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National Current Affairs
Cabinet approves setting up of National Nutrition Mission
The Union Cabinet approves setting up of National Nutrition Mission (NNM) with three year budget of 9046.17 crore rupees commencing from 2017-18.
- The NNM, as an apex body under Ministry of Women and Child Development will monitor, supervise, fix targets and guide nutrition related interventions across the Ministries.
- It will monitor various schemes contributing towards addressing malnutrition.
- It will incentivize states/UTs for meeting the targets.
- It will also incentivize Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) for using IT based tools. It will eliminate registers used by AWWs.
- It will introduce measurement of height of children at the Anganwadi Centres (AWCs). It will aid to conduct Social Audits.
- It will set-up Nutrition Resource Centres, involving masses through Jan Andolan for their participation on nutrition through various activities.
- MMM through set targets will strive to reduce level of anemi, stunting, under-nutrition and low birth weight babies.
- It will also create synergy, issue alerts for timely action, ensure better monitoring, and encourage States/UTs to perform, supervise Ministries and States/UTs to achieve targeted goals.
Cabinet approves MoU between India and Italy for cooperation in Agriculture and Phytosanitary issues
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Italy for cooperation in Agriculture and Phytosanitary issues.
- The MoU provides for cooperation in the fields of Phytosanitary issues, agricultural production and a wide range of other sectors including animal husbandry, agricultural research, food processing and other additional fields as may be mutually decided by both the sides.
- The MoU has provision for exchange of information on the situation of agriculture and rural development, strengthening of technical exchange and production cooperation in respect of agricultural mechanization/farm machinery and agro-industrial infrastructures, removal of technical barriers and exchange experiences in animal husbandry sector including modern scientific researches and technologies etc.
- The MoU provides for setting up of a Joint Working Group in order to promote bilateral exchanges in the field of agriculture, consider long-term initiatives for agricultural cooperation, and promote cooperation in order to reduce phytosanitary risks in exported goods also through the definition of specific joint procedures.
- It will encourage and facilitate contacts between governmental agencies, scientific and academic institutions and business communities of both countries and promote further cooperation between the respective research institutes of the two countries.
Cabinet approves investment cooperation and facilitation treaty between India and Brazil
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing and ratification of the Investment Cooperation and Facilitation Treaty (ICFT) between India and Brazil.
- The Treaty will result in increase of investment flows between the two countries.
- The ICFT between India and Brazil will provide appropriate facilitation to Brazilian investors in India and Indian investors in the Brazil.
- It is likely to increase the comfort level and boost the confidence of investors by assuring a level playing field and non-discrimination in all investment facilitation matters, thus providing conducive investment climate to investors.
- It would help project India as a preferred Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) destination to all Brazilian investors
Cabinet approves transfer of landed assets owned by Hindustan Vegetable Oils Corporation Ltd. to Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for transfer of all land assets owned by Hindustan Vegetable Oils Corporation Ltd (HVOC) to Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) or its authorized agency for appropriate utilization/ disposal.
- In lieu of the transfer of the land assets of HVOC, complete liabilities of HVOC towards loans taken from the Government including interest would be written off.
- The Government shall also take care of all contingent liabilities of HVOC that may arise in future due to pending cases in various courts/tribunals/authorities.
- The land located in seven cities are lying unutilized for many years. The transfer of the properties to MoHUA would enable use of the land for public purpose.
- This will facilitate early winding up of HVOC, which is a sick PSU under liquidation.
Rajnath Singh releases NCRB Publication Crime in India 2016- Statistics
On November 30, 2017, Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh released ‘Crime in India – 2016’ published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
- Number of Murder cases across India decreased by 5.2% from 2015-16. In 2015, 32127 cases were reported, which reduced to 30450 cases in 2016.
- Number of cases under Rioting decreased by 5% in 2015-16. In 2016, 61974 cases were reported as compared to 65255 cases in 2015.
HUA approves construction of over 1 lakh more houses for urban Poor
Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) has approved the construction of additional 1.12 lakh affordable houses for urban poor under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), PMAY (U)Centre to build 1 crore houses under PMAY-G by 2019.
- This decision was taken at the 28th meeting of the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC), held in New Delhi on November 29, 2017.
- Construction of these additional houses will entail an investment of Rs 8105 crore, out of which, Central Government will provide an assistance of Rs 1681 crore.
- Including these 1.12 lakh houses, total number of houses sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) has reached 30.52 lakh.
- Under PMAY(U), the government has set a target to provide houses to all urban poor by 2022.
Core sector grows 4.7% in October 2017
According to index of eight core industries released by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Core sector growth has grown 4.7% in October 2017, matching September 2017 growth, which has been revised down from 5.2%.
- This is the highest core sector growth since March 2017. April-October 2017 growth stood at 3.5%, down from 5.6% in the corresponding period last year.
- The eight core sectors — coal, natural gas, crude oil, refinery products, cement, fertilisers, steel and electricity — had clocked a growth of 7.1% in October 2016.
- However, in October 2016, right core sectors grew at slower pace, chiefly due to subdued performance of cement, steel and refinery segments.
- Steel production rose 8.4% and was followed closely by refinery products that reported 7.5% growth.
- Coal output grew 3.9% in October 2017 against 10.4% in September 2017. Cement production fell 2.7% against 0.1% rise in September 2017. Crude oil production also fell 0.4% in October 2017.
Ajeya Warrior-2017: Indo-UK combined military exercise held in Rajasthan
The Combined Military exercise ‘Ajeya Warrior- 2017’ between India and the UK was held at Mahajan Field Firing Range near Bikaner of Rajasthan.
- It was third joint military exercise between India and UK.
- The first exercise was conducted in 2013 at Belgaum, Karnataka and second exercise was held in 2015 in UK.
- The objective of this exercise is to increase mutual cooperation and coordination between two countries.
- Both armies will learn and share from each other’s experiences.
- About 120 Army personnel from both armies participated in exercise. 20 Rajputana Rifles unit of Indian Army and first battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment of UK Army had participated in the exercise.
- The 14-day exercise was conducted in multiple modes nodules in order to achieve complete integration between two contingents at every stage.
- The exercise provided field commanders and troops and opportunity to interact with each other in matters professional, social and cultural.
PM Modi inaugurated HT Leadership Summit in New Delhi
On November 30, 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS) 2017 in New Delhi.
- The theme of this summit is “The Irreversible Rise of India”.
- During the summit, eminent world leaders like former US President Barack Obama and Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah shared their perspectives on India’s rise in the world.
- Other speakers at the summit included, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Bollywood Actor Salman Khan and Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani.
- HT Leadership Summit is being held annually since last 14 years and has served as a platform for revolutionary ideas.
West Bengal becomes first state in India to setup green university
On November 30 2017, A bill named ‘West Bengal Green University Bill 2017’ has been passed in West Bengal Assembly to set up an environmental studies university at Hooghly district.
- State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee tabled the Bill in Assembly and West Bengal becomes the first state to have a university dedicated to environmental studies.
- Two other bills were also passed to establish the Purba Medinipur University and the Jhargram University.
Telangana announces WE-Hub for women entrepreneurs, Rs. 15-cr fund for women
On November 30 2017 during the end of 3-day mega Global Entrepreneurship Summit – 2017, Telangana Minister for IT and Industries KT Rama Rao stated that 3 initiatives for women entrepreneurs including setting up ‘We-Hub’ on the lines of T-Hub and also to create Rs 15 crore fund.
- CEO of NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant along with Telangana Government announced it will back the proposed WE-Hub with funds under the Atal Innovation Mission.
- Minister also informed about a plan to change in procurement policy of the mandated 20 percent purchases from SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) sector.
- T-Hub is a partnership between the government of Telangana with three of India’s premier academic institutes (International Institute of Information Technology-Hyderabad, Indian School of Business and the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research) and key private sector leaders. It is simply called as Public-Private partnership.
President of India inaugurates Hornbill Festival and State Formation Day celebrations of Nagaland – Dec. 1
On Dec.1 2017, Shri Ram Nath Kovind , the President of India inaugurated the Hornbill Festival and State Formation Day celebrations of Nagaland in Kisama.
- The Hornbill Festival at Kisama and the International Music Festival represent the diversity of Naga society.
- Hornbill Festival will be celebrated every year from 1 – 10 December, in Nagaland, Northeast India. It is also called the ‘Festival of Festivals’. The aim of the festival is to revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland and display its extravaganza and traditions.
- Festival includes an important event, traditional Naga Morungs exhibition and the sale of arts and crafts, food stalls, herbal medicine stalls, flower shows and sales, cultural medley – songs and dances, fashion shows, the Miss Nagaland beauty contest, traditional archery, Naga wrestling, indigenous games, and musical conce
India-Spain ink Techno-commercial agreement for three RRTS corridors
India and Spain have signed Techno-commercial agreement to provide institutional mechanism for mutual cooperation in field of urban transport and for construction of the three Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS).
- Three RRTS corridors Delhi-Meerut Smart Line, Delhi – Panipat Smart Line and Delhi – Alwar Smart Line have been prioritised for implementation in the first phase.
- RRTS is first of its kind project in India, with design speed of 180 kmph. It will use state-of-the-art technologies for track structure, rolling stock and signalling system.
- The three RRTS corridors will significantly reduce travel time between important NCR towns. On completion, RRTS will emerge as fastest, comfortable and safe mode of transport in NCR.
- Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor will be first corridor to be implemented for which pre-construction activities including geo-technical investigations, detailed design, utility shifting planning and traffic diversion planning are in progress.
- The agreement will enable availability of technical advice on specific issues, besides providing training and collaboration in technical areas of track, signalling, rolling stock, multi-modal integration, safety, station design etc.
- It will also provide institutional mechanism for mutual cooperation in field of urban transport and especially in implementation of RRTS project
Kathakar: International Storytellers Festival held in New Delhi
7th edition Kathakar: International Storytellers Festival was held at Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi.
- The partners for this edition of three day festival are IGNCA of Union Ministry of Culture in Delhi, Heritage Transport Museum, Gurugram and National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai.
- Kathakar is special initiative, to promote the oral storytelling tradition which has existed across the world.
- It is only oral storytelling festival in India. It is part of bigger initiative Ghummakkad Narain- the Travelling Literature Festival which was started under aegis of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2010. It aims to preserve art form and also create new audiences for the same.
22nd Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium held in New Delhi
The 22nd meeting of Board of Management (BOM) of Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) was held in New Delhi.
- It was chaired by Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh. Various activities of SFAC were reviewed during meeting.
- SFAC is an autonomous society promoted by Union Ministry of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare.
- Its fundamental objective is to link small farmers to agricultural value chain, which includes investments, technology and markets in association with private, corporate or cooperative sector.
- It also provides capital support in form of Venture Capital Assistance (VCA) and Project Development Facility (PDF) for economic inclusion of small and marginal farmers in agribusiness activities.
- It also promotes farmer producer organisations (FPOs) and their integration in agriculture value chain.
International Current Affairs
Sushma Swaraj attends SCO summit in Russia
On November 30, 2017, Union External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj visited Russian city of Sochi to attend the annual Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.
- Discussions at the SCO Summit focused on regional security scenario including the situation in the Gulf and Afghanistan.
- At the summit, India pressed for concerted regional and global efforts to contain terrorism.
- Ms Sushma Swaraj also held bilateral meetings with several leaders on the sidelines of the summit.
- It is to be noted that India had been an observer at the SCO since 2005. India along with Pakistan, became full members of SCO in June 2017.
USAID launches `Rajasthan Development Impact Bond
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced its first impact bond across the globe by launching ‘Rajasthan Development Impact Bond’.
- Mark Green, administrator of USAID stated that this aim of bond is to reduce the number of mother and baby deaths by improving the quality of maternal care in Rajasthan’s health infrastructure.
- ‘Utkrisht Impact Bond’- Utkrisht is the world’s first health impact bond, developed by partners including USAID, Merck for Mothers, the UBS Optimus Foundation, HLFPPT and PSI.
Banking & Finance
Market regulator SEBI enhances governance for Mutual Funds
In a bid to strengthen the governance structure for mutual funds, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has introduced a framework for the tenure of independent trustees as well as directors.
- An independent trustee and independent director of MF (mutual fund), AMC (asset management company) will hold office for a maximum of two terms. Each term should not exceed a period of five consecutive years.
- Such individuals will be eligible for re-appointment only after a cooling-off period of three years, during which, such individuals should not be associated with the concerned mutual fund, asset management company (AMC) in any manner.
- Existing independent trustees and independent directors have been permitted to hold office for a maximum of 10 years.
- Mutual fund should not appoint an auditor for more than two terms of maximum five consecutive years. Such auditor may be re-appointed after a cooling-off period of five years.
NSE group firm launches Nifty LargeMidcap 250 index
On November 30, 2017, India Index Services and Products Ltd (IISL) launched the Nifty LargeMidcap 250 Index. IISL is a subsidiary of National Stock Exchange (NSE).
- This index will track the performance of 100 large-cap and 150 mid-cap companies listed on National Stock Exchange (NSE).
- It is a diversified index in which equal aggregate weight has been assigned to large and midcap stocks.
- The base date for the index is April 1, 2005 and base value is 1000. Its composition will be reconstituted on a semi-annual basis.
- This index will be useful for investment community for tracking specific investable large and mid-cap category stocks.
Rs 1 currency note completes 100 years
On November 30, 2017, India’s 1 Rupee currency note completed 100 years.
- First Rupee 1 note was printed in England and was issued in India on November 30, 1917.
- It had an image of King George V (the then British monarch) imprinted on the left corner.
- During British Rule, currency notes were being issued in India since 1861. However, the Rupee 1 note was issued much later in 1917 to replace the silver coin that was used as Re1 coin. This change was implemented to use silver for making weaponry components during World War.
- In 1917, Rupee 1 was equal to 10.7 gms of silver.
- Until 1970, India’s Rupee 1 note was also used as currency in Persian and Gulf countries.
- Since its introduction in 1917, the Rupee 1 note has undergone 28 design changes.
Awards & Recognition
Lipstick Under My Burkha wins tve’s Global Sustainability Film award in London
On November 30 2017, In London “Lipstick Under My Burkha”, which explores womens sexuality, has bagged a top prize at the tve Global Sustainability Film Awards 2017.”
- Lipstick Under My Burkha” is produced by Prakash Jha and directed by Alankrita Shrivastava and stars Konkona SenSharma and Ratna Pathak Shah.
- Actor Gabriella Wright, also a film producer and philanthropist working for womens rights, received the award from Narula, on behalf of the filmmakers.
- The Founders Award for Sustainability on the Big Screen was introduced this year and sponsored by philanthropist Surina Narula.
Appointments & Resigns
Mary Kom resigns as boxing’s national observer
On December 1 2017, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had cleared that active sportspersons will not be considered for the boxing’s national observer position.
- Due to this, 35-year-old Olympic bronze-medallist and five-time world champion MC Mary Kom has resigned as the national observer for Indian boxing.
- In March 2017, Mary was among 12 national observers appointed by the former Sports Minister Vijay Goel.
- Olympic gold-medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra, double Olympic-medallist Sushil Kumar and former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Akhil Kumar was also included in this list among others.
Science & Technology
Google introduces ‘Datally’ app for quick data usage in real time
On November 30, Google launched Datally App to understand,control and save users mobile data themselves.
- Datally App available on the Google Play Store, will enable users to track their data usage in real time, and get personalized recommendations on saving data along with notifications of nearby available public Wi-Fi spots.
- Three things of Datally helps users:
- Understand your data: See your usage on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis and get personalized recommendations for how you can save more.
- Control your data: Turn on the Data Saver bubble to block background data usage and track real-time data usage .You can also block data with one tap if an app’s data usage gets out of control.
- Save your data: Datally will tell you if you’re near public Wi-Fi and help you connect.
Ankushita wins the ‘Best Boxer’ title in AIBA Women’s Youth World Championship
Ankushita Boro 17-year-old girl from Assam won ‘The Best Boxer title’ in AIBA World Youth Women’s Boxing Championship held in Guwahati.
- Ankushita Boro won the fifth gold with her bout against Russia’s Ekaterina Dynnik in the 64kg final.
- Four boxers from Haryana – Nitu in light flyweight (45-48 kg), Jyoti in flyweight (51 kg), Sakshi in bantamweight (54 kg) and Shashi Chopra in featherweight (57 kg) – won gold in the first four final bouts. Assam’s Ankushita Boro added the fifth in welterweight (64 kg) category.
- India also secured two bronze medals through Neha Yadav and Anupama in 81 kg weight category in this championship.
Pankaj Advani secures IBSF World Snooker C’ship title
Ace Indian cueist Pankaj Advani grabbed the title of IBSF World Snooker Championship at Al-Arabi Sports Club in Doha,Qatar. He defeated Iran’s Amir Sarkhosh in the finals and secured his 18th World Championship title.
Malayalam actor and mimicry artist Abi passes away
On November 30 2017, Popular Malayalam actor and mimicry artist Abi, 52 passed away at a Kochi hospital.
- He acted in many films but he well known in films like Mazhavil Koodaram, Kireedamillatha Rajakkanmar, Mimics Action 500, Aniyathipraavu and Rasikan.
- He gave voice of Amitabh Bachchan in Malayalam ads.
Freedom fighter Saraswati Tripathy passes away
On November 30 2017, Prominent Gandhian and freedom fighter Saraswati Tripathy , 89 passed away at Bhubaneswar ,Odisha.
- She was the wife of late freedom fighter Brundaban Tripathy is survived by four sons and a daughter. Saraswati Tripathy had met Mahatma Gandhi at Beraboi Ashram in Puri district and joined the freedom struggle.
- She was spending her lifetime by supervising the activities at Thakar Bapa Ashram at Balipadia village in Jajpur district .
Former India woman cricketer Sreerupa Mukherjee passes away
Former Indian women’s cricket team player and coach Sreerupa Mukherjee who was 65 years old had passed away.
- She was the first woman cricket selector from Bengal.
- She was also a well-known sports commentator for Doordarshan and All India Radio through mid 1980’s and till late 90’s.
- Sreerupa had played two One Day Internationals for India against New Zealand and was along time Bengal captain. She was also the cricket manager of the Indian women’s team during three World Cups — 1993, 1997 and 2000.
December 1: World AIDS Day
The World AIDS Day is celebrated every year all over the world on December 1 to raise the public awareness about Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome(AIDS). It also seeks to remember those who have died of the disease by mourning.
- The theme selected by World Health Organization (WHO) for year 2017 is ‘Right to health‘.
- Under it, WHO will highlight need for 36.7 million people living with HIV and those who are vulnerable and affected by the epidemic, to reach the goal of universal health coverage.
- Besides, WHO under slogan “Everybody counts” will advocate for access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines, including diagnostics and other health commodities.
- It will also ensure health care services for all people in need and that they are protected against financial risks.
52nd Raising Day of BSF observed
The Border Security Force (BSF), the biggest border guarding force in the world celebrated its 52nd Anniversary of Raising Day.
- Various cultural programmes were organised for BSF veterans and personnel during the Raising Day celebrations.
- BSF is the sentinels of Indian borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh. It came into existence on 1st December, 1965.
- It was created by merging various State Armed Police Battalions for achieving better coordinated synergy between border guarding functions in peace time and fighting war during eventuality on both Western and Eastern fronts.
- BSF is deployed on Indo-Pakistan International Border, Indo-Bangladesh International Border, Line of Control (LoC) along with Indian Army and in Anti-Naxal Operations.
- Since its inception, BSF has proven its credentials during various counter insurgency and anti-militancy operations, internal security duties, natural calamities etc.
World AIDS Day 2017 – December 1
World AIDS Day is observed on December 1 every year. This day is dedicated to spreading awareness about AIDS, which spreads due to infection from the virus called HIV. World Health Organization has marked this day as global public health campaign.
- According to CDC, in 2016, an estimated 36.7 million people worldwide were living with HIV, about 1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses, and 1.8 million people become newly infected with HIV.
- UNAIDS has launched a new report showing in 2000, just 685 000 people living with HIV had access to antiretroviral therapy. By June 2017, around 20.9 million people had access to the life-saving medicines.
- World Bank reveals that nations in the African cape have the highest prevalence of HIV as a percentage of the population. South Africa and Botswana have 18.9% and 21.9% of their respective populations infected with HIV. The corresponding value for India is 0.1%.