besides imposition of a tax on them.
iii. All municipal boards and Nagar Panchayats along the Ganges and the Yamuna to set up sewage treatment plants within six months with regular checking of water quality every 24 hours by the Government.
iv. All new construction and felling of trees also banned within a radius of two kilometres and five kilometers respectively around the lakes of Bhimtal, Sattal, Naukuchyataal, Nainital and Khurpataal.
v. No new construction within a radius of 25 km of Gangotri and Yamunotri glaciers and no fossil fuel should be burnt within a radius of 10 km around them.
vi. The state government of Uttarakhand has been ordered to approach an institute like National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to determine the load bearing capacity of the areas under restriction within the next six months so that necessary steps may be taken for future construction.
Free LPG connections under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana cross 1 Cr
i. The number of rural households were distributed with free LPG connections under the Pradhan Mantri UjjwalaYojana (PMUY) has crossed the 1 crore.
ii. Under the scheme launched six months ago, each below-poverty-line rural household without LPG is being given an LPG cylinder, a stove and regulator.
iii. The NDA government’s flagship programme plans to make 5 crore rural households smoke-free during its term by offering clean cooking gas, at a cost of R.8, 000 crore.
iv. Among the states, poll-bound Uttar Pradesh has received the most with 34 lakh connections provided under PMUY. Other states that benefited the most from the scheme are Madhya Pradesh (13 lakh), Rajasthan (12 lakh), Bihar (10.2 lakh), West Bengal (7 lakh), Gujarat (5 lakh), Odisha (4.8 lakh), Chhattisgarh (3 lakh), Maharashtra (2.7 lakh), Haryana (2 lakh) and Tamil Nadu (1.4 lakh).
v. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is a welfare scheme of Government of India launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016. Objectives of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is aimed at providing 5 Crore LPG connections in the name of women in BPL (Below Poverty Line) households across the country.
Maharashtra-Canada Collaboration to develop Urban Infra, Smart Cities
Maharashtra government on November 8, 2016, signed an agreement with Canada to implement a joint action plan on urban infrastructure development in the State.
The Canada-Maharashtra action plan aims to:
i. Introduce companies, solutions and financing from the North American country for urban development and implementation of state-led infrastructure projects.
ii. Support Indo-Canadian partnerships including private sector companies, universities and colleges for quick project implementation, promoting economic development and contributing to raising standards of living in the state.
iii. The potential areas for joint action plan include affordable housing, urban infrastructure including smart cities, project financing, training and skills development.
♦ Capital: Ottawa
♦ Currency: Canadian dollar
♦ Prime minister: Justin Trudeau
Sri Lanka to procure 10 diesel engines from RITES India Ltd
i. Sri Lankan government has decided to obtain10 diesel engines from RITES India ltd under credit line facility provided by Indian government.
ii. Cabinet spokesman GayanthaKarunathilake reported that the engines would be purchased at a cost of 4.25 million US dollars each and would be supplied over the period of next two years.
iii. India has been extending concessional line of credit (LoC) to Sri Lanka to support various projects in the infrastructure sector, including railways.
iv. Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated northern provincial rail line during his visit last year while another line connecting eastern and central provinces is being funded through the LoC.
v. RITES Limited( Rail India Technical and Economic Service) is an engineering consultancy company, specializing in the field of transport infrastructure. Established in 1974 by the Government of India, the company’s initial charter was to provide consultancy services in rail transport management to operators in India and abroad.
Australia Ratifies Paris climate change agreement
i. Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull has ratified the Paris climate change agreement, on 10 November 2016 to curb carbon emissions and reduce the risk of dangerous climate change.
ii. With the ratification, Australia aims towards limiting global warming to two degrees and set five-yearly targets for cutting emissions and reduce 2005 levels emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030. Australia is on the track to beat 2020 target and committed to meet 2030 targets under the agreement.
iii. More than 100 nations representing 70 per cent of the world’s emissions and three-quarters of global GDP, have ratified the deal
iv. However, Donald Trump’s election to the US presidency has put the global action on climate change under threat as he would withdraw America from the Paris agreement, and stop spending on UN climate change programs.
v. The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that deals with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. The agreement commits that no country can back out until November 2020 at the earliest.
♦ Capital: Canberra
♦ Currency: Australian dollar
BANKING & FINANCE
City Union Bank unveils artificial intelligence powered robot-Lakshmi
i. Kumbakonam based City Union Bank has introduced a robot on pilot basis to improve customer service. The robot is named CUB-LAKSHMI. The robot has been introduced in Thyagaraya Nagar branch of Chennai.
ii. Lakshmi designed and developed by a French Company, has been programmed to answer about 120 general banking questions/query in English language. However in near future it will be programmed to speak in Tamil and Malayalam languages also.
iii. A single robot cost around Rs 7-8 Lakhs and can perform work of 3-4 persons. The bank has a plan to deploy 25 robots by the end of the year 2016, if the trail run succeeds.
City Union Bank
♦ Headquarter : Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
♦ C.E.O and M.D : Dr N. Kamakodi
♦ Tag Line : Trust and Excellence
Twitter partnered with India Spend to launch #Breathe services
i. Twitter India, along with website India Spend, launched #Breathe service to enable users to get real-time information about the pollution levels in their areas with a tweet.
ii. The reply tweet will inform you about the pollution levels in terms of particulate matter (PM 2.5 and PM 10) as well as give you the possible health impact of the measured air pollution levels.
iii. Pollution levels across India is a huge health issue affecting millions of people. By holding India Spend’s air-quality monitoring network, Twitter is making access to live air pollution data to help Indians make healthier living decisions from Earth Day 2016 and beyond.
iv. Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai are among the heaviest pollution area in the country and hence the service has been launched for these cities as of now. Other cities would also be added soon.
Apollo to start Rs.525-crore plant in Andhra Pradesh
i. Apollo tyres will start a manufacturing facility at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh with an investment of Rs.525 crore. The plant will have a capacity to roll out 5 lakh tyres per month which can be extended up to 30 lakh in future.
ii. Apollo Tyres chairman O S Kanwar announced that they would start first day celeberation in January and within a year it would be in production.
iii .He added that this would be like an FDI investment by one of our Singapore-based subsidiary company (Apollo Tyres Holdings (Singapore) PTE Ltd.
iv. This will be the company’s 5th manufacturing plant in India.Currently Apollo Tyres has two plants in Kerala and one plant each in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
v.Apollo Tyres also has an international manufacturing presence with a plant in the Netherlands and another Greenfield facility currently being set up in Hungary.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Urban Transport Initiatives Recognized with Award of Excellence
Union Ministry of Urban Development has given Awards of Excellence to 8 cities in 5 states and 1 Union Territory for their initiatives to promote Public Transport, Non-Motorized Transport and Road Safety.
State 1: Gujarat: Surat, Gandhinagar and Rajkot
State 2: Madhya Pradesh: Indore and Jabablpur
State 3: Karnataka: Dharwar
State 4: Haryana: Karnal
State 5: Sikkim: Gangtok
Union Territory: Chandigarh
Urban Mobility Conference :
♦ Union Minister of Urban Development, Housing and Poverty Alleviation Venkaiah Naidu inaugurate the Urban Mobility India conference at Gandhinagar in Gujarat o November 8, 2016.
♦ Theme: ‘Planning Mobility for City’s sustainability’.
SAIL won Golden Peacock Award for corporate governance
i. The prestigious Golden Peacock Award for Corporate Governance for this year has been granted upon the ‘Maharatna‘ firm, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL).
ii. The award was received by Ashwini Kumar, CEO of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) on behalf of SAIL during the 16th London Global Convention on Corporate Governanceand Sustainability held in London recently.
iii. SAIL was conferred the award on account of its flawless performance in the field of corporate governance that is for balancing the interests of all the stakeholders of the company — shareholders, management, customers, suppliers, financiers, government and the community.
iv. Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is one of the largest state-owned steel making company based in New Delhi, India and one of the top steel makers in world. With an annual turnover of ₹43,337 crore . It is a public sector undertaking which trades publicly in the market is largely owned by Government of India and acts like an operating company.
♦ SAIL Chairman: P.K.Singh.
Mike McCormack won Goldsmiths Prize for Solar Bones
i. Solar Bones author Mike McCormack had won the Goldsmiths Prize. He stated that it was “payback” for his publishers Tramp Press and his agent who had backed him during his “long and difficult adventure” as a writer.
ii. He visited more publishers to take risks with experimental authors. Speaking after collecting his £10,000 cheque at an event held at the London bookstore, Foyles on Charing Cross Road.
iii. McCormack is the third Irish writer to win since the prize began in 2013.Politics, family, art, marriage, health, civic duty and the environment are just a few of the themes it touches on, in a prose that’s lyrical yet strongly rooted.
iv.Mike McCormack was born on 1965. He is an Irish novelist and short story writer. He has published two collections of short stories, Getting It In the Head and Forensic Songs and three novels – Crowe’s Requiem, Notes from a Coma and Solar Bones. He has been described as “a disgracefully neglected writer.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
R Subramania Kumar to hold addl charge of MD and CEO, IOB
i. R. Subramania Kumar was given additional charge of the post of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Indian Overseas Bank for three months.
ii. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved entrustment of additional charge of the post of MD and CEO, Indian Overseas Bank to Kumar, the only available Executive Director in the bank
iii. Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) is a major public sector bank based in Chennai (Madras), with about 3700 domestic branches, including 1150 branches in Tamil Nadu, 3 extension counters, and eight branches and offices overseas as of 30 September 2014.
iv. Indian Overseas Bank has an ISO certified in-house Information Technology department, which has developed the software that its branches use to provide online banking to customers; the bank has achieved 100% networking status as well as 100% CBS status for its branches. IOB also has a network of about 3300 ATMs all over India
Rahul Dravid Appointed Brand Ambassador For T20 World Cup For Blind
i. Former India captain Rahul Dravid has been made brand ambassador for the second T20 World Cup for the Blind in a offer to create awarness about the tournament.
ii. He would mentor the visually-impaired, Dravidstated he might need some mentoring from them. What they did is a lot tougher than what I had did. It would be foolish for him to say that he could mentor them because he had never experienced what it was like to be a visually-impaired cricketer. His role is to create awareness about this event.
iii. The tournament will commence on January 28 next year, and will be held across eight Indian cities. The Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI), the cricketing arm of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, will play host.
iv.CABI assessed the expenses involved inorganising the event to be Rs.24.5 crore. CABI President G.K. Mahantesh called to corporates, government bodies and individuals to provide financial support.
Ishaat Hussai named interim chairman of TCS, replaces cyrus mistry
i. Tata Sons, the largest shareholder in Tata Consultancy Services, with 73.26% stake, has removed Cyrus Mistry as the chairman of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and nominated Mr. Ishaat Hussain as the interim chairman of the IT major with immediate effect.
ii. Mr. Hussain will remain chairman until a new person is appointed in his place.
iii. Mr. Mistry was replaced without holding any board meeting. TCS did not required to hold a board meeting to replace Mistry as Chairman because Article 90 of the company’s Articles of Association allows its majority shareholder to nominate a chairman without board resolution.
iv. Tata Sons which holds 28.01 % stake in IHCL also decided to hold an extraordinary general meeting for the removal of Cyrus P Mistry as director from the board of the Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), the company which runs the Taj group of hotels.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
China launched pulsar navigation satellite XPNAV-1
i. China, has taken a step forward to incease its charisma in space research segment by launching an X-Ray Pulsar Navigationsatellite into space which is designed to identify signs of pulsar ray. Named as “XPNAV-1”, this all-new powerful asteroid will carry out in-orbit researchers by means of pulsar detectors to reveal new technologies for space mapping.
ii. The experimental pulsar navigation mission carries two sensors modified to pick up incoming X-rays from objects scattered across the galaxy, and use the detections mark the craft’s position without relying on GPS satellites or pre-loaded navigation fixes.
iii. The XPNAV 1 satellite weighed more than 440 pounds (200 kilograms) at launch, and was developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., a contractor in the country’s state-run space industry.
iv. X-ray pulsar navigation techniques will help reduce the trust of spacecraft on ground-based navigation methods and are anticipated to achieve independent spacecraft navigation in the future.
Ministry of health and family welfare launched an app to manage stress
i. Union Health and Family Welfare Minister JP Nadda launched a mobile app “No More Tension” to manage the stress level and released a magazine “Healthy India Initiative/Swastha Bharat-ek pehal” on November 9, 2016 in New Delhi.
ii. The quarterly magazine will showcase information related to health issues and raise awareness about healthy living, certain aspect of health such as women and child health, elderly health, seasonal ailments, daily nutritional needs, safe medication practices, home remedies healthy living and many more. The magazine will be available at all the government facilities free of cost.
ii. The e-version of this magazine is also released and available for download. Currently the magazine is being issued in Hindi and English but the next version will be available in 13 other languages.
iii. Mobile application ‘No More Tension’ aims to provide information to users regarding stress such as, what is stress, effects, symptoms and its management. The application enables the user to measure their stress level along with learning various techniques like yoga and meditation for the purpose of reducing stress. For downloading the application is currently available on Google play store and app store and will be available on Windows soon.
Mobile App ‘CHIRAG’ launched by Maharashtra to check violation of child rights.
i. The Maharashtra government along with the State Child Rights Protection Commission launched ‘CHIRAG’ mobile application on November 9 2016 to enable the submission of complaints related to violation of child rights.
ii. The App “Child Helpline for Information on Rights and Address Grievances” (CHIRAG) was launched by MaharashtraWomen and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde and will be available for download on Google Playstore while an IOS version would be launched shortly.
iii. The app will provide information regarding functioning of the Child Rights Protection Commission while spread awareness about children’s rights.People can also lodge complaints about violation of child rights through the app.
India NGT Defined Environmental Emergency For 5 States; Limits PM 10 & 2.5 Marks
i. Highlighting on Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and the Supreme Court’s decade-old direction to include clean environment as a fundamental right, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has given a definition for environmental emergency.
ii. The NGT bench, headed by chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar, stated, that Even if we give it a little bit of margin than once these values reaches 500 and 300, respectively.
iii. The Tribunal has also issued directives to Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on measures to be undertaken when air pollution crosses severe levels.
iv. Among the measures recommended by the NGT to counter air pollution whenever severe levels are reached include: Sprinkling of water by helicopters in places where pollution levels are high, shutting down of stone crushers, construction activities and the transportation of construction material till air quality standards are brought below the severe levels.
Mumbai’s Western Railways beated Haryana 4-2 to win Surjit trophy
i. Mumbai’s Western Railways women’s team grabbed the title in the 33rd Indian Oil Servo Surjit Hockey Tournament by defeating Haryana XI 4-2 in the title clash played at the Olympian Surjit Hockey Stadium in Jalandhar.
ii. In the 14th minute of the play Western Railways’s AnupaBarla scored the ball after dodging goalkeeper Shewata of Haryana (1-0). In the 34th minute of the play Western Railways’s AnupaBarla struck once again to consolidate (2-0).
iii. At half time Western railways was leading by 2-0.After changing ends Haryana girls tried their best, In 40th minute Haryana earned the first penalty corner, their Jaspreet Kaur asked the board to reduce the margin (1-2).
iv. After two minutes Western Railways mounted pressure and earned penalty corner, this time Mayengbam Lily Chanu scored with indirect conversion (3-1)
World Science Day for Peace and Development celebrated
i. World Science Day for Peace and Development 2016 celebrated worldwide on 10 November, 2016.
ii. Theme for the year 2016: “Celebrating Science Centres and Science Museums”.
iii. The celebration focused on the importance of science centres and museums for capacity building, and the importance of science for sustainable development.
iv. The World Science Day for Peace and Development is celebrated every year globally to mark the importance of science for the benefit of the society and to ensure that citizens are aware of developments in science.
v. This year the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) organized various discussions, campaigns, visits to science museums, etc. worldwide for school children to generate awareness about science benefits.