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Power Ministry sets up panel under P.D. Siwal to probe NTPC’s Unchahar plant accident
On November 1, 2017, a boiler blast accident occurred at NTPC’s Unchahar plant in Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh in which 36 people lost their lives. Union Power Ministry has set up a panel to probe this accident.
More Details about Panel to probe NTPC’s Unchahar plant accident:
i. Union Power Ministry has set up a committee headed by P.D. Siwal, Member of Central Electricity Authority (CEA) to investigate the causes of this accident and suggest measures to prevent such incidents in future.
ii. Subir Chakraborty, Director-Projects at Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd; L.D. Papney, Chief Engineer, Thermal Engineering and Technology Development Division at CEA and Dhawal Prakash Antapurkar, Director of Steam Boilers, Maharashtra are the other members of this committee.
iii. The committee has been set up under the provision of Electricity Act 2003 and will submit its report within a month.
iv. NTPC has also set up a committee headed by Executive Director (operations) S.K. Roy to investigate this incident.
COP23 climate change summit held in Bonn,Germany
23rd annual “conference of the parties”(COP) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) begun on November 6, 2017 in Bonn, Germany. This conference will continue till November 17, 2017.
i. COP23 was opened on November 6, 2017 by Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe ‘Frank’ Bainimarama.
ii. The India Pavilion at COP 23 was inaugurated by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan.India’s theme for COP 23 is ‘Conserving Now, Preserving Future’……………………………………Click here to Read more
Guinea becomes new member of International Solar Alliance
On November 6, 2017, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held a meeting with Guinea’s Foreign Minister, Mamady Toure. During the course of this meeting, Mamady Toure handed over Guinea’s Instrument of Accession to the India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA).
i. The International Solar Alliance is an alliance of countries which are located completely or partly between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
ii. It was jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the then President of France Francois Hollande in November 2015 in Paris, on the side lines of COP21.
iii. Under the ISA, solar rich countries will collaborate to fulfil their objectives and needs pertaining to solar energy by emulating successful practices and setting up common mechanisms and instruments for harnessing solar energy on a huge scale.
iv. Ms. Sushma Swaraj has extended an invitation to Guinea to attend the summit level meeting of founder members of ISA in New Delhi.
Quick Facts about Guinea:
♦ Capital – Conakry
♦ Currency – Guinean franc
♦ Current President – Alpha Conde
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists releases The Paradise Papers
On November 5, 2017, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released ‘The Paradise Papers’, a global investigation that revealed as to how some of the world’s most powerful/famous people and business entities moved money to and from 19 tax havens to evade taxes through trusts, foundations and shell companies.More Information about ‘The Paradise Papers’:
i. Information revealed by ‘The Paradise Papers’ is based on leaked data of offshore law firms and the company registries located in world’s most secretive countries. Most of the data leak came from Appleby, a Bermuda-based legal services provider.
ii. The data was procured by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and was shared with ICIJ.
iii. Names of individuals and business entities located across 180 countries around world have surface in this investigation.
iv. Among these countries India ranks 19th in terms of the number of names. Information pertaining to financial activities of 714 Indians has been provided in ‘The Paradise Papers’.
v. BJP Member of Parliament R K Sinha, Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt’s wife Manyata Dutt, Current Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram and former Union Minister Sachin Pilot are some of the Indian names in the list.
BANKING & FINANCE
India to contribute USD 100 mn to UN Partnership Fund
On November 6, 2017, India has pledged an additional USD 100 million towards the UN partnership fund. This amount is in addition to India’s USD 10.582 million contributions to various other UN programmes
More Information about India’s contribution to UN partnership fund:
i. In June 2017, India and the UN Office for South- South Cooperation (UNOSSC) launched a partnership fund for supporting sustainable development projects across the world.
ii. The objective of this partnership is to reduce poverty and hunger, improving health, education and equality, and expanding access to clean water, energy and livelihoods.
iii. The fund will be deployed to implement country-level projects that are geared towards achieving the 17 sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda.
iv. ‘Climate Early Warning System in Pacific Island Countries’ is first project to receive support from this fund. This project will benefit seven Pacific island countries – Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, the Solomon Islands and Tonga.
v. The partnership fund has identified 15 more projects that will receive its support.
HDFC Bank makes RTGS, NEFT online transactions free
HDFC Bank Ltd has made online transactions through RTGS and NEFT free of cost from 1st November 2017, with an aim to promote a digital economy.Fee revisions:
i. According to the revised fees and charges for savings and salary accounts, customers will not have to pay any charge for doing online transactions through Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) and the National Electronics Funds Transfer (NEFT) from 1st November 2017.ii. Also, HDFC Bank has said that, a customer can avail one cheque book of 25 leaves free, only once in a year. If a cheque is returned due to insufficient funds, each such cheque will attract a penalty of Rs 500. In cases where cheques deposited are returned unpaid, the charge has been raised to Rs 200 per instance.
About HDFC (Housing Development Financial Corporation):
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
♦ MD – Aditya puri
Paytm introduces BHIM UPI for seamless money transfer
On 7th November 2017, Paytm introduced payments using BHIM UPI through which users can create their own Paytm BHIM UPI ID on the app, using which customers can transfer money.
BHIM UPI for money transfer:
i. Using BHIM UPI users can create their own Paytm BHIM UPI ID on the app, which will be issued by Paytm Payments Bank.
ii. Users can link any of their savings bank account with this unique Paytm BHIM UPI ID and start sending and accepting money.
iii. With Paytm BHIM UPI, users can make instant money transfers directly between two bank accounts, with no waiting time to add beneficiary. They don’t have to share their bank account details and IFSC code to receive money.
iv. As per the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) guidelines, users can send up to Rs. 1 lakh a day using BHIM UPI and there is no receiving limit.
v. This feature preview is currently available on the Paytm Android app and will soon be available on iOS.
♦ Headquarters – Noida, Uttar Pradesh
♦ CEO – Vijay Shekhar Sharma
Ola inks partnership with Microsoft for enhanced passenger experience
The transportation network company Ola announced its strategic partnership with Microsoft company, and thereby choosing the microsoft as its preferred cloud provider.i. The merging aimed to transform driver and passenger experiences with vehicle diagnostics, improved in-car productivity, advanced navigation, predictive maintenance of vehicles and more.
ii. Both the companies will collaborate to take this platform to car manufacturers globally, to integrate with vehicle systems.
iii. Under this deal, Ola Play customers will be able to use productivity tools such as Office 365 and Skype for Business, as well as voice-assisted controls built using Microsoft Cognitive Services and bot framework, in-car during their rides.
iv. The advanced telematics platform will transform the car into a high-performing, intelligent vehicle, capable of assessing fuel efficiency, engine performance, and driver performance.
v. However, it will also enable smarter navigation and predict breakdowns, enhancing safety and security while creating new business models and opportunities.
vi. Microsoft and Ola also plan to build superior safety features and advanced driver assistance services, as well.
Kerala govt inks MOU with Intel, UST Global
On November 6, 2017, Kerala State Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Intel and UST Global for exploring the possibility of transforming the state into an electronic hardware manufacturing hub.
More Detail about MoU between Kerala State Government – Intel – UST Global:
i. The MoU was signed between Kerala State IT department, Intel and UST Global in the presence of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
ii. In a bid to transform Kerala into electronics hardware manufacturing hub, Kerala State Government has set up the Kerala Electronics and Hardware Mission.
iii. In August 2017, the mission had submitted a detailed report outlining the potential, challenges and road map for electronics system design and manufacturing and promotion of the State’s startup ecosystem.
iv. Besides, Kerala government has taken an important policy initiative to achieve this goal. It has made budget declarations on setting up hardware parks.
Quick Facts about Kerala:
♦ Capital – Thiruvananthapuram
♦ Current Chief Minister – Pinarayi Vijayan
♦ Current Governor – P Sathasivam
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Maya Swaminathan Sinha awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by ASSOCHAM
On 31st October 2017, ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) honoured CMC Skills’ Founder Ms. Maya Swaminathan Sinha with the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017’ award in Ranchi.
Maya Swaminathan Sinha – Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017:
i. ASSOCHAM organized “One Day National Summit on Leadership cum Awards 2017’’ at Hotel BNR Chanakya, Ranchi. The ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017’ award waspresented to Ms. Maya Swaminathan Sinha by Governor of Jharkhand, Draupadi Murmu.
ii. At the event, organizations and professionals who have worked extraordinarily and accomplished achievements were honoured.
iii. Ms. Maya Sinha is a former Indian Revenue Service Officer with over 30 years of professional experience. She is the Founder & Director of CMC Skills Pvt. Ltd. and Clear Maze Consulting Pvt. Ltd.
About CMC Skills Pvt. Ltd:
♦ Purpose – imparting skills by offering variety of courses in various trade segments to increase the employability of youth
♦ Director – Ms. Maya Swaminathan Sinha
Apollo Munich Health Insurance wins ‘General Insurance Company of the Year’
On 1st November 2017, Apollo Munich Health Insurance Company was awarded the 21st Asia Insurance Industry Awards in the “General Insurance Company of the Year” category, at Singapore.
Apollo Munich Health Insurance – General Insurance Company of the year:
i. Apollo Munich Health Insurance Company is a joint venture between integrated healthcare provider, Apollo Hospitals Group, and the Munich Re Group. The Asia Insurance Industry Awards is hosted annually by Asia Insurance Review.
ii. Apollo Munich Health Insurance was awarded the ‘General Insurance Company of the year’ in recognition of its market leadership through innovation in products, services, practices etc.
iii. It has accomplished a number of firsts in India for its products: lifelong renewal, no sub-limits, no claim-based loading and co-payment, portability, restore and multiplier benefits and the first standalone dengue product.
About Apollo Munich Health Insurance:
♦ Products – Health insurance, Accident insurance, Travel insurance
♦ CEO – Antony Jacob
Indian short film ‘School Bag’ wins award in Montreal
On 5th November 2017, Indian short film ‘The School Bag’ won the Best Short Film Award at the South Asian Film Festival of Montreal (SAFFM) in Montreal.‘The School Bag’ – Best Short Film Award:
i. Indian short film ‘The School Bag’ is about a story based in Pakistan. The plot is based in Peshawar and is about the relationship between a mother and her seven-year-old son who wants a new school bag on his birthday. But fate has something else in store for him.
ii. Actress Rasika Dugal has played the mother role. The film was directed by Dheeraj Jindal.
iii. The film recreates events that happened in Peshawar in December 2014 when terrorists killed hundreds of school children.
About South Asian Film Festival of Montreal (SAFFM):
♦ Purpose – showcasing new artistic work that explores the world we inhabit
♦ Presented by – Kabir Centre for Arts & Culture
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Binoy Kumar appointed as Special Secretary in Commerce Ministry
On 6th November 2017, senior IAS officer Binoy Kumar was appointed as Special Secretary in the Commerce Ministry.
Binoy Kumar – Special Secretary in Commerce Ministry:
i. Binoy Kumar is a 1983 batch IAS officer of the Telangana cadre. He was the Director General of Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D), the procurement arm of the central government that was closed on 31st October 2017.
ii. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved his appointment as the Special Secretary (Logistics), Department of Commerce.
iii. The closure of the DGS&D is due to the government’s shift to the commerce ministry’s e-market platform (GeM) launched in 2016 for public procurement of goods and services. About 1,100 of DGS&D employees are being shifted to different departments.
About Commerce Ministry:
♦ Cabinet Minister – Suresh Prabhu
♦ Consists of – Department of Commerce & Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion
Gujarat Cadre IAS Officer Hasmukh Adhia named New Finance Secretary
On 6th November 2017, the government named Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia as the new Finance Secretary of India.Hasmukh Adhia – Finance Secretary of India:
i. Hasmukh Adhia is a 1981 batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre. He replaces Ashok Lavasa whose term ended on 31st October 2017.
ii. It’s a convention in Finance Ministry to appoint the senior most secretary as the Finance Secretary. Hasmukh Adhia joined the revenue department in 2015 from the Department of Financial Services.
iii. He has played a key role in implementing demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST).
iv. There are five departments in Finance Ministry: Expenditure, Economic Affairs, Financial Services, Revenue and Department of Investment and Public Asset management (DIPAM).
About Finance Ministry:
♦ Financial Services Secretary – Rajiv Kumar
♦ Expenditure Secretary – Ajay Narayan Jha
♦ DIPAM Secretary – Neeraj Kumar Gupta
♦ Economic Affairs Secretary – Subhash Chandra Garg
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
India test fires ‘Nirbhay’ missile
On November 7, 2017, India successfully conducted a flight test of its indigenously designed and developed long range sub-sonic cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’.
More Information about ‘Nirbhay’missile’s Experimental Test:
i. This latest test was conducted from a test range at Chandipur along the Odisha coast.
ii. This was Nirbhay’s fifth experimental test. Out of previous four experimental tests conducted since 2013, only one was successful.
iii. Nirbhay is powered by a solid rocket motor booster developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL).
iv. Its operational range is 1000 km and can carry warheads of up to 300 kg. It is 6 metre long, 0.52 metre wide with a wing span of 2.7 metre.
v.Nirbhay’s flight is guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system indigenously developed by the Research Centre Imarat (RCI). Trajectory of Nirbhay is tracked with the help of ground based radars and Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft.
Tata Steel sets up country’s largest coke dry quenching facility in Odisha plant
Tata Steel has set up India’s largest Coke Dry Quenching (CDQ) facility at its steel plant located in Kalinganagar, Odisha. More Details about Tata Steel’s largest coke dry quenching facility:
i. CDQ is an energy-efficient and environment-friendly heat recovery system used in steel production to cool the hot coke from coke ovens.
ii. CDQ has comparative advantages over conventional wet quenching. CDQ not only reduces dust emission and improves coke quality, but also save significant amount of water
iii. Project for setting up CDQ facility at Tata Steel’s Kalinganagar plant has been executed by Essar Projects whereas Nippon Steel and Sumkin Engineering (NSENGI) of Japan were the supplier and technology partner.
Quick Facts about Tata Steel:
♦ Founded in – 1907
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current Chairman – Natarajan Chandrasekaran
WorkoLab launches India’s first co-working space with research facility
On November 6, 2017, independent workplace provider WorkoLab unveiled its first co-working space in Gurgaon, Haryana and in Pusa Road, New Delhi.
i.Co-working spaces offered by WorkoLab also provide research guidance by India’s youngest scientific minds with an aim to infuse innovation into the start-up idea.
ii. WorkoLab is planning to launch 100+ centres in next three years across the globe.
iii. In the first phase, WorkoLab will expand to other cities like Mumbai, Pune, Kota, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Jaipur by March 2018.
iv. Thereafter it will foray into international markets starting with Malaysia and Singapore.
v. Co-working segment is projected to grow by 50 percent in 2017 and is expected to receive over USD 400 million in investment by 2018.
India Navy to use US aircraft launch system ‘CATOBAR’ in ship
The Indian Navy is set to use advanced catapult-based aircraft launch mechanism (CATOBAR) from the U.S. for its second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-II).
India Navy to use US aircraft launch system ‘CATOBAR’:
i. The U.S. has offered India its latest EMALS (Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System) technology. This was developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.
ii. The older generation of CATOBAR was powered by a steam catapult. EMALS uses an electric motor-driven catapult, which allows the launch of much heavier aircraft and also reduces the stress on the aircraft.
iii. The EMALS system is expensive. The Indian Navy plans the IAC-II to be around 65,000 tonnes and capable of carrying over 50 aircraft.
About Indian Navy:
♦ Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral Sunil Lanba
♦ Motto – May the Lord of the Water be auspicious unto us
Coal Ministry launches Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran App for transparency in coal despatches through road
Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Railways & Coal has launched ‘Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran App’ on CIL’s Foundation Day at Kolkata.
Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran App:
i. The Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran App is a customer friendly app. It helps to achieve transparency in despatch operations, by monitoring, whether the despatches are made on the principle of ‘First in First Out’.
ii. It keeps track of all the activities from issuance of Sale Order to physical delivery of coal by road. It also helps in logistics planning for lifting of coal.
iii. The main features of the app are date-wise, truck-wise quantity of coal delivered against the Sale Orders and information related to Scheme-wise, Colliery-wise, Grade-wise, customer-wise details of Sale Orders issued during a period.
About Coal India Limited (CIL):
♦ Headquarters – Kolkata
♦ Chairman & MD – Gopal Singh
ISRO’s AstroSat accomplishes X-ray polarisation for the first time
ISRO’s “AstroSat”accomplished the difficult task of measuring X-ray polarisation of Crab pulsar in the Taurus constellation during 18-months of its study for the first time.
i. ISRO launched its first dedicated space observatory AstroSat on aPolar Satellite Launch Vehicle (rocket) on September 28, 2015, from its spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
ii. The telescope measured the variations of polarisation as the magnetised object (pulsar) spins 30 times per second.
iii.The CZT-Imager was built by a consortium of Indian academic and research institutes, including ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Thiruvananthapuram and the Satellite Application Centre in Bengaluru, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) at Pune and the Space Application Centre at Ahmedabad.
iv. A pulsar is a rotating neutron star or white dwarf, which emits electromagnetic radiation. Neutron stars and black holes are examples of such objects.
v. Taurus is the second astrological sign in the present zodiac. It spans the 30-60th degree of the zodiac.
vi. Indian scientists using data from the CZT (Cadmium-Zinc-Telluride) Imager have performed the most sensitive measurement of X-ray polarisation of the Crab pulsar, the rotating neutron star which is the main energy source of the nebula.
♦ Established – 15 Aug 1969
♦ Headquarters – Banglore, Karnataka
India unveil logo, mascot and song for AIBA Youth Women’s World Boxing Championship 2017
On 6th November 2017, the official logo, mascot and anthem for 2017 AIBA Youth Women’s World Boxing Championship was unveiled in a ceremony at Guwahati, Assam.Logo, mascot and song for AIBA Youth Women’s World Boxing Championship 2017:
i. Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal and Boxing Federation of India (BFI) President Ajay Singh released the championship’s official mascot, logo and anthem.
ii. The official mascot, named Guppy, is a female version of Assam’s one-horned rhino. The official anthem is ‘Make Some Noise’. The anthem was composed by Shaan and sung by Sunidhi Chauhan.
iii. The logo consists of two key elements – the strength of an Indian woman in the form of a female boxer and the culture of Assam through the ‘gamosa’, a cherished hand-woven piece of cloth in Assam. It has integrated the national flag’s three main colours – saffron, green and white.
About AIBA Youth Women’s World Boxing Championship 2017:
♦ Dates – 19 to 26 November 2017
♦ Participants – 200 boxers from 38 countries
♦ Venue – Guwahati, Assam
Commonwealth Shooting Championships 2017 in Australia
Commonwealth Shooting Championships 2017 was held in Gold Coast, Australia from 28th October, 2017 to 8th November, 2017. This Championship is held among Commonwealth countries and is considered as a test event for the Commonwealth Games. Commonwealth Shooting Championship 2017 was held in conjunction with the 2017 Oceania Shooting Championships.
i. The Indian squad won a total of 20 medals which included six gold, seven silver and seven bronze medals.
ii. 18 medals were won from the Rifle and Pistol discipline, whereas 2 medals (one gold and one silver) were won in shotgun events…………………………..Click here to Read more
Punjab government to organise village-level tournaments to curb drug menace
On 4th November 2017, Rural Development and Panchayat Minister of Punajb, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said that, to rule out the problem of drugs from Punjab, the Punjab government would organise village-level sports tournaments.
Village level tournaments to combat drugs in Punjab:
i. The announcement was made at a sports tournament to mark the Parkash Utsav of Guru Nanak Dev at Sultanpur Lodhi. The minister said that, these tournaments would be organised at the village level to promote sportsmanship among the youth.
ii. Also, this will help channelise their energy in a positive direction. The minister said that, dope tests would be made mandatory in the tournaments. These tournaments would be conducted all over Punjab.
♦ Capital – Chandigarh
♦ Governor – V P Singh Badnore
♦ Chief Minister – Amarinder Singh