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Government launched Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana, a scholarship program for school children
On November 3, 2017, Union Minister of Communications Manoj Sinha launched a pan India scholarship program for school children called Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana to increase the reach of Philately.
i. Abbreviation SPARSH stands for SPARSH(Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby)
ii. Under this scheme annual scholarships will be awarded to children of Standard VI to IX who have good academic record and are also pursuing Philately……………………………Click here to Read more
International Conference on “Ramayan Circuit and Mithila-Awadh Relations” begins in Janakpur
An International Conference on “Ramayan Circuit and Mithila-Awadh Relations” started at Janakpur in Nepal on November 3, 2017.
i. Culture Minister of Nepal Jitendra Naryan Dev, inaugurated this conference.
ii. This conference has been held with dual objective. First is to boost social, cultural and religious ties between Mithila and Awadh and developing connectivity between Janakpur and Ayodhya.
iii. Mithila is a municipality in Danusha District in the Janakpur Zone of south-eastern Nepal, whereas Awadh is a region in the modern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and a small area of Nepal’s Province No. 5.
iv. It is to be noted that in 2014, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Nepal Visit, India and Nepal had signed an agreement to develop Ayodhya and Janakpur as twin cities.
Sonepur cattle fair, Asia’s largest, begins in Bihar
On November 2, 2017, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi inaugurated ‘Sonepur Mela’ (in Sonpur town of Bihar). Sonepur Mela is considered as one of the biggest cattle fair in Asia. The fair will continue till December 3, 2017.More Information about Sonepur Cattle Fair:
i. It is an annual cattle fair and its origins can be traced to the Mughal era.
ii. ’Sonepur Fair’ is also known as ‘Kshetra Mela’. It is conducted at the confluence of Rivers Ganga, Gandak and Mahi.
iii. Cattle traders from all over Asia visit this fair, wherein farm animals including buffaloes, goats, donkeys, rabbits, ponies and Persian horses are displayed and traded.
iv. In a bid to promote the culture of the state, various departments under Bihar State Government including culture, agriculture, health and education have exhibited their stalls.
v. Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) has also set up 20 Swiss cottages with modern amenities for tourist accommodations.
4th JWGACTC meeting held in India
4th meeting of the India-US Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Co-operation (JWGACTC) was organised in India from October 29, 2017 to November 3, 2017.
i. JWGACTC was constituted under the auspices of the Indo – US Defence Trade and Technology Initiative.
ii. The 13 member-US delegation for this meeting was headed by Rear Admiral Brian Antonio.
iii. During this meeting, US-India discussed future co-operation under various aspects of aircraft carrier technology
iv. The US delegation visited various key strategic locations in India including Shore Based Test Facility at Goa, Mazagaon Dock Limited, Naval Base at Karwar, INS Vikramaditya at sea and Headquarters of Western Naval Command.
v. Next meeting of India-US JWGACTC will be held in the US early next year.
Road accident victims in Kerala to get free treatment for first 48 Hours
Kerala State Government has decided to formulate a ‘Trauma-Care Scheme’, under which all accident victims in Kerala will be provided necessary emergency care and treatment free-of-cost for the first 48 hours after being admitted to a hospital.
Salient Features of ‘Trauma-Care Scheme’ proposed by Kerala State Govenment:
i. All the expenses incurred by the hospital on treatment of accident victim during first 48 hours will be paid by the Kerala State Government.
ii. Kerala State Government will claim these expenses from Insurance Companies.
iii. Operational details of this scheme will be revealed after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan holds discussions with insurance companies.
iv. Trauma care facilities will be set up in all government medical college hospitals, district hospitals, taluk hospitals and major private sector hospitals.
v. To evacuate accident victims from the accident site without delay, a special ambulance facility will also be arranged.
Kazakhstan to change its name by 2025
Kazakhstan, a Central Asian Country will change its name to Qazaqstan.
i. On October 27, 2017, Kazakhstan Government announced that it will appoint a national committee to oversee the country’s transition from Russian Cyrillic to a Latin-based alphabet, which be completed by 2025. ii. Kazakhstan Foreign Ministry has stated that as Latin is used by approximately 70% of all countries, changing to a Latin-based alphabet name is an essential part of global communication.
iii. Kazakhstan is a former Soviet Union State and around one-fifth of the population use Russian on a day-to-day basis despite Kazakh being government’s official language.
iv. Decision to change the name is also being seen as Kazakhstan Government’s attempt to reassert its independence from Russia.
Quick Facts about Kazakhstan:
♦ Capital – Astana
♦ Currency – Tenge
♦ Current President – Nursultan Nazarbayev
BANKING & FINANCE
PAN not needed for cash sale of agri produce up to Rs 2 lakh per day
On November 3, 2017, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) clarified that farmers do not need to quote Permanent Account Number (PAN) for cash sale of their produce up to Rs 2 lakh a day.
i. Cultivators/agriculutralists had sought clarification from CBDT pertaining to applicability of a specific provision of Income-tax Act, 1961 to cash sale of agricultural produce.
ii. As per provision of section 269ST in the Income Tax Act, any cash sale of an amount of Rs 2 lakh or more on a single day, in respect of a single transaction or transactions relating to one event or occasion from an individual is prohibited.
iii. CBDT thus clarified that cash sale of the agricultural produce by its cultivator for an amount less than Rs 2 lakh will not attract prohibition under section 269ST.
iv. In addition to this, cultivator will not be required to quote PAN or furnish Form No 60 (filed by a person who does not have a permanent account number) for such transactions
Govt forms panel under Yashwant Thorat to study merger of weak DCCBs with MSC Bank
Maharashtra State government has formed a panel to study the feasibility of merging financially weak District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) with the Maharashtra State Cooperative (MSC) Bank.
i.The panel is headed by former NABARD chairman Yashwant Thorat.
ii. The panel has also been mandated to study reasons for financial weakness of banks and suggest ways for improvement.
iii .It is expected to submit its report in a month’s time.
iv. Currently, there are 31 DCCBs in Maharashtra. In recent years financial health of these banks has deteriorated significantly as farmers are unable to repay loans due to drought. Many of these DCCBs are also facing corruption charges.
v. MSC Bank is the apex bank of all the DCCBs. In recent years it has increased its retail footprint in various parts of Maharashtra. Merging DCCBs with MSC will further improve its reach.
India Posts bank to have nationwide operations by April
On November 3, 2017, Union Communications Minister Manoj Sinha stated that India Posts Payments Bank (IPPB) will have nationwide presence by April 2018.
i. By April 2018, IPPB branches will be opened in 650 districts across India. ii .These branches will be linked to rural post offices and IPPB will thereby emerge as the largest banking network in India.
iii. Currently IPPB branches are operational in Raipur(Chhattisgarh) and Ranchi (Jharkhand).
iv. As a payments bank, IPPB can accept deposits of up to Rs 1 lakh per account from individuals and small businesses.
v. Besides IPPB, Airtel Payments Bank and Paytm are other entities which have started payments bank operations this year.
Quick Facts about IPPB:
♦ Incorporated in – August 2016
♦ Commenced Operations in – January 2017
♦ Parent Entity – Department of Posts, Govt. of India
India’s current account deficit to be 1.5% of GDP this fiscal
As per a report by Japanese financial services firm Nomura, India’s current account deficit (CAD) for FY 2017-18 is expected to be around $40 billion, or 1.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
i. Current Account Deficit arises when outflow of foreign exchange from the country is greater than the inflow of foreign exchange.
ii. As per Nomura, CAD for first half of FY 2017-18 i.e. for April –September 2017 period, is expected to be around 2% GDP
iii. The widening of CAD in April-September 2017 was due to transitory factors, which is expected to reverse in the second half i.e. October 2017-March 2018.
iv. Owing to this reversal the full year CAD estimate for FY 2017-18 has been pegged at 1.5% of GDP.
v. However CAD estimate for FY 2017-18 is still wider as compared to FY 2016-17 for which CAD stood at 0.7 per cent of GDP.
Bajaj Allianz rolls out first-ever cyber crime insurance cover
Insurance firm Bajaj Allianz has come up with India’s first ever insurance cover for individual victims of cyber crime.
More Information about Bajaj Allianz’s Cyber Crime Insurance Cover
i. Under this policy, insurance cover will be provided against online fraud, identity theft, cyber-stalking and extortion, phishing and malware attack.
ii. Sum insured for this policy is in the range of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1 crore.
iii. Insurance premium would depend on the number of hours the individual spends online. Higher the time spent implies greater the risk and would entail higher premium.
iv. This policy also covers cost to pursue legal action in cases of cyber-stalking and harassment on social media.
v. However, the policy will not provide cover for online activities carried out from cybercafés.
Quick Facts about Bajaj Allianz General Insurance:
♦ Founded in – 2001
♦ Headquarters – Pune, Maharashtra
♦ Current MD & CEO – Tapan Singhel
Paytm unveils ‘Inbox’ messaging platform for Android
On November 3, 2017, digital payment platform Paytm launched ‘Inbox’, a messaging service that will allow consumers to chat with friends and family and send and request money at the same time.About Paytm’s ‘Inbox’:
i. Paytm’s ‘Inbox’ is an end-to-end encrypted platform, through which users can users can initiate private conversations and create group chats.
ii. Users can even send photos and videos instantly, share live location. It also has a built-in camera which will enable to capture and share moments.
iii. Paytm Inbox’s feature which enables users to send and receive money through a simple chat interface is expected to revolutionise the mobile payment ecosystem.
iv. This feature will not only benefit individual users but also merchants such as local retail stores and home-based entrepreneurs.
Quick Facts about Paytm:
♦ Founded in – 2010
♦ Headquarters – Noida, Uttar Pradesh
♦ Current CEO – Vijay Shekhar Sharma
India’s forex reserves fall to $398.8 billion
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data has showed that, India’s foreign exchange reserves fell for the second consecutive week to $398.761 billion.
India’s forex reserves falls:
i. The forex reserves act as a cushion against dollar outflows. The forex rate fell $1.560 billion in the last two weeks amid concerns over tightening of global monetary easing.
ii. RBI did not provide reasons behind fall in reserves. Forex traders said that, the fall indicates that RBI must have sold more dollars than what it had purchased over the last two weeks.
iii. The fall was also due to changes in valuation of reserves held in other global currencies such as euro and pound sterling.
About Reserve Bank of India:
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
♦ Governor – Urjit Patel
Reliance Communications to shut voice calls from Dec 1, subscribers can port till Dec 31
On 3rd November 2017, TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) announced that, Reliance Communications will shut down voice call service from 1st December 2017 and its customers can move to other networks by the end of 2017.Reliance Communications Limited (RCom) shuts voice calls:
i. TRAI said that, RCom will shut down voice call services from 1st December 2017 and will provide only 4G data services to its customers. Customers can move to other networks by the end of 2017.
ii. RCom is to provide 4G services in Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh West, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal, Gujarat and Kolkata.
iii. RCom is led by Anil Ambani. RCom will be upgrading CDMA network of Sistema Shyam Teleservices, which has been merged with it, to provide 4G services. It is under debt of around Rs 46,000 crore.
About Reliance Communications Limited:
♦ Chairman – Anil Ambani
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Air New Zealand named airline of the year
Air New Zealand has been named ‘Airline of the Year’ for 2018 by AirlineRatings.com.
i. Air New Zealand has been adjudged ‘Airline of the Year’ for the fifth consecutive year.
ii. AirlineRatings.com judges airlines on 12 key criteria including product offerings, fleet age, staff relations, passenger reviews, investment rating and profitability.
iii. Air New Zealand was adjudged as best in almost all criteria and was honoured for its record-breaking performance, multi award-winning in-flight innovations, operational safety, environmental leadership and motivation of its staff.
iv .Air New Zealand was founded in 1940. Its headquarters is located in Auckland, New Zealand.
AirlineRatings.com’s Top 5 Airlines for 2018:
|1||Air New Zealand|
Tata Power Solar bags Dun & Bradstreet award
Tata Power Solar has won ‘Dun & Bradstreet – Everest Infra Awards 2017’ under Infrastructure Project category for commissioning India’s largest solar project under Domestic Content Requirement for NTPC at Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh.
Dun & Bradstreet – Everest Infra Awards 2017:
i. The 100-MW project of Tata Power Solar is expected to generate nearly 160 million units (kWh) of energy per year. It is the biggest solar project in India, commissioned using domestically manufactured solar cells and modules.
ii. Dun & Bradstreet – Everest Industries Ltd Infra Awards 2017, honours India’s leading infrastructure companies and projects across various categories.
iii. Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport Highways & Shipping and Water Resources, River Development, & Ganga Rejuvenation was the Chief Guest of the award ceremony.
About Tata Solar Power:
♦ Indian company that specialises in solar energy services
♦ Products – solar modules, solar cells, other solar products, EPC (Engineering Procurement Construction) services for solar power projects
Krishna Sobti gets prestigious Jnanpith award 2017
On 3rd November 2017, the Jnanpith Selection Board announced that renowned Hindi writer Krishna Sobti has been chosen for 2017 Jnanpith Award.Jnanpith Award 2017 – Krishna Sobti:
i. Krishna Sobti was born in 1925 in Gujrat, Pakistan’s Punjab Province. Sobti is 92 years old. She is known for experimenting with new writing styles. Her language was highly influenced by the intermingling of Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi cultures.
ii. Some of her important works are Daar Se Bichhudi, Mitro Marjani, Zindaginama, Dil-o-Danish, Badalom ke Ghere, Ai Ladki and Gujarat Pakistan Se Gujarat Hindustan. Several of her works have been translated into other languages.
iii. She has been recipient of many awards in the past, like Hindi Akademi Awards, Shiroman Awards, Maithli Sharan Gupt Samman, Sahitya Akademi Fellowship and Padma Bhushan.
About Jnanpith Award:
♦ Indian literary award presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their outstanding contribution towards literature
Girish Karnad to be honoured with Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award 2017
Indian playwright, actor, film director, and writer Girish Karnad has been announced as the recipient of the Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award for 2017.
Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 – Girish Karnad:
i. The Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 will be presented to Girish Karnad, at the literature festival annual awards ceremony to be held on 19thNovember 2017 at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point, Mumbai.
ii. Girish Karnad is 79 years old. His important plays are Yayati, Tughlaq, Hayavadana, Naga-mandala and Taledanda. He is also a recipient of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards.
iii. Past recipients of the Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award are writers Amitav Ghosh, Kiran Nagarkar, MT Vasudevan Nair, Khushwant Singh, VS Naipaul and Mahashweta Devi.
Tata Literature Live:
♦ Sponsor – Tata group
♦ Date – 16 – 19 November 2017
♦ Venue – Nariman Point, Mumbai
Srirangam temple wins UNESCO award
Srirangam temple of Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu has won the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Merit 2017 for cultural heritage conservation.Srirangam temple – UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Merit 2017:
i. The use of traditional methods in renovating temple structures and re-establishment of rainwater harvesting and historic drainage system were the main reasons for the temple to achieve the award.
ii. It has become the first temple in Tamil Nadu to be given the prestigious award from the UN body. The renovation of the temple began in June 2014.
iii. The renovation project cost about Rs 25 crore. It was carried out with contributions from the government and donors. The renovation of the temple was carried out by experienced temple architects, under the guidance of experts in archaeology.
About Srirangam Temple:
♦ One of the largest religious complexes in the world
♦ Location – Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Shamika Ravi to be appointed as member of PM economic panel
A senior government official has said that, Shamika Ravi, senior official at Brookings India, would be appointed as part-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM).
Shamika Ravi – part-time member of EAC-PM:
i. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has cleared the appointment of Shamika Ravi as part-time member of the EAC-PM.
ii. Shamika Ravi leads the development economics research vertical at Brookings India. She is also a visiting professor of economics at the Indian School of Business (ISB) where she teaches courses in Game Theory and Microfinance.
Members of EAC – PM:
♦ Chairman – Bibek Debroy
♦ Member – Secretary – Ratan Watal
♦ Part-time members – Surjit Bhalla, Rathin Roy and Ashima Goyal
Mary Kom named Youth World Championships ambassador
Five-time world champion MC Mary Kom has been appointed as ambassador of the AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships 2017 to be held in Guwahati from 19 to 26 November 2017.Mary Kom – AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships ambassador:
i. Mary Kom has been chosen as Ambassador for the 2017 AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships. The competition is held in India for the first time.
ii. Mary Kom has won an Olympic bronze medal. She is 34 years old. She hails from Manipur.
iii. The Boxing Pavilion at the Nabin Chandra Bordoloi AC Indoor Hall in Guwahati, India, will be the venue for the AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships 2017.
About AIBA (International Boxing Association):
♦ Headquarters – Lausanne, Switzerland
♦ President – Dr Wu Ching-kuo
Senate confirms Kenneth Juster as US Ambassador to India
The Senate today confirmed by a voice vote the nomination of Kenneth Juster as the next US Ambassador to India.
i. Juster, a top economic expert on India who is 62 years old, is an old India hand who played a key role in the landmark Indo-US civil nuclear deal.
ii. Justers nomination confirmation on 3rd Nov 2017 was agreed by the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a voice vote, reflecting the political partys’ support for him in Congress.
iii. He will replace Indian-American Richard Verma as the top American diplomat to India.
iv. The position has been lying vacant since January 20 after Mr. Verma resigned from the post after the swearing-in of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the U.S.
♦ Juster was nominated to be the Ambassador to India onSeptember 5. He has over 35 years of experience as a senior business executive, senior law partner, and senior government official, including serving as the US Under Secretary of Commerce from 2001 to 2005.
♦ Juster is soon expected to be headed to India for theGlobal Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad later this month. The annual summit is being co-hosted by India and the United States.
♦ His work related to India played an important role in the transformation of the US-India relationship and helped provide the foundation for the historic civil nuclear agreement between the two countries.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigns
On 4th November 2017, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned unexpectedly.Lebanese Prime Minister – Saad al-Hariri resigned:
i. Saad al-Hariri has said after his resignation that, he sensed a plot to target his life and feared the same fate as his assassinated father if he remained as leader. Saad al-Hariri became Lebanon’s Prime Minister in 2016 and headed a 30-member national unity cabinet.
ii. The country is sharply divided into a camp loyal to Saudi Arabia, headed by the Sunni Muslim Mr Hariri, and a camp loyal to Iran represented by Hezbollah. Mr Hariri’s resignation is expected to sharply raise tensions in Lebanon.
♦ Capital – Beirut
♦ Currency – Lebanese pound
♦ Official language – Arabic
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Indian Air Force, DRDO successfully test-fire guided ‘Glide Bomb’
On 3rd November 2017, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully tested an indigenously-built lightweight ‘glide bomb’ at the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, Odisha.
Glide Bomb – successfully test fired:
i. The ‘glide bomb’ is named as Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW). It was released from the IAF aircraft and guided through precision navigation system.
ii. The ‘glide bomb’ reached the targets at greater than 70 km range, with high accuracies. Three test-fires were conducted with different release conditions and ranges.
iii .The bomb has been developed by the DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI) in collaboration with DRDO’s other laboratories and IAF. SAAW will be inducted soon into the Armed Forces.
iv. The SAAW is a long-range precision-guided anti-airfield weapon, capable of engaging ground targets with high precision to a range of 100 km.
About Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO):
♦ Headquarters – DRDO Bhavan, New Delhi
♦ Chairman – S Christopher
Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s Daughter Dina Wadia passes away
On 2nd November 2017, Dina Wadia, daughter and the only child of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah passed away in New York.
Death of Dina Wadia:
i. Dina Wadia was 98 years old. She passed away at her home in New York on 2nd November 2017. She is survived by her son and Wadia group chairman Nusli N Wadia, daughter Diana N Wadia and great grandsons Ness and Jeh Wadia.
ii. She was born around the midnight of August 14-15, 1919 in a cinema theatre in London where her parents, Jinnah and Rattanbai, were watching a film.
iii. She had married a leading Mumbai Parsi industrialist, Neville Wadia. She mostly lived in Mumbai, before moving to the US.
iv. She visited Pakistan only twice in her lifetime – first on the death of her father and later in 2004, during President Parvez Musharraf’s period.
About Dina Wadia:
♦ Daughter and only child of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah