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Cabinet Approvals on November 11, 2017
On November 10, 2017, Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved following initiatives and bilateral agreements.
i. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Philippines on agriculture and related fields
ii. Cabinet has approved agreement between India and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of China for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income.
iii. Cabinet approves amending DTAA with Kyrgyzstan
iv. Cabinet approves Joint Interpretative Declaration between India and Colombia
v. Cabinet approves continuation and Restructuring of National Rural Drinking Water Programme……………………………………..Click here to Read more
Government to adopt land-pooling method for airport expansion
Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman, Guruprasad Mohapatra has stated that, Central Government is working on adopting the ‘Land Pooling’ methodology as an alternative mechanism for development and expansion of airports.
i. Indian aviation space has witnessed a significant surge in air passenger traffic in recent years. In order to accommodate this growth, AAI has already chalked out plans to expand current capacities of terminals and bays at airports. However the increased capacity too will be saturated on account of high growth and more land will be needed for further expansion.
ii. In this situation, ‘Land Pooling’ emerges as the only available and viable alternative for airports expansion……………………………………Click here to Read more
Union Cabinet approves Creation of National Testing Agency (NTA)
On November 10, 2017, Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cleared a proposal for creation of a National Testing Agency (NTA) which will conduct various entrance examinations.
i. Currently, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducts Joint Engineering Entrance (JEE) Exam, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), Central Teacher Eligibility Test (twice a year) UGC’s National Eligibility Test (twice a year) and the entrance test for Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas. These exams/tests are in addition to CBSE’s own board exams.
ii. With the creation of National Testing Agency (NTA), CBSE and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will be relieved from conducting the above stated exams/tests.……………………………………Click here to Read more
IT employees get nod to set up trade union in Karnataka
The labour commission of Karnataka has certified the formation of the Karnataka State IT/ITES Employees Union (KITU) under the Trade Union Act, 1926, and Karnataka Trade Unions Regulations, 1958.
Trade union for IT employees in Karnataka:
i. Since last year, large number of IT employees have been approaching the courts seeking solutions for grievances like indiscriminate layoffs and long working hours.
ii. So far, IT employees have been approaching pressure groups such as the Forum for IT Employees (FITE), the National Democratic Labour Front-IT (NDLF-IT) and the Union for IT/ITES (UNITES) for help in fighting legal battles.
iii. The Karnataka State IT/ITES Employees Union (KITU) now formed is backed by the Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU). CITU is an affiliate of the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist).
About Centre of Indian Trade Union:
♦ General Secretary – Tapan Sen
♦ President – K.Hemalata
First power plant under PM Ladakh scheme commissioned in Drass
On 10th November 2017, the New and Renewable Energy Ministry said that, the power plant in Biaras Drass of Kargil has become the first project to be commissioned under the Prime Minister’s Ladakh Renewable Energy Initiative.First power plant under PM Ladakh scheme:
i. The Biaras Small Hydropower Project (SHP) of 1.5 Mw was commissioned on 4th November 2017. This is the first project to be commissioned under the Prime Minister’s Ladakh Renewable Energy Initiative (LREI).
ii. The total cost of the project is Rs 17 crore. It is fully funded by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
iii. The plant will power the Drass town in Kargil. The project has been developed by the Kargil Renewable Energy Development Agency (KREDA) under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council.
About Ministry of New and Renewable Energy:
♦ Minister of State (Independent Charge) – Piyush Goyal
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
Gadkari announces Rs 6000 crore World Bank-backed irrigation scheme
On 9th November 2017, Union minister Nitin Gadkari announced World Bank-supported Rs 6,000 crore scheme to improve the irrigation facilities and water accessibility capacity in several states.
Rs 6000 scheme to improve irrigation scheme:
i. This scheme was announced by Nitin Gadkari at the inauguration of Agrovision Exhibition. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu was present on the occasion. He performed e-jalpoojan of Kerala Lift Irrigation Scheme and right bank canal of Gosikhurdh Irrigation project.
ii. The states which will benefit from the irrigation scheme are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
iii. Gadkari also announced Rs 25,000 crore-worth Daman Ganga-Pinjar river connectivity project, which is 90 per cent funded by the Centre. Its first phase will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi within the next three months.
About World Bank:
♦ Headquarters – Washington, D.C., U.S.
♦ President – Jim Yong Kim
Telangana CM declares Urdu as second official language
On November 9, 2017, Telangana Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhar Rao declared Urdu as the state’s second official language.
i. Mr. Rao told the state assembly that the demand to make Urdu as second official language has been there for a long time.
ii. Every government office in Telangana from the Chief Minister’s Office to District Collectorate have been instructed to have an Urdu speaking officer and to receive all petitions in Urdu as well.
iii. Beisdes, all Telangana State Government competitive examinations will also be conducted in Urdu.
iv. It is to be noted that Muslims comprise 12.7% of Telangana’s total population. Earlier, Mr. Rao had stated that his government will raise its proposal to hike reservations to backward sections among Muslims in Parliament and if needed, may also approach Supreme Court on this matter.
US Congress authorises $700 million for reimbursing Pakistan
The American Congress has authorised up to $700 million in Coalition Support Fund (CSF) to reimburse Pakistan for activities carried out in support of US operations in Afghanistan.
$700 million for reimbursing Pakistan:
i. The authorisation is included in the reconciled text of the House and Senate versions of the 2018 National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA-2018).
ii. The reconciled version makes $350m of $700m available to Pakistan under the CSF contingent upon certification from the secretary of defence that Pakistan is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani network.
iii. The certification need to declare that Pakistan was making an attempt to coordinate with Afghanistan to restrict the movement of militants along the border, and Pakistan had shown progress in arresting and prosecuting senior leaders and mid-level operatives of the Haqqani network and LeT.
♦ Capital – Islamabad
♦ Currency – Pakistani rupee
♦ Official languages – Urdu & English
BSF, Pakistan Rangers to hold Commandant-level talks
On 10th November 2017, the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Pakistan Rangers decided to conduct Commandant-level talks along the International Border (IB) to resolve local issues.
Commandant-level talks between BSF & Pakistan Rangers:
i. The Border Security Force (BSF) and the Pakistan Rangers have decided to initiate dialogue at the local level again. This practice was suspended one-and-a-half years ago.
ii. Director General of BSF K.K Sharma said that, both the forces agreed to the proposal and the meetings would be held at regular intervals after a meeting withMajor General Muhammad Saeed, Director General, Sindh Rangers.
About Border Security Force (BSF):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Director General – K.K Sharma
BANKING & FINANCE
PNB MetLife to sell policies to Bahrain Bank customers
Private sector life insurance company PNB MetLife has entered into a tie-up with Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK) to sell retail and group insurance products to BBK’s customers in India.
i. As per the terms of the tie-up, PNB MetLife will offer protection, health, savings and wealth plans to BBK’s customers in India spread across its branches.
ii. Besides the conventional products, customised insurance plans will also be offered to BBK customers in India.
iii. Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait has been operating in India for over 30 years while PNB MetLife has a customer base of 93015 by September 2017.
iv. Bancassurance has been an important part of the PNB MetLife’s growth strategy. Bancassurance is a relationship between a bank and an insurance company wherein insurance company sells its products to the bank’s customers and bank gets a commission in return.
Quick Facts about PNB MetLife:
♦ Founded in – 2001
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, India
♦ Current CEO – Ashish Srivastava
HAU, Netherlands to jointly work on crop residue management
On 9th November 2017, Haryana Agriculture University (HAU), Hisar, and the Netherlands government decided to jointly work on a project to tackle issues like crop residue management.
HAU & Netherlands government to work jointly:
i. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Joint Working Group of the Indo-Dutch Collaboration presided over by HAU Vice-Chancellor, K P Singh, at Haryana Agriculture University.
ii. HAU and Netherlands would jointly work on a project to tackle issues like crop residue management and on bio-defence strategy, protected cultivation, peri-urban and urban horticulture, floriculture and hydroponic vegetables.
iii. Also, an Indo-Dutch Horticulture Centre at Jhajhar, would be set up. This would be an agri-business incubation centre and explore the scope for teacher-student training, exchange programme, special short-term training programme and knowledge gap analysis.
♦ Capital – Amsterdam
♦ Prime Minister – Mark Rutte
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
NINL gets prestigious Kalinga Safety Award
On 10th November 2017, Neelachal Ispat Nigam Limited (NINL) received the prestigious “Kalinga Safety Award” in the 8th Odisha State Safety Conclave.
NINL – Kalinga Safety Award:
i. The Odisha-based NINL got the award in gold category for best safety performer of the year 2016. S B Jagdale, Joint Managing Director, NINL received the award from Odisha Governor S C Jamir at 8th Odisha State Safety Conclave held in Bhubaneswar.
ii. The Odisha State Safety Conclave was organised by Institute of Quality and Environment Management Services (IQEMS) and institute of Public Enterprises.
iii. Earlier, NINL had also won the prestigious Ispat Suraksha Puraskar-2017 award in the “No fatal accident for Integrated Steel Plant” category for the third consecutive time.
About Neelachal Ispat Nigam Limited (NINL):
♦ Chairman – Ved Prakash
♦ Products – steel billets, pig iron and lam coke along with nut coke, coke breeze, crude tar, ammonium sulphate and granulated slag
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Ravi Bangar concurrently appointed as Ambassador of India to Ecuador
On 10th November 2017, Ravi Bangar was appointed as Ambassador of India to Ecuador.
Ravi Bangar – Ambassador of India to Ecuador:
i. Ravi Bangar is an Indian Foreign Service Officer (IFS) of 1982 batch. He is presently the Ambassador of lndia to Colombia. He has been concurrently (at the same time) appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Ecuador.
ii. His residence is in Bogota, Colombia. He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
♦ Capital – Quito
♦ Currency – United States dollar
♦ Official language – Spanish
♦ President – Lenin Moreno
Debjani Ghosh to be the first woman to be President of NASSCOM in 2018
NASSCOM has appointed Debjani Ghosh, former MD, Intel South Asia, as the NASSCOM President-Designate, making her the first woman President of NASSCOM.
Debjani Ghosh to be President of NASSCOM:
i. Debjani Ghosh would succeed R Chandrashekhar upon the completion of his term in March 2018.
ii. Debjani Ghosh has been a member of Nasscom’s Executive Council and a trustee of the Nasscom Foundation. She was also a managing director of Intel South Asia.
iii .The Indian IT and business process outsourcing industry has been one of the growth drivers for the economy and is today a USD 150 billion sector representing multiple sub- sectors.
♦ Full form – National Association of Software and Services Companies
♦ Purpose – trade association of Indian Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Chairman – Raman Roy
Gautam Gambhir named Govt nominee in DDCA managing committee
The India cricketer, Gautam Gambhir was on 10th Nov 2017 made as a government nominee in the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) managing committee and he has made it clear that he would do his best to “restore glory days” of the much-defamed association.
i. The current player of Kolkata Knight Riders, Gambhir thanked the Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in Twitter.
ii. The 36-year-old Gambhir has played 58 Tests, 147 ODIs and 37 T20 Internationals. He has been the top scorer in finals of two World Cups (2007 T20 and 2011 50-over) that India won.
RedBus co-founder Phanindra Sama appointed CIO of Telengana
Co-founder of RedBus and serial entrepreneur Phanindra Sama has been appointed as Chief Innovation Officer for Telangana state.
i. Minister for IT, KT Rama Rao handed over the appointment letter at Secretariat today.
ii. Sama is currently serving as a Patron in Kakatiya SandBox, an experimentation lab for people to work on solutions to local problems.
iii. Phanindra Sama hails from Nizamabad, Telangana. He received his Electrical Engineering degree from BITS Pilani and Post Graduation from Indian Institute of Science.
iv. He Co-founded RedBus, India’s first online bus ticket booking service in 2006. He stayed with the company for eight years as CEO. Naspers, a South African investment firm had acquired RedBus for ₹780 crores. The acquisition was termed as the most successful exit for anyentrepreneur in the e-commerce space.
v. Phanindra Sama received a several prestigious awards as an entrepreneur.“India’s best internet startup”, 2010 by IMAI and “Entrepreneur of the Year” award under IT by ET NOW, in the year 2013 are amongst some of awards received by him.
Tulsi Gabbard named chairperson of World Hindu Congress 2018
On 9th November 2017, Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress, was named as the chairperson of the World Hindu Congress (WHC) to be held in Chicago in 2018.
Tulsi Gabbard – chairperson of World Hindu Congress 2018:
i. The World Hindu Congress is held once in every four years. The World Hindu Congress (WHC) is a global platform for Hindus to connect, share ideas, inspire one another and impact the common good.
ii. It is organised by the World Hindu Foundation. The second World Hindu Congress will take place in Illinois in Chicago from 7 to 9 September 2018.
iii. Abhaya Asthana is the coordinator of WHC. Tulsi Gabbard is an Iraq war veteran and a member of the powerful House Foreign Relations Committee.
About Tulsi Gabbard:
♦ Occupation – American politician
♦ Political Party – Democratic Party
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
HCL gets nod for joint venture company with MECL, NALCO
Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) has received approval from its board of directors to form a joint venture company with Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (MECL) and NALCO Ltd.
i. The three entities will now form a Joint Venture (JV) in the name of Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (KABIL).
ii. KABIL will have an authorised capital of Rs. 100 crore and paid-up capital of Rs 30 crore respectively.
iii. A joint working group will be formed under this Joint Venture to deal with government-to-government (G2G) deals relating to sourcing of rare minerals from other countries.
iv. This JV will help HCL to diversify and source rare minerals like titanium.
Quick Facts about Hindustan Copper Ltd. (HCL)
♦ Founded in – 1967
♦ Headquarters – Kolkata, West Bengal
♦ Current Chairman – Santosh Sharma
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Google Arts and Culture unveils its first lab experiment in India
On 10th November 2017, Google Arts and Culture unveiled its first lab experiment in India at an exhibition at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai.
Google Arts and Culture’s first lab experiment in India:
i. As a part of first Google Arts & Culture Lab experiment in India, Google has collaborated with Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) and the British Museum in London to unveil Future Relics.
ii. Future Relics is an interactive installation that takes participants on a shared journey, connecting past with present whilst looking to the future.
iii. This was created as part of the landmark exhibition ‘India and the World: A History in Nine Stories’ at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS). The Future Relics project will blend ancient craft and modern technology to build relics for the future.
♦ Headquarters – California, U.S
♦ CEO – Sundar Pichai
Veteran journalist Virendra Sanghi passes away
On 10th November 2017, veteran journalist Virendra Sanghi passed away in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Death of Virendra Sanghi:
i. Virendra Sanghi passed away on 10th November 2017. He was 66 years old. He is survived by his wife and son.
ii. Virendra Sanghi had worked for the Samachar Bharti and PTI-Bhasha for a long period of time. His funeral took place on 11th November 2017.
About Virendra Sanghi:
♦ Occupation – journalist
♦ Age – 66
Former Test cricketer Milkha Singh passes away
On 10th November 2017, former India cricketer A G Milkha Singh passed away after a cardiac arrest at a hospital in Chennai.
Death of Milkha Singh:
i. Milkha Singh died due to cardiac arrest on 10th November 2017. He was 75 years old. He is survived by wife, a son and a daughter.
ii. Milkha Singh played Test matches in the 1960s. He was a flamboyant left-hand batsman and a fine fielder. He made his Ranji Trophy debut at 17 years.
iii. He had a great career for Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy. He scored over 4,000 runs in first-class cricket, including eight centuries. He was employed with State Bank of India.
About Milkha Singh:
♦ Occupation – Cricketer
♦ Batting – Left-handed
National Education Day – November 11
On 11th November 2017, National Education Day was observed all over India.
National Education Day:
i. National Education Day is celebrated on 11 November every year to mark the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first education minister of independent India.
ii. The Ministry of Human Resource Development announced on 11th September 2008 to celebrate 11th November as National Education Day to recall Azad’s contribution to the cause of education in India.
iii .The objective of celebrating National Education Day is to strengthen our educational institutions and to raise the quality of education to greater heights.
iv. On this day seminars, symposia, essay-writing, elocution competitions, workshops and rallies with banner cards and slogans on the importance of literacy and nation’s commitment to education are conducted.
About Moulana Abul Kalam Azad:
♦ Poisition – 1st Education Minister of Independent India
♦ Political Party – Indian National Congress