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Current Affairs Today – November 16 2016

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Government to present Union Budget on February 1 while budget session to begin in January 2017
i. The Bhartiya Janata Party led NDA Government announnced to  present the Union budget on February 1 while the Budget session is likely to begin in January 2017.
ii. According to the Government, the budget date has been pre-poned so that the ministries and the state government can begin disbursing funds from the beginning of the financial year.
iii. Till date the budget was being presented at the end of February due to which several processes, including the vote on account, led the states to disburse funds only by late May.
iv. Advancing the Budget date will allow them to release funds by April.    

Cabinet Constitutes Special Committee for Inter-Linking of rivers
i. The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the constitution of “Special Committee for Inter-Linking of Rivers” in compliance with Supreme Court judgment 2012.
ii. The decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
iii. The committee will be responsible for the monitoring of the precious Inter-linking of River Projects to be carried out under National Perspective Plan 1980 of Government of India.
iv. The special committee will also submit status-cum-progress
report bi-annually to Union Cabinet to facilitate faster and appropriate decisions regarding the project.

Ayur Herbarium project inaugurated in Goa by Maritius PM
i. Anirood Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Maritius inaugurated Ayur Herbarium project in North Goa on November 16, 2016 at the property of Sandu Pharmaceuticals Ltd at Saligao village, 10 kms from North Goa.
ii. The medicinal herbarium, an initiative by the pharmaceutical major in association with Union AYUSH Ministry, is a fascinating collection of various Ayurvedic medicinal plants exhibited with informative details of medicinal properties and uses of each herb.Ayur Herbarium project inaugurated in Goa by Maritius PM
iii. Union AYUSH Minister Sripad Naik, Goa’s deputy chief minister and Health minister of Goa Francis D’Souza, directors of Sandu Pharmaceuticals Ltd Shashank Sandu and Umesh Sandu were also present on the occasion.
Maritius :
♦ Capital: Port Louis
♦ Currency: Mauritian rupee

Government of India impose 5 year ban on Zakir Naik’s NGO
i. The government on November 15, 2016 decided to declare a 5 year ban on an Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), promoted by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik  under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for its alleged terror activities.
ii. The decision has been taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
iii. The NGO was allegedly having suspected links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, accused of propagating terrorism despite delivering many provocative speeches.
iv. Naik also transferred IRF’s foreign funds to Peace TV for making “objectionable” programmes mostly which were Made in India, containing alleged hate speeches of Naik.
v. Maharashtra Police has also registered criminal cases against Naik for his alleged involvement in brainwashing of youths and tempting them into terror activities.

Nitish kicks off free power connection for every Bihar household
i. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar launched ‘Har Ghar Bijli Lagataar’ (uninterrupted power supply to each home) scheme and promised free electricity connection to each household in the state in the next two years.
ii. Around 40 lakh above poverty line (APL) households would be provided free power connection under the schemes. The below poverty line (BPL) households are covered under other schemes.
iii. Launching the scheme, which is one of the seven resolves (Saat Nischay) of his grand alliance government.

Revamped Aadhaar Toll-Free Helpline No. 1947 Launched 
i. With the growing use of Aadhaar in transactions related to services like Banking, Government Welfare Schemes, etc., the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), launched a revamped version of its Toll-free helpline number: 1947, to help residents get quick access to information about Aadhaar.
ii. 1947 to bring convenience to Aadhaar holders, provide solutions anytime, anywhere.
iii. The free of cost helpline 1947 will be available 24×7 throughout the year on IVRS mode, while Call-Centre agents will be available from 7 am to 11 pm (Monday to Saturday). On Sundays, agents will answer calls from 8 am to 5 pm. On an average the helpline number handles about 1.5 lakh calls per day.
iv. The Aadhaar toll-free helpline 1947 will among other things, enable residents to locate an Aadhaar Enrolment Centre, know generation status of an Aadhaar number (after enrolment) and help retrieve Aadhaar details of any person who has lost his/her Aadhaar or hasnt received it through post.


Framework agreement of International Solar Alliance signed by 20 nations
i. The framework agreement of International Solar Alliance (ISA) was opened for signatures on November 15, 2016, at the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), at Marrakech, in Morocco.
ii. Over 20 countries became the signatories to it soon after the process started, including India, France and Brazil.The signing of the framework agreement required official authorization by countries.  The agreement required at-least 15 countries to ratify it to become operational.
iii. The Framework Agreement will be kept open as many more countries are expected to join the ISA in the coming weeks.
iv. ISA was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi jointly with French President Francois Hollande at CoP21 in Paris in November 2015.

Festival Of India’ Begins In Oman from November 15 2016
i. A ‘Festival of India’ began in Oman from November 15, 2016 to March 24, 2017 to showcase the country’s diverse culture.
Festival Of India' Begins In Oman from November 16 2016ii. The festival was scheduled to held in four cities namely Muscat, Sur, Sohar and Salalah
iii. The events includes classical and folk dances, music shows, Indian cuisine fest and exhibition on Islamic art calligraphy.
Oman :
♦ Capital: Muscat
♦ Currency: Omani rial


Masterpass QR Payment Solutions launched by Mastercard
i. Global payments & technology company Mastercard launched Masterpass QR in India on November 16, 2016.
ii. Masterpass QR is a quick response (QR) mobile payments solution to help mobile banking users to safely pay for face-to-face purchases using their smartphones or feature phones without the need to carry Cash or Card.
iii. Mastercard has also tied up with Ratnakar Bank (RBL Bank) that will integrate the Masterpass QR service with its mobile platform – the OnGo digital wallet.
Mastercard :
♦ Mastercard Incorporated or Mastercard Worldwide is an American multinational financial services corporation
♦ CEO: Ajaypal Singh Banga
♦ Headquarters: New York, United States


National Student Startup Policy launched by President at the second Visitor’s Conference
i. The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee launched the National Student Startup Policy at the second Visitor’s Conference on November 16, 2016 at Rashtrapati Bhavan New Delhi.
ii. Formulated by AICTE, the National Student Startup Policy, aims at creating 100,000 technology based student start-ups and a million employment opportunities in the next 10 years.
iii. For achieving this mission, plans are being made on developing an ideal entrepreneurial ecosystem and promoting strong inter-institutional partnerships among technical institutions.
iv. The policy will enable the Indian youth to contribute to the nation’s socio-economic progress through promotion of technology-driven student start-ups.

272 products registered as geographical indication so far
i. According to the data of the Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, under the Commerce and Industry Ministry, 272 products includes Sangli raisins, Banaras metal repousse craft and Beed custard apple have been registered so far as geographical indications since September 2003 to enjoys the specific reputation272 products registered as geographical indication so far
ii. Under Geographical Indication (GI) law, a product is identified as a good or an item manufactured or produced in a particular region. It is a legal right under which the GI holder can prohibit others from using the same name.
iii. 11 products have been registered as GI from states including Maharashtraand Uttar Pradesh during the current fiscal.
Points to Know :
♦ The goods which carry this tag include Basmati rice, Darjeeling Tea, Chanderi Fabric, Mysore Silk, Kullu Shawl, Kangra Tea, Thanjavur Paintings, Allahabad Surkha, Farrukhabad Prints, Lucknow Zardozi and Kashmir Walnut Wood Carving.
♦ India’s Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act 1999, has come into force with effect from September 15, 2003.

Govt hikes wheat MSP by Rs 100/qtl; pulses by up to 550/qtl
i. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 15 November 2016, approved the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for rabi crops of 2016-17. Rabi crop are those which are sown in winter season.
ii. Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Wheat has been increased by Rs 100, to Rs 1,625 per quintal for the 2016-17 from Rs 1,525 per quintal as in 2015-16. (Increase of 6.6%).
iii. MSP of barley has been hiked by Rs 100 from Rs 1,225 per quintal to Rs 1,325 per quintal.(Increase of 8.2%).
iv. MSP of gram has been hiked by Rs 500 to Rs 4,000 per quintal from Rs 3,500 per quintal. (Increase of 14.3%).
v. MSP of masur has been hiked by Rs 550 to Rs 3,950 per quintal from Rs 3,400 per quintal.(Increase of 16.2%).
About CACP :
♦ Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) is responsible for making recommendations to government about the increase in MSP.
♦ CAPC Chairman : Prof. Vijay Paul Sharma


Rishi Jaitly appointed CEO of Times Global Partners
Rishi Jaitly appointed CEO of Times Global Partnersi. Times Internet, the digital arm of The Times of India group, on Wednesday appointed former Twitter Inc.’s India head Rishi Jaitly as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Times Global Partners, a group initiative that supports the launch and expansion of emerging global digital companies in India.
ii. Jaitly will replace Puneet Singhvi who was heading Times Global Partners till now as chief operating officer.

Israel names first ambassador to Turkey since 2010
i. Israel nominated a new ambassador to Turkey, its first since the two countries normalised ties after the 2010 crisis triggered by Israel’s deadly storming of a Gaza-bound ship.
ii. Eitan Naeh was formally selected by a government committee, said foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.
Israel :
♦ Capital: Jerusalem
♦ Currency: Israeli new shekel

Cyrus Mistry out of Tata Global Beverages; Harish Bhat named new Chairman
i. Sacking ousted Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry, Tata Global Beverages named company veteran Harish Bhat as its new chairman.In a board meeting, 7 out of 10 Independent Directors voted in favour of ouster of Cyrus Mistry.
ii. The Board of Directors also appointed Mr. Harish Bhat – a Non-Executive Director of the Company, as the Chairman of the Company.


China wins Supercomputer crown for eighth time
i. China has topped in the list of the world’s fastest supercomputers for the eight consecutive years for its ‘Sunway TaihuLight’.
ii. TaihuLight is capable to perform 93 million billion calculations per second (petaflop/s).
iii. Titan and Sequoia, both systems from the US, gained No 3 and No 4 positions respectively.
iv. The Cori supercomputer, a new system installed at the US Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, slipped at No 5 position with a performance of 14.0 petaflop/s.

First Brain Implantation conducted In Netherland
i. Doctors of Netherlands have performed the first-ever brain implant on a 58-year-old woman paralysed by disease named Lou Gehrig’s.
ii. The implantation has enabled her to communicate in day-to-day life with the help of a speech computer.
iii. The disease Lou Gehrig’s caused nerve degeneration that had left her with control only over her eyes.
iv. The implant enabled her to control the computer using brain signals, and spell out messages speaking two letters per minute.

DRDO’s drone Rustom-2 successfully completes its test flight.
i. Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) developed by DRDO named “Rustom-2” completed its first flight on 15 November 2016 in Challakere, Chitradurga district, Karnataka.The drone can be used by Indian Army, Navy and Air Force to keep an eye on enemy territory and carry a variety of cameras and radar for surveillance.
ii. Rustom 2 is developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment(ADE) laboratory of DRDO.It  is a medium-altitude long-endurance UAV (MALE UAV). A MALE UAV is one that flies in  altitude range of 10,000 to 30,000 feet for extended durations of time, typically 24 to 48 hours.
iii. Some features of Rustom 2DRDO's drone Rustom-2 successfully completes its test flight.
1.Wingspan of more than 20m
2.Endurance of 24-30 hours.
3.Automatic takeoff and landing capabilities
iv. The earlier version of Rustom, i.e Rustom-1 was tested on 11 November 2009. Rustom-H is another version which is in development mode.The aircraft has been named after Rustom Damania, a former professor of IISc, Bangalore
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO ):
♦ Director General: Dr. S Christopher
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Founded: 1958

World’s Thinnest laptop Acer Swift 7 launched in India.
i. Taiwanese electronics multinational company Acer launched its lightest, thinnest and the most portable laptop Swift 7 in Indian market.Acer Swift 7 is the thinnest laptop in the World till now.
ii. The Acer SWIFT 7, priced at Rs 99,999, will be available for purchase from 18th November via exclusive Acer stores and other multi brand outlets and will also be available on e-commerce outlet Flipkarts.
iii. The laptop is 9.98mm thick with 13.3 inch Full HD screen having Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection and weighs around 1.1 Kg.
iv. It is equipped to run on 7th Generation Intel core i5 processor along with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD for data storage and a terrific battery inside that helps users get up to nine whole hours of usage.
v. The device comes with the most modern wireless technology of 2×2 802.11ac with MU-MIMO, which delivers of almost three times more fast connection than the regular technology.The laptop is backed with USB3.1 Type-C port for quick data transfer.
vi. In terms of audio, the SWIFT 7 comes fitted with Dolby Audio Premium and Acer True Harmony, which provides a crystal clear virtual sound system.


India to host T20 Cricket World Cup for the Blind
i. India are to host the T20 Cricket World Cup for the Blind at nine different centres from January 31 to February 12, 2017
ii. The tournament, to be organised by the Cricket Association for the Blind in India, is budgeted to cost Rs 24.5 crore, its president G K Mahantesh.


Six-Time BJP MLA I.D. Dhiman Passed Away
i. Former Himachal Pradesh minister and six-time BJP MLA I D Dhiman passed away on November 15, 2016 at his native village Dialri, 25 km from from Hamirpur, due to age-related ailments.He was 82
ii. He is survived by his wife Satya Dhiman, son Anil Dhiman and two daughters.
iii. I D Dhiman popularly known as “guruji” was known for his simplicity and honesty.
iv. He was elected to Himachal Pradesh  Assembly for the first time from Mewa constituency in 1990 and won successively six times in a row in 1993, 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2012.

China’s First Female J-10 Pilot Yu Xu Dies
China’s First Female J-10 Pilot Yu Xu Diesi. China’s first woman pilot of a J-10 fighter jet Yu Xu has died during an aerobatics training exercise in the northern province of Hebei, China.
ii. 30 year old Yu was one of few women pilots who could fly domestically-made fighter jets. She joined the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force in 2005
iii. She was a member of the Chinese air force’s “August 1st” aerobatic display team.


International Day of Tolerance – November 16 2016
i. The International Day for Tolerance is observed every year on November 16 2016 since 1995 to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance.
ii. On the day of its fiftieth anniversary, UNESCO’s Member States adopted a Declaration of Principles on Tolerance
iii.The 2016 edition of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-violence was awarded to the Federal Research and Methodological Center for Tolerance Psychology and Education (Tolerance Center) of Russia
iii. The Declaration qualifies tolerance not only as a moral duty, but also as a political and legal requirement for individuals, groups and States

National Press Day is observed on November 16 2016
The National Press Day is celebrated on November 16, 2016 to remember the day on which the Press Council of India started which is also coincides with Golden Jubilee of Press Council of India.
Highlights :
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi conferred excellence in journalism awards and ‘Raja National Press DayRam Mohan Roy Award’ to veteran journalist S. Nihal Singh on the occasion of National Press Day. It is followed Seminars have been organized by the Press Council in New Delhi
ii. The Press Council decided be extended to South East Asia and other regions of the sub-continent to promote peace and fair and fearless journalism.
iii. PCI also sign a bilateral agreement with the Bangladesh Press Council and is also planning to sign an MoU with Myanmar.
iv. It was also set up to preserve the freedom of the press and to maintain and improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in India
Press Council of India :
♦ The Press Council of India was first set up in the year 1966 by the Parliament on the recommendations of the First Press Commission with the object of preserving the freedom of the press and of maintaining and improving the standards of press in India.
♦ Chairman : Chandramauli Kumar Prasad
♦ Headquarters : New Delhi
♦ World Press Freedom Day is observed every year on 3rd May