October 2014

IMPORTANT EVENTS IN THE MONTH OF OCTOBER

 ‘Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go’

The ‘Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go’ vision statement speaks of strengthening the strategic partnership  between India and  USA.  This  statement  was  released  during  PM Modi’s  visit  to  Washington  DC  to  meet  President Obama

Yudh Abhyas 2014 concludes at Ranikhet

  • The Indo-US defence exercise  titled  Yudh  Abhyas  concluded  near
  • The exercises, which commenced on September 17, were conducted in both Chaubbatia and Ranikhet.
  • This edition of Yudh Abhyas, which lasted a total of 14 days, is the 10th of its kind that has been held.
  • The joint  exercise  brought  together  troops  from  a  Mountain  Brigade  of  the Indian Army and Company and Brigade Headquarter of the US Army Yudh Abhyas first began in 2004 as part of USA’s Army Pacific Partnership Programme.
  • This exercise aims to strength and broaden interoperability and defence cooperation between the two nations

Afghanistan and United States sign Bilateral Security Agreement

  • After much  delay, Afghanistan and  US  have signed  a  BSA  (Bilateral Security  Agreement)  that will chart the course for the two countries post withdrawal of majority of American troops. The BSA was signed in Kabul. This long term security pact will be crucial in deciding the nature of internal security in Afghanistan. Significantly, there is nothing in the BSA to stop the Americans from increasing their presence in Afghanistan if the situation calls for it.
  • Stationing of troops-The NATO  led  coalition  called  the International Security  Assistance  Force  (ISAF)  led  the  war efforts  in    The  ISAF  once  had  800  bases  in  Afghanistan.  Now,  it  is  down  to  33  bases  and  37,000  foreign troops. This number will further go down in accordance with the BSA.
  • Under the  BSA,  US  will  retain  access  to  9  major  land  and  airbases  including  the  airfields  in  Bagram,  Jalalabad  and Kandahar.  These  bases  will  US  access  to  not  only  Afghanistan  but  also  to  nearby  tribal Pakistan
  • The agreement enter into between Afghanistan and NATO is called Status of Forces agreement. The BSA was a precondition to the signing of this agreement. Under it, NATO has agreed to fund Afghanistan’s police and security forces till 2017.
  • The NATO  troops  will  focus  on  training,  equipping  and  advising  Afghan  troops  and  will  not  engage  in  counterterrorism efforts. (The American Forces will be dealing with counter-terrorism efforts.) NATO led ISAF will have a training mission headquartered at Kabul and will also have six bases throughout Afghanistan.

Justice GS Singhvi appointed chairman of Competition Appellate Tribunal

The  CCI  whose  predecessor  was  the  MRTPC  (Monopolies  and  Restrictive  Trade  Practices Commission)  was  established  to  eliminate  practices  that  adversely  affect  competition  in different industries/areas and protect interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade.

Vayoshreshtha Samman 2014

  • Vayoshreshtha Samman or The National Awards for Senior Citizens were presented by Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker of Lok Sabha
  • The government has been conferring Vayoshrestha Samman every year since 2005, but it has been given the status of a national award only since 2013. The Awards are given to eminent citizens and  institutions  in  recognition  of  their  outstanding  services  to  the  elderly  people, especially indigent senior citizens.
  • International Day of Older Persons is observed on the 1st of October every year in accordance with a UNGA resolution.
  • This day is used to highlight the contributions of the elderly and also raise awareness about issues such as elderly abuse.
  • The theme this year was ‘Leaving No One Behind: Promoting a Society for All’. The Vayoshreshtha Samman Awards are given every year on the International Day of Older Persons

Home Ministry issues notification for lifetime validity of PIO Cards

  • The notification amends the rules of the PIO Card Scheme so that new recipients of PIO cards will receive cards that will be valid for the duration of their life, provided they are holders of valid passports. This lifetime validity will be applicable retrospectively to holders of PIO cards too if they possess a valid passport. Earlier, PIOs had cards which granted them a 15 year visa, which could then be extended for a term of 10 years at a time.
  • A PIO refers to any person without Indian  passport  and  not  a  citizen  of Pakistan,  Sri Lanka, China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh,  Nepal, Bhutan,  who falls under any of the following categories  Any person who has at any time held an Indian passport
  • Any person whose parent(s) or grandparent (s) or great grandparents (s) was born in India or was a permanent resident in India. However, such a person should not have been a citizen of any other specific country
  • Any person who is a spouse of a citizen of India or of a PIO who falls under any of the above two categories
  • This scheme was launched in 15th September 2002. The aim of this scheme was to ensure easier travel of PIOs to India.
  • Holders of PIO cards can avail of various benefits, the most important of which is travelling to India without a visa.

E-rickshaws recognized as special category three-wheeled vehicles

  • The Ministry of  Road Transport  &  Highway  has  issued  a  notification  amending  the  Motor Vehicles  Act,  allowing  e-rickshaws to ply in New Delhi.  Earlier,  a  Delhi  HC  judgment  had banned e-rickshaws due to safety concerns. But, the Centre has recognized e-rickshaws as a special category and has come out with guidelines for their usage. This decision  has  been taking  by  the  government  after  taking  into  consideration  the  loss  of  livelihood  caused  to many e-rickshaw drivers because of the ban.
  • What are e-rickshaws?: E-rickshaws or electric rickshaws are three wheeled vehicles that are operated with an electric motor.

Man Ki Baat’

PM Modi reached out to the common masses through a special speech titled ‘Man Ki Baat’ that was primarily aired on AIR (All India Radio), even though some television channels also aired it

Australia and Canada join US-led military action against ISIS

ISRO to launch M3M satellite of Canada

  • Canada’s M3M  (Maritime  Monitoring  and  Messaging  Micro-Satellite)  is set to be launched by India’s PSLV rocket. The agreement for the same was signed by India’s Antriux    and Canada’s COM DEV Intl. The satellite is due to be launched in July 2015. The satellite was built for the Canadian Department of National Defence, and is a communications satellite.
  • Initially, the satellite was to have been launched on a Soyuz rocket in Russia. However, in light of the international restrictions on trade with Russia due to the Crimea and Ukraine crisis, Canada decided not to go ahead with the arrangement.

Operation Kali

  • The paramilitary  CISF  which  has  the  responsibility  of  securing  the Delhi Metro  Network  has launched  ‘Operation  Kali’  to  better  protect  women  using  the  metro  especially  in  the  ladies compartments.  CISF  has  deployed  5,000 men  and  women  personnel  for  securing  the  Delhi Metro Network.
  • Under this Operation, CISF will deploy a special squad of undercover female commandos in the metros. These commandos have been trained to use the techniques of the martial arts form ‘Pekiti-Tirsia Kali’ to neutralize threats with the help of seemingly harmless objects that people carry everyday like pens or hairpins. They have also been trained to tackle multiple threats at a time. Other than this, some personnel in uniform will also be deployed.
  • Pekiti-Tirsia Kali- This is a style of martial arts that has its origin in Philippines. It was founded in 1897, and is a combat oriented system. It is a form  of  close  quarter  combat  where  the  focus  is  on  offensive  and  counter  offensive  strategies  instead  of  defensive moves. The style also involves using of a knife, machete or any edged or empty hand weapons. It has been adopted by elite Philippine military and law enforcement units.

Nobel Prize:

  • John O’Keefe  and  Norwegian  couple  May-Britt  and  Edvard  Moser  have  won  the 2014 Nobel Prize for medicine for their work which has led to discovering the brain’s internal positioning system.
  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced its decision to award the Nobel Prize for  Physics  to Isamu  Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura “for the invention of efficient blue lightemitting  diodes  which  has  enabled  bright  and  energy-saving  white  light sources
  • The Royal  Swedish  Academy  of  Sciences  has  announced  that  the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the year 2014 is being awarded  to  Eric  Betzig,  Stefan    Hell  and  William  E.  Moerner  “for  the  development  of  super-resolved  fluorescence microscopy”.
  • The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2014 has been awarded to the French author, Patrick odiano, “for  the  art  of  memory  with  which  he  has  evoked  the  most  ungraspable  human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation”.
  • The Nobel Prize for Economics was awarded to Jean Tirole “for his analysis of market power and regulation”.
  • The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for their “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children toeducation.” The Committee specifically pointed out how commendable it was for “a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism”.

Kailash Satyarthi

Satyarthi is the eighth Nobel laureate to have been born in India. He is an adherent of Gandhian philosophy.  He  has  upheld Mahatma  Gandhi’s  practice  of  engaging  and  conducting  peaceful  protests.  He  has focused  his  agitations  against  the  exploitation  of  children  for  financial  gain.  He  is  the  founder  of the Bachpan  Bachao  Andolan (Save  the  Childhood  Movement).  Through  his  NGO,  he  campaigns  for protection of child rights and to abolish illegal human trafficking.

Typhoon Phanfone

  • Typhoon Phanfone made landfall near the city of Hamamatsu in Japan. Many  parts  of  Japan  faced  torrential  rain,  with some areas receiving a month’s worth of rainfall in a matter of minutes

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to become first sitting President to appear at ICC

  • Kenyan President  Kenyatta  has  confirmed  his  appearance  at  The  Hague, Netherlands on October 8 to respond to multiple  charges  against  him  at  the  ICC  (International Criminal Court).
  • Kenyatta faces five charges of crimes against humanity, inciting violence and organizing ethnic massacres that killed 1,200 people. He has denied all the charges that have been brought against him.

Cyclone Hudhud

  • Hit the Odisha coast by October 12. It also hit the Andhra Pradesh coastline.
  • The name Hudhud has been given byOman, and it is derived from the name of an Afro-Eurasian bird.

Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS)

  • Government announces establishment of Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS) MANAS will  focus  on  providing  skills,  upgrading  abilities  and  training  members  of  minority communities in those sectors of the economy which are either facing a shortage or labour or where demand  for  labour  is  expected  to
  • MANAS will  also  train  people  so  that  they  may  be  The National Minorities Development and FinanceCorporation (NMDFC) will provide assistance with credit for persons who have undergone training at MANAS and wish to establish their own business or be self employed.
  • MANAS will also  collaborate  with  multiple  national  andinternational agencies  to  provide  certification  and  assistance  with placement for the trainees, and also to secure funding for the program.
  • A MoU was also signed by MANAS and the National Skill Development Corporation to establish an All India Collaborative Network for MANAS.

Government to revive Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change

  • The Council was established in 2007. It was responsible for framing the NAPCC in 2008.
  • The High Level Advisory group was given the role of co-coordinating action plans for assessment, adaptation and mitigation of climate change. It also advised the  government  on  multiple  climate  change  related  issues  and  facilitated  inter-ministerial  cooperation  and coordination in the arena of climate change.
  • The reconstituted Council is expected to review the implementation of the eight missions and undertake a comprehensive reassessment of the country’s climate change policy. Moreover, the composition of the Council is expected to be tweaked to accommodate more members from the industrial sector.

Internet.org

  • org is  a  global  partnership  between  leaders  in  the  field  of  technology,  NGOs,  local communities and experts who work together to bring internet connectivity to the two-thirds of world’s population that doesn’t have access to internet now.
  • Founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg,launch the global internet project, Internet.org in Delhi
  • Through Internet.org, Zuckerberg aims to make internet more accessible and affordable to all people around the world.
  • In the next five years, the project aims to provide internet connectivity to 5 billion people in the world.

Japan Plus’ management team

  • India has set up a ‘Japan Plus’ management team to follow through on the $35 bn that Japan has promised to invest in India over a span of five years via PPP and overseas development assistance.
  • This is a follow through on the agreements and initiatives agreed to by India and Japan during PM Modi’s visit to Japan.
  • The team will provide the Indian government assistance with respect to initiating, attracting, facilitating and  fast-tracking  of  Japanese investments in    The  team  will  be  responsible  for  all  areas of investment promotion,  research,  outreach  and  issues  post  investment.  It  will  also  help  identify  areas  for  Indo-Japan collaboration and viable projects for Japanese investment.
  • The team has been set up by DIPP (Department Of Industrial Policy and Promotion) and is operational from October 8. It consists of  government  officials  from  both    The  team  will  have  four  Indians  and  two  Japanese,  and  will  be coordinated by Kenichiro Toyofuku from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

World Bank Launches Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF)

  • The World Bank (WB) has launched the GIF to specifically cater to the infrastructure needs of the emerging  economies  and  developing    The  GIF  will  channel  money  towards bankable infrastructure project in such countries. GIF also places importance on sustainable development.
  • Its key  focus  will  be  on  climate  friendly  infrastructure  investments and projects that will boost trade.
  • Another areas where GIF could  provide  assistance  it  ensuring  that  all  regulatory,  environmental  and  social  safeguards  are  met  with  while investing in large scale infrastructure projects. GIF will also work with private entities like asset management companies, private equity firms, pensions and insurance funds and commercial banks to tap into multiple sources of funding.

International day

  • World Health Organisation every  year observes October 10 as the World Mental Health Day. The Day aims to make people sensitive to issues related to mental health and also become more aware of the mental health issues around the world.The theme for 2014 is “Living with schizophrenia”.
  • UN General Assembly on December 19, 2011 adopted a Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as  the International Day of the Girl Child. Ever since, the day has been dedicated to the welfare  of  the  girl  child    The theme  of  this  year  was  Empowering  Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence.

Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana

  • On the  birth  anniversary  of  Jayaprakash  Narayan,  PM  Modi  launched  the Sansad  Adarsh Gram  Yojana
  • The scheme is properly and religiously implemented will revolutionize the village economies and culture. It  encourages  MPs  or  Sansads  to  identify  and  develop  one  village  from  their respective  constituency  as  a model village by 2016 and two more by 2019. This will ensure development of 2500 villages.
  • MPs are required to pick one village with a population of 3000-4000 in plains and 1000-3000 in hills within a month of the launch.
  • MPs cannot pick villages which belong to themselves or their spouses.
  • The scheme requires them to draft a village development plan, motivate inhabitants to participate in growth via different activities, identify gaps in funding and mobilising MPLAD funds to create additional resources specifically from CSR initiatives of various corporate houses, in areas of sanitation and water supply.
  • The outcomes of the same should cover a wide spectrum of indicators like health, nutrition and education through organising and monitoring immunization drives, improving standard and quality of midday mealschemes, improving Aadhaar enrolment, setting up “smart schools” with IT-enabled classrooms and elibraries, Panchayat infrastructure improvement under schemes such as MGNREGA and Backward Regions Grants Fund etc.
  • Social development  and  harmony  should  be  encouraged  through  activities  like  identifying  and  celebrating  a village day, a village song and also laying stress on alternate modes of dispute resolution.
  • The implementation will  be  ensured  by  web-based  monitoring  and  an  initial  5-month  review  by  an  independent agency.  District  Collectors  will  carry  ground-level  surveys along  with  monthly  review  meetings  to  monitor  progress .
  • The Man Booker Prize 2014 for fiction was awarded to Australian author Richard Flanagan, for his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

India successfully launches IRNSS 1C

  • IRNSS 1C, the next satellite in India’s IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System) series, was launched successfully on October 16 by ISRO. IRNSS 1C was launched on a PSLV C26 from Sriharikota.
  • The satellite is similar to, and follows the IRNSS 1A and 1B which were launched in April 2013 and July 2014 respectively.
  • The rocket lifted off at 1.32 am. The satellite weighed 1, 425.4 kg and was successfully placed into a sub geosynchronous transfer orbit  just  20  minutes  after  the    This  was  the  7th time  that  ISRO  used  an  XL version of the PSLV rocket for its mission.
  • The life of the satellite is estimated at 10 years
  • IRNSS is  a  navigation  system  that  will  cover  India,  and  also  extend  1,500  kms  from  its boundaries. It will provide accurate position information to users in India and will also be used for terrestrial and marine navigation, disaster management, fleet management and for vehicle tracking. Basically it will provide two kinds of services, Standard Positioning Services, which is available  to  all  users,  and  an  encrypted  service  that  is  provided  only  to  authorized  users
  • The complete IRNSS system will include three satellites in geostationary orbit and four satellites in geosynchronous orbit at an altitude of 36,000 km above the Earth. The deployment of all the satellites was expected to be completed by 2015 at a cost of Rs. 1,420 cr.
  • IRNSS is  similar  to  other  satellite  navigation  service  providers  like  USA’s  GPS  (Global  Positioning  System), Russia’s Glonass, Europe’s Galileo, Japan’s Quasi Zenith and China’s Beidou.

First meeting of bilateral border mechanism between India-China held

  • The first meeting of the talks on the bilateral border under the framework of the Border Affairs Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (BAWMCC) was held on October 16.
  • The focus of the talks was on issues of mutual interest like border patrolling and managemet
  • The BAWMCC  was  created  in  2012,  as  a  forum  to  address  issues  arising  out  of  aggressive patrolling  along  the  contentious    The  BAWMCC  is  co-chaired  by  the  Joint  Secretary (China Division) in the Ministry of External Affairs and his/her Chinese counterpart.

HRD ministry to introduce Tithi Bhojan in Schools in Mid Day Meal scheme

  • The Human  Resource  Development  (HRD)  Minister  has  announced  its  decision  to  introduce the practice of ‘Tithi Bhojan’ as a part of the Mid Day Meal scheme.
  • Tithi Bhojan was first successfully implemented in Gujarat, and will now be replicated across the country
  • It seeks  to  involve  the  members  of  the  community  in  the  effort  to  provide  nutritious  and  healthy  food  to  the children
  • The members  of  the  community  may  contribute/sponsor  either  utensils  or  food  on  special  occasions/festivals.
  • This is completely voluntary, and the people in the community may contribute food items supplementary to the mid day already being provided like sweet, namkeen or sprouts.
  • Greater participation and involvement of religious and charitable institutions is also being promoted

Nuclear capable Cruise Missile Nirbhay tested successfully

  • India successfully tested Nirbhay,  India’s  first  indigenously  designed  and  developed  long range  sub-sonic  cruise    The  missile  was  fired  from  the  Integrated  Test  Range  at Balasore, Odisha. Nirbhay maintained an accuracy better than 10 m throughout its path and covered a distance of more than 1000 km.
  • Nirbhay is  made  wholly  of  parts  indigenously  developed  in
  • It is  powered  by  a  solid rocket motor booster developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) and the launch was from a mobile launcher specifically designed for Nirbhay by the Vehicles R&D Establishment  (VRDE)

Arvind Subramanian appointed new Chief Economic Advisor of India

The India-LAC  (Latin  America  and  Carribean)investment conclave was held under the auspices of FICCI (Federation  of Indian Chambers of Commerce andIndustry) and Ministry of Commerce and Industry on October 16 and 17

SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation finalized

This agreement has been pending since 2010 and is an important step in developing a SAARC Market  for  Electricity  (SAME)  on  a  regional  basis

Government launches National Air Quality Index (NAQI)

  • The Central  government  has  launched  a National Air  Quality  Index  to  provide  an  easy,  understandable  measure  of  air quality. For the next 45 days, the draft National Air Quality Index will be made available to stakeholders and register their comments.
  • If the suggestions are accepted, changes will be made, and the Index will be formalized later this year, and made active by 2015.
  • The NAQI was prepared by an expert group, set up the Ministry of Environment and Forests, comprising of renowned medical practitioners  from  hospitals  and  research    The  index  is  a  part  of  the  government’s  Swachh  Bharat Abhiyan.
  • The index will measure eight major pollutants, namely, particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5), nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide,  ozone,  carbon  monoxide,  ammonia  and lead
  • Currently,  only  particulate  matter,  nitrogen  dioxide  and sulphur dioxide are being measured.
  • The index will be based on real time monitoring, and the health risks will be easily identified through a colour coded system. The risks will be signified through six levels – good, satisfactory, moderately polluted, poor, very poor, and severe. Air quality is qualified as good if the level of air pollution if at least 50% below the permissible limits set by the Pollution Control authorities. The index will be extended to 46 cities having a population of more than one mn, and 20 state capitals over the next five years
  • The NAQI allows for easy dissemination of information pertaining to air quality and risks associated with it. The simplicity of the NAQI also makes it accessible to the common man. The use of the colour coded system makes is easier for people to comprehend instantly.
  • 246 cities in India monitor their air quality in some for, however, only 16 cities have real time monitoring. Eventually , the index will be expanded to cover cities with a population of more than half a million. The real time information will help the authorities deal immediately and effectively to counter the impacts of the air pollution.

Government formalizes the price formula for natural gas

  • The Central  Government  has  finalized  a  new  pricing  mechanism  for  natural    The  new gas pricing formula is believed to be much lesser than the formula suggested by the Rangarajan Committee.
  • As per the new formula, domestic gas price will now increase from $4.2 per mmBtu (million British thermal unit) to $5.61 per mmBtu. The Rangarajan Committee has recommended revision of prices to $8.4 per mmBtu.
  • This price will, however be revised every six months.
  • This new gas pricing formula will be effective from the 1st of November

Hurricane Gonzalo

Hurricane Gonzalo made landfall on October 17 in Bermuda, with rain and winds of speed 175 km/h.

The Direct Benefits Transfer

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the relaunch of the Direct Benefits Transfer scheme with some modifications.
  • Some of the salient points pertaining to the new scheme are:-· Scheme is to launched in 54 districts from November 15, 2014 and in the rest of the country from January 1, 2015
  • It will be implemented in mission mode between 10 November and 1 January 2015
  • The subsidy amount to be given per domestic subsidized LPG cylinder shall remain fixed
  • Future beneficiaries can receive the cash subsidies by linking theirAadhaar number with the LPG connection, and have their bank account as the primary option.
  • Alternatively, they can also directly link their LPG connection with their bank account, and may or may not include Aadhaar as the secondary option. In any scenario, possession of an Aadhaar number will not be a requirement, which is in conformity with a SC verdict which said that Aadhaar card cannot be made mandatory because it has no legal backing· Persons who have opened accounts under the newly introduced Jan Dhan Yojana can also link their LPG connection to such an account.

Rashtriya Ekta Diwas

  • Birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, 31 October to be celebrated as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas
  • The government will attempt to create awareness among the people about Sardar Patel’s contribution towards India’s freedom  struggle  and  ensuring  national  integration  in    Sardar  Patel  played  a pivotal role in the merger of princely states with British ruled India to form a sovereign united country called India
  • The government will try to make RED a mass movement, reaching people from all avenues of life. The participation of the people shall be voluntary
  • The government will try to make RED a mass movement, reaching people from all avenues of life. The participation of the people shall be voluntary.

Swachh Bharat Kosh (SBK)

SBK was set up to attract CSR funds from the corporate sector and contributions from individuals and philanthropists. The funds accumulated in the SBK will be utilized to  achieve the objective of Clean India or Swachh Bharat by 2019 through Swachh Bharat Mission.

Clean Ganga Fund (CGF)

The  CGF  was  constituted  to  fund  activities  to  clean  and  conserve  the  river,  Ganga.  The  CGF  also  accepts  voluntary contributions from NRIs and PIOs towards the CGF

The CGF will be managed by a Trust to be headed by the finance minister. The Secretariat of the Trust will be set up in the Ministry of Water Resources.

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

  • AIIB is an international financial institution that was proposed by China. It is expected to act as a balance of power with the WB, IMF and ADB all being controlled/dominated by the US, EU and Japan respectively.
  • The Headquarters of the AIIB will be at Beijing, and the bank is expected to be operational in 2015.
  • According to the agreement, the authorised capital of AIIB is US $100 bn and the initial subscribed capital is expected to be around US $50 bn. The paid-in ratio will be 20%.
  • The 21 members of the AIIB are China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the  Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait,  Laos,  Myanmar,  Mongolia, Nepal,  Oman, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

Cyclone Nilofar

  • A deep depression that has formed over the Arabian Sea is expected to turn into a tropical cyclone Nilofar. Nilofar has the potential to strengthen to the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane before its Arabian Peninsula landfall.
  • In India, the North Gujarat coast is expected to bear the brunt of Nilofar. It is expected to land in Gujarat on October 31 with a wind speed of over 120 kmph
  • Other than  India,  Nilofar is  also  expected  to  hit  eastern Yemen or
  • It is also expected to bring potentially heavy rainfall to parts ofPakistan, especially Karach

About Naming of cyclones

  • In the West, hurricanes and tropical cyclones have been given their own names since 1953. This was done in accordance with a  convention  by  Miami’s National Hurricane  Centre  and  is  maintained  and  updated  by  the  World  Meteorological Organization (WMO). WMO is an agent of the UN and based out of Geneva.
  • However, South Asia and the Middle East did not adhere to this practice of naming storms till much later. In an effort to name the cyclones without offending any of the countries in the region, all the countries came together in 2004 to evolve a mechanism  to  name  the  tropical    According  to  the  agreed  upon  system,  India,  Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka and Thailand meet every year and each country submits its list of names.  Each  country  gets  a  turn  to  name  the  storm  in  alphabetical  order.  Till  now,  the  countries  have  decided  on  64 names. Hudhud was a suggestion of Oman, while Nilofar was Pakistan’s suggestion.

SpaceX Dragon spacecraft

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft has concluded its mission to the ISS (InternationalSpace Station) and returned to Earth. The spacecraft was launched in September in SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle. This was Dragon’s fifth visit to the ISS.

SpaceX

  • Space Exploration  Technologies  Corporation,  orSpaceX,  is  a space  transport services  company  that  is  headquartered in Hawthorne, California, USA
  • It was founded in 2002 by formerPayPal entrepreneur and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.
  • The goal behind the setting up of SpaceX was to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars
  • SpaceX has developed two reusable launch vehicles: the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9, apart from a spacecraft  called Dragon
  • SpaceX is a holder of the following records:-· It was responsible for the first privately funded, liquid-fueled rocket to reach orbit
  • It is the first privately funded company to successfully launch orbit and recover a spacecraft
  • It is the first private company to send a spacecraft to the ISS
  • Is the first private company to send a satellite intogeosynchronous orbi

Operation Herrick

Operation  Herrick is  the  codename  that  was given  to  all  British  operations  in  Afghanistan  since  it  committed  forces  in 2002. It comprises of UK’s role in the NATO led ISAF (International Security  Assistance  Force)  and  USA’s  Operation Enduring Freedom.

Camp Bastion

Camp Bastion formed the epicenter of UK’s operations in Afghanistan, even though it controlled another 136 small bases in the Helmand province of southern Afghanistan. The British had also built a 11,500 ft runway at Camp Bastion making it easy for the larger transport planes to fly in. The scale of operations there had increased to such an extent that Bastion became the third busiest British airport after Heathrow and Gatwick.

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

  • To uplift rural India.
  • This programme will be launched in collaboration with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) across the country.
  • The main idea for launching the programme is to provide definitive research that can be aligned with national development.
  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is an initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. It will be coordinated and steered by IIT Delhi.
  • The programme, with the help of IITs, NITs  and other leading technical institutions will prepare a roadmap for holistic rural development.
  • It will involve engaging with communities around each institute and for their upliftment.
  • Each IIT will identify 10 villages in its neighbourhood and work out technologies to solve the most pressing issues of the region.
  • Different teams  from  these  institutes  will  visit  the  villages,  identify  problems  and  then  aim  to  find  financiallyviable schemes.
  • Once the solution is identified then they will involve the industry in this to solve the problem.
  • Along with  the  HRD  ministry  and  the  institutes,  some  other  ministries  such  as  rural  development  and  NGOs working in villages are also likely to be involved in the programme.
  • Some of the problems that the institutes will be looking at are, supply of potable water, sanitation, energy and low cost housing.