Current Affairs

Important Current Affairs 17th October 2017

Important Current Affairs 17th October 2017

Current Affairs 17th October 2017: NATIONAL NEWS

PM dedicates All India Institute of Ayurveda to the nation

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today dedicated the All India Institute of Ayurveda, in New Delhi, to the nation. 
●    Speaking on this occasion, the Prime Minister congratulated the gathering on the celebration of Dhanvantari Jayanti as Ayurveda Divas. 
●    He complimented the Ministry of AYUSH for the establishment of the All India Institute of Ayurveda. 
●    The Prime Minister asserted that nations cannot progress unless they value and cherish their history and heritage. 
●    Those nations who leave their heritage behind, are destined to lose their identity, he added. 
●    The Prime Minister said that when India was not independent, its knowledge, and its traditions such as Yoga and Ayurveda were belittled. 
●    Attempts were even made to reduce the faith that Indians had on them, he added. 

Government makes Revised Quality Standards for Caustic Soda mandatory 

Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Ananth Kumar today announced that Government will make revised quality standards for Caustic Soda mandatory for both domestic manufacturers as well as for imports.
●    This step has been taken to give a boost to the domestic industry, under Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Make in India’. 
●    The revised quality standards, compliant with Bureau of India Standards (BIS) specifications, would necessitate the industry to produce caustic soda using the modern and more energy efficient membrane based technology. 
●    Mandating compliance to revised BIS specifications will allow superior grade caustic soda to be produced and imported in the country which would be beneficial to human health and environment. 
●    Disclosing this in a meeting with Alkali Manufacturers’ Association of India, the Minister assured the industry of Government of India’s continued support for growth of the Alkali Industry in India, on lines which are congenial to health and environment. 

Cabinet approves SANKALP & STRIVE Schemes to boost Skill India Mission 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved two new World Bank supported schemes of Rs. 6,655 crore - Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) and Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE). 
●    SANKALP is Rs 4,455 crore Centrally sponsored scheme including Rs. 3,300 crore loan support from World Bank whereas STRIVE is a Rs. 2,200 crore - central sector scheme, with half of the scheme outlay as World bank loan assistance. 
●    SANKALP and STRIVE are outcome focused schemes marking shift in government's implementation strategy in vocational education and training from inputs to results. 
●    There has been a long felt need for a national architecture for promoting convergence, ensuring effective governance and regulation of skill training and catalysing industry efforts in vocational training space. 
●    The two schemes shall address this need by setting up national bodies for accreditation & certification which shall regulate accreditation and certification in both long and short term Vocational Education and Training (VET). 

Current Affairs 17th October 2017: ENVIRONMENT

El Nino contributes to new high in CO2 levels

The amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in our world is likely to top 410 parts per million (ppm) this year. 
●    The CO2 measured at the Mauna Loa Baseline Atmospheric Observatory in Hawaii hit 405.1 ppm in 2016 - an increase of 3 ppm over the previous year, marking five consecutive years of an unprecedented rate of growth, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
●    CO2 is the most prominent, abundant and measurable greenhouse gas, responsible for keeping the world warm enough for life. 
●    It is also capable of making the atmosphere too warm when its concentration becomes too great.
●    The increased burning of fossil fuels since the industrial revolution has driven up the amount of CO2 held in the atmosphere to unprecedented levels. 
●    However, a new NASA study provides space-based evidence that Earth's tropical regions where the source of the largest annual increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration in at least 2,000 years.
●    The 2015-16 El Nino - one of the largest on record - caused abnormal, but expected, heat and drought in the tropical regions of South America, Africa and Indonesia. 

Current Affairs 17th October 2017: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Bangladesh Navy Ship Somudra Avijan on a goodwill visit to Vishakhapatnam 

Bangladesh Naval Ship Somudra Avijan arrived Vishakhapatnam on a four-day goodwill visit to the Eastern Naval Command on 16 October 17. 
●    Prior to the arrival, the ship carried out Passage Exercise which included naval manoeuvres in the Bay of Bengal prior to entering into the port. 
●    The Bangladesh Navy ship was accorded a warm reception by officials from the ENC and Eastern Fleet with the Indian Naval Band in attendance on arrival.
●    BNS Somudra Avijan, commanded by Commander M Moniruzzaman (TAS), Psc, BN is a part of Cadet Training Squadron with 60 cadets embarked aboard sea training. 
●    During the stay in Vizag, a variety of activities including professional, cross deck visit, sports fixture and social interactions have been scheduled for the crew. 
●    The commanding officer will also call-on Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, PVSM AVSM ADC, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief ENC.

IIT Roorkee part of Indo-US consortium on smart energy system

IIT-Roorkee today said it has become a part of an Indo-US consortium working on a project for smart energy distribution system, Smart Grids.
●    The USD 75 million 5-year project, named US-India Collaboration for Smart Distribution System with Storage (UI- ASSIST), is part of the Indo-US Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC).
●    It will work towards addressing issues related to the adoption and deployment of smart grids including storage in the distribution network, IIT Roorkee said in a statement.
●    One of the most important aspects of this project is to bridge the gap between smart grid, storage and renewable energy research in order to facilitate its subsequent adoption, it said.
●    Under this mega project, IIT Roorkee has been awarded a grant of over Rs 4.17 crore.
●    The group will conduct research and deploy new smart grid and energy storage technologies which will help in modernising grids, make them smarter and increase their resilience and reliability.

Current Affairs 17th October 2017: RANKING AND REPORTS

Forbe's Richest list 2017 
The Forbes list of 400 richest Americans shows that the billionaire-in-chief's fortune fell by $600 million to $3.1 billion. 
●    As a result he dropped to #248 on the list, after coming in at #156 last year.
●    The magazine attributed his decline in wealth to "a tough New York real estate market, particularly for retail locations; a costly lawsuit and an expensive presidential campaign." 
●    Trump reached a $25 million settlement in a suit that claims that his Trump University real estate seminars defrauded students.
●    But overall the richest Americans are richer than they were a year ago. 
●    In fact it now takes a record $2 billion to make the cut of the richest 400 Americans. 
●    The magazine estimates there are 169 billionaires who were too "poor" to make the cut, including Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.
●    Bill Gates tops the list for the 24th straight year with a net worth estimated at $89 billion. 
●    Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, worth $81.5 billion, held on to the No. 2 spot he first claimed in 2016. 
●    Warren Buffett, remains No. 3 with a fortune worth $78 billion.

Google Viewed as Most Authentic Brand in India, Amazon Globally: Survey

Indian consumers regard Google as the most authentic brand, even though Amazon tops the list globally, reveal results of a new survey on Tuesday.
●    In India, Google is followed by Microsoft, Amazon, Maruti Suzuki, and Apple.
●    "Consumers today want to buy from companies that engage with them in a genuine way. 
●    Our research shows a link between brands that behave and communicate authentically and their ability to attract and keep customers - and, ultimately, build stronger businesses," said Donna Imperato, CEO of global communications agency Cohn & Wolfe.
●    Globally, Apple takes the second spot after Amazon in the authenticity race, according to the results revealed by Cohn & Wolfe.
●    The global authenticity index puts Microsoft, Google and PayPal at third, fourth and fifth places respectively - all technology brands, said the 2017 "Authentic Brands Study".
●    According to the findings, 67 percent of consumers in India report increased purchase interest in a brand they perceive as authentic.

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Important Current Affairs 16th October 2017

Important Current Affairs 16th October 2017

Current Affairs 16th October 2017: NATIONAL NEWS

Union Home Minister inaugurates West Zone Regional Training Centre of IB in Jodhpur 

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the West Zone Regional Training Centre of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), in Jodhpur, Rajasthan today. 
●    The Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Law & Justice and Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Shri P.P. Chaudhary, Forest & Environment Minister, Government of Rajasthan, Shri Gajendra Singh Khimsar, Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) Minister, Government of Rajasthan Shri Surendra Goyal and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion. 
●    The purpose of the training centre is to strengthen and professionally empower the State Police Special Branches. The West Zone will include states of Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. 
●    While inaugurating the centre, the Union Home Minister expressed belief that this training centre will play an important role in enhancing the professional and behavioral skills of the police officers posted in west region. 
●    He said that intelligence plays an important role in the effective execution of internal security system of the country. 
●    Shri Rajnath Singh said that IB has been playing an important role in tackling the challenges of terrorism, separatism and Left Wing Extremism. 
●    He appreciated the officials of IB for fulfilling their duties within limited resources. 

Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman Commissions INS kiltan ASW stealth corvette 

INS Kiltan (P30), third Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes built under Project 28 (Kamorta Class) was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman at an impressive ceremony held at Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam today, 16 October 2017. 
●    Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral VK Saxena (Retd), CMD, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited, Kolkata (GRSE), Kolkata, Commodore MB Kunte (Retd) first Commanding Officer of erstwhile Kiltan and a host of other dignitaries were also present during the commissioning ceremony. 
●    The event marked the formal commissioning into the Navy of the third of the four ASW Corvettes, indigenously designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design and constructed by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited, Kolkata.
●    On arrival at the Naval Jetty, Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman was received by Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of the Naval Staff. 
●    The Hon’ble Raksha Mantri was presented with a Guard of Honour and was introduced to the dignitaries’ present prior commencement of commissioning ceremony.

Footwear Design & Development Institute Act 2017 making FDDI an ‘Institute of National Importance’ comes into force 

Footwear Design & Development Institute (FDDI) has been declared an ‘Institute of National Importance’ under Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. The FDDI bill was passed by the Parliament in July 2017. 
●    The Provisions of FDDI Act 2017 have come into force from today, according to the Notification published in The Gazette of India on October 5, 2017.
●    The Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, Shri C.R. Chaudhary said here today, that the commitment of the Government to resolve the degree issue has culminated in the grant of the status of ‘Institute of National Importance’ to FDDI. 
●    With this, the government has also ensured upgradation of FDDI to a position of eminence so as to enable the Institute to effectively serve the Sector/Industry.
●    To empower the youth of the nation and to help them march alongside the Prime Minister’s Skill Development mission and Make in India initiative, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India proposed the FDDI INI bill to Parliament. 
●    FDDI, after becoming an INI, now has the autonomy to design its courses as per the requirement of the industry, and award its own degree to the students. 

Punjab Cabinet approves new industrial policy to boost growth

To boost industrial growth and economic activity, the Punjab cabinet today approved the ‘New Industrial and Business Development Policy-2017’, paving way for the fixing of industrial power tariff at Rs 5 per unit and a one-time settlement of industrial loans.
●    To boost industrial growth and economic activity, the Punjab cabinet today approved the ‘New Industrial and Business Development Policy-2017’, paving way for the fixing of industrial power tariff at Rs 5 per unit and a one-time settlement of industrial loans.  
●    The creation of a Rs 100 crore fund to promote start-up culture, establishment of a skills university and industry specific skill development centers, are other highlights of this policy.  
●    All skill training schemes in the state will be brought under one agency, the Punjab Skill Development Mission, an official spokesperson said.  
●    A cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, gave its nod to the salient features of the policy, including the provision regarding five year fixed power tariff for existing and new industries, he said.
●    Besides incentives for expansion and upgradation of existing units, the new policy envisages a one-time settlement for loans taken from the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), the Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC) and the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation Ltd (PAIC).  

RIL, BP submit revised investment plan for KG-D6 gas finds

Reliance Industries and its partner BP Plc of UK today submitted a revised investment plan for bringing to production the satellite gas discoveries in the flagging KG-D6 block.
●    RIL and BP plan to develop four deepsea satellite gas finds, named D-2, 6, 19 and 22, together with two other nearby finds, D-29 and D30, in the Krishna Godavari basin block, sources with direct knowledge of the development said.
●    The four satellites and the other two finds (D29 and D30), R-Series and MJ gas discoveries, are the ones on which RIL and BP had in mid-June this year announced investing Rs 40,000 crore to reserve the flagging production from KG-D6 block.
●    Sources said development of the six satellite finds are being taken up together while D-34 or R-Series and D-55 (MJ) would have separate development plans.
●    They, however, did not indicate the investment RIL-BP would make to produce gas from the fields by 2021-22.

Vodafone celebrates super with its unique “Green Diwali Campaign”

In a hallmark style, Vodafone India, has come up with an innovative concept to delight its customers this Diwali. 
●    From 16th October to 19th October, across its 52 stores in Delhi NCR, Vodafone is inviting its customers to celebrate “Green Diwali”. 
●    Green Diwali is a part of its ongoing ‘Celebrating Super’ campaign wherein Vodafone will distribute “Super Crackers” to its customers. 
●    Also using Augmented Reality Technology, customers can create eco-friendly ‘Virtual phuljharis’ or ‘E-Phuljharis’2.
●    The ‘Super Crackers’ contain eco-friendly water soluble papers that carry different variety of seeds of plants with air-purifying characteristics.  
●    The E-Phuljhari is a unique personalized GIF greeting that can be sent to friends and family, through social media. 
●    With this initiative, Vodafone Delhi is making a conscious effort to have safe and eco-friendly celebration. 
●    The celebration gets doubled with customers being offered ‘Customised offers’3 and a chance to win a gift hamper.

Punjab imposes entertainment tax on DTH, cable connections

The Punjab cabinet on Monday approved the imposition of additional entertainment tax by local bodies (municipal corporations, municipalities, panchayats, local and district councils) on direct-to-home (DTH) and local cable connections, outside the ambit of the goods and services tax (GST).
●    According to a statement released by the Punjab chief minister’s office, the local bodies will now be able to impose and collect entertainment tax of Rs5 per DTH connection and Rs2 per local cable connection per month “with the enactment of The Punjab Entertainments & Amusements Taxes (Levy & Collection by Local Bodies) Act 2017.”
●    However, no additional entertainment tax has been proposed for cinemas, multiplexes and amusement parks. 
●    The government has proposed to bring the new legislation in the next session of the legislative assembly and is expecting to generate Rs45-47 crore in annual revenue from the taxes with close to 1.6 million DTH and 4.4 million cable connections in the state.
●    Tax experts and media executives, however, believe that this additional local tax defies the purpose of GST and will lead to an increase, though nominal, in the prices of DTH and cable services. 

Current Affairs 16th October 2017: INTERNATIONAL RELATION

India, Russia to hold major tri-Service 'Indra' combat exercise for first time this year

In the first such tri-Service wargames, India will hold a major combat exercise with Russia this year to crank up military-to-military ties between the two long-standing strategic partners.
●    "The Indra exercise, to be held in Russia, will include assets and manpower from the Army, Navy and IAF. 
●    This is the first time India will deploy the three services together for an exercise with a country," said a defence ministry source.
●    Finance minister Arun Jaitley, incidentally, will also be visiting Russia in his capacity as the defence minister for the Moscow Conference on International Security on April 25-26.
●    Though Russia has been India's largest defence supplier for long, notching up military sales worth over $50 billion since the 1960s, their armed forces do not exercise much together.
●    In sharp contrast, India and US hold a flurry of exercises every year, ranging from the top-notch naval Malabar wargames (with Japan now a regular participant) to the counter-terror Vajra Prahar & Yudh Abhyas Ines between their armies. 

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Important Current Affairs 15th October 2017

Important Current Affairs 15th October 2017

Current Affairs 11th October 2017: APPOINTMENT

Anupam Kher appointed as Chairman, FTII Pune 

Shri Anupam Kher, veteran cine star, has been appointed as Chairman of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune.  
●    Shri Kher succeeds Shri Gajendra Chauhan.
●    Shri Kher who has appeared in over 500 films is a recipient of the Padma Shri in 2004 and the Padma Bhushan in 2016 for his contribution in the field of cinema and arts. 
●    The veteran star has won many national and international awards including the ‘Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role’ five times. 
●    He has appeared in acclaimed international films such as the 2002 Golden Globe nominated Bend It Like Beckham, 2007 Golden Lion award-winning Lust, Caution and 2013 Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook. 
●    He has appeared in more than 100 plays and has also authored the book ‘The Best Thing about You Is You’.
●    Earlier he served as the Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and was the Director of National School of Drama from 2001 to 2004. 
●    He is also an alumnus of National School of Drama (1978 batch).

Current Affairs 15th October 2017: NATIONAL NEWS

Visit of Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Shri Dharmendra Pradhan to Japan 

Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Shri Dharmendra Pradhan will undertake an official visit to Japan from 16-18 October 2017 including participating in the 6th Annual LNG Producers Consumer Conference. 
●    The visit of Shri Pradhan is a follow up of the visit of Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe to India in September, 2017. 
●    The visit is important to enhance the bilateral engagements in the Oil and Gas sectors within the overall framework of India-Japan Energy Dialogue. 
●    The visit also aims to enhance cooperation in establishing a transparent, efficient, truly global and balanced LNG market. 
●    The LNG Producer-Consumer Conference is a global annual dialogue to promote active dialogue among LNG producers, consumers and other stakeholders with a view to deepening shared understandings of market trends and to develop a global LNG market. 
●    The conference provides the right opportunity to brief on the Indian Gas sector and the recent policy reforms with the opportunities available for investment to the Ministers and leaders of global gas industry. 

‘Adopt A Heritage’ During Paryatan Parv 

India has always been renowned for its rich cultural heritage. 
●    India’s glorious past and cultural diversity make a potent blend which attracts millions of tourists each year to its tourist destinations. 
●    India's rich heritage is abundantly reflected in the form of numerous temples, palaces, monuments, forts etc. 
●    This has led to an increase in India's tourism particularly at the heritage sites. 
●    Tourism in India has registered a considerable growth in the last few years, ever since additional initiatives were taken by the Government of India to boost India’s image as a destination for tourism.
●    Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) envisages providing world class tourist facilities at the various heritage sites / monumentsand other tourist sites across the country under the “Adopt A Heritage” initiative.
●    The project would begin with ASI ticketed monuments and would be expanded to other cultural sites across India. 

Raksha Mantri Made her Maiden Visit to CVRDE, Chennai 

The Raksha Mantri Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman made her maiden visit to Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE), Avadi, Chennai, yesterday. 
●    Chairman DRDO & Secretary Department of Defence R&D Dr S. Christopher and Distinguished Scientist & Director, CVRDE Dr. P Sivakumar, made a brief presentation on the achievements and ongoing national programs of CVRDE in Combat Vehicles & Technologies.
●    The dignitaries were taken to various technology centres by Director, CVRDE to witness the products and systems/technologies developed by CVRDE. 
●    The Raksha Mantri has evinced keen interest in the advanced systems like Arjun MBT Mk-II, Arjun Armoured Recovery and Repair Vehicle (ARRV), Arjun Catapult, Unmanned Ground Vehicles, Sub-systems of Light Combat Aircraft –Tejas, Landing Gear, 180 hp engine for Rustom-II, 1000 hp Engine for T-72, 400 hp for BMP-II, besides Armoured Ambulance Tracked, Carrier Command Post Tracked, Bridge Laying Tank (BLT-72). 
●    The respective project leaders highlighted the uniqueness and specialities of their systems to the dignitaries.

The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley holds bilateral Meetings too with counterparts From UK and Sri Lanka 

The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley today participated in the IMFC Restricted Breakfast session in Washington D.C.
●    The discussion sessions focussed on the Dialogue on Policy Challenges. 
●    While observing that the World Economic Outlook for this year and the next was reassuring,  Sh Jaitley took note of the caution advised for the medium term. 
●    He appreciated the focus on cyber security in the Early Warning Exercise and emphasized that the entire global financial system is vulnerable to this threat, more so because it is so interconnected. 
●    In this regard, the Finance Minister highlighted three policy challenges. 
●    The first was the risks posed to emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) by the US Federal Reserve’s bold steps towards restoring normal monetary conditions. 
●    The second was the global slowdown in Investments and the third was employment.

Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 brought into force with effect from 12th October, 2017 
A new Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 which was notified on 22nd March, 2016, has been brought into force with effect from 12th October, 2017. 

●    The Act establishes the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as the National Standards Body of India. 
●    The Act has enabling provisions for the Government to bring under compulsory certification regime any goods or article of any scheduled industry, process, system or service which it considers necessary in the public interest or for the protection of human, animal or plant health, safety of the environment, or prevention of unfair trade practices, or national security. 
●    Enabling provisions have also been made for making hallmarking of the precious metal articles mandatory. 
●    The new Act also allows multiple type of simplified conformity assessment schemes including self-declaration of conformity against a standard which will give simplified options to manufacturers to adhere to the standards and get certificate of conformity. 

Anil Agarwal not to seek board position on Anglo

Mining mogul Anil Agarwal has said he will not seek a board position on blue-chip British miner Anglo American Plc even after becoming its largest shareholder, and instead will support the management.
●    With over 21 per cent stake in the company that owns the iconic diamond brand De Beers, he wants to push for joint venture or technical collaboration between Anglo and his own companies for prospecting for diamonds, copper and coal in India.
●    "It is a fantastic company. There cannot be any company better than that. It is a 100-year old company. We will support the management. We like the management," he told .
●    The family trust of the chairman of diversified miner Vedanta has purchased about 9 per cent more shares, worth up to 1.5 billion pounds, on top of 2 billion pounds spent in March for acquiring a 12.43 per cent holding.
●    The stake has given him an indirect foothold in world's largest diamond producer, De Beers.
●    The mining baron said he would push for collaboration with Vedanta and Anglo for mining, particularly of diamonds in India.
●    Last year, Aggarwal had made an unsuccessful offer to merge part of his mining empire with Anglo American.

Arun Jaitley urges for Urgent need to revise quota share in IMF

India today called for urgent revision of the quota of International Monetary Fund in favour of dynamic emerging market so as to reflect the ground realities of the world.
●    Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also expressed hope that this can be done as part of the 15th General Review of Quotas (GRQ).
●    Addressing the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank here, he said,"There is an urgent case for revising quota shares in favour of dynamic emerging market countries in line with global economic realities to maintain fairness in the governance structure of the Fund".
●    "We should make every effort to complete the 15th Review by the agreed timeline of 2019 Annual Meetings," he asserted.
●    In his address, Jaitley said the risks to global financial and economic stability have significant implications for IMF's operations, in terms of growing amplitude of financial crisis and owing to increasing vulnerability of the international monetary system (IMS) to emerging transitions and growing complexity of economic and financial linkages which could cause correlated financial crises/contagion placing large demands on IMF resources.
●    The Fund needs to be adequately resourced to meet these demands while functioning as a strong quota-based institution.

Government to put Wind power capacity addition put on fast track

The government is planning to auction 3000 MW wind projects in the next four months to upscale the wind capacity addition in the country, sources say. 
●    "An additional bid of 1,500 MW wind projects will be rolled out in October. There will be two more wind bids of the same capacity in December this year and February next year," a government official aware of the developments told. 
●    The successive bids come in backdrop of meagre wind capacity addition this year, as the government is looking to enhance its capacity installation in the wind sector. 
●    “The government wants to speed up the capacity installation in wind projects," the official said. The auctions will be conducted by Solar Energy Corporation of India ( SECI). 
●    Wind auctions conducted on October 4 this year saw record low wind tariffs at Rs 2.64 per unit. 
●    No capacity addition in the wind sector might have also resulted in the low tariffs, as equipment suppliers were left with huge inventory, developers and experts told.

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Important Current Affairs 14th October 2017

Important Current Affairs 14th October 2017

Current Affairs 14th October 2017: NATIONAL NEWS

The first ever All India Institute of Ayurveda to be dedicated to the Nation by the Prime Minister on Ayurveda Day at New Delhi 

The First ever All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA), set up along the lines of AIIMS, will be dedicated to the Nation by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi on Ayurveda Day on 17th October, 2017 at New Delhi. 
●    Set up as an apex institute under the Ministry of AYUSH, the AIIA will bring synergy between the traditional wisdom of Ayurveda and modern diagnostic tools and technology. 
●    This was disclosed by the Minister of State for AYUSH, Shr Shripad Yesso Naik at a press conferences in New Delhi today. 
●    Within the short duration of its establishment, AIIA has gained a wide national and International recognition. 
●    It has started working to facilitate quality patient care, research and bridging the gaps in the scientific information about quality, safety and efficacy of Ayurveda products and developing benchmarks of Ayurvedic education, research and healthcare, the AYUSH Minister explained.
●    Shri Shripad Naik said that in the first phase, the AIIA has been set up within a total campus area of 10.015 acres with a budget of Rs.157 Crores. 

New Guiness Record at IISF Chennai 2017 

Day two of the India International Science Festival (IISF) in Anna University campus at Chennai saw the making of a new Guinness World Record for the Largest Biology Lesson. 
●    One thousand forty nine (1049) students participated in the record breaking session. 
●    While inaugurating the Largest Biology Lesson, Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Science, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that it is the vision of the Prime Minister, Shri. Narendra Modi, to encourage and promote science and the Govt. of India has launched many Flagship Programmes in this regard. 
●    He also invoked C V Raman and how he has won the Nobel Prize, which is first by any Indian to do so.
●    World Record attempts have been a key part of India International Science Festival since 2015, which leads to encouragement and popularizing of Science through public participation. 
●    In IISF 2015, students took a successful shot at the Guinness World record for the world’s largest science Lesson at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. 

Inland Waterways Authority of India raises Rs. 660 crore through Bonds 

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has raised Rs. 660 crore as “GOI Fully Serviced Bonds”. 
●    The resources raised by way of bonds are in addition to the budgetary support from the Government of India. 
●    The Government had taken a decision to enable IWAI to raise Rs 660 crore through GOI Fully Serviced Bonds in 2017-18.
●    The IWAI had engaged arrangers, credit rating agencies, registrars and trustees prior to raising the Bonds. 
●    Both CRISIL and CARE rated the proposed instrument of IWAI as “AAA: STABLE”. 
●    The e-bidding for raising the bonds was organized on 11th October, 2017 on the BSE Portal with the issue size of Rs. 300 crore and Green Shoe option of Rs. 360 crore. 
●    The issue was oversubscribed and the entire amount of Rs.660 crore has been raised in single tranche at a coupon rate of 7.47 percent.

Central team of experts from various departments to investigate the outbreaks of dengue fever in Tamil Nadu

The Centre has deputed a team of experts to Tamil Nadu to investigate the outbreak of dengue in the state. 
●    The team, which includes doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), New Delhi, Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), New Delhi, will provide technical assistance to the state in dengue case management and vector control. 
●    The experts will also assess the situation and provide “necessary guidance” to manage and address the recent upsurge.
●    According to the data from the ministry of health and family welfare, this year alone, Tamil Nadu has reported 12,324 cases of dengue, and 18 deaths due to the mosquito-borne disease. 
●    The state opposition has reportedly claimed that the number is much higher than what is being reported and has been attacking the state government for not being able to control the situation.
●    Last year, only 2,531 dengue cases were reported from the state. 
●    This year, the highest number of cases have been reported from Thoothukudi (1,178), Chennai (1,138), Sankarankoil (1,072), Coimbatore (942), Thirupur (782) and Kanyakumari (777).

NCLT approves allowing Reliance Communications and Aircel to withdraw merger plans

The National Company Law Tribunal has approved the withdrawal of merger deal between Reliance Communications and Aircel, as per a regulatory filing.
●    "The National Company Law Tribunal, Mumbai Bench (NCLT) has passed orders dated October 13, 2017 approving withdrawal of the Scheme of Arrangement between the Company, Reliance Telecom Limited (RTL), Aircel Limited, Dishnet Wireless Limited, Deccan Digital Networks Private Limited, South Asia Communications Private Limited and their respective shareholders and creditors for demerger of wireless business of the Company and RTL to Aircel...," RCom said in a BSE filing today.
●    The order also approved withdrawal of demerger of tower business of Reliance Infratel to Towercom Infrastructure, the filing said.
●    RCom, which is reeling under a debt of about Rs 46,000 crore, had called off merger talks with Aircel, citing " legal and regulatory" delays and "various interventions by vested interests".
●    RCom also blamed high level of competition as one of the reasons for termination of the merger talks.
●    It was claimed that with the deal the debt of RCom will come down to around Rs 20,000 crore, while that of Aircel to around Rs 4,000 crore.

Reliance will invest Rs 70 billion every quarter in Jio

As per the latest Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) financial and operational performance report for the quarter 2, Jio's customer base has been a swift surge. The report notes that the Reliance Jio has added around 15.3 million subscribers in the last three months. 
●    However, instead of adding millions of customers to Jio, the company - as pet the RIL financial and operational performance report has gone through a loss of Rs. 271 crores. 
●    Even after the experiencing loss, Reliance says that the company's financial performance is 'strong'.
●    By adding about 15.3 million users, Jio grew its customer base to 136.8 million in three months. 
●    RIL also posted that the company - Jio has seen a total wireless traffic of 374 crore gigabytes (3.74 billion GB) in Q2, which ended on Sept 30. 
●    It also says that Jio is touting the highest per capita data consumption of 9.62GB per user per month.

IndusInd Bank to acquire Bharat Financial, will complete deal in 10 months

IndusInd Bank on Saturday announced merger with microfinance lender Bhart Financial Inclusion (BFIL). 
●    The deal is subject to approvals from the Reserve Bank of India, market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India and Competition Commission of India among others.
●    According to the deal, Bharat Financial shareholders will get 639 shares of the bank for every 1,000 held. The deal is likely to be completed in 9-10 months.
●    The deal comes nearly a month after IndusInd informed the stock exchange that they have entered into exclusive merger talks with Bharat Financial.
●    The composite scheme, which will be effective from January 1, is between IndusInd, BFIL and a wholly owned subsidiary of the bank.
●    The scheme will explore amalgamation of the bank with BFIL without winding up the latter company, IndusInd said in a filing with the stock exchange.

Current Affairs 14th October 2017: GLOBAL NEWS

Trump administration refuses to cooperate with Vibank's capital base hike

The Trump administration has rejected a capital increase by the World Bank, which the Bank says is necessary to expand its global anti-poverty mission.
●    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the huge Washington-based institution is inefficient and can be more effective in the nearly $60 billion in development finance it currently allocates each year.
●    Through greater efficiency, the bank can internally build its capital base and expand lending without the need for more contributions from its 189 shareholder nations -- of which the United States is the largest.
●    He also said, in a statement to the Development Committee, which sets the action program for the bank and the International Monetary Fund, that the Bank needs to cut funding for emerging economies that don't need significant outside assistance.

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Important Current Affairs 13th October 2017

Important Current Affairs 13th October 2017

Current Affairs 13th October 2017: NATIONAL NEWS

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Lay Foundation Stone for Four Sewerage Projects and Four National Highways Projects in Bihar Tomorrow

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for four sewerage projects costing Rs. 738.04 crore and four National Highways projects of 195 km. 
●    worth Rs. 3031 crore in Bihar tomorrow. The ceremony will take place at Mokama. 
●    Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Road Transport & Highways and Shipping will also accompany Prime Minister for the foundation stone laying ceremony. 
●    These four sewerage projects include Sewage Treatment Plant at Beur, Sewerage System with Sewer Network at Beur, Sewage Treatment Plant at Karmalichak and STP and Sewer Network at Saidpur. 
●    These projects together will create new STP capacity of 120 MLD and upgrade the existing 20 MLD for Beur. 
●    This also includes sewer network of 234.84 km in Beur and Saidpur zones. 
●    In Patna, seven other sewerage projects are at various stages of implementation, out of which two – Digha and Kankarbagh sewerage zones – worth Rs. 1402.89 crore are sanctioned under Hybrid Annuity-based PPP mode. 
●    The existing population in the city is 16,83,000 and the existing sewage generated in the city is 220 MLD and sewage load is expected to be 320 MLD by the year 2035. 

Jawaharlal Nehru Port Container Terminal selects N4 Terminal Operating System

The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Container Terminal, one of the container terminals directly managed by India’s leading container port-JNPT, is constantly innovating and up-scaling operations to not only meet but exceed global benchmarks with an underlying commitment to provide seamless customer service and ease of doing business. 
●    The JNPCT has upgraded its terminal operating system to SPARCS N4 platform to optimize the terminal’s operational cycle with the ultimate goal to increase JNPCT efficiencies so that customers can experience improved productivity.
●    The JNPCT has taken a number of initiatives for faster and economical operations along with automation that has helped in streamlining the processes and helping in reduction of cost, time and documents and thus making it easier for clients and partners to do business with them. 
●    The decision of migration to Navis N4 TOS solution is one of the step towards achieving the objective.
●    The N4 implementation process will be managed by Cargotec Corporation and will directly work with JNPCT, utilizing Navis’ methodology and project management tools. 
●    Cargotec will provide configuration, testing, report and field extensions, go-live support services, including training courses so that the management and mid-management teams are up and running on N4 as quickly as possible.

Ministry of Railways introduces tri- weekly new Special Rajdhani between Delhi – Mumbai route from 16th October, 2017. 

To fulfill the long overdue demand of passengers & to provide faster and convenient connectivity to passengers between two metros Delhi and Mumbai, Ministry of Railways is introducing a new Special Rajdhani Express between Delhi & Mumbai from 16th October, 2017. 
●    Flexi Fare shall not be applicable in this train.  Indian Railways are already running two Rajdhanis and more than 30 mail/exp trains between Delhi and Mumbai.
●    Delhi, the capital city of India, is of great historical significance as an important commercial, transport, and cultural hub, as well as the political centre of India. 
●    Mumbai is India's commercial and financial capital, as well as the capital city of Maharashtra State. 
●    Both the cities are important business centers of the country. Hence, there is a greater need for effective & efficient transport connectivity between the two cities.
●    With the introduction of new Rajdhani Express, the travel time will be reduced from the existing time of about 15 hrs. 50 minute to 13 hours 55 minutes i.e a saving of around 2 hours in journey time. 

Union Textiles Minister inaugurates IHGF - Delhi Fair Autumn 2017

The Union Textiles Minister Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani has urged the exporting fraternity to take care of the welfare of artisans who are the backbone of the sector.  
●    The Minister said that design and product development play a crucial role in value realisation and in turn in the benefit that the artisans and producers are able to reap from their products. 
●    The Minister said this after inaugurating IHGF - Delhi Fair Autumn 2017, world’s largest handicrafts and gifts fair. 
●    The fair is being held at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida, during October 12 - 16, 2017. 
●    Delivering the inaugural address, the Minister applauded the role of Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts in promoting exports of handicrafts.  
●    She noted that handicraft exports have witnessed a year-on-year growth of 13.15% in 2016-17 and has touched Rs. 24,392 crores.  
●    The Minister appreciated the launch of schemes by EPCH under their CSR programme, for education of children of artisans.  

Current Affairs 13th October 2017: APPOINTMENT

Shri D.K.Gayen appointed as New Member Staff Railway Board 

Shri D.K.Gayen, has been appointed as new Member (Staff) Railway Board and ex officio Secretary to the Government of India to assume charge with effect from 11th October 2017. 
●    Shri Gayen, an officer of Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME) of 1981 batch, and is a Bachelor in Engineering in Mechanical Discipline from Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology in the year 1979.
●    Prior to this assignment, he was General Manager, East Central Railway, Hajipur. 
●    He worked as Chief Mechanical Engineer, South Eastern Railway. 
●    He has also worked in various important posts like Chief Rolling Stock Engineer, Eastern Railways & Chief Motive Power Engineer, Eastern Railways, Chief Workshop Manager, Jamalpur Workshop and Liluah Workshop. 
●    He has also worked as Divisional Railway Manager, Asansol and Mughalsarai Division respectively. 
●    He has served in the capacity of Director (Inspection and Liaison), RDSO, Lucknow.

India appoints Gautam Bambawale as new ambassador to China

India on Thursday announced the appointment of Gautam Bambawale as its next ambassador to China.
●    Bambawale, an Indian foreign service officer of the 1984 batch is currently India’s high commissioner to Pakistan.
●    Bambawale was previously India’s ambassador to Bhutan. 
●    He has also handled the China desk in the Indian foreign ministry that looks after relations with Japan, China, South Korea, Mongolia and North Korea. 
●    One of the first tasks in front of Bambawale will be to stabilise India-China ties rocked by a military face off in the Dokalam area of Bhutan that lasted 73 days.
●    The two sides agreed to disengage on 28 August, paving the way for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit China for the BRICS summit in early September.
●    Bambawale appointment clears the way for India’s ambassador to Poland, Ajay Bisaria, to be named India’s high commissioner to Pakistan.

Current Affairs 13th October 2017: GLOBAL NEWS

India 100th on global hunger index, trails North Korea, Bangladesh

India has a “serious” hunger problem and ranks 100th out of 119 countries on the global hunger index — behind North Korea, Bangladesh and Iraq but ahead of Pakistan, according to a report.
●    The country’s serious hunger level is driven by high child malnutrition and underlines need for stronger commitment to the social sector, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said in its report.
●    India stood at 97th position in last year’s rankings.
●    As per the report, India ranks below many of its neighbouring countries such as China (29th rank), Nepal (72), Myanmar (77), Sri Lank (84) and Bangladesh (88). It is ahead of Pakistan (106) and Afghanistan (107).
●    North Korea ranks 93rd while Iraq is at 78th position.
●    The GHI, now in its 12th year, ranks countries based on four key indicators — undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting and child stunting.

US leaves UNESCO

The United States will withdraw from UNESCO at the end of next year, the State Department said Thursday, to stop accumulating unpaid dues and make a stand on what it said is anti-Israel bias at the U.N.’s educational, science and cultural organization.
●    In notifying UNESCO of the decision Thursday morning, the State Department said it would like to remain involved as a nonmember observer state. 
●    That will allow the United States to engage in debates and activities, though it will lose its right to vote on issues.
●    The withdrawal follows long-standing issues the U.S. has had with UNESCO and does not necessarily foreshadow a further retrenchment of U.S. engagement with the United Nations, where the Trump administration has been pushing to bring about structural and financial reforms.
●    The most immediate impact is that the U.S. will halt the arrears it has run up since it stopped funding the organization in 2011 to protest UNESCO’s admission of Palestine as a full member. 
●    By the end of this calendar year, the unpaid U.S. bill will amount to $550 million. 
●    With no sign that U.S. concerns would be addressed, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided to pull out after Dec. 31, 2018, when the unpaid balance will top $600 million.

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Important Current Affairs 12th October 2017

Important Current Affairs 9th October 2017

Current Affairs 9th October 2017: INTERNATIONAL RELATION

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Belarus for Cooperation in the field of Vocational Education and Training 

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding between India and Belarus for cooperation in the field of Vocational Education and Training (VET).  
●    The MoU was signed on 12th September, 2017 during the State visit of H.E. Mr. Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus to India.
●    This is for the first time MoU for cooperation in area of vocational education, training and skill development has been signed with Eurasian country.
●    Belarus has a large concentration of industries, mainly into manufacturing and heavy industries, which draw their strength from available skilled manpower and a highly developed skill training system. 
●    The transfer of knowledge of their skilling methodology will immensely help in our initiatives like "Make in India" and "Skill India". 
●    This MoU would pave the way for systematic transfer of their expertise and knowhow in skilling the manpower specially in manufacturing sector.

Cabinet approves signing of Memorandum of Understanding between Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and Capital Markets Authority (CMA), Kuwait 

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) with Capital Markets Authority (CMA), Kuwait for mutual co-operation and technical assistance. 
●    The MoU is likely to promote further development of economic links and cooperation between the two regulators, and aims at creating conditions for an effective development of securities markets in the two countries. 
●    It would also contribute towards strengthening the information sharing framework between the two. 
●    It is expected to add value to overseas mutual cooperation and regulation activities of SEBI and CMA, Kuwait.

Cabinet approves IALA to change its status from Non-Governmental Organization to Inter-Governmental Organization 

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) to change its status from Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to Intergovernmental Organization (IGO). 
●    The move will facilitate “to foster the safe, economic and efficient movement of vessels". 
●    It will bring IALA at par with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO). 
●    The IALA, having headquarters at St. Germain En Laye (France) was established in 1957 under French law. 
●    It is governed by a General Assembly having 83 National members, with its Council as the executive body. 
●    The IALA council consists of 24 National Members and India is one of the council members represented through the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL), Ministry of Shipping. 
●    DGLL establishes and maintains Aids to Navigation in general waters along coast of India including A&N and Lakshadweep group of islands, as per Lighthouse Act 1927. 

Cabinet approves signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation between India and Japan on establishing a Liquid, Flexible and Global LNG Market 

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between India and Japan on establishing a liquid, flexible and global LNG Market.
●    The MoC will promote bilateral relationship between India and Japan in the energy sector. 
●    It will contribute to the diversification of gas supplies for India. 
●    This will strengthen our energy security and lead to more competitive prices for consumers.
●    The MoC provides a framework to cooperate in facilitating flexibility in LNG contracts, abolition of Destination Restriction Clause and also explore possibilities of cooperation in establishing reliable LNG spot price indices reflecting true LNG demand and supply.
●    India and Japan are major consumers of energy in the world. In the LNG sector, Japan is the world's largest importer and India is the 4th largest importer. 

Current Affairs 9th October 2017: NATIONAL NEWS

Cabinet approves SANKALP & STRIVE Schemes to boost Skill India Mission 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved two new World Bank supported schemes of Rs. 6,655 crore - Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) and Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE). 
●    SANKALP is Rs 4,455 crore Centrally sponsored scheme including Rs. 3,300 crore loan support from World Bank whereas STRIVE is a Rs. 2,200 crore - central sector scheme, with half of the scheme outlay as World bank loan assistance. 
●    SANKALP and STRIVE are outcome focused schemes marking shift in government's implementation strategy in vocational education and training from inputs to results. 
●    There has been a long felt need for a national architecture for promoting convergence, ensuring effective governance and regulation of skill training and catalysing industry efforts in vocational training space. 
●    The two schemes shall address this need by setting up national bodies for accreditation & certification which shall regulate accreditation and certification in both long and short term Vocational Education and Training (VET). 

North and South Block buildings get a new glitter from tonight 

The iconic North and South Block building flanking the Rajpath in the national capital began to shine with bright, shimmering reflected light combinations with the inauguration of new dynamic façade lighting tonight. 
●    The honour of inaugurating this Rs.15 cr, 16 million colour combination new lighting was given to Shri Mahipal Singh, the senior most support staff who joined the Ministry of Home as a daftary in 1975.
●    Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and 20 other Cabinet Ministers attended the event including Shri Rajnath Singh, Smt.Nirmala Sitharaman and Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, with whom Shri Mahipal Singh was seated in the front row, with others behind them. 
●    After the inauguration, Prime Minister shook hands with Shri Mahipal Singh, who is to retire in 10 days and complimented him.
●    A twenty minute live demonstration of new lighting was organized for the Ministers, senior officials of the Government, media and the large number of public who attended the launch.
●    Rashtrapati Bhawan located between the North and South Block buildings and overseeing the Rajpath will be covered with similar lighting from the first of January next, which would present a continuous stretch of visual delight.

Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS) 2017 to take place in Delhi

The Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS) 2017 is getting bigger and better. The 5th edition, being hosted by India is to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi on November 23, 2017. 
●    It will see participation of ministers, officials, industry leaders and academia engaged in the global cyber ecosystem.
●    The world’s who’s who in the field of cyber space will congregate in India’s capital city. 
●    Over 3500 participants will take part in the weeklong event directly and millions virtually from India and abroad through video conference, webinars and webcast. 
●    For those who are not travelling to Delhi, about 800 locations around the world will be connected to GCCS 2017 ( through video conference and 2000 locations through webinars.
●    More than 40 events and sessions are being organized by the Ministry of Electronics and IT, Government of India, in partnership with the Industry, International Organizations, Academia and Think Tanks. 

Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the "Nanaji Deshmukh Plant Finomix Center" developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research

Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today inaugurated the "Nanaji Deshm Plant Finomix Center" developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in Pusa.
●    Climate change and abiotic stresses such as drought, water crisis, heat, salinity, lack of nutrients and biotic, affect the crop productivity and quality.
●    To overcome these problems, it is necessary to identify genes for genetic resource-richness and yield properties and they should be used to develop climate-friendly crop varieties.
●    Traditional methods of symptom-modification are often degenerative and can not characterize the dynamical changes in plants during different phases of plant growth.
●    Symptomatic impairment is the main obstacle that limits the use of germicidal resources in crop correction with the help of genomics.
In the form of a bridge between the symptom and genetic form, the recent multi-disciplinary science of "phenomics" has evolved.
On the various developmental stages of plantation using non-invasive sensors and advanced image processing computational programs, there is an indestructible characterization, phenomics of the functional and morphological properties of plants in real time.

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Important Current Affairs 11th October 2017

Important Current Affairs 11th October 2017

Current Affairs 11th October 2017: APPOINTMENT

Anupam Kher appointed as Chairman, FTII Pune 

Shri Anupam Kher, veteran cine star, has been appointed as Chairman of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune.  
●    Shri Kher succeeds Shri Gajendra Chauhan.
●    Shri Kher who has appeared in over 500 films is a recipient of the Padma Shri in 2004 and the Padma Bhushan in 2016 for his contribution in the field of cinema and arts. 
●    The veteran star has won many national and international awards including the ‘Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role’ five times. 
●    He has appeared in acclaimed international films such as the 2002 Golden Globe nominated Bend It Like Beckham, 2007 Golden Lion award-winning Lust, Caution and 2013 Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook. 
●    He has appeared in more than 100 plays and has also authored the book ‘The Best Thing about You Is You’.
●    Earlier he served as the Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and was the Director of National School of Drama from 2001 to 2004. 
●    He is also an alumnus of National School of Drama (1978 batch).

Current Affairs 11th October 2017: NATIONAL NEWS

Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launches IGL prepaid smart card (Retail and Fleet) for CNG consumers 

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan has said that the prepaid smart card (Retail and Fleet) launched by IGL for CNG consumers will be easily available and benefit common man in saving time in transactions at the CNG stations. 
●    Launching the cards here today he said this is an important step taken by GAIL and IGL for making life easy for residents of Delhi. 
●    Shri Pradhan said the initiative is part of Digital India Campaign envisaged by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to take country forward with the help of technology. 
●    He said his Ministry is making every effort to use technology and methods to provide time saving and easily accessible customer service to consumers. 
●    Referring to the challenge of environmental pollution, Shri Pradhan said answer to Delhi’s pollution lies in migrating its power plants, industrial units besides domestic and transport usages to clean fuel. 
●    He said the Government is firm in its commitment to provide clean CNG and PNG for cooking and transport at customer’s convenience to promote Gas Based Economy. 

President of India to Preside over Two-Day Conference of Governors on October 12 & 13, 2017 at Rashtrapati Bhavan 

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, will preside over a two-day Conference of Governors on October 12 and 13, 2017, at Rashtrapati Bhavan. 
●    This is the 48th such Conference to be held in Rashtrapati Bhavan and the first Conference to be presided over by President Kovind. 
●    The two-day Conference will deliberate on important agenda items in different sessions. 
●    The theme of the opening session will be ‘New India-2022’. 
●    India will complete 75 years of independence in 2022. 
●    ‘New India 2022’ requires a number of initiatives in infrastructure to cater to the needs of citizens of the country. 
●    Similarly, to build ‘New India 2022’, emphasis has to be given on various services viz. access to quality education, training and skill development, healthcare, cleanliness, open-defecation free cities and villages, pollution free environment, safety and security of citizens, etc. 
●    The Vice President and the Prime Minister will be attending the sessions and addressing the conference. 

Ola raises $ 1.1 billion, continuing talks for an additional $ 1 billion

Ride-hailing company Ola on Wednesday said that it has raised $1.1 billion in a funding round led by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Limited. 
●    Ola’s existing investor SoftBank, in addition to other new US-based financial investors, have also participated in this round.
●    Ola said it is also in advanced talks with other investors to close an additional $1 billion as part of the current financing round, concluding a total raise of over $2 billion. 
●    The investment is expected to help Ola build its war chest in the battle against Uber, a worldwide ride-hailing colossus, that is rapidly gaining share in the Indian market. 
●    “Our ambition is to build a globally competitive and futuristic transportation system in India that will support and accelerate a nation on the move,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and chief executive of Ola, in a statement. 
●    With its latest round of funding, Ola said it will be making strategic investments in supply, technology, and cutting-edge innovations to build for the country’s unique transportation needs.

Vedanta to invest $6 billion

Mining mogul Anil Agarwal has said his company Vedanta Ltd will invest over $6 billion to double oil and gas production to 4,00,000 barrels per day in 3 -4 years, but wants the government to extend Rajasthan oil field licence without any condition. 
●    He also wanted the government to allow export of crude oil produced from the Barmer fields in Rajasthan to discover the right price. 
●    Right policies and unencumbered clearances, according to Agarwal, should be given without delays. 
●    "I feel that except for environment clearance, there should be no other clearance required," he said. 
●    Vedanta, which in 2011 bought Cairn India from its British promoters at an enterprise value of $14.5 billion, has "not recovered the money spent on the acquisition", he said. 
●    "But we are investing more. We are determined to double the oil and oil equivalent of gas production to 4,00,000 barrels per day in 3-4 years," he said. 

Current Affairs 11th October 2017: INTERNATIONAL RELATION

India-China Yoga College started registration in postgraduate courses

India-China Yoga College (ICYC), China's first dedicated yoga college, opened enrollment for its new master's program on Tuesday.
●    Students can now sign up for the three-year program, the first two years of which will be completed in Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan province, and the final year in India, according to Lu Fang, deputy dean on ICYC.
●    Students who complete the program will receive degree diplomas from both Yunnan Minzu University and India's Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, Lu said.
●    Postgraduate courses will include asana (poses), pranayama (breathing), yoga therapy and physiology as well as Hindi and Sanskrit to eliminate language barriers.
●    In order to help students prepare to study in India, the college will also offer courses on Indian culture.

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Important Current Affairs 10th October 2017

Important Current Affairs 10th October 2017

Current Affairs 10th October 2017: NATIONAL NEWS

President of India inaugurates India water Week-2017 

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated India Water Week-2017 today (October 10, 2017) in New Delhi.
●    Speaking on the occasion, the President said that water is essential to life. 
●    It is fundamental to the economy and to ecology – and to human equity. 
●    The issue of water is becoming still more critical in view of climate change and related environmental concerns. 
●    Better and more efficient use of water is a challenge for Indian agriculture and industry alike. 
●    It requires us to set new benchmarks in both our villages and in the cities we build.
●    The President said that currently, 80 per cent of water in India is used by agriculture and only 15 per cent by industry. 
●    In the coming years, this ratio will change. The total demand for water will also rise. 
●    Efficiency of water use and reuse, therefore, has to be built into the blueprint of industrial projects. 
●    Business and industry need to be a part of the solution.

Historic wage agreement by Coal India Limited 

The 10th Wage Agreement of Coal Workers was finalised on the 10th meeting on 10th day of 10th month of this year. 
●    Wage Agreement of the employees has been due from 1 July 2016. 
●    The negotiation for wage agreement that has been on the negotiation table for more than one year has been concluded today. 
●    Trade Union representatives were insistent for 50% of wage increase. 
●    Their demand was there should be 50% wage increase for the employees. 
●    But considering the country’s position, CIL’s benefit and financial position, a new record has been created by agreeing 20% increase on wages. 
●    The special accomplishment of this agreement is that every employee shall get one day’s rest in a week, as per rule, so that the employee shall have relaxation and shall get an opportunity to spend time with their family paving way for improvement in quality of life through Work-Life-Balance. 
●    The representatives of Trade Union and CIL Management have taken a decision to work together in the spirit of team work and increase productivity to unprecedented level.

Health Ministry discontinues Paper Greetings, switches to eGreetings 

With the aim to reduce use of paper and give a boost to digital initiatives of the Government and to promote a contemporary and eco-friendly method of sending greetings, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has decided to go forward with eGreetings instead of paper-based greetings starting this festive season. 
●    In a circular issued today, the Health Ministry has advised its staff to send festival greetings in the form of eGreetings. 
●    Further, the Ministry has also said that it will not entertain any request for printing of season’s greeting card. 
●    The eGreetings can be sent through the eGreetings portal of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology developed as part of the “Digital India” initiative.
●    The eGreeting portal created by DeitY and NIC allows users to select and send greetings from multiple occasion-specific templates. 
●    Government Departments can also customize the greetings by adding tag-lines and messages related to their programmes and schemes. 
●    The portal includes greetings for various occasions, including days of national importance. 

Union Home Minister inaugurates NIA Hqrs new Office Complex 

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh has said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has played a key role in making the country a safer place and shielded India from the onslaught of global terrorism. 
●    Inaugurating the new Headquarters Office Complex of the NIA here today, Shri Rajnath Singh said the NIA is on course to check the threat posed by terrorism.
●    The Union Home Minister said the NIA recently launched a crackdown on terrorism funding in the Kashmir Valley sponsored from a hostile neighbouring country and their accomplices in third countries abroad. 
●    He commended the NIA, other Security Agencies, the Army, CAPFs and ATS of State Police Forces for coordinated efforts resulting in the elimination of a good number of terrorists.
●    Shri Rajnath Singh said the Government initiated steps to grant full autonomy to the NIA in investigations. 
●    Earlier the NIA sought the MHA’s nod to proceed for action, but I’ve directed that there is no need for MHA’s approval and NIA is free to act discreetly. 

Indian Railways and German Railways sign Joint Declaration of intent 

A Joint Declaration of Intent was signed between Ministry of Railways and Germany on 10th October,2017 in Rail Bhavan in the presence of Shri Ashwani Lohani, Chairman, Railway Board regarding carrying out of feasibility study on existing Chennai-Kazipet corridor of Indian Railways by German Railways for increasing the speed of passenger trains to 200 kmph on 50.50 percent cost sharing basis.
●    The current Joint Declaration of Intent is intended to deepen the cooperation, more specifically towards the achievement in the priority area of Semi High Speed Rail: the upgrading of current passenger services to SHS (Semi High Speed) upto 200 kmph on the Chennai-Kazipet corridor (643 km).
●    The Project is envisaged to consist of three phases to be carried out over a 22 month period with the objectives to provide .
●    Phase 1: Definition of three demand-based Upgrade scenarios for the corridor
●    Phase 2: Selection of the preferred Upgrade scenario for SHS on the corridor, based on analysis of respective operations and economic-financial impact.
●    Phase 3: For preferred scenario, Reference design and technical Tender document:
●    Development of Reference design for technical solution on preferred  Upgrade scenario.
●    Procurement concept for Construction works and Railway Systems.
●    Concept and Requirements for construction Phasing under railway  Operations.
●    Preparation of technical tender documents for preferred Scenario usable for Design & Build tendering.

Conference on NPS for Central Public Sector Enterprises organised in the national capital by PFRDA 

Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) organised a conference on National Pension System (NPS) for Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) at the India Habitat Centre (IHC), New Delhi with the objective of informing CPSEs benefits and features of NPS and of addressing their queries on NPS. 
●    Based on the recommendation of the 3rd Pay Revision Committee, the Department of PSE notified dispensing with the condition of minimum 15 years of service and superannuation from CPSEs to avail the pension benefit implemented by CPSEs.
●    Separately, the Government has also amended the Income Tax Act providing for tax free migration of superannuation funds to NPS. 
●    This provision will facilitate the CPSEs to implement NPS for their employees. 
●    The total employee strength in CPSEs stood at 12.91 lakh (excluding contract workers) in 2014-15. 
●    The Conference saw an active participation of more than 55 CPSEs with around 150 participants.
●    In his Inaugural Address, Dr. Badri S. Bhandari, Whole Time Member, PFRDA welcomed the participants and expressed the endeavor of PFRDA to expand NPS across all the sectors in the country in affordable and sustainable manner. 
●    He explained the benefits of NPS and communicated the returns generated by Pension Funds since inception, which has been over 10% since inception. 

Reconstituting National Panel of Experts to resolve technical issues regarding use of new technology/ materials/equipment 

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, has decided to implement a “Value Engineering Program” to promote the use of new technologies, materials, and equipment in highways projects executed either under PPP mode or public funding mode. 
●    The objective of the programme is to use innovative technology, materials and equipment to reduce the cost of projects and make them more environment friendly, while simultaneously ensuring that the roads or bridges and other assets get constructed much faster, are structurally stronger and more durable.  
●    The Ministry had constituted a National Panel of Experts (NPE) last year, for approving  proposals pertaining to deployment of (a) new/innovative/alternative materials, (b) new/innovative/alternative technologies and (c) new/innovative/alternative equipment in the highway sector. 
●    The NPE will examine all technical matters involving the new technologies, materials and equipment referred to it by the concerned Engineers or concessionaires/ contractors. 
●    The NPE will also resolve the technical issues which arise as a result of difference in view between engineers and concessionaires/contractors regarding implementation of the new and innovative technologies, materials and equipment. 
●    In addition, it  will also decide about the need for field trials of any new or innovative technology/materials/ equipment before its adoption, and  finalize associated design approaches, construction methodologies/sequences as well as the relevant specifications/codes/ guidelines so that the contractor may use the proposed new/alternative materials/technologies/ equipment in project highway.

$11 billion deal to sell Indus Towers to Bharti Infratel

A consortium led by US buyout fund KKR and comprising Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and GIC Singapore is in discussions to acquire Indus Towers, the world’s largest wireless infrastructure company, and telecom tower company Bharti Infratel for $11billion, multiple people in the know told ET. 
●    Once completed, this will arguably be the largest such transaction globally. 
●    As the first step, Bharti Infratel will buy out either all or almost the entire 58% shareholding of other partners — Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Providence Equity Partners — in Indus Towers. 
●    Bharti Infratel currently owns 42% in Indus Towers, which has a portfolio of 1,23,000 towers. 
●    Vodafone is likely to retain 8-10% stake to enjoy any future upside. Infratel has the right of first refusal on Vodafone and Idea’s stakes in Indus Towers. 
●    “Bharti Infratel is likely to buy 45-50% stake for $5.5-6.5 billion as a leveraged buyout that will largely be funded out of the reserves and cash flow of Indus Towers,” said one of the sources mentioned above. 
●    Investment banking sources put the enterprise value of privately held Indus at around $11billion, inclusive of $1-billion debt. 
●    Spokespersons for Bharti, Vodafone Plc, KKR, Aditya Birla Group, CPPIB and ADIA declined to comment. GIC had not responded to ET’s questionnaire till press time. 

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Important Current Affairs 9th October 2017

Important Current Affairs 9th October 2017

Current Affairs 9th October 2017: NATIONAL NEWS

Vice President to inaugurate tomorrow the third International Conference on Yoga 

Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate the two-day ‘International Conference on Yoga for Wellness’ tomorrow at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. 
●    The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik will preside over the inaugural function.
●    The conference is being organized by Ministry of AYUSH as a part of commemorating the celebration of 21st June as International Day of Yoga declared by the United Nations. 
●    Secretary (AYUSH), Shri C.K. Mishra, Special Secretary, Shri Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha and Yoga Gurus of International repute will also be present. 
●    About 500 delegates including 69 from 44 overseas countries are registered to attend the conference.
●    Yoga focused deliberations of the conference will be organized in six technical sessions followed by Panel Discussion among 16 interdisciplinary experts from prominent scientific institutions.
●    The thematic areas of deliberations include Yoga research in non-communicable diseases and scope of Yoga in Integrated Medicine, Control of Cancer, Depression, Gynecological disorders and Pain Management. 

Union Home Minister to inaugurate First BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise tomorrow 

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh will inaugurate the four-day First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’ (BIMSTEC DMEx-2017) here tomorrow. 
●    The Exercise will be conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as the lead agency from October 10-13, 2017 in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). 
●    At the 17th BIMSTEC Senior Officials Meeting held in Kathmandu, Nepal on February 7, 2017, it was decided that India would organize the first annual Disaster Management Exercise for the region.
●    The BIMSTEC DMEx-2017 is being conducted in two phases in Delhi and NCR. 
●    The main exercise will comprise of Table Top Exercise (TTX), Field Training Exercise (FTX) and After Action Review (AAR) which is scheduled for October 10-13, 2017.
●    Earlier, the first phase comprising a Preparatory Meeting and field visit of site selected for FTX during the main exercise, was held in Delhi NCR on August 8-9, 2017.

NMCG Approves Eight Projects worth over Rs 700 Crore Under Namami Gange Programme 

National Mission for Clean Ganga has approved eight projects worth Rs. 700 crore, out of which four pertain to sewage management in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, three are related to treatment of drains through bio-remediation and one of inventorization and surveillance of river Ganga. 
●    On sewage management front, a project for pollution abatement in river Ganga at Bally in West Bengal has been approved at an estimated cost of Rs 200.07 crore that would include construction of a 40 MLD STP under Hybrid Annuity based PPP model among other works. 
●    Similarly, construction of a 65 MLD STP under Hybrid Annuity model has been approved for Bhagalpur in Bihar at an estimated reject cost of Rs 268.49 crore. 
●    In Uttar Pradesh, sewage treatment related works at an estimated cost of Rs 213.62 crore have also been approved that includes construction of two STPs (28 MLD + 05 MLD) in Farrukabad and one 2 MLD STP at Bargadiya drain in Fatehpur. 
●    Pollution abatement works for river Ganga like interception, diversion and treatment of sewage in Bithoor have also been approved at an estimated cost of Rs 13.40 crore. 

First ever Conference of Partner NGOs of WCD Ministry held in New Delhi today 

The first ever conference of Partner NGOs of WCD Ministry was held in New Delhi today. 
●    The Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi inaugurated the conference titled “Implementation of Policies, Schemes and Programmes for Women and Children: Challenges and Way Forward”. 
●    More than 130 participants from various NGOs across the country attended today’s conference aimed at sensitizing them about the various schemes of WCD Ministry and to give them an opportunity to share their experiences and insights.
●    Addressing the participants, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi said that NGOs play a very vital role since a large numbers of schemes, programmes and policies of the government, which are being implemented at the ground level with the help of NGOs. 
●    The Ministry of Women and Child Development has taken up several new initiatives like One Stop Centres, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Women Helpline, National Policy for Women, Bill against Trafficking, National Alliance against Child Abuse amongst many such others, the Minister explained. 

Territorial Army Celebrates 68th Raising Day 

Territorial Army (TA) celebrated its 68th Raising Day here today. 
●    As per tradition, the TA fraternity led by ADG TA Major General DA Chaturvedi, called on the President Shri Ram Nath Kovind and paid their respect to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
●    In the run-up to the Raising Day several events were organised across the country. 
●    In Delhi the TA organised a half marathon on October 02, 2017 in the true spirit of Citizens’ Army and also to promote healthy lifestyle. 
●    The event comprised 5 Km, 10 Km and 21 Km run and was flagged off from Army Parade Ground, Delhi Cantt by DGMO Lieutenant General AK Bhatt, and Lt Col (Hony) Kapil Dev. 

India Inc is preparing plans for mega investments in charging infrastructure

India Inc is preparing plans for mega investments for the electric vehicle mission including charging infrastructure worth thousands of crores in cities, batteries and purchase of three-wheelers and cars. 
●    Government officials said they have held extensive discussions with more than 50 companies, domestic and foreign, for setting up charging infrastructure – a vital requirement of the country’s ambitious e-vehicle plan. 
●    Ola and several local taxi aggregators are also considering bulk purchases of electric three-wheelers and e-rickshaws and lease them, industry executives and officials said. 
●    A top official involved in the government’s e-vehicle’s programme said Tata Power, ABB, Acme Industries, and few Dutch firms are actively considering setting up vehicle charging stations, while Exide Industries, Amaron Batteries and Microtek have held discussions with officials about supplying batteries and setting up bulk shops for motorists to swap drained out batteries with charged ones.

Union Home Minister attends Passing Out Parade at CISF Regional Training Centre Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu 

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh has said the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) needs to upgrade and technologically advance itself to face and counter any incident of cyber terrorism. 
●    Addressing the Passing Out Parade of Assistant Commandants (Executive), Sub Inspectors (Executive) and Assistant Sub Inspectors (Executive) at the CISF Regional Training Centre (RTC) Arakkonam, in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu today, Shri Rajnath Singh said a specialised Wing in the CISF should be created to conduct regular cyber security audits and build capacities to deal with cyber-terrorism.
●    Pointing out that cyber-terrorism has emerged as a major terror threat facing several countries in the world, the Union Home Minister said the cyber terrorists use digital tracks to attack important institutions, buildings and installation.
●    Shri Rajnath Singh also called upon the CISF to conduct regular security audits of all important buildings and installations. 
●    The CISF should strengthen its security mechanism based on these audit reports and also by adopting new technological solutions, he added. 
●    The Union Home Minister said the CISF needs to maintain its core competence against terrorism so that our strategic installations are not hit by any terrorist group. 
●    Shri Rajnath Singh said India is one of the fastest emerging economies of the world. 

Current Affairs 9th October 2017: AWARDS

Richard Thaler awarded with Nobel of economics

Richard Thaler has been awarded the Nobel prize in economics for his work on how psychology influences decision making.
●    The award – officially known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in memory of Alfred Nobel, which was first awarded in 1969 – was given to Mr Thaler for his work in “understanding the psychology of economics”, said the prize committee.
●    Richard Thaler is an American economist who is currently professor of behavioural science and economics at the University of Chicago. 
●    He is the 79th recipient of the Nobel, which was announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm today. He will receive a prize of 9m Swedish krona ($1.1m).
●    The prize committee said that Mr Thaler’s work on incorporating insights from psychology into economics had inspired many other researchers and transformed behavioural economics from being “a fringe and controversial” field to a “mainstream area”.
●    The insights from this area of economics were summarised in Mr Thaler’s popular book “Nudge”, co-authored with Cass Sunstein, and have been increasingly influential in shaping economic policies.

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Important Current Affairs 8th October 2017

Important Current Affairs 8th October 2017

Current Affairs 8th October 2017: NATIONAL NEWS

Prime Minister launches Intensified Mission Indradhanush 

"Let no child suffer from any vaccine-preventable disease". This was stated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi as he launched the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) at Vadnagar in Gujarat, today. 
●    Through this programme, Government of India aims to reach each and every child under two years of age and all those pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunisation programme. 
●    The special drive will focus on improving immunization coverage in select districts and cities to ensure full immunization to more than 90% by December 2018. 
●    The achievement of full immunisation under Mission Indradhanush to at least 90% coverage was to be achieved by 2020 earlier. 
●    With the launch of IMI, achievement of the target has now been advanced. 
●    Shri Vijaybhai Rupani, Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Smt. Anandiben Patel, Ex-Chief Minister of Gujarat, Nitin Bhai Patel, Dy Chief Minister of Gujarat and Shankarbhai Chaudhary, Minister of State, Gujarat Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education, Environment and Urban Development were also present at the launch function along with other dignitaries. 

Union Home Minister to inaugurate NIA Hqrs Office Complex on 10th October 

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh will inaugurate the new Headquarters Office Complex of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) here on October 10, 2017. 
●    The Ministers of State for Home Affairs, Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir and Shri Kiren Rijiju will also be present at the inauguration ceremony. 
●    The foundation stone of the NIA Headquarters was laid by Shri Rajnath Singh on September 10, 2015 and the work has been completed within the stipulated period of 24 months. 
●    The NIA, which came into existence on December 31, 2008, initially began operations in Hotel Centaur, New Delhi and thereafter shifted its Headquarters to the NDCC-II Building, Jai Singh Road, New Delhi in June, 2013. 
●    In addition to the Headquarters, the agency has expanded its geographical outreach through a network of branch offices located at Lucknow, Hyderabad, Kochi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kolkata, Raipur & Jammu. 
●    Apart from these, the NIA is having its camp offices at Chandigarh, Srinagar, Chennai, Bangalore, Vishakhapatnam, Ahmedabad, Bharuch, Jagdalpur, Patna, Siliguri, Malda, Ranchi, Vijaywada and Imphal.

Shri Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurates Saudi Aramco India Office 

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, today inaugurated Saudi Aramco’s ARAMCO ASIA INDIA office in Gurugram jointly with Mr Amin H Al-Nasser, President and CEO of Saudi Aramco. 
●    The office is located at Two Horizon Tower, Gurugram. 
●    Saudi Aramco through its subsidiary ARAMCO Asia India (AAI) established its formal business presence in India in 2016. 
●    AAI would now formally engage in crude oil and LPG marketing, engineering & technical services, and other business development activities. 
●    Speaking on the occasion Shri Pradhan mentioned that India is one of the biggest markets for Saudi oil and LPG. 
●    He said that he was delighted to jointly inaugurate the Saudi Aramco's Office in India which will help in strengthening the existing buyer - supplier relationship between the two sides to a strategic partnership in the hydrocarbon sector. 
●    ARAMCO India is planning to expand its operation by introducing hydrocarbon sector services functions, including engineering services, IT operations & security and also R&D centre in near future.  

Haj Committee presents report on New Haj policy 2018-22 to Shri Mukhrar Abbas Naqvi 

Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India had constituted a Committee to review the existing Haj Policy of the Government for 2013-17 and to suggest framework for new Haj policy 2018-22. 
●    The Committee presented its Report to the Union Minister of Minority Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in the presence of Secretary (Minority Affairs), Shri Ameising Luikham, Chairman of Haj Committee of India, Shri Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser, Ambassador of India in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Shri Ahmed Javed, other Members of HCoI and senior officials of the Ministry of Minority Affairs in Mumbai today.
●    Haj is one of the most complex organizational tasks undertaken by Government of India outside its borders. 
●    Although a five day religious congregation, it is virtually a year-long managerial exercise. 
●    Indian Haj pilgrims who constitute one of the largest national group perform Haj through two streams - (i) the Haj Committee of India (HCOI), and (ii) registered Private Tour Operators (PTOs). 
●    HCOI established under the Haj Committee Act 2002 is responsible for making the arrangements for pilgrims performing Haj through them. 
●    All arrangements for the HCoI pilgrims in Saudi Arabia are coordinated by the Consulate General of India, Jeddah. 
●    The Haj quota for India fixed by the Saudi Arabian Government was fixed at 1,36,020 after Haj 2013. 

Dr. Mahesh Sharma to inaugurate ‘Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav-2017’ to be held in Ahmadabad From 7th To 9th October, 2017 

The “Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav (RSM)-2017” will be held from 7th to 9th October, 2017  in India’s 1st World Heritage City i.e Ahmadabad, Gujarat. 
●    Ms. Sujata Prasad, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Culture addressing the media persons Ahmadabad, Gujarat today said that Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav was conceived by the Ministry of Culture in the year 2015 and after the grand success of the First Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav in November-2015, the Ministry of Culture decided to organize it with an intent to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Country in all its rich and varied dimensions, viz Handicrafts, Cuisine, Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Documentation and Performing Arts-Folk, Tribal, Classical and Contemporary- all in one place. 
●    So far, this Ministry has organised 5 RSM’s i.e 2 in Delhi, 1 each in Varanasi, Bengaluru and RSM North East in all NE State capitals. 
●    Additional Secretary informed that The Minister of State for Culture (I/C) and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma will inaugurate the 6th edition of Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav on 7th October 2017 at 7.00 pm at Sabarmati Riverfront Event Centre, A Block in Ahmedabad.

MoU signed between V.V. Giri National Labour Institute (VVGNLI) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Guwahati 

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between V.V. Giri National Labour Institute (VVGNLI) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Guwahati was signed today by Dr. H. Srinivas, Director General of VVGNLI and Dr. D.K. Srivastava, Deputy Director of TISS, Guwahati in the august presence of Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar, the Union Minister of State (IC) for Labour & Employment in Guwahati. 
●    Shri Pallav Lochan Das, Minister of State (IC) for Labour Welfare, Govt. of Assam and Smt. M. Sathiyavathy, Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Govt. of India were also present during the occasion.
●    Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar in his message advised that the good collaborative work proposed to be done in the North Eastern states could also be replicated in the entire country so that all get benefited. 
●    Shri Pallav Lochan Das stated that labour laws applicable in other states may not be applicable in Assam due to different local conditions. 
●    Hence, there is necessity to devise customized laws. 
●    He welcomed the MoU initiated by the Union Ministry of Labour & Employment.
●    Smt. M. Sathiyavathy in her message outlined the activities of VVGNLI and the MoU’s it has with the International Training Center of International Labour Organisation, Turin; IIM Lucknow etc. 
●    She complemented VVGNLI for its various activities and Director General, VVGNLI and Director, TISS, Guwahati for the present collaboration.

CRZ nod to ONGC's Rs 266 crore desalination plant in Maharashtra

State-run ONGC has received the coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) clearance for setting up a seawater desalination plant at its Uran unit in Raigad, Maharashtra at a cost of Rs 266.40 crore, according to an official letter issued to the company.
●    The proposal is to set up a seawater desalination plant with a capacity to process 20 million litres per day (MLD). 
●    The proposed site is about 380 meters away from the high tide line (HTL) of Arabian Sea, along the western coast of India.
●    Desalination is a process to remove dissolved minerals from feed water sources such as seawater and brackish water. 
●    Desalination of seawater is being increasingly adopted worldwide to cope with the deficit in availability of potable water.
●    In the letter, the environment ministry said it has given the CRZ clearance for establishing a desalination plant in Maharashtra after taking into account the recommendation of its expert panel.
●    The approval is subject to compliance of certain conditions such as obtaining of 'no objection certificate' from Maharashtra Pollution Control Board for discharge of brine water into the sea after necessary safeguards, it said.

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