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Current Affairs Today – November 20 2015

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Current Affairs Today 20 November 2015INDIAN AFFAIRS

India-Russia Joint Army Exercise “INDRA-2015” culminated

Indian and Russian Armies concluded the joint military exercise “INDRA-2015” that was held from 07 November to 20 November 2015.

  • Exercise INDRA-2015 was the 7th edition in a series of bilateral exercises since 2003.
  • 2015 Pivot“Counter Terrorism Operations in Desert Terrain under a United Nations Mandate”
  • The wind-up ceremony was held in Mahajan Field Firing Ranges, Bikaner.

“Technology Acquisition and Development Fund” to catalyze MSME sector

On the sidelines of “Make in India”, Technology Acquisition and Development Fund (TADF) under National Manufacturing Policy has been launched by Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman (Minister of State for Commerce & Industry)

  • TADF will be implemented through Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA), a joint venture company of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Technology Development Board (TDB) of the Department of Science & Technology (DST).

8,000-cr Rly projects in 4 states get green signal

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its approval to railways projects worth about Rs. 8,000 crore in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Bihar.

  • These projects will be implemented over 7 years and will help in the transportation of coal and other minerals.

Other Projects:

  • 3rd and 4th lines between Budhapank and Salegaon via Rajathgarh Railway line of 85 km each with a cost of 1,172.92 crore. Expected completion – next 3 years during 12th and 13th Plan period.
  • Doubling of Koraput-Singapur Road section railway line of 56 km with a completion cost of Rs. 2,361.74 crore. Expected completion – next 7 years during 12th and 13th Plan period.
  • Doubling of Kottavalasa-Koraput line of 278 km with a completion cost of Rs. 2,977.64 crore. Expected completion – next 7 years during 12th and 13th Plan period.
  • Doubling of Jagdalpur-Koraput section railway line of 110.22 km with a completion cost of ₹1,839.02 crore. Expected completion – next 7 years during 12th and 13th Plan period.

Minimum train fare increased from Rs 5 to Rs 10

The minimum train passenger fare will increased to Rs 10 from Rs.5 was decided by railways to increase the minimum chargeable fare in non-suburban services at par with the platform ticket from Nov 20.

  • This will be applicable only to second class non-suburban services only.
  • The platform ticket price was revised from Rs 5 to Rs 10 in April this year to control the rush on platforms.
    *Railway Minister : Suresh Prabhu

50 districts in Uttar Pradesh declared drought-hit

As many as 50 of the 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh were declared drought-hit by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav with revenue realisation suspended in these.

  • As per the rain record made available by MeT Department, only 53.50 per cent rainfall was recorded between June to September 30. In 33 of these districts, rainfall of 40 to 60 per cent was recorded while, in 16 districts, it was below 40 per cent.

Districts which have been declared drought-hit: Ravidas Nagar, Sultanpur, Mirzapur, Balia, Siddharthnagar, Shahjahanpur, Banda, Pratapgarh, Chandauli, Etawa, Baghpat, Jaunpur, Faizabad, Gonda, Kannauj, Barabanki, Sant Kabir Nagar, Jhansi, Jalaun, Gorakhpur, Hathras, Eta, Allahabad, Ghaziabad, Farrukhabad, Mau, Unnao, Rampur, Hamirpur, Lalitpur, Chitrakoot, Kanpur Nagar, Lucknow, Deoria, Mainpuri, Maharajganj, Agra, Auraiya, Pilibhit, Amethi, Mahoba, Raibareli, Kushinagar.
Key points :

  • UP CM : Akhilesh Yadav
  • UP Governor : Ram Naik
  • UP Capital : Lucknow


GTI: India Listed in Top 10 Nations Impacted by Terrorism

According to the 3rd edition of the Global Terrorism Index 2015 (GTI), India ranked 6th out of 162 nations most affected by terrorism in 2014.

  • ISIS and Boko Haram are now jointly responsible for 51% of all global fatalities from terrorist attacks.
  • India witnessed a move up by 1.2% in terror-related deaths in 2014 to reach a total of 416.

Global gender index: India mounted to 108th position

India has improved its position in World Economic Forum (WEF) Global gender index (up from 114 of the 142 countries in 2014) with a score of 0.664.

  • India has been ranked at 108th position out of 145 countries.
  • India ranks among the most improved countries in the region in terms of political representation.

BioGenesis – Global cancer summit 2015

Global Cancer Summit, a three-day programme focussed on understanding and suggesting strategies to tackle cancer, organised from November 18-20 at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

  • It was dedicated to the late US senator Ted Kennedy.

Theme – Frontiers in oncology: genetics, diagnostics and therapeutics
Event Organizers – Euro-Indian Health Cluster (India), Global Cancer Foundation and supported by the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Participants – 700 experts in the field of oncology and related fields
Chairman of summit – K.S. Gopinath

Winners of the Edward Kennedy Memorial award
During the event winners of the Edward Kennedy Memorial awarded for their work in the area of cancer. Awardees are:

  • Jaydip Biswas, Director, Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute
  • Prabha Sampath, Principal Investigator, A Star Institute, Singapore
  • Raghuram, Founder, Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation
  • R. Nagendra, Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana
  • R. Rajagopal, Founder and chairman of Pallium India


RBI allows RRBs to launch internet banking with caveats

Reserve Bank of India has allowed Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) to launch online transaction through internet banking.

  • Profitable RRBs with minimum Rs 100 crore networth and better asset quality will be allowed to offer this service.


  • Banks with capital adequacy ratio over 10% will be allowed to introduce the online transaction services.
  • RRBs need to have their gross NPA ratio less than 7% and their net NPA should not exceed 3%.
  • The bank should have made a net profit in the immediate preceding financial year and overall, should have made net profit at least in 3 out of the preceding four financial years.

Weak banks will be allowed to offer internet services (view only) without online transaction facilities such as balance enquiry, account statement download or request for cheque books.


CCEA to pay production subsidy of Rs 4.50 per quintal to sugarcane farmers

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has decided to pay a production-linked subsidy of Rs 4.50 per quintal directly to cane farmers in the 2015-16 season to help cash-starved sugar mills clear arrears. It would cost the exchequer about Rs 1,147 crore.

  • Sugar mills are facing a liquidity crunch due to low prices of the sweetener in retail markets. The millers owe about Rs 6,500 crore to cane farmers.

The Food Ministry had proposed a production subsidy of Rs 4.75 per quintal out of the cane FRP (fair and remunerative price) of Rs 230 per quintal for the 2015-16 season (October-September).

  • At present, sugar mills have to pay the entire cane price called FRP, fixed by the Centre. FRP is the minimum price that sugar mills have to pay to cane farmers.
  • To liquidate surplus sugar, the government has made it mandatory to millers to export 4 million tonnes in the 2015-16 season.

Tata Steel commissions first phase of Kalinganagar plant in Odisha

Indian steel major Tata Steel commissioned the first phase (3 million tonnes per annum) of its 6 MTPA capacity Kalinganagar Steel Plant,the largest single-location greenfield steel project in India in Odisha.

  • The company plans to expand the plant’s capacity to 16 MTPA by 2025 with the cumulative investment amounting to 1,00,000 crore.
  • The state-of-the-art plant was dedicated to the nation by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in the presence of Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus P Mistry.

Investments Details :

  • Built at an investment of over 25,000 crore in the first phase.
  • Tata Steel is planning to expand the capacity of Kalinganagar plant to 16 million tonnes per annum by the year 2025 with cumulative investment of about Rs. 1,00,000 crore.


VFI President Chaudhary Avadhesh elected Asian Volleyball Confederation VP

Volleyball Federation of India President Chaudhary Avadhesh Kumar was elected as Executive Vice-President of Asian Volleyball Confederation in the 21st AVC General Assembly Meeting.

  • He was also elected as President Asian Central Zone, AVC and Member of AVC Administrative Board a first instance in national Volleyball when an Indian occupies the prestigious post.

Asian Volleyball Confederation :
AVC has become one of the largest continental volleyball associations in the world, with its member federations increasing to 65 from only 12 at the time of its set-up.

The first Congress of the Asian sport Committee (ASC) was held in Tokyo with 22 national federations on October 8, 1964.

  • Headquarters : Bangkok, Thailand
  • President : Saleh Bin Nasser

Barack Obama names Indian-origin Swati Dandekar as ADB Director

Barack Obama names Indian-origin Swati Dandekar as ADB DirectorIndian-American politician Swati Dandekar has been nominated as Executive Director to Asian Development Bank US President Barack Obama.

About Swati Dandekar:

  • Dandekar was the first Indian-born American citizen to win a state legislature seat in the US.She was also member of the Iowa Senate from 2009 to 2011.
  • She served on the Iowa Utilities Board from 2011 to 2013. From 2000 to 2003, she was a member of the Vision Iowa Board of Directors.
  • She served on the Linn-Mar Community School District Board of Education from 1996 to 2002 and was a member of the Iowa Association of School Boards from 2000 to 2002.

Asian Development Bank:
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 which is, to facilitate economic development in Asia.The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and non-regional developed countries.

  • Headquarteres : Metro Manila,Philippines
  • President : Takehiko Nakao

Tanzania names little known bureaucrat as prime minister

Former teacher Kassim Majaliwa  Sworn in as Tanzania’s new president dominated by the ruling party. Majaliwa succeeds Mizengo Pinda, who held the post since 2008. Pinda was caught up in accusations of graft in 2014.

  • Magufuli’s win in the October 25 poll with over 58 per cent of votes cemented the long-running CCM’s firm grip on power.

About Kassim Majaliwa:

  • Majaliwa aged 60 and a stalwart of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, comes from the southeastern Lindi district.
  • He was a former deputy minister in the local government ministry, overseeing school education.

Key points:

  • Tanzania Capital : Dodoma
  • Tanzania Currency : Tanzanian shilling


2015 Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace conferred on UNHCR

Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2015 will be conferred to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

  • Decision has been taken by the International jury of the prize, headed by Vice President Hamid Ansari.
  • Award is given to the office of UNHCR in recognition of its “immense contributions” in assisting millions of refugees who have fled their houses and for working under difficult circumstances to bring about changes to reduce the flow of refugees.


Bangladesh Government blocked social media platform on security grounds

The Bangladesh Government blocked popular social media platform Facebook and online messaging and calling services WhatsApp and Viber on security grounds.

  • Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) issued a letter to different telecom operators and all Internet Service Providers asking them to stop the services immediately. The apps were unblocked after four days.

Reason for Blocking
The order came following the Supreme Court verdict of death penalty to war criminals Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid.

Blocked Apps :

WhatsApp, Viber, Mypeople, Line and Tango.

Key points :

  • Bangladesh Capital : Dhaka
  • Bangladesh Currency : Taka
  • Bangladesh PM: Sheikh Hasina

China testing its largest new space rocket

China is conducted tests on its largest and most powerful rocket the Long March 5, It will be launched at the Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre by Liu Tongjie Deputy head of lunar exploration and space programs at the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence .

About Long March 5:

  • Long March 5, the nation’s next-generation heavy lift launch system, is nearly 57 metres high, with a diameter of 5 metres.
  • With a liftoff weight of around 800 metric tons, it will have a maximum payload capacity of 25 metric tons in low Earth orbit and 14 tons in geosynchronous transfer orbit.
  • T he rocket will use liquid oxygen or kerosene and liquid oxygen or liquid hydrogen as propellants for its engines.
  • The Long March 5 will be used to launch large lunar probes and the manned space station that China plans to send into orbit around
  • It will replace the Long March 2 and Long March 3 in commercial launch service.

Government to set up separate portal to support innovative products

Government to set up separate portal to support innovative products Under Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY) will be established said by Communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

  • Government is promoting domestic electronics manufacturing in a big way and have received investment proposals worth Rs 1.17 lakh crore till now, of which Rs 90,000 crore have already been approved.

Other Initiatives :

  • The programme was launched in April this year by Intel in partnership with government to create applications that accelerate delivery of e-governance services through MyGov app on mobile platforms.
  • The company also launched a programme titled ‘Ek Kadam Unnati Ki Aur’ to create a blueprint to drive technology enabled transformation at the grassroots level in 10 state.


India finishes with 11 medals in Track Asia Cup cycling

India finished their campaign on a creditable 3rd position with an impressive 11 medals including 3 gold, 3 silver and 5 bronze in the Track Asia Cup cycling tournament at the IGI Sports Complex, New Delhi.

  • Korea finished at the top with 6 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze
  • Uzbekistan secured 2nd spot with 3 gold and 4 silver medals.

India’s young cycling sensation Deborah Herold beat Korea’s Cho Sun Young and won women Elite Sprint event.

Srishti Pandey won Indiana FIDE Rating Chess Tournament

Chess player of Maharashtra, Srishti Pandey (14) clinched the second Indiana All India FIDE Rating Chess tournament which concluded at Dr Hedgewar Smarak Samiti Hall, Reshimbagh, Nagpur.

Organizers – Nagpur Taluka Chess Association

  • In ninth and final round, three players – Srishti, Pune’s Atul Dahale and Awadh Chaitanya were tied at 7.5 points each.
  • After application of the tie-breaker, top-seed FIDE Master Vinaykumar Matta from Andhra Pradesh settled for the 4th Third seed FIDE Master Saurav Kherdekar from Railways was relegated to 7th position.


Eminent bureaucrat RK Trivedi passed away

Eminent bureaucrat RK Trivedi passed awayFormer Gujarat Governor RK Trivedi died here this afternoon after prolonged illness.
He was 94.

About RK Trivedi:

  • Trivedi, who also served as the Chief Election Commissioner, had a long and distinguished career as a
  • He had joined civil services in 1943 and after serving the state as district magistrates in some districts, he had a long stint at the Centre.
  • Trivedi was made Central Vigilance Commissioner in October 1980 and in June 1982, he took over as the CEC.He was Gujarat Governor between 1986 and 1990.

Trivedi was honoured with Padma Vibhushan as a recognition to his services towards the nation.

Former international footballer P Vijay Kumar dies

Senior Tata Football Academy coach and former international footballer P Vijay Kumar(57) died of cardiac arrest.

About P Vijay Kumar:

  • Kumar was appointed coach of TFA in 1996 and he represented India in SAF Games at Kolkata in 1987, Pre-World Cup qualifying match at Abu Dhabi in 1990.
  • Kumar hogged the limelight after he scored a brace in an exhibition match against Bochum team of West Germany at Jamshedpur in 1986.
  • Kumar had represented Bihar and Bengal in National Football Championships from 1979 to 1989. He represented undivided Bihar seven times and Bengal four times.
  • He played for Mohammedan Sporting, Kolkata, between 1986 and 1990 and captained the side in 1989.