Current Affairs Updates - 3rd November 2017
New Appointments: National
Presently Indian ambassador to Poland Ajay Bisaria appointed high commissioner to Pakistan
- Bisaria's posting comes at a time when there is chill in Indo-Pak ties following a series of terror strikes in India, including Uri and Pathankot attacks, by Pakistan-based terror groups.
- Seasoned diplomat Ajay Bisaria, currently the Indian ambassador to Poland, has been appointed the country’s top envoy to Pakistan. This was announced by the external affairs ministry on Wednesday. The 1987-batch IFS officer will succeed Gautam Bambawale, who was last month posted to China. “He is expected to take up his assignment shortly,” the ministry said in an official statement.
State Bank of India (SBI) announced a 5 basis point cut in its benchmark lending rates across various maturities for the first time in 10 months
- State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest bank, announced a 5 basis point cut in its benchmark lending rates across various maturities. This is the first time in 10 months that it has cut lending rates.
- With effect from November 1, the bank has pegged its benchmark rate to 7.95% for a term of one year against 8% charged earlier. Most banks sharply cut MCLR (marginal cost of funds based lending rates) rates in January 2017, post demonetisation after they saw huge inflow.
According to Forbes in real time billionaire’s list 2017 Mukesh Ambani becomes Asia's richest person, and overtakes China's Hui Ka Yan
- Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani on Wednesday overtook China’s Hui Ka Yan to become Asia’s richest person with a total wealth of 42.1 billion dollar.
- According to Forbes’ real time billionaire’s list, Ambani's personal wealth rose by 466 million dollar, thanks to 1.22 per cent rise in shares of Reliance Industries to Rs 952.30 on Wednesday.
- On the other hand, wealth of China's Evergrande Group’s Chairman Hui Ka Yan slumped by 1.28 billion dollar to 40.6 billion dollar.
Goa ranked top and Bihar featured at the lowest in Gender Vulnerability Index (GVI) released by Child development NGO Plan India. Bihar ranked last at 30.
- The composite index has been developed within research for the NGO’s Plan for Every Child campaign which is aimed at comprehensively understanding the dimensions of various problems affecting children, particularly girls, in difficult circumstances.
- Goa is followed by Kerala, Mizoram and Sikkim. Bihar ranked the lowest at 30, with Delhi faring only slightly better at 29 and Uttar Pradesh at 28.
According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2017, India slips 21 slots to index 108 which is topped by Iceland.
- 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.
- Moreover, 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.
- At the top of the Global Gender Gap Index is Iceland. The country has closed nearly 88% of its gap. It has been the world’s most gender-equal country for nine years.
- Others in the top 10 include Norway (2nd), Finland (3rd), Rwanda (4) and Sweden (5), Nicaragua (6) and Slovenia (7), Ireland (8), New Zealand (9) and the Philippines (10).
Govt raises maximum age to join National Pension System(NPS) from 60 years to 65 years for individuals who are not government employees. The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) will enable people aged between 60 and 65 years to make contributions until they turn 70.
- In another significant move to expand pension coverage in the country, the maximum age for joining the National Pension System (NPS) has been raised from 60 years to 65 years for individuals who are not government employees, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.
- Those eligible include corporate employees and self -employed. The move by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) will enable people aged between 60 and 65 years to join NPS and make contributions to it until they turn 70, the ministry said in a statement.
- Until now, individuals between 18 and 60 years of age could join NPS.
PM Narendra Modi will attend the silver jubilee function of the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar on November 2.
- Modi, who had launched a slew of projects in his home state before the poll dates were announced last week, will attend the silver jubilee function of the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar on November 2.
- Modi's visit has been announced by the Bochasanwasi Shri Aksharpurushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS).
Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said that the Centre allocated Rs 109 crore to promote tourism projects under ‘Swadesh Darshan’ in Pondicherry
- Chief Minister V Narayanasamy today said the Centre has earmarked Rs 109 crores to promote tourism projects under ‘Swadesh Darshan’ in the Union Territory. Addressing public on the occasion of the 63rd Liberation (De facto) day of Puducherry here, he said, “Tourism has been given priority by the administration and the government intended to promote Puducherry as a vibrant tourism destination.”
Neelamani N. Raju is Karnataka’s first woman Director General and Inspector General of Police
- Neelmani N. Raju is Karnataka’s first woman Director General and Inspector General of Police. She will take over from Rupak Kumar Dutta, who is retiring from service.
- The state government issued the orders on Tuesday afternoon, putting to end speculation on who the next DG&IGP would be. Three IPS officials were in the race for the post, including Ms. Raju, DGP of the Criminal Investigation Department H.C. Kishore Chandra and DGP of Anti Corruption Bureau M.N. Reddi.
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved Farmers’ development scheme Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) to get a three-year extension
- In a bid to incentivise States to increase allocations for agriculture and allied sectors the, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the continuation of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for three years — 2017-18 to 2019-20 —renaming it as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana-Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR).
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) Approves Special Banking Arrangement(SBA) for Paying Subsidies to Fertiliser Firms
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) 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, an official statement said here on Wednesday.
- The CCEA has also approved that, in future, Department of Fertilizers would avail the SBA with the concurrence of Department of Expenditure.
Defence & Railway
Indian Air Force to participate in a two-week-long multilateral air exercise 'Blue Flag-17' in Israel
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) will participate in a two-week-long multilateral air exercise in Israel beginning Thursday.
- It is for the first time the IAF will operate with Israeli air force in a multilateral exercise setting.
- A 45-member contingent of IAF left for Israel today to take part in 'Blue Flag-17', the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
- Blue Flag is a bi-annual multilateral exercise which aims to strengthen military cooperation among participating nations.
- Indian Air Force is participating with the C-130J special operations aircraft along with Garud commandos.
Application / Portal
Minister for Micro, Small and medium Enterprises (MSME) Giriraj Singh launches MSME Samadhan Portal for delayed payments by public sector or govt. departments.
- Minister for Micro, Small and medium Enterprises (MSME) Giriraj Singh on Monday launched the MSME Samadhan Portal to enable entrepreneurs to upload their problems in case there is delay in getting payment from Public Sector Undertakings or any other government department. Launching the portal Mr Singh said that payment delay is a major issue for the Micro, small and medium enterprises as they do not hold sufficient capital. The delays in payments have made many MSMEs as NPA in past. Timely payment makes them viable and vibrant.
Cabinet approves signing of customs agreement between India and Armenia on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters.
- The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved signing and ratifying of an agreement between India and Armenia on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters.
- The agreement will be signed on behalf of the two countries after it is approved by the respective governments.
- The agreement would provide a legal framework for sharing of information and intelligence between the customs authorities of the two countries and help in the proper application of customs laws, prevention and investigation of customs offences and the facilitation of legitimate trade.
Assam's Skill, Employment and Entrepreneurship Department signs MoUs and Terms of Reference (ToR) with Singapore's ITE Education Service for skilling state’s youth
- Assam government today 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 in the presence of Foreign Affairs Minister of Singapore Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal here.
- An MoU for Guwahati City Greening was inked between the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority and Singapore Corporation Enterprise.
Indiana, a State in the US and Karnataka in pact for sister-state ties for cooperation in economic, educational and cultural fields.
- Indiana, a State in the US, and Karnataka have signed an agreement to establish sister-state ties for cooperation in economic, educational and cultural fields.
- The two states will focus on workforce development, academic co-operation, information and communications technologies, advanced manufacturing and materials, life sciences, agriculture and agriculture technology, automotive and aerospace and aviation.
- The agreement, was signed between Indiana Governor Eric J Holcomb and Priyank Khage, Karnataka Minister for IT, BT and Tourism. The Indiana delegation is on a tour of India and visited a few US companies.
Summit /Conference / Events / Host
Delhi to host 9th edition of CMS Vatavaran - an international film festival on environment and wildlife. "Conservation 4 Water"-themed five-day gala at Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti.
- The ninth edition of CMS Vatavaran - an international film festival on environment and wildlife - will begin here from Thursday, showcasing 113 films, including four from Kashmir, one of the most ecologically sensitive zones facing the threat of global warming.
- The "Conservation 4 Water"-themed five-day gala at Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti will also have seminars, workshops, exhibitions and an award ceremony focusing on the environmental, social and economic aspects of water conservation, according to a statement.
- The festival "aims to create awareness and sensitize people through films and discussions regarding water conservation and the inter-connectedness of climate change and water, water struggles in a world dealing with global warming, climate variability, bio-diversity loss, and environmental damage", the statement said.
President of India inaugurates Global Clubfoot Conference being organised by the CURE India in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, in New Delhi
- The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the Global Clubfoot Conference being organised by the CURE India in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, in New Delhi (November 1, 2017).
- Speaking on the occasion, the President said that clubfoot is one of the most common orthopaedic birth defects. It can cause permanent disability if not treated early. This affects the child’s mobility and confidence. Inevitably, education and schooling suffer – and the child cannot fulfil his or her potential.
Indian Ministry of External Affairs at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO) in Goa hosts inaugural India-US Ocean Dialogue aimed at promoting sustainable development of the Blue Economy.
- Goa would host the inaugural India-US Ocean Dialogue beginning today, the state department has said. The dialogue, aimed at promoting sustainable development of the Blue Economy, is being hosted by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO) in Goa.
Shri Dharmendra Pradhan to attend International Energy Forum (IEF) 7th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable (AMER7) in Bangkok, Thailand
- The Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan will be on an official visit to Bangkok,Thailand from 01-02nd November 2017 to participate in the IEF 7th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable (AMER7). India is the current chair of International Energy Forum (IEF) which is promoting the AMER - a biennial event bringing together Energy Ministers and experts from Asian countries.
- At the 7th AMER, Minister will participate in the Ministerial Roundtable and speak on “Natural Gas: Overcoming Market and Policy Hurdles to the Golden Age of Gas” along with Energy Ministers from Ministers Qatar, Brunei and Senior Representatives from Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan and Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). Energy Ministers from Saudi Arabia, Russia, UAE, Thailand, Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Brunei are also participating in the AMER.
President of India inaugurates 21st World Congress of mental health organised by the World Federation for Mental Health in partnership with Caring Foundation and other institutions in New Delhi.
- The President of India recently inaugurated the 21st World Congress of Mental Health organised by the World Federation for Mental Health in partnership with Caring Foundation and other institutions in New Delhi.
- Speaking on the occasion, the President said that “the World Congress of Mental Health is taking place in India for the first time. And it has come here at an appropriate moment. Mental health issues are acquiring a serious magnitude in our country. Our National Mental Health Survey 2016 found that close to 14 per cent of India’s population required active mental health interventions.”
Awards & Honours
Noted Malayalam Poet and literary critic K Satchidanandan selected for Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, Kerala government's highest literary honour
- Noted Malayalam Poet and literary critic, K Satchidanandan, has been selected for this year's Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, Kerala government's highest literary honour.
- The award is for his contributions to Malayalam literature and poetry, Culture Affairs Minister A K Balan told reporters, announcing the award.
- Instituted in the name of Ezhuthachan, the father of Malayalam language, the award carries a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh and a citation.
Veteran actor and playwright Girish Karnad is all set to be honoured by Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award 2017.
- The award will be presented to Karnad, 79, at the literature festivals annual awards ceremony which will be held on 19 November at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point.
- Karnad is also a recipient of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards. Anil Dharker, founder-director of Literature Live!, said the organisation is thrilled to honour the veteran theatre artiste.