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Important Current Affairs 28th November 2018 English

Science news

Newly discovered deep-sea microbes
The team uncovered new microbial species that are so genetically different from those that have been previously studied that they represent new branches in the tree of life. Many of these same species possess keen pollutant-eating powers, like other, previously identified microbes in the ocean and soil.
Beneath the ocean floor huge reservoirs of hydrocarbon gases -- including methane, propane, butane and others -- exist now, and these microbes prevent greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere.
Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin's Marine Science Institute have discovered it.

National News

Health Ministry launches a new state-of-the art Information Platform to monitor public health surveillance 
Union Health Secretary did soft-launch of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) segment of Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) in seven states . 
The path-breaking initiative will provide near-real-time data to policy makers for detecting outbreaks, reducing the morbidity and mortality and lessening disease burden in the populations and better health systems.

Making of New India book released 
Released by finance minister Arun Jaitley today, in the presence of President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the book, Making of New India, put together by the nationalist think tank Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation (SPMRF) and members of the Niti Aayog, is an attempt seen as to cash in on Modi’s image as "a hands-on decision-maker obsessed with efficiency and accountability", ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

NPCC is now a Miniratna 
National Projects Construction Corporation Limited (NPCC) has been conferred with the status of Miniratna : Category –I by the Government of India. The empowerment of Miniratna Status to NPCC will help the company in taking speedy decisions by enhancing the delegation of powers to the Board.
The Corporation,  incorporated in 1957, is a premier construction company having mandate with creation of infrastructure to provide impetus for economic development of the country.

International News

Gandhi Smriti to Organise ‘South Asia Regional Youth Peace Conference’
Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS), functioning under Ministry of Culture, Government of India will be organising a 3 day ‘South Asia Regional Youth Peace Conference’ .
The conference is being organized to mark the beginning of celebration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
This conference focuses on building a network for young leaders from South Asian countries working on various social issues, to identify avenues for partnership and collaboration, support and show solidarity towards each other’s initiatives, nurture relationships and promote global citizenship to work towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

U.N. approves $9 million in aid for crisis-stricken Venezuela
For health and nutritional aid for crisis-stricken Venezuela, where hunger and preventable disease are soaring amid the collapse of the country’s socialist economic system.
The U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will support projects to provide nutritional support to children under five years old, pregnant women and lactating mothers at risk, and emergency health care for the vulnerable.
Venezuela Crisis
Arguably the biggest problem facing Venezuelans in their day-to-day lives is hyperinflation. The annual inflation rate reached 83,000% in July.

Obituary news

Mohammed Aziz passes away
Singer Mohammed Aziz, who did playback for artistes such as Amitabh Bachchan, Govinda and Rishi Kapoor, passed away on Tuesday. He was 64.
Mr. Aziz, who has over 20,000 songs to his credit, has sung in Bollywood, Bengali and Odia film industries. 
He made his film debut with Bengali film Jyoti.

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Important Current Affairs 26th November 2018 English

National news

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (IDEVAW) is observed every year across the world on 25 November. Observance of this day seeks to raise awareness about violence against women and girls, end violence against women.
The UN theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) under the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign is “Orange the World: #HearMeToo”.

7th International Tourism Mart 2018 being organised in Agartala 
The 7th edition of the ‘International Tourism Mart’ was held in Agartala, the capital city of Tripura. It was organised by Union Ministry of Tourism in association with Department of Tourism, Government of Tripura and North Eastern States. The theme for this year is “Adventure Tourism”.
This edition of tourism mart is expected to witness wide participation of international buyers and media delegates from countries around the world and from different regions of the country.

Andhra Pradesh Government launches Bhuseva and Bhudaar web portal
Andhra Pradesh Government has launched Bhuseva and Bhudaar web portal through which people can view land records online. People can get land record records online through these portals using Aadhaar card.
It is 11 digit unique identification code to be assigned to each agriculture land holding and rural and urban property. It will allow people to get land details on their mobile phones. It will help to transparency in land records. It provides information related to all transactions of particular land or property in single source.

70-feet tall statue of Lord Buddha unveiled at Rajgir in Nalanda district
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar unveiled 70-feet tall statue of Lord Buddha at Rajgir in Nalanda district of state. It is second tallest statue of Buddha in the country.
The statue has been installed above 16 metre radius pedestal in middle of lake Ghora Katora. It has been made from 45,000 cubic foot pink sand stone. Ghora Katora is natural lake surrounded by five hills.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands home to tenth of India’s fauna species 
Andaman & Nicobar Islands are to home to tenth of India’s fauna species and hosts 1,067 endemic faunal species found nowhere else. It was revealed by Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) publication titled Faunal Diversity of Biogeographic Zones: Islands of India.
ZSI publication
Total area of A&N Islands, which comprises of 572 islands, islets and rocky outcrops, is about 8,249 sq. km has around total 11,009 species. It comprises only 0.25% of India’s geographical area but is home to more than 10% of country’s fauna species.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd November 2018 English


North, South Korea connect road across border after 14 years 
North and South Korea have connected a road across their shared border for the first time in 14 years.
Road is wholly within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides the peninsula, will be used for joint operations next year to recover remains from the 1950-53 Korean War.
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
DMZ is between South Korea and North Korea. 

Global CO2 levels hit new record in 2017: UN
The levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the main driver of climate change, have hit a new record high.
Ahead of the COP 24 climate summit in Poland next month, top United Nations officials are again trying to raise the pressure on governments to meet the pledge of limiting warming to the less than two degrees Celsius, enshrined in the 2015 Paris accord.
In addition to CO2, the UN agency also highlighted rising levels of methane, nitrous oxide and another powerful ozone depleting gas known as CFC-11.
PM stands for particulate matter (also called particle pollution): the term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air.


India gets UN Environment award for combating transboundary environmental crime

United Nation Environment has awarded Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India with Asia Environment Enforcement Awards, 2018 for excellent work done by the Bureau in combating transboundary environmental crime.
WCCB has been conferred this award in Innovation category. WCCB has adopted innovative enforcement techniques that have dramatically increased enforcement of transboundary environmental crimes in India. 
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau
It is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Tajkistan on Cooperation on Youth Matters

The MoU shall remain valid for a period of five (5) years. 
 The Agreement will facilitate exchange programmes in the field of Youth Affairs, which will help in promoting exchange of ideas, values and culture amongst Youth and in consolidating friendly relations between India and Tajikistan. The benefits arising from such bilateral exchange programmes between both countries would be equally available to all youth irrespective of their caste, religion and gender. 

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Important Current Affairs 22nd November 2018 English

National news

City Gas projects to be launched by PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone in New Delhi tomorrow for City Gas Distribution (CGD) projects across 129 districts which won under the ninth CGD bidding round held recently.
Government of India has put thrust to promote the usage of environment friendly clean fuel i.e. natural gas as a fuel/feedstock across the country to move towards a gas based economy.
The projects, recently awarded by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) would cover 65 Geographical Areas (GAs) under the ninth round of bidding.
Moreover, PNGRB has initiated the process of tenth CGD bidding round for another 50 GAs covering 124 districts in 14 states to increase the potential coverage to about 53 per cent of the country's area covering 70 per cent of the population


Mary Kom makes history at World Boxing Chamionship
Mary becomes the most successful medal winner in the Championship's history with seven medals across different weight categories.
India's Mary Kom defeated China's Wu Yu 5-0 in the 48kg quarterfinals of the women's World Boxing Championships in New Delhi. She is assured of a medal.

International news

South Korean Kim Jong-yang elected as Interpol president 
Mr Kim was elected for a two-year term at the annual General Assembly, which is being held in Dubai this year. 
The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO-INTERPOL), commonly known as Interpol, is the international organization that facilitates international police cooperation.
INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 194 member countries.

Maldives all set to rejoin Commonwealth of Nations
 After leaving the Commonwealth of Nations in 2016, the Maldives is set to rejoin the organization under the new leadership of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. 
Commonwealth, also called Commonwealth of Nations, formerly (1931–49) British Commonwealth of Nations, a free association of sovereign states comprising the United Kingdom and a number of its former dependencies who have chosen to maintain ties of friendship and practical cooperation and who acknowledge the British monarch as symbolic head of their association.


Board Committees to assist RBI
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is set to get a makeover in line with its global counterparts, with several board committees to be formed on various aspects like technology, risk management, banking regulation, supervision, among others, to assist the central bank in its operations.
Proposed by the government, the issue will be discussed in the next board meeting of the central bank, scheduled for December 14. At present, there are no such committees of the central board.
The move is also seen to make the RBI management accountable to the board and making the board more hands-on.

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Important Current Affairs 21st November 2018 English


7th International Tourism Mart 
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, in association with the Department of Tourism, Government of Tripura and the North Eastern States is organizing the “International Tourism Mart” in Agartala, Tripura from the 22nd to 24thNovember 2018. 
Objective is to highlight the tourism potential of the region in the domestic and international markets.
The earlier editions of this mart have been held in Guwahati, Tawang, Shillong, Gangtok and Imphal.
A total of 41 foreign delegates from 18 countries namely Australia, Canada, China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, UAE and USA will be in Tripura for the Mart.

Literacy levels in rural India declined due to migration, UNESCO study
Literacy levels in rural households of India dip with seasonal migration, the UNESCO global education monitoring report 2019 has observed.10.7 million children aged 6 to 14 lived in rural households with a seasonal migrant in 2013. 
Construction sector absorbs the majority of short-term migrants. 
Literacy status in India
India's literacy rate is at 74.04%. Tripura has achieved a literacy rate of 94.65%. Bihar is the least literate state in India, with a literacy of63.82%.

Malaria cases in India declined : WHO report
India reported almost 3 million fewer malaria cases in 2017, a 24% decrease over the previous year, while cases increased worldwide to 219 million from 217 million, after registering a steady decline since 2010, according to the World Malaria Report 2018. India is no longer among the world’s top three countries in terms of number of cases.
In 2017, India launched its five-year National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination that shifted focus from malaria “control” to “elimination” and provided a road-map with targets to end malaria in 571 districts out of India’s 678 districts by 2022.
Also called: plasmodium infection
It is a parasitic infection.

Indira Gandhi peace prize : Centre for Science and Environment
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has won this year's Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development. 
The international jury for the awards was headed by former President Pranab Mukerjee.
Founder: Anil Agarwal
Founded: 1980
Area served: India
Location: New Delhi, India

UN adopts first resolution to fight sexual harassment
Resolution serves as a normative framework on work against sexual harassment, urging member states to condemn violence against women and girls, including sexual harassment, and pursue a policy of eliminating such violence.
Resolution details:
-    to address structural and underlying causes and risk factors.
-    to address discrimination that places women and girls at greater risk of exploitation, violence, and abuse, and to take appropriate action to empower and protect them.
-    states to take necessary measures to ensure that employers in all sectors are held accountable
-    states to encourage digital technology companies, including internet service providers and digital platform.

India – Russia sealed the deal for 2 guided missile stealth frigates.
India and Russia on Tuesday inked a $500 million deal for design and transfer of technology for the construction of two guided-missile stealth frigates at the Goa Shipyard, in yet another indication that New Delhi will continue to have expansive defence collaboration with Moscow despite the threat of financial sanctions from Washington.
A frigate is a type of warship, having various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.

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Important Current Affairs 20th November 2018 English

National News

 Commemoration Ceremony to mark the 25th edition of SIMBEX, “Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise” was held onboard INS Sahyadri at Visakhapatnam.
SIMBEX is the longest un-interrupted bilateral maritime exercise that India has had with any navy.
 The 25th edition of SIMBEX is the largest in terms of complexity, weapon firings and maritime geography. He concluded by reminding the audience the motto of the Republic of Singapore Navy ‘Beyond Horizon’ while that of the Indian Navy ‘Sam No Varunah’ which translates to ‘May the Ocean Gods be Auspicious Unto Us’. 
Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) is an annual bilateral naval exercise conducted by the Indian Navy and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).

Western Peripheral Expressway: PM Modi inaugurates:
PM inaugrated Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway in Haryana’s Gurgaon district – a project that will divert heavy polluting vehicles from Delhi. 
Also, known as the Western Peripheral.
The Western Peripheral Expressway links to the National Highway 1 (Panipat to Delhi), National Highway-8 (Jaipur-Gurgaon-Delhi road), National Highway-10 (Hisar-Rohtak-Delhi road).
National Highway 1 or (NH 1): New Delhi to the town of Attari in Punjab near the Indo-Pakistani border.
National Highway 2 (NH 2) :  Delhi-Kolkata.
National Highway 8 (NH 8) : Delhi - Mumbai.
National Highway 10 (NH 10) : Delhi and ends at the town of Fazilka in Punjab near the Indo-Pakistani border.
National Highway 24 : Delhi to Lucknow .

PM launches Ease of Doing Business Grand Challenge 
Aim: to invite innovative ideas based on Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data Analytics, Blockchain and other cutting edge technology to reform Government processes. The platform for the Grand Challenge is the Startup India Portal.
Ease of doing business is an index published by the World Bank. It is an aggregate figure that includes different parameters which define the ease of doing business in a country. 

Suresh Prabhu launches AirSewa 2.0 
Launched the upgraded version of AirSewa 2.0 web portal and mobile app.
Aim : to provide a superior user experience with enhanced functionalities. Major improvements include features such as secure sign-up and log-in with social media, chatbot for travellers support,improved grievance management including social media grievances, real-time flight status and details flight schedule. 

International news

Maldives to cancel China Trade Deal

aldive’s new government will put out of a FTA with China because it was a mistake for the tiny nation to strike such a pact with the World’s second biggest economy. 
Huge trade deficit.
China is not buying anything from us. It’s a one way treaty. – government.
President: Ibrahim Mohamed Solih Trending
Capital: Malé
Currency: Maldivian rufiyaa

Zverev shocks Djokovic to lift title 
Alexander Zverev emphatically announced his arrival at the top of the men's game by overpowering Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 to win his first ATP Finals title on Sunday.
Alexander Zverev
He is the first player to beat to both Djokovic and Federer in the same ATP Finals.
Born : April 20, 1997.  

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Important Current Affairs 19th November 2018 English

(International News)

Kilograms get a new definition
Currently, it is defined by the weight of a platinum-based ingot called "Le Grand K" which is locked away in a safe in Paris. On Friday, researchers meeting in Versailles voted to get rid of it in favour of defining a kilogram in terms of an electric current.
The decision was made at the General Conference on Weights and Measures.
Le Grand K has been at the forefront of the international system of measuring weights since 1889. Several close replicas were made and distributed around the globe. But the master kilogram and its copies were seen to change - ever so slightly - as they deteriorated. The fluctuation is about 50 parts in a billion, less than the weight of a single eyelash. But although it is tiny, the change can have important consequences.
General Conference on Weights and Measures
It is the supreme authority of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures.
The inter-governmental organization established in 1875 under the terms of the Metre Convention.
It meets in Sèvres (south-west of Paris) usually once every four years.

(National News)

Government may not issue directions to RBI under Section 7
The Union government may not invoke Section 7 of the RBI Act to issue directions to the central bank, in a bid to reduce the tension between North Block and Mint Road
The central board of the RBI will meet on Monday to discuss contentious issues that figured at the last board meeting — economic capital, governance issues of the central bank, boost for the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework for banks.
Section 7 has never been used in the 83-year history of the bank.
About RBI Meeting
The Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) meets every month to discuss inspection reports of banks and systemically important financial entities, and other routine issues of supervision.
The Board now has 18 members, inclusive of the Governor and four Deputy Governors and two top bureaucrats from the Finance Ministry. In addition, the government nominates 10 public representatives from different fields of activity to the board.
Always a dull affair, but it has come into news after the government decided to appoint Mr. Gurumurthy, known for his conservative views and swadeshi economics.
The last Board meeting on October 23 was reported to be a stormy affair that lasted about eight hours but ended up discussing only three of the 20 items on the agenda. A public speech on October 26 by Deputy Governor Viral Acharya, in which he said governments that do not respect the central bank’s independence would incur the wrath of the markets sent the RBI-government relations further downhill.
The upcoming meeting is crucial in the backdrop of the fraught relationship between the government and the RBI as it can result either in resolution or lead to a point of no return. The choices are clear: the RBI and the government have to arrive at an understanding on the issues listed above through a spirit of give and take.

Elimination of Trans fat in eatery foods 
The Health Department and the Food Safety wing are joining hands to reduce  trans fatty acids (TFAs), salt and sugar in commercially available foods in the State.
The initiative, with technical support from the World Bank, WHO and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), is being launched as unhealthy diet is pushing up metabolic syndrome and premature deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among Keralites.
WHO recommends that trans fat intake be limited to less than 1% of total energy intake and has called for the total elimination of TFAs in global food supply by 2023. FSSAI has proposed to limit TFA limit in foods to 2% and eliminate trans fats from foods by 2022.
What are trans fats?
There are two broad types of trans fats found in foods: naturally-occurring and artificial trans fats. Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of some animals and foods made from these animals (e.g., milk and meat products) may contain small quantities of these fats. Artificial trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.
Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It’s also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
World Health Organization
It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
Head: Tedros Adhanom

Ad Filmmaker Alyque Padamsee dies at 90 
Alyque Padamsee, who was known for his role as Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the film Gandhi, died today at the age of 90.
Padamsee was widely regarded as the Father of modern Indian advertising, as he founded Lintas, which is considered one of the top advertising agencies in the country. He was the man who gave us iconic ads like Liril with the girl in the waterfall, Hamara Bajaj, the Kamasutra couple and many such memorable commercials.
He was also an eminent theatre personality. He made his stage debut at the age of 7 in Merchant of Venice, a William Shakespeare play, directed by his brother Bobby Padamsee. The first play that he directed was Taming of The Shrew.

Swachh Bharat Mission to celebrate World Toilet Day 
The focus is on usage  of toilets, which is closely linked to the Prime Minister’s call for a Swachh Bharat by October 2019.
The objective is to engage with communities and reaffirm the national resolve to a sustain the Sanitation achievement.
Since the inception of the Swachh Bharat Mission, the rural sanitation coverage of India has increased significantly, from 39%      in October 2014 to over 96% today. Over 8.8 crore household toilets have been built by rural Indians. As a        result, 25 States/Union Territories, 530 districts, and over 5.2 lakh villages have declared themselves free from open      defecation.   The number of people practicing open defecation in rural India has gone down from 550 million in 2014, to less than 100 million today through the progress made under the Swachh Bharat Mission.
About Swacch Bharat Abhiyan
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) or Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is a nation-wide campaign in India for the period 2014 to 2019 that aims to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India's cities, towns, and rural areas. The campaign's official name is in Hindi and translates to 'Clean India Mission' in English.

(Sports News)

Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur won title in WTA Taipei Open

Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi -- India's top two singles players -- combined well to win their maiden title on the WTA Tour, grabbing the doubles trophy at the USD 125,000 Taipei OEC Open
Playing first time together on the Pro circuit, the Indians clinched the title when Russia's Olga Doroshina and Natela Dzalamidze opted out of edge-of-seat contest due to latter's injury.

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Important Current Affairs 18th November 2018 English

National News

Sixth Indian Social Work Congress held in New Delhi

Dr. Martha Farrell posthumously honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award during this edition of congress for her lifelong work towards gender equality, women’s empowerment and prevention of sexual harassment at workplace. It was jointly organized by National Association of Professional Social Workers in India (NAPSWI) and Department of Social Work (Delhi School of Social Work), University of Delhi. The theme of 6th congress 2018 is “Human Development and Social Inclusion: Imperatives for Social Work Education and Practice”.

Two North East Circuit Projects inaugurated in Arunachal Pradesh

Two important projects under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India were inaugurated at PTSO Lake in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh. 
The project Development of Bhalukpong- Bomdila - Tawang was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in March 2015 for Rs. 49.77 Crores. Under this project the Ministry has developed facilities like Accommodation, Cafeteria, wayside Amenities, last Mile Connectivity, Pathways, Toilets, Multipurpose Hall at Jang, Sorang Monastery, Lumpo, Zemithang, Bumla Pass, Gritsang TSO lake, PTSO Lake, Thingbu and Grenkha Hot Spring, Lumla, Sela Lake. The project Development of Nafra- Seppa- Pappu, Pasa, Pakke Valleys- Sangdupota- New Sagalee- Ziro- Yomcha was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in December 2015 for Rs. 97.14 Crores.

Nongkrem Dance Festival

Nongkrem dance festival, an annual event during which prayers are offered for good harvest, peace, and prosperity of the community was celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm by the inhabitants of the Khasi Hills in Shillong, Meghalaya.

Government approves 3 new proposals under Nirbhaya Fund.

Union Government has approved three proposals under Nirbhaya Fund including setting up of 1023 Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs). Decision in this regard was taken by Empowered Committee of Officers under Nirbhaya Fund, under Chairmanship of Secretary, Women and Child Development Ministry.

Three proposals

Setting up of 1023 Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs): It was proposal forwarded by Department of Justice under Ministry of Law and Justice) to dispose off pending cases of rape and POCSO Act across the country.

Procurement of forensic kits for sexual assault cases: It was proposal forwarded by Union Ministry of Home Affairs to kick start usage of such kits in States. 

Setting up video surveillance system at 50 Railway Stations: It was proposal forwarded by Konkan Railway Corporation Limited for setting up video surveillance system at 50 Railway Stations.

IIT Kharagpur researchers devise decision support system (DCS) to help maximise LPG connections in BPL

Researchers from IIT Kharagpur have devised decision support system (DCS) to help maximise LPG connections in BPL (below poverty line) households under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.


It is computer programme that helps in making sound rational decisions using mathematical programming and operation research techniques. It can provide exact values of important parameters over prescribed policy time period, which in turn will help to take important measures to ascertain proper functioning (monitoring) of policy towards the desired goal.

Punjab becomes 3rd state to ban hookah bars or lounges

Punjab becomes third state in the country after Maharashtra and Gujarat  to ban hookah bars or lounges. The ban was announced through law after President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018.  

The Bill was Punjab state assembly in March this year with an aim to bring the law in force to check the use of tobacco in various forms and prevent diseases caused by the use of tobacco. The law was enacted due check unregulated growth these hookah parlours and rapid increase in trend of ‘hookah-sheesha’ smoking in the state. 

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Important Current Affairs 17th November 2018 English

National News

Union Government inks $105 million loan agreement with ADB for Hydropower Transmission

Union Government and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed $105 million loan to continue financing transmission system upgrades in Himachal Pradesh for increased supply of hydropower to state and national grid. It is third tranche part of $350 million multi-tranche financing facility (MFF) for Himachal Pradesh Clean Energy Transmission Investment Program approved by ADB Board in September 2011.
Himachal Pradesh Clean Energy Transmission Investment Program
The program is aimed at developing and expanding transmission network to evacuate clean and renewable power generated from State’s hydropower sources to load centers within and outside State.

Government inks $300 million loan agreement with ADB to support IIFCL

Union Government has inked $300 million Loan Agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) to support lending by India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL).
ADB funding is expected to fund at least 13 sub-projects through IIFCL, involving roads and renewable power generation, under the last tranche. It expected to help catalyze the financial closing of $2.4 billion in investments. In addition, attached technical assistance will support IIFCL capacity development and will focus on IIFCL’s financial management and social and environmental safeguards.

India's first elephant hospital opens in Mathura
India's first specialised hospital for elephants was inaugurated by Agra Divisional Commissioner Anil Kumar in Uttar Pradesh's Mathura district - Churmura village. It offers laser therapy, hydrotherapy, quarantine facilities and has a medical hoist to lift elephants.

India International Cherry Blossom Festival Held in Meghalaya
During the programme, the Chief Minister also handed over the Meghalaya Entrepreneurship Recognition Award (MEG-ERA) to Perastill R Sangma, an entrepreneur from Garo Hills. The award consists of a citation and a cash award of one lakh rupees.


‘Gau Samridhi Plus Scheme’
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched the ‘Gau Samridhi Plus scheme’ or ‘Cow Samridhi Plus Scheme’ to offer insurance coverage to dairy farmers in Kerala. It is a government subsidized scheme. It will provide insurance coverage to dairy farmers at low premium rates. Farmers from general category will receive 50% subsidy on premium. Farmers from Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) category will receive 70% subsidy on premium.

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Important Current Affairs 16th November 2018 English

(International News)

India and UK sign MoU for collaboration in cancer research
India and United Kingdom have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for collaboration in cancer research.   
The MoU was signed between Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) for India-UK Cancer Research Initiative for collaboration in cancer research for the next five years. Under it, both CRUK and DBT will invest 5 million pounds each in this five-year pilot project and seek further investment from other potential funding partners.

(National News)

2nd Mega Food Park in Maharashtra
Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal inaugurated 2nd Mega Food Park in Maharashtra, in Wahegaon and Dhangaon village in Paithan taluka of Aurangabad district. It was launched under Mega Food Park Scheme and is promoted by Paithan Mega Food Park Pvt Ltd.
It has been set up in 102 acre of land at cost of Rs 124.52 crore. The facilities at Central Processing Centre (CPC) of this mega food park include dry warehouse of 10,000 metric tonne (MT), cold storage (1,000 MT), pre-cooling facility (10 MT), ripening chambers (400 MT), individual quick freezing (IQF) facility (1.5 metric tonne per hour).

Regional meeting of World Customs Organisation
Four-day regional meeting of World Customs Organisation (WCO) was held in Jaipur, capital city of Rajasthan.  It was attended by representatives of 33 member countries of Asia. The meeting was jointly chaired by WCO Deputy Secretary General Ricardo Travino and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs Chairman S Ramesh.

The meeting deliberated upon various issues including the steps required for the capacity building and reforms in customs. It also discussed and deliberated upon amended Kyoto protocol, digital customs, e-commerce among other issues.

A regional review meeting of the Eastern States was held in Kolkata, West Bengal. Teams from West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha joined the review.  The Swachh Bharat Mission Directors from the participating States were also present at the meeting.
Rural Jharkhand was declared ODF. West Bengal currently has a rural sanitation coverage of 97% and is on track to becoming ODF much before the national target of October 2019.
There are total 25 ODF states in the country.
Sikkim was the first state to declared as ODF in 2008.

India says ready to import more gas and oil from the United States 
India's foreign secretary said that India is open to import more gas and oil from the US.
The United States early this month re-imposed sanctions against Iran's oil exports to punish Tehran for its involvement in several Middle Eastern conflicts and curb its nuclear programmes. 

Ministry of Tourism rolls out online Certification programme for Tourist Facilitators
The Union Tourism Secretary, Smt. Rashmi Verma rolled out the Incredible India Tourist Facilitator Certification (IITFC) Programme in New Delhi.
Successful completion of this program would enable the learner to become a Certified Tourist Facilitator of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
The Secretary added that this online programme will have lot of advantages like job creation for local people, harness the local experience and traditional knowledge and also it has the flexibility of any age or any place people to join. 

(Scheme News)

Swadesh Darshan Scheme
Union Ministry of Tourism has inaugurated two important projects as part of Development of North East Circuit under Swadesh Darshan Scheme in Arunachal Pradesh.
Swadesh Darshan scheme
It was launched by Union Tourism Ministry in 2015 with objective to develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country. These tourist circuits developed will be developed under on principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in integrated manner. Under this scheme, Government is focusing on development of quality infrastructure with objective of providing better experience and facilities to visitors on one hand and on other hand fostering economic growth.

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