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Meet of physiologists, pharmacologists – APPICON 2017
On 12th – 14th October 2017, APPICON 2017, the 63rd Annual National Conference of Association of Physiologists and Pharmacologists of India, was held at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), in Puducherry.
i. The APPICON 2017 was hosted by the Department of Physiology, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER).
ii. Chief Minister of Puducherry V.Narayanasamy inaugurated the event and released a souvenir. He presented the APPI awards under various categories.
iii. Subhash Chandra Parija, JIPMER Director, delivered the presidential address. Pravati Pal, Co-organising Chairman, welcomed the gathering.
iv. G.S.Gaur, Organising Chairman, Ramji Singh, General Secretary of APPI, G.K.Pal, Dean-JIPMER Karaikal, and various higher officials also participated.
v. Theme of APPICON 2017 was ‘Physiology beyond Academics in the Era of Translational Research’. Various conferences were conducted related to physiology and pharmacology.
♦ President – Maharaj Kishen Bhan
♦ Director – S.C.Parija
Mitra Shakti 2017: India-Sri Lanka Joint Military Exercise held in Pune
On 13th – 25th October 2017, Mitra Shakti 2017, a joint exercise between India and Sri Lanka for military co-operation and interoperability, is conducted at the Aundh Military Camp, in Pune. Mitra Shakthi 2017:
i. The Mitra Shakthi training exercises started in India’s response to China’s growing influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.
ii. Its aim is to exchange the best military practices of the two countries and build a strong military-to-military relation between the two armies and develop joint strategies mainly in the counter-insurgency and counter terrorism (CI and CT) environment.
iii. The training module includes weapons training, basic military tactics and complex battle strategies. The Mitra Shakti series started in 2012.
iv. Senior military observers of both countries will attend the Final Tactical Exercise to be held at the Aundh Military Station, on 25th October 2017.
Other recent joint-military exercises of India:
SLINEX 2017 – India – Sri Lanka joint naval exercise
♦ Nomadic Elephant 2017 – India – Mongolia joint military exercise
♦ Varuna 2017 – India – France joint naval exercise
NITI Aayog working with states for agri market reforms
On 13th October 2017, NITI Aayog said that, it is working with states to adopt first set of agri market reforms, like contract farming, online spot and futures trading, encouraging private investment.
NITI Aayog working with states:
i. NITI Aayog Member, Ramesh Chand said that, regarding agri reforms, main emphasis is given on bringing marketing reforms to facilitate and encourage the private sector to invest in agri logistics, cold chains etc.
ii. In the first set of reforms, contract farming is to be promoted. Regarding this a model law has been framed both by NITI Aayog and the Agriculture Ministry.
iii. To promote derivative trading in farm commodities, the Finance Ministry has set up a panel. The NITI Aayog has also proposed discarding of the ‘Essential Commodities Act’ that is destabilising prices instead of keeping them stable.
About Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare:
♦ Minister of Agriculture – Radha Mohan Singh
♦ Ministers of State – Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Parsottambhai Rupala, Krishna Raj
48th Conference of Governors concludes at Rashtrapati Bhavan
48th Conference of Governors was held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi from 12th and 13th October 13, 2017.Highlights of 48th Conference of Governors:
i. During the Conference, Governors shared useful experiences about issues pertaining to cleanliness, environment, conservation of energy and cutting down of wasteful expenditure in their respective states.
ii. Sessions on ‘Infrastructure for New India 2022’, ‘Public Services for New India 2022’ and ‘Higher Education in States and Skill Development’ were also held during this two-day conference.
iii. Besides President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Cabinet Ministers also addressed the conference.
iv. Tradition of holding Conference of Governors dates back to 1949, when first such conference was held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. At that time it was presided over by the Governor General of India, C. Rajagopalachari.
Chennai Metro Rail introduces free bicycle ride scheme
Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL) has introduced a free bicycle ride scheme for its customers.
i. To implement this scheme, CMRL has tied up with a private agency to provide 100-hours of bicycle ride free of cost every month.
ii. This scheme has been introduced to promote eco-friendly travel in the city.
iii. CMRL management believes that this scheme will reduce dependence on private vehicles and will serve as an economical means for commuting.
iv. Commuters in Chennai can avail the benefit of this scheme at four metro stations – Ekkattuthangal, Nehru Park, Thirumangalam and Anna Nagar Tower.
West Bengal to set up Scheduled Caste advisory council
On October 13, 2017, West Bengal State Cabinet took a decision to set up its scheduled caste advisory council. As per West Bengal State Government, it is the first Indian state to have such council.
More details about Scheduled Caste advisory council of West Bengal:
i. The council will help state government in formulating policies as well as identify the loopholes in existing policy which is affecting the development of the schedule caste population in the state.
ii. The council will regularly interact with the different departments of state government and guide them on how to align their activities for development of schedule castes.
iii. Chairman, members and structure of this committee are yet to be finalised.
iv.It is to be noted that schedule caste population comprise 23% of the total 9.14 crore population of West Bengal.
For dowry-linked cruelty, Supreme Court restores ‘immediate arrest’
On October 13, 2017, three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra disagreed with a recent judgment which diluted the rigour of Section 498A of Indian Penal Code (IPC) in dealing with dowry related complaints of cruelty.
i. Section 498A of IPC warrants immediate arrest of a husband and his relatives in a dowry-linked complaint of cruelty.
ii. In July 2017, a bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit had cited data from the National Crime Records Bureau which indicated widespread misuse of Section 498A by women.
iii. As a part of decision in July 2017, the bench had ordered setting up of family welfare committees in every district which would examine whether the complaints received under Section 498A are genuine or not and arrests were to be made only on endorsement by the committee.
iv .However, Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra has maintained that abuse of Section 498A (by women) cannot be considered as a reason to curtail the ambit and scope of the section which has been enacted to protect women from cruelty in matrimonial homes.
Himachal Pradesh to go to polls on 9th November in single phase
On 12th October 2017, the Election Commission announced that, Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh will be held in a single phase on 9th November 2017 and the results will be declared on 18th December 2017.
Himachal Pradesh elections:
i. After the announcement of the election schedule, the model code of conduct for Himachal Pradesh came into force immediately. It will be applicable for all the political parties and the State and the Central governments on decisions related to the State.
ii. Himachal Pradesh will be the second state after Goa with 100 % VVPAT (Voter-verified paper audit trail) coverage. The paper trail machines will be deployed along with EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) in all the 7,521 polling stations.
iii. For the first time ever, the Election Commission will set up 136 all-woman managed polling booths in Himachal Pradesh, with each constituency having two women.
About Election Commission of India:
♦ Purpose – autonomous constitutional body responsible for administering election processes in India
♦ Chief Election Commissioner of India – Achal Kumar Jyoti
Five Telangana students selected for NASA rover challenge
Five students from SR Engineering College in Warangal, Telangana have been selected to take part in the 5th annual NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge. The challenge has been scheduled to be held in April 2018 in the US.
i. For selection in the final challenge, these student had to submit a moon buggy design report that make their buggy work on the surface of moon, ensuring the safety of its passengers.ii. The five students are P Paul Vineeth, Prakash Raineni, P Sravan Rao, R Dilip Reddy and V Sneha. At the final challenge in April 2018, the team will be led by their faculty Manoj Chaudhary.
iii. Students from 23 countries will participate in the final challenge for which they will have to design and create rovers capable of traversing a challenging expolanetary-like landscape.
Quick Facts about NASA:
♦ Founded in – 1958
♦ Headquarters – Washington D.C., US
BANKING & FINANCE
Odisha government department signs MOU with SBI
On 14th October 2017, the Odisha government’s Directorate of Treasuries and Inspection signed a MoU with SBI, for integration of SBI e-Pay with cyber treasury.
MoU between Odisha and SBI:
i. The MoU was signed by Bhabani Prasad Nanda, Director, Treasuries & Inspection, Odisha and Goutam Roy, DGM, SBI. This MoU is an initiative by the Odisha government to facilitate revenue collection from citizens through digital banking platform.
ii. The SBI e-Pay is the payment aggregator service wing of SBI. It facilitates on-line payment of government dues by the customers of any public or private sector banks.
strong>iii. Any mode like debit card, credit card, mobile banking, net banking facility provided by approximately 42 partner banks can be used by the payers for paying dues. Also, facility of cash deposit at any branch of SBI in Odisha can be used.
iv. All revenue generating departments of Odisha can integrate with this Gateway through state treasuries. Right now, industries and revenue department have been integrated with this gateway.
About Directorate of Treasuries & Inspection, Odisha:
♦ Purpose – heads 164 Treasuries functioning in Odisha
♦ Director – Bhabani Prasad Nanda
IWAI raises Rs. 660 crore through Bonds
On October 13, 2017, Union Shipping Ministry stated that Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has raised Rs 660 crore through bonds.More Details:
i. Funds raised through these bonds will be deployed as capital expenditure for development of National Waterways (NWs) under the National Waterway Act, 2016 during 2017-18.
ii. e-bidding for these bonds was held on Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) portal on October 11, 2017.
iii. The bonds carry a coupon rate of 7.47%. Interest will be paid on semi-annual basis.
iv. It is to be noted that the fund raised through these bonds is in addition to the budgetary support from the Government of India (GOI) and interest obligation on these bonds too shall be financed by GOI.
IMF favours three structural reforms in India
Kenneth Kang Deputy Director Asia Pacific Department of International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suggested three policy priorities for India in the area of structural reforms.
i. Addressing the corporate and banking sector weaknesses: This is to be done by accelerating the resolution of non-performing loans, rebuilding the capital buffers for the public sector banks, and enhancing banks’ debt recovery mechanisms.
ii. Continued fiscal consolidation through revenue measure: Mr. Kang is of the view that India should continue with the fiscal consolidation through revenue measures, as well as further reductions in subsidies.
iii. Improving the efficiency of labour and product markets: Strong momentum for structural reforms is to be maintained in addressing the infrastructure gaps, improving the efficiency of labour and product markets as well as furthering agricultural reforms.
Quick Facts about International Monetary Fund (IMF):
♦ Founded in – 1945
♦ Headquarters – Washington D.C., US
♦ Current CEO – Christine Lagarde
Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 came into force
A new Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act 2016 which was notified on March 22, 2016 has been brought into force with effect from October 12, 2017.
i. As per this act, any goods/article/product of any scheduled industry and any process/system/service can be brought under compulsory certification regime by the government if it considers it necessary in the public interest or for the protection of human, animal, plant health, environment, or in order to prevent unfair trade practices and in the interest of national security.
ii. Hallmarking of the precious metal articles has been made mandatory under this new act………………………………..Click here to view more detail
IIP rises to 9-month high of 4.3% in August 2017
As per data released by Central Statistics Office (CSO) on October 12, 2017, Industrial production in India grew at a nine-month high of 4.3 per cent in August 2017.
i. Previous Index of Industrial Production (IIP) growth high of 5.7 per cent was registered in November 2016.
ii. Output of mining sector stood at 9.4 percent and electricity registered a growth of 8.3 percent.
iii. Growth in manufacturing sector has decelerated to 3.1 per cent in August 2017. Manufacturing sector constitutes 77.63 per cent of IIP.
iv. IIP growth during April-August period of FY 2017-18 stood at 2.2 per cent, marking a drop from 5.9 per cent in same period in 2016-17.
v. The July IIP number has been revised to 0.94 percent from 1.2 percent provisional estimates that were released last month.
Hyperloop One rebrands itself as ‘Virgin Hyperloop One’
On 12th October 2017, Hyperloop One has announced to rebrand itself as ‘Virgin Hyperloop One’ after Richard Branson’s Virgin Group invested in the firm.
Virgin Hyperloop One:
i. The Virgin investment group has taken an undisclosed stake in Hyperloop One. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
ii. Hyperloop One is a company trying to create a pod-based transport system. Its pods use electromagnetic propulsion and magnetic levitation to travel in near-vacuum tubes. In August 2017, it achieved a record speed of 309 kmph.
iii. Virgin’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, is joining Hyperloop’s board as part of a deal, and Hyperloop is rebranding itself as Virgin Hyperloop One.
About Virgin Hyperloop One:
♦ Headquarters – Los Angeles
♦ CEO – Rob Lloyd
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Namita Gokhale bags Centenary National Award for Literature
Eminent writer Namita Gokhale has been nominated for the first Centenary National Award for Literature, for her outstanding literary contributions.About Centenary National Award for Literature and Namita Gokhale:
i. The award has been conferred by the Asam Sahitya Sabha, which is regarded as one of the most prestigious literary bodies in India.
ii. Dhruba Jyoti Borah, President of the Asam Sahitya Sabha conferred the award on Namita Gokhale on October 14, 2017 at special function in Guwahati, Assam.
iii. This award has been instituted as part Asam Sahitya Sabha’s centenary celebrations.
iv. Namita Gokhale is a writer, publisher, and festival director who has authored 16 works of fiction and non-fiction.
v. Her debut novel was “Paro: Dreams of Passion,” which was published in 1984.
vi. “A Himalayan Love Story,” “The Book of Shadows” and “Things to Leave Behind” are her other memorable works.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Appointment Committee of Cabinet appoints 11 new secretaries
On October 11, 2017, Appointment Committee of Cabinet carried out a major bureaucratic reshuffle wherein 11 new secretaries have been appointed to various government departments.
i. Environment secretary Ajay Narayan Jha (IAS, 1982 batch, Manipur-Tripura cadre) will succeed Ashok Lavasa as the secretary in the expenditure department in the Finance Ministry.
ii. Health and Family Welfare Secretary C.K. Mishra will take charge as Environment secretary from Ajay Narayan Jha.
iii. Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas has been appointed as the new corporate affairs secretary in the Union Finance Ministry.
iv. Rahul Prasad Bhatnagar will take charge as the new Sports Secretary whereas Preeti Sudan, Secretary of Department of Food and Public Distribution, has been assigned the charge of health and family welfare.
v. Other cabinet secretary appointments include Alok Shrivastava (Department of Justice), K.V. Eapen (Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances and Pensions and Pensioners` Welfare), Ravi Kant (Food Ministry), Shakuntala Gamlin (Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities), Gopal Krishna (Shipping Secretary) and Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha (AYUSH Ministry).
France’s Audrey Azoulay to be next UNESCO chief
On 13th October 2017, UNESCO’s executive board voted to make former French government minister, Audrey Azoulay, the U.N. cultural agency, UNESCO’s next chief.Audrey Azoulay – UNESCO Chief:
i. UNESCO board’s selection of Audrey Azoulay as its chief, has been done a day after the United States announced its withdrawal from UNESCO because of its alleged anti-Israel bias.
ii. This selection would be confirmed by UNESCO’s general assembly’s next assembly in November 2017. Azoulay would succeed outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova of Bulgaria.
iii. Azoulay narrowly beat Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari in the final 30-28 vote on 13th October 2017. She will be UNESCO’s second female chief and its second French chief after Rene Maheu, UNESCO’s director general from 1961-74.
About Audrey Azoulay:
♦ Age – 45
♦ Nationality – French
♦ Previous Position – Minister of Culture in France
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
IndusInd bank seals deal to buy Bharat Financial
On 14th October 2017, India’s IndusInd Bank Ltd agreed an all-share deal to buy Micro-lender Bharat Financial Inclusion Ltd.
IndusInd bank buys Bharat Financial:
i. IndusInd Bank has sealed the deal for $2.4 billion to buy Bharat Financial. This acquisition would boost IndusInd’s presence in microfinance lending and rural banking.
ii. IndusInd will give Bharat Financial’s shareholders 639 of its shares for every 1,000 shares they own in Bharat Financial.
iii. Deutsche Bank analysts had previously said that, the deal would help IndusInd become a dominant player in the microfinance industry and boost its earnings by 2019.
iv. Bharat Financial, a for-profit group that focuses on lending small sums to poorer women in rural areas, has 6.8 million borrowers. IndusInd is the sixth-largest Indian private sector bank by assets.
v. Morgan Stanley and Arpwood Capital advised IndusInd Bank while Credit Suisse advised Bharat Financial on the deal.
About IndusInd Bank:
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
♦ CEO – Romesh Sobti
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
World’s largest combustion research centre inaugurated at IIT Madras
National Centre for Combustion Research and Development (NCCRD), world’s largest combustion research centre was inaugurated at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras on October 13, 2017. About National Centre for Combustion Research and Development (NCCRD):
i. The centre was inaugurated by NITI Aayog member V K Saraswat in the presence of Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology.
ii. It has largest infrastructure facilities for any combustion research centre in an academic setting globally.
iii. Automotive, thermal power and aerospace propulsion will be the primary research areas at NCCRD. Fire research and microgravity combustion are also the areas of research interest, but to a minor extent.
iv. NCCRD has been established at a total cost of Rs 90 crore and is expected to provide a boost to research in ‘Alternative Energy and Environmental Protection’ by focusing on effective utilisation of combustion as a means of thermo-chemical energy conversion.
ICC approves South Africa-Zimbabwe 4 day test on trial basis
On 13th October 2017, The International Cricket Council (ICC) approved four-day Tests on a trial basis between South Africa and Zimbabwe from 26-29 December, 2017.
ICC approves South Africa-Zimbabwe 4 day test:
i. ICC Chief Executive David Richardson made the announcement after an ICC meeting in Auckland, New Zealand. He stated that, members are free to organise bilateral four-day matches as an experiment till the 2019 World Cup.
ii. The first-ever four-day Test, to be played between South Africa and Zimbabwe, will be played from 26th to 29th December 2017.
iii .The ICC Board also approved a revised draft of Player Eligibility Regulations which will come into effect soon.Eligibility on the basis of nationality (residency) has changed to the player needing to reside in country for a three-year period in both the men’s and women’s games.
♦ Headquarters – Dubai
♦ Chairman – Shashank Manohar
♦ President – Zaheer Abbas
BOOKS & AUTHORS
An Insignificant Man: Movie on Arvind Kejriwal
A documentary on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, titled ‘An Insignificant Man’, is to be released on 17th November 2017 in theatres.
An Insignificant Man:
i. Vice Media is presenting the movie ‘An Insignificant Man’. It was produced by Memesys Lab. It was directed by Khushboo Ranka and Vina Shukla.
ii. An Insignificant Man, is a non-fiction political thriller that portrays the rise of Arvind Kejriwal from a social activist to the Chief Minister of Delhi.
iii. The film will be shown in over 22 countries in theatres and on television and digitally. The film is 95 minutes long. It has been cut and edited from 400 hours of real, behind-the-scenes footage shot through a year.
About Arvind Kejriwal:
♦ Current Position – Chief Minister of Delhi
♦ Political party – Aam Aadmi Party
World Standards Day – October 14
On 14th October 2017, World Standards Day was observed all over the world.
World Standards Day:
i. The World Standards Day is celebrated every year, to honour the contributions of all those who develop the technical agreements that are published as international standards.
ii. This is mainly celebrated by the members of organisations like IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), ISO (International Organisation for Standardization) and ITU (International Teleommunication Union).
iii. 14th October was chosen to mark the date, in 1946, when delegates from 25 countries first gathered in London to create an international organization focused on facilitating standardization. The first World Standards Day was celebrated on 14thOctober, 1970.
iv. World Standards Day theme for 2017 is “Standards make cities smarter”. A poster contest and a video contest were conducted by IEC, ISO and ITU on this theme. Reza Rahimian from Iran and Gabriel Hernandez from Mexico have won the poster and video contest respectively. About IEC, ISO & ITU:
♦ IEC President – James M.Shannon
♦ ISO President – Zhang Xiaogang
♦ ITU Secretary-General – Houlin Zhao