November 1, 2018

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NATIONAL NEWS

 

  1. India climbed another 23 points in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index to 77th place among 190 countries, becoming the top ranked country in South Asia for the first time and third among the BRICS.

 

 

 

 

  1. According to the centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 301 to 400 is very poor, while anything more than 400 is severe.

 

 

  1. Indiaand Russia inked a $950 — million deal for inducting two new warships equipped with Brahmos missiles in the India Navy.
    • The two frigates of the Project 11356 class will be bought directly from Russia and 2 more will be built in an Indian Shipyard.
  1. Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik launched ‘Soura Jalanidhi’ scheme.
    • It has been launched with an aim of encouraging use of solar energy in agriculture.
    • Under the scheme, farmers residing in those areas where there is lack of electricity will be provided with 5,000 solar pumps which would irrigate 2500 acres of land.
    • The solar pumps will be given to the beneficiary farmers at a subsidy of 90 per cent.
  1. Odisha has adopted its own health insurance scheme — the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, named after legendary leader Biju Patnaik — in place of the Central programme —Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat programme.
    • The BSKY was launched on August 15.
    • The Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana is a historic step since both the BPL [Below Poverty Line] and APL [Above Poverty Line] people will get health benefits under the scheme.
  1. Karnataka Social Welfare Department launched the Samruddhi scheme to boost employment opportunities for SC/ST youth through entrepreneurship.
    • The scheme is targeted at socially marginalized communities to provide them with skill development and alternate means of employment.
    • The training will include: retail management, taxation policies and GST, inventory management, soft skills and logistics.
  1. In the latest ranking of the Global Passport Index, the Indian passport was ranked 66th in the world.
    • It means that the Indian passport holders has been granted visa-free access to 66 countries.
    • Kyrgyzstan and Zimbabwe share the 66th rank.
    • Singapore and Germany have the world’s “most powerful” passport with access to 165 countries.

 

 

  1. The pension and retirement income system in India has figured in the lowest category in the world, according to the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index 2018, published by Mercer.
    • The other countries in this category along with India are Japan, South Korea, China, Mexico and Argentina.
    • The index has categorised 34 countries’ pension systems based on their adequacy, sustainability and integrity.
    • Adequacy index takes into account factors like tax support, savings and system design.
    • Sustainability includes factors like pension coverage, contributions, government debt and economic growth.
    • Integrity index is a measure of aspects like regulation, governance and costs.
    • India’s pension system, which is largely limited to the organised sector, comprises the Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) run by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation and the National Pension System run by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority of India.

 

  1. The Indian Railways has decided to scrap its Flexi-Fare System (surge pricing) in trains with less than 50% occupancy and reduce the flexi-fare mark from 1.5 times to 1.4 times the full fare.
    • Flexi fare is a surge pricing system introduced by the railways in September 2016 in premium trains like the Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto.
    • Under it, 10% of the seats were sold in the normal fare at the beginning, and the fare kept increasing by 10% with every 10% of berths sold, with the ceiling set at 50%.
    • For AC 2 tier and chair car, the maximum hike was 50% while for AC 3 tier it was 40%.
  1. State Armed Police Forces – The State Armed Police Forces of India are the police units established for dealing with serious law and order situations requiring a higher level of armed expertise than normal.
    • The State Armed Police Forces exist in addition to the ordinary police services of the various states.
    • In addition to the general term “Armed Police“, other titles in different states include Special Armed Police, Armed Constabulary, Provincial Armed Constabulary, Pradeshik and State Military Police. For Example –
      1. Bihar Military Police
      2. Haryana Armed Police
      3. Karnataka State Reserve Police
      4. Madhya Pradesh Special Armed Police’
      5. Rajasthan Armed Constabulary
      6. Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary
      7. Uttarakhand Provincial Armed Constabulary

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

 

  1. Birthright Citizenship – Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina have US-style Birthright citizenship.
    • The Migration Policy Institute estimated in 2015 there were 1 million children (under age 18) who at birth had US citizenship and at least one unauthorized immigrant parent.
    • The Pew Research Center estimated that 275,000 babies were born to unauthorized immigrant parents in 2014—about 7% of the 4 million births in the US that year.

 

BANKING AND ECONOMY

 

  1. Facebook launched a ‘Digital Literacy Library’ providing safety tips for users in 6 Indian languages to train 3,00,000 people in India on digital literacy by end of 2018,
    • The library will be available in 6 Indian languages: Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.
  1. HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company, launched the ‘Cyber Security Awareness Week’ from October 21 to October 27, 2018.
    • Cyber Security Awareness Week’ aimed to create awareness about cybercrime and promote the need of cyber security among individuals under its theme ‘#HackSeLado’.
  1. Banks have become cautious of lending to NBFC’s ever since some of them defaulted on short term papers.
    • Commercial banks have three kinds of exposures to an NBFC:
      1. subscribing to their commercial papers
      2. sanctioning a loan or a line of credit
      3. buying existing loans from them
    • According to RBI data, outstanding bank credit to all industry stood at ₹27.01 trillion in the fortnight ended 28 September.
    • Loans to NBFCs stood at ₹5.46 trillion on the same fortnight year
  1. Section 7 of the RBI Act has come into spotlight amid the war between the Central government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
    • The provision in the RBI Act empowers the government to issue directions to the RBI.
    • Under Section 7, “The Central Government may from time to time give such directions to the Bank as it may, after consultation with the Governor of the Bank, consider necessary in the public interest.
    • Subject to any such directions, the general superintendence and direction of the affairs and business of the Bank shall be entrusted to a Central Board of Directors which may exercise all powers and do all acts and things which may be exercised or done by the Bank.
    • The RBI is an entity independent of the government as it takes its own decisions. However, in certain instances, it has to listen to the government.
    • This provision took centre stage earlier this year when the Allahabad High Court was hearing a petition from power companies who challenged stringent Non-Performing Assets (NPA) norms notified by the RBI in February.
    • The court had asked the central government to hold consultations with the RBI, under Section 7 of the RBI Act 1934, on the way forward for stressed power assets within 15 days.
    • This section has never been used in till now. It was not used even when the country was close to default in the dark days of 1991, nor in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.

APPOINTMENTS

 

  1. HDFC Bank announced that, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved re-appointment of Aditya Puri as Managing Director and CEO of the bank for another 2 years.

 

 

AWARDS

 

  1. Nobel Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai will be conferred the 2018 Gleitsman Award on 6th December 2018.
    • Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. She was awarded for her global work in supporting schooling for all children.


 

SPORTS

  1. Tata Steel was named as official partner for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018.
  1. Olympic Bronze medalist MC Mary Kom was named as the brand ambassador of the 10th edition of the Women’s World Championship.
  1. Nineteen-time World champion Pankaj Advani has won the title of Asian Snooker Tour held in Jinan, China.

 

 

MISCELLANEOUS

 

  1. NASA’s “Supersonic Parachute” that will have a major role in landing its Mars 2020 rover has created a world record by deploying in just four-tenths of a second and surviving 37,000 kg load.

 

  1. The NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has found 2600 exoplanets.
    • Now, NASA has decided to stop its planet hunting observatory as it has run out of fuel.
    • The observatory was launched in March 2009.
    • The telescope is named after German Astronomer and Mathematician Johannes Kepler.