National Current Affairs
National Current Affairs November 2nd Week 2017.
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 1. Balijatra Festival Begins In Cuttack.

The annual ‘Balijatra’ festival was inaugurated today by Health and Law Minister Pratap Jena at Gadagadia ghat here on the banks of river Mahanadi.

The week-long famous fair on an area of 30 acres on the river bank will continue till November 10. It got the nod from east zone bench of National Green Tribunal for the second time this year.

“We will ensure that the festival would in no way pollute or block the free-flow of river water”, said Cuttack Municipal Corporation, Commissioner, Bikash Mohapatra.

“Over one lakh revelers thronged the fair grounds on the inaugural day and we expect the festival would witness footfall of over three lakh revellers every day”, said the newly appointed DCP Traffic Srikrushna Sasmal.

2. Haryana Signs Pacts Worth Over Rs. 2,000 crores at World Food India.

The Haryana government on Saturday said it has signed initial pacts worth Rs. 2,069 crore with 44 agro-based and food processing enterprises and establishments that will provide employment to 5,012 persons.
The Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed on Saturday in the presence of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar at the Haryana Session on the second day of the three-day World Food India organised in the national Capital, according to a Haryana government release.
Agri-Business Policy:
Assuring the investors of all possible assistance, the Chief Minister said the State government would soon implement the Agri-Business and Food Processing Policy, 2017.
3. First Heli Expo India & International Civil Helicopter Conclave in New Delhi.
The 1st Heli Expo India and International Civil Helicopter Conclave-2017 is inaugurated in New Delhi today by the Uttrakhand Tourism Minister Shri Satpal Maharaja ji in the presence of the Secretary, Civil Aviation Shri R.N. Choubey, CMD Pawan Hans, Dr. B. P. Sharma and other dignitaries. The first issue of Pawan Hans Magazine Aviation Today is also unveiled by the chief guests on this occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, the Uttarakhand Tourism Minister said that the helicopter taxi services have a huge potential for enforcing law and order, air ambulance services, to check forest fire and can provide better connectivity to religious and tourist destinations located in rough terrain of hilly areas.
On this occasion the Secretary, Civil Aviation Shri R.N. Choubey said that India has achieved a growth rate of about 20% in domestic air travel section in the last three years, which is the highest growth rate in the world Civil Aviation Sector. He said however, that this growth rate is confined to fixed wing traffic only and the helicopter traffic is much less in India. He said that the National Civil Aviation Policy tries to address this gap. As per the new NCAP, helicopters are free to fly from point to point without prior ATC clearance in airspace below 5000 feet. Shri Choubey said the aviation agencies should start exploring the option to start helicopter taxi services between Delhi -NCR and other North Indian States.

4. India Navy to use US aircraft launch system in ship.
The Navy is likely to go with an advanced catapult-based aircraft launch mechanism (CATOBAR) from the U.S. for its second indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-II), which is on the drawing board. For some time, India has been exploring the possibility of installing the U.S. electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS).
“IAC-II will have a CATOBAR launch. However, the kind of propulsion is yet to be decided,” a senior officer said.The U.S. has offered India its latest EMALS technology, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., which has just been installed on the Gerald Ford carrier.
While the older generation of CATOBAR was powered by a steam catapult, EMALS uses an electric motor-driven catapult instead, which allows the launch of much heavier aircraft and also reduces the stress on the aircraft.
However, the system is expensive, something that needs to be factored in.
“EMALS will allow us to operate heavy surveillance aircraft in addition to heavy fighters,” another officer observed.

5. Indian Railways launches main arch on world’s highest bridge on Chenab.
The Indian Railways has launched the main arch of the world’s highest bridge on the River Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir`s Reasi district which will provide direct connectivity to the Kashmir Valley.
The iconic bridge will soar 359 metres above the bed of the River Chenab and will be 30 metres higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris. The bridge forms the crucial link in the 111-km stretch between Katra and Banihal which is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla section of the Kashmir Railway project
The iconic bridge is being constructed on River Chenab on the Katra-Banihal section as part of the flagship Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) Project, M K Gupta, Member Engineering, Railway Board said.
Union Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation Vijay Goel during his Jammu visit on Friday said the World’s highest bridge being constructed on Chenab in Reasi district is to be completed by 2019.
6. India Pavilion Launched at COP 23 in Germany.
07 November 2017 Current Affairs: The India Pavilion at Conference of Parties (COP) 23 was inaugurated by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan at Bonn in Germany.
India’s theme for COP 23 is “Conserving Now, Preserving Future”
The Minister is leading the Indian delegation, which is participating in the 23rd to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) being held at the Bonn, Germany from November 6-17, 2017.
7. ‘No Load Shedding’ Mission: Maharashtra Government approves 312 Crores for the Orange city.
The state govt is on the `No load shedding mission` for the orange city and its rural areas. The amount of electricity supply will now increase in the city as the state has approved Rs 312 Cr under Deendayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGYJ).
This mission will be carried out by installing 47 sub centers in which till now 19 sub centers are successfully constructed. "Our target is to complete remaining sub centers by Dec`18" says the guardian minister of Nagpur C Bawankule.
The DDUGJY is one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry of Power and will facilitate 24x7 supply of power. It focuses on providing electrification to all villages, Feeder separation to ensure sufficient power to farmers and regular supply to other consumers, Improvement of Sub-transmission and distribution network to improve the quality and reliability of the supply and Metering to reduce the losses.
This scheme also paves the way for infrastructural development as agricultural yield will increase, Business of Small and household enterprises will grow resulting into new avenues for employment, accessibility to radio, telephone, television, internet and mobile etc will improve and also improvement in health, Education, Banking (ATM) services.
8. Surat bags best city bus services award for attracting 87 percent of private vehicle users.
Gujarat model is considered as one of the best models that have provided employment, economy, infrastructure and law and order to the state. Therefore, Surat Municipal Corporation has been chosen for the ‘Best City Bus Services Award’ by the Central government on Monday.
Notably, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs gave the award to Surat Municipal Corporation for operating the `best city bus services`. The corporation has bagged the award for attracting 87 percent of a private vehicle and auto-rickshaw users to its buses. Meanwhile, Chittor has been chosen for the `Commendable Initiative Award` for the city police`s initiative for improving road safety.
The awards were announced by the ministry on the concluding day of a three-day Urban Mobility Conference– cum-Exhibition in Hyderabad. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs announced these awards to promote the best practices in urban transport and these are presented at the annual conference.
9. India pledges additional $100 million towards UN partnership fund.
India has pledged an additional USD 100 million towards the UN partnership fund, significantly scaling up it support to sustainable development projects across the developing world. The India-UN Development Partnership Fund was set up earlier this year as a partnership between India and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). Anjani Kumar, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, announced the multi-year contribution at the 2017 UN Pledging Conference for Development Activities yesterday. This contribution would be in addition to USD 10.582 million India is contributing to various other UN programmes, Kumar said. “I am happy to announce that India has now decided to significantly scale up the contribution to the fund through a multiyear contribution of USD 100 million,” Kumar said on behalf of India. “India believes that the UN should have the necessary resources to finance its activities, in an appropriate and balanced manner,” he said.
The first project from the fund is being executed in partnership with seven Pacific Island countries. The fund has since then identified 15 more projects, he noted. Of the USD 5 million India contributed to the fund this year, USD 2 million would be utilised for reconstruction in Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda, which took a big hit from hurricanes, he said. Among major contributions include UNDP (USD 4.5 million), World Food Programme (USD 1.92 million Biennium 2017-18), United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Near East(USD 1.25 million), UN Women (USD 1 million), United Nations Children’s Fund (USD 862, 000).
10. Nagaland aims to promote ‘plastic free’ motive through ‘Hornbill Festival’.
Nagaland is set to host ‘Hornbill Festival’ with a main motive to promote the ‘plastic-free’ mission all around. ‘Hornbill Festival’ will go on for 10 days from December 1 to 10 at the Naga Heritage village Kisama, a tourism official informed. 
The Tourism Joint Secretary, M Shayung Phom said this during a coordination meeting with the concerned departments and representatives of Tribal Hohos. He also urged the Hohos to give their best effort towards making the festival a grand success. Phom further informed that picturesque Kisama have been declared as a ‘Plastic Free Zone’ during the festival and asked the Hohos to propagate and ensure that no plastic is used throughout ten days festival.
The Joint Secretary also claimed that the inflow of both international and domestic tourists to Nagaland has increased drastically since the introduction of Hornbill festival.
Akhale Vizol, Joint Director Tourism asked the respective Hohos to keep their respective morungs neat and tidy to the delight of the tourists. Also called further to ensure that the waiters in the respective morungs are polite and preferably in traditional dress to give good impression of the visitors.
11. Chennai Included in UNESCO`s Creative Cities Network For Contribution in Music.
Chennai, often called as cultural capital of South India, joined the elite club of world cities on Tuesday when it was included in Creative Cities Network of Unesco for its contributions to music. The city joins two other cities in India - Jaipur and Varanasi - to have figured in the prestigious list for their contributions to music and folk arts. The dossier to nominate Chennai for the CCN was submitted a few months back to the Unesco by the Union culture Ministry.
“Congratulations Chennai-included in @UNESCO Creative Cities Network for your contribution to music. 3rd Indian city after Jaipur & Varanasi,” Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman wrote on her Twitter page. Once a city is included on the list, it holds cultural events for four years to highlight its USP and this is monitored by the Unesco. CCN currently has 116 member cities from 54 countries, covering various fields.

12. Coal India Launched Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran App.
Public sector undertaking Coal India has launched the ‘Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran App’ aimed at benefitting customers of the company that are being supplied coal by road.
The app will allow users to monitor, whether the despatches are made on the fair principle of ‘First in First Out’ and keeps track of all the activities from issuance of sale order to physical delivery of coal by road.
An official statement said that the app also helps in logistics planning for lifting of coal in tune with the loading programmes. It further helps in improved planning of procurement, production and stock management by customers.
The app provides date-wise, truck-wise quantity of coal delivered against the sale orders and information related to scheme-wise, colliery-wise, grade-wise, and customer-wise details of sale orders issued during a period.
13. PayPal Launches Domestic Payments in India.
American digital payments company PayPal launched domestic operations in India on Wednesday. At launch, Indian consumers will be able to make transactions at select online merchants. Merchants offering PayPal will be able to process both local and global payments through the platform, getting access to PayPal’s more than 200 million customers around the world and in India through a single integration.
PayPal has been offering cross-border payments in India for close to a decade and claims to control a third of the country’s B2C export payments. Now, with the launch of domestic operations, both merchants and customers will also be able to transact using PayPal in India.
However, customers in India will not be able to store any money in their PayPal accounts as the company is yet to receive a prepaid payment instrument (PPI) licence from the RBI.
“We’re coming to India as a value-added payment aggregator, and have the appropriate licences to do that,” said Anupam Pahuja, Managing Director at PayPal India. “As we move ahead, we are looking at PPI licences and regulations very carefully. We will see what the next step is.”
14. Uber joins forces with NASA to develop flying taxis.
Uber is taking part in a joint industry and government push with NASA to develop software which the company aims to use to manage “flying taxi” routes that could work like ride-hailing services it has popularized on the ground.
Uber said on Wednesday it was the first formal services contract by the U.S. National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) covering low-altitude airspace rather than outer space. NASA has used such contracts to develop rockets since the late 1950s.
Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden also said Uber would begin testing proposed four-passenger, 200-miles-per-hour (322-km-per-hour) flying taxi services across Los Angeles in 2020, its second planned test market after Dallas/Fort Worth.
Uber has faced regulatory and legal battles around the world since it launched taxi-hailing services earlier this decade, including in London where it is appealing against a decision to strip it of its license due to safety concerns.
15. First Ever Nordic-Baltic Youth Film Festival in India.
The Nordic-Baltic embassies are all set to host the first ever youth film festival of the European nations in Delhi showcasing movies from the region.
The November 13-18 festival in collaboration with the India Habitat Centre will be held from 6.30 p.m. every evening.
The Nordic-Baltic countries -- Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden, or NB8 -- are tied together geographically and historically through trade, culture and many common yet diverse value systems, according to a joint statement from their embassies in Delhi.
The statement said the embassies through this film festival were carrying "the bond further and reaching out to the culturally rich Delhi audiences".
"This platform offers a great opportunity for Nordic-Baltic countries to reflect on the similarities and appreciate their differences. It will also prove to be a platform to enhance people-to-people relations and share the thrill, excitement and experience of watching films together."
The festival will offer a diverse mix of some of the most celebrated and Oscar nominated movies from the Nordic-Baltic region. From action movies to family films to documentaries, the collection offers something for everyone`s taste, the statement said.
16. India Re-elected Member of UNESCO Executive Board.
India was re-elected on Friday as a member of the executive board of the UN educational, scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO), an official said.
The election was held at the 39th session of the general conference of UNESCO in Paris, he said. “The news is quite significant and indicates the position of India globally. The executive board is the top decision- making body, so it is an important achievement,” the official of the UNESCO India office said.
The general conference consists of the representatives of the states members of the organisation. It meets every two years, and is attended by member states and associate members, together with observers for non-member states, intergovernmental organisations and non- governmental organisations (NGOs), according to the UNESCO.
“Each country has one vote, irrespective of its size or the extent of its contribution to the budget. The general conference determines the policies and the main lines of work of the organisation. “Its duty is to set the programmes and the budget of the UNESCO. It also elects the members of the executive board and appoints, every four years, the director-general,” it said.
17. The 23rd edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival inaugurated on 10th November.
The 23rd edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), India`s second oldest film festival, rolls back into the eastern metropolis on Friday, welcoming world cinema, attracting the finest of talents and embracing fresh cinematic experiments.
Beginning with a star-studded inaugural on Friday, the gala event, hosted by the West Bengal government, will screen an assemblage of 143 films spanning 53 countries under 16 different categories till November 17.
Stars Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan will be present at the inaugural ceremony. Tamil film icon Kamal Haasan and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt are also slated to attend the ceremony, to be presided over by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Britain will be the focus country this year in commemoration of the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 with as many as 13 of its films part of the week-long celeberation.
Headlining the British highlight in a retrospective are six films of acclaimed English filmmaker Michael Winterbottom. "Welcome to Sarajevo", "Trishna", "The Claim" are part of the film fest roster.
"Lady Macbeth", "Adult Life Skills" and "Sea Sorrow" are slotted in the contemporary British films while the classics is dominated by David Lean`s "Lawrence of Arabia" and Alfred Hitchcock`s "The Lady Vanishes" among others. Icons of Indian cinema Tom Alter, Om Puri and Ramananda Sengupta will be remembered through rich tributes.
18. Bike Ambulance On Pilot Basis to be introduced in Delhi from January.
Bike ambulance facilities would be introduced on a pilot basis in three districts of Delhi from January, seeking to provide quick pre-hospital care response in congested areas of the city, authorities said on Thursday.
The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal at the Raj Niwas in New Delhi, to explore the feasibility of improving emergency response services through introduction of first responder vehicles (FRVs).
"It was decided that the facility of FRVs will be introduced on a pilot basis in three districts -- East, North-east and Shahadara from January 2018. In the first phase, 16 FRVs will be introduced," the L-G House said in a statement.
The meeting was attended by Health Minister Satyendar Jain, Principal Secretary (Health), Special Commissioner (Traffic) and chief spokesperson of Delhi Police Dependra Pathak, and Medical Superintendents of the Lok Nayak Jayaprakash (LNJP) Hospital, GTB Hospital and DDU Hospital, and the Commissioner of the St. John`s Ambulance Brigade.
"This facility would provide quick pre-hospital care response in congested areas. It shall reduce the incidence of mortality and morbidity by ensuring that patients receive appropriate medical care within the `golden hour," Mr Baijal said.
19. Pune University to give gold medal to only vegetarians and non drinkers.
No matter how meritorius you are and no matter your how excellent your academic performance, you are not going to get a gold medal unless you are a vegetarian and a teetotaller. At least not in the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU).
The University, whose admirers call it the Oxford of the East, has issued a circular to that effect, angering students and education activists who have called it an attempt at inculcating ‘sanskari’ values among students. However university officials deny any such intention and claim that the conditions are hardly new and were laid down by the family that gives away medal and price amount.
SPPU confers a gold medal called the ‘HBP Yogmaharshi Rashtriya Kirtankar, Ramchandra Gopal Shelar Urfa Shelarmama Suvarnpadak’ to the best post graduate student. Students of science and non-science streams are given the medal every alternate year. This year’s (2016-17) winner for the best student will be given to a PG student of the non-science stream.
The circular lists ten conditions for application. Condition number seven says students should be vegetarian and without bad habits like consuming alcohol.
As per condition number three the student should believe in and follow Indian culture, traditions and thinking in his daily life. Another condition compels that students should have participated in activities such as spreading awareness about HIV, blood donation, the environment, literacy and cleanliness.
20. Cabinet approves Creation of National Testing Agency to conduct entrance exams for higher educational institutions.
To begin with, it will hold exams conducted by the CBSE, and other tests will be included in its ambit gradually.
The Cabinet on Friday approved setting up a National Testing Agency to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutes in India.
To begin with, the agency will hold exams conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education. Other tests will be included in its ambit gradually, the Centre said.
“As of now, CBSE conducts nine types of exams, with about 70 lakh students appearing for them,” Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Twitter. “The National Testing Agency will take off the burden of conducting entrance examinations from the CBSE.”
Javadekar said the testing agency will bring in “high reliability, standardised assessing aptitude and conduct of tamper-proof exams”.
21. India became the first country to partner with Facebook on disaster response. 
Facebook Inc. rolled out Disaster Maps for India on Thursday to help communities across the country recover and rebuild from natural disasters faster by sharing critical pieces of data sets with humanitarian agencies in a timely manner.
The new product was launched at the company’s first Disaster Response Summit in India along with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to improve disaster response and disaster management in India.
According to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) data, India is the third-worst affected country by natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, landslides, cyclones and drought. Moreover, the response time during and after these crises is often slow and it takes significant time and resources to understand where help is needed most. Disaster Maps, powered by Facebook’s technology and intensive research, will address this critical gap in data that government organizations face when responding to a crisis.
According to Ritesh Mehta, head of programs, India, South and Central Asia: “We want to empower our community by building products that connect people and create positive social impact. In times of disaster, our platform is a valuable source of information—whether it’s letting your friends and family know you are safe with Safety Check or using Facebook to raise donations for relief efforts.”
“The NDMA is proactively utilizing social media for awareness generation. This is an important benchmark towards integrating social media with disaster response activities. I am sure this partnership will open new avenues for using mobile technology in disaster situation,” said R.K. Jain, member, NDMA.
22. Stamping of hand baggage tags ends at Pune, Nagpur, Trichy and Goa airports.
Four airports, including the ones in Pune and Goa, have done away with the practise of stamping and tagging of passengers` hand baggages from today, the CISF said.
With this decision, a total of 23 airports in the country -- out of the total 59 under the CISF security cover -- are now tag-free. The airports that will implement the new travel norm beginning today include Pune, Goa, Nagpur and Trichy (Tiruchirappalli), the airports guarding security force said.
It added that the new travel regime for air passengers, that began at the airports in April this year, will soon be implemented at 27 more airports.
Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) spokesperson Assistant Inspector General Hemendra Singh said the four airports have made all the required security arrangements to roll out the new protocol with the deployment of smart cameras and re-positioning of security paraphernalia, as mandated by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).
He said the BCAS had also asked these airport operators to increase the length of the output roller of the X-ray machine so that the hand bags are checked easily.
The old stamping of hand baggage procedure was a major irritant for passengers and they had made many complaints in this regard to airport authorities saying the system poses hassles for them as it consumes time and in case they forget to get it tagged, security personnel would ask them to go back and get it done.
By having the stamped tags on the hand baggage, the security personnel were assured that no weapon or ammunition like material enters the aircraft. It also pin points the accountability on the CISF personnel who clears the baggage. All these procedures have now been replaced by smart gadgets.
A committee comprising officials of the CISF, the BCAS and the airport operators was constituted early this year by the government to smoothen the roll-out of this new protocol at all the 59 airports guarded by the paramilitary force.
CISF chief O P Singh, while rolling out the measure in April, had said that the new measure will enhance "passenger experience and provide hassle-free security environment to them" while travelling through the airports.
23. Government to give proxy voting rights to over 25 million Non Resident Indians.
The government has decided to give proxy voting rights to over 25 million non-resident Indians (NRIs) spread across the world, attorney general KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court on Friday.
“An amendment (has to) be made in the relevant central law (the Representation of People Act), and the government intends to introduce a bill in the winter session of Parliament for the purpose,” Venugopal informed an apex court bench.
The top court has given the government 12 weeks to carry out the exercise.
The court was hearing separate petitions filed by VP Shamsheer, a UAE-based doctor, and Nagender Chindam, chairman of Pravasi Bharat in London, on the issue of according voting rights to NRIs. These petitions have been pending for three years now.
The Election Commission of India had already recommended that the government take necessary steps to amend the law for NRI voters. It had prepared a report titled ‘Exploring Feasibility of Alternative Options for Voting by Overseas Electors’ and presented it to the court in October 2014.