Oct. 31, 2020

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2020

3D ATOMIC MAP OF NOVEL CORONAVIRUS REPLICATION MECHANISM
In the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 is an enzyme called the main protease, which drives its replication once it infects the human cell. For the first time, scientists have completed a 3D map that reveals the location of every atom in the molecule of this enzyme.

About:

  • SARS-CoV-2 expresses long chains of proteins. When these chains are broken down and cut into smaller strands, it enables the virus to reproduce.

  • This task is performed by the main protease. Its structure consists of two identical protein molecules held together by hydrogen bonds.

  • If a drug can be developed that inhibits or blocks the protease activity, it will prevent the virus from replicating and spreading to other cells in the body.

  • Researchers used a technique called neutron crystallography. The site containing the amino acids where the protein chains are cut, these experiments revealed, is in an electrically charged reactive state — not in a resting or neutral state, contrary to previously held beliefs.

Important Info :

Significance of research:

  • It is the first time anyone has obtained a neutron structure of a coronavirus protein.
  • it is also the first time anyone has looked at this class of protease enzymes using neutrons.
  • the fact that the protein chains are cut at a site that is in an electrically charged reactive state, rather than neutral, was a surprise finding.
Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2020

VALMIKI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted people on Valmiki Jayanti.

About:

  • Valmiki, also known as Lal Beg or Bala Shah, is celebrated as the harbinger-poet in Sanskrit literature.

  • The epic Ramayana, dated variously from the 5th century BCE to first century BCE, is attributed to him, based on the attribution in the text itself.

  • He is revered as Ādi Kavi, the first poet, author of Ramayana, the first epic poem.

  • The Balmiki sect of Hinduism reveres Valmiki as a patron saint, with a plethora of temples dedicated to him.

Source : All India Radio
Culture

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2020

SPELITY LYNGDOH LANGRIN
Spelity Lyngdoh Langrin — the face of the decades-long anti-uranium mining movement in Meghalaya — had passed away at her home in Domiasiat area of South West Khasi Hills district. She was 95.

About:

  • She was considered an icon in Meghalaya for turning down a multi-crore offer from the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), a Public Sector enterprise that wanted to mine her land.

  • “Money cannot buy me freedom,” Langrin had famously said, rejecting the offer.

  • Over the years, Langrin’s name has become synonymous to the anti-uranium mining movement — her face often plastered over banners during anti-uranium protests in the state.

Important Info :
  • India’s largest and richest uranium deposits are located in Domiasiat and Wahkyn areas of Meghalaya.
  • The Domiasiat uranium deposit, also known as “Kyelleng-Pyndengsohiong-Mawtahbah” region, was discovered in 1984 and has approximately 9.22 million tonnes of high-grade uranium ore deposits.
Source : Indian Express
Miscellaneous

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2020

RASHTRIYA EKTA DIWAS
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead the nation in paying tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 145th birth anniversary today from the Statue of Unity at Kevadia in Gujarat. The day is also observed as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas across the country.

About:

  • Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day) was introduced by the Government of India in 2014.

  • National Unity Day is celebrated every year on 31 October, the birthday of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who during his term as Home Minister of India, integrated over 550 independent princely states into India. 

Source : All India Radio
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2020

INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU)
The 206th Session of the Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, IPU will be held from 1st to 4th November this year. It will be an Extraordinary Virtual Session, which is being organised in place of a full-fledged in-person Statutory Assembly of IPU due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

About:

  • Objective: The Inter-Parliamentary Union is an international organization of national parliaments. Its primary purpose is to promote democratic governance, accountability, and cooperation among its members.

  • History: The organization was established in 1889 as the Inter-Parliamentary Congress. Its founders were statesmen Frédéric Passy of France and William Randal Cremer of the United Kingdom.

  • Members: As of 2020, the national parliaments of 179 countries are members of the IPU, while 13 regional parliamentary assemblies are associate members.

  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2020

EUTHANASIA
As per preliminary referendum results, a majority of voters in New Zealand have voted in favour of the End of Life Choice Act 2019. The final results will be declared on November 6.

End of Life Choice Act 2019:

  • The End of Life Choice Act 2019 is meant to give certain terminally ill people the option of requesting medical assistance to end their lives and to establish a lawful process for assisting eligible persons who are able to exercise that option.

  • The Act was passed in November 2019, but requires that it gets at least 50 per cent of the votes in the 2020 referendum to be effective.

  • As per the Act, assisted dying means when a person’s doctor or nurse gives them medication to relieve their suffering by bringing on death or when a person takes the medication themselves.
    • Therefore, the act interprets assisted dying as referring to both euthanasia and assisted suicide.

    • While the former refers to the act of deliberately ending a person’s life to end their suffering, the latter refers to assisting a person to kill themselves.



  • A person is not eligible for assisted dying if they are suffering from a mental disorder or a mental illness, if they have a disability of any kind or they are of advanced age.

  • The opponents of the Act maintain that it lacks oversight and safeguards and have pointed out issues with the eligibility criteria such as the age limit of 18 years and the “arbitrary” nature of the 6-month prognosis.

Important Info :

Global scenario:

  • In some countries such as in the UK, both euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal. In the UK, while euthanasia is regarded as manslaughter or murder, assisted suicide is punishable by up to 14 years in prison. However, trying to kill yourself is not an illegal act in the country.
  • Assisted dying is legal in parts of Australia, Canada, Colombia, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Switzerland and some states in the US.
Source : Indian Express
Ethics

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2020

MUSLIN
Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has launched two-layered "Happy Diwali" printed face masks made of pure Muslin fabric, a high quality and ultra-fine cotton fabric handmade by traditional Khadi artisans of West Bengal.

About:

  • Muslin is a cotton fabric of plain weave.

  • It is made in a wide range of weights from delicate sheers to coarse sheeting.

  • It gets its name from the city of Mosul, Iraq which the Europeans believed to be its place of origin; however, its origins have now proved to have been farther east — in particular Dhaka in Bangladesh.

  • In 2013, the traditional art of weaving Jamdani muslin in Bangladesh was included in the list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Source : PIB
Culture

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2020

INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT OF KEVADIA
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated various projects under Integrated Development of Kevadia in Gujarat. He inaugurated Arogya Van and Arogya Kutir. He also inaugurated the Ekta Mall, and Children Nutrition Park.

About:

  • Arogya Van has 5 lakh plants of 380 different species spread over an area of 17 acre.

  • Arogya Kutir has a traditional treatment facility named Santhigiri wellness centre which will provide healthcare based on Ayurveda, Siddha, Yoga and Panchakarma.

  • The Ekta Mall displays a diverse range of handicrafts and traditional items from all over India symbolizing unity in diversity and is spread over 35000 sq. ft. The mall consists of 20 Emporia each representing a specific state in India and is built in just 110 days.

  • Children Nutrition Park is the world’s first ever technology driven nutrition park for children and is spread over an area of 35000 sq. ft.

  • A Nutri Train runs across the park to various exciting theme based stations. It will raise nutritional awareness through various edutainment activities like Mirror Maze, 5D Virtual reality theatre and Augmented reality games.

Source : PIB
Geography

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2020

EKTA CRUISE SERVICE
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged-off of the Ekta Cruise Service to the Statue of Unity.

About:

  • Through the Ekta Cruise Service one can experience the viewing of Statue of Unity through the Ferry Boat Service from Shrestha Bharat Bhavan to Statue of Unity by covering a distance of 6 km.

  • The 40 min ride can be covered by a boat which can ferry 200 passengers at a time.

  • New Gora Bridge is built especially for the operation of the ferry service. Boating Channel is constructed to provide boating services to tourists visiting the Statue of Unity.

Source : Times of India
Geography

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2020

SARDAR VALLABHAI PATEL ZOOLOGICAL PARK
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Sardar Patel Zoological Park and Geodesic Aviary Dome in Kevadia, Gujarat.

About:

  • The Jungle Safari is in the state of the art zoological park spread over an area of 375 acres at seven different levels ranging from 29 to 180 meters. It has more than 1100 Birds & Animals and 5 lakh plants. It is the fastest ever built Jungle Safari.

  • The zoological park has two aviaries - one for domestic birds and another for exotic birds. It is the world’s largest geodesic dome for aviary.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Oct. 30, 2020

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2020

SECURE APPLICATION FOR INTERNET (SAI)
Indian Army has developed a simple and secure messaging application named the “Secure Application for Internet (SAI)”.

About:

  • The application supports end to end secure voice, text and video calling services for Android platform over internet. SAI will be utilised pan Army to facilitate secure messaging within the service.

  • The model is similar to commercially available messaging applications like Whatsapp, Telegram, SAMVAD and GIMS and utilises end to end encryption messaging protocol. SAI scores over on security features with local in-house servers and coding which can be tweaked as per requirements.

  • The application has been vetted by CERT-in empanelled auditor and Army Cyber Group.

Important Info :

• National Productivity Council (NPC) is under Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India.

Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2020

PLI SCHEMES FOR PROMOTING DOMESTIC MANUFACTURING OF BULK DRUGS & MEDICAL DEVICES
Chemicals and Fertilizers Ministry has revised the Production Linked Incentive Schemes for promoting domestic manufacturing of bulk drugs and medical devices.

About:

  • In the revised guidelines, the ‘Minimum Threshold’ investment requirement has been replaced by ‘committed investment’ taking into account availability of technology choices which varies from product to product.

  • The change has been made to encourage efficient use of productive capital.

  • The Department of Pharmaceuticals earlier come out with the two Production Linked Incentive schemes-
    • Production Linked Incentive scheme for promotion of domestic manufacturing of critical Key Starting Materials, Drug Intermediates and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients in India and

    • Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Promoting Domestic Manufacturing of Medical Devices.



  • After approval of Cabinet, detailed guidelines for the implementation of the schemes were issued by the Department of Pharmaceuticals in July this year.

Important Info :
  • Globally, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is the third largest in terms of volume.
Source : All India Radio
Health

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2020

DRAFT COASTAL SHIPPING BILL, 2020
Ministry of Shipping has issued the draft of Coastal Shipping Bill, 2020 for suggestions from the stakeholders and general public.

About:

  • The Ministry of Shipping has drafted a Coastal Shipping Bill, 2020 in lieu of part XIV of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.

  • Some of the highlights of the Bill are as under:
    • The definition of coastal shipping and coastal waters has been expanded.

    • It is proposed to do away with the requirement of trading licence for Indian flag vessels for coastal trade.

    • The Bill seeks to create a competitive environment and reduce transportation costs, while encouraging Indian vessels to increase their share in coastal shipping.

    • The Bill also proposes integration of coastal maritime transport with inland waterways.

    • There is a provision for a National Coastal and Inland Shipping Strategic Plan.



Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2020

SERB – POWER
Union Minister for Science & Technology, launched a Scheme titled “SERB-POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research)”, designed exclusively for women scientists.

About:

  • The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a Statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, launched the scheme to mitigate gender disparity in science and engineering research in various S&T programs.

  • SERB – POWER Scheme will have two components namely (i) SERB-POWER Fellowship (ii) SERB- POWER Research Grants.

Salient features of the SERB-POWER Fellowship:

  • Target: Women researchers in 35-55 years of age. Up-to 25 Fellowships per year and not more than 75 at any point in time.

  • Components of support: Fellowship of Rs. 15,000/- per month in addition to regular income; Research grant of Rs. 10 lakh per annum; and Overhead of Rs. 90,000/- per annum.

  • Duration: Three years, without the possibility of extension. Once in a career.

Salient features of the SERB – POWER Research Grants:

  • POWER Grants will empower women researchers by funding them under following two categories:
    • Level I (Applicants from IITs, IISERs, IISc, NITs, Central Universities, and National Labs of Central Government Institutions): The scale of funding is up to 60 lakhs for three years.

    • Level II (Applicants from State Universities / Colleges and Private Academic Institutions): The scale of funding is up to 30 lakhs for three years.



  • POWER Grant will be regulated through terms of reference conforming to SERB-CRG(Science and Engineering Research Board-Core Research Grant) guidelines.

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2020

MERI SAHELI
Indian Railways has launched “Meri Saheli” initiative for focused action on security of women across all zones with an objective to provide safety and security to lady passengers travelling by trains for their entire journey from starting station to destination station.

About:

  • An initiative of Railway Protection Force (RPF), the Strategy of the entails interaction with lady passengers especially those travelling alone by a team of young lady RPF personnel at the originating station.

  • These lady passengers are briefed about all precautions to be taken during the journey and told to dial 182 in case they face or see any problem in the coach.

  • The platform duty RPF personnel at the stopping stations en-route keep unobtrusive watch over the concerned coaches and berths and if need arises, interact with the lady passengers.

Important Info :

Background:

  • The “Meri Saheli” initiative was started as a pilot project in South Eastern Railway in September 2020 and after getting encouraging response from lady passengers, it was extended to all zones and KRCL w.e.f. 17.10.2020.
Source : LiveMint
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2020

INDANE LPG
Indian Oil has started one common number for Indane LPG refill booking across the country for customer convenience.

About:

  • The common booking number for LPG refills for the whole country is 7718955555. It is available 24x7 for the customers.

  • This common number for all-India LPG refill booking – through SMS and IVRS - is an important step to boost customer convenience and ease of booking Indane LPG refills.

  • This means that even if customers move from one telecom circle to another across States, their Indane refill booking number remains the same.

Important Info :
  • Indane is a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) brand developed and owned by Indian Oil Corporation in India. The brand was conceived in 1964 to bring modern cooking to Indian kitchens.
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2020

NATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY COUNCIL (NPC)
National Productivity Council (NPC) has been granted accreditation conforming to ISO 17020:2012 by National Accreditation Board for Certification Body (NABCB), Quality Council of India (QCI) for undertaking inspection and audit work in the area of Food Safety Audit and Scientific Storage of Agricultural Products.

About:

  • This accreditation is valid for a period of three years.

  • NPC has been conducting inspections/audit for different statutory bodies such as Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), and is already having high credentials in the area of inspections and audits.

  • Present accreditation of NPC by NABCB conforming to ISO 17020:2012 will enable it to undertake Independent Third-Party Audits of Food Business Operators including Food Storage Warehouses as per Food Safety and Standards (Food Safety Auditing) Regulations, 2018 of FSSAI as well as inspections of Warehouses as per WDRA Rules, 2017.

Important Info :

• National Productivity Council (NPC) is under Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2020

ETHANOL BLENDED PETROL PROGRAMME
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, CCEA approved Mechanism for procurement of ethanol by Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies under Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme.

About:

  • Earlier, there used to be one rate for ethanol but now there will be different prices.

  • The new Price fixed for Ethanol produced from sugar will be Rs. 62.65 per litre, ethanol manufactured from B heavy molasses will be Rs. 57.61 per litre and ethanol manufactured from C heavy molasses will be Rs. 45.69 per litre.

  • Additionally GST and transportation charges will also be payable.

  • Oil Marketing Companies have been advised to fix realistic transportation charges so that long distance transportation of ethanol is not disincentivised.

  • To offer fair opportunity to the localized industry within the State, Oil Marketing Companies shall decide the criteria for priority of ethanol from various sources taking in account various factors like cost of transportation, availability, etc.

Important Info :
  • Government has been implementing Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme wherein OMCs sell petrol blended with ethanol up to 10 per cent.
  • This programme has been extended to whole of India except Union Territories of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands with effect from 1st April, 2019 to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels.
Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2020

DAM REHABILITATION AND IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (DRIP)
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) Phase II & Phase III with the financial assistance of the World Bank (WB) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

About:

  • Objective is to improve the safety and operational performance of selected dams across the whole country, along with institutional strengthening with system wide management approach.

  • The Scheme envisages comprehensive rehabilitation of 736 existing dams located across the country.

  • The Project will be implemented over a period of 10 years duration in two Phases, each of six years duration with two years overlapping from April, 2021 to March, 2031.

  • To achieve the objective, DRIP Phase II & Phase III has following components:
    • Rehabilitation and improvement of dams and associated appurtenances,

    • Dam safety institutional strengthening in participating States and Central agencies,

    • Exploration of alternative incidental means a few of selected dams to generate the incidental revenue for sustainable operation and maintenance of dams, and

    • Project management.



Source : PIB
Disaster Management

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2020

MANDATORY PACKAGING IN JUTE MATERIALS
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved that 100% of the food-grains and 20% of the sugar shall be mandatorily packed in diversified jute bags.

About:

  • The decision also mandates that initially 10% of the indents of jute bags for packing food grains would be placed through reverse auction on the Gem portal.

  • The Government has expanded the scope of mandatory packaging norms under the Jute Packaging Material (JPM) Act, 1987.

  • The approval will benefit farmers and workers located in the Eastern and North Eastern regions of the country particularly in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura.

Important Info :

Other Support provided to the Jute Sector:

  • The National Jute Board has collaborated with National Institute of Design and a Jute Design Cell has been opened at Gandhinagar.
  • With a view to boost demand in the jute sector, Government of India has imposed Definitive Anti-Dumping Duty on import of jute goods from Bangladesh and Nepal with effect from 5th January, 2017.
  • With a view to promoting transparency in jute sector, Jute SMART, an e-govt initiative was launched in December, 2016, providing an integrated platform for procurement of B-Twill sacking by Government agencies.
Source : PIB
Economy

Oct. 29, 2020

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2020

BASIC EXCHANGE AND COOPERATION AGREEMENT (BECA)
India and the United States signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA).

About:

  • BECA, along with the two agreements signed earlier — the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) — completes a troika of “foundational pacts” for deep military cooperation between the two countries.

  • BECA will help India get real-time access to American geospatial intelligence that will enhance the accuracy of automated systems and weapons like missiles and armed drones.

  • Through the sharing of information on maps and satellite images, it will help India access topographical and aeronautical data, and advanced products that will aid in navigation and targeting.

  • This could be key to Air Force-to-Air Force cooperation between India and the US. BECA will provide Indian military systems with a high-quality GPS to navigate missiles with real-time intelligence to precisely target the adversary.

Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2020

DR. TULSI DAS CHUGH AWARD
CSIR-CDRI Scientist, Dr Satish Mishra bags "Dr. Tulsi Das Chugh Award-2020" given by National Academy of Medical Sciences (India) in recognition of his research work on Malaria parasite's life cycle.

About:

  • His outstanding work focused on “Secreted Protein with Altered Thrombospondin Repeat (SPATR) which is Essential for Asexual Blood Stages but not Required for Hepatocyte Invasion by the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium Berghei”

  • Tulsi Das Chugh Award carries a Scroll, a Commemorative Medal and Cash Incentive.

Important Info :
  • National Academy of Medical Sciences (India) is a unique institution which fosters and utilizes academic excellence as its resource to meet medical and social goals.
  • It was registered as the 'Indian Academy of Medical Sciences' on 21st April, 1961 under Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860. The Academy was re-named National Academy of Medical Sciences (India) on 16th November, 1976 on the recommendations of a Working Group set up by the Govt. of India.
Source : PIB
Awards

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2020

ELECTRICITY ACCESS IN INDIA AND BENCHMARKING DISTRIBUTION UTILITIES REPORT
NITI Aayog, Ministry of Power, Rockefeller Foundation, and Smart Power India launched the ‘Electricity Access in India and Benchmarking Distribution Utilities’ report.

Key findings of the report:

  • As much as 92% of customers reported the overall availability of electricity infrastructure within 50 metres of their premises; however, not all have connections, the primary reason being the distance of households from the nearest pole.

  • Overall, 87% of the surveyed customers have access to grid-based electricity. The remaining 13% either use non-grid sources or don’t use any electricity at all.

  • The hours of supply have improved significantly across the customer categories to nearly 17 hours per day.

  • Nearly 85% of customers reported to have a metered electricity connection.

  • Access to electricity is observed in 83% of household customers.

  • A satisfaction index was created to assess the overall satisfaction level of customers with utility services. The study suggested that a total of 66% of those surveyed were satisfied––74% of customers in urban areas and 60% in rural areas.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2020

AIS (AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY STANDARD) 160
The Centre has issued a notification laying down safety requirements such as visual display, handrail and seat belt anchorages for construction equipment vehicles (CEVs).

About:

  • This is to ensure safety while these vehicles are running on public roads along with other vehicles, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) said.

  • Certain safety requirements are already mandated for construction equipment vehicles under the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR), 1989.

  • The new norms will be rolled out in a phased manner — Phase-I (April 2021) and Phase-II (April 2024) — as per the notification.

  • This Standard aims to introduce AIS (Automotive Industry Standard) 160, to introduce several safety requirements including visual display requirements, requirements for operator station and maintenance areas, non-metallic fuel tanks, minimum access dimensions, and others.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2020

GREEN INITIATIVE
In the first funding for NTPC Ltd under Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC)’s GREEN initiative, India’s largest power producer today entered into foreign currency loan agreement with Japanese Government’s financial institution for JPY 50 billion (approx. USD 482 million).

About:

  • GREEN initiative stands for Global Action for Reconciling Economic growth and Environment preservation initiative. The facility is extended under JBIC’s outreach for projects, which ensure conservation of global environment.

  • JBIC will provide 60% of the facility amount and the balance will be given by commercial banks (viz., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, the Bank of Yokohama Ltd., the San-In Godo Bank Ltd., the Joyo Bank Ltd. and The Nanto Bank Ltd.), under JBIC guarantee.

  • The loan proceeds will be utilized by NTPC Ltd, the PSU under Ministry of Power, for funding its capex for Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) & Renewable Energy projects.

  • FGD, substantially reduces the SOx emission in the flue gases of thermal power plants and is a critical step towards environmental sustainability.

Source : PIB
Environment

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2020

DEPOSITORY RECEIPT
The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), with an objective to develop the financial products and financial services in the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City International Financial Services Centre (GIFT IFSC) has prescribed the regulatory framework for listing of Depository Receipts (DRs).

About:

  • The framework provides for listing of DRs by companies that are listed in FATF compliant jurisdictions (including India). The framework enables the eligible listed companies to raise capital through issuance and listing of DRs on the stock exchanges in GIFT IFSC.

  • Additionally, the framework enables eligible companies having DRs listed on any exchange in a FATF compliant jurisdiction to list and trade such DRs on the stock exchange(s) in GIFT IFSC as an additional venue for trading, without any fresh public offering.

Important Info :

Depository Receipt?

  • A depository receipt is a foreign currency denominated instrument, listed on an international exchange, issued by a foreign depository to a domestic custodian and includes global depository receipts (GDRs).
  • The framework comes after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in August said that the markets regulator would soon implement the Depository Receipt Scheme 2014. The liberalised norms for DRs were issued in 2014 but could not be implemented due to concerns raised by Sebi.
  • This will give Indian companies increased access to foreign funds through American Depository Receipt (ADR)/ Global Depository Receipt (GDR).
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2020

THE PATENTS (AMENDMENT) RULES, 2020
The Centre has streamlined the procedures to submit statements regarding the working of a patented invention on a commercial scale, giving additional flexibilities to the patentee.

Salient Features:

  • The Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2020, which came into effect on October 19, 2020, has further streamlined the requirements related to filing of Form 27 and submission of verified English translation of priority documents, which is not in English language.

  • The rules were amended following a Delhi High Court order on the matter in April 2018.

  • As per the new rules, a patentee gets flexibility to file a single Form-27 in respect of single or multiple related patents. Where a patent is granted to two or more persons, such persons may file a joint Form-27.

  • Moreover, patentees would now be required to provide ‘approximate revenue/value accrue’ while authorised agents would be able to submit Form-27 on behalf of patentees, the release said.

  • The time available to patentees for filing Form-27 has also been extended to six months, against the current three months, from the expiry of the financial year. Patentees will not be required to file Form-27 in respect of a part or fraction of the financial year.

  • There are also important changes with reference to Rule 21 on filing of priority documents. If the priority document is available in WIPO’s (World Intellectual Property Organisation) digital library, the applicant would not be required to submit the same in the Indian Patent Office.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2020

UNITED AGAINST CORONA- EXPRESS THROUGH ART
A six year old Bangladeshi boy Anzar Mustaeen Ali won a special prize of USD 1000 for his artwork in the global art competition organised by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR).

About:

  • The ICCR had launched a global painting competition named ‘United Against CORONA- Express through Art’ which attracted 8000 artwork entries from around the world.

  • The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) was founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, independent India’s first Education Minister.
    • Its objectives are to actively participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes pertaining to India’s external cultural relations.

    • It is an autonomous organisation of the Government of India.



Source : All India Radio
Culture

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2020

INDIA-CENTRAL ASIA DIALOGUE
The second meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue was held under the chairmanship of the External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar.

Highlights of meeting:

  • Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as well as First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic participated in the meeting.

  • The Foreign Minister of Central Asian Countries welcomed the provision by India of one billion US dollar Line of Credit for priority developmental projects in fields such as energy, IT, healthcare, education and agriculture in the region.

  • The Ministers emphasized the need to continue close cooperation between the Sanitary and Epidemiological Services of India and the Central Asian countries in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Ministers appreciated India’s efforts to modernize the infrastructure of the Chabahar port in Iran, which could become an important link in trade and transport communications between the markets of Central and South Asia.

Source : Times of India
International

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2020

COMMISSION FOR AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT IN NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION
President Ram Nath Kovind has promulgated an ordinance to constitute a Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and adjoining areas.

About:

  • The Commission will have at least three sub-committees including on Monitoring and identification, Safeguarding and Enforcement and Research and Development to suggest measures to curb air pollution in the region.

  • It will consist of a Chairperson, a representative from the Ministry of Environment, members from the state of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, technical experts from Central Pollution Control Board and Indian Space Research Organization among others.

Important Info :

Mandate:

  • The commission will work towards better coordination, research, identification and resolution of problems surrounding the Air Quality Index in the NCR and adjoining areas.
  • The commission will have the powers to take all such measures, issue directions and entertain complaints in order to protect and improve the quality of air in the National Capital Region and adjoining areas.
  • It will also lay down the parameters for emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from various sources.
Source : Indian Express
Environment

Oct. 28, 2020

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2020

WAIVER OF INTEREST ON INTEREST SCHEME
The Reserve Bank of India has asked all lending institutions to credit the interest waiver on loans upto two crore rupees for the six months moratorium period beginning March 1, 2020.

About:

  • The government announced the scheme for grant of ex-gratia payment of difference between compound interest and simple interest for six months to borrowers in specified loan accounts.

  • Under the scheme, the lending institutions have been mandated to grant ex-gratia payment to certain categories of borrowers through crediting the difference between simple interest and compound interest for the period between March 1- August 31, 2020.

  • The lending institutions shall credit the difference between compound interest and simple interest with regard to the eligible borrowers in respective accounts for the said period irrespective of whether the borrower availed the moratorium on repayment of loan or not.

  • The government has asked banks to credit the amount to borrowers by 5th of November.

  • Post payment, lenders can claim the amount from the central government.

  • The scheme will cover education, housing, automobile loans, MSME loans, personal loans to professionals, credit card dues, consumer durable loans and consumption loans.

Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2020

FENI BRIDGE
Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari announced that the 1.8 kilometre long Feni bridge connecting Sabrum in India with Ramgarh in Bangladesh will be completed by December this year.

About:

  • Name: Feni Bridge is known as Maitree Setu in Chattogram.

  • Location: The bridge is being built over the Feni River and will connect Tripura with Chittagong port of Bangladesh.

  • Timeline: The foundation of the bridge was laid in 2015 jointly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The project is scheduled to be completed by April next year.

  • Agencies Involved: The bridge is being constructed by the National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd of Ministry of Road and Transport highways, Government of India.

Important Info :

Significance:

  • It is being developed as a corridor for trade and commerce between India's North-East and Bangladesh.
  • It will provide direct road connectivity between South Tripura and Chittagong allowing India to use Chittagong as a “port of call" and promoting trade, tourism and people-to-people ties.
  • The bridge will facilitate carrying of heavy machines and goods to and from the north-eastern states and the rest of India via Bangladesh through Chattogram.
Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2020

K.R. NARAYANAN
President Ram Nath Kovind paid homage to former President K.R. Narayanan on his birth anniversary.

About:

  • Kocheril Raman Narayanan (27 October 1920 – 9 November 2005) was an Indian diplomat, academic and politician who served as the 10th President of India (1997–2002) and 9th Vice President of India (1992–1997).

  • He began his career in India as a member of the Indian Foreign Service in the Nehru administration.

  • He entered politics at Indira Gandhi's request and won three successive general elections to the Lok Sabha and served as a Minister of State in Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's cabinet.

  • Elected as Vice President in 1992, Narayanan went on to become President in 1997. He was the first person from the Dalit community to hold either post.

  • Narayanan is regarded as an independent and assertive President. He described himself as a "working President" who worked "within the four corners of the Constitution"; something midway between an "executive President" who has direct power and a "rubber-stamp President" who endorses government decisions without question or deliberation.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2020

SKILL INDIA MISSION
Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) in collaboration with their unified regulator— National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET) unveiled guidelines for the Awarding Bodies (AB) and Assessment Agencies (AA) over a digital conference.

About:

  • The guidelines and operation manuals have been developed for the recognition and regulation of these two entities, key elements of skilling ecosystem.

  • The guidelines aim at establishing quality, improved outcomes and standardizing the processes under Skill India Mission.

Important Info :
  • Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) was formed on November 9, 2014 by the Government of India to focus on enhancing employability of skills.
  • Under its flagship programme, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 2016-2020, the Ministry has trained more than 92 lakh candidates so far.
  • The National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET) was notified by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) on 5th December 2018. The NCVET acts as an overarching skills regulator which regulates the functioning of entities engaged in vocational education and training.
Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2020

NRITYANJALI
The Films Division of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is organizing the concluding part of ‘Nrityanjali’, an online film festival on Indian classical dance and its maestros from October 28 to 30.

About:

  • Nrityanjali is an online festival of documentary films on the life and work of some of the leading Indian classical dance exponents.

  • The festival will be streamed on Films Division website and its YouTube channel. All films will be streamed live, simultaneously, for three days.

Important Info :
  • Indian Classical Dance is an umbrella under which various performing arts whose theory and practice can be traced to the Sanskrit text, Natya-Shastra, the foundational treatise by Bharata Muni.
  • Prominent traditional dance forms like Bharat Natyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathakali, Sattriya, Manipuri and Mohini Aattam, include music and recitation in the local language or Sanskrit and they represent a unity of core ideas in a diversity of styles, costumes and expression.
Source : PIB
Culture

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2020

INDIA-US 2+2 MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held the third edition of the 2+2 talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

Documents announced during the 3rd India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue:

  1. Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement between the Ministry of Defence, Government of India and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Department of Defence of United States of America.

  2. MoU for Technical Cooperation in Earth Observations and Earth Sciences.

  3. Agreement for the Electronic Exchange of Customs Data between the Postal Operators.

  4. Arrangement extending the duration of the Memorandum of Understanding between India and the USA.

  5. Letter of Intent between the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, New Delhi and the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Cancer Institute, Government of the USA for cooperation in the field of Ayurveda and Cancer Research.

Important Info :
  • USA is the top export destination for India (~17%) which is also reflected in exchange of goods through postal channel.
  • In 2019, around 20% of outbound EMS and 30% of Letters & Small Packets transmitted by India Post were destined to USA whereas 60% of the Parcels received by India Post were originated from USA.
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2020

INFANTRY DAY
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended greetings on the occasion of Infantry Day.

About:

  • Infantry Day is observed on October 27 to mark the landing of first Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 to push back Pakistan supported intruders.

  • On October 26, 1947 the then Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, signed the instrument of accession, making his state a part of Indian dominion, and thus paving the day for Indian troops to be deployed in the state to fight against Pakistani invaders.

Source : The Hindu
History

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2020

JAPAN TO ACHIEVE ZERO CARBON EMISSIONS BY 2050
Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has said the country will become carbon neutral by 2050, heralding a bolder approach to tackling the climate emergency by the world’s third-biggest economy.

About:

  • Japan had come under pressure to strengthen its climate commitments after initially saying that it would achieve an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050 followed by carbon neutrality “as soon as possible” in the second half of the century.

  • The policy shift brings Japan into line with the European Union, which set itself a similar target last year, while China recently announced it would become carbon-free by 2060.

  • Japan’s current energy plan, set in 2018, calls for 22-24% of its energy to come from renewables, 20-22% from nuclear power and 56% from fossil fuels.

  • Suga, who replaced Shinzo Abe in mid-September, did not provide details on how Japan would reduce carbon emissions to zero.

Source : Hindustan Times
Environment

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2020

NATURAL GAS AND GST
Global energy majors have called on the Government of India to bring natural gas under the GST regime at the India energy Forum being held this week.

About:

  • Currently petrol, diesel, aviation turbine fuel, natural gas and crude oil fall outside India’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.

  • Government officials have also indicated that the government is considering bringing natural gas under the ambit of the GST regime.

Important Info :

Why is it important to bring natural gas under the GST regime?

  • It would lead to a reduction in the cascading impact of taxes on industries such as power and steel, which used natural gas as an input.
  • it would do away with the central excise duty and different value added taxes imposed by states.
  • This would lead to an increase in the adoption of natural gas in line with the government’s stated goal to increase the share of natural gas in the country’s energy basket from 6.3% to 15%.
Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2020

PARAMPARA SERIES
Vice President of India launched the festival of ‘Parampara Series 2020- National Festival of Music & Dance.’

About:

  • It was organised by Natya Tarangini in partnership with the United Nations. Natya Tarangini is organising the ‘Parampara Series’ continuously since past 23 years.

  • This festival was organized to coincide with the World Day for Audio-visual Heritage.

  • ‘Parampara’ means ‘tradition’, the transmission of cultural treasure house from one generation to the next.

Important Info :
  • Natya Tarangini Performing Arts Centre, was founded initially as a Kuchipudi Dance Institute by India's legendary dancing couple Dr.(s) Raja Radha and Kaushalya Reddy in the year 1976 in New Delhi.
Culture
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