Daily Current Affairs - 02nd Nov 2019

5 lakh govt vehicles to be converted into e-vehicles to make them eco-friendly: Prakash Javadekar

  • Minister for Environment and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar has said that all the 5 lakh government vehicles on conventional fuel will be converted into e-vehicle in a phased manner. He said, besides their cost-effectiveness, these e-vehicle are eco-friendly and save consumption of petrol and diesel.

Australia completes a sweep

  • Australia beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to complete a lopsided three-match Twenty20 series victory. Sri Lanka, sent into bat, scored 142 for six before Australia overtook that total with 14 balls to spare.

Bopanna-Shapovalov advanced to quarterfinals of Paris Master

  • India's top doubles tennis player Rohan Bopanna has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Paris Master with partner Denis Shapovalov. Bopanna and his Canadian partner outplayed American-Argentine pair of Manuel Gonzalez and Austin Krajicek 6-1 6-3 in their second-round match which lasted just 59 minute

Burning of stubble down 40%, SC told

  • The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has informed the Supreme Court that incidents of stubble burning in the three States neighbouring Delhi and the National Capital Region have come down by 41% since 2016.
  • The Centre claimed that stubble burning has seen a reduction of 11%, 29.5% and 24.5% in 2018 in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, respectively, when compared to 2017.
  • The Union Ministry said after the 2018 Budget, special central schemes, having a total outlay of Rs. 1151.8 crore, have been rolled out to tackle air pollution and for in-situ management of crop residue and promotion of agriculture mechanisation.
  • The affidavit said 33,075 pieces of crop residue control machinery have been distributed to Punjab, 11,941 to Haryana and 18,706 to Uttar Pradesh.
  • Incentive schemes to achieve zero stubble burning have been introduced at the pradhan, gram panchayat and village levels.

Chinese and US trade negotiators reach consensus on principle, says China's commerce ministry

  • China's commerce ministry has said that top Chinese and US trade negotiators have reached consensus on principle. The statement said that they have conducted serious constructive discussions on properly addressing their core concerns and reached consensus on principles.
  • China and the US have exchanged blows for over a year with tariffs now impacting hundreds of billions of dollars in two-way trade.

Coal India to produce 750 million tonnes of coal next financial year: Pralhad Joshi

  • Union minister for Mines and Coal Pralhad Joshi has said that state-owned Coal India will produce 750 million tonnes of coal in the next financial year and will offer around 10,000 new jobs to boost employment.
  • The PSU is currently given the target of producing 660 million tonnes of coal amounting to 82 per cent of the country's coal output.

Electoral bonds worth Rs. 232 cr. were sold in October, says ADR

  • Electoral bonds worth Rs. 232 crore were sold in October, taking the total number of bonds sold from March 2018 till October 2019 to 12,313 and the total value to Rs. 6,128 crore, according to data shared by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
  • After the Lok Sabha election in May, bonds worth Rs. 45 crore and Rs. 232 crore were sold in July and October, respectively.
  • In the run-up to the Lok Sabha election, bonds worth Rs. 822 crore, Rs. 2,256 crore and Rs. 1,366 crore were sold in May, April and March, respectively
  • Mumbai had the highest amount of bonds at Rs. 1,880 crore, followed by Kolkata at Rs. 1,440 crore, Delhi at Rs. 919 crore and Hyderabad at Rs. 838 crore, while all other cities accounted for Rs. 1,051 crore from March 2018 till October 2019.
  • The bonds are sold by the State Bank of India and can be bought by Indian citizens or companies. Political parties can then redeem the bonds, which work as anonymous donations.

Health emergency declared in the Capital

  • The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority declared a public health emergency in the Capital as pollution levels entered the ‘severe plus’ category in the early hours of Friday.
  • According to the official data provided by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) score of Delhi was 504 at 3.30 a.m. on Friday.
  • Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Greater Noida and Gurugram had AQI scores of 499, 496, 479, 496 and 469 respectively, all in the ‘severe’ category.
  • Meanwhile, a Supreme Court mandated panel has declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR region and banned all the construction activity till 5th November.

Home Ministry retains final say on AFSPA in J&K, Ladakh

  • The Cabinet Secretariat has notified rules reasserting the Union Home Ministry as the authority that would decide on the imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
  • The Act, which empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without a warrant, has been in force in Jammu & Kashmir since July 5,1990.
  • Under the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, the Union Territory of J&K will have a Legislative Assembly but Ladakh will not have one.

India, US discuss measures to combat money laundering, terror financing

  • India and the US have discussed a wide range of issues including measures to combat money laundering and terror financing. In a joint statement after 7th India-US Economic and Financial Partnership meeting in New Delhi, the two countries noted that they have developed a historic approach to tackling money laundering and combating terror financing.
  • The Indian side at the meeting was led by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while the US delegation was led by the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

IndiGo told to replace all P&W engines

  • Aviation safety regulator DGCA has asked IndiGo to replace engines on all its Pratt and Whitney (P&W)-powered A320 NEO planes within the next 90 days. The order will impact a total of 98, or 40%, of the entire fleet of its 245 planes.
  • The directive follows four incidents in the past week involving one of the two engines shutting down mid-flight.
  • The airline has been facing engine-related problems ever since it started inducting A320 NEO planes in 2017 fitted with P&W engines, forcing the regulator to take corrective measures from time to time, but the latest directive is the strictest action it has taken so far on the matter.

J&K situation is not sustainable: Merkel

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed concern for the people of Kashmir and said the lock-down of the region cannot be supported for long. The German leader’s comments came hours after India and Germany agreed to work on bilateral and multilateral platforms to counter terrorism and extremism.
  • The German leader who is on a three day visit, sealed 17 MoUs and five Joint Declarations of Intent covering a wide range of issues including agriculture, education, marine science and heritage conservation.

Joblessness rises to 3-year high

  • India’s unemployment rate in October rose to 8.5%, the highest level since August 2016, according to data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) on Friday.
  • According to CMIE, the urban unemployment rate for October 2019 stood at 8.9%, slightly higher than the rural unemployment rate of 8.3%.
  • Among States, Tripura and Haryana saw unemployment levels of more than 20% (the highest), while the unemployment was the lowest in Tamil Nadu at 1.1%. Rajasthan saw its unemployment rate double between September and October 2019.
  • The CMIE’s figures are in line with the findings of the latest Periodic Labour Force Survey, which had estimated an unemployment rate of 6.1% between July 2017 and June 2018, the worst in 45 years.

Madrid to host COP 25 in December

  • The Spanish capital city of Madrid will host the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25) from 2 to 13 December, 2019. The decision was taken following Chile's stepping down as host for the event due to the ongoing street protests in the South American country.
  • The annual Conference of the Parties (COP) summit is a key event which allows representatives from around 200 nations to monitor and discuss the current situation of the world's warming climate.

Now workers can generate UAN from EPFO portal directly

  • Retirement fund body, Employees' Provident Fund Organization, has launched a facility for formal sector workers to obtain universal account number on-line. Now workers can generate Universal Account Number from the EPFO portal directly.
  • At present, workers are required to apply through their employers to get the Universal Account Number.
  • The Ministry has also launched a facility for its over 65 lakh pensioners to download their pension-related documents like pension payment order on DigiLocker.
  • Union Labour Minister:- Santosh Gangwar

Over 1,600 Australian university students to take part in study, projects in India

  • As part of the 2020 New Colombo Plan Mobility Program, over 1,600 Australian university students will take part in study and projects in India. According to the Australian Embassy in New Delhi, Australian universities will mobilise students through 64 exciting projects in India.
  • It includes the development of Indian physical education programs and another on improving organic waste management and drinking water quality Next year.
  • The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian government, providing students opportunities to gain cross-cultural awareness and experiences that are vital to today's globally connected workforce.
  • In the 2020 Mobility Program round, the New Colombo Plan will support more than 11,196 students from 40 Australian universities to participate in 685 projects in 36 locations across the Indo-Pacific.

Pepsico India wins US award for saving more than 17 billion litres of water

  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has presented the prestigious Award for Corporate Excellence to Pepsico India for its efforts to save more than 17 billions of litres of water through community water programs and positively impacting thousands of community members.
  • Established in 1999, the ACE recognizes US companies that promote and uphold high standards as responsible members of their communities where they do business.
  • Other recipients of the award are Chambers Federation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Procter and Gamble Asia Pacific in Singapore and Agilis Partners in Uganda.
  • PepsiCo India has been named the global ACE winner in sustainable operations in the multinational enterprise category for its sustainable farming initiative in India.

Signed Carbon Copy Prepared In Same Process As Original Document Is Primary Evidence Under Sec.62 Evidence Act : SC

  • The Supreme Court of India has held that signed carbon copy prepared in the same process as the original document is admissible in evidence as the original doc as per Section 62 of the Indian Evidence Act.
  • On this ground, the bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose set aside a judgment passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had refused to accept the signed carbon copy as original document.

Thousands of demonstrators converge on Algiers for massive anti-govt rally in Algeria

  • Thousands of demonstrators converged on capital Algiers for a massive anti-government rally in Algeria. Several thousand protesters gathered at the Grande Poste building in downtown Algiers.
  • Weekly demonstrations have taken place in Algiers and other parts of the country since 22nd February, forcing long-time President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign at the beginning of April.
  • But demonstrations have not waned, instead turning their attention on the whole regime and amping up calls for an overhaul of the political system in place since 1962.

Tokyo Olympics Qualifiers: India beat Russia 4-2 in men's hockey

  • In Men's Hockey, India beat Russia 4 - 2 in first leg of Tokyo Olympics Qualifiers at Bhubaneswar in Odisha. Mandeep Singh's brace and goals from Harmanpreet Singh and Sunil steered India to a comfortable victory over Russia.
  • Earlier, Indian women's team took giant leap towards Olympic qualification with a near-flawless performance to hammer United States of America 5-1 in the first-leg of the two-match FIH Qualifier.

TRAI fixes ring timings for mobiles, landlines

  • The telecom regulator TRAI has mandated a minimum ring duration of 30 seconds for outgoing mobile calls before they are disconnected, and 60 seconds for such calls to landlines, a view that was backed by the older operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea but opposed by Reliance Jio, which wanted a shorter span of 15-to-20 seconds.
  • The call ring duration issue is at the heart of the interconnect usage charges (IUC) spat between the older carriers and Jio. Bharti Airtel had alleged earlier that Jio had shortened the call ringing time to manipulate the IUC regime.
  • A shortened ring time span meant more missed calls, and therefore greater return calls to the Jio network, enabling the Mukesh Ambani-led telco to cut its net interconnect payouts to the incumbents.
  • IUC is paid by the call originating telco to the destination carrier for carrying its voice traffic. Airtel and Voda Idea are net revenue gainers under the present IUC system, while Jio is a net payer.

UNESCO designates Mumbai as member of UCCN in field of Films, Hyderabad in field of Gastronomy

  • UNESCO has announced that Mumbai and Hyderabad have been included in its network of 'Creative Cities' on the occasion of World Cities Day 2019.
  • UNESCO has designated Mumbai as a member of UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in the field of FILM and Hyderabad in the field of GASTRONOMY.
  • In India, Chennai and Varanasi are UNESCO cities of music while Jaipur is the City of Crafts and Folk Arts.
  • UCCN, created in 2004, is a network of cities which are thriving, active centres of cultural activities in their respective countries. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network now counts a total of 246 cities.
  • The 7 categories for recognition under UCCN are Crafts and Folk Arts, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Music, Media Arts and Literature.