Daily Current Affairs - 20th Nov 2018

#MeToo: SC rejects pleas for action

  • The Supreme Court of India declined to entertain two petitions seeking to take cognizance of statements of sexual harassment made during the #MeToo campaign and prosecution of the accused. A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph said that if there was any cognizable offence, there was a procedure to be followed under the law.

Ajaz spins New Zealand to an incredible test win

  • New Zealand debutant spinner Ajaz Patel took five wickets to claim a thrilling four-run win over Pakistan in the first Test.
  • With Pakistan chasing a modest target of 176, the New Zealand bowlers, led by Ajaz (five for 59), fast bowler Neil Wagner (two for 27) and fellow spinner Ish Sodhi (two for 37), bowled the opponent for 171 on a fourth day.
  • It is the fifth smallest win in terms of runs in Test cricket’s history and gives New Zealand a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Army selects Russian Igla-S missile

  • India has picked Russia’s Igla-S missile system as the choice for the Army’s multibillion dollar contract for man-portable air defence systems, The Igla-S bid from Rosoboronexport of Russia has been declared the L1 in the Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) deal.
  • The other bidders were MBDA of France and SAAB of Sweden.

British PM wins business support for draft Brexit deal

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May has won support from big business for her draft Brexit deal ahead of intense negotiations in Brussels in the coming week. May told the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the UK's main business lobby group, that she was determined to deliver her Brexit deal as she prepares for the European Council summit to sign Britain's divorce papers with the EU.
  • She now faces an uphill challenge to pass her deal through a sceptical parliament.
  • Addressing the issue of immigration, a concern for many businesses who fear they will face skills gaps after Brexit, Ms May promised to introduce more streamlined application processes that will attract the brightest and the best from around the world.
  • EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier

Cambodian won't allow any foreign military base: PM

  • Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed never to allow foreign military bases in his country.
  • He said the country's Constitution does not permit foreign troops in Cambodia.
  • His remarks come in the wake of a news report that China is pushing for a naval base in southern Cambodia that would potentially provide Beijing with easier access to the South China Sea.
  • Cambodia
  • Prime Minister: Hun Sen
  • Capital: Phnom Penh
  • Currency: Cambodian riel

CIC asks RGI to change data collection norms

  • The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Registrar General of India (RGI) to change its practices of data collection, especially with regard to births and deaths. Information Commissioner Yashovardhan Azad issued the directives to make changes in the software and practices of the RGI.
  • Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India: Sailesh

GROWTH-India telescope’s first science observation

  • The 0.7 m GROWTH-India telescope at the Indian Astronomical Observatory located in Hanle, Ladakh, has made its first science observation which is a follow-up study of a nova explosion. This recurrent nova, named M31N-2008, has been observed to erupt several times, the most recent eruption happening in November 2018.
  • The GROWTH-India telescope was commissioned six months ago soon after which it saw first light, on the night of June 12.
  • Novae are explosive events involving violent eruptions on the surface of white dwarf stars, leading to temporary increase in brightness of the star.

Industrial park rating system to boost industry competitiveness, manufacturing

  • Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has stated that development of industrial park rating system would help increase competitiveness of industries and promotion of the manufacturing sector.
  • The system is being developed by the ministry to assess industrial parks in the country based on four pillars -- internal and external infrastructure, connectivity, environment and safety management, and business support services.
  • Under the system, the ministry would assess 200 such parks on several parameters such as sewage effluent and treatment; and water treatment.
  • There are over 3,000 industrial parks in the country in sectors including engineering, software, food processing and chemicals.

Jalaj Srivastava is IWAI chairman

  • Jalaj Srivastava, a 1984 batch IAS officer, has been appointed the chairman of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI). Srivastava, presently working as Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, is expected to take charge of his new responsibility.
  • Earlier he had also served as chairman of New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and Principal Secretary, Department of VAT, Delhi government.
  • The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) comes under the Union Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, currently headed by Nitin Gadkari.

Lexi Thompson wins LPGA season finale

  • Lexi Thompson shot a final-round 70 to finish at 18-under 270 and win the LPGA's season-ending CME Group Tour Championship by four strokes over Nelly Korda. The win makes this the sixth consecutive year that Thompson has won at least once, extending the longest such active streak on the LPGA Tour.

Literacy levels in rural India suffer from migration of families

  • The UNESCO global education monitoring report 2019 has observed that the literacy levels in rural households of India dip with seasonal migration. The report says that the construction sector absorbs the majority of short-term migrants.
  • About 28% of youth aged 15 to 19 in these households were illiterate or had not completed primary school.
  • An estimated 9 million migrated between States annually from 2011 to 2016.
  • About 80% of seasonal migrant children in seven major cities lacked access to education near work sites, and 40% are likely to end up in work rather than education, experiencing abuse and exploitation.

Make elephant corridors eco-sensitive zones: NGT

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to consider declaring all elephant corridors in India as eco-sensitive zones.
  • The issue of elephant corridors has been raised by different applicants and various judgments have also been passed by the Tribunal.
  • The NGT was hearing a plea moved by Assam resident on the increasing number of unnatural elephant deaths taking place in the State.
  • NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel

Maldives cabinet approves to rejoin Commonwealth, 2 years after withdrawing from 53-nation grouping

  • The Maldives cabinet has approved to rejoin the Commonwealth, two years after withdrawing from the 53-nation grouping. New President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih made the announcement stating that the proposal will be sent to Parliament for ratification. The new government under Mr Solih has begun to reset several decisions and policies of the previous administration.
  • Maldives left the Commonwealth during former President Abdulla Yameen's administration in October 2016, amid mounting pressure over corruption and deteriorating human rights.
  • Maldives:
  • President: Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
  • Capital: Male
  • Currency: Maldivian rufiyaa

Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn arrested over financial misconduct

  • Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn has been arrested in Tokyo over claims of financial misconduct. The company's Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa has stated that Ghosn will be sacked from the Japanese firm after a board meeting.
  • Ghosn has been accused of significant acts of misconduct, including under-reporting his pay package and personal use of company assets.

NSE launches online platform for retail investors to buy G-sec

  • National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) has launched a mobile application and web-based platform for retail investors to buy government securities. The new app has been named as NSE goBID. The platform will allow retail investors to invest in treasury bills (T-Bills) of 91 days, 182 days and 364 days and various government bonds from one year to almost 40 years.
  • The app will be available to all the registered investors with NSE's trading members and will also facilitate members to acquire new retail investors. It will allow investors to make payments directly from their bank accounts using the unified payments interface (UPI) and internet banking.
  • RBI conducts auction of G-sec and T-bills on a weekly basis where 5 per cent of the notified amount is allotted for eligible investors under the scheme for non-competitive bidding facility.

PMAY subsidy: HDFC disburses Rs 1,100 crore to 51,000 home buyers

  • Housing finance firm HDFC has so far disbursed over Rs 1,100 crore subsidy to over 51,000 customers under the government’s flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). HDFC has provided loans of over Rs 9,800 crore under PMAY-Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS), to customers belonging to EWS (Economically Weaker Section), LIG (Low Income Group) and Middle Income Group (MIG) category.
  • HDFC has been approving 8,300 loans on a monthly basis to the EWS and LIG segment, with monthly such average approvals at approximately Rs 1,354 crore. The average home loan to the EWS and LIG segment stood at Rs 10.1 lakh and Rs 17.6 lakh respectively.
  • Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) was introduced in June 2015 under PMAY for home loans to customers from the EWS, LIG and was extended to Middle Income Group (MIG) from January 2017.

SC to direct States on draft witness protection scheme

  • The Supreme Court of India has stated that it would direct all the States to implement the draft witness protection scheme framed by the Centre in consultation with the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). The draft scheme, which has now been finalised, would be made into a law in due course.
  • The scheme has three categories of witnesses based on the threat perception.
  • Attorney-General of India: K.K. Venugopal

Shubhankar is ‘rookie of the year’

  • Shubhankar Sharma has became the first Indian to win the tour’s Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award. Shubhankar achieved this feat soon after finishing tied 41st at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship event in Dubai.
  • He claimed 28th place on the Race to Dubai rankings, because of his two wins and three other top-10 finishes his total points for the season stood at an impressive 1,431,741.

SVL launches funds focused on SMEs, affordable housing

  • SBICAP Ventures Ltd (SVL) hasannounced the launch of two funds that will focus on affordable housing and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It also plans to raise Rs.400 crore for the SME fund and Rs.350 crore for the affordable housing fund. The housing fund will initially focus on the country’s top eight cities, which are among India’s most active real estate markets.
  • The SME sector is expected to grow rapidly over the next few years, and, as per International Finance Corp., is estimated to account for over 40% of India’s GDP by 202
  • SVL, the alternative asset management arm of State Bank of India’s subsidiary SBI Capital Markets Ltd.
  • Managing director and chief executive at SBI Capital Markets: Varsha Purandare

Talks on with 150 nations to reform WTO: Prabhu

  • Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said that he was in talks with at least 150 countries to work out the way forward for reforming the World Trade Organisation (WTO). He stated that the multilateral trading system was under stress and a number of fresh trade-restrictive measures, which would affect global trade and economic growth, had surged.

World Toilet Day is observed on November 19

  • World Toilet Day is observed on November 19 every year. This year’s campaign is based on the following theme “When nature calls”. The toilet crisis is most severe in parts of Africa and Asia facing extreme poverty and seeing a population boom.
  • The new report by WaterAid cites an estimated 344 million children in sub-Saharan Africa who lack a toilet at home, leaving them vulnerable to diarrhea and other water-borne infections.
  • Among the development goals set by the U.N. in 2015 is a target to ensure everyone has access to a safe toilet by 2030.

Yes Bank board may be revamped

  • The board of private sector lender Yes Bank is set to be revamped with the nomination and remuneration committee reviewing the performance of all the members. The clean-up exercise of the board started after both the promoters of Yes Bank Rana Kapoor and Madhu Kapoor have agreed on the need for overhauling the board to weed out under-performing members and address past governance issues.