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Current Affairs Today – November 23 2015

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Current Affairs Today

World Indology Conference

The Rashtrapati Bhavan hosted the first time World Indology Conference in collaboration withIndian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) from November 21 to 23, 2015.
(Indology – Study of Indian history, literature, philosophy, and culture)

  • ICCR Distinguished Indologist Award was presented by President Pranab Mukherjee to Prof. Heinrich Freiherr Von Stietencron from Germany.

India to host the First South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise


Minister of state for home Kiren Rjiju will inauguratethe first South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise (SAADMEx-2015). The Exercise will be conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in Delhi

Objective :To provide a platform for strengthening regional disaster response mechanism among the SAARC countries will commence in the national capital region .

Participants :The common exercise with the participation of delegations and rescuers from each of the eight

SAARC Nations: India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka .

Highlights :
The key focus of SAADMEx-2015 is to test coordination efforts, create synergy and synchronize efforts to institutionalise regional cooperation on disaster response among the member countries.

  • First day : Different kinds of disaster situations will be simulated and individual and joint response measures will get discussed.
    Second day: Response for collapsed structure search and rescue (CSSR) will be carried out at Ghaziabad to demonstrate the CSSR capabilities of participating nations.
  • Third day :Demonstration on chemical emergency response at Greater Noida on the third day.
  • Last day : Debriefing and ‘After Action Review‘ (AAR) will be conducted to gather important lessons learnt which would assist the countries to augment current and joint levels of disaster response and coordination.

HRD Ministry sets up exclusive panel on Sanskrit promotion

The human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has constituted a 13-member expert committee exclusively on Sanskrit in its attempt to revive interest in the ancient language.

  • It will be headed by N Gopalaswami, the former chief election commissioner (CEC) and now Chancellor of Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Tirupati.
  • Committee has been asked to recommend measures to integrate the study of the ancient language with other disciplines
  • The committee is also tasked with charting out an action plan to develop the language in the next 10 years.

This is the second committee set up by the Smriti Irani-led ministry on Indian languages. Although the first panel’s broader brief included promotion of classical languages, the second one is exclusively dedicated to Sanskrit. Notified on November 18, the committee is expected to submit its report in three months.

Tripura to supply power to Bangladesh from Bijoy Dibosh 

Tripura will start supplying power to Bangladesh from December 16, the day when that country observes Bijoy Dibosh or Victory Day when Bangladesh was created out of East Pakistan after the end of the India-Pakistan War of 1971.

  •  Tripura had promised to export 100 MW power to Bangladesh from its share of 196 MW power from the Palatana power plant in reciprocation of Bangladesh allowing Tripura to use its ports to transport the heavy equipment for the 726MW Palatana project.
  • The Department of Power in Tripura that supply of power would take place after a joint inspection with his counterpart of the progress of ongoing work of transmission line on both sides which are at the verge of completion.

Work for the 18-kilometer-long transmission line from Surajmani Nagar (in Tripura) to South Comilla (in Bangladesh) is being done by the PGCIL (Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd) at a cost of Rs.250 crores and is almost complete.

NITI Aayog to engage in dialogue with China’s think tank DRC

To boost economic ties with China a team led by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya will engage in a dialogue with China’s Development Research Centre (DRC)

  •  It will be the first dialogue between NITI Aayog and the DRC after the body was constituted to replace the erstwhile Planning Commission
  •   The two-day meeting will be held in Beijing.
  •  DRC is directly under the State Council of China.

Meeting’s agenda

  • There will be deliberations on opportunities and challenges for both the nations in the current global economic scenario.
  • Issues related to regional trade associations and their implications on both Nations.
  • Strengthening Sino-Indian economic cooperation.

The Indian delegation will have NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Khullar, NITI Aayog Advisor (Energy) Anil Jain, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy Director Rathin Roy and Ministry of External Affairs Joint Secretary Pradeep Kumar Rawat.


China offers $10-bn infra loans for Southeast Asia

The world’s second-largest economy, China is offering $10 billion in infrastructure loans to Southeast Asian countries. China seeks to expand its influence in the developing world, including Southeast Asia, with government aid programs and loans.

  • It will also provide aid worth 6 billion yuan (US $560 million) to underdeveloped states within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2016.

India Ranks 4th among World’s Most Vacation-Deprived Nations

Online travel site Expedia‘s “2015 Vacation Deprivation” survey has revealed India as the4th most vacation-deprived nation globally with 65% saying they feel very or somewhat vacation-deprived.

  • 20% of Indians said that they are very vacation-deprived.
  • UAE topped the list of most vacation-deprived countries in 2015 (76%), followed byMalaysia (73%) and Singapore (71%).

State of emergency declared in Mali after terrorist attack

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita declared State of emergency in the Mali due to terrorist attack in country’s capital city Bamako.

  • He also declared three days of national mourning to condemn this terrorist attack.

About attack

On 20th November 2015, Islamist militants in the Islamic Maghreb called al-Murabitoun group, affiliated to Al-Qaeda had attacked on a Radision Blu hotel in the capital Bamako killing 21 people. In this terrorist siege of hotel, more than 130 hotel guests and staff including 21 Indians were held hostage by the terrorists.

  • Later they were freed when Malian Special Forces, French Special Forces and off-duty US servicemen after they stormed the hotel to break the siege.


  • Mali Capital: Bamako
  • Mali Currency: West African CFA franc

Mahatma Gandhi International Centre inaugurated in Matale by Sri Lankan President

Mahathma Gandhi

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi International Centre (MGIC) in Matale.The Indian High Commissioner Y. K. Sinha attended the inauguration ceremony.

About the Mahatma Gandhi International Centre:

  • The centre is a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s contribution to humanity and his preaching of non-violence and its relevance worldwide
  • It was built at a cost of more than Rs 4 crore. It consists of an auditorium, library, meditation centreand a conference hall
  • The centre was established at the request of the members of Mahatma Gandhi Sabha, a local group of citizens that was founded following Gandhi’s visit to Matale in 1927.

Key points :

  • Sri Lanka Capital : Colombo
  • Sri Lanka Currency : Sri Lankan Rupee
  • Sri Lanka PM : Ranil Wickremesinghe

Conservative Mauricio Macri wins Argentina Presidential Elections

Conservative opposition candidate Mauricio Macri has won Argentina’s presidential election, ending 12 years of leftist rule. Official results gave Macri 51.4 percent of the votes and 48.6 percent for Scioli with 99 percent of ballots counted.

  • He is currently mayor of Buenos Aires

About Mauricio Macri

  •  Mr Macri had a long career in business before entering politics.
  •  In 1991, he was kidnapped and kept captive for 12 days by a gang of corrupt policemen demanding millions.
  •   Four years later, he became President of Boca Juniors Football Club and used his success at the club as a springboard for his political career.


Titan Co joins hands with HP to launch smart watches

Titan HP Smartwatch

Watch maker Titan Co and global information technology major HP joined hands to offer a range of smart watches. The new relationship between HP Inc and Titan combine innovative materials, design and custom technology to deliver products that are responsive, and not intrusive.

  • Titan JV between Tata Group and Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) has presence in watches, jewellery and eyewear. It closed 2014-15 with an income of Rs. 11,791 crore, a growth of 9 per cent over the previous year.

Key points :

  • Titan Co CEO (Watches and Accessories Division): S Ravi Kant
  • HP Inc General Manager Sridhar Solur


UPL announces merger of group co Advanta

Agrochemical major UPL Ltd announced merger of the group’s seed firm Advanta to provide all agri-solutions through one single entity and enhance shareholder value.

  • It holds 48.44 per cent in Advanta Ltd and the same would be cancelled after the merger.Advanta GDR holders holding one GDR will be issued 1.06 GDR in UPL.
  • Based on the recommendation swap ratio, UPL will issue 77.45 million new equity shares (face value of Rs 2) and 181.83 million new preference shares.
  • UPL has 28 manufacturing facilities in 9 countries and is 11th agrochemical company globally. The company’s revenue for 2014-15 was about USD 2 billion.

Global CEO of UPL :  Jai Shroff

Portea Medical acquires MedybizPharma for undisclosed amount

Portea Medical, a home healthcare company has acquired speciality pharmaceutical distributor MedybizPharmafor an undisclosed amount.

  • With the acquisition of Medybiz, Portea is adding a vital, powerful and specialised pharma arm to deliver better pharmacy care to patients with chronic conditions

About  Portea Medical :

  • MedybizPharma which started in 2009 serves more than two lakh patients, providing prescription refill and therapy compliance support for super-speciality medicines.
  • Headquartered in Bengaluru.The company was acquired from the Reliance ADA group by its management team in 2011.In September this year, it received Series B funding of USD .

Portea Medical MD and CEO :  Meena Ganesh


‘e-lala’ portal for small traders launched by CAIT

Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated “e-lala” an e-commerce portal ofConfederation of All India Traders (CAIT). It is instigated to promote business-to-business and trader-to-customer transactions and reduce costs.

  • E-lala, an initiative of CAIT is aimed at promoting the interests of 77 crore small businesses in the context of rapid expansion of e-commerce in the country.


ATP World Tour Finals 2015

The 2015 ATP World Tour Finals men’s tennis tournament was organised on between 15 and 22 November 2015 at O2 Arena in London, United Kingdom.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic defeated Switzerland’s Roger Federer by 6–3, 6–4

Netherland’s Jean-Julien Rojer and Romania’s Horia Tecau defeated India’s Rohan Bopanna and Romania’s Florin Mergea by 6–4 , 6–3.

India thrash Pakistan 6-2 to win Junior Men’s Asia Cup hockey

India  won 8th Junior Men’s Asia Cup hockey after defeating Pakistan 6-2.  Harmanpreet Singh scored a quartet as Indian team kept their unbeaten run intact in the Junior Men’s Asia Cup hockey tournament registering an emphatic 6-2 victory over arch-rival Pakistan in the final.

Venue : Kuantan, Malaysia

  • India started the second-half with the usual flair when Armaan Qureshi and Manpreet scored field goals in 44th and 50th minute respectively to consolidate India’s lead to 5-1
  • Pakistan reduced the margin in the 68th minute and scored a consolation goal through Muhammad Dilber.

India coach : Harendra Singh

NTPC named official partner for HWL Final

State run power generation company NTPC was named as the official partner for the Hockey World League(HWL) Final to be held in Raipur from November 27 to Deecember 6.

  • NTPC’s partnership is the third significant signing by Hockey India for the HWL Final this year after securing National Mineral Development Corporation as the principal partner andSouth Eastern Coalfields Limited as the first official partner for the year’s biggest international hockey event in the world.

Key points :

  • Hockey India Secretary General: Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad
  • CMD, NTPC : A.K Jha


Noted economist TS Papola passes away

TS Papola

  • The noted labour economist Dr. T.S. Papola passed away in Delhi. He was 74. Hw was a founder Member, former director and currently honorary professor at the Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), New Delhi.

About TS Papola :

  • Dr. Papola was chairman of Giri Institute of Development Studies, Lucknow,founder member of the Institute for Human Development (IHD), New Delhi and Chairman of the Fourth State Finance Commission of Uttarakhand.
  • He was an Advisor with the Planning Commission, Government of India for eight years and Chairman/Member of several State and National level bodies including the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on MSMEs.
  • He worked in consultative and advisory capacities with international organisations such as ILO, UNCTAD, UNIDO, UNICEF and UNDP.
  • Dr. Papola was president, Indian Society of Labour Economics, an association of teachers, researchers and practitioners in the field of labour in India, during 1994-2008.
  • He was also president of the Indian Economic Association, for the year 2005–2006.

Awards :

  • Dr. Papola was awarded VKRV Rao Young Social Scientist Prize for outstanding contribution in Economics in 1984.
  • He was also conferred VKRV Rao Lifetime Achievement Award for contribution to Social Science by the Indian Social Science Association and Kautilya Award by the UP-Uttarakhand Economic Association in 2007.