Daily Current Affairs - 30th Nov 2018

#MeToo: GoM may review law

  • The Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted to examine sexual harassment at the workplace may consider amending the law to ensure workplace safety. The GoM headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to meet soon. The GoM includes Minister for Road Transport and Shipping Nitin Gadkari, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi.
  • The guiding principles for making the amendments would be based on the Vishaka guidelines.
  • Vishaka guidelines
  • The Vishaka Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in 1997 lays the onus on the employer to prevent or deter acts of sexual harassment, apart from “providing resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts of sexual harassment.”
  • The Act lays down the duties of an employer: ensuring a safe working place, displaying penal consequences of sexual harassment, creating awareness, as well as facilitating an internal probe.

3,000 BSNL customer centres to offer Aadhaar services

  • Government-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited will soon offer Aadhaar enrolment and updation facilities in its 3,000 customer service centres across India, at an estimated cost of about Rs. 90 crore. The set up will take about three months, and the capital expenditure will be supported by Unique Identification Authority of India(UIDAI).
  • Chairman of BSNL: Anupam Shrivastava
  • Chairman of UIDAI: J. Satyanarayana
  • CEO of UIDAI: Ajay Bhushan Pandey

8 more States achieve 100% household electrification under Saubhagya scheme

  • Eight more States have achieved hundred per cent household electrification under Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – Saubhagya. The states are Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Sikkim, Telangana and West Bengal. With this, total 15 States in the country have 100 per cent household electrification.
  • This scheme was launched in September last year with the objective to provide access to electricity to all the remaining households in the country.
  • Power Minister R K Singh

A.M. Naik appointed as Chairman of National Skill Development Corporation

  • A.M. Naik has been appointed as Chairman of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. Currently Naik is the Group Chairman of India's biggest engineering and construction conglomerate – Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T).
  • Naik was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's 3rd highest civilian award in 2009 for his outstanding contribution to the economic growth of the country.
  • National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is a unique public-private-partnership, working under the aegis of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship. NSDC aims to promote skill development by catalyzing creation of large, quality and for-profit vocational institutions.

Arvind Saxena appointed Chairman, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

  • Arvind Saxena has been appointed as Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The term of his appointment will be till 07. 08.2020 when he attains the age of 65 years or till further orders whichever is earlier.
  • Arvind Saxena joined UPSC as a Member on May 8, 2015, and has been performing duties of the post of Chairman, UPSC since June 20, 2018. Prior to joining UPSC as Member, Shri Saxena was working as Director of the Aviation Research Centre (ARC).

Centre launches Bhasha Sangam to introduce school students to 22 Indian languages

  • The Union government has launched a unique initiative called Bhasha Sangam to introduce school students to 22 Indian languages. The initiative, under Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat, was launched on 22nd of this month and will continue till the 21st of December.
  • Bhasha Sangam is a programme for schools and educational institutions to provide multilingual exposure to students in Indian languages. There are 22 languages listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution
  • Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar

Congo's Ebola outbreak now second-largest in history: WHO

  • The World Health Organization, WHO, has said that Congo's deadly Ebola outbreak is now the second largest in history, behind the devastating West Africa outbreak that killed thousands a few years ago.
  • Congo's health ministry announced the number of Ebola cases has reached 426 that includes 379 confirmed cases and 47 probable ones.
  • The WHO has predicted that the outbreak in this month in northeastern Congo will last at least another six months before it can be contained.
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • President: Joseph Kabila
  • Capital: Kinshasa
  • Currencies: Congolese franc, Zairean zaire

Government Okays Compensation Formula for Johnson and Johnson Faulty Hip Implant Patients

  • The Centre has approved a formula for determining compensation for those who had received faulty Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) hip implants manufactured by DePuy Johnson and Johnson Pvt Ltd.
  • According to a statement issued by the ministry, patients who had received faulty hip implants prior to August, 2010 will be eligible for the compensation.
  • The compensation payable to patients will be determined in terms of the disability induced by the faulty hip implants in relation to their age.
  • The amount payable ranges from a minimum of Rs. 30 lakh for those above 65 years with a 20% disability to a maximum of Rs. 122 lakh for those between 20 and 35 years with over 60% disability.

Govt. to move nearly half of Air India’s Rs. 55,000-cr. debt to SPV

  • The union government has decided to transfer more than half of Air India’s nearly Rs. 55,000-crore debt into a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to help the airline cut expenditure on servicing the huge loan.
  • More than Rs. 29,000 crore will be moved from Air India into an SPV, which will also house the non-core assets such as the ground-handling arm and land. Once the partial debt is transferred, the airline would be left with Rs. 26,000 crore of debt from loans for aircraft.
  • Liquidation of these assets will enable Air India to pay off the debt and reduce an expenditure item because of the interests it pays on its loans. The airline pays nearly Rs. 4,500 crore per annum as interest on its total debt.
  • The debt of Rs. 55,000 crore is due to working capital loan and loans for aircraft.

He Jiankui defends 'world's first gene-edited babies'

  • A Chinese scientist by name He Jiankui, who claims to have created the world's first genetically edited babies has defended his work. Speaking at a genome summit in Hong Kong, He Jiankui said he was proud of altering the genes of twin girls so they could not contract HIV.
  • Many scientists have condemned his announcement. Such gene-editing work is banned in most countries, including China.
  • Prof He announced earlier this week that he had altered the DNA of embryos - twin girls - to prevent them from contracting HIV.

ISRO successfully launches earth observation satellite HysIS

  • ISRO has successfully launched its sophisticated earth observation satellite Hyper Spectral Imaging Satellite(HysIS) onboard its workhorse rocket PSLV-C43 from Sriharikota. The rocket also put thirty other micro and nano-satellites of customers from eight nations in a different orbit, as part of the same mission.
  • While 23 satellites are from the US, the rest are from Australia, Canada, Columbia, Finland, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Spain.
  • In the process, India has crossed the milestone of lifting and putting into orbit over 250 foreign satellites. India has till date has put into orbit 269 foreign satellites
  • The primary goal of HysIS is to study the earth's surface in visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. HysIS will assist in a wide range of applications in agriculture, forestry, geological environments, coastal zones, among others.
  • The notable aspect of the rocket mission is the placing of the satellites in two different orbits -- one at a higher altitude and the others in a lower one.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Sivan

Jaitley moots new federal bodies

  • Union Finance Minster Arun Jaitley stated that Indian healthcare and agriculture sectors need a federal institution similar to the GST Council to coordinate State and Central policies and schemes. He stated that the GST Council, which comprised the Union and State Finance Ministers, was a successful experiment in practical federalism.
  • Laying out the case for a federal structure in the case of healthcare, Mr. Jaitley pointed out that both the Centre and the States spent resources, ran schemes, and established hospitals and other institutions.

Listed airlines need Rs. 35,000 cr. capital in four years: ICRA

  • According to rating agency ICRA, India's domestic airlines will need capital infusion to the tune of Rs. 35,000 crore in the next 3-4 years to stay afloat.
  • Three listed airline Jet Airways (India), SpiceJet and Interglobe Aviation Ltd. (IndiGo) are suffering a combined loss of Rs. 20 crore per day in the first half of this fiscal as revenue enhancement and cost reduction measures seem to have little impact on their finances. The three listed airlines having reported a combined net loss of Rs. 3,640 crore in H1 FY2019.
  • The twin blows of significant increase in aviation turbine fuel prices and the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar has been compounded with the industry’s inability to raise fares to recover the costs.
  • Air Carnival, Air Costa, Air Pegasus, Zoom Air have suspended operations in the past two years due to financial stress.

Maharahtra Assembly approves 16% quota for Marathas

  • The Maharashtra Assembly has unanimously passed a Bill proposing 16% reservation for Marathas in government jobs and education. With this, 85% of the State’s population will be entitled to constitutional benefits under Article 15(4), 16 (4) of the Constitution.
  • The approval of the Bill will also see the reservation limit go up from the current 52% to 68%, thus crossing the 50% ceiling set by Supreme Court.
  • Chief Minister of Maharashtra: Devendra Fadnavis

Maldives Parliament passes motion to repeal age limit of presidential candidacy

  • Maldives Parliament has passed a motion with the required three-fourths majority to repeal the age limit of the presidential candidacy. The motion which proposed to repeal the constitutional amendment banning those above 65 years of age from contesting the presidential elections, was passed 72 members voting in its favour in 85-member Majlis.
  • It states that only those aged 35 and above will be allowed to contest for Presidency.
  • Maldives:
  • President: Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
  • Capital: Male
  • Currency: Maldivian rufiyaa

Men’s Hockey World Cup: Argentina beat Spain 4-3 while New Zealand defeat France 2-1

  • New Zealand beat France 2-1 in a Pool-A match at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar in the Men’s Hockey World Cup. Earlier, in another Pool-A match, Olympic gold medalist Argentina defeated Spain 4-3. Hosts India will next face Belgium on Sunday.

NITI Aayog organises dialogue on health system for New India

  • NITI Aayog will begin a series of Development Dialogues to engage experts, thought leaders and government stakeholders across key avenues of long-term social and economic development. The first event will be a conference on "Health Systems for A New India: Building Blocks"
  • The conference will feature senior government functionaries and eminent national and international experts in the healthcare space.
  • The discussions will include topics related to achieving standardized delivery of health across all levels of care in India’s mixed healthcare system and leveraging IT for healthcare. 

Non-food bank credit grows at 15.6%

  • According to data from the RBI, the non-food credit grew by 15.12 per cent to Rs 90.51 lakh crore, while the total non-SLR investments rose 22.26 per cent to Rs 6.81 lakh crore as against Rs 5.57 lakh crore.
  • Adjusted non-food bank credit includes non-food bank credit and total non-statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) investments of banks in commercial papers, shares and bonds/debentures.
  • While the total credit growth from banks to the commercial sector grew at 15.6 per cent year-on-year at Rs 97.32 lakh crore in the fortnight ended November 9, 2018

PM Modi to address 1st session of G-20 summit

  • The 13th G-20 summit has begun in Buenos Aires, Argentina on with focus on building consensus on a fair and sustainable development in the field of agriculture. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the 1st session of the summit based on the theme - 'Putting People First'.
  • Issues pertaining to risks posed by oil price volatility, flagship programmes including Skill India, MUDRA Yojna, Digital India and GST among others will be on the focus. Issues like the global economy, sustainable development will be discussed in the summit.
  • Prime Minister is also scheduled to hold meetings with several world leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

RBI moves to ease liquidity for non-banking finance firms

  • In a move to make more liquidity available to non-banking finance firms, the Reserve Bank of India has relaxed the securitisation norms by relaxing the minimum holding period requirement from the current one year to six months.
  • With this reduction, originating NBFCs, are now allowed to securitise loans with maturity of more than five years after holding them for six months on their books.
  • The relaxation on the minimum holding period will be allowed when the NBFC retains 20% of the book value of these loans.
  • The move follows a demand from the government for a special window for NBFCs, to provide them liquidity support.
  • The NBFC sector is facing liquidity shortage after Infrastructure Leasing & Finance Services, a core investment company, started defaulting on loans. The cost of funds has gone up for the non-banking finance firms putting pressure on profitability.

SC strikes down age bar for NEET

  • The Supreme Court of India has allowed candidates aged 25 years and above to apply and appear in the NEET-UG 2019 examination. The court directed the National Testing Agency (NTA), set up to conduct the NEET exams, to keep its portal open for a week to enable candidates to apply for the exam.

Slovenia becomes only NATO state with female army chief

  • Slovenia's government has appointed a female officer Major General Alenka Ermenc as the head of armed forces, thereby becoming the only woman to currently hold the top armed forces post among the NATO countries. She will formally take up her post as the Chief of the General Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces.
  • Slovenia
  • President: Borut Pahor
  • Prime Minister: Marjan Sarec
  • Capital: Ljubljana
  • Currency: Euro

Wipro Chairman Azim Premji Conferred With Highest French Civilian Honour

  • Wipro Chairman and philanthropist Azim Premji was bestowed with the highest French civilian distinction Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour). The award was bestowed on Azim Premji for his outstanding contribution to developing the information technology industry in India, his economic outreach in France, and his laudable contribution to society as a philanthropist through the Azim Premji Foundation and Azim Premji University.
  • The Legion d'Honneur (Legion of Honour), instituted in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, is the highest civilian award given by the French Republic for outstanding service to France, regardless of the nationality of the recipients.