Government to present Union Budget on February 1 while budget session to begin in January 2017
i.The Bhartiya Janata Party ledNDA Governmentannounnced to present theUnion budgetonFebruary 1while the Budget session is likely to begin inJanuary 2017. ii.According to the Government, the budget date has been pre-poned so that the ministries and the state government can begin disbursing funds from the beginning of the financial year.
iii.Till date the budget was being presented at the end of February due to which several processes, including the vote on account, led the states to disburse funds only by late May. iv.Advancing the Budget date will allow them torelease funds by April.
Cabinet Constitutes Special Committee for Inter-Linking of rivers i.The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the constitution of “Special Committee for Inter-Linking of Rivers” in compliance with Supreme Court judgment 2012. ii.The decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting chaired by thePrime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in New Delhi. iii.The committee will be responsible for themonitoringof the preciousInter-linking of River Projectsto be carried out under National Perspective Plan 1980 of Government of India. iv.The special committee will also submitstatus-cum-progress reportbi-annually to Union Cabinet to facilitate faster and appropriate decisions regarding the project.
Ayur Herbarium project inaugurated in Goa by Maritius PM i.Anirood Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Maritius inauguratedAyur Herbarium projectinNorth Goaon November 16, 2016 at the property of Sandu Pharmaceuticals Ltd at Saligao village, 10 kms from North Goa. ii. The medicinal herbarium, an initiative by thepharmaceutical majorin association withUnionAYUSH Ministry, is a fascinating collection of various Ayurvedic medicinal plants exhibited with informative details of medicinal properties and uses of each herb. iii. Union AYUSH Minister Sripad Naik, Goa’s deputy chief minister and Health minister of Goa Francis D’Souza, directors of Sandu Pharmaceuticals Ltd Shashank Sandu and Umesh Sandu were also present on the occasion. Maritius : ♦ Capital: Port Louis ♦ Currency: Mauritian rupee
Government of India impose 5 year ban on Zakir Naik’s NGO i. The government on November 15, 2016 decided to declare a 5 year ban on an Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO),Islamic Research Foundation (IRF),promoted by controversialIslamic preacher Zakir Naik under theUnlawful Activities PreventionActfor its alleged terror activities. ii. The decision has been taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. iii. The NGO was allegedly having suspected links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, accused of propagating terrorism despite delivering many provocative speeches. iv.Naik also transferred IRF’s foreign funds to Peace TV for making “objectionable” programmes mostly which were Made in India, containing alleged hate speeches of Naik. v.Maharashtra Police has also registered criminal cases against Naik for his alleged involvement in brainwashing of youths and tempting them into terror activities.
Nitish kicks off free power connection for every Bihar household i.Bihar CM Nitish Kumar launched‘Har Ghar Bijli Lagataar’(uninterrupted power supply to each home) scheme and promised free electricity connection to each household in the state in the next two years. ii.Around40 lakh above poverty line(APL) households would be provided free power connection under the schemes. The below poverty line (BPL) households are covered under other schemes. iii.Launching the scheme, which is one of theseven resolves (Saat Nischay)of his grand alliance government.
Revamped Aadhaar Toll-Free Helpline No. 1947 Launched i.With the growing use of Aadhaar in transactions related to services like Banking, Government Welfare Schemes, etc., theUnique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), launched a revamped version of itsToll-free helpline number: 1947, to help residents get quick access to information about Aadhaar. ii.1947 to bring convenience to Aadhaar holders, provide solutions anytime, anywhere. iii.The free of cost helpline 1947 will be available 24×7 throughout the year on IVRS mode, while Call-Centre agents will be available from7 am to 11 pm(MondaytoSaturday). On Sundays, agents will answer calls from8 am to 5 pm.On an average the helpline number handles about 1.5 lakh calls per day. iv. The Aadhaar toll-free helpline 1947 will among other things, enable residents to locate an Aadhaar Enrolment Centre, know generation status of an Aadhaar number (after enrolment) and help retrieve Aadhaar details of any person who has lost his/her Aadhaar or hasnt received it through post.
Framework agreement of International Solar Alliance signed by 20 nations i.The framework agreement ofInternational Solar Alliance (ISA)was opened for signatures on November 15, 2016, at the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), atMarrakech, in Morocco. ii.Over20 countriesbecame the signatories to it soon after the process started, includingIndia, France and Brazil.The signing of the framework agreement required official authorization by countries. The agreement required at-least15 countriesto ratify it to become operational. iii.The Framework Agreement will be kept open as many more countries are expected to join the ISA in the coming weeks. iv.ISA was launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modijointly withFrench President Francois Hollandeat CoP21 in Paris in November 2015.
Festival Of India’ Begins In Oman from November 15 2016 i.A ‘Festival of India’ began in Oman fromNovember 15, 2016 to March 24, 2017 to showcase the country’s diverse culture.ii.The festival was scheduled to held in four cities namely Muscat, Sur, Sohar and Salalah iii.The events includes classical and folk dances, music shows, Indian cuisine fest and exhibition on Islamic art calligraphy. Oman : ♦ Capital: Muscat ♦ Currency: Omani rial
BANKING & FINANCE
Masterpass QR Payment Solutions launched by Mastercard i.Global payments & technology companyMastercardlaunchedMasterpass QRin India on November 16, 2016. ii.Masterpass QR is aquick response(QR) mobile payments solution to help mobile banking users to safely pay for face-to-face purchases using their smartphones or feature phones without the need to carry Cash or Card. iii.Mastercard has also tied up withRatnakar Bank(RBL Bank) that will integrate the Masterpass QR service with its mobile platform – theOnGo digital wallet. Mastercard : ♦ Mastercard Incorporated or Mastercard Worldwide is an American multinational financial services corporation ♦ CEO: Ajaypal Singh Banga ♦ Headquarters: New York, United States
National Student Startup Policy launched by President at the second Visitor’s Conference i.The President of India,Shri Pranab Mukherjeelaunched theNational Student Startup Policyat thesecond Visitor’s Conferenceon November 16, 2016 atRashtrapati Bhavan New Delhi. ii. Formulated by AICTE, the National Student Startup Policy, aims at creating100,000 technologybased studentstart-upsand a million employment opportunities in thenext 10 years. iii.For achieving this mission, plans are being made on developing an ideal entrepreneurial ecosystem and promoting strong inter-institutional partnerships among technical institutions. iv. The policy will enable the Indian youth to contribute to the nation’s socio-economic progress through promotion of technology-driven student start-ups.
272 products registered as geographical indication so far i.According to the data of the Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, under the Commerce and Industry Ministry,272 productsincludes Sangli raisins, Banaras metal repousse craft and Beed custard apple have been registered so far as geographical indications sinceSeptember 2003to enjoys the specific reputation
ii. UnderGeographical Indication (GI) law, a product is identified as a good or an item manufactured or produced in a particular region. It is a legal right under which the GI holder can prohibit others from using the same name. iii.11 productshave been registered as GI from states includingMaharashtraand Uttar Pradeshduring the current fiscal. Points to Know : ♦ The goods which carry this tag include Basmati rice, Darjeeling Tea, Chanderi Fabric, Mysore Silk, Kullu Shawl, Kangra Tea, Thanjavur Paintings, Allahabad Surkha, Farrukhabad Prints, Lucknow Zardozi and Kashmir Walnut Wood Carving. ♦ India’sGeographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act 1999,has come into force with effect from September 15, 2003.
Govt hikes wheat MSP by Rs 100/qtl; pulses by up to 550/qtl i.The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 15 November 2016, approved the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for rabi crops of 2016-17. Rabi crop are those which are sown in winter season. ii.Minimum Support Price (MSP) ofWheathas been increased byRs 100, toRs 1,625 per quintalfor the 2016-17 fromRs 1,525 per quintalas in 2015-16. (Increase of 6.6%). iii. MSP ofbarleyhas been hiked byRs 100fromRs 1,225 per quintalto Rs1,325 per quintal.(Increase of 8.2%). iv. MSP ofgramhas been hiked byRs 500toRs 4,000 per quintalfromRs 3,500 per quintal.(Increase of 14.3%). v.MSP ofmasurhas been hiked byRs 550toRs 3,950 per quintalfromRs 3,400 per quintal.(Increase of 16.2%). About CACP : ♦ Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) is responsible for making recommendations to government about the increase in MSP. ♦ CAPC Chairman : Prof. Vijay Paul Sharma
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Rishi Jaitly appointed CEO of Times Global Partners
i.Times Internet, the digital arm of The Times of India group,on Wednesdayappointed former Twitter Inc.’s India headRishi Jaitlyas the chief executive officer (CEO) ofTimes Global Partners,a group initiative that supports the launch and expansion of emerging global digital companies in India. ii.Jaitly will replacePuneet Singhviwho was heading Times Global Partners till now as chief operating officer.
Israel names first ambassador to Turkey since 2010 i.Israel nominated a new ambassador to Turkey, its first since the two countries normalised ties after the 2010 crisis triggered by Israel’s deadly storming of a Gaza-bound ship. ii.Eitan Naeh was formally selected by a government committee, said foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon. Israel : ♦ Capital: Jerusalem ♦ Currency: Israeli new shekel
Cyrus Mistry out of Tata Global Beverages; Harish Bhat named new Chairman i.Sacking ousted Tata Sons ChairmanCyrus Mistry,Tata Global Beverages named company veteranHarish Bhatas its new chairman.In a board meeting, 7 out of 10 Independent Directors voted in favour of ouster of Cyrus Mistry. ii.The Board of Directors also appointed Mr. Harish Bhat – a Non-Executive Director of the Company, as the Chairman of the Company.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
China wins Supercomputer crown for eighth time i. Chinahas topped in the list of the world’s fastest supercomputers for the eight consecutive years for its‘Sunway TaihuLight’. ii.TaihuLight is capable to perform93 million billion calculations per second (petaflop/s). iii. Titan and Sequoia, both systems from theUS, gainedNo 3 and No 4 positionsrespectively. iv. The Cori supercomputer, a new system installed at the US Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, slipped atNo 5 positionwith a performance of 14.0 petaflop/s.
First Brain Implantation conducted In Netherland i. Doctors of Netherlandshave performed the first-ever brain implant on a 58-year-old womanparalysed by disease namedLouGehrig’s. ii.The implantation has enabled her to communicate in day-to-day life with the help of aspeech computer. iii. The disease Lou Gehrig’s caused nerve degeneration that had left her with control only over her eyes. iv.The implant enabled her to control the computer using brain signals, and spell out messages speakingtwo letters per minute.
DRDO’s drone Rustom-2 successfully completes its test flight. i.Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) developed byDRDOnamed “Rustom-2” completed its first flight on 15 November 2016 inChallakere, Chitradurga district, Karnataka.The drone can be used by Indian Army, Navy and Air Force to keep an eye on enemy territory and carry a variety of cameras and radar for surveillance. ii.Rustom 2 is developed byAeronautical Development Establishment(ADE)laboratory of DRDO.It is a medium-altitude long-endurance UAV (MALE UAV). A MALE UAV is one that flies in altitude range of 10,000 to 30,000 feet for extended durations of time, typically 24 to 48 hours. iii. Some features of Rustom 2 1.Wingspan of more than 20m 2.Endurance of 24-30 hours. 3.Automatic takeoff and landing capabilities iv.The earlier version of Rustom, i.e Rustom-1 was tested on 11 November 2009. Rustom-H is another version which is in development mode.The aircraft has been named afterRustom Damania, a former professor of IISc, Bangalore Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO ): ♦ Director General: Dr. S Christopher ♦ Headquarters: New Delhi ♦ Founded: 1958
World’s Thinnest laptop Acer Swift 7 launched in India. i.Taiwanese electronics multinational companyAcerlaunched its lightest, thinnest and the most portable laptopSwift 7in Indian market.Acer Swift 7is the thinnest laptop in the World till now. ii.The Acer SWIFT 7,priced at Rs 99,999,will be available for purchase from18th Novembervia exclusiveAcer storesand other multi brand outlets and will also be available on e-commerce outletFlipkarts. iii.The laptop is9.98mm thickwith13.3 inch Full HD screenhavingCorning Gorilla Glass 5 protection and weighs around1.1 Kg. iv. It is equipped to run on7thGeneration Intel core i5processoralong with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD for data storage and a terrific battery inside that helps users get up to nine whole hours of usage. v.The device comes with the most modern wireless technology of 2×2 802.11ac with MU-MIMO, which delivers of almost three times more fast connection than the regular technology.The laptop is backed withUSB3.1 Type-C portfor quick data transfer. vi. In terms of audio, the SWIFT 7 comes fitted withDolby Audio PremiumandAcer True Harmony, which provides a crystal clear virtual sound system.
India to host T20 Cricket World Cup for the Blind i.India are to host the T20 Cricket World Cup for the Blind at nine different centres fromJanuary 31 to February 12, 2017 ii.The tournament, to be organised by the Cricket Association for the Blind in India, is budgeted to cost Rs 24.5 crore, its presidentG K Mahantesh.
Six-Time BJP MLA I.D. Dhiman Passed Away i.Former Himachal Pradesh ministerand six-time BJP MLAI D Dhimanpassed away on November 15, 2016 at his native villageDialri, 25 km from from Hamirpur, due to age-related ailments.He was82 ii. He is survived by his wife Satya Dhiman, son Anil Dhiman and two daughters. iii.I D Dhiman popularly known as “guruji”was known for his simplicity and honesty. iv.He was elected to Himachal Pradesh Assembly for the first time from Mewa constituency in 1990 and won successively six times in a row in 1993, 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2012.
China’s First Female J-10 Pilot Yu Xu Dies
i.China’s first woman pilot of a J-10 fighter jetYu Xuhas died during an aerobatics training exercise in the northern province of Hebei, China. ii.30 year old Yu was one of few women pilots who could fly domestically-made fighter jets. She joined thePeople’s Liberation Army(PLA) Air Force in2005 iii. She was a member of the Chinese air force’s “August 1st” aerobatic display team.
International Day of Tolerance – November 16 2016 i.TheInternational Day for Toleranceis observed every year on November 16 2016 since 1995 to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance. ii.On the day of its fiftieth anniversary, UNESCO’s Member States adopted a Declaration of Principles on Tolerance iii.The Declaration qualifies tolerance not only as a moral duty, but also as a political and legal requirement for individuals, groups and States
National Press Day is observed on November 16 2016 The National Press Day is celebrated on November 16, 2016 to remember the day on which the Press Council of India started which is also coincides withGolden Jubileeof Press Council of India. Highlights : i.Prime Minister Narendra Modi conferredexcellence in journalism awardsand ‘Raja Ram Mohan Roy Award’ to veteran journalistS. Nihal Singhon the occasion of National Press Day. It is followed Seminars have been organized by the Press Council in New Delhi ii.The Press Council decided be extended toSouth East Asiaand other regions of the sub-continent to promote peace and fair and fearless journalism. iii.PCI also sign a bilateral agreement with theBangladeshPress Council and is also planning to sign an MoU withMyanmar. iv.It was also set up to preserve the freedom of the press and to maintain and improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in India Press Council of India : ♦ The Press Council of India was first set up in the year 1966 by the Parliament on the recommendations of the First Press Commission with the object of preserving the freedom of the press and of maintaining and improving the standards of press in India. ♦ Chairman : Chandramauli Kumar Prasad ♦ Headquarters : New Delhi ♦ World Press Freedom Day is observed every year on 3rd May