Daily Current Affairs - 29th Nov 2019

Cabinet approves extension of norms for mandatory packaging in jute materials

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accorded its approval for mandatory packaging of food grains and sugar in jute material for the Jute Year 2019-20. The decision of the Cabinet mandates that 100% of the food grains and 20% of the sugar shall be mandatorily packed in diversified jute bags.
  • The decision to pack sugar in diversified jute bags will give an impetus to the diversification of the jute industry. Further, the decision also mandates that initially 10% of the indents of jute bags for packing food grains would be placed through reverse auction on the GeM portal. This will gradually usher in a regime of price discovery.
  • The approval will benefit farmers and workers located in the Eastern and North Eastern regions of the country particularly in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura.
  • Nearly 3.7 lakh workers and several lakh farm families are dependent for their livelihood on the jute sectors.
  • The jute industry is predominantly dependent on Government sector which purchases jute bags of value of more than Rs. 7,500 crore every year for packing food grains.

Cabinet approves India-Myanmar agreement to prevent human trafficking

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Myanmar on enhancing bilateral cooperation between each other for prevention of trafficking in persons.
  • The agreement will increase bilateral cooperation on the issues of prevention, rescue, recovery and repatriation related to human trafficking.
  • The agreement will further strengthen immigration and border controls cooperation and implementation of strategies with relevant ministries and organisations to prevent trafficking in persons.
  • It will also set up working groups and task force to make efforts to prevent human trafficking and organise capacity building programmes for the agencies concerned of both countries.

China now has most diplomatic posts in the world, India ranked 12th

  • China now has more diplomatic posts across the world than the US, a marker of its growing international clout and ambition, an Australian think tank said.
  • China overtook the US in 2019 with 276 embassies and consulates worldwide, which is three more than the US. The next three spots are occupied by France, Japan, and Russia.
  • India is 12th among the 61 countries.. As of 2019, New Delhi has 123 embassies and high commissions and 54 consulates globally. India too has expanded its diplomatic footprint: In 2017, it has 120 embassies and 52 consulates.
  • The 2019 Global Diplomacy Index released by the Sydney-based Lowy Institute.

DAC approves capital procurement for Services amounting to over Rs 22,800 crore

  • Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has approved capital procurement for the Services amounting to over 22,800 crore rupees.
  • To boost the 'Make in India' initiative, the DAC accorded approval for indigenous design, development and manufacturing of 'Thermal Imaging Night Sights' for Assault Rifles. These sights will be manufactured by the Indian private industry and used by troops deployed on the frontline.
  • The DAC revalidated the Acceptance of Necessity for the procurement of additional Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) India aircraft. The mission system and sub-systems for these aircraft would be indigenously designed, developed and integrated into the main platform by Defence Research and Development Organisation.
  • The Council also approved the procurement of long Medium-Range Anti-submarine Warfare P8 I aircraft for the Navy.
  • The DAC approved the procurement of Twin-Engine Heavy Helicopters for the Indian Coast Guard.

Death toll rises to 46 in Albanian earthquake

  • In Albania, the death toll has risen to 46 in earthquake. The 6.4 magnitude quake, the deadliest in decades, tore down buildings near the Adriatic coast. Thousands of people have been displaced, either because their homes were severely damaged or because they were still unsafe due to the continuing aftershocks. Illegal construction is rife in Albania, one of Europe's poorest countries.
  • Prime Minister Edi Rama has promised to rehouse the newly homeless by next year.

Deepika wins gold, Ankita bags silver in Asian archery Championships

  • Indian archers Deepika Kumari won gold while Ankita Bhakat bagged silver medal in the women's individual recurve event of the 21st Asian Championships in Bangkok. Deepika defeated Ankita 6-0 in the one-sided final.
  • The duo had earlier secured an individual Olympic quota for the country by storming into the semifinals of the event.

EU Parliament declares climate emergency

  • The European Union’s legislature has declared a climate emergency, in a symbolic move aimed at increasing pressure on the incoming European Commission to take a stronger stance on climate change.
  • The climate declaration was passed during a European Parliament debate on the upcoming United Nations' COP25 climate summit which will kicks off on 2nd December in Madrid.
  • In a statement, the EU lawmakers have urged the European Commission to fully ensure all relevant legislative and budgetary proposals are fully aligned with the 1.5-degrees-Celsius target limit on global warming.
  • The resolution calls on the EU to cut emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 to become climate neutral by 2050.

Europe must help Greece fix child-migrant crisis: UN

  • The UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi has said that Europe must help tackle a crisis in Greece where roughly 5,000 child migrants live in danger of exploitation and violence. Hundreds of migrants arrive on the Greek islands from Turkey every day, adding to roughly 39,000 already housed in island camps and 22,000 more on the mainland.
  • The living conditions in the camps he visited on the island of Lesbos extremely disturbing with generalized tension often resulting in violence, especially against minors.
  • Last week, the Greek government said it had failed to persuade other EU countries to help host around 3,000 of the children.
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi

Export of Khadi products increased three times: Centre

  • Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, MSME, Minister Nitin Gadkari in a written reply in Lok Sabha has said that the export of Khadi products has increased three times from 2016-17 to 2018-19. He said, the export of Khadi products in 2018-19 was over six crore rupees in comparison to around two crore rupees in 2016-17.
  • He said, the government has taken several initiatives to maintain the quality of international standard to boost khadi exports and make it an international brand.

G Kishan Reddy inaugurates 1st Intl. Conference on “Landslides Risk Reduction and Resilience"

  • Minister of State for Home Affairs, G Kishan Reddy has inaugurated the 1st International Conference on “Landslides Risk Reduction and Resilience" in New Delhi. While addressing the Conference, Mr Reddy called for the developing technologies to anticipate disasters like landslides and develop infrastructure to quickly respond to minimize the damage.
  • The Minister said that landslides have attracted global attention as they may cause huge havoc on communities, livestock, environment leading to huge loss of lives.

Golden Jubilee Edition of IFFI culminates in Goa

  • The Golden Jubilee Edition of International Film Festival of India, IFFI, culminated in Goa. The festival saw screening of 300 films of various languages from India and abroad for delegates from different parts of the world.
  • The IFFI was awarded the ICFT-UNESCO Fellini medal at the closing ceremony.
  • Various Awards given during the fest
  • The best film award was bagged by 'Particles' directed by Blaisse Harrison
  • The best director award went to Lijo Jose Pellissery for his film “Jallikattu”
  • Best actor’s award to Seu Jorge for the film Marighella
  • Best actress to Usha Jadhav for Marathi film “Mai Ghat”
  • Special jury award was given away to Pema Tseden’s “Balloon”
  • Abhishek Shah’s National award-winning film “Hellaroo” won the special mention award, whereas, the best debut film was bagged by “Monsters” and “Abou Leila.
  • The ICFT’s UNESCO Gandhi medal award was given to “Rwanda” directed by Riccardo Salvetti.
  • The ICFT’s UNESCO special mention award was given away to Bahattar Hoorain a film directed by Sanjay Pooran

Government hikes authorised capital of FCI to Rs 10,000 cr

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved to increase the authorized capital of Food Corporation of India (FCI) from existing Rs 3,500 crore to Rs 10,000 crore.
  • With the increase of authorized capital, additional equity capital can be infused in FCI through union budget, to fund the food grains stock, perpetually held by FCI. This will reduce the borrowings of FCI, save interest cost of FCI and reduce food subsidy in consequence.
  • FCI was constituted under the Food Corporations Act, 1964, to implement the food policy of Government of India. Its primary objective is to ensure minimum support price to farmers, maintain buffer stock of food grains and distribution of food grains under National Food Security Act and other welfare schemes of the centre.

Govt approves pact between India-Chile for avoidance of double taxation

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and protocol between India and Chile for elimination of double taxation. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved the prevention of fiscal evasion and avoidance with respect to taxes on income between the two countries.
  • The release said that the agreement and protocol implement the minimum standards and other recommendations of G-20 OECD Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project.

HDFC Bank forms panel to find successor to Puri

  • Lending major HDFC Bank has formed a committee to find a successor to Aditya Puri, the current Managing Director of the Bank. Puri's tenure as the bank's MD ends on October 26, 2020.
  • The 'Search Committee', over the next few months, shall evaluate internal and external candidates to ensure smooth transition. Puri has been the Managing Director of the Bank since September 1994. Prior to joining the bank, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Citibank, Malaysia from 1992 to 1994.

Industrial Relation Code bill-2019 introduced in Lok Sabha

  • Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar has introduced the Industrial Relation Code bill-2019 in the Lok Sabha. This Bill provides for setting up of a two-member tribunal (in place of one-member), thus introducing a concept that some of the important cases will be adjudicated jointly and the rest by a single-member resulting speedier disposal of cases.
  • It also said the re-skilling fund is to be utilized for crediting to workers in the manner to be prescribed.
  • The bill also provides for definition of Fixed Term Employment and that it would not lead to any notice period and payment of compensation on retrenchment excluded. It also provides vesting of powers with the government officers for adjudication of disputes involving penalty as fines thereby lessening the burden on tribunal.

Muthoot Finance to raise Rs 790 cr through NCDs

  • Non-banking financial company Muthoot Finance has said it plans to raise up to Rs 790 crore through non-convertible debentures for on-lending. The base size of the issue is Rs 100 crore, with an option to retain oversubscription of up to Rs 690 crore.
  • The issue will open for subscription on November 29, 2019 and close on December 24, 2019. The NCDs will be listed on BSE.

No cases of child marriages reported in 11 States,UTs during 2013-2017: Smriti Irani

  • No cases of child marriages have been reported in 11 States and Union Territories of the country during 2013-2017. It includes Arunchal Pradesh, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep.
  • This was informed by Women and Child Welfare Minister Smriti Irani while quoting data of National Crime Record Bureau in a written reply in Rajya Sabha. She said, incidents of the child marriages have continuously increased in the country during 2013-2017.
  • She added that 222 cases of child marriages were registered in the year 2013 while it was 280 in 2014, 293 in 2015, 326 in 2016. In the year 2017, 395 cases of child marriages were registered in several parts of the country.
  • She informed that maximum numbers of 65 cases were registered in Karnataka in 2017 followed by 58 in Assam, 55 in Tamil Nadu and 49 in West Bengal.

Pak SC grants 6 months conditional extension to Army Chief Gen Bajwa

  • Pakistan's Supreme Court has granted a six-month conditional extension to Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Bajwa's original three-year tenure is set to expire today at midnight and he can now continue as the Army chief for another six months.
  • A three-member bench of the apex court, in its short order directed the government to bring necessary legislation within six months.
  • Prime Minister Khan through official notification of August 19 granted a three-year extension to General Bajwa.

Parliament passes Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019

  • Parliament has passed the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019 with the Rajya Sabha approving it. Earlier, the Lok Sabha had passed the bill seeking amendment in Chit Funds Act, 1982 which regulates chit funds and prohibits a fund from being created without the prior sanction of a State Government.
  • Under the legislation, the prescribed ceiling of aggregate chit fund amount for individuals has been raised from one lakh to three lakh rupees and in case of firms, the limit has been raised from six lakh to 18 lakh rupees.
  • Besides, words like 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 allows the foreman a right to lien against the credit balance from subscribers.

RIL becomes first Indian firm to hit Rs 10 trillion market capitalisation

  • Reliance Industries (RIL) has become the first Indian company to hit Rs 10 trillion market capitalisation (m-cap) after the stock price hit a new high of Rs 1,584 on the BSE. The oil-to-telecom conglomerate's m-cap zoomed to Rs 10,02,380 crore during the trade on the BSE.
  • In the past eight trading days, RIL has outperformed the market by gaining 8 per cent, after Reliance Jio, the telecom arm of the company, said it will increase tariffs in next few weeks.
  • Tata Consultancy Services, the second most valued firm on the bourses, has a market cap of Rs 7.81 lakh crore.

Saudi Arabia, UAE discussed to develop mega crude refinery in Maharashtra

  • Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have discussed to develop the planned mega crude refinery in Maharashtra at an initial cost of 70 billion US Dollars. It will have a capacity of 1.2 million barrels per day integrated with a modern petrochemical complex.
  • The two oil rich nations discussed ways and means to secure the supply of at least 600,000 barrels per day of Saudi and Emirati crude oil for Indian market.
  • The meeting comes as part of efforts by Saudi and UAE to activate all aspects of cooperation that leads to full integration in economy, knowledge and human development, and military.

Sports Ministry constitutes committee to review Draft National Sports Code

  • Sports Ministry has constituted a 13-member expert committee to review the Draft National Sports Code. The expert committee will be headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Mukundakam Sharma. Former sports persons Gagan Narang, Bhaichung Bhutia, Anju Bobby George and national badminton coach Pulella Gopichand are part of the panel.
  • Boxing Federation president Ajay Singh, Kho Kho Federation president Sudhanshu Mittal, Athletics Federation president Adille Sumariwala and Weightlifting Federation president B P Baishya have been included in the committee.
  • The panel will also feature a representative from the Indian Olympic Association.
  • The panel has been formed to suggest measures to make the Sports Code acceptable to all the stakeholders. It will try to strike a balance between the autonomy of National Sports Federations vis-a-vis need for transparency and autonomy.

Sudan adopts law to dissolve Bashir party, 'dismantle' regime

  • In Sudan, authorities have ordered that the party of ousted President Omar al-Bashir be dissolved, and all its properties be confiscated. Bashir and his Islamist National Congress Party had ruled the country since June 30, 1989 before a nationwide protest movement resulted in him being deposed him earlier this year.
  • The country's ruling sovereign council and the cabinet led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok made the decision to dissolve the party, issuing a law titled "Dismantling of the regime of 30th June 1989".
  • He also said this decree aims to recover the plundered wealth of the people.

Swedish King, Queen to reach India on 6-day visit on Dec 1

  • King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden will pay a state visit to India on 1st of next month at the invitation of President Ram Nath Kovind. This is the third visit of King Gustaf of Sweden to India.
  • The King will have meetings with President Ram Nath Kovind, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on bilateral and multilateral issues of mutual interest. Several documents on furthering bilateral engagement are likely to be signed.
  • India and Sweden have a bilateral trade turnover of 3.37 billion dollars and cumulative investments of about 2.5 billion dollars.

Syed Modi Intl Badminton: Kidambi Srikanth & Sourabh Verma advance to quarterfinals

  • Kidambi Srikanth and Sourabh Verma advanced to the quarterfinals but young Lakshya Sen bowed out of the men's singles contest at the Syed Modi International Badminton tournament in Lucknow.
  • Srikanth will next square off against seventh seed Son Wan Ho of Korea while Sourabh will clash with Thailand's Kunlavut Vitidsarn.
  • In women's singles, Shruti Mundada and Rituparna Das entered the quarterfinals with straight game wins.