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National Current Affairs
Navika Sagar Parikrama - Tarini Enters Fremantle
INSV Tarini entered Fremantle (Australia) port on 23rd October during it’s maiden voyage to circumnavigate the globe. This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.
- The vessel is skippered by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, and the crew comprises Lieutenant Commanders Pratibha Jamwal, P Swathi, and Lieutenants S Vijaya Devi, B Aishwarya and Payal Gupta.
- The vessel has covered 4800 Nautical miles from Goa, crossing the Equator on 25 Sep 17 and the Tropic of Capricorn on 06 Oct 17.
- The expedition titled ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’, is in consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential.
- It also aims to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform and help revolutionise societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising visibility of their participation in challenging environs.
- The vessel would return to Goa in April 2018, on completion of the voyage.
Paika Bidroha to be named as 1st War of Independence
The Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar has announced that Paika rebellion (Paika Bidroha) of 1817 will be named as First War of Independence against British Rule in history books from next academic session.
- Earlier, 1857 Sepoy Mutiny was regarded as the First War of Indian Independence, but Paika Bidroha predates it.
- Paika Bidroha (rebellion)Paiks were traditional landed militia under Gajapati rulers of Odisha.
- At present, Paika Bidroha enjoys a cult status in Odisha but unfortunately it has received less attention at the national level.
TRAI recommends 40% reduction in carbon emission by 2022-23 for sustainable telecommunications
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended 40% reduction in carbon emissions in telecom networks by 2022-23 considering 2011-12 as the base year in order to make telecom sector greener.
- It was mentioned in TRAI’s recommendation to Department of Telecom (DoT) on approach towards sustainable telecommunications.
- The target for reduction in carbon emission will be set as 30% by year 2019-20 taking base year as 2011-12 and 40% by year 2022-23.
- The targets will be reviewed in year 2022-23. TRAI has set target of 5% by year 2012-2013, 8% by 2014-2015, 12% by 2016-2017 and 17% by 2018-2019 for carbon emission reduction.
- TRAI has suggested government to pass all benefits granted under various schemes for using renewable energy technologies (RET) to operators in order to encourage them to adopt clean energy alternatives.
- Further, it has recommended telecom operators to voluntarily adopt RET solutions, energy efficient equipments and high capacity fast charging storage solutions in order to meet target for reduction of carbon footprint.
- TRAI also has suggested that electricity generated by RET solutions funded or maintained by telecom operators should be subtracted from overall carbon emission of company, irrespective of its use.
- Furthermore, if DoT adopts recommendations, it should allow service providers to adopt a Voluntary Code of Practice encompassing energy efficient network planning, deployment of energy efficient technologies, infra-sharing and adoption of RET.
Andhra Government releases 3rd installment under Crop Loan Waiver Scheme
On 23rd October 2017, Agriculture Minister of Andhra Pradesh Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy announced the release of third installment under Crop Loan Waiver Scheme.
- In September 2017, the Andhra Pradesh Government, released Rs.3,600 crores for the third portion of the third installment, under Waiver Scheme in Andhra Pradesh.
- The amount will be deposited in the accounts of the farmers with additional 10 % interests. Andhra Pradesh Government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, has been giving the first preference to the farmers.
- According to Somireddy, the crop loan waiver is one of the promises of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) during its election campaign. However, the government came under criticism for not fulfilling its promise.
International Current Affairs
Nicaragua signs Paris climate agreement
On October 23, 2017, Central American country, Nicaragua officially signed the Paris climate change agreement and presented the relevant documents for the agreement at the United Nations.
- Paris climate agreement, adopted in December 2015, is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) through which member countries have committed to take steps for limiting global warming and thereby avoid dangerous climate change.
- Earlier, Nicaraguan Government did not sign the agreement arguing that the accord did not put sufficient onus on wealthy countries to tackle climate change and was not ambitious enough in its objectives.
- It is to be noted that Nicaragua has no oil and its government pursues a green energy policies. More than 50% of its electricity is produced by geothermic, wind, solar, biomass and wave power.
- Now as Nicaragua has signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement, US and Syria are the only countries who are not party to this agreement.
India gifts war memorabilia to Bangladesh
On 22nd October 2017, India gifted to the Bangladesh Prime Minister memorabilia of the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 when an estimated 10 million Bangladesh people took refuge in India and the two neighbours fought together to drive out the Pakistani occupation army.
- The memorabilia, handed over to Sheikh Hasina by visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, includes military equipment utilised by the joint forces of India and Bangladesh as well as a large number of artefacts and documents, including historical photographs, archival audio and video clippings, maps, battle records, newspaper clippings, documentary films.
- The collection is proposed to be displayed at the Bangladesh National Museum in Shahbagh and the Museum of Independence in Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka.
Banking & Finance
RBI sets up task force for India Public Credit Registry
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted high-level task force on public credit registry (PCR) for India.
- It will be chaired by Y M Deosthalee, former CMD of L&T Finance Holdings Ltd and will have nine other members.
- Public credit registry keeps extensive database of credit information that is accessible to all stakeholders.
- It helps good borrowers in securing credit at lowers costs and also improve access of credit to small and medium enterprises.
- It is mainly set up by central bank of the country for reporting of loan details to Registry by lenders and borrowers mandated by law. It mainly keeps records of individuals and firms on repayment history, unpaid debts, or credit outstanding.
- Currently, there are four credit bureaus in India — Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL), Experian, Equifax and CRIF Highmark. These bureaus are regulated by the RBI under the Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act, 2005.
RBI to make LEI must for companies with over Rs 5 crore exposure
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is set to make Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) compulsory for companies having aggregate fund-based and non-fund based exposure over Rs 5 crore.
- LEI is a unique 20 digit alphanumeric code that will be assigned to corporate borrowers.
- Banks will be required to acquire this number from the borrower and report it to the Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC) database. CRILC is a database in which details of loan above Rs 5 crore are maintained.
- On basis of LEI, banks will be able to monitor the aggregate exposure of corporate borrowers.
- Fetching loan details on basis of LEI, will prevent banks from extending multiple loans to companies against the same collateral.
- By the end of October 2017, RBI will release detailed instruction pertaining to requirement for obtaining LEI.
EEPC signs pact with PNB for export finance
Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) India, the premier trade and investment promotion body has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Punjab National Bank (PNB) to provide easy access to export finance to the exporters in India.
- Members of EEPC will be offered foreign currency loans and advisory support to financing projects through 200 authorised foreign exchange branches of PNB.
- Exporters can avail loans up to Rs 10 crore at competitive rates. Such loans will be processed within six to seven weeks after application.
- Exporters would also be provided with gold cards which would qualify them for additional benefits like quicker sanction and disbursal of loans.
- These facilities would first be offered only to EEPC members in eastern region and would be gradually extended to members of the other regions.
SBI ties up with Escorts to finance farmers for purchase of tractors
On October 23, 2017, India’s largest public sector bank, State Bank of India (SBI) announced that it has entered into a tie-up with Escorts Limited to finance farmers for the purchase of Escorts tractors.
- As per the terms of the tie-up, farmers across India, who wish to purchase Powertrac and Farmtrac brand tractors manufactured by Escorts, will be provided finance facility by SBI at competitive interest rates.
- In India, large number of small and marginal farmers are not able to take full benefit of farm mechanisation because of number of factors including low availability of finance.
- This tie-up will help a large number of small and marginal farmers as they will have access to necessary finance for the purchase of heavy duty tractors.
IndusInd Bank launches Cobrand App with MobiKwik
On October 23, 2017, IndusInd Bank and MobiKwik announced the launch of a co-branded wallet, “IndusInd Mobikwik”.
- IndusInd Mobikwik wallet allows IndusInd bank’s customers to pay at the MobiKwik merchant network using their accounts.
- This wallet has a ‘direct debit feature’ which allows IndusInd Bank account holders to link their accounts just once and pay using the co-branded app as and when required. This feature eliminates the need to load the MobiKwik prepaid wallet separately.
- 10 million customer of IndusInd bank will be able to use ‘IndusInd Mobikwik’ for hassle free digital payments.
- Mobikwik mobile payment platform has a network of over 20,00,000 direct merchants and has 65 million users.
Madhya Pradesh tops in digital initiatives: Report by Coeus Age Consulting
As per a report by Coeus Age Consulting, Madhya Pradesh has emerged as the top state in terms of digital initiatives undertaken by State Government. Coeus Age Consulting is an organisation which provides consultancy services on various aspects of digital economy.
- A comparative assessment of digital initiatives by 36 states and Union Territories was undertaken by Coeus Age Consulting.
- Comparative assessment indicates that a State/UT should not only be good but should be better than other states.
- The States/UTs were assessed and given scores on 109 key performance indicators placed under two broad scoring frameworks – Policy and Infrastructure Readiness (PIR) Score and Mission Mode Projects’ Performance (MMP) Score.
- Madhya Pradesh attained the maximum score of 100.1.
Awards & Recognition
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lieke Martens win FIFA player-of-the-year awards
Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has been named FIFA Men’s Player of the Year and Lieke Martens has been named FIFA Women’s Player of the Year.
- FIFA’s annual ‘The Best’ football award ceremony was held on October 23, 2017 in London, UK.
- Cristiano Ronaldo was adjudged best male footballer by securing 43.16% of the total vote.
- Male footballers Lionel Messi and Neymar received second and third highest votes respectively.
- With 21.72% votes, Lieke Martens of Netherlands national football team was adjudged best female footballer.
- Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid Club was awarded FIFA Best Men’s coach and Sarina Wiegman, manager of Netherlands women’s national football team was awarded Best Women’s Coach.
Meghalaya Election Department enters Limca Book of Records
On 24th October 2017, an official announced that, the Meghalaya Election Department has entered Limca Book of Records for the formation of the biggest human logo comprising young voters in the state.
- The logo formation was part of Mission Unite (U and I towards Enrolment) as part of the Special drive to enroll young and left out voters in the age categories of 18 to 21 years held in July 2017 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex.
- A total of 2,870 students, 113 schools, three colleges participated. The logo size was 120ft x 75ft. This has secured a place in the Limca Book of Records for the record on maximum number of enrolled young and future voters forming human logo formation in one single venue.
- Limca Book of Records official Garima Manon congratulated Meghalay Chief Electoral Officer Kharkongor. The Limca Book of Records will hand a certificate to Kharkongor by November 2017.
Appointments & Resigns
Government appoints Dineshwar Sharma as its representative in J&K
The Union Government has appointed former Intelligence Bureau (IB) Chief Dineshwar Sharma as its Representative (or special interlocutor) to initiate and carry forward sustained dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) with all stakeholders.
- In his new role, he will have rank equivalent to a Cabinet Secretary and complete independence in deciding who to hold talks with.
- As Government of India’s representative, Dineshwar Sharma will likely hold talks with elected representatives, various organizations and concerned individuals in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
- He will have dialogue with mainstream local political workers of PDP, National Conference and Congress, heads of various religious seminaries in Valley, local student unions etc.
- He will try to understand legitimate aspirations of the people of the state and to know how things are panning out on ground for and against India.
- Dineshwar Sharma is 1976 batch IPS officer of Kerala cadre. He has worked as mediator for talks with various insurgent groups based in Assam including the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). He had worked as director of IB include from 2014 to 2016. He had served as DIG of Border Security Force (BSF) and as IG of CRPF in charge of J&K.
IPPB appoints Suresh Sethi as its MD & CEO
Suresh Sethi has been appointed as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of India Post Payments Bank (IPPB).
- Suresh Sethi replaces AP Singh who had held the post since January 2017.
- As stated by Union Ministry of Communications, Suresh Sethi had been selected by the Banks Board Bureau. Several top heads from public and private sector banks as well as reputed finance professionals were vying for this post.
- Sethi has 27 years experience in Banking & Finance sector and has held senior level positions in Citigroup, YES Bank and Vodafone M-Pesa across India, Kenya, UK, Argentina and US.
- By capitalising on India Post’s extensive network, IPPB plans to have 650 operational branches across India by early next year.
Kanwaljit Singh Cheema appointed as principal secretary of BoA in Darjeeling
On 23rd October 2017, the West Bengal government appointed Kanwaljit Singh Cheema as the principal secretary of Board of Administrators (BoA) in Darjeeling.
- Kanwaljit Singh Cheema, who was the principal secretary of the Mass Education Extension and Library Service Department, has been appointed as principal secretary of the Board Of Administrators. The board was so far run by Barun Roy as an administrator.
- On 20th September 2017, BoA was formed in place of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration for Darjeeling hills with Binay Tamang as its chairman. The BoA is a nine-member board.
- Anoop Kumar Agrawal, principal secretary of the Planning, Statistics and Programme Monitoring Department would replace Cheema at the Mass Education Extension and Library Service Department.
- Main Jain, secretary of the state Tourism Department was given the additional charges of the Planning, Statistics and Programme Monitoring Department.
NS Venkatesh appointed AMFI chief executive
Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) has been hunting for a new CEO for quite some time after the former CEO Rajendran left while half way through in his tenure in the month of December.
- Almost after ten months, India’s mutual fund lobby, Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi) is set to get its chief executive officer (CEO) MR. NS Venkatesh.
- Before joining AMFI, Venkatesh served in Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) for over 19 years, where he held several senior positions, including that of chief financial officer and executive director.
- He was also working as the executive director at Lakshmi Vilas Bank.
Acquisitions & Mergers
Reliance Communications gets final nod from DoT for merger with Sistema
On October 23, 2017, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCom) announced that it has received the final approval on its merger with Sistema from the Department of Telecommunication (DoT).
- The merger between Reliance Communication and Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd. was announced in 2015.
- On account of this deal, RCom will gain nearly two million customers and additional annual revenues of around Rs.700 crore.
- In addition to the above benefits, Spectrum portfolio of RCom will be enhanced by 30 MHz in the 800 MHz band, which is useful for 4G services.
- Validity of RCom’s spectrum portfolio (valid up to 2021) will also be extended as Sistema has spectrum in eight circles – Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Kolkata, UP-West and West Bengal – with validity up to 2033.
- The closure of merger transaction will be completed in November 2017. However, RCom will carry on SSTL business in India under MTS brand.
Science & Technology
Myanmar to launch own satellite system in 2019
India’s neighbouring country, Myanmar has announced to launch its own satellite system MyanmarSat-2 in June in 2019.
- MyanmarSat 2 will carry six C-band and six Ku-band transponders Myanmar to launch own satellite system in 2019i. Myanmar Vice President Vice President U Myint Swe told a coordination meeting of the steering committee that state-owned satellite system should be established through three modes viz. to lease the use of satellite transponder of another country (Condosat), joint ownership system and total ownership system.
- Myanmar is currently using MyanmarSat-1 on lease system, whereas MyanmarSat-2, will be used on joint ownership system with an undisclosed partner.
- Estimated cost for the entire project is USD 155.7 million.
- U Myint Swe has insisted ministries that are currently using MyanmarSat 1 to switch over to MyanmarSat 2 as soon as their contracts with foreign firms expire.
Divij Sharan and Scott Lipsky crowned European Open champions
India’s Divij Sharan and America’s Scott Lipsky won the European Open trophy in Antwerp, Belgium.
- Divij Sharan and Scott Lipsky defeated Santiago Gonzalez and Julio Peralta by 6-4, 2-6, 10-5 in the finals. They won the 2017 European Open title.
- Divij Sharan has won his first title of the 2017 season on the ATP World Tour, and third overall, by winning the European Open trophy.
- His first two ATP titles came with compatriot Purav Raja, who now plays with Leander Paes. They had won titles in Bogota (2013) and at Los Cabos (2016).
- Divij Sharan will next play a Challenger event in Brest with Scott Clayton and may also play in two home Challengers in Pune and Bangalore in November 2017.
Thakkar first Indian to top ITTF Junior Circuit standings
Manav Thakkar has become the first Indian to occupy the top spot (3,455 points) on the ITTF World Junior Circuit standings.
- Manav Thakkar hails from Surat. He was previously placed at No. 5 position. He has reached the top position of top ITTF Junior Circuit standings after finishing runner-up at the 2017 Serbian Junior and Cadet Open, Belgrade.
- Through this Manav Thakkar has ensured a place for himself in the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals to be held in February 2018 in Luxembourg.
- The players that follow him in ITTF World Junior Circuit standings are American Kanak Jha (2,950 points), Argentinas Francisco Sanchi (2,895 points), Frenchman Bastien Rembert (2,880 points) and Chinese Taipeis Feng Yi-Hsin (2,706 points).
Jitu Rai, Heena Sidhu win Gold in 10m Air Pistol mixed team event at ISSF World Cup
Jitu Rai, a Commonwealth and Asian Games gold-medallist, and Heena Sidhu, also a former Commonwealth Gamesgold-winner, picked up their third gold together in the 10m air pistol mixed team event, being held officially for the first time at an ISSF World Cup on the opening day of competitions .
- India is hosting the tournament for the first time in its history.
- Rai and Sidhu finished with 483.4 points, while Florian Fouquet and Celine Goberville of France took Silver with 481.1. China’s Xiaoxue Cai and Wei Yang came third with 418.2 points.
Flemming joins NBA India as head of Basketball operations
The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced Scott Fleming, former India men’s national team head coach, has joined NBA India as Head of Basketball Operations.
- Scott Fleming will oversee the league’s youth and elite basketball development in India, including the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program, NBA Academy India and NBA Basketball School.
- Fleming, was earlier head coach of the Crusaders Basketball team at the Northwest Nazarene University. He served as India men’s head coach from 2012-2015. He spend two years as an assistant coach for Texas Legends of the NBA G League.
- He has 25 years coaching experience, including 20 seasons as head coach and athletic director at Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Ohio). He has won two National Coach of the Year awards and a Christian College National Championship.
Noted Malayalam director IV Sasi passes away
Malayam director I.V.Sasi passed away on 24th October 2017 in Chennai.
- His wife Seema is also an actress. He has directed more than 150 movies in his 40 year career. He started his career as an art director for Kaliyalla Kalyanam in 1968.
- He made his debut as a director with the movie Ulsavam. He has directed blockbuster movies like Ee Nadu, Itha IvideVare, Angadi, Vartha, Devasuram, Avanazhi and Avalude Ravukal.
- He has won various awards like National Film Award, Kerala State Film Awards, Filmfare Awards South, etc.
24 October: United Nations Day
The United Nations Day is observed every year on 24th October to mark anniversary of entry into force of UN Charter in 1945.
- With ratification of this founding document by majority of its members, including five permanent members of UN Security Council, United Nations officially came into existence.
- Since then, 24th October is celebrated as UN Day.
- On this day all member states of UN contribute finances to its operation to help further its goals.
- UN is successor of ineffective League of Nations and was established in 1945 after World War II in order to prevent another such conflict. Now, it has become world’s only truly universal global organization and is foremost forum to address issues that transcend national boundaries and cannot be resolved by any one country acting alone.
- Its prime role is to maintain world peace, human rights, promote social and economic development and provide aid around the world in cases of famine, natural disaster and armed conflict.
56th Raising Day of ITBP observed
The 56th raising day of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was celebrated 24 October.
- ITBP is deployed on guarding 3488 kilometer long India-China Border from Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Its protects and manages outposts located on altitudes ranging from 9000 feet to 18700 feet in the Western, Middle and Eastern Sector of the India-China Border.
- The ITBP is one of five Central Armed Police Forces of India. It was raised on 24 October 1962, under CRPF Act, in wake of 1962 Sino-Indian War.
- It was provided full autonomy after Parliament enacted the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force Act, 1992.
- It works under command of Union Home Ministry.
- Its motto is Shaurya – Dridhata – Karm Nishtha (English: Valour – Steadfastness and Commitment). At present, ITBP is strong Central Armed Police Force of 90000 personnel. It primarily guards the 3,488 km long Indo-China border along Tibet Autonomous Region.
- TBP force is also engaged in a variety of internal security tasks including disaster management, civil Medical Camp, nuclear, biological and chemical disasters and UN peacekeeping missions around the world.
World Development Information Day – October 24
The World Development Information Day (WDID) is observed every year on October 24 to draw attention of world to development problems and necessity of strengthening international cooperation to solve them.
- To celebrate this day, many events are organized to focus attention on work that UN does, particularly with regard to problems of trade and development.
- Many of these are aimed at journalists working for range of media, including radio, television, newspapers, magazines and internet sites
- The UN Conference on Trade and Development on May 17, 1972 had proposed measures for information dissemination and mobilization of public opinion relative to trade and development problems.
- These measures came to be known as resolution 3038 (XXVII), which was passed by UN General Assembly in 19, 1972 and instituted World Development Information Day on October 24.
- The UNGA decided that date for day should coincide in principle with 24 October, which was also date of adoption of International Development Strategy for Second United Nations Development Decade in 1970.
- The purpose of day is to improve dissemination of information and mobilization of public opinion, particularly among young people. It will lead to greater awareness of problems of development, thus, promoting efforts in sphere of international cooperation for development
Disarmament Week – October 24-30
On 24th to 30th October 2017, the Disarmament Week is observed all over the world.
- The Disarmament week was established in 1978. The observance of Disarmament Week focuses on raising public awareness of the dangers of the arms race and the need for international disarmament.
- This week highlights the need to increase the global understanding of the importance of disarmament. An important focus of this week is trying to convince nations to only keep the weapons they need for an adequate police force.
- Disarmament Week focuses on both weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and also small arms.