Nov. 30, 2018

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 30, 2018

Union Finance Minister has rejected opposition’s criticism of new GDP data series arguing that the new GDP series is more broad-based and is a better reflection of the Indian economy and is globally more comparable.


  • The Central statistics Office (CSO) changed the way of calculating Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015. GDP growth rate estimates were revised from the year 2012-13 onwards with 2011-12 being the base year.

  • Now, the CSO and NITI Aayog, in a joint press conference, released the back series data for GDP estimates for 2005-06 to 2011-12.

  • Findings:
    • The new numbers show India's economic growth rate averaged 6.7% during the Congress-led UPA regime as compared to 7.3 % under the present government.

    • Previous numbers had put the average growth rate during the 10-year UPA rule at 7.75%.

Source : All India Radio

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 30, 2018

Union Finance Minister has suggested new Federal institution for healthcare and agriculture sectors similar to the GST Council to coordinate State and Central policies and schemes.


  • Speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s Health Summit, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the GST Council, which comprised the Union and State Finance Ministers, was a successful experiment in practical federalism.

  • Similar to the GST Council, Indian healthcare and agriculture sectors also need a federal institution to coordinate State and Central policies and schemes.

  • It is because, while “BOTH HEALTH AND AGRICULTURE ARE STATE SUBJECTS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION”, Centrally sponsored schemes are carried out in both sectors.

  • Both the Centre and the States spent resources, ran schemes, and established hospitals and other institutions.

  • But by having a federal body, Implementation would be the responsibility of the States, with the Centre responsible for coordination.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 30, 2018

ISRO’s PSLV-C43 successfully launched earth observation satellite HysIS and 30 foreign satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota.

Hyper-Spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS):

  • Features: HysIS is an earth observation satellite built around ISRO’s Mini Satellite2 (IMS-2) bus weighing about 380kg. it has been indigenously designed and built.

  • Objective: The primary goal of HysIS is to capture High Definition images of Earth's surface i.e. to study the earth’s surface in both the visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

  • Application: Data from the satellite will be used for a wide range of applications including agriculture, forestry, soil/geological environments, coastal zones and inland waters, etc.

  • Mission Life: The mission life of the satellite is five years.

  • Significance: Globally, only a few nations have their operational satellites of its class, that can capture crystal clear images of the earth's surface for varied applications.

30 foreign satellites:

  • Alongwith HysIS, PSLV-C43 also launched one micro and 29 nano-satellites from 8 countries, including Australia, Canada, Columbia, Finland, Malaysia, Netherlands, Spain and USA.

  • These foreign satellites launched are part of commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited and customers.

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV):

  • PSLV is a four stage launch vehicle with a large solid rocket motor forming the first stage, an earth storable liquid stage as the second stage, a high performance solid rocket motor as third stage and a liquid stage with engines as fourth stage.

  • This was the 45th flight of PSLV and 13th one in the Core Alone configuration. So far, the PSLV has launched 44 Indian and nine satellites built by students from Indian universities. The vehicle has also launched 269 international customer satellites.

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 30, 2018

Bilateral Exercise KONKAN-2018 is being held at Goa from 28 November to 6 December 2018 with navies from India and United Kingdom participating in it.


  • Participants: It is an annual bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of United Kingdom.

  • Objective: The exercise provides a platform for the two Navies to periodically exercise at sea and in harbour, so as to build interoperability and share best practices.

  • Background: The KONKAN series of exercises commenced in 2004.

Source : PIB
International, Internal Security

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 30, 2018

Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilizers informed in a statement that PCPIRs in India have registered good progress in attracting Investments for Industrial Development and generating Employment.


  • Objective: Under the cluster-based development model, the Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals, under Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers has identified 4 PCPIRs to promote investment and industrial development in these sectors.

  • List of PCPIRs: The 4 approved PCPIRs are in the state of: (1) Gujarat (Dahej), (2) Odisha (Paradeep), (3) Andhra Pradesh (Vishakhapatnam) and Tamil Nadu (Cuddalore and Naghapattinam).

  • Features:
    • Each PCPIR is a specifically delineated region having an area of about 250 sq. km. wherein 40% of the area has to be for processing activities.

    • The PCPIR is envisioned to reap the benefits of co-siting, networking and greater effiencies through use of common infrastructure and support services.

    • The State Government carry out Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and lead the project implementation.

    • Government of India is ensuring infrastructure development in the PCPIRs through highways, rail link, ports, airport etc. through Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects to the extent possible.

  • Benefits: The 4 PCPIRs are in advanced stages of implementation. Upon completion, these PCPIRs will have an estimated investment of approximately Rs. 8 lakh crores and are expected to generate employment for approximately 40 lakh people.

Source : PIB

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 30, 2018

The government has decided to transfer more than half of Air India’s nearly ₹55,000-crore debt into a special purpose vehicle (SPV) — Air India Asset Holding Company Limited (AIAHCL) — to help the airline cut expenditure on servicing the huge loan.


  • Air India Asset Holding Company Limited, a special purpose vehicle (SPV), is 100% owned by the Government of India.

  • It was registered with Registrar of Companies, Delhi in January 2018.

  • This SPV will also house the non-core assets such as the ground-handling arm and land.

  • Earlier this week, the Group of Ministers approved 100% stake sale of Air India’s ground-handling arm Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL), an asset that will be moved to the SPV. AIATSL is the only profit-making subsidiary of Air India apart from Air India Express Ltd.

Source : The Hindu

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 30, 2018

Union Health Ministry has approved compensation formula for patients who received faulty Hip implants manufactured by Johnson & Johnson Pvt Ltd.

Arun Kumar Agarwal committee:

  • An expert committee was constituted by the Health Ministry under the Chairmanship of Arun Kumar Agarwal, Ex-Dean and Professor of ENT, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi to examine the issues relating to faulty Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) Hip Implants.

  • The committee’s recommendation were accepted by the Central Government.

R.K. Arya Committee:

  • Based on the recommendations, the Government constituted a Central Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. R.K. Arya, Director, Sports Injury Centre to determine the quantum of compensation.

  • The committee prepared the following formula for determining compensation for the ASR victim patients –
    • (B x R x F)/99.37 + Rs 10 lakh towards non-pecuniary damages.

    • B is the base amount i.e., Rupees Twenty Lakh (Rs 20,00,000)

    • R is the Risk Factor-Disability

    • F is the Age Factor

Recent development:

  • Now, the Government accepted the formula prepared by Central Expert Committee, paving the way for patients to secure compensation from M/S Johnson & Johnson Pvt Ltd in days to come.

  • Compensation will be given to those patients who received (prior to August, 2010) faulty ASR hip implants manufactured by M/s. DePuy International Limited, U.K (M/S Johnson & Johnson Pvt Ltd).

Source : PIB

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 30, 2018

The Maharashtra legislature unanimously passed a bill proposing 16 % reservation for Marathas under socially, educationally and economically backward category.


  • The Maratha community, which comprises over 30 % of the state's population, has been seeking reservation in government jobs and education for a long time. The draft Bill says that the presence of Marathas in position of academic excellence is “very marginal”.

  • The Bill will provide the Maratha community in Maharashtra reservation in jobs and educational institutions under Article 15(4), 16 (4) of the Constitution.

  • The Bill tabled in both the Houses of state legislature did not face any kind of hurdle as legislators cutting across party lines joined hands in passing the Bill

  • Chief Minister Fadnavis also tabled the action taken report on the State Backward Class Commission's recommendations for reservation to the Marathas.

  • The approval of the Bill will also see the reservation limit go up from the current 52% to 68%, thus crossing the 50% ceiling set by Supreme Court.

Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 30, 2018

UNESCO added the Reggae music genre that originated in Jamaica to its collection of “intangible cultural heritage” deemed worthy of protection and promotion.


  • Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s.

  • The term reggae denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and Rhythm and Blues and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and

  • Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political comment.

  • It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat, and the offbeat rhythm section.

  • Artists like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff etc. popularised the music genre that originated in Jamaica.

View of UNESCO while including it in the list of intangible cultural heritage:

  • While reggae started out as “the voice of the marginalised” it was “now played and embraced by a wide cross-section of society, including various genders, ethnic and religious groups.”

  • The music genre has contributed to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual.

Apart from Reggae, some of the other cultural traditions included in the intangible cultural heritage List are Horsemanship of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, A Mongolian camel-coaxing ritual, Czech puppetry, Centuries-old form of Georgian wrestling called chidaoba and Irish sport of hurling.

Note To readers: For detail of UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, kindly refer “News Recitals: November 27, 2018”

Source : The Hindu

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 30, 2018

In the aftermath of inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor, Kashmiri Pandit groups are making a similar demand for pilgrims to Sharada Peeth, an important temple across the Line of Control.


  • Sharada Peeth is an abandoned Hindu temple and ancient centre of learning.

  • Location: It is located in the village of Sharda in the valley of Mount Harmukh, along the Neelam River in the Pakistani administered territory of Azad Kashmir. It lies 16 miles to the northwest of the Line of Control.

  • As a centre of Learning:
    • Between the 6th and 12th centuries CE, it was one of the foremost centres of higher learning, hosting scholars such as Kalhana, Adi Shankara, Vairotsana etc.

    • It is also said to be where Paṇini and Hemachandra completed and stored their writings on Sanskrit grammar.

  • Religious significance:
    • Sharada is the most revered religious place for Kashmiri Pandits. They believe that Sharada in Kashmir is a tripartite embodiment of the goddess Shakti: Sharada (goddess of learning), Saraswati (goddess of knowledge), and Vagdevi (goddess of speech).

    • It is one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas throughout South Asia that commemorate the location of fallen body parts of the Hindu deity Sati.

Source : Indian Express

Nov. 29, 2018

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 29, 2018

Four men of courage and two disaster relief organisations collectively labelled “The First Responders” are The Straits Times Asians of the Year.


  • The Asian of the Year award recognises a person or people who have contributed significantly to improving lives at home or in the wider region.

  • It is given by The Straits Times, an English-language daily newspaper based in Singapore.

  • The award was first given in

  • Past Recipients:
    • 2012: Then Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein.

    • 2013: Joint award for Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    • 2014: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    • 2015: Posthumously to Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

    • 2016: Five Asian pioneers working in the intersection of technology and commerce were honoured as The Disruptors - the first time the award went to a group. Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal, co-founders of flipkart were among the list.

    • 2017: Chinese President Xi Jinping

2018 Awards:

  • People: The four men named for the 2018 award are as follows –
    • The late Mr Ng Kok Choong, the Singaporean paraglider who was acclaimed for his rescue work in the aftermath of the earthquake in Central Sulawesi;

    • Indian Navy helicopter pilots P. Rajkumar and Vijay Varma whose death-defying rescue flying saved dozens of lives during the floods in Kerala, India; and

    • Dr Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia's National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB)

  • Organizations: Singapore's Mercy Relief and the Jakarta-based ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management were also recognised.

  • By honouring “The First Responders”, It is only the second time the award has gone to a group since it was instituted in 2012.


Prelims Pointers
Nov. 29, 2018

The President of India has appointed Arvind Saxena as Chairman, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

Arvind Saxena:

  • Tenure as Chairman, UPSC: His tenure will commence from the date he enters upon the office of Chairman, UPSC. The term of his appointment will be till 08.2020 when he attains the age of 65 years or till further orders whichever is earlier.

  • Background:
    • Shri Arvind Saxena joined UPSC as a Member on May 8, 2015, and has been performing duties of the post of Chairman, UPSC since June 20, 2018.

    • Prior to joining UPSC as Member, he was working as Director of the Aviation Research Centre (ARC).

    • He was selected for the Civil Services and joined the Indian Postal Service in 1978.

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC):

  • Function: UPSC is India's central recruiting agency. It is responsible for appointments to and examinations for All India services and group A & group B of Central services.

  • Formed in:

  • HQ:

  • Appointment of Chairman:
    • As per Article 316, the Chairman and other members of UPSC shall be appointed by the President.

    • A member of a UPSC shall hold office for a term of six years from the date on which he enters upon his office or until he attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

    • As per Article 319, a person who holds office as Chairman shall, on the expiration of his term of office, be ineligible for re-appointment to that office.

Source : PIB
Person in News, Polity & Governance

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 29, 2018

A.M. Naik has been appointed as Chairman of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

A.M. Naik:

  • Currently, Anil Manibhai Naik (A.M. Naik) is the Group Chairman of India's biggest engineering and construction conglomerate – Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T).

  • He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's 3rd highest civilian award in 2009 for his outstanding contribution to the economic growth of the country.

National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC):

  • Organization Structure: NSDC is a unique public-private-partnership (PPP), working under the aegis of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.

  • Objective: NSDC aims to promote skill development by catalyzing creation of large, quality and for-profit vocational institutions.

  • Key Functions:
    • It provides funding to build scalable and profitable vocational training initiatives.

    • It supports short-term skill training through a wide network of training providers and district nodal skill centres called Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK).

    • It is also caters to the skilled manpower requirement of overseas markets, most notably that of Japan (under TITP) and UAE.

Source : PIB
Person in News, Economy

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 29, 2018

The 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) concluded in Goa. More than 220 movies from 67 countries were screened during the nine-day event.


  • This event was jointly conducted by the Union Ministry of Information and broadcasting, Directorate of Film Festivals and the Government of Goa.

Highlights of 49th IFFI:

  • ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi Medal:
    • IFFI collaborates with the International Council for Film, Audio-visual Communication (ICFT) Paris, to present a special ICFT prize consisting of the UNESCO Gandhi Medal to a film that portrays the Gandhian values of peace and harmony.

    • This year the award was given to Ladakhi film ‘Walking with the Wind’ by director Praveen Morchhale.

  • Focus state: This is for the first time that any state has been made focus state at IFFI. Under this, films focussed on the state such as Death in the Gunj, Begum Jaan will be showcased.

  • Focus Country:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Dan Wolman (Israel).

  • IFFI Special Award for lifetime contribution to cinema: Writer Salim Khan. He, along-with Javed Akhtar, is credited for writing the screenplays of several super-hit films such as Deewar and Zanjeer, and Sholay, which is one of the greatest hits of Indian cinema.

  • Golden peacock Award for the best film: Donbass (A Russian-Ukrainian film).

  • Best Director Award: Lijo Jose Pellissery for Malayalam film “Ee Maa Yove”.

  • Best Actor (Male) Award: Chemban Vinod for his role in “Ee Maa Yove”.

  • Best Actor (Female) Award: Anastasiia Pustovit for her role in Ukrainian film “When the Trees Fall”.

  • This year, as an extension of the Khelo India Branding, Indian Sports Biopics were screened. Films included in the section are Gold, Mary Kom, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, 1983, MSD: The untold story and Soorma.

Source : All India Radio

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 29, 2018

Over 140 pilot whales have died after beaching themselves on Stewart Island in New Zealand.


  • Meaning: Cetacean stranding is commonly known as It is a phenomenon in which whales and dolphins strand themselves on land, usually on a beach.

  • Global scenario: Cetacean strandings are common; some 2,000 are beached every year on average around the world.

  • Reason: Exact reasons are not known. Several explanations have been proposed, but none have so far been universally accepted as a definitive reason for the peculiar behaviour.

  • Proposed Theories:
    • Reasons for mass strandings are attributed to rough weather, following prey too close to the shore or being herded towards the shore by larger whales, and the failure of their echolocation faculties to detect very gentle slopes.

    • There is also the theory of ‘follow-me’ strandings, which says entire pods sometimes end up on beaches after one or a few members lose their bearings.

    • Research published in September 2017 submitted that solar storms triggered geomagnetic disruptions that impacted the ability of whales to navigate in the North Sea, leading them towards shallow waters.

  • Consequence: Beached whales often die due to dehydration, collapsing under their own weight, or drowning when high tide covers the blowhole.

Source : Indian Express

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 29, 2018

The Lancet Countdown 2018 report – prepared jointly with the Public Health Foundation of India – has observed a surge in exposure to heatwave events in India over the 2012-2016 period.

Key Findings of the report:

  • From 2014-2017, the average length of heatwaves in India ranged from 3-4 days compared to the global average of 0.8-1.8 days.

  • Indians were exposed to almost 60 million heatwave exposure events in 2016, a jump of about 40 million from 2012.

  • India is amongst the countries who most experience high social and economic costs from climate change.

  • Almost 153 billion hours of labour were lost globally in 2017 due to heat, an increase of 62 billion hours from the year 2000.
    • India lost almost 75,000 million hours of labour in 2017, from about 43,000 million hours in 2000.

    • The agriculture sector was more vulnerable compared to the industrial and service sectors because workers there were more likely to be exposed to heat.


  • Indian policy makers must take steps to mitigate the increased risks to health, and the loss of labour hours due to increased exposure to heatwave events over the 2012-2016 period.

  • Identify “heat hot-spots” through appropriate tracking of meteorological data.

  • Implement local Heat Action Plans with strategic inter-agency co-ordination, and a response which targets the most vulnerable groups.

  • Review existing occupational health standards and labour laws for worker safety in relation to climatic conditions.

Important Info :

Heatwaves are associated with increased rates of heat stress and heat stroke, worsening heart failure and acute kidney injury from dehydration. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing morbidities are particularly vulnerable

Source : The Hindu
Disaster Management

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 29, 2018

The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh launched Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) for Himachal Pradesh at Mandi.


  • With this, Himachal Pradesh became the first state to launch pan-India single emergency number ‘112’ under Emergency Response Support System (ERSS)

  • Features:
    • All emergency numbers, including 100 for police, 101 for fire, 102 for ambulance and disaster response have been integrated into countrywide one number, 112. This service removes the need for citizens to remember multiple helpline numbers.

    • The system would identify the location of the person in distress connecting through voice or data and immediate assistance would be provided.

  • SHOUT:
    • To ensure safety of women, a SHOUT feature has been introduced in ‘112 India’ mobile app to seek immediate assistance from registered volunteers in the vicinity apart from the immediate assistance from Emergency Response Centre (ERCs).

    • The SHOUT feature is exclusively available to women.

  • Parent Programme: Central Government has allocated ₹321.69 Crore under Nirbhaya Fund for implementation of ERSS project across the country.

  • Way ahead: The ‘112 India’ mobile app will be subsequently rolled out in all States & Union Territories to help people across the country access the unified emergency services.

Source : PIB
Disaster Management

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 29, 2018

Minister of State of Railways flagged off a new Buxar-Varanasi MEMU. This train will provide additional end to end connectivity between Buxar and Varanasi.


  • MEMU is an acronym for “Mainline Electric Multiple Unit”.

  • MEMU is the Indian Railways designation of the commuter rail system in India for Trains running short distances in Semi-Urban and Rural areas - usually carry daily commuter traffic.

  • The trains differ from the normal electric multiple units (EMU) that are designed for urban and semi-urban areas.

Source : PIB

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 29, 2018

Recently in Jammu & Kashmir, the State Administrative Council under the chairmanship of Governor approved a proposal for treating Jammu and Kashmir Bank (J&K Bank) Ltd as a public-sector undertaking (PSU).

J&K Bank:

  • Background: It was incorporated in 1938 as a limited liability company to offer banking facilities in the state.

  • Legal Status: The bank is licensed as an “old private-sector bank” under Section 22 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. It is Classified as a state government company.

  • Supervision: RBI as the regulator supervises J&K Bank.

  • Ownership:
    • The state government holds a majority stake of 59.3% in J&K Bank. It is the only bank in India in which a state government holds a majority stake.

    • In all other public-sector banks, the majority stake is held by the Centre. As per the Banking Companies (Acquisition & Transfer of Undertakings) Act, the central government holding in public-sector banks cannot drop below 51%.

    • Thought the state government holds 59.3% in J&K Bank, it is not considered a public-sector bank due to unique status of J&K under Article 370 of the Constitution.

Recent Decision:

  • Recently in J&K, the State Administrative Council under the chairmanship of Governor approved a proposal for treating J&K Bank Ltd as a PSU.

  • Present status: The Finance department has been asked to issue directions to the bank to follow the decisions of the SAC. The bank is yet to receive these directions.

  • Impact of Recent Move:
    • Treating J&K Bank Ltd as a PSU means that from now on, it will hence be accountable to the state legislature, and the Finance Department will be required to place the bank’s annual report before the Assembly.

    • The provisions of the J&K Right to Information Act, 2009, shall be applicable to the bank just like other state-owned undertakings.

    • It will have to follow guidelines of the Central Vigilance Commission.

  • Legal hurdles:
    • According to Article 246 of the Seventh Schedule, banking as a subject comes under the Union list.

    • Also, J&K Bank comes under the regulatory purview and supervision of RBI.

    • Making it a PSU and bringing it under state legislature could be seen as being in contravention to these provisions.

Source : Indian Express

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 29, 2018

Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Shipping and Water Resources addressed the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi.


  • The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference is the first global conference on the sustainable blue economy.

  • Objective: To identify how to harness the potential of the blue economy to create jobs and combat poverty and hunger.

  • Main Theme: The blue economy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

  • Hosts: Kenya hosted the conference with Canada and Japan as co-hosts.

  • Duration: The three-day conference was held from November 26 to 28, 2018.

  • Participants: The conference was attended by over 4,000 participants from around the world.

Important Info :

Blue Economy is the economic benefit and value we realize from the Earth’s coastal and marine environment.

Sustainable Blue Economy is a marine-based economy that provides social and economic benefits for current and future generations, maintains the diversity and is based on clean technologies, renewable energy, and circular material flows.

Source : PIB
International, Economy

Nov. 28, 2018

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 28, 2018

On October 20, 2019, the world’s 127th Ironman 70.3 race, and India’s first, will be held in Goa.


  • The Ironman is a hugely popular worldwide series of triathlon events.

  • India's first Ironman triathlon event will be held in Goa next year. The Ironman 70.3 race -- a 'half-Ironman', which involves 1.9km of swimming, 90km of cycling and 21.1km of running -- will take place near Panaji on October 20, 2019.

  • The Ironman Goa 70.3 is being hosted by Yoska, a fitness-technology company.

Important Info :


A triathlon is a multisport race with three continuous and sequential endurance races. While variations of the sport exist, the most common form includes swimming, cycling, and running over various distances.

Source : The Hindu

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 28, 2018

CSIR announced a new partnership with Merck, a leading German science and technology company, to establish a ‘High End Skill Development Centre’ in CSIR-IMTECH, Chandigarh to accelerate healthcare research and train researchers in latest life science technologies.


  • CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTech) is one among the chain of 38 national laboratories, 6 units and 39 outreach centres of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR).

  • It is involved in R&D in many areas of microbial biotechnology.

  • Established in: 1984

  • Location: Chandigarh

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 28, 2018

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman formally launched ‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti’.


  • Objective: The Department of Defence Production has instituted a new framework titled ‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti’ which aims to inculcate Intellectual Property Right (IPR) culture in Indian defence manufacturing ecosystem.

  • Implementing agency: The Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) has been entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating and implementing the programme.

  • Event details: The event showcased salient inventions and innovations achieved by DRDO, Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) and Ordnance Factories (OFs) which have resulted in successful filing of Intellectual Property Right (IPR) applications.

  • Background:
    • The IPR has emerged as a key ingredient of an ecosystem which stimulates innovation.

    • An IP Facilitation Cell was established in April 2018 which has worked towards the target of achieving ambitious targets of training 10,000 personnel of OFB and DPSUs on IPR and to facilitate filing of at least 1,000 new IPR applications.

Source : PIB
Internal Security

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 28, 2018

The Central Water Commission (CWC) has approved the feasibility report of the nearly ₹6,000 crore Mekedatu multi-purpose project across the Cauvery River.


  • The Mekedatu multi-purpose project involves building a balancing reservoir across the Cauvery River near Kanakapura in Ramanagaram district.

  • It envisages supplying drinking water to Bengaluru and Ramanagaram districts, besides generation of power.

  • Timeline:
    • The project was conceived in 2013 and in 2017, the Karnataka state cabinet decided to implement it.

    • The project, however, ran into a controversy after Tamil Nadu opposed it on the grounds that the project violates the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award.

    • The CWC has now asked the Karnataka State government — in principle — to prepare and submit a detailed project report (DPR).

Source : The Hindu

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 28, 2018

RBI has decided to conduct purchase of government securities under Open Market Operations (OMOs) for an aggregate amount of ₹40,000 in the month of December 2018 to inject liquidity into the system.


  • Open Market Operations (OMO) are the market operations conducted by the RBI. In this it conducts sale/purchase of Government securities (G-secs) to/from the market.

  • Objective behind conducting It is to adjust the rupee liquidity conditions in the market on a durable basis.
    • When the RBI feels there is excess liquidity in the market, it resorts to sale of securities thereby sucking out the rupee liquidity.

    • Similarly, when the liquidity conditions are tight, the RBI will buy securities from the market, thereby releasing liquidity into the market.

  • The RBI uses OMO along with other monetary policy tools such as repo rate, cash reserve ratio and statutory liquidity ratio to adjust the quantum and price of money in the system.

Source : The Hindu

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 28, 2018

According to RBI, both gross and net Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) of scheduled commercial banks have reduced in the two quarters ending September 30, 2018 since their peak in March 2018, due to the concerted efforts taken by the government and the central bank to address the problem.

Non-Performing Assets (NPAs):

  • Definition: A non-performing asset (NPA) is a loan or advance for which the principal or interest payment remained overdue for a period of 90 days.

  • Types: Banks are required to classify NPAs further into Substandard, Doubtful and Loss assets.
    • Substandard assets: Assets which has remained NPA for a period less than or equal to 12 months.

    • Doubtful assets: An asset would be classified as doubtful if it has remained in the substandard category for a period of 12 months.

    • Lost assets: An asset that is an NPA for a period of more than 36 months, but the amount has not been written off wholly is treated as a lost asset. In other words, such an asset is considered uncollectible.

Present scenario:

  • The data shows that gross NPAs of all scheduled commercial banks were at ₹10.36 lakh crore at the end of the March 2018 quarter, and subsequently declined to ₹10.14 lakh crore by the end of the September quarter.

  • Public sector banks accounted for 85.9% of all gross NPAs of scheduled commercial banks by September 30, 2018.

  • The annualised slippage ratio (i.e. the percentage of fresh NPAs as percentage of standard advances at the beginning of the quarter) has also witnessed a declining trend over the past two quarters, which is again reflective of the improving credit discipline.

Source : The Hindu

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 28, 2018

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has announced the guidelines for interoperability of clearing corporations – an issue that was under discussion for many years.

Interoperability among clearing corporations:

  • Meaning: It refers to the linking of multiple clearing corporations, which allows market participants to consolidate their clearing and settlement functions at a single clearing corporation, irrespective of the stock exchange on which the trade is executed.

  • Recent SEBI guidelines:
    • All the products available for trading on the stock exchanges except commodity derivatives would be made available under the interoperability framework.

    • All clearing corporations have to establish peer-to-peer link for ensuring interoperability.

    • Clearing corporations will have to maintain sufficient collateral with each other so that any kind of default would be covered without risking financial loss to the other clearing corporations.

  • Significance:
    • Such interoperability is expected to bring down the compliance costs for market intermediaries and thereby the trading costs as well, which are among the highest in the world.

    • Interoperability among clearing corporations is expected to ensure efficient allocation of capital for the market participants.

Important Info :

A clearing corporation is an organization associated with an exchange to handle the confirmation, settlement and delivery of transactions. Clearing corporations are also referred to as "clearing firms" or "clearing houses."

NSE Clearing Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of NSE is responsible for clearing and settlement of all trades executed on NSE. NSE CLEARING was the first clearing corporation to be established in India.

Source : The Hindu

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 28, 2018

National Projects Construction Corporation Limited (NPCC) has been conferred with the status of Miniratna: Category –I by the Government of India. It also received ISO 9001:2015 certification.


  • Parent Ministry: NPCC is a schedule ‘B’ CPSE under the administrative control of Ministry Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

  • Established in:

  • Mandate: NPCC is a premier construction company having mandate with creation of infrastructure to provide impetus for economic development of the country.

  • Miniratna Status:
    • 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 is making continuous profit since 2009-10, having positive networth for the last six years and has ambitious business plan with enhanced order book position of Rs. 11833 crore.

  • It has also been awarded ISO 9001:2015 Certification.

Important Info :

ISO 9001:2015 Certification?

·         ISO 9001 is the international standard that specifies requirements for a Quality Management System (QMS). Organizations use the standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

·         It is the only standard in the ISO 9000 series to which organizations can certify.

·         ISO 9001 was first published in 1987 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The current version of ISO 9001 was released in September 2015.

·         ISO 9001:2015 applies to any organization, regardless of size or industry.

Source : PIB

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 28, 2018

Ukraine has declared martial law in border areas for 30 days in response to Russia’s seizure of three of its Navy vessels off the coast of Crimea. Meanwhile, a court in Russian-annexed Crimea ordered three Ukrainian sailors to be held in custody for two months.


  • Crimea is a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe that is almost completely surrounded by both the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov to the northeast.

  • It is located south of the Ukraine, to which it is connected by the Isthmus of Perekop, and west of Russia from which it is separated by the Strait of Kerch.

Dispute: A Timeline

  • In 1783, Crimea became a part of the Russian Empire as the result of the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774).

  • Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Crimea became an autonomous republic within the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in the USSR.

  • In 1954, it was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR from the Russian SFSR. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was formed as an independent state in 1991 and most of the peninsula was reorganized as the Autonomous Republic of Crimea

  • In 2014, in a Crimea-only referendum, large majority of Crimeans wished to join with Russia. Russia then incorporated the Republic of Crimea and recognize Crimea as part of the Russian Federation.

  • However, Ukraine continues to claim Crimea as an integral part of its territory, supported by most foreign governments and non-binding United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/262.

Recent Development:

  • The incident was the first major confrontation at sea in the long-running conflict pitting Ukraine against Moscow and Russian-backed separatists in the country’s east.

  • It has raised fears of a wider escalation — in a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people since 2014 — and prompted international calls for restraint.

  • Martial law gives Ukrainian authorities the power to mobilise citizens with military experience, regulate the media and restrict public rallies in affected areas.

Source : The Hindu

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 28, 2018

Gandhi Smriti is organising ‘South Asia Regional Youth Peace Conference’ in New Delhi from November 28-30, 2018 to mark celebration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

South Asia Regional Youth Peace Conference:

  • Organized by: Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS) in partnership with UNESCO- MGIEP and Standing Together to Enable Peace.

  • Location: The conference will be held from November 28-30, 2018 at Gandhi Darshan, Rajghat, Delhi.

  • Objective:
    • 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.

    • The thematic thrust areas include Gender; Interfaith issues; Food Security in the context of Gandhian vision of village economy; Digital Media; Arts, Democracy and Dialogue.

Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS):

  • Background: Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti was formed in 1984 by the merger of Gandhi Darshan at Rajghat and Gandhi Smriti at Tees January Marg.

  • Objective: The basic aim of the Samiti is to propagate the life, mission and thought of Mahatma Gandhi through various socio-educational and cultural programmes.

  • Location: Rajghat (Delhi)

  • Status: It is an autonomous body, functioning under the advice and financial support from the Ministry of Culture.

  • Administration: The Prime Minister of India is its Chairperson and it has a nominated body of senior Gandhians and representatives of various government departments to guide it in its activities.

Source : PIB

Nov. 27, 2018

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 27, 2018

Iravatham Mahadevan, one of the world’s leading scholars on the Indus Valley Script and Tamil Brahmi script, passed away in Chennai at the age of 88 after a brief illness.


  • Iravatham Mahadevan (1930 – 2018) was an Indian civil servant and an epigraphist.

  • Civil services: He joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1954 and took voluntary retirement in 1980 after holding various positions in the Central and Tamil Nadu governments.

  • Epigraphist: He is known for his successful decipherment of Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions and for his expertise on the epigraphy of the Indus Valley Civilization.
    • ‘The Indus Script - Texts, Concordance and Tables,’ compiled by him and published by the Archaeological survey of India in 1977, continues to be an indisputable resource for Indus Valley scholarship.

    • His work ‘Early Tamil Epigraphy’, published by the Central Institute of Classical Tamil as a thoroughly revised version in 2014, is regarded as the most authoritative work on early South Indian epigraphy.

    • He established the Indus Research Centre at the Roja Muthiah Research Library with his personal funds.

  • Fellowships: He was awarded the –
    • Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1970 for his research in Indus script.

    • National Fellowship of the Indian Council of Historical Research in 1992 for his work on Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions.

  • Positions held:
    • In 1998, he was elected the president of the Annual Congress of the Epigraphical Society of India.

    • In 2001 he became the general president of the Indian History Congress.

    • In 1987, he became the Editor of the Tamil daily, Dinamani.

  • Awards:
    • He received the Padma Shri award from the Government of India in 2009 for arts.

    • He received the Tolkappiyar award for lifetime achievement in classical Tamil by the Government of India for the year 2009–2010.

    • He received the Campbell Medal by the Asiatic Society of Mumbai in 2014.

Source : The Hindu
Person in News

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 27, 2018

NASA’s InSight Mars Lander successfully landed on Mars to study the internal structure and rotation of Mars. The landing site is “Elysium Planitia”.


  • InSight is an acronym for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.

  • Mission’s Twin Objectives:
    • Formation & Evolution: Understand the formation and evolution of terrestrial planets through investigation of the interior structure and processes of Mars.

    • Tectonic Activity: Determine the present level of tectonic activity and meteorite impact rate on Mars.

  • Mission Detail:
    • InSight won’t be looking for life on Mars. Instead It will study its insides i.e. what it’s made of, how that material is layered and how much heat seeps out of it.

    • This is important because Earth and Mars used to be similar before, they took different paths 3-4 billion years ago. Mars stopped changing, while Earth continued to evolve.

    • With InSight, scientists hope to compare Earth to Mars, and better understand how a planet’s starting materials make it more or less likely to support life.

  • Mission Duration: InSight is on a 24-month mission.

  • Equipment’s:
    • The lander carries a robotic arm 1.8 m long.

    • It is powered by two solar panels, and carries a seismometer, heat probe and a radio science experiment. Two complementary engineering cameras help with navigation and hazard avoidance.

  • Agencies involved: This mission is part of “NASA's Discovery Program” for highly focused science missions that ask critical questions in solar system science.

  • Significance: It is the first mission to study in-depth the "inner space" of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core.

First CubeSat to Deep Space:

  • The rocket that launched InSight also launched a separate NASA technology experiment: two mini-spacecraft called Mars Cube One, or MarCO. These briefcase-sized CubeSats fly on their own path to Mars behind InSight.

  • Their goal is to test new miniaturized deep space communication equipment and, if the MarCOs make it to Mars, may relay back InSight data as it enters the Martian atmosphere and lands.

  • This is the first test of miniaturized CubeSat technology at another planet, which researchers hope can offer new capabilities to future missions.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 27, 2018

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu laid the foundation stone for the first phase of the Godavari-Penna river- linking project.


  • The project will interlink the two major rivers, Godavari and Penna to solve drinking water and irrigation problems in south coastal Andhra.

  • Need of project: Penna river flows through Anantapur, Kadapa, Kurnool, Chittoor and Nellore districts. But the meagre water resources in the river are not able to cater to the needs of these districts. On the other hand, a major share of Godavari water flows into the sea during the monsoon season.

  • Timeline:
    • The project would be completed within two years. The first phase began with the construction of a lift irrigation scheme at Nakerikallu, 80 km from Vijayawada.

    • The state government has proposed to complete the project in five phases at an estimated cost of Rs 83,796 crore.

  • Comment: According to officials, Andhra Pradesh has been the number one state in India in terms of interlinking of rivers. The Godavari and the Krishna were linked three years ago.

Important Info :

Penna River?

·         Names: It is also known as Pennar, Penner, Penneru or North Pinakini.

·         Course: The 597 km long river rises in Nandi Hills in Chikballapur District of Karnataka and enters Andhra Pradesh to empty into the Bay of Bengal.

·         Tributaries: The major tributaries of the Penna are the Jayamangali, Kunderu and Sagileru from the north, and Chitravathi, Papagni and Cheyyeru from the south.

Source : The Hindu

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 27, 2018

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched PAiSA portal for processing interest subvention on bank loans to beneficiaries under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission.


  • PAiSA is an acronym for “Portal for Affordable Credit and Interest Subvention Access”.

  • What is it? It is a centralized electronic platform for processing interest subvention on bank loans to beneficiaries under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM).

  • Implementing agencies: The web platform has been designed and developed by Allahabad Bank which is the Nodal bank.

  • Coverage: All 35 states/UTs & all Scheduled Commercial Banks, RRBs and Cooperative Banks are expected to be on board the PAiSA portal the year end.

Source : PIB

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 27, 2018

On the occasion of “National Milk Day”, Union Agriculture Minister informed that a mobile application - e-pashuhat (GPMS Transportal) - has been created and integrated with UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) application.


  • Objective: e-pashuhaat portal - aims to connect breeders and farmers regarding availability of bovine germplasm.

  • Launched in:

  • Parent scheme: The portal has been launched under the scheme "National Mission on Bovine Productivity" by Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DADF).

  • Recent development:
    • Now, a mobile application - e-pashuhat (GPMS Transportal) - has been created and integrated with UMANG application.

    • So far, e-pashuhaat (GPMS Transportal) App has been automatically downloaded and available for 1 crore registered UMANG users.


  • UMANG is an acronym for Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance.

  • Launched in:

  • Developed by: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD)

  • Objective: UMANG provides a single platform for all Indian Citizens to access pan India e-Gov services ranging from Central to Local Government bodies and other citizen centric services. Objective is to drive Mobile Governance in India.

  • Key features:
    • UMANG provides seamless integration with popular customer centric services like Aadhaar and Digilocker.

    • UMANG can be explored on multiple channels such as Smartphone, Desktop and Tablets.

Source : PIB

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 27, 2018

The National Festival for Children of Child Care Institutions (CCIs)- “Hausla 2018” of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) was inaugurated in New Delhi.


  • Hausla is the National Festival for Children of Child Care Institutions (CCIs).

  • This inter-Child Care Institution festival is annually organized by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD).

  • Objective: To provide a national platform for the children from CCIs across India to showcase their talent

  • Hausla 2018:
    • This year, the event will be of 4 days from 26 to 29th November 2018.

    • More than 600 Children from CCIs from 18 states are taking part in the various events like painting competition, athletics meet, football, chess competition and speech writing as part of the Festival.

Source : PIB
Social Issues

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 27, 2018

Union Health Ministry launched the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) segment of Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) in seven states.


  • ISDP of IHIP is a new Information Platform by the Government of India to Monitor Public Health Surveillance.

  • It will provide near-real-time data to policy makers for detecting early outbreaks, reducing the morbidity and mortality and lessening disease burden in the populations and better health systems.

  • The seven states are: Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

Source : All India Air

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 27, 2018

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the Constitution Day celebrations, organised by the Supreme Court.


  • The Constitution Day, also known as Samvidhan Divas, is observed annually on November 26 to mark the anniversary of the adoption of Indian Constitution on November 26, 1949 by the Constituent Assembly of India, which came into effect on 26 January 1950.

  • Background:
    • The Government of India declared 26 November as Constitution Day in 2015 by a gazette notification. The year of 2015 was the 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar, who played a key role in the drafting of the constitution. 

    • Previously this day was celebrated as National Law Day.

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 27, 2018

North and South Korea are making a first joint bid for including Korean traditional wrestling “Ssirum” into the UNESCO list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.


  • Intangible culture is that part of culture which cannot be touched but can only be recorded. It includes performing arts like song, music, drama, skills, crafts etc.

  • Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted in 2003. India ratified it in 2007.

UNESCO’s list of intangible culture

  • It is an annual list which focuses on those forms of performing art which are of outstanding value but are vulnerable due to lack of support.

  • The program currently compiles two lists –
    • Representative List: It comprises cultural practices and expressions that help to demonstrate the diversity of this heritage and raise awareness about its importance. It is longer.

    • Urgent Safeguarding list: It is composed of those cultural elements “whose continuous recreation and transmission” are threatened and are in need of immediate support. It is shorter.

  • Domains: There are five broad ‘domains’ in which intangible cultural heritage is manifested:
    1. Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage;

    2. Performing arts;

    3. Social practices, rituals and festive events;

    4. Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe;

    5. Traditional craftsmanship.

Source : The Hindu

Prelims Pointers
Nov. 27, 2018

The Incredible India campaign has goofed up on Tawang Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh, suggesting that the 338-year-old monastery, was built just three decades ago in 1980-81.


  • Location: It is located in Tawang city of Tawang district in Arunachal Pradesh. Tezpur Airport is the nearest airport at a road distance of 350 kilometres.

  • Size: It is the largest monastery in India and second largest in the world after the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.

  • Name: Tawang Monastery is known in Tibetan as Gaden Namgyal Lhatse, which translates to "celestial paradise in a clear night."

  • History: It was in 1680-1681 in accordance with the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso (1617–1682).

  • Religion: It belongs to the Gelug school of Mahayana Buddhism.

  • Architecture and other features:
    • The monastery is triple storied with a large assembly hall, ten other functional structures and with 65 residential quarters for students, Lamas and monks.

    • The main temple in the monastery is known as the Dukhang.

Important Info :


·         It is an annual festival that is exclusively held in Tawang Monastery to ward off any kind of external aggression and to protect people from natural disasters.

·         It is held according to the Buddhist calendar days of 28th to 30th of Dawachukchipa, which corresponds to 10 to 12 January of the Gregorian calendar.

Source : The Hindu
Location in News, Culture
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