National Current Affairs
National Current Affairs November 5th Week 2017.
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1. Hyderabad Metro announces its fares Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate on 28th November.

The Hyderabad Metro rail will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on 28 November. A stretch of 30km of the total 72km under the first phase will be launched and open for public use from the next day.

“The 30-kilometer stretch is the longest to be opened on inauguration among all metro projects in India,” said Telangana information technology (IT) minister and municipal administration minister K. T. Rama Rao on Saturday.

He along with other ministers, MLAs, and MPs undertook a trial run two day prior to the inauguration.

From 29 November onwards, the Hyderabad metro rail will be operational from 6am to 10pm, and the service might be extended to 11pm later based on feedback, said Rao. “This is one the largest innovating projects on a public private partnership mode. We have 57 trains and each of them have three coaches, which (automobile company) Hyundai has supplied,” he added.

On Saturday, as part of the trial run, Rao and other law makers along with journalist took a ride on the metro rail from the Nagole to the next few stops and back. The stretch of 30 kilometers which will be open to the public from 29 November will be from the Nagole to the Miyapur station, connecting three different parts of Hyderabad, while passing via the core city areas of Secunderabad, Ameerpet and Begumpet.

Passengers will have to get down and change trains at the Ameerpet metra station to reach Nagole from Miyapur (which falls in the Hi-tech city area) and vice-versa. The total first phase of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, stated Rao.

He added that the Hyderabad metro rail project will provide commuters with ‘smart cards’ for travel as an option, which will later to extended to other modes of public transport as well. The first phase will cover a total distance of around 72km across three corridors: Miyapur to LB Nagar, Jubilee Bus stand to Falaknuma and Nagole to Shilparamam.

“We are also developing 18 million square feet of commercial area for viability,” said Rao. The entire project is being built at a cost of over Rs14,132 crore.

The starting fare for the metro, for a distance up to 2km, has been fixed at Rs10 while the maximum fare, for more than 26km, is at Rs60.

2. Twelfth meeting of Standing Committee of Inter-State Council held in New Delhi.

The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the 12th meeting of the Standing Committee of Inter-State Council (ISC), here today. Addressing the meeting, Shri Rajnath Singh said that a number of steps have been taken in recent years by the Central Government to promote cooperative federalism. He said that the meeting of the Inter State Council, which was held in July, 2016, happened after a gap of 10 years.

Subsequent to that, meetings of the Standing Committee of the Inter-State Council are being periodically convened to lend speed and purpose to the process of harmonizing Center State relations, he said. He expressed satisfaction over the fact that the meetings of the Zonal Councils have now become regular and periodical.

He also said that our effort is to see that at least one meeting of all the Zonal Councils is convened annually. He mentioned that a number of important State-to-State and Centre-State issues that are raised at these meetings find resolution. In 2015 such 82 issues were resolved and 140 issues were resolved in 2016.

Rajnath Singh expressed satisfaction over the fact that the Inter State Council and the Standing Committee have been rejuvenated. He said that it is important for us to promote the spirit of cooperation with greater zest and zeal and expressed satisfaction over the deliberations held today in harmonious and congenial atmosphere for arriving at consensus on some complex issues that have been covered in the agenda notes.

The Home Minister said that Volumes-I & II were discussed during the eleventh meeting of the Standing Committee in April this year and Volumes-VI and VII will be discussed during the next meeting of the Standing Committee. Shri Rajnath Singh said that the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Punchhi Commission’s report will then be placed before the Inter-State Council, headed by the Prime Minister.

3. Punjab Government Notifies Ban on Truckers` Cartelisation.

The government today notified the `Punjab Goods Carriages (Regulation and Prevention of Cartelization Rules), 2017`, barring goods carriage operators from forming cartels in the state.

The move will help propel industrial and infrastructural investment by facilitating a favourable environment for industries and business houses to invest in the state, according to an official spokesperson.

The notification bars operators and permit holders of goods carriages, or any organisation/body of such individuals in any form, from forming a cartel denying freedom of choice to the consignors and consignees to engage the services of such operators or permit holders, he said.

It further provides that no operator or permit holder of Goods Carriages would compel or coerce any other operator or a permit holder of goods carriage to become a member or partner with him, or cause hindrance in the conduct of business by another operator or permit holder of goods carriage, he said.

It further lays down that no operator or permit holder would stop any other operator or a permit holder of goods carriage/consignor/consignee who wishes to pick up goods from any local areas, towns or cities within the State in the normal course of their business, as permissible under the terms and conditions of permit granted to them by the competent authority.

The notification also provides for police recourse and penalty in the form of suspension or cancellation of the permit in case of violation.

In case an operator or permit holder is hindered by another operator or permit holder in the conduct of business, he may make a complaint in writing to the Officer In-charge of the local Police Station, who shall ensure its safe passage.

Such an affected operator or permit holder of goods carriage/ consignor/ consignee may also make a written complaint to the designated authority who, after holding a preliminary enquiry, shall forward the complaint with the recommendation to the authority competent to issue permits to take action under section 86 of the Act for suspension or cancellation of the permit, as the case may be, he said.

In order to streamline the goods transport system, the notification provides for fixing of minimum and maximum fares and freights, from time to time, in respect of different kinds of goods carriers on a per kilometre. VSD MKJ

4. India and Greece sign Air Services Agreement.

ndia and Greece on Monday signed an air services agreement and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of new and renewable energy, officials said.

The agreement was signed in New Delhi between India`s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her visiting Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias.

The two top diplomats held detailed discussions on all aspects of the bilateral relationship.

The pacts were inked after talks between the two sides, India`s state-run broadcaster All India Radio reported.

"They also re-affirmed commitment to further expanding cooperation in mutually beneficial spheres," the report said.

Kotzias arrived here Saturday night on a three-day visit to India.

5. Union Government launches intensive program to train Elected Women Representatives of PRI.

(UNI) In a major push towards women empowerment, the Women and Child Development Ministry on Monday launched an intensive training programme for elected women representatives (EWRs) of the Panchayati Raj Institutions and Master Trainers aimed at training about 25,000 EWRs covering nearly 50 EWRs from each district by March 2018. 

Launching the programme here, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi said this was a historic step since for the first time ever an initiative of this scale has been taken up to train EWRs who will go out and administer the villages professionally. 

`It is regrettable that not many women sarpanches and EWRs come forward to take up their responsibilities and mostly allow their husbands to take the lead. So, they remain ‘sarpanchanis’ in name only,` the minister lamented.

Women’s representation in local governments could make a difference with their prime focus on development issues like health, education and livelihood, she said and expressing optimism that many such women representative `may start as proxy representatives but with adequate knowledge and capacity they have been able to evolve into pro-active people’s representatives`.

6. One Hundred and Fifteen Backward Districts in India to be Transformed by 2022.

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s vision to create a "New India" over the next five years, the government on Friday said it had identified 115 backward districts for rapid transformation by 2022.

Senior level government officials, at the rank of Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary, have been nominated as `Prabhari` officers for each district, an official statement said.

A detailed briefing of these officials was held under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha on Friday, which was also attended by secretaries of important Central ministries.

In his keynote address, Sinha expressed confidence that nominated officers would accept this challenge and succeed in their mission.

Terming this as an important initiative to make a difference in the lives of millions of citizens in these districts, he advised the Prabhari officers to immediately form a team with state representatives and bring convergence in their effort.

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant emphasised that for dramatic improvement in Human Development Index, transformation of these backward districts was urgently required.

He said the government was committed to make all round efforts to achieve these objectives in partnership with states.

Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba said if these districts were transformed, there would be tremendous improvement in security environment of the country.

He said while 35 districts have been selected on the basis of reported violence by Left Wing Extremists, 55 districts are affected by Left Wing Extremism and another 15, including districts in Jammu and Kashmir and northeast, are affected by terrorism.

7. Health Ministry Wins Bronze Medal at the India International Trade Fair 2017.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been awarded the Bronze Medal for its creative and informative display at the 37th India International Trade Fair 2017 being held at Pragati Maidan, here today. The award was presented by Shri C R Chaudhary, Minister of State (Commerce and Industry) at a function organized to award the winners. Smt. Vandana Gurnani, Joint Secretary (RCH, IEC) at the Health Ministry received the award on behalf of the Ministry. Shri L C Goyal, CMD, ITPO and senior officers of the Ministry were also present at the function. 

The Health Ministry pavilion highlighted programmes and initiatives of the Health Ministry such as Mission Indradhnaush for expanding full immunization coverage, introduction of new vaccines, Pradhan Mantri Matritva Suraksha Yojana (PMSMA), Mothers Absolute Affection (MAA) for encouraging breastfeeding, Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) for strengthening the tertiary health sector. Jansankhya Sthirta Kosh (JSK) also participated in the exhibition through a unique selfie corner which encouraged couples to adopt small family norms. It created awareness about various schemes for population stabilization through nukkad natak and street plays at Pragati Maidan. The Ministry of AYUSH also participated to inform and educate people about the traditional systems of medicine. Live yoga demonstration by students of the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga and Naturapathy was also conducted every day to popularize yoga among the visitors. Free health check-up was provided at the pavilion by CGHS doctors. 

Three Swasthya Chetna camps were also organized by the Health Ministry for providing free of cost health check-up, counseling and referral. AYUSH doctors provided counseling along with doctors from the Central Government hospitals at these camps. More than 62,000 people have visited these health camps during this fortnight. 

8. Trump Tower Launched in Kolkata.

The iconic Trump Tower comprising 140 ultra-luxury apartments has been launched in Kolkata and its Indian developers are expecting to garner around Rs700 crore in sales from this project.

Realty firms Unimark Group, RDB Group and Tribeca Developers have already sold about 50% units since the project was soft-launched in mid-October. The starting price is Rs3.75 crore for a 2,500 sq ft size flat. This is the third Trump Tower to be launched in India.

The Trump Organization — founded by US President Donald Trump — already has Trump-branded project in Pune partnering Panchshil Realty. It tied up with Lodha group in 2014 for housing project in Mumbai.

“We will be developing about 130-140 units in this Trump tower. The construction work has already started and the project will be delivered in mid-2020,” Tribeca Developers managing partner Kalpesh Mehta told PTI. Asked about the project cost, he declined to disclose the number but said the construction cost would be around Rs7,000 per sq ft in this project.

On sales, Mehta said the response has been very good and the company has sold 50% of the unit within one month. Mehta said the company would soon increase the price by 15%. On sales realisation, he said: “We expect to generate about Rs700 crore from this project. There was a big gap in the super-luxury residential segment of Kolkata, with no branded luxury developments. Despite a price increase, we anticipate a complete sell-off of the development in the next 6-12 months,” Mehta said.

Harsh Patodia, chairman and managing director of Unimark Group, said, “We always believed that the product and the Trump brand would do well in Kolkata, but this has surpassed even our best estimates.”

Vinod Dugar of RDB Group said: “The global appeal of the Trump brand along with the absolute best product offering performed extremely well for us.” Tribeca, Unimark and RDB partnered last year to build this Trump tower, which is located on EM Bypass, the city’s main arterial road and has some of the finest luxury hotels of Kolkata in its neighbourhood.

Tribeca is a boutique branded real estate developer. It has worked with the Trump brand for the last seven years. Unimark is one of the leading real estate developers in Kolkata, while RDB Group has interests in many businesses including real estate and infrastructure.

9. Odisha Launches Rs 96-crores scheme to Increase Fish Production.

 Odisha government today launched a scheme to boost fish production in the state with a budgetary provision of Rs 96 crore.

The Fish Pond Yojana scheme was launched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, while inaugurating a workshop on Doubling of Farmer Income through Dairy and Allied Farming Practices here.

"The scheme aims to create additional 2,200 hectare of fresh water aquaculture farming with 50 per cent financial assistance to farmers," Patnaik said.

Stating that various services in the fisheries sector are also being made online today, he sought active participation of women self-help groups (WSHGs) and fisheries cooperatives in taking advantage of different schemes launched by the government.

The chief minister said annual fish production in Odisha has increased from 2.60 lakh tonne to more than 6 lakh tonne in the last 17 years.

"As per the latest survey of government of India, Odisha is the only state in the country to have doubled farmers income in real terms over a decade," Patnaik said.

Milk production per day, too, has seen a quantum jump from 24 lakh litre in 2000 to 54 lakh litre at present, he said, adding, egg production has seen a growth of more than 2.5 times.

The chief minister also inaugurated an animal ambulance service in Berhampur and Cuttack urban areas with a budgetary provision of Rs 1 crore, to provide emergency assistance to sick and injured animals. PTI AAM RBT SNP

10. Aegon Life Insurance Appoints Vineet Arora as MD and CEO.

In a recent announcement, Aegon Life Insurance has appointed Vineet Arora as managing director and chief executive officer, effective January 2018. Arora will replace K. S. Gopalakrishnan who left the company on November 17, 2017.

Arora has a long association with the ICICI Group. He held a number of roles in ICICI Securities and between 2002 and 2008, worked for ICICI Prudential Life Insurance in various sales related roles, rising to the role of senior vice president - bancassurance and alliances.

Since 2008, he has helped build a profitable multi-channel distribution business as the senior general manager and head of product, distribution, marketing and wealth management at ICICI Securities.

Arora holds a Bachelor`s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Delhi College of Engineering, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management, with a specialisation in finance and marketing, from the Xavier Institute of Management in Bhubaneswar.

11. Russia to help India to set up National Crisis Response Centre.

Russia will assist India to set up a national crisis management centre in the country to handle disaster and other emergency situations. This was agreed during a meeting between Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov in Moscow today.

Both sides agreed that EMERCOM of Russia would cooperate with India in the establishment of the National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) in India, an official statement said.

Mr Singh held detailed discussions with Mr Puchkov on cooperation in disaster management. They reviewed the progress made on the agreement on disaster management signed in 2010.

They also agreed on a programme of training of specialists and sharing of each other`s experiences as well as best practices in the field of Disaster Management, the statement said.

The two leaders later signed a joint implementation plan for 2018-19 for cooperation in disaster management.

Mr Singh also met Nikolai Patrushev, secretary, Security Council of Russian Federation yesterday. During the meeting, both sides reinforced their determination to further strengthen their cooperation in the sectors of security and counter-terrorism.

They also reviewed the implementation of the agreement on information security signed in October 2016. Both sides also welcomed the ongoing cooperation and the regular exchange of visits between the two National Security Councils.

During his three-day visit to Russia, Mr Singh will visit the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation and hold talks with its Director Alexander Bortnikov. Later, he will attend a reception organised by the Indian community.

12. Health Ministry and ICMR launch India Hypertension Management Initiative.

The initiative will focus on reinforcing hypertension management and monitoring at primary health care level. It is in line with national guidelines and with the WHO`s Global Hearts Initiative.

On Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday launched an initiative ‘India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI)’ which aimed at reducing cardiovascular disease-related deaths and disability in the country.

In collaboration with the Department of Health Research (DHR) and the Indian Council of Medical Research ICMR) the initiative was launched, as reported by PTI. The initiative will focus on reinforcing hypertension management and monitoring at primary health care level. It is in line with national guidelines and with the WHO’s Global Hearts Initiative.

In India, around 200 million adults suffer from high blood pressure according to an official statement by the health ministry. But only a quarter of the population with hypertension in the rural areas are aware of their condition, study suggest. The study also stated that the risk factors for stroke and heart attack are increasingly prevalent in every state.

And in urban areas only 20 percent people have their blood pressure under control and 40 percent of the population with hypertension are aware of their condition.

IHMI aims at strengthening the cardiovascular disease component of the government’s National Program for Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) according to the statement.

The ICMR, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and IHME’s ‘India: Health of the Nation’s States’ report published this month, mentions that every state now suffers from a higher burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries than infectious diseases.

Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Secretary, DHR and Director-General, ICMR said, “Hypertension is the single biggest risk factor for heart attacks and stroke in India and often detected only after the occurrence of deadly complications.”

She also added, “This initiative will enable state governments working alongside the other IHMI partners to improve treatment for hypertension and achieve our shared goal of reducing deaths due to cardiovascular disease.”

With specific targets to be achieved by 2025, including a 25 percent reduction in overall mortality due to cardiovascular diseases the government has adopted a national action plan for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.

13. India and Italy ink pact to deepen cooperation in health sector.

 India and Italy today inked six pacts to boost cooperation in key sectors, including energy and trade, after detailed talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni on ways to strengthen ties and countering terrorism.

They also called on all countries to work towards rooting out terrorist safe havens, their infrastructure and networks and halting cross-border movement of terrorists, a joint statement issued after the meeting said, in a veiled reference to Pakistan.

Addressing a joint media event with Gentiloni, Modi said they discussed wide-ranging issues, including the challenges posed by terrorism and cyber crimes, while agreeing to enhance cooperation to counter them.

Modi also noted that there was a huge potential for enhancing India-Italy trade ties.

"India and Italy are two large economies, and the respective strengths of our economies provide us ample opportunities to strengthen our commercial cooperation. There is a lot of potential for our bilateral trade of about USD 8.8 billion to grow much further," he said.

Modi also stressed that there was a lot of scope for Italian companies to participate in the flagship programmes of the government such as Smart Cities and cooperate in areas like food processing, pharma and infrastructure.

After the Modi-Gentiloni meeting, the two sides signed six pacts to deepen cooperation in the fields of railways sector safety, energy and promoting mutual investments, among others.

On his part, Gentiloni said good relations between the two nations provide major opportunities for companies and scientific cooperation. Italy, he said, looks with great interest at India with regard to investment.

Italy is Indias fifth largest trading partner in the EU with a bilateral trade of USD 8.79 billion in 2016-17, as per official figures.

Indias exports to Italy were at USD 4.90 billion, while its imports were at USD 3.89 billion, resulting in a trade imbalance of about USD 1 billion in favour of India. In the first four months of fiscal 2017-18, bilateral trade has reached USD 3.22 billion.

"In addition to bilateral issues, we also exchanged views on regional and global issues. In todays world, we face new challenges and threats every day," Modi said.

"We discussed in detail some of the emerging security challenges facing the world. We are both committed to fight terrorism in all its forms, and to strengthen our cooperation in cyber security," he said.

The two sides agreed to strengthen the consultation mechanism through regular exchange of assessments and information, training and capacity building programmes in the sphere of counter terrorism.

The leaders also resolved to enhance cooperation to take "decisive and concerted actions" against the al-Qaeda and ISIS, the joint statement said.

Noting that Italy has been a partner in the field of science and technology, Modi said both countries were keen to boost cooperation in this sector.

Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on Gentiloni and discussed issues of mutual interest, ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

Gentilonis visit is the first prime ministerial trip from Italy in more than a decade.

The India-Italy diplomatic ties took a hit after two Italian marines -- Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone -- on board a ship named Enrica Lexie, were arrested for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012.

Italy claimed the ship was in international waters and that only the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) should apply. It also moved the international court.

While Latorre returned to Italy in September 2014 following an order of the Supreme Court issued on health grounds, Girone was allowed to go in May 2016.

They are now in Italy, pending the verdict by the arbitration court at the Hague. The India-Italy diplomatic row also impacted the European Unions relationship with India.

The two sides also released a logo to commemorate the 70 years of relations between the two countries. India and Italy will complete 70 years of diplomatic ties in March next year.

14. DAC approves procurement of new radio technology for Indian Navy.

The Defence Ministry today approved procurement of 260 naval communication sets at a cost of Rs 490 crore to ramp up surveillance on the high seas.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, defence ministry sources said.

It will be the first batch of indigenously designed and developed "software defined" radio sets, they said, adding the gadgets will improve information sharing through secure voice communications and data transfer on board the naval ships.

The cost of 260 communication sets will be Rs 490 crore and they will replace the old sets, the sources said.

The DAC, the defence ministry`s highest decision making body on procurement, has also reviewed various acquisition programmes.

15. Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate HT Leadership Summit in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Thursday inaugurate the 15th edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, which will see luminaries such as former US President Barack Obama and Afghanistan chief executive Abdullah Abdullah give their perspectives on India’s rise on the global stage.

The summit is being hosted against the backdrop of a host of reforms such as the Goods and Services Tax, the potential benefits of which have been acknowledged in a sovereign ratings upgrade by Moody’s. India’s growing economic clout has also translated into diplomatic victories that are transforming the traditional equations of geopolitics. India recently saw its nominee to the International Court of Justice re-elected as a judge while the United Kingdom had to withdraw its candidate.

For 14 years now, the summit has been a platform for revolutionary ideas: from a unified currency for SAARC countries, suggested by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003, to the announcement of the odd-even car rationing system in Delhi by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in 2015.

This year’s summit should be no different. Deliberating a theme ripe with possibilities, “The Irreversible Rise of India”, are speakers and panelists who cannot only suggest but also influence and implement change. Finance minister Arun Jaitley, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, actor Salman Khan and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath are among the speakers at the summit.

16. Chhattisgarh Government bans Bursting of Firecrackers in Six of its Cities.

The Chhattisgarh government has ordered a ban on bursting fire crackers in six of its cities, including the state capital –Raipur, ahead of the wedding season from December 1 to January 31.

The Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board said the ban will be implemented every year during the period to curb pollution in the state.

 “The decision has been taken by the Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board to control pollution and hence came up with the order of banning bursting of crackers in six big cities from December 1 to January 31 every year,” said a statement by the Environment Conservation Board.

Besides Raipur, other cities, which have been banned from bursting firecrackers, include Bilaspur, Bhilai, Durg, Raigarh and Korba.

The decision was taken under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981 by the state government.

Principal Secretary of the Environment Board Aman Singh Kumar through video conferencing with the District Collectors, Police authorities, along with prominent ministers and authorities asserted that there will be “zero tolerance policy” against pollution and hence everyone should work together on it.

“Pollution increases in the state during winters due to the direction of the wind, which is why the decision was taken,” the press release stated.

The decision comes in wake of state Chief Minister Raman Singh and PWD Minister Rajesh Munat`s orders to keep the pollution level under control.

“The initiatives taken by the chief minister to curb pollution has brought it under control,” it added. — ANI.