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02 November 2017 - Daily Current Affairs

02 November 2017 - Daily Current Affairs

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Mukesh Ambani becomes Asia’s richest person

  • Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambanion overtook China’s Hui Ka Yan to become Asia’s richest person with a total wealth of $42.1 billion. 
  • According to Forbes’ real time billionaire’s list, Ambani’s personal wealth rose by $466 million. 
  • On the other hand, wealth of China Evergrande Group’s Chairman Hui Ka Yan slumped by $1.28 billion to $40.6 billion. 
  • Globally, Ambani stood at the 14th spot on Forbes’ real time billionaire’s list, which is based on the value of person’s stock holding and assets on a real time basis. 

AIIB grants Rs. 13,000 cr loan to Andhra Pradesh

  • China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) approved USD 2 million loan (Rs. 13,000 crores) for five project in Andhra Pradesh. 
  • The five projects includes two roads and buildings department, one each for rural safe drinking water department, municipal and urban development department and Panchayat Raj department.
  • AIIB sponsored after the Union Govt recommended those proposals to Asia Infra and Investment Bank for further help and clearance.

India slips 21 slots on WEF Gender Gap index 2017

  • India slipped 21 places on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap index to 108, behind neighbours China and Bangladesh, primarily due to less participation of women in the economy and low wages. 
  • India’s latest ranking is 10 notches lower than its reading in 2006 when the WEF started measuring the gender gap. 
  • According to the WEF Global Gender Gap Report 2017, India has closed 67% of its gender gap, less than many of its international peers, and some of its neighbours like Bangladesh ranked 47th while China was placed at 100th. 
  • Iceland topped the Global Gender Gap Index followed by Norway and Finland.
  • Iceland has closed nearly 88% of its gap.
  • It has been the world’s most gender-equal country for nine years. 

Govt sets up Jaitley-led panel on PSB mergers

  • The Union govt has constituted Alternative Mechanism Panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that will oversee merger proposals of public sector banks (PSBs).
  • The other members of the panel include Railway and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. 
  • The Union cabinet in August 2017 had decided to set up Alternative Mechanism to fast-track PSU bank consolidation. 
  • The mechanism will oversee the proposals coming from boards of PSBs for consolidation.
  • The decision to set up such a mechanism follows State Bank of India merging its five associate banks, as also the Bharatiya Mahila Bank, with itself.

India ranks at 100 in World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2018

  • India ranked 100 in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (DB) Report 2018 titled as ‘Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs’ as a range of government reforms put in place over the past four years started delivering results. 
  • India has jumped over 30 ranks to attain 100th spot from 130th position in 2017 Ease of Doing Business Index.
  • Its score also increased from 56.05 in 2017 to 60.76 in Doing Business 2018.

ICICI Bank launches voice-based international remittance service

  • ICICI Bank, the country’s largest private sector bank by consolidated assets, has launched voice-based international remittance service on its Money2India application.
  • This would enable a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) customer of ICICI Bank to send money to any bank in India via just a simple voice command to Apple’s virtual voice assistant, Siri, on his/her Apple iPhone/iPad.
  • A first-of-its-kind cross border remittance service by a bank in the country will improve customer’s convenience significantly as it replaces a five step process, which was required to initiate a remittance to India earlier.
  • ICICI Bank is the first bank in the country to leverage on Apple’s virtual voice assistant to enable cross border remittances.

Cabinet approvals

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval. 

Nod for introduction of Bill to amend NCTE Act

  • The Union Cabinet has approved for introduction of a Bill in Parliament to amend the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993, namely the National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Act, 2017.
  • The amendment aims to grant retrospective recognition to the Central/State/Universities who are found to be conducting teacher education courses without NCTE permission.

Approves​ extension of renamed RKVY for 3 years

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the continuation of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for three years i.e; 2017-18 to 2019-20, renaming it as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana-Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR). 
  • The financial allocation of the scheme will be ₹15,722 crore with the objective of making farming a remunerative economic activity through strengthening the farmer’s effort, risk mitigation and promoting agri-business entrepreneurship. 
  • The RKVY-RAFTAAR funds would be provided to States as 60:40 grants between Centre and States (90:10 for North-Eastern States and Himalayan States).

Approves Special Banking Arrangement SBA for payment of outstanding subsidy

  • The Cabinet has accorded the ex-post facto approval for implementation of Special Banking Arrangement (SBA) for Rs. 10,000 crore for payment of outstanding claims on account of fertilizer subsidy in the year 2016-17.
  • CCEA has also approved that, in future, Department of Fertilizers would avail the SBA with the concurrence of Department of Expenditure. 
  • Under the SBA, a total loan of Rs. 9,969 crore for settlement of outstanding subsidy bills with SBI was raised by the Government.

Approves signing an Agreement between India and Armenia

  • The Union Cabinet approved signing and ratifying agreement between India and Armenia on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters.
  • The agreement will be signed by two countries after it is approved by respective Governments.

Approves revised price of ethanol

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the revision in the price of ethanol under Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme for supply to the Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies. 
  • The revised price was fixed at Rs. 40.85 per litre under EBP and will be applicable for forthcoming sugar season 2017-18.
  • GST and transportation charges will be payable additionally.

Assam signs MoUs with Singapore for skilling state’s youth

  • Assam govt signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) and Terms of Reference (ToR) with Singapore for skilling youth of the state.
  • The MoU and ToR for North East Skills Centre (NESC) was signed between Skill, Employment and Entrepreneurship Department, of Assam government and ITE Education Service, Singapore.
  • An MoU for Guwahati City Greening was inked between the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority and Singapore Corporation Enterprise.

NTPC shuts Unchahar plant unit after blast claims 26 lives

  • India’s largest power producer NTPC Ltd has shut a 500 MW unit at its Unchahar coal-fired power station in Rae Bareli after an explosion killed 26 people and injured several others.
  • Unit-6 (500 MW) of Feroze Gandhi Unchahar Thermal Power Station, Rae Bareli, UP has been shut after an accident in the evening of November 1. 
  • The 1,550 megawatt (MW) plant, which supplies electricity to nine states, had reported an explosion in the furnace beneath the boiler yesterday.

President inaugurates 21st World Congress of mental health

  • The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the 21st World Congress of Mental Health being organised by the World Federation for Mental Health in partnership with Caring Foundation and other institutions in New Delhi on Nov 02.
  • The World Congress of Mental Health is taking place in India for the first time. 
  • National Mental Health Survey 2016 found that close to 14 per cent of India’s population required active mental health interventions.

Core sector growth hits 6-month high

  • According to index of eight core industries released by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Core sector growth has hit six-month high in Sept 2017.
  • The eight infrastructure sectors — coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity — had witnessed a growth of 5.3% in September last year.
  • The expansion in September is highest since April, when the core sectors’ growth stood at 2.6%. 
  • The production of coal, natural gas and refinery products rose by 10.6%, 6.3% and 8.1%, respectively on annual basis, according to data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry.
  • Crude oil output registered a growth of 0.1% during the month under review as compared to a contraction of 4.1% in September 2016.
  • On the other hand, growth rate of steel and cement production was slower in September this year as against the same month previous fiscal.

Delhi to host 9th global green film festival

  • The 9th edition of ‘CMS Vatavaran’, a global film festival on environment and wildlife, will begin on November 2, 2017 in New Delhi. 
  • The Theme of CMS Vatavaran is  “Conservation 4 Water”. 
  • The event is supported and partnered by Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, National Geographic, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Crypto currencies, ICOs under SEBI lens

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is mulling to bring Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) under its existing legal framework. 
  • The rising popularity of crypto currencies and the increasing number of entities looking at raising funds through Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) has caught the attention of the capital market regulator, which is evaluating whether such instruments and offerings can be brought under its regulatory purview.
  • Crypto currencies like bitcoin, ethereum and such offerings have been under government radar for long. 
  • The central bank is of the view that these instruments are securities and so SEBI should be the regulating body.
  • An ICO, like an equity initial public offer (IPO), is an issuance of digital tokens that can be converted into crypto currencies and are mostly used to raise funds by start-up firms dealing in blockchain technology and virtual currencies like bitcoins and ethereum.

Maximum age of joining NPS increased from 60 to 65 years

  • The Ministry of Finance increased the maximum age of joining the National Pension System (NPS) from the existing 60 years to 65 years under NPS – Private Sector (i.e. all citizen and corporate model). 
  • In accordance with several initiatives undertaken by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) during the last few years, now any Indian citizen, resident or non-resident, between the age of 60 – 65 years, can join NPS and continue up to the age of 70 years.
  • The subscriber joining NPS beyond the age of 60 years will have the same choices of pension fund and investment, as those individuals who subscribe to it before the age of 60 years.
  • Subscriber joining NPS after the age of 60 years will have an option of normal exit from NPS after completion of three years. 

Centre clears mega project to acquire 111 helicopters for Navy

  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman approved procurement of 111 utility helicopters for the Indian Navy at a cost of ₹21,738 crore.
  • DAC is Defence Ministry’s highest decision-making body on procurement. 
  • The acquisition of the helicopters will be made under the strategic partnership model. 
  • 16 helicopters will be procured at a fly away condition while 95 will be manufactured in India.
  • The procurement of the helicopters will be the first major acquisition project under the new model, strategic partnership model.

President of India inaugurates Global Clubfoot Conference in New Delhi

  • The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the Global Clubfoot Conference organized by the CURE India in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in New Delhi. 
  • It is one of the most common orthopedic birth defects that affect the child’s mobility.
  • It can cause permanent disability if not treated early. 
  • The public hospitals are partnering with CURE International India to treat as many children as possible.
  • The programme is now active in 29 states of India. In clubfoot, tissues connecting muscles to the bone (tendons) are shorter than usual.

Scientists develop earthquake-proof concrete

  • Researchers from University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada have developed earthquake-proof fibre-reinforced concrete that can dramatically enhance the earthquake resistance of seismically vulnerable structures. 
  • The material is engineered at the molecular scale to be strong, malleable, and ductile. 
  • Researchers subjected the material, called eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite (EDCC), to earthquake simulation tests.
  • The material will be used to retrofit a school in Roorkee in Uttarakhand, a highly seismic area.

Joint Indo-Russia Tri-Services Exercise, Indra-2017 successfully conducted

  • The Joint Indo-Russia Tri-Services Exercise INDRA-2017 was successfully conducted from 19 to 29 Oct 2017 at Vladivostok in Russia. 
  • The name of the exercise INDRA has been derived from INDia and RussiA.
  • It was India’s first joint tri-services exercise and also first between Russia and India.
  • It was also first time Russia has hosted Tri-Services Exercise on its land. 
  • The theme of Exercise INDRA-2017 was ‘Preparation and Conduct of Operations by a Joint Force for Suppression of International Terror Activity at the request of a host country under UN mandate’. 

Neelamani N. Raju becomes Karnataka’s first woman police chief

  • Neelmani N. Raju was appointed as Karnataka’s first woman Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG and IGP).
  • She will take over from Rupak Kumar Dutta, who is retiring from service. 
  • She is second woman IPS officer to join the Karnataka cadre.

YC Modi takes charge as new NIA Chief

  • Senior IPS officer Yogesh Chander Modi took over as new Director-General of National Investigation Agency (NIA), country’s premier anti-terror organisation. 
  • He succeeds Sharad Kumar.

K Satchidanandan selected for Ezhuthachan Puraskaram

  • Ezhuthachan Puraskaram — the top literary prize of the State government — for 2017 has been given to poet-critic K. Satchidanandan. 
  • The award was announced by Culture Minister A.K. Balan. Satchidanandan was chosen by a committee chaired by Kerala Sahithya Akademi president Vaishakhan.
  • The award carries a cash prize of ₹5 lakh and would be given away at a date to be finalised later.
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