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Current Affairs Today – November 22 2016

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CAT NovemberINDIAN AFFAIRS

Center Constitutes Committee To Check Implementation Status Of Demonetization Move
i. The Central Government has formed a committee on November 22, 2016, comprising Additional Secretaries, Joint Secretaries and Directors to know about the status of implementation of its recent decision of scrapping 500 and 1000 rupees currency notes.
ii. Each officer of the committee will visit different States and Union Territories separately with main focus on the rural areas and submit its report by 25th of this month.
iii. The committee will submit its report by November 25, 2016 report on the challenges and general opinion regarding the implementation of the scheme.
iv. Objective of the Committee:
1.To check the currency availability across the State in bank branches, ATMs and post offices.
2.To look at the facilities at bank branches and post offices regarding deposit, withdrawal and exchange of currency.
3.To check the impact of the decision on various segments including households, agriculturists, wage earners, traders, transportation, industries, informal sectors and small business.

India & Switzerland Sign ‘Joint Declaration’ for the implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI)
i. Sushil Chandra, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes and Gilles Roduit, Deputy Chief of Mission of Swiss Embassy in India signed a ‘joint declaration’ for automatic exchange of information (AEOI) on November 22, 2016 for the implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) between the two countries
ii. From now India will be possible to receive the financial information of accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland for 2018 and subsequent years from September 2019 onwards.
Switzerland :
♦ Currency: Swiss franc
♦ Capital: Bern

Portuguese Prime Minister to be the Chief Guest of 14th  Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
i. Prime Minister of Portuguese, Antonio Costa will be the Chief Guest at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention which will be held in Bengaluru from January 7 to 9, 2017.
ii. The Prime Minister will attend the inaugural function of the convention on January 8, 2017 and address the delegates.Portuguese Prime Minister to be the Chief Guest of 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
iii. The vice president of the Republic of Suriname, Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin, will be the Special Guest at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) which will be held on January 7, 2017 in Bengaluru.
iv. The Vice-President will address the young overseas Indian delegates at the inaugural session of the Youth PBD, along with Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas PBD
i. Every year on January 9 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas PBD is celebrated to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community in the development of India.
ii. January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion because in the year 1915, Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa  on January 9 and led India’s freedom struggle and finally changed the lives of the Indians.
iii. The conventions, celebrated every year since 2003, provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of India for mutually beneficial activities.
Portugal:
♦ Capital: Lisbon and Currency: Euro
Republic of Suriname
♦ Capital: Paramaribo and Currency: Surinamese dollar

Supreme Court Directed Centre to frame Model Rules for Consumer Forums
i. The Supreme Court on November 21, 2016, directed the Central Government to frame model rules related to administration, selection and appointments of members, infrastructure etc. for all consumer courts constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 within 4 months.
ii. The decision was taken by a bench of three-judge comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice L Nageswara Rao so as to prevent the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 from becoming ineffective in practice.
iii. To speed up the mechanism of protecting the consumers from unfair trade practices the Supreme Court has directed the role, powers and functions of the National Consumer Commission, State consumer commissions and district consumer forums and also asked the government to fill up the vacancies in these courts.
iv. The Union Government is directed to frame objective norms for the assessment of the ability, knowledge and experience required to be possessed by the members of the respective fora, the payment of salary, allowances and for the conditions of service of the members of the consumer fora as per the nature of adjudicatory duties and the need to attract suitable talent to the adjudicating bodies.
v. The rules shall be finalized for implementation after due consultation with the President of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission within 4 months.
Consumer Protection Act, 1986
It was enacted by the parliament of india in 1986 to protect the interests of consumers in India. It makes provision for the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumers’ disputes and protects them from unfair trade practices.

Govt sets up HEFA to provide funds for creating infrastructure, promoting research facilities
i. Government is setting up Higher Education Financing Agency(HEFA) to provide funds for creating infrastructure and promoting research facilities in the Centrally-aided institutions of higher learning. It was announced by Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey
ii. The agency will leverage funds from the market, Minister of State for Human Resource Development.
iii. The Center will provide equity of Rs.1000Cr for establishing HEFA.
iv. The agency will mobilize funds under Corporate Social Responsibility and function as a non-banking financing company.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India to Become Associate Member State of European Organization for Nuclear Research(CERN)
i. India and European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN)signed an agreement on November 21, 2016 to make India an Associate Member State of the research organization.
ii. The agreement was signed between Sekhar Basu, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in India, and Fabiola Gianotti, General Director at CERN.
iii. After becoming the associate member of CERN India will have to contribute a certain amount of money for research activities that would involve annual contribution of 11.5 million swiss frank from Indian government to CERN
iv. Pakistan, Turkey and Ukraine are the current Associate Member States with CERN.

BANKING & FINANCE

16 of 22 public sector banks skipped Dividends in FY 16 due to Increase in NPA
i. Due to increasing bad loans in the banking sector, 16 Public sector banks in India out of 22 skipped paying dividends in 2015-16 to the government. The government of India received Rs 1,444.6 crore as dividend from PSB. This amount is 67% less than that the government received in the previous fiscal which was Rs 4,336.22 crore.
ii. As per existing rules, profit making banks have to pay a minimum dividend of 20 per cent of their equity or 20 per cent of their post tax profit, whichever is higher.
iii. The highest dividend during 2015-16 was paid by State Bank of India, which amounts to Rs 1,214.6 crore, which makes 84% of the total dividend. This was 22% lower than previous fiscal. Among other banks which paid the dividend are Union Bank of India – Rs 85 Crore, Oriental Bank of Commerce – Rs 12.4 Crore.
iv. Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of the PSBs had increased from 5.43 per cent (Rs 2.67 lakh crore) in 2014-15 to 9.32 per cent (Rs 4.76 lakh crore) in 2015-16 out of the total advances. Deadline of March 2017 has been given to the banks to clean up their balance sheet.

IL&FS raises first ever masala loan worth $50 mn from Export Development Canada
i. Canada’s export credit agency Export Development Canada (EDC) sanctioned the first-ever masala loan of Rs. 340 crore($50 million) to Indian firm Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services(IL&FS). This is the first lending of EDC in Indian Rupees.  In a masala IL & FSloan the borrower saves on the hedging cost because the repayment is in rupees.
ii. With this IL&FS Financial Services became the first Indian company to
raise money through a rupee-denominated masala loan from overseas investors.
iii. EDC worked with an agent bank, the Bank of Nova Scotia, to structure the loan for IL&FS.
iv. The financing by the EDC is expected to be used for roadway and infrastructure improvement projects by the Indian Firm. As per the MD and CEO of IL&FS, Ramesh Bawa the company will raise masala bond worth $300 million in mid-Decemeber and $700 million by the end of the year.
v. EDC has disbursed $1 billion in 2016 to Indian companies and plans to increase its investment in India to $10 billion by 2020 from $4 billion now.
Masala bond
♦ Masala bond are the Indian rupee denominated bonds. The term refers to a financial instrument which enables Indian entities to raise money from overseas markets in the rupee, not foreign currency.
♦ The International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, issued the first masala bonds in October 2013 as part of its $2 billion dollar offshore rupee programme.

BUSINESS

FICCI Launched self-regulation code of conduct for the e-pharmacy sector
i. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has announced the launch of self-regulation code of conduct for the e-pharmacy sector on November 21, 2016.
ii. FICCI’s self-regulation code of conduct is an attempt by the industry to follow the highest professional standards and to have proper safeguards so as to ensure that consumer’s health and safety is not compromised.
iii. The main aim of adopting such code of conduct is to overcome the barrier which the E-pharmacy has to face due to lack of such as transparency, accessibility, affordability and awareness to the patients.This will bring effectiveness and efficiency in the Indian Pharmacy.
According to the ‘Self-regulation Code of Conduct’
♦  E-pharmacy will process scheduled medicines only against a valid copy of prescription (physical or scanned) of a registered medical practitioner.
♦   E-pharmacy must ensure that the medicines are dispensed through licensed pharmacies duly registered under the Drugs And Cosmetics Act/ Rules.
♦  The medicines are packed, transported and delivered in such a way that their integrity, quality, and effectiveness are preserved.
♦  E-pharmacy players must partner with government for any recall of medicines and collect adverse events of medicines (consumer reports) and comply to submit them to National Centre for Pharma covigilance.
♦  The sector must ensure a proper mechanism to address any queries or grievances of the customer and an ombudsman commission be appointed to address any public grievance.

Delhi’s Khan Market, World’s 28th Most expensive retail location
i. According to the report of commercial Real-estate agent Cushman & Wakefield, New Delhi’s Khan Market has moved by down 2 spots on its global retail ranking to become the world’s 28th most expensive retail location globally.Delhi’s Khan Market, World’s 28th Most expensive retail location
ii. Cushman & Wakefield s annual report ‘Main Streets Across the World’ tracks over 500 top retail streets around the globe, ranking the most expensive in each country by their prime rental value.
iii. Khan Market is centrally located within the city of New Delhi and is surrounded on all sides by high-end residential areas which makes due to which it is the most expensive market in India for more than five years and thus the demand to hire a retail space in the market also continues to remain costliest. Monthly rentals at Khan market is Rs 1250 per sq ft annually.
iv. In India, the three most expensive retail markets are located in Delhi-NCR. Khan Market and Connaught Place in New Delhi demand the highest rentals of Rs 1,250 a sq ft per year and Rs 850 per sq ft a year respectively while the DLF Galleria in Gurgaon, is the 3rd most expensive location.
List of Top 5 Expensive Retail Market

1 New York Upper 5th Avenue
2 Hong Kong Causeway Bay
3 Paris Avenue des Champs Elysees
4 London New Bond Street
5 Tokyo Ginza

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn conferred with First World Sanskrit Award
i. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has recognized Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand with the first ‘World Sanskrit Award’ for the year 2015 while American linguist and Indologist Prof. George Cardona with World Sanskrit Award for the year 2016 for their exemplary contribution for the promotion of the Sanskrit language.
ii. The award was presented to both the winners on November 21, 2016 by Vice President Hamid Ansari at a function held in New Delhi.
iii. The award was instituted by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).The award was announced by the Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during her inaugural speech in the 16th World Sanskrit Conference in Bangkok in June 2015.

Azamgarh-born Indian-American philanthropist Frank Islam felicitated with the Interfaith Leadership Award
i. Uttar Pradesh born Indian-American entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank Islam awarded with the Interfaith Leadership Award at the Interfaith Leadership Award Concert on November 20, 2016
ii. Frank received this award for his contributions towards the arts and higher education and support of interfaith dialogue.
iii. The Interfaith Leadership Award was instituted by the Inter Faith Conference of Metropolitan Washington
About Frank Islam :
♦ Frank Islam came to the United States more than four decades ago, founded the information technology company QSS in 1994 and  sold it in 2007.
♦ Later he set up ‘The Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Foundation‘ to support a number of civic, educational and artistic causes and institutions including University of Colorado, Montgomery College, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the U.S. Institute of Peace and Aligarh Muslim University, Islam’s alma mater.

Akshaya Mukul wins Bhatt First Book Prize 2016.
i. Senior journalist at the Times of India Akshaya Mukulhas been awarded the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2016. He has been awarded for his book “Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India”.
Akshaya Mukulii. The jury member comprising of Samanth Subramanian, Mahesh Rao and Janice Pariat described the book to be “eyeopening and captivating” in the way it explored the literary trend as if it came from the one who is known to the English-speaking urban India.
iii. Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize : Shakti Bhatt was a young writer. The Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize was set up in 2008 to encourage authors from the sub-continent.The Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize is a cash award of 2 lakh rupees, and a trophy. It is funded by the Shakti Bhatt Foundation and Priti Paul through the Apeejay Trust.

Infosys Science Foundation Announces the Six Winners of the Infosys Prize 2016
i. The Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) announced the winners of the 8th Infosys Prize in 6 categories – Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences.
ii. Evey one will receive a purse of Rs. 65 Lakhs, a 22 karat gold medallion and a citation certificate at the Awards Ceremony which will be held on January 7, 2017 in Bangalore.
iii. The winners were shortlisted from over 250 nominations by an esteemed and erudite jury panel, comprising of renowned scientists and professors.
Infosys Prize 2016 winner list :
1.Engineering and Computer Science : Prof. V. Kumaran, Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore,
2.Humanities Prof. Sunil Amrith, Mehra Family Professor of South Asian Studies, Professor of History, Harvard University, US
3.Life Sciences: Dr. Gagandeep Kang, Executive Director of Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad.
4.Mathematical Sciences: Prof. Akshay Venkatesh, Professor, Department of Mathematics, Stanford University, US
5.Physical Sciences: Dr. Anil Bhardwaj, Director, Space Physics Laboratory, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram
6.Social Sciences: Prof. Kaivan Munshi, Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge, UK

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Zydus Cadila CMD Pankaj Patel elected as FICCI president
i. Pankaj R Patel was elected as the new President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) for the year 2017. He will replace Harshavardhan Neotia, Zydus Cadila CMD Pankaj Patel elected as FICCI presidentChairman of Ambuja Neotia Group.
ii. Patel is currently working as the chairman & managing director of Cadila Healthcare Ltd (Zydus Cadila). Under his chairmanship, Zydus Cadila has emerged as a global pharmaceutical company.
iii. He is the chairman of Board of Governors at the Indian Institute of Management, Udaipur (IIM-U), and also the advisory committees and academic councils of several educational institutions such as Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, IISER, Kolkata, and IIM, Ahmedabad.
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) :
♦ The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is an association of business organizations in India.
♦  It is the largest, oldest and the apex business organisation in India.
♦  Established :1927

Sebi officials Parmod Kumar Nagpal and Amarjeet Singh to chair IOSCO panels
i. Two officials of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), Parmod Kumar Nagpal and Amarjeet Singh are elected as chairpersons of two committees set up by IOSCO (International Organisation of Securities Commissions) announced by IOSCO’s Asia-Pacific Regional Committee chairman by Mr. Ashley Ian Alder
ii. Nagpal would chair the Committee on Issuer Accounting, Audit and Disclosure while Singh would be the chairperson of the Assessment Committee (AC).
International Organisation of Securities Commissions(IOSCO) :
♦ The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) is an association of organisations that regulate the world’s securities and futures markets.
♦ Membership countries should regulate more than 95 percent of the world’s securities markets.
♦ Headquarters Madrid, Spain
♦ Secretary General: Mr. Paul P. Andrews

ACQUISITION & MERGERS

Oracle to Buy US based Dyn for an undisclosed amount
i. Oracle on 21 November 2016 signed an agreement to acquire US-based Dynamic Network Services Inc, or Dyn. Oracle has not disclosed the deal amount.
ii. Dyn is a leading cloud-based Internet Performance and DNS provider that optimizes Internet applications and cloud services to reduced page load times. The acquisition will help Oracle in extending its cloud services and provide enterprise customers with services like Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
iii. Dyn was in news in the month of October as it faced a cyber attack and its servers were flooded with traffic from multiple resources, which led major of its clients like Twitter, Pfizer , Netflixand CNBC without service.Dyn is Oracle’s 114th acquisition.
Oracle :
♦ Oracle Corporation is an American multinational computer technology corporation
♦ Headquarters: California, United States
♦ Founders: Ed Oates, Larry Ellison, Bob Miner

Quikr buys Grabhouse in all stock deal
i. An Indian classified advertising platform Quikr announced to acquire an online home rental solutions provider, Grabhouse in an all-stock deal giving investors Sequoia Capital and Kalaari Capital stake in Quikr to strengthen its own service.
ii. It is the Quikr’s ninth acquisition in this year. Quikr did not disclose the value of the deal.
iii. Grabhouse will function as a separate entity under the ownership of Quikr, it will give Quikr buys Grabhouse in all stock dealQuikr an entry into the managed rentals service, where customers pay the company on a per-bed/per-room basis for moving into a fully furnished home.
Quikr :
♦ Founded: 2008
♦ Founder & CEO : Pranay Chulet
♦ Headquarters: Bengaluru

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Agni-I successfully test fired from Odisha Coast
i. The Strategic Forces of Command (SFC) of the armed force successfully test-fired Agni-I missile. The missile was test fired at at 10.08 a.m. on 22 November 2016 from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island) Odisha coast. The missile took 10 minutes to reach its targeted destination in Bay of Bengal.
ii. Agni-I is a surface-to-surface medium-range ballistic missile [MRBM] . The strike range of Agni-I is 700-750 km. The 12 tonne and 15 meter long missile is capable of carrying payload of about 1000 kg.
iii. Its weapon system is powered by both solid and liquid propellant, and can travel at a speed of 2.5 km per second. Agni-I was first test-fired in 1991 while the last test was conducted on 14 March 2016.
iv. Agni-I has been developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory [ASL], a missile development lab of the DRDO in collaboration with the Defence Research Development Laboratory [DRDL], Research Centre Imarat [RCI] and integrated by Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad.

ENVIRONMENT

Strong Earthquake of magnitude 7.3 hits Japan
i. An earthquake of magnitude 6.9rocked the Fukushima region of Japan on 22 November 2016 at about 5:59 a.m.(local time). The metrological agency of Japan had first estimated the magnitude of earthquake to be 7.3 but later lowered it to 6.9 on Richter scale.
ii. The epicenter of the earthquake was about 10 kilometers (6 miles) deep inside the coast of Fukushima prefecture as per the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). Also in its latest update JMA informed that no tsunami damage is expected however surge in waves may be experienced.
iii. The same region was hit by an earthquake of scale 9 on 11 March 2011. The lethal quake dismantled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant(Okuma, Fukushima) creating a nuclear crisis. However this time there is no report of damage to the nuclear power plants.
Japan:
♦ Capital: Tokyo
♦ Currency: Japanese yen
♦ Prime minister: Shinzō Abe

SPORTS

Virat Kohli attains his best ICC test ranking with 4th spot
i. Indian test cricket captain Virat Kohli attained the 4 spot in ICC Test cricket ranking. This is his best ranking in test cricket till date. The knock of 167 and 81 runs against England in Vishakhapatnam laid the foundation of his entry in the top 5.
ii. This is first time that he has crossed the mark of 800 points, presently he has 822 points. Till date only 11 Indian players have crossed the 800 points milestone of ICC ratings.Premier Futsal ropes in Virat Kohli as brand ambassador
iii. On the top of the board is Steve Smith of Australia with 897 points in the same format. Cheteshwar Pujara , moved one spot up to 9th spot with his century in the match against England.
iv. Virat Kohli is ranked 1st in ICC T20 rankings and 2nd in ICC One Day International rankings.
TOP 5 batsmen in ICC Test ratings

1 Steve Smith (Australia) 897 Points
2 Joe Root (England) 844 Points
3 Kane Williamson (New Zealand) 838 Points
4 Virat Kohli (India) 822 Points
5 Hashim Amla (South Africa) 809 Points

OBITUARY

Iran novelist William Trevor dies at 88
i. Irish novelist and playwright William Trevor dies in London on November 21, 2016. He was 88.
ii. William was a master of short stories that often explored life’s disappointments.He written more than 15 novels and many more short stories.
iii. He has won the Britain’s Whitbread prize  three times and his book was short-listed four times for the Booker Prize include ‘The Story of Lucy Gault’ in 2002

Veteran Carnatic music exponent M Balamurali Krishna passed away at 86
i. Veteran Veteran vocalist and Padma Vibhushan awardee M Murali Krishna passed away in Chennai on November 22 2016. He was 86.Veteran Carnatic music exponent M Balamurali Krishna passed away at 86
ii. Balamuralikrishna has given his first live concert, at the age of 8. The title ‘Bala,’ was given by distinguished Harikatha performer Musunuri Suryanarayana Murty Bhagavatar.
iii. He featured in the popular national integration song “Miley Sur Mera Tumhara” in which he rendered Tamil lyrics and starred in a number of films in Tamil and Telugu.
iv. He is an innovator of the tala system in Carnatic music and also played other instruments like Mridangam ,Viola and Kanjira.
v. He was conferred the Padma Vibhushan in 1991 and also he received many state awards.

Former UP Chief Minister Ram Naresh Yadav passes away
i. Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Ram Naresh Yadav passed away on November 22, 2016 at Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow at 9.15 am after a prolonged illness at the age of 90.
ii. In 1977 during Janata Dal government in Uttar Pradesh he was appointed as the Chief Minister of UP in 1977 and served as CM from 1977-1979
iii. He was appointed as the Governor of Madhya Pradesh in September 2011 by the UPA government active that time.
iv. His name was also figured in the infamous Vyapam scam, a multi-crore scandal in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, during the government of Shivraj Singh Chouhan but was released from the charge till he held the office of Governor in Madhya Pradesh.