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National Current Affairs
National Current Affairs November 3rd Week 2017.
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National Current Affairs November 3rd Week 2017.

1. Odisha and West Bengal to hold joint coastal security exercise.

Odisha and West Bengal to hold joint coWith an aim to tighten the existing coastal security mechanism along the 630-odd-km-long coastline along Odisha and West Bengal, the governments of both the states have decided to hold a joint security exercise.

Named “Sagar Kavach”, the security exercise will begin in a week’s time.

Giving details about the proposed programme, Odisha home secretary Asit Tripathy, said, “Sagar Kavach security exercise is a realistic drill to check the efficacy of the security parameters and preparedness of various security forces like the Indian Navy, Marine police force, Indian Coast Guard (ICG), forest department, fisheries and district administration.”

“During the two-day drill, we are going to organise a simulated terror attack named ‘red force’ at a random place along Odisha or West Bengal coast and check how effective our marine policing is” Mr Tripathy said. The participants in the joint drill will include personnel from the Indian Navy, Coast Guard Paradip and Haldia, personnel of 18 marine police stations in Odisha and 12 police stations of West Bengal.

Similarly, for the first time since the security exercises were initiated by the Indian Navy and ICG, teams of Customs and port officials, fisheries department officials have also been made a part of the security drill.

“The drill is to revaluate the existing Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) mechanisms. All stakeholders who participated in the meeting were made aware about exercise settings and other SOPs. The Coast Guard, and all the security forces, even the district administrations have been very helpful and proactive towards coastal security. After the drill we will review if there are any loopholes,” West Bengal Coast Guard Commander M.A. Warsi said.stal security exercise.

2. Union Government to launch BharatNet Phase 2 project.

The government will start its second and final phase of BharatNet project -- with an outlay of around Rs 34,000 crore -- to provide high-speed broadband in all panchayats by March 2019, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said today.

Under the project, the government aims to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats through 10 lakh kilometres of additional optical fibre and give bandwidth to telecom players at nearly 75 per cent cheaper price for broadband and wifi services in rural areas.

"We will tomorrow launch phase 2 of BharatNet to connect 1.5 lakh gram panchayats with high-speed broadband by March 2019. Phase 1 of the project, under which 1 lakh GPs were to be connected, will be completed by the end of this year. We expect telecom operators to provide at least 2 megabit per second speed to rural households," Sundararajan said on Sunday.

Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, Law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar will launch the project on Monday.

The telecom ministry will sign agreements with seven states -- Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand -- which will roll out the project on their own with partial funding from the central government.

"The total project cost of BharatNet is around Rs 45,000 crore, of which Rs 11,200 crore have been used for the first phase. After rural exchange rollout in the country when telecom services started, this is the biggest project involving domestically manufactured products for the entire project," Sundararajan said.

She said around Rs 4.5 lakh crore value can be added to the national gross domestic product on completion of BharatNet phase 2 as a study has suggested that every 10 per cent usage of Internet in India drives up GDP by 3.3 per cent.

BSNL will roll out optical fibre in yet to be covered locations of eight states -- Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim that were not covered under the first phase of BharatNet. Power Grid Corporation of India has been awarded contract for three states -- Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Odisha.

3. Sainik Sankshema Sabha to be organised in all districts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Sainik Sankshema Sabha will be organised in all districts in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, announced Ex-servicemen Welfare Board officials here on Sunday. The announcement was made at a rally and a grievance redressal programme organised in the city. Headquarters Telangana & Andhra Sub Area under the aegis of HQ Dakshin Bharat Area has conducted Ex-Servicemen rallies in Vizianagaram, Mahaboobnagar, Anantapur and Nalgonda districts earlier. On Sunday many former armed forces personnel from Ranga Reddy, Medchal, Malkajgiri, Vikarabad and Hyderabad districts including those who had served in World War-II attended.

Lieutenant General R.K. Anand who is the General Officer Commanding Dakshin Bharat Area inaugurated the rally. Lt. Gen. Anand said all measures were being taken by the Indian Army to reach ex-servicemen and widows of those who had served in the forces. In the meeting many stalls were put up to facilitate and resolve grievances related to pension, re-employment and rehabilitation. Military Hospital, Secunderabad conducted free medical and health camps for women with health issues.

Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) Polyclinic, Secunderabad put up a stall to create awareness about latest benefits and policies. Postal Department, Army Postal Node (APN) and SBI put up stalls to help veterans avail services.

4. Fourth India-Canada Annual Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi.

A high level delegation led by the Canadian International Trade Minister, Mr. Fran?ois-Philippe Champagne is visiting India to attend the 4th Annual Ministerial Dialogue (AMD) scheduled to begin tomorrow in New Delhi. The Indian delegation will be led by the Commerce and Industry Minister, Shri Suresh Prabhu. 

In the current round of the Ministerial Dialogue, India and Canada would be focusing on some of the key commercial drivers to enhance the India-Canada partnership. Efforts would be made to work towards the expeditious conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) for a progressive, balanced, and mutually beneficial agreement covering both goods and services. Considering the high potential for bilateral trade, the trade ministers of both countries are likely to discuss issues to explore ways of expediting the early conclusion of the CEPA and the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). They would also explore options for Indian interests in addressing the Temporary Foreign Workers Programme (TWFP) of Canada, which is affecting the movement of Indian professionals seeking short term visas, address equivalence by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for Indian organic product exports and exploring two way investment opportunities. 

India has long standing friendly bilateral relations with Canada. Though geographically separated by a large distance, the historical ties between the two countries date back to the late 19th Century, when Indians began migrating in small numbers to British Columbia in Canada. Canada now has over 1.2 million Persons of Indian Origin (PIO), comprising more than 3 percent of its population. Though Indias commercial ties with US have seen an upswing in the last few years, trade and investment relations between India and Canada are yet to realise their full potential. Given enormous complementarities, a concerted effort to boost bilateral trade and investment from both sides would provide a fruitful outcome.

5. Assets worth Five thousand crores will be distributed on the occasion of 17th Jharkhand Foundation Day.

13 November 2017 Current Affairs: The occasion of 17th Jharkhand Foundation Day, the state government will distribute an asset worth Rs.5, 000 crores on November 15.

President Ramnath Kovind will be present as the chief guest at the Foundation Day celebrations.

The assets are provided to the beneficiaries at the Maherabadi Ground, under Ujjwala Plan, Crop Insurance Scheme, Swile Health Health Scheme, Dudharu gaay Distribution Scheme, Mudra Yojana, Prime Minister Employment Guarantee Scheme, Jharkhand State Livelihood Mission Scheme and Pradhanmantri Awas Yojana.

Jharkhand was founded in eastern India created from the southern part of Bihar on 15 November 2000.

6. India Sixth Most Vulnerable Country Facing Extreme Weather Events.

 

India is the sixth most vulnerable country in the world in terms of facing extreme weather events with Haiti, Zimbabwe, Fiji, Sri Lanka and Vietnam taking top five positions in the fresh list of nations facing climate risk.

The ranking was released here by the Germanwatch, an independent Berlin-based development and environmental organisation, on Thursday in its latest global climate risk index (CRI). The Index put the United States (US) at 10th position with Chinese Taipei, Macedonia and Bolivia being the other three vulnerable countries in the list of top ten.

The Germanwatch comes out with the CRI by analysing number of deaths per 1,00,000 inhabitants, extent of financial losses and loss per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of countries.

India was at number four in terms of CRI ranking last year. Economic and population data from International Monetary Fund (IMF) was taken into account while arriving at the ranking. The CRI indicates a level of exposure and vulnerability to extreme events.

In the present analysis, only weather related events - storms, floods and temperature extremes (heat and cold waves) - are incorporated. "Geological incidents like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or tsunamis, for which data is also available, are not relevant in this context as they do not depend on the weather and therefore are not possibly related to climate change", the report said.

The report noted that India had in 2016 lost the maximum number of human lives (2119) and over $21 billion worth of properties. The US had suffered the maximum financial loss (over $47 billion) last year. Analysing the relevant data of past 20 years (1997-2016), the CRI report found that the world had lost lives of 5,24,000 people and suffered financial losses to the tune of $3.16 trillion as a direct result of more than 11,000 extreme weather events during the period.

7. Varanasi Tops The List of Country`s Most Polluted City.

After choking Delhi-NCR and Lucknow for the past two days, the smog blew down to Varanasi, making the air of Subah-e-Banaras the most polluted of the 42 cities monitored on Friday.

The holy city`s Air Quality Index (AQI) at 4pm on Friday was at an alarming 491 at Ardhali Bazar monitoring station, according to Central Pollution Control Board data, just nine short of where the AQI scale ends at 500 and indicates a "public health emergency". This was much worse than Delhi`s Friday AQI of 468.

The concentration of PM2.5, the prominent pollutant, was more than eight times the safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metre of air. The fine particulate matter, known as an invisible killer, has a diameter of less than 2.5

micrometers, 3% the diameter of a human hair. On Thursday, Varanasi`s AQI was 358, which placed it in the "very poor" category. By rising 133 points to "severe" levels, air quality can now affect even healthy people and seriously impact those with existing diseases.

"Smog has started forming with the fall in temperature," said Prof B D Tripathi, an environment scientist at Banaras Hindu University, adding that the condition would persist with further dips in temperature.

"Fog starts dissipating as the day advances, but smog persists till late afternoon or the whole day," said Tripathi, adding that air toxicity increases as dust particles and unsaturated hydrocarbons from vehicular exhausts mix in.

8. Dantewada hosts India 1st Tribal Entrepreneurship Summit.

Aiming to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship among tribal youths, NITI Aayog in association with US government is hosting India’s first Tribal Entrepreneurship Summit in insurgency-hit Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, which is scheduled to be starting today.

The summit to be inaugurated by Minister of State for Science and Technology YS Chowdhary is a part of 8th Global Entrepreneurship Summit being held in India.

According to officials, the move is going to inspire and inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship in tribal youth. This ensures yet another step towards tribal-centric sustainable and inclusive development.

The summit will see the participation of tribal entrepreneurs from various sectors across the country and abroad. The summit will be addressed by eminent speakers from NITI Aayog, health and agri-pharma sectors.

The summit not only provides a platform to tribal youth but also addresses the issues faced by the tribal community in pragmatic and progressive ways.

9. United Nations hosts first talks on use of killer robots in Geneva.

 Government experts, advocacy groups and academics from scores of countries are kicking off a weeklong conference focusing on lethal autonomous weapons systems—colloquially known as "killer robots"—amid rising concerns that human decision-making could be stripped from military action.

 
The Geneva meeting is the first by the group created last year under a treaty covering certain non-nuclear weapons, and aims to explore the technological, military, ethical and legal aspects of autonomous weapons systems.
Bantan Nugroho of the treaty implementation unit says the meeting mainly aims to propel a discussion and set definitions for future weapons that are worrying some critics.
Nugroho said Monday: "This is about machines that can target and kill humans without any human intervention."
He added: "Theoretically, these weapons don`t exist yet."
 
10. Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend 12th East Asia Summit & 15th ASEAN-India Summit in Manila.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the Prime Ministers of Australia, Vietnam, Japan, New Zealand, China and the Sultan of Brunei today as part of his 3-day visit for the ASEAN Summit in Manila, Philippines. The Prime Minister will now attend the 12th East Asia Summit and the RCEP Leader`s meetings before heading back to India this evening. 
 
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held "very expansive" talks with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the 31st ASEAN Summit or the Association of South-East Asian Nations.  He also interacted with the Indian community in Philippines and thanked them for their warmth. On Monday, he visited the International Rice Research Institute where he learnt about salinity tolerant rice varieties and drones that can greatly aide agriculture. 
 
PM Modi is the second Indian Prime Minister to visit Manila since Indira Gandhi. He started his three-day Manila visit on Sunday to attend the ASEAN Summit and East Asia Summits.
 
11. Mumbai to host Asian Bankers Association summit.
 
For the first time, the nation’s financial capital will host the 34th annual conference of the Asian Bankers Association (ABA) this week.
 
The two-day conference will be held in the megapolis from November 16 and will be hosted by State Bank, with the theme of ‘Asia’s turn to transform’, SBI said.
 
The event is expected to see the presence of over 160 domestic as well as international bankers and Reserve Bank deputy governor Viral V Acharya will deliver the special opening address on the second day, a SBI spokesperson told PTI.
 
Founded in 1981, the ABA serves as a forum for advancing the cause of the banking industry and promote regional economic cooperation across the continent.
 
With around 80 members from 25 countries, the association holds conferences on issues of concern to the banking sector, policy advocacy discussions, and training programmes.
 
The this year’s summit will discuss the impact of the ongoing global downturn on the outlook of the Asian economies; economic consequences of the Brexit in March 2019 on Asia, the America-first policy of the Trump administration; implications of fintech on banks, among others.
 
Some of the key foreign speakers at the event include ADB’s Noritaka Akamatsu, Chikahisa Sumi of IMF and Cheng Cheng-Mount of Financial Supervisory Commission of Taiwan.
 
12. Andhra Pradesh hosting its first ever hot-air balloon festival.
 
The Araku valley near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh is all set to host the first edition of its Hot Air Balloon Festival. Starting on Tuesday, the three-day-long event will see participation from the US, Switzerland, Japan, Malaysia and Taiwan, among the 13 participating countries.
 
The Hot Air Balloon festival is being organsied to promote tourism. Known for its coffee plantations, rich cultural heritage and stunning waterfalls, Araku valley is a known destination on the country`s tourist map. 
 
But a number of people are concerned about the safety issues, mostly about the possibility of accidents. 
 
Samit Garg, CEO of E-Factor and SkyWaltz that has organised the festival in association with Andhra Pradesh Tourism, clarified that although hot air balloons can reach a maximum height of 50,000 feet above the sea level, the air traffic regulations only permit them to fly up to 2,500 feet. 
 
"Many people are scared of trying it but it is a very safe and secure medium. There is no motor or engine in it so there are no chances of technical failure. Only the bad weather is sometimes a hinderance," Garg added. 
 
Garg also said that the craze for hot air balloons in India is increasing by about 25% every year and that more and more people are enthusiastic to try it out. He also said that Jaipur is known as the capital of hot air balloons in India and that almost 30-40 people fly daily. 

13. Union Government Bio-toilets to be installed in all trains by 2018-end.

The target of 100 per cent completion of installing bio-toilets in the Indian Raiways coaches has been advanced to December 2018, said an official here on Wednesday.

"Under the dynamic guidance of Minister of Railway Piyush Goyal, the target for 100 per cent completion of installing bio-toilets in coaches has been advanced to December 2018," said Ravindra Gupta, Member (Rolling Stock), Ministry of Railway.

Gupta was speaking at a event organised here to highlight Railway Ministry`s efforts towards a low-carbon pathway and overall sustainable mobility initiatives in the Indian transport sector.

On the occasion, other senior officials also called for a need for increasing role of renewables in the railways to achieve net decarbonisation.

14. Indian Peacekeepers awarded UN medal for dedicated service in South Sudan.

Indian peacekeepers in South Sudan have been putting the high effort in the conflict-torn region of South Sudan.

Their dedication for peace has been awarded by United Nations. More than 1000 Indian peacekeepers have been awarded the United Nations medal for their dedicated service and sacrifice.

The Medals were also presented to 268 members of the Indian Horizontal Maintenance Engineering Company (HMEC), 50 personnel providing medical care for UN staff at the Level II Hospital, and 18 members of the Force Signal Unit.

15. Union Government Launched Bharat 22 ETF.

The government will launch the ‘Bharat 22’ exchange traded fund (ETF) managed by ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund, on Tuesday, targeting an initial amount of about Rs8,000 crore. The new fund offer will be open for subscription till 17 November and a discount of 3% is being offered to all categories of investors.

“While our initial issue size for Bharat 22 ETF is Rs8,000 crore, we can also consider going beyond looking at the response in the market,” said Anuradha Thakur, joint secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) in the ministry of finance.

The ETF is part of the government’s overall disinvestment programme, and mirrors the S&P BSE Bharat 22 Index, which comprises select companies from the CPSE (central public sector enterprises) universe, stakes held under the Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI), and state-run banks.

“While 39% of the index is in private sector companies, 61% is in government companies, which all have been handpicked by us,” Nimesh Shah, managing director and chief executive officer, ICICI Prudential Asset Management Co. Ltd, said at the press conference. The expense ratio of this ETF stands at 0.0095%, Shah said.

16. Indian Second-Highest Public Bingers in the World.

Binge watching in public is the new trend in India, and Indians are the second-highest public bingers in the world, just behind Mexico, according to a survey.

The survey, released by online streaming platform Netflix on Tuesday, shows how the majority of Indians are binge watching in public -- with 71 per cent more people doing so this year than the last, read a statement.

Indians are the second-highest public bingers in the world (88 per cent), just behind Mexico (89 per cent).

The survey was conducted by SurveyMonkey from August 24 - September 7, 2017 and based on 37,056 responses.

The sample was balanced by age and gender and representative of an adult online population who watch movies and TV shows via streaming services in public settings in the US, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.

The survey also highlights that one in two Indians stream or download movies and TV shows for their daily commute.

17. India to host Global Conference on Cyber Space for first time ever.

India, for the first time ever, is going to host the Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS), one of the world’s largest conferences in the field of Cyber Space and related issues, on 23 & 24 November 2017, at Aerocity, New Delhi. The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate the mega event, while Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs will deliver the keynote address in the Valedictory function.

Incepted in 2011 in London, second GCCS was held in 2012 in Budapest with focus on relationship between internet rights and internet security, which was attended by 700 delegates from nearly 60 countries. The third edition of GCCS was held in 2013 in Seoul with commitment to Open and Secure Cyberspace. The fourth version GCCS 2015 was held on April 16-17, 2015 in The Hague, Netherlands which saw participation from 97 countries.

Themed on Cyber4All: A Secure and Inclusive Cyberspace for Sustainable Development, this is the fifth edition of GCCS wherein international leaders, policymakers, industry experts, think tanks and cyber experts will gather to deliberate on issues and challenges foroptimally using cyber space. The overall goals of GCCS 2017 are to promote the importance of inclusiveness and human rights in global cyber policy, to defend the status quo of an open, interoperable and unregimented cyberspace, to create political commitment for capacity building initiatives to address the digital divide and assist countries, and to develop security solutions in a balanced fashion that duly acknowledge the importance of the private sector and technical community.

18. Abu Dhabi Award for APMDC.

The Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) here has bagged a prestigious international award given by Abu Dhabi, according to a press release issued by Managing Director Ch. Venkaiah Chowdhary.

He said in the release that the ADI PEC (Abu Dhabi Intl Petroleum Exhibition and Conference) Excellency in Energy Awards 2017 had adjudged the APMDC as the winner for the second position in the category of "social contribution in country value." Four organisations including APMDC were short-listed out of 485 applications from 38 countries and APMDC was adjudged as the runner-up after OMV.

The MD said APMDC was given the award for setting new benchmarks in the particular area which would further boost the performance of the corporation.

The award was received by T. Venkatesh, General Manager (Marketing), on Monday night.

19. Karnataka launches project to install WiFi facilities in gram panchayats.

Karnataka State Government unveiled an ambitious project to install Wi-Fi facility in all gram panchayats across the state.

During this year itself, Wi-Fi facility will be installed in 2500 gram panchayats.

The main objective of this project is to bridge the digital divide.

Through this project, each and every entrepreneur from the cities and towns across Karnataka, will be provides an opportunity to benefit from the enabling eco-system.

This project is a part of Karnataka State Government’s efforts to strengthen the Information Technology sector in the state.

20. Moody`s Upgrades India`s Sovereign Rating for First Time in 14 Years.

Moody`s Investors Service raised India`s sovereign rating for the first time since 2004, overlooking a haze of short-term economic uncertainties to bet on the nation`s prospects from a raft of policy changes by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The rupee, bonds and stocks rallied after the ratings firm upgraded India to Baa2 from Baa3 and said reforms being pushed through by PM Modi`s government will help stabilize rising levels of debt. That`s a one-level shift from the lowest investment-grade ranking and puts India in line with the Philippines and Italy.

"This is an overdue correction," PM Modi`s Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian told Bloomberg Quint, referring to the upgrade. "This is a recognition of India`s macro economic reforms. But it has also to be kept in mind that these are external factors. And the government will pursue its own reform agenda. And those will drive our economic development."

21. President Launches Schemes Worth Rs 3,455 crore in Jharkhand.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday launched, or laid the foundation stones of, various schemes entailing total expenditure of Rs 3,455 crore in Jharkhand to coincide with the state`s 17th Foundation Day.

Kovind launched the Rs 636-crore `Mukhyamantri Health Insurance Scheme` under which 57 lakh of the 68 lakh families in the state will benefit. Beneficiaries will get treatment costing Rs 2 lakh under the scheme. 

The President also kicked off the Rs 290-crore `108 Ambulance` service in the state. Kovind launched JOHAR (Jharkhand`s Opportunities for Harnessing Rural Development) schemes entailing expenditure of Rs 1,500 crore to help tribal and Dalit families double their incomes in four years. 

He also laid the foundation stones of two flyovers at Harmu and Kantatoli, which will cost Rs 490 crore. Earlier, Kovind arrived in Ranchi on Wednesday morning and paid tributes to freedom fighter Birsa Munda at the Birsa Chowk. 

The President had also tweeted tributes to Birsa Munda on his 142nd birth anniversary. "Tributes to freedom fighter and national hero `Dharti Aba` Birsa Munda... I am happy to be visiting Jharkhand on this day," the President had tweeted.

Jharkhand was created on November 15, the birthday of Birsa Munda who fought against the British.

Speaking after the launching of various schemes, the President said: "I am happy that Jharkhand is progressing as per its potential. Jharkhand has jumped to the top from bottom in ease of doing business." He recalled the sacrifice of freedom fighters from the present-day Jharkhand, including Birsa Munda, Sidhu Murmu, Kanhu Murmu, and others.

22. Union Minister India ended in polio disease and will use a similar intensified effort to end TB.

Union Ministry of Health Affairs JP Nadda reaffirmed India’s commitment to eliminating TB by 2025 at 1st WHO Global Ministerial Conference at Moscow, Russia.

The main aim is to strengthen and energize the discourse on TB and are perhaps the biggest window for global action on TB in the foreseeable future the Ministerial and High-Level meetings offer participating nations the potential.

The National Strategic Plan has four pillars to address the major challenges for TB control, namely Detect, Treat, Build and Prevent to eliminate TB.

Around 257 districts and screened over 30 million vulnerable persons and detected over 15,000 additional TB cases are treated for TB in urban slum areas through the urban health mission.

23. Union Cabinet approves Scientific and Technological Cooperation agreement between India and Belarus.

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved an agreement on Thursday between India and Belarus for Scientific and Technological Cooperation in the areas of science, technology and agriculture.

The Agreement was signed between Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (NASB). It was exchanged on September 12 during the visit of Belarus President H E Alexander Lukashenko.

The Agreement is aimed at identifying, assessing, developing and commercializing globally competitive technologies from India and Belarus.  It will support institutions in both the countries by way of research, technology transfers, exchange of visits and joint workshops leading to scientific and economic benefits.  

14. Maharashtra bans Plastic Bottles at Government Offices, Hotels.

The Maharashtra government, in a bid to become plastic-free state from March 2018, has banned packaged water bottles in Mantralaya and other government offices. Reports say, plastic bottles of mineral water have also been banned at hotels and the regulation will soon be imposed on restaurants.

Maharashtra Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam, while informing about the plan, said that a team will be sent to six Indian states of the country that have achieved plastic-free status, including Himachal Pradesh and Kerala, to study their model.

Following the golden rule – charity begins at home – the government first imposed the ban on packaged drinking water bottles at Mantralaya and other government offices where water is served in PET plastic bottles. “We should start from home (Mantralaya) and when we can implement it here, we can ask the others to follow,” a senior official was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

The minister, adding further, said that the government will make the use of the funds under the district and development committees (DPDC) to sensitise the public about the measure.

Earlier in 2005, the government had imposed ban on plastic bags less than 50 microns thick after 2005 deluge that claimed several lives in Mumbai and its subrubs. However, the implementation of the ban has not been up to the mark.

Another media report claims that the state government may eventually, ban the sale of milk packaged in polythene bags, asking dairies and manufacturers to shift to glass bottles or sell milk loose.

15. India and France Agree to Deepen Security Co-operation.

India and France have agreed to deepen security co-operation, bilaterally and in the multilateral fora, and strengthen strong commitment to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. 

Talking to reporters in New Delhi after holding delegation-level talks with Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France Jean Yves-Le Drain, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, both countries have vowed to get rid of the menace of terrorism. Mrs Swaraj also said, both countries have decided to further improve the defence and economic co-operation. She said, civil nuclear co-operation is an important pillar of the bilateral engagement.

In his press statement, the French Foreign Affairs Minister said, both countries are committed to save the earth through the Paris climate change agreement. He said, France will continue its partnership with India in areas such as smart cities and renewable energy adding that French President Emmanuel Macron to visit India early next year.

16. Maharashtra CM Fadnavis launches initiative to curb Childhood Obesity; Schools to get BMI Dialers to measure BMI.

18 November 2017 Current Affairs: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis launched a new initiative against childhood obesity, which will directly benefit over 6,000 children in Pune alone by making them aware of their Body Mass Index (BMI). 

As per the initiative, a BMI dialer will be given to the schools through which children will be able to know their BMI. India is the diabetes capital of the world and by 2025 is expected to be the second-largest country with childhood obesity, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The initiative was taken by Rotary Club of Koregaon Park with JT Foundation.

The s campaign will ensure that childhood obesity will not hamper the growth or development of our future generations.

This is a positive movement and the government will ensure support to spread this across Maharashtra.

17. Union Cabinet increases carpet area of houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.

The Centre on Thursday approved the enhancement of the carpet area of houses for the middle income group (MIG) category under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U). Under the MIG-I category, the carpet area of the houses has been enhanced from 90 sq.mtr to 120 sq.mtr, while under the MIG-II segment, it has been increased to 150 sq.mtr from the current 110 sq.mtr, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters while briefing them about the Union cabinet decisions.

Under the MIG-I category, a four-per cent interest subsidy is provided to the beneficiaries, whose annual income is between Rs. 6 lakh and Rs. 12 lakh, on a loan of up to Rs. 9 lakh.

Similarly, under the MIG-II category, the beneficiaries with an annual income of Rs. 12 lakh to Rs. 18 lakh get an interest subsidy of three per cent on a loan of up to Rs. 12 lakh.

Under the PMAY-U, the Centre aims to provide houses to all the urban poor by 2022. Currently, the shortage of houses is pegged at over 10 million in the urban areas.

18. Telangana and Patanjali Group join hands together to establish Food Park.

Telangana government inked an MoU with the Patanjali group with an aim to set up ‘Food Park’. The Patanjali Group will set up a large food park in Telangana with units for processing edible oil, fruit pulp and spices.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the Telangana government. Patanjali Group also expressed interest in developing indigenous seed varieties and animal feed value chain in the state.

The MoU between the Group and Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC) was signed at Haridwar in the presence of Baba Ramdev and Telangana Rashtra Samithi Member of Parliament K Kavitha.

The MP from Nizamabad was leading a delegation which included legislator Jeevan Reddy and TSIIC Managing Director EV Narsimha Reddy and others. She held talks with Baba Ramdev and Patanjali Group CEO Acharya Balakrishna.

Kavitha, daughter of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, made a presentation on the newly launched food processing policy and other progressive schemes of the state government. The Telangana team also briefed Patanjali`s top management on availability of raw material such as turmeric, chillies, maize and soybean.

Procurement opportunities for citrus fruits and other commodities were also discussed for various Patanjali products, said an official statement. Patanjali Group had committed an overall investment of more than Rs 10,000 Crore countrywide at World Food India organised by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries in New Delhi.

Baba Ramdev had even visited Telangana to explore opening Patanjali`s manufacturing units in the state. After being satisfied with the turmeric crops in the region and the government’s single window hassle-free policy, the MoU was finally signed.

Deliberations between the Patanjali Group and Nizamabad MP Kavitha to set up manufacturing units in Nizamabad had started in 2016.


 

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