Daily Current Affairs - 21st Nov 2019

87 lakh homes completed under PMAY-G so far: Narendra Singh Tomar

  • Eighty seven lakh homes have been completed in different parts of the country, under the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana - Gramin, so far. This was stated by Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar while interacting with the beneficiaries from five states.
  • Mr Tomar said, the aim of the scheme is to have two crore 95 lakh houses by 2022.

ACC Emerging Cup: India lose to Pakistan by three runs in semis

  • India crashed out of the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup after losing by three runs to Pakistan in the first semifinal in Dhaka. Pakistan scored 267 for seven after opting to bat first and India were restricted at 264 for eight.

Amit Shah Announces Govt's Intention to Conduct a Pan-India NRC

  • Union home minister Amit Shah told Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) process, along the same lines as the one conducted in Assam, will be carried out across India.
  • The NRC has been a matter of debate, with a significant section of Indians believing that it may be used as an instrument by the Narendra Modi government to snatch away citizenship rights from minority communities.

Cabinet approves bill to grant ownership rights to residents of Delhi's unauthorised colonies

  • The Union Cabinet has approved a bill which provides for a legal framework to grant ownership rights to nearly 40 lakh people living in unauthorized colonies in Delhi.
  • The National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill, 2019 will allow registration of properties and provide certain relief to the residents of 1731 unauthorised colonies in the city from registration charges and stamp duty.

Cabinet approves establishment of National Institute for Sowa-Rigpa in Leh

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment of the National Institute for Sowa-Rigpa (NISR) in Leh as an autonomous organization under the Ministry of AYUSH at an estimated cost of Rs. 47.25 crore.
  • Consequent to the formation of Ladakh as Union Territory and for the promotion of native culture of Ladakh, it has been decided by the Government of India to promote Sowa-Rigpa system of medicine by establishing a National Institute for Sowa-Rigpa(NISR) at Leh, Union Territory of Ladakh.
  • Sowa-Rigpa, commonly known as Tibetan system of medicine, is one of the oldest and well documented medical tradition of the world. The theory and practice of Sowa-Rigpa is similar to “Ayurveda”.

Cabinet clears import of 1.2 lakh metric tonnes of onions

  • The Cabinet has approved import of 1.2 lakh metric tonnes of onions to improve the domestic availability of the key kitchen staple and check prices.
  • Earlier, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had announced that the government would import 1,00,000 tonnes of onions through state-run MMTC, which has already floated a tender for buying 4,000 tonnes of the commodity from the global market.

CCEA approves amendments proposed in Toll Operate Transfer Model by NHAI

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, CCEA, has approved the amendments proposed in the Toll Operate Transfer (TOT) Model by National Highways Authority of India. The Model would facilitate efficient toll realization through private sector.
  • The fund generated from such monetization shall be utilized for development of highways in the country, which will benefit users throughout the country.
  • Around 75 operational National highways projects have been identified for potential monetization using the TOT Model and bundled into 10 separate bids to attract economics of scale for the private sector.

Death anniversary of Sufiya Kamal observed in Bangladesh

  • The 20th death anniversary of the legendary women's rights activist, freedom fighter and literary personality Sufiya Kamal is being observed in Bangladesh.
  • Sufiya Kamal was an iconic figure who made immense contribution towards women's right and progressive thinking in Bangladesh. She was active during the language movement of 1952 and the liberation war of Bangladesh.
  • She was also a poet, editor and author for which she got several literary awards including the highest literary award of Bangladesh Ekushey Padak.

Global Bio-India Summit to begin in Delhi

  • Three-day Global Bio-India Summit will begin in New Delhi from November 21. This summit will be one of the largest biotechnology stakeholders’ conglomerate to be held in India for the first time. It will bring academia, innovators, researchers, start-ups, medium and large companies together on the same platform.
  • More than 200 exhibitors, 275 start-ups and more than 100 biotechnology incubators will participate in Global Bio-India.
  • Over three thousand delegates from around 25 countries and over 15 states of India will participate in the mega event.

India, Singapore express satisfaction over defence ties

  • India and Singapore have expressed satisfaction at the deepening defence ties between the two countries and reaffirmed their commitment to promote stability in the region.
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Singaporean Counterpart have co-chaired the Fourth Singapore-India Defence Ministers' Dialogue in Singapore.
  • Mr Singh also offered setting up of a Joint Test Facilities under the Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme of India.

Korea Masters: Kidambi Srikanth to face Kanta Tsuneyama

  • Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth will face Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan in the second round of Gwangju Korea Masters 2019. Srikanth defeated Hong Kong's Wong Wing Ki Vincent 21-18 21-17 in the first round.
  • Meanwhile, Sameer Verma will face Korea's Kim Donghun.

Lok Sabha passes Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019

  • The Lok Sabha has passed the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019 by voice vote. The bill seeks to amend the Chit Funds Act, 1982, which regulates chit funds and prohibits a fund from being created without the prior sanction of a State Government.
  • The amendments have been made to facilitate the orderly growth of the chit fund sector to remove bottlenecks and enable greater financial access to people.
  • Under the legislation, the prescribed ceiling of aggregate chit fund amount for individuals has been raised from one lakh rupees to three lakh rupees and in case of firms, the limit has been raised from 6 lakh to 18 lakh rupees.
  • Besides, words chit amount, dividend and prize amount have been substituted with terms gross chit amount, the share of discount and net chit amount.
  • The legislation also increases the maximum commission of a foreman from five per cent to seven per cent and also allows the foreman a right to lien against the credit balance from subscribers.

NTPC wins the ‘Golden Peacock Award for Sustainability’ 2019

  • NTPC Ltd, India’s largest power generation company, has been bestowed with the ‘Golden Peacock Award for Sustainability’ 2019, during the 19th International Conference on Corporate Governance & Sustainability held in London (U.K).
  • Sustainability Award has been given to NTPC for its efforts to provide cleaner and green energy, to minimize environmental impact.
  • NTPC is steadily increasing its renewable energy portfolio by power generation from solar, hydro, wind.

Road accidents claimed over 1.5 lakh lives in 2018, over-speeding major killer

  • According to the Union government report, road accidents in India claimed over 1.5 lakh lives in the country in 2018, with over-speeding of vehicles being the biggest reason for casualties.
  • A total of 4,67,044 road accidents have been reported by States and Union Territories (UTs) in the calendar year 2018, claiming 1,51,417 lives and causing injuries to 4,69,418 persons. Over-speeding accounted for 64.4% of the persons killed.
  • India ranks 1st in the number of road accident deaths across the 199 countries reported in the World Road Statistics, 2018 followed by China and US. As per the WHO Global Report on Road Safety 2018, India accounts for almost 11% of the accident related deaths in the World.
  • National Highways which comprise of 1.94 percent of total road network, accounted for 30.2 per cent of total road accidents and 35.7 per cent of deaths in 2018.
  • State Highways which account for 2.97% of the road length accounted for 25.2 percent and 26.8 percent of accidents and deaths respectively.
  • For three consecutive years now, young adults in the age group of 18 - 45 years accounted for nearly 69.6 percent of road accident victims.
  • Traffic violations related to driving on the wrong side of the road accounted for 5.8% of the accident related deaths. Use of mobile phones accounted for 2.4% of the deaths with drunken driving accounting for 2.8% of the persons killed.
  • Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh remain accounted for the highest number of road accidents and death on account of road accidents respectively in 2018.

SEBI approves stricter disclosure norms for listed companies

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India, SEBI, has approved stricter disclosure norms for listed companies.
  • Accordingly, in case of default in repayment of loans beyond 30 days, listed companies will have to disclose the fact of such default within 24 hours.
  • Secondly, SEBI has amended Portfolio Managers (PM) Regulations, 2019 following which net worth requirement of portfolio managers has been enhanced from two crore to five crore rupees.
  • The regulator has informed that existing portfolio managers will have to meet the enhanced requirement within 36 months.
  • SEBI announced that it has approved a proposal to reduce the overall time taken for a rights issue from 55 days to 31 days.
  • Besides, SEBI has also extended the Business Responsibility Report requirement to top 1,000 companies, from 500 currently.

Sri Lanka: Mahinda Rajapaksa to be sworn in as new PM

  • Mahinda Rajapaksa will be sworn in as new Prime minister of Sri Lanka, after Ranil Wickremsinghe decided to resign from his post to pave way for a caretaker government. The swearing-in will take place after Wickremsinghe formally tenders his resignation.
  • Mr. Rajapaksa served as two-term President during 2005 to 2015 and is the elder brother of current President Gotabaya Rajapksa.
  • He was barred from contesting Presidential elections because of two-term limit and will be staging a political comeback as Prime minister.

Telcos get 2 years to pay spectrum dues

  • In a much-needed respite to stressed telecom companies, the Union Cabinet has approved a two-year moratorium on payment of pending spectrum auction instalments for the years 2020-21 and 2021-22,
  • The Indian telecom operators owe the government nearly Rs 1.47 lakh crore in license fee (LF) and spectrum usage charges (SUC). Of this, license fee amounts to Rs 92,642 crore as of July this year, while SUC stood at Rs 55,054 crore as of October end this year.
  • Vodafone Idea has an outstanding due of 53,038 crore, of which Rs 28,309 crore in LF and Rs 24,730 crore in SUC. Bharti Airtel dues are nearly Rs 35,586 crore (Rs 21,682 crore as LF and Rs 13,904 crore as SUC).

UGC asks higher educational institutions to celebrate Constitution Day on Nov 26

  • University Grants Commission, UGC has issued circular to higher educational institutions to celebrate Constitution Day on 26th of November.
  • The commission has requested universities and affiliated colleges to make dedicated efforts to promote and spread awareness about the constitution and fundamental duties among their students, teachers’ staff and officials.
  • On this day in 1949, the Constitution was adopted which came into force on 26th January, 1950, marking the beginning of a new era in the history of India.

Union Cabinet approves MoU with Finland in tourism

  • The Union Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Finland for strengthening cooperation in the tourism sector. The MoU seeks to establish the basis for a cooperative relationship to encourage and promote successful bilateral cooperation in the field of tourism, sharing data, knowledge, expertise in the field of tourism.
  • The two countries will also be sharing experiences in making policies, regulation and standards in planning, implementation and development of tourism policy.
  • India and Finland will also be exchanging best practices through workshops and study visits for experts of the two countries on cooperation.

Union Cabinet approves sale of govt stake in five CPSEs

  • The Union government has approved sale of its stake in five Central Public Sector Enterprises, CPSEs. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, CCEA, gave its nod to strategic disinvestment in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), Container Corporation of India (CONCOR), North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO) and Tehri Hydro Development Corporation India Limited (THDC).
  • The government will sell its 53.29 per cent stake in BPCL after taking out Numaligarh Refinery from its portfolio along with transfer of management control to a strategic buyer.
  • The CCEA approved strategic disinvestment of Government's shareholding of 63.75 per cent in SCI, 30.8 per cent in CONCOR along with transfer of management control to a strategic buyer, 74.23 per cent in THDCIL and 100 per cent in NEEPCO along with transfer of management control to National Thermal Power Corporation.
  • The resources unlocked by the strategic disinvestment of these CPSEs would be used to finance the social sector and developmental programmes of the government, benefiting the public.
  • The CCEA also approved reduction of government's stake in select PSUs below 51 per cent, while retaining the management control.

US President Trump orders additional troop deployment in Middle East

  • United States President Donald Trump has ordered the deployment of additional troops in the Middle East to deter alleged threat from Iran. This will take the total number of US armed forces in Saudi Arabia to 3,000.
  • Additional forces ordered for deployment in Saudi Arabia include radar and missile systems, an air expeditionary wing and two fighter squadrons.

Virat Kohli named PETA India’s Person of the Year

  • India captain Virat Kohli was named People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India's 'Person of the Year for 2019' for his animal advocacy efforts.
  • Past recipients of the award include Shashi Tharoor, former Supreme Court Justice KS Panicker Radhakrishnan and actors Anushka Sharma, Sunny Leone, Sonam Kapoor, Kapil Sharma, Hema Malini, R. Madhavan.

World Children's Day celebrated on 20 November

  • World Children's Day is celebrated on 20 November to raise awareness about the problems that children face globally and to improve children's welfare. This day is promoted and coordinated by UNICEF and the United Nations Children's Fund which also works towards the improvement of children's welfare.
  • In 1954, World Children's Day was first established as Universal Children's Day and is decided to celebrate it on 20 November every year.

World Heritage Week 2019 observed from November 19th - 25th

  • The World Heritage Week 2019 is being observed by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and cultural organization from Tuesday 19th November, 2019 to Monday 25th November, 2019. The objective of the celebration is to make people more aware of and for the preservation of cultural heritage and monuments.