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Current Affairs Today – November 15 2015

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Current Affairs Today 15 November 2015


“SMB” & “Maareech” dedicated to Nation by Defence Minister

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar dedicated a Seakeeping and Manoeuvring Basin (SMB) to the nation and handed over the Advanced Torpedo Defence System “Maareech” to the Indian Navy at the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL) in Visakhapatnam.

About SMB – Seakeeping and Manoeuvring Basin
The Rs.168-crore SMB is a state-of-the-art hydrodynamic testing infrastructure facility to validate the design of naval platforms and weapon systems. The facility was designed and developed using Indian equipment.

TRAI’s views on spectrum cap consented by Telecom Commission

Inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission has in-principle approved TRAI’s (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) recommendation on determining spectrum holding limits and sought suggestions from the sector regulator to implement it in future auctions.
(Minister of Communications and Information Technology – Ravi Shankar Prasad)

The spectrum cap, the limit of radio- waves a telecom operator can hold for providing wireless services is:

  • 50% in a spectrum band identified fit for transmitting mobile signals.
  • 25% of the total such spectrum assigned in a telecom circle.

India’s food industry to be worth $65 bn by 2018: Report

As per research report of IIM-Calcutta and Academic Foundation, Indian Food industry is expected to grow 11% annually to reach $65.4 billion (about Rs 4 lakh crore) by 2018.

  • Currently Nation’s food industry is valued at $39.71 billion (Rs 2,476.8 billion)

As per report

  • Food and grocery constitute a substantial part of India’s consumption for around 31% of the consumption basket. On the contrary US spend 9%, Brazil spends 17% and China spends 25%.
  • Food is the largest segment in India’s retail sector, which was valued at $490 billion in 2013.
  • India’s retail market is expected to ↑ to $865 billion by 2023, which is presently valued at $490 billion.
  • The share of modern retail is expected to ↑ 24% of the total retail market from 8% currently.

The report also suggests that India may have benefitted from the presence of foreign businesses in the food supply chain that established backward.

J&K Govt to implement National Food Safety Act in state

Jammu and Kashmir government will soon implement the National Food Safety Act (NFSA) in the state. The new Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department office at Baramulla has been constructed at a cost of Rs 80 lakh.

  • It was announced by Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public distribution Choudhary Zulfkar Ali while inaugurating a new CA&PD office complex at Baramulla, Srinagar.
  • Under the NFS Act, 5 kilograms of foodgrains would be given per person at subsidized rates.

Shri Zulfkar also sanctioned Rs 1 crore for the construction of Gujjar hostel at Baramulla.

Vulture reintroduction programme launched in Haryana

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar launched Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme by putting ten captive bred vultures in pre-release aviaries close to Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre at Pinjore.

About Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme :

  • The exercise was part of reintroduction programme in the pre-release aviary, where birds will have an unobstructed view of the surrounding.
  • The ten vultures released by the CM include two Himalayan Griffons, which were brought as sick birds. They have been in captivity for last ten years.
  • The rest were all white-backed vultures, of which six were hatched in captivity at the centre and are of two-three years of age. The other two were adult birds rescued from the wild about ten years.
  • Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre, run by Haryana Wild Life Department and the Forest Department, has been constantly working to increase their numbers through breeding and conservation.

Key points :

  • Haryana CM : Manohar Lal Khattar
  • Haryana Governor : Kaptan Singh Solanki
  • Haryana Capital : Chandigarh

Swachh Bharat Cess: PAN Card Gets Costlier

With the imposition of the Swachh Bharat cess on all services getting a new Permanent Account Number (PAN) card for income tax purposes has become costlier

  • It will levy a surcharge of 0.5 per cent on all taxable services from November 15.
  • New Cost : Rs 107, Rs.989(Outside India)
  • Previous Cost : Rs 106, Rs. 985(Outside India)

PAN card :

  • PAN is a 10-digit unique alphanumeric number allotted by the I-T department to taxpayers and it has authorised two domestic organisations UTIITSL and NSDL to issue them on its behalf.
  • This card was issued by the Income Tax department to an individual or entity to keep a track on all their financial activities.


India-Bangladesh inked SOP to operationalize Coastal Shipping Accord

India and Bangladesh signed the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in New Delhi to operationalize the “Agreement on Coastal Shipping” signed between the two countries in June, 2015.

  • The SOP was signed in the presence of Minister of Shipping and Road Transport Nitin Gadkari and Minister of Shipping of Bangladesh Shafiq Alam Mehdi.
  • The coastal shipping agreement will enable a huge saving in logistic costs of export-import transport between the two countries.

Trivago’s Best Value Index listed 4 Indian cities in quality hotel services

In accordance with the study by hotel search website “trivago”, four Indian cities namely Wayanad (Kerala), Rishikesh (Uttarakhand), Amritsar (Punjab) and Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) have featured in the top 100 list of high quality services in hotels, in terms of giving the best value for money.

  • In the fourth edition of trivago Best Value Index, scaling up to 100 lists the best combined score on consumer rating and average hotel price.

India, Brazil joined hands for raising cattle & buffalo yields

MoU has been signed between National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and EMBRAPA during a meeting between agriculture ministers of the India and Brazil for taking up collaborative projects in the field of productivity improvement of cattle and buffaloes.

  • The NDDB is an apex policy making body for dairy development in India, while EMBRAPA is a Brazilian public agricultural research corporation.

Other agreements

  • MoU between Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and EMBRAPA in the areas of research, exchange of technology, trainings and visits of personnel
  • Collaboration would be through exchange of advanced breeding technology, knowledge sharing and exchange of genetic material for mutual benefits
  • Both Nations already have a MoU on mutual cooperation in the area of agriculture, animal husbandry and other allied activities.

India Agriculture Minister – Radha Mohan Singh
Brazilian Agriculture Minister – Katia Abreu
EMBRAPA – Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria

India-China Yoga College begins classes in Kunming city

The China-India Yoga College has formally started classes in China’s Kunming city and will open a “new window” in promoting cultural exchange and bilateral ties.

  • The college, which is the first Yoga institute established by India outside the country, was set up during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in May.
  • The college is functioning from Yunnan Minzu (Nationalities) University, featuring yoga and shadowboxing performances by 1,000 students and yoga students in Kunming.

The Yoga College began enrolling students at the beginning of November. Two Indian tutors are giving classes in small groups and India will send more teachers as the number of yoga learners increases.


Clean Air Nation App: Alert! Against deadly air

As part of Clean Air Nation campaign, Greenpeace India, an environmental NGO has recently launched an app that will provide real-time air pollution levels from a monitoring station near the user and also issues a health advisory tailored for different age groups.

App nameClean Air Nation
App Developer – Shivanandan L (technology manager at Greenpeace)
App can be downloaded from the Google Play store at:

Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan commissions INS Vishwakarma

Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan commissions INS VishwakarmaNavy Chief Admiral R K Dhowan commissioned the former Shipwright School (SWC) and premier training establishment of the Indian Navy as INS Vishwakarma at the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) in Visakhapatnam.

  • INS Vishwakarma would enhance the Navy’s in-house design and maintenance of capabilities and it would upgrade to a premier establishment.
  • Indian Navy has technologically advanced warships, which have been designed in house by the Navy’s own Warship Design Organisations and constructed by the Indian Shipyards.

SWC was established at INS Shivaji in 1941 for training shipwright artificers of Indian Navy and was subsequently shifted to Naval Barracks, Mumbai in 1943 and later it was shifted to Vizag in 1981 as a dedicated training establishment.


Zoological Survey of India unravels 778 new fauna species: K Venkataraman

The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has identified 778 new species of fauna in the last five years announced by former director of the organization K Venkataraman. ZSI conducted by Indian rainforests and deserts are teeming with life and  a treasure house of biological diversity.

  • Scientists have brought to light about 778 fauna species in the last five years, thanks to the annual surveys ZSI conducts in protected areas in forests, wetlands, deserts and coral reefs.
  • As a result, they have identified more than 5,000 fauna species new to scientific world till date.

Highlights :

  • India is one of the 17 megadiversity countries in the world and has 6.77% of faunal diversity. So far, out of the 10 million estimated in the world, 1.8 million species have been named.
  • Western Ghats and Eastern Himalayas are the two important biodiversity hotspots in the country due to which, India tops the rank in the availability of most number of endemics in the region.

Dudhwa National Park opens for tourists

The famous Dudhwa National Park (DNP), situated at Indo-Nepal border, opened with hundreds of tourists from across the country witnessing jungle safari. Dudhwa Park opens on November 15 and concludes on June 15 every year.

  • The park administration has completed its preparations for the fresh tourist season.
  • All the tourist corridors and roads inside the park have been maintained.

Tourists would not be allowed to visit the park on their personal vehicles and eco development committees operating in Dudhwa would provide jeeps to the tourists on prescribed rates.

  • Starting with just five rhinos in 1984, the park today enjoys a population of 32 rhinos. The authorities have now finalised to develop another rhino area near Bhadi Tal.
  • The national park is famous for its rich flora and fauna.

Nanopores can make sea water drinkable

American engineers have developed a new material that could transform seawater into drinking water by filtering large quantities of seawater through extremely small holes called nanopores which block salt and other impurities.

  • The researcherspublished their study in the Nature Communications journal on Oct. 14.

Nanopores :

  • The sheet material is made of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) about a nanometer thick. The nanopore sheet came out as the most efficient material out of all the thin-film sheaths the research team tried, being able to sift up to 70 percent more water than the rest. The material is porous and filters salt and dirt but allows water to filter through.


Saina runs out of steam against Li Xuerui in China Open final

Indian ace shuttler Saina Nehwal‘s dream of defending her women’s singles title came crashing as she suffered a straight-game defeat to Olympic champion Li Xuerui in the final of the USD 700,000 China Open Super Series Premier at the Haixia Olympic Sports Center.

  • Saina won a parallel game and a point when Li missed the line after a long rally but the Chinese used her net drops and rode on Saina’s unforced errors to lead 11-6 at the break.
  • Li, who has won the last five matches against Saina, continued her march after the interval even as the Indian kept breathing down her neck with some occasional points

Kristoffer Broberg wins BMW Masters in Shanghai

Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg wins his first European Tour title in style by defeating the American Ryder Cup player Patrick Reed in a play-off for the BMW Masters for European Tour title.

Broberg and Reed both finished regulation play at 17-under 271.

Venue : Shanghai

BMW Masters :

The BMW Masters is a golf tournament played annually at Lake Malaren Golf Club, in Luodian, Shanghai, China The tournament began in 2011 and became a European Tour event in 2012.


Actor Warren Mitchell dies aged 89

Actor Warren Mitchell dies aged 89

Actor known for starring in Till Death Us Do Part and In Sickness and in Health has died. Mitchell was often called upon to defend the popular impact of his role as the “opinionated.

Warren Mitchell

  • Warren Misell bornin Stoke Newington, north London, in 1926.
  • He won two Olivier awards for stage portrayals of Arthur Miller characters, first in 1979 as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman 1979 and then in 2004, when he played a cantankerous old Jewish furniture dealer in The Price.
  • He also appeared in TV shows including “Gormenghast”, “Wall of Silence”, “Lovejoy“, “Waking The Dead” and “Kavanagh QC“.


World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims takes place on the third Sunday in November. This day focuses on both the overall scale and the individual devastation caused by road deaths and injuries and the impact upon families and communities around the world.

Theme – “It’s time to Remember – Say NO to Road Crime!”*

  • It was started by the British road crash victim charity, RoadPeace in 1993.
  • From 1995, road victim organisations under the umbrella of the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims (FEVR) observed this Day together.
  • It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005.

This year it is celebrating the 20th anniversary of observing the World Day internationally and the 10th anniversary of its adoption by the United Nations.