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Cabinet Approvals on November 23, 2017
i. Cabinet approves agreement between India and Philippines on co-operation in customs matters
ii. Cabinet approves India’s Membership for European Bank for Reconstruction & Development
iii. Cabinet approves signing of India – Russia Agreement on cooperation in combating terrorism
iv. Cabinet approves continuation of the scheme on Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs beyond the 12th Plan Period
v. Cabinet approves Expansion of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao to improve child sex ratio…………………………………………Click here to Read more
Cabinet introduces ‘Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra’
On November 22, 2017, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave approval for the expansion of schemes of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) under the umbrella scheme “Mission for Protection and Empowerment for Women”.i. The expansion has been approved for a period from 2017-18 to 2019-20 with financial outlay of 3636.85 crore. Central Share will be approximately Rs.3084.96 crore.
ii. Under Union Budget 2017-18, corpus of Rs 500 crore was announced for setting up Mahila Shakti Kendras in 14 lakh Anganwadi Centres at village level……………………………..Click here to Read more
PM Modi inaugurates largest-ever Global Conference On Cyber Space in New Delhi
On November 23, 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated 5th Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS) in New Delhi. India is hosting the Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS) for the first time. This two-day event is one of the world’s largest conferences in the field of Cyber Space and related issues.
i. Theme of the 5th GCCS was ‘Cyber4All: A Secure and Inclusive Cyberspace for Sustainable Development’.
ii. Goal of 5th GCCS: “to promote an inclusive Cyber Space with focus on policies and frameworks for inclusivity, sustainability, development, security, safety & freedom, technology and partnerships for upholding digital democracy, maximizing collaboration for strengthening security and safety and advocating dialogue for digital diplomacy”…………………………………………………..Click here to Read more
Centre initiates ‘safe city’ plan for women in 8 metro cities
On 22nd November 2017, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a meeting to initiate the process of formulating ‘safe city’ plans for women in 8 metropolitan cities.
i. The safe city plan will be implemented in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Hyderabad. The steering committee meeting was constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
ii. The Home Secretary took a review of the progress made and steps taken by the police and civil administration of these 8 metropolitan cities regarding women’s safety.
iii. It was decided that the police and municipal corporations of these 8 cities would frame a plan of action, wherein, it would be forwarded by the respective state level committee headed by the chief secretary of the state.
iv. The plan of action is to be submitted by these cities within a month and will be assessed by the Steering Committee headed by the Union Home Secretary, who will make suitable recommendations.
Some of the welfare schemes for women in India:
♦ Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS)
♦ The Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana Conditional Maternity Benefit plan (CMB)
♦ Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls – Sabla
Sangai Festival 2017 held in Manipur
On 21st November 2017, the Sangai Festival 2017 was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind in Manipur.Sangai Festival 2017:
i. The Sangai Festival 2017 is held for 10 days. It is named after Manipur’s state animal, the brow-antlered Sangai deer.
ii. The Sangai Festival showcases the tourism potential of Manipur in the field of arts & culture, handloom, handicrafts, indigenous sports, cuisine, music and adventure sports etc.
iii. The Sangai Festival is organized at different locations in Imphal and Bishnupur District. For the first time, Keibul Lamjao, a unique ‘floating’ reserve situated in Manipur in India’s Northeast, which is home to the brow-antlered deer, also plays host to the festival.
iv. Manipur Sangai Festival mobile application has been launched. Another first-time feature is separate toilets for transgenders at the festival.
v. The Manipur government will also finalise deals with investors during the 1st North East Development Summit, to be held in Imphal as part of the Sangai Festival.
Other festivals of Manipur:
♦ Gaan-Ngai – new year festival
♦ Lai Haraoba – to please traditional deities
♦ Maramfest – annual music and cultural festival
Karnataka passes diluted law Bill to regulate hospital policies, fees
On 22nd November 2017, the Karnataka Assembly passed a diluted version of law proposed by the Congress government to regulate pricing and certain policies at private hospitals and medical establishments in Karnataka.
Karnataka’s diluted medical bill:
i. The Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) (KPME) Bill, 2017 was passed with some modifications, as demanded by private medical establishments during the course of protests held against the Bill last week.
ii. It is modelled on the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Act, 2017. The proposed law originally prescribed stringent punishment, including six months to three years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 25,000 to Rs 5 lakh for officials of hospitals charging fees in excess of costs fixed by the state. The final version of the Bill dropped the imprisonment clause.
iii. Karnataka government has also modified the structure of district-level public grievance redress committees initially envisaged. It has made a provision for representation from the private sector on these committees.
About Indian Medical Association (IMA):
♦ National voluntary organisation of Doctors of Modern Scientific System of Medicine in India
♦ Formation – 1928
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
Government sets up Arbind Modi-led panel to overhaul, simplify income tax laws
On 22nd November 2017, the government formed a task force to draft a new direct tax law to replace the existing Income Tax Act, which has been in force since 1961.
Task force to draft new direct tax law:
i. Arbind Modi, Member, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), will lead a six-member panel. Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian will be apermanent special invitee on the panel.
ii. Other members of the task force are:
1.Girish Ahuja (chartered accountant)
2.Rajiv Memani (Chairman and Regional Managing Partner of EY)
3.Mukesh Patel (Practicing Tax Advocate)
4.Mansi Kedia (Consultant, ICRIER)
5.G C Srivastava (retired IRS and Advocate).
iii. The task force will submit its report to the government within six months. It would draft direct tax laws in line with tax laws prevalent in other countries, incorporating international best practices, and keeping in mind the economic needs of India.
♦ Full form – Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations
♦ Established – 1981
♦ Director & Chief Executive – Dr. Rajat Kathuria
Punjab Cabinet gives nod to amend Punjab excise Act & amendments to Co-operative Societies Act
On 22nd November 2017, the Punjab cabinet approved amendments to the Punjab Co-operative Societies Act, 1961, a legislation governing co-operative societies in Punjab, to allow people to contest the mergers of some societies.
Punjab Co-operative Societies Act, 1961 – amended:
i. The cabinet amended Section 13 of the Act, which provides for amalgamation of co-operative societies and allows the societies concerned and their creditors to object to the proposed order of amalgamation of more than one society by the Registrar.
iii. It has now been decided to give such societies and their creditors another opportunity to approach the government against the orders of the Registrar.
iv. Another amendment relates to Section 19(2), under which a society can nominate a committee member for voting in the work of another society of which it is a member.
v. Under sections 26 (I-D) and 27, an administrator is appointed in case the managing committee of a society stops to exist or is suspended or dismissed.
vi. The cabinet approved that the period of delay due to court orders of shall not be counted at the time of computing the tenure of such administrator.
Dams of Punjab:
♦ Damsal Dam – Damsal River
♦ Ranjit Sagar Dam – Ravi River
Odisha to launch new irrigation scheme – Nabakrushna Choudhury Seccha Unnayan Yojana
On 22nd November 2017, Odisha government decided to launch “Nabakrushna Choudhury Seccha Unnayan Yojana” to provide irrigation facility to about 55,000 hectare of agricultural land across Odisha.
Nabakrushna Choudhury Seccha Unnayan Yojana:
i. The scheme, “Nabakrushna Choudhury Seccha Unnayan Yojana”, has been named after former chief minister and freedom fighter Nabakrushna Choudhury.
ii. The scheme would be implemented with an outlay of Rs 635 crore over a period of three years. Under the scheme, 46,296 hectare command area of 14 major and medium irrigations and 284 minor irrigation projects will be revived.
iii. The cabinet also decided to reduce the rate of VAT to 5 % on use of natural gas in industrial and domestic sectors and it will be 15 % when used as fuel in vehicles.
National Parks of Odisha:
♦ Bhitarkanika National Park – Kendrapara, Odisha
♦ Simlipal National Park – Mayurbhanj, Odisha
West Bengal government forms Hill Area Development Committee under Mann Ghising
The West Bengal government has set up a four-member Hill Area Development Committee that will oversee work in the Hills.
West Bengal’s Hill Area Development Committee:
i. The Hill Area Development Committee will be headed by Mann Ghising, president of Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF). The remaining members are:
1.Mahendra Chhetri – vice chairperson
2.Ajoy Edwards – member
3.Subhomoy Chatterjee – member
ii. The new committee will supervise all the development works in Darjeeling and Kalimpong and will come into effect immediately. This committee will start functioning from Pintail village on the outskirts of Siliguri.
About Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF):
♦ Chairperson – Subhash Ghisingh
♦ Founded – 1980
♦ Headquarters – Darjeeling, West Bengal
Latin America is World’s most violent region for Women: United Nations
As per a report presented by UN Women and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Latin America and the Caribbean is the most violent region in the world for women.Highlights of UNDP Report:
i. Issue of violence against women in Latin America is so critical, that the region has been referred to as most violent region in the world for women outside of conflict zones.
ii. This region also has the highest rate of sexual violence against women outside of relationships.
iii. There is high prevalence of Femicide (killing of woman by a man on account of gender) in Central America, wherein two out three women murdered died because of their gender.
iv. The report outlined that 24 of the 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have laws against domestic violence, but only 9 of them have laws to punish other forms of violence against women in public or private.
World Trade Organization (WTO) sets up panel on Qatar-UAE crisis
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has established a panel to decide on Qatar’s complaint against measures imposed on Doha by the United Arab Emirates for its alleged financial support for militant groups.
Panel on Qatar-UAE crisis:
i. Qatar insisted UAE’s actions violate its rights and those of other countries by denying freedom of transit to Qatar. The UAE said the measures are allowed according to an exception under WTO rules for national security reasons.
ii. Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched an economic boycott of Qatar in June 2017 and closed land, air and sea access to it. Qatar has denied supporting extremists.
iii. The World Trade Organization has now established a panel to decide on Qatar’s complaint against measures imposed on Doha by the United Arab Emirates.
About World Trade Organisation:
♦ Purpose – Regulate international trade
♦ Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Director-General – Roberto Azevedo
BANKING & FINANCE
Royal Bank of Canada joins the global ranks of banks deemed ‘too big to fail’
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has become the first Canadian bank to be added to the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB’s) list of global systemically important banks (G-SIB) deemed ‘too big to fail’.i. Financial Stability Board (FSB) is an international body based in Basel, Switzerland which co-ordinates the work of national financial authorities and international standard-setting bodies.
ii. FSB has added RBC and has removed French bank Groupe BPCE from the list. Currently, there are 30 institutions on Financial Stability Board’s (FSB’s) list of global systemically important banks.
iii. On being added in this list, Royal Bank of Canada will now have to set aside larger capital buffers and will be subjected to more stringent supervision and compliance.
iv. RBC is Canada’s largest bank by market capitalization and already has the necessary capital buffer to meet the requirement of being a G-SIB.
Quick Facts about Royal Bank of Canada:
♦ Founded in – 1864
♦ Headquarters – Montreal, Canada
♦ Current President and CEO – David I. McKay
UBI gets SEBI approval for Rs 1,000 crore equity issue via QIP
On 22nd November 2017, United Bank of India (UBI) said it has received SEBI’s approval for issue of equity shares worth Rs 1,000 crore by way of institutional placement.
UBI gets SEBI approval for Rs 1,000 crore equity issue:
i. Union Bank of India (UBI) in January 2017, said it planned to raise up to Rs 1,500 crore through Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP), rights or public issue.
ii. UBI had raised Rs 127.49 crore through sale of shares to qualified institutional investors in May 2017. It approved allotting over 5.49 crore shares to qualified institutional buyers at issue price of Rs 23.22 per share.
iii. UBI had earlier said it plans to raise up to Rs 500 crore of Basel III-compliant listed additional tier-I debt instruments in the nature of bonds. UBI would seek approval for this amount from its board, which is scheduled to meet on December 6, 2017.
About Union Bank of India (UBI):
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
♦ MD & CEO – Rajkiran Rai G
♦ Products – Consumer banking, corporate banking, finance and insurance, investment banking, mortgage loans, private banking, wealth management
Samsung partners with UP govt to set up 20 healthcare centres
On November 22, 2017, Samsung India announced a partnership with Uttar Pradesh State Government for ‘Smart Healthcare Programme’.More information about UP Govt-Samsung India’s Smart Healthcare Programme:
i. Under this programme, Samsung India will set-up 20 new smart healthcare centres across Uttar Pradesh to offer affordable and quality healthcare to patients from the economically and socially weaker sections of society.
ii. Since 2015, Samsung India has collaborated with 18 government hospitals across India under its ‘Smart Healthcare Programme’, which has so far benefitted over three lakh patients from the economically and socially deprived sections of society.
iii. Now with the latest partnership with Uttar Pradesh State Govt., additional 20 healthcare centres will be setup, taking the total number to 38 across India.
iv. Samsung India will also provide advanced equipments such as ultrasound and digital radiology (x-ray) machines to selected government hospitals across the state.
Quick Facts about Samsung Group:
♦ Founded in – 1938
♦ Headquarters – Seoul, South Korea
Facebook to help small businesses in India, train 5 lakh Indians by 2020
On 22nd November 2017, Facebook said it expects to train about 5 lakh people in India on digital skills by 2020 and unveiled two programmes designed for individuals and start-ups.
Facebook initiatives for small businesses and startups:
i. Two programmes: Facebook Digital Training and Facebook Startup Training Hubs were rolled out in India before any other country.
ii. These tools will help people learn digital skills and enable entrepreneurs and SMB (small and medium businesses) in digitising their business.
iii. Facebook is working with organisations like Digital Vidya, EDII, DharmaLife and StartupIndia to develop the curriculum that is designed to work in low network strength regions.
iv. The Startup Training Curriculum will cover subjects like, how entrepreneurs can protect their ideas, how to hire, how to go about getting funding, regulations and legal hurdles an entrepreneur needs to consider, etc.
About Facebook Inc.:
♦ Headquarters – California, U.S.
♦ Chairman & CEO – Mark Zuckerberg
♦ Founded – 2004
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Pondicherry University library bags the Highest Profile Registration category award
Pondicherry University library has bagged the Highest Profile Registration category award for effective utilisation of the [email protected] platform.
Highest Profile Registration category award – Pondicherry University library:
i. University librarian R. Samyuktha received the award at the first [email protected] Forum and Information and Library Network Centers (INFLIBNET) meet jointly organised by INFLIBNET and Informatics Publishing Ltd, held at Gandhi Nagar recently.
ii. Pondicherry University is a member of the consortia of leading universities in the country for access to e-resources including electronic journals and electronic databases for major publishers.
About Pondicherry University:
♦ Established – 1985
♦ Chancellor – Venkaiah Naidu
♦ Location – Kalapet, Puducherry
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Shubhangi Swaroop becomes first female pilot in Indian Navy
On 22nd November 2017, Indian Navy inducted its first-ever woman pilot, Shubhangi Swaroop.Shubhangi Swaroop – first female pilot in Indian Navy:
i. The first batch of female officers passed out from the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala on 22nd November 2017. Shubhangi Swaroop, a native of Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, has become the first woman pilot in the Navy.
ii. She will soon be flying Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft. Three other women cadets, Astha Segal from New Delhi, Roopa A. from Puducherry and Sakthi Maya S. from Kerala, also became the country’s first women officers at NAI (Naval Armament Inspectorate), branch of the Navy.
iii. Shubhangi will be trained at the Air Force Academy at Hyderabad which trains pilots of the Army, Navy and the Air Force.
About Indian Naval Academy (INA):
♦ Purpose – initial officer training establishment of the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard
♦ Location – Ezhimala, Kannur, Kerala
♦ Motto – Shaping future Naval Leadership
UBS India Chief Executive Officer Aashish Kamat quits
Aashish Kamat has resigned as the Chief Executive Officer of Swiss banking giant UBS’s India operations.
Aashish Kamat’s resignation:
i. Aashish Kamat will be replaced by Harald Egger, who is currently head of group corporate services and sourcing at UBS.
ii. Aashish Kamat took over as UBS India head in 2011. He was previously the chairman of UBS’ financial institutions group in Asia. He is likely to continue till January 2018 to enable a smooth transition.
iii. His departure is said to have not been totally unplanned and he is said to have informed the senior management of his intentions to move on and pursue other interests.
♦ Founded – 1862
♦ Headquarters – Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich
♦ Chairman – Axel A. Weber
♦ CEO – Sergio Ermotti
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
PM Modi launches UMANG app for government services
On 23rd November 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally launched UMANG, a state and central government services app, at the inaugural ceremony of the Global Conference for Cyberspace in New Delhi.UMANG – Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance:
i. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)along with the National e-Governance Division (NeGD) has developed the app. UMANG expands to Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance.
ii. The app has 162 services from 33 state and central government departments and four states. The app is available on Android, iOS and Windows platforms.
iii. It integrates with the core government services of Aadhaar, DigiLocker, Rapid Assessment System, and Bharat Bill Payment System. A user signing up on the app has to digitally complete KYC (Know Your Customer) and link Aadhaar where required.
iv. It is currently available in 13 languages: English, Hindi, Assamese, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Odia, Punjabi, Malyalam, Marathi, Tamil, Telegu, and Urdu.
About National e-Governance Plan:
♦ Purpose – to make all government services available to the citizens of India via electronic media
♦ Formation – 2006
♦ President & CEO (NeGD) – Ms Radha Chauhan
CMFRI joins hands with ISRO to identify Potential Fishing Zone
The (CMFRI) Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute has joined hands with ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) to identify Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ), an area in sea where fishes are seen in abundance.
CMFRI and ISRO tie up:
i.In the first phase, CMFRI and the Space Applications Centre (SAC) of ISRO have jointly launched a research project for identifying, forecasting and monitoring PFZ in coastal and offshore waters of Tamil Nadu.
ii.The project named “Samudra” is aimed at helping fishermen easily locate fish without wasting time and fuel.
iii.The project aims to develop a satellite-based numerical ocean model to forecast information about the fishing locations by closely monitoring and analyzing various physical changes occurred in ocean due to seasonal and climatic variations, high winds, rain and cyclonic conditions.
About Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI):
♦ Established – 1947
♦ Director – Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan
♦ Location – Kochi, Kerala
Basel to become first city to jointly host Badminton and Para Badminton World Championships in 2019
Basel will become the first city to jointly host the Badminton and Para Badminton World Championships in 2019.Basel – jointly host Badminton and Para Badminton World Championships in 2019:
i. The Badminton World Federation (BWF)confirmed that the two tournaments: Badminton and Para Badminton World Championships will be held simultaneously for the first time.
ii. Basel beat off competition from Tokyo to land the 2019 Para Badminton World Championships in a vote which was delayed by the BWF Council to allow further discussions.
iii. The event will be the last held in the sport before Para Badminton makes its Paralympic Games debut at Tokyo 2020.
About Badminton World Federation (BWF):
♦ Headquarters – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
♦ Membership – 176 member associations
♦ President – Poul-Erik Hoyer Larsen
Sudip Datta Bhowmik, the noted journalist of Tripura shot dead
On 21st November 2017, Sudip Datta Bhowmik, a senior journalist was shot dead under mysterious circumstances at a battalion headquarters of Tripura State Rifles (TSR) near Agartala.
Death of Sudip Datta Bhowmik:
i. Sudip Datta Bhowmik was 49 years old. He was working for ‘Syandan Patrika’ and was also contributing to local television channel ‘News Vanguard’.
ii. The investigative journalist went to the battalion headquarters for want of news when he faced a targeted attack.
iii. Reports said a TSR trooper shot dead Sudip Datta Bhowmik from point-blank range just outside the office of Commandant Tapan Debbarma at around 11.30 a.m.But, the journalist was taken to hospital at around 2.30 p.m where doctors declared him brought dead.
About Tripura Police:
♦ Formed – 1965
♦ Headquarters – Fire Brigade Chowmuhani, Agartala
Assam’s legendary actor Biju Phukan passes away
On 22nd November 2017, Assam’s prominent film actor Biju Phukan passed away at a private hospital in Guwahati, after suffering cardiac ailments.Death of Biju Phukan:
i. Biju Phukan was suffering from cardiac ailments for last few days, and was admitted to the Apollo Hospital in Guwahati on 21st November 2017. He died on 22ndNovember 2017.
ii. Biju Phukan was considered one of the most prominent actors of Assam. He acted in over 80 films including some Bengali films during 1970s to 1990s. He had given several superhit films to the Assamese film industry.
iii. He made his debut in the movie “Dr. Bezbaruah” in 1970. The last film he acted in was “Door” released in 2016.
About Biju Phukan:
♦ Occupation – Actor
♦ Born – 18 February 1947