NOVEMBER 2014

IMPORTANT EVENTS IN THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER

FASTag Electronic toll collection across 45 toll plazas started

  • Central government started FASTag  Electronic  Toll  Collection  (ETC)  across  45  toll  plazas  on the Mumbai-Delhi corridor on the Golden Quadrilate
  • FASTag ETC  is  an  advanced  programme  for  making the  payment  electronically  on  highway  tolls  without  stopping  the vehicle at the toll plazas.
  • This system will remove logistic inefficiencies at toll plazas and has the potential of saving Rs 60,000 crore in terms of time and fuel bills.

How FASTag Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system works?

  • Under ETC system, vehicles will be affixed with a prepaid ‘Radio Frequency Identification Device’ tag known as FASTag. It will be fixed on the wind shield of the vehicle.
  • The RFID Tag on windshield will be read by the readers fitted in the dedicated ETC lanes of toll plazas after vehicles passes through toll plazas.
  • After the entry of vehicle passing through toll plaza is done, ETC will deduct an appropriate amount depending upon the class of vehicle from the account of the user. Thus, complete process of payment will be automated.

Jashne Bachpan: ‘Special’ children’s theatre festival

  • Jashne Bachpan: ‘Special’ children’s theatre festival begins at National School of Drama
  • 12th edition Bal Swachhta

Government to launch year of Bal Swachhta on 125th Birth Anniversary of Nehru

  • The initiatives aim to increase awareness about Nehru among the younger generation. It also aims to involve the common man in the celebrations.
  • The government is expected to use the celebrations to further the cause of cleanliness in the country.
  • Some of the initiatives announced by the Government as of now are:-· Organising ‘Year of Bal Swachhta’
  • Released commemorative coins on Nehru
  • Organising ‘Bal Swachhta Mission’ in schools across the country between November 14 and 19
  • Launch of a website dedicated to Nehru
  • Release of a Rs. 10 cr grant for the modernization/upgradation of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
  • Roll-out of a special grant for scholars studying Nehru

National Cultural Audio-Visual Archives

  • The Ministry of Culture will be setting up a National Cultural Audio-Visual Archives in Jodhpur in an effort to preserve India’s cultural heritage.
  • The project will involve collaboration between the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) under the Ministry of Culture and the Rupayan Sansthan.
  • The project aims to create digital archives in India that are up to internationalstandards.

Darjeeling Zoo wins International Earth Heroes Award

  • It is the first Indian zoo to have received this prestigious honour. Apart from being the only specialized zoo in India,  it  is  internationally  recognized  for  its conservation breeding  programmes  of endangered  animals  of  Eastern
  • The Zoo is also well-known for its efforts in educating, motivating  and  initiating  awareness  about  the  importance  of  conservation  of Himalayan eco-system.
  • The Earth Heroes Awards is an  Award  that  ‘recognises  and honours individuals and institutions who work exceptionally hard to preserve and protect critical eco-systems.’ The Awards were instituted by the Royal Bank of Scotland in association with WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) in 2011.

India Russia sign pact to set up a Smart City on DMIC

  • On 5th November  2014, India and Russia signed  agreement  to  set  up  a Smart  City on the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC)

Prime Minister adopts Jayapur village of Varanasi under the ‘Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana’

India and Nigeria

  • Union Cabinet has  given  its  approval  for  signing  a  treaty  on  transfer  of  sentenced  persons Between India and Nigeria.  The  treaty  will  facilitate  Indian  prisoners  imprisoned  in  Nigeria  or Nigerian  prisoners  in  India  to  be  near  their  families, for  serving  the  remaining  part  of  their sentence and shall facilitate their social rehabilitation

District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs)

  • Government to revive District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) in four states
  • The NDA Government has decided to launch scheme in order to infuse Rs 2,375.42 crore to revive 23 District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) in 4states, which were on the verge of closure.
  • They have deposits base of about Rs 6,839 crore and loan book of around Rs 3,774 crore
  • These deposits are of People from lower strata of society and small businessmen. So, in order to protect interest of these people, government is planning to stop them from verge of closure

Sajid Javid is first Indian-origin Cabinet Minister in Britain

Defence products investment policy

  • Madhya Pradesh becomes first state to formulate defence products investment policy his policy will help those investors who are willing to invest Rs 500 crore or more for setting up public and private sector defence manufacturing units near Katni, Itarsi, and Jabalpur

Government to launch separate drug controller for traditional medicines

  • India’s experience and strength in the traditional medicine has not yet translated into market shares in the global traditional market.
  • The traditional medicines global worldwide market is estimated at about $100 billion, but India’s share is negligible because quality standards are not maintained tointernational specifications.
  • Thus it can be said that India being experienced in the field of traditional medicine has not trapped it potential.
  • India’s neighbour China has captured huge share of the traditional medicines world market whereas India’s presence is considered as non-existent.
  • Institutionalisation of a regulatory authority for traditional medicine backed up by Central and State laboratories will ensure  that  traditional  and  indigenous  medicines  get  their pride of  place  in  mainstream healthcare worldwide.
  • It will help to regulate traditional medicines in terms of international standards.
  • Thus, focus on building up a brand value for Ayurvedic drugs manufactured in the country at international market.
  • It will benefit rural India where people largely rely on local herbal doctors.
  • It will further add traditional medicines in export basket of country.
  • Through National AYUSH Mission, the government will focus on building up brand value for Ayurvedic drugs

Jet Airways bans shipment of shark fins to protect declining shark population

  • Jet Airways by instituting this policy has joined group of major international carriers committed to protect declining shark populations and marine ecosystems.

Ashtamudi clam fishery

  • Kerala’s Ashtamudi clam fishery to first in India to receive MSC certification
  • Clam fishery in the Ashtamudi estuary in Kolam district of Kerala is the first in India to receive Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification.
  • This certification will help to boost sustainable fisheries while protecting the ecosystem in this Wetland area.
  • It has become the third in Asia to receive this recognition
  • The MSC programme is the world’s most rigorous, science-based standard criteria for sustainable seafood.
  • MSC certification is basically ecolabel used to monitor the health of the world’s oceans by ecognizing and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood, and working with partners to transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis.
  • This certification implies the implementation of measures that will ensure that the resource is not overfished at the cost of the eco-system.
  • When buyers choose to purchase MSC certified fish, fisheries are rewarded for sustainable practices.
  • Thus MSC programme helps to harness market forces to incentivise positive environmental change

World’s tallest hybrid wind turbine installed in Kutch

  • Wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon Energy has installed the world’s first and tallest hybrid wind generator turbine in Kutch, Gujarat.

Nalanda  University

  • Nalanda University  will  be  located  at  Rajgir  in  Bihar  and  will  have  the power to  confer  degrees,  diplomas  and certificates.
  • Objectives and functions of Nalanda University includes the establishment of an international institution of learning that will bring together the brightest and the most dedicated students from all countries irrespective of gender, caste, creed, disability, ethnicity or socio-economic background.
  • India will provide appropriate visa to students, faculty, and staff for travel to India to study or work in the University.
  • The funding for the establishment and operations of the University will be on a voluntary basis.
  • India and Bhutan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on the noble  objectives  of  the  establishment  of  Nalanda  University  in Bihar to  develop  the institution  as  an international centre  of

 21st Century Silk Road Economic Belt

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping committed $40 billion to give a push for reviving the ancient Silk Road of China and break the connectivity bottleneck in Asia.
  • The summit  was  hosted  by  China  in  order  to  strengthen  its  connectivity  and  improve  cooperation neighboring country and firming up support for its mega 21st Century Silk Road Economic Belt and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
  • Silk Road Fund will be open and welcome investors from Asia and beyond to actively take part in the project.
  • The neighbouring countries must strengthen connectivity and boost cooperation.
  • China’s plans to build the 21st Century Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road besides Beijing’s push for creation of the AIIB.
  • The main aim is China is to gain easier access to global markets.
  • The plan incorporates both a land route and a sea route.
  • The land-based Silk Road is expected to  start  at  Xi’an,  the  capital  of Shaanxi  province,  located  in  northwest China, eventually heading southwest across Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
  • The Maritime Silk Road is planned to start near Guangdong on the South China Sea and move to the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean. From there it will traverse the Horn of Africa, heading into the Red Sea and Mediterranean. The project shows China’s newfound desire to invest in projects outside of mainland China.

Gujarat becomes first state to make voting compulsory in local body polls

  • In first  week  of  November  2014, Gujarat Governor O P Kohli gave his assent to the controversial  Gujarat  Local  Authorities Laws  Bill,  2009  and  gave  his sanction  for
  • This bill has the provisions of compulsory voting and 50 per cent reservation for women in the institutions of local self-governance.
  • Once the Act comes into effect, Gujarat will be the first state to have the provision of compulsory voting in local body polls.

DRDO develops herbal drug Lukosin for Leucoderma

  • Defence Research Development  Organisation  (DRDO) has  developed  herbal  drug  Lukosin,  for treatment of leucoderma (white patches on skin). This drug is developed from medicinal plants.
  • The scientists of Defence Bio-Energy Research (DIBER), Haldwani inUttarakhand, a laboratory of DRDO of the Defence Ministry, have developed this drug. DIBER has transferred the technology of the drug to AIMIL Pharmaceuticals India for its commercial production and sale.

Jnanpith award 2013

  • President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the 49th Jnanpith Award (for year 2013) to eminent Hindi poet Kedarnath Singh for his outstanding contribution towards Indian literature.

Jeevan Pramaan: Digital life certificate for pensioners

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched theJeevan Pramaan scheme- an Aadhar based Digital Life Certificate for pensioners.
  • Through this  certificate,  a  pensioner  now  can  digitally  provide  proof  of  his  existence  to  authorities  for  continuity  of pension  every  year  instead  of  requiring  presenting  himself  physically  or  through  a  Life  Certificate  issued  by  specified authorities.
  • Key details of the pensioner including date, time and biometric information will be uploaded to a central database on real-time basis.

LRSAM missile

  • India-Israel joint venture LRSAM missile successfully tested
  • LRSAM will be deployed on the newly commissioned INS Kolkata, which had to be inducted without the weapon system due to delays in testing.
  • It would also be deployed on other naval ships including recently commissioned INS Kamrota.
  • LRSAM is called Barak 8 missile in Israel. Barak is the Hebrew word for Lightning.
  • It is designed to counter a wide variety of air-borne threats such as anti-ship missiles, aircraft, UAVs and drones as well as supersonic cruise missiles.

Kamatapur  Liberation  Organisation  (KLO)

  • Government bans Kamatapur Liberation Organisation under  the Unlawful Activities  Prevention  Act,  1967,
  • KLO came into existence in 1993 to achieve the objective of a separate sovereign Kamatapur state.
  • It has been consolidating its position in the 14 districts in Assam and 6 districts in West Bengal both organisationally and in terms of weapons and cadres.
  • It was formed to address problems of the Koch Rajbongshi community and perceived neglect of Kamtapuri language, large-scale unemployment, land alienation, identity and grievances of economic deprivation of the community

Kerala became first state with bank accounts for all families

  • Kerala Finance Minister KM  Mani  has  announced  that  Kerala  has  become  the  first  state  in  the country to have bank accounts for all families under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY)

K C Reddy appointed in United Nations (UN) probe panel on Gaza

  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed a former Indian Police Service (IPS) Officer K C Reddy as the member of United Nations (UN) probe panel on Gaza. KC Reddy is only Indian to be part five-member panel to investigate Israeli attacks on UN shelters during the Gaza war and the discovery of Hamas weapons at UN sites.
  • The inquiry panel will be headed by retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert
  • The UN probe panel was set up by UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon to probe the presence of arms on UN premises in the Gaza strip and the damage to its facilities during the conflict between Israel and Palestinian factions.

Newton-Bhabha Fund announced by UK and India

  • India and United Kingdom (UK) have announced a “Newton-Bhabha Fund programme” to scale  up  their bilateral research & innovation relationship to a greater level.
  • The Newton-Bhabha Fund  is  a  programme  which  aims  to  build  up  strong  interdisciplinary  dimension  that  will  further strategise the science, research and innovation cooperation between the UK and India. For this programme  UK  will provide 50 million pounds over 5 year’s period and India will provide similar matched efforts.

Rosetta mission’s Philae probe landed on Comet 67P

  • Rosetta mission of European Space Agency (ESA) has landed its Philae probe on the surface of Comet 67P/ Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Philae probe landing on Comet 67P made a Space history, as for the first time probe has landed on a comet.
  • The landing site of Philae probe has been named as Agilkia and is located on the head of the  bizarre  double-lobed  object  of    Name Agilkia was chosen by ESA in honour of Agilkia Island, in a public contest.

National Bal Swachhta Mission

  • On 14th November 2014, Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smt. Maneka Gandhi launched the National Bal  Swachhta  Mission in  It was launched on 125th  birth anniversary  of  first Prime  Minister of India,  Jawaharlal  Nehru.  On  this  occasion,  Minister  also released a book on Bal Swachtta Mission prepared by NIPCCD.
  • The nationwide Bal Swachhta Mission will have the following six themes:-
  • Clean Anganwadis .
  • Clean Surroundings e.g. Playgrounds.
  • Clean Self (Personal Hygiene/Child Health).
  • Clean Food.
  • Clean Drinking Water.
  • Clean Toilets.

HRD Ministry decides to replace German as third language in KV’s with Sanskrit

Farhan Akhtar

  • Bollywood actor-director Farhan Akhtar has been appointed as UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia. He has become the first male to be appointed as Goodwill Ambassador in UN’s history.
  • As UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia, he will dedicate his efforts towards the empowerment of women and girls and will serve as an advocate for UN Women’s newly launched‘HeForShe’ campaign in advocating for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Ratan Tata

  • Ratan Tata appointed to the board of Interpol Foundation
  • Tata Sons  Chairman  Emeritus  Ratan  Tata  has  been  appointed  to  the  board  of  Interpol Foundation to contribute to its two new global initiatives aimed at combating organised crime and terrorist activities by the international police organisation.
  • He will be on its board of trustee and contribute to the success of two new global initiatives of Interpol –Protecting Cultural Property and Modernising Channels of International Judicial Cooperation initiatives.

Rajya Sabha question hour shifted from 11am to 12 noon

  • As per new rules, the proceeding of the Rajya Sabha will start with ‘Zero Hour’ which will be between 11am to 12 noon. The move aimed to ensure disruption-free proceedings during this segment
  • Question Hour: During this time, the members of Parliament ask questions and the ministers usually give answers.
  • Zero Hour: It is a period during which Member of Parliament (MPs) get chance to raise matters of public importance that need immediate attention of the governmentwithout any prior notice. It is not mentioned in the Rules of Procedure of Parliament and Indian innovation in the field of parliamentary procedure since 1962.

India, China ‘Hand-in-Hand’ joint exercise

  • On 17th November  2014,  Fourth  edition  of India-China Joint  Training  Exercise  Hand-in-Hand  2014  began  at  Aundh Military Station in Pune, Maharashtra.
  • The Chinese contingent for the exercise comes from 13th Group Army of People’s Liberation Army i.e. Chengdu Military Region and comprises an infantry company along with supporting staff
  • It will  enhance  confidence  and  trust  between  the  two  armies

Kisan Vikas Patra

  • On 18th November 2014, Union Government re-launched Kisan Vikas Patra scheme (KVP) in NewDelhi to encourage the habit of small savings among the citizens. The scheme will soon be made available through designated branches of nationalized banks across the country
  • The previous  KVP  was  discontinued  in
  • The scheme  was  very  popular  among  the investors  and  the percentage  share of gross  collections  secured  in  KVP  after  its  launch  in 1988 was in the range of 9-29  per  cent  against  the  total  collections received  under  all National Savings Schemes in  the country.
  • Investment: The KVP will be available to the investors in the denomination of 1000, 5000, 10000 and 50000 rupees with no upper ceiling on investment. The scheme will provide facility of unlimited investment by way of purchase of certificate from post office in various denominations
  • Kisan Vikas Patra scheme has unique liquidity feature, where an investor can encash his certificates after  the  lock-in period of 2 years and 6 months and thereafter in any block of six months on predetermined maturity value.
  • The certificates can also be issued in single or joint names and can be transferred from one person to any other person. The investment made in the certificate will double in 100 months. The facility of transfer from one  post office to another anywhere in India and  of  nomination  will  also  be  available  under the scheme.
  • KVP would serve two purposes: Firstly, it would help poor gullible investors to channelise their savings towards trusted government scheme instead of some ponzi schemes. Secondly, it would help to meet the urgent need to raise savings in the country. These savings then would be used for nation building. Thus such saving instrument will not only earn interest but also help in development of the country.

Church of England allows women to become bishops

  • Church of England has broken the centuries-old tradition by paving the way for the appointment of female bishops. It is considered as a historic move towards widening female participation in the Church

Neha Gupta wins International Children’s Peace Prize

  • She was awarded this award for her exceptional work to raise money for underprivileged children  around  the    Her  work  has  helped  orphans  in India and  other vulnerable children
  • In 2006, Om Prakash Gurjar from India was conferred with this award for setting up network of  child  friendly villages which aims to give all children a birth certificate as a way of helping to protect them from exploitation.
  • In 2013, the award was conferred on Malala Yousufzai, who went on to win this Nobel Peace Prize 2014.

International Toilet Festival inaugurated in Delhi

  • On 19th November  2014,  three-day InternationalToilet Festival began on the eve of World
  • Toilet Day with an aim to spread the message of total sanitation and to put an end to the scourge of open defecation.

Nanavati Commission submits final report

  • Justice Nanavati Commission has submitted its final report on the 2002 Gujarat riots to state chief minister

Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS)

  • It aims to strengthen the transmission and distribution (T&D) networks, 100 per cent metering urban areas and smarten it with information technology.
  • In this scheme IT enablement will help in reduction in AT&C losses, establishment energy accounting /auditing system, improvement in billed energy based on metered consumption and improvement in collection efficiency.

Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana(DDUGJY)

  • DDUGJY project is based on the Gujarat model of power reforms for feeder separation of agricultural and domestic usage and strengthening of T&D infrastructure in rural areas.
  • This scheme aims to help in improving in hours of power supply in rural areas, reducing peak load, improving in billed energy based on metered consumption and providing access to electricity to rural households

North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project (NERPSIP)

  • NERPSIP is for six north eastern states viz Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram,Tripura and Nagaland. It is meant for strengthening of the Intra State Transmission and Distribution System.
  • This project will be taken up under a new Central Sector Plan Scheme of Ministry of Power (MoP) and implemented with the assistance of World Bank loan and the budget of MoP.
  • Implementation of this project will create a reliable State power grid and improve its connectivity to the upcoming load centres, and thus extend the benefits of the grid connected power to all the consumers.
  • It will also provide the required grid connectivity to such villages and towns of the six states, where development of distribution system at the downstream level has been taking place under previous Government of India’s (Gol) sponsored electrification schemes.
  • These projects are considered as major step towards meeting the NDA government’s national objective of “Power to All” by enhancing access of consumers to grid connected power supply through improving its availability and reliability. Power to All aims facilitating inclusive growth.

Clearances for  construction  of  strategic  roads and bridges along border

  • Ministry of Environment and  Forests  (MoEF)  has  given  in-principle  approval  to Union Home Ministry and Ministry for Road Transport and Highways for waiver of mandatory  forest and  environment  clearances  for  construction  of  strategic  roads and bridges along border.
  • Earlier, Union Home Ministry had requested MoEF to exempt environment clearance for infrastructure projects  falling within 100 km from Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and International Border (IB).

2015 to be celebrated as Year of Water Conservation in India

  • To mark this conservation year, a public movement will be launched. The cooperation of state governments, NGOs, civil society, youth and retired personnel will be taken to meet efforts aimed at conserving water
  • As per minister, public movement has become a necessity for conservation of water and river in the country as it is an important element of development.

China starts partial construction of Zangmu Hydropower Station

  • China has partly commissioned  its  Zangmu  Hydropower  Station- largest  hydropower station in Tibet, built on Yarlung Zangbo River- local name of Brahmaputra River.

Guru Ghasidas National Park in Chhattisgarh to be declared as Tiger Reserve

Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC)

  • It is a joint initiative ofIndian Navy, Coast Guard and Bharat Electronics Ltd to improve coastal surveillance and to provide coastal security to avert incidents like the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai.
  • single point centre interlinking the newly formed coastal radar chain of India. It will be manned by the Navy and function under the National Security Adviser (NSA).
  • It is the nodal centre of the National Command Control Communications and Intelligence Network (NC3I Network) and National Maritime Domain Awareness (NMDA).
  • The NC3I will link 20 naval and 31 Coast Guard monitoring stations with IMAC to generate a real-time picture of the nearly 7,500-km long coastline.
  • The system currently comprises 46 radars and 30 additional radars are planned to fill all the gaps in coastline security.
  • In this system the remote hubs are linked with the centre by high speed optical fibre networks and satellite linksfor backup in case of emergency.
  • It is established at Gurgau

Two Indians from Kerala conferred Sainthood at Vatican

  • Two Kerala-born Indian Catholics Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia have been canonized by Pope Francis at St Peter’s Square in Vatican.
  • With these canonisation of sainthood, the centuries-old Syro Malabar Church, Kerala now has three Saints, the first being Sister Alphonsa, who was declared a saint in 2008 by the Vatican.

Iran and six world powers extend deadline for nuclear talks

  • The deadline  to  reach  a  comprehensive  agreement  for  a  Iran’s  Nuclear Programme deal with six world powers i.e. P-6  or P-5 +1 countries has been extended to the end of June, 2015 after recent talks in Vienna, Austrian failed.
  • P-6 countries include the five permanent members of the UN Security Council viz., USA, Russia, China, UK,France and non- permanent member Germany.
  • There is decade long deadlock between Iran and Western countries over the issue of Iran’s Nuclear Programme and safety concerns of uranium enrichment.
  • Western Countries allegations: Western countries especially US is alleging Iran, that their Nuclear Programme may be used by them to produce enriched uranium to develop nuclear warheads.
  • Iran’s response: However, Iran has refused the allegations of western countries and has clearly mentioned that it is its sovereign right to continue its nuclear programme to their energy demand. Even they had mentioned that their Nuclear programme is completely peaceful and not for defence purpose.
  • P-6 countries want Iran to reduce its uranium enrichment programme to make sure it cannot produce nuclear warheads

Sarjubala Devi

  • Indian Women  Boxer,  Sarjubala  Devi  has  won  Silver  medal  in  the  World  Women’s Boxing Championships held in Jeju City, Korea.   In the final match of the 48kg division, she lost to Nazym Kyzaibay ofKazakhstan by 0-3.

Delhi-Kathmandu bus service flagged off

  • It is the second international bus service by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). First international bus service was Delhi-Lahore service, launched in 1999. In future, Indian Government is also planning to start similar bus services to every neighboring country.

First Commonwealth Science Conference is inaugurated in Bengaluru

  • President Pranab Mukherjee  inaugurated  First  Commonwealth Science Conference (CSC) held in Bengaluru. It is organized for the first time in nearly after 50 years. Special guest at the inaugural event was Duke of York Prince Andrew
  • In this  summit  topics  covered will  include  physical  sciences,  life  sciences,  mathematics,  engineering, climate change, global health as well as science policy.
  • Commonwealth Science Conference (CSC): Celebrate excellence in Commonwealth science, Provide opportunities for cooperation between researchers in different Commonwealth countries, Inspire young people, Build scientific capability in developing nations within the Commonwealth.

India and Nepal sign USD 1 billion Power Deal

  • India and Nepal signed an agreement to construct a USD one billion hydropower plant on Arun River. It aims to generate 900-megawatt of electricity
  • India’s state-owned Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam will construct the mega power plant.
  • It will start generation of power by 2021.
  • Nepal will receive around 22 per cent of the power generated from the plant free.
  • This project will help to meet some part of Nepal’s power demand as it is grappling with severe power shortage.
  • Thus by signing this agreement shows that India is has great interest in exploiting the abundant untapped hydropower resources of Nepal as it has vast network of fast-flowing rivers.

Labour Laws Amendment Bill, 2011

  • Rajya Sabha has  passed  Labour  Laws  Amendment  Bill,  2011  which  simplifies  labour law procedures for establishments employing up to 40 workers. This bill amends the Labour Laws (Exemption  from  Furnishing  Returns  and  Maintaining  Registers  by  Certain  Establishments)
  • Amendment and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1988.
  • The Amendment Bill, proposes to change the original Act of 1988 by Increasing the  number  of  laws  under  which  small  establishments  are  exempted  from furnishing returns and maintaining registers.
  • Amending the definition of “small” establishments to cover units employing between 10 to 40 workers as against the limit of 19 workers at present.
  • The seven Acts that are added to the list includes
  1. Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961.
  2. Payment of Bonus Act, 1965.
  3. Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979
  4. Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996.
  5. Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966.
  6. Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986.
  7. Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
  • The Bill also adds that the employer may maintain the returns filed and the registers on a computer, computer disk or other electronic media.

National Milk Day

  • Birth anniversary of Dr.Verghese Kurien observed as National Milk Day in Gujarat

Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes dies after head injury

  • Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes died after he had suffered a severe head injury due to a bouncer during a match. He was 25. He was in coma for three days following the injury sustained while playing in a Sheffield Shield game in Sydney Cricket Ground.

WTO approves trade facilitation agreement (TFA)

  • The World  Trade Organization  (WTO) approved the first world-wide  trade  deal- Trade Facilitation agreement (TFA). It was approved by WTO’s 160 member nations in Geneva after months of deadlock.
  • This announcement  comes  after India and the US earlier had resolved their differences over public stockholding of food in November 2014.
  • The approval of TFA deal will possibly help to meet a permanent solution for the public stockholding of food in the WTO’s Ministerial Conference 2015 as 160 members agreed to make all efforts to find a permanent solution to the issue.
  • The agreement includes provisions for: Lowering import tariffs and agricultural subsidies: It will make it easier for developing countries to trade with the developed world in global markets, Abolish hard  import  quotas: Developed countries would abolish hard import quotas on agricultural products from the developing world and instead would only be allowed to charge tariffs on amount of agricultural imports exceeding specific limits, Reduction  in  red  tape at international borders: It aims to reduce red-tapism  to  facilitate trade by reforming customs bureaucracies and formalities.

Thailand Parliament votes to ban commercial surrogacy

Africa’s first electronic ballot used in Namibia

  • Namibia has become first country in Africa to use  electronic  voting  in  their  presidential election.
  • Around 3400 India-made Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be used for this elections.
  • In April 2014, Namibian government had purchased these EVM form India’s public sector unit, Bharat Electronic Limited (BEL), Bangaluru.
  • Other countries  using  Indian  made  EVM’s: Asian  countries Nepal, Bhutan have  purchased  India-manufactured  EVMs and using it. Fiji is expected to use Indian EVMs.

Mount Aso erupts in Japan

  • Mount Aso, a volcano in southern Japan has erupted. It is the first such eruption in 22 years
  • Mount Aso is the largest active volcano in Japan, and is among the largest in the world. It is located in Aso Kuju National Park in Kumamoto Prefecture, on Kyushu Island. Its peak is 1592 m above sea level.
  • Mount Aso has one of the largest calderas in the world (25 km north-south and 18 km east-west). The caldera has a circumference of around 120 km.

Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)

  • It is an integrated bill payment system offering inter-operable and accessible bill payment service to  customers through a network of agents, enabling multiple payment modes, and providing instant confirmation of payment
  • It will help consumers pay multiple bills like electricity, telephone and school fees at a single point of transaction
  • The National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) has been appointed as the nodal body which will set the standards, and also take care of clearing and settlement as the Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU)
  • In the two tiered BBPS set-up, there  will  be  authorised  operational  units  called Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs) with an agent network under the BBPCU.
  • Participants in the BBPS will include authorised entities such as BPCU, BBPOUs as well as their authorised agents, payment gateways, banks, billers and service providers, and other entities, including authorised prepaid payment instrument issuers.
  • Thus, BBPS will help track all the payments being made in economy, including cash payments to utilities, schools, and telcos among others.

WCCB develops app to track wildlife crimes across country

  • For the first time, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) underEnvironment Ministry in coordination with the Wildlife Trust ofIndia (WTI) have developed Android based smartphone application that will enable users to report wildlife crimes, from any part of the country using their mobile phones

 Meghalaya’s first train

  • Prime Minister Narendra  Modi flagged-off  the  first  train  from  Mendipathar, Meghalaya,  to Guwahati. This was an important occasion in the history of Indian Railways, as Meghalaya was being added to the rail network of India for first time. He also unveiled the plaque for a new rail line from Bhairabi to Sairang