Current Affairs Update – 25-28 November, 2017

 

Hello and welcome to Exampundit. Here are the important current affairs of 25 to 28 November, 2017. These current affairs are important for upcoming RBI Assistant, IBPS Clerk Mains examination.

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Banking & Financial News

SBI launches integrated digital platform YONO

  • State Bank of India (SBI) on 24 November 2017 launched country’s first integrated lifestyle and banking digital service application named YONO or ‘You Only Need One’.
  • YONO app will be the first digital banking platform that will allow customers to meet their lifestyle needs including booking and renting cabs, entertainment, dining experience, travel and stay, etc.
  • All the financial services product from SBI and its subsidiaries SBI Life, SBI General, SBI Mutual Fund, SBI Caps and SBI Cards will be integrated on the app.
  • YONO will offer customised products and offers from over 60 e-commerce sites, besides a range of banking and financial services.
  • It will allow customers to meet their lifestyle needs across 14 categories including entertainment, travel, medical needs and so on.
  • It will also offer customised offers and discounts to customers. To provide such offers, SBI has partnered with e-commerce sites including Amazon, Uber, Ola, Myntra, Jabong, Shoppers Stop, Yatra, etc.
  • It will be the first platform to offer online purchase and view of insurance policies within the portal, without redirecting customer to respective service providers.

 

15th Finance Commission constituted under the chairmanship of NK Singh

  • The Union Government on 27 November 2017 constituted Fifteenth Finance Commission under the chairmanship of former bureaucrat NK Singh. The Commission will make recommendations for five years commencing on 1 April 2020.
  • Constituted under clause (1) of article 280 of the Indian Constitution, the commission came into force with the approval President Ram Nath Kovind.
  • The other members of the 15th Finance Commission are Shaktikanta Das, former Secretary to Union Government and Anoop Singh, Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University.
  • While, Chairman of Bandhan Bank Ashok Lahiri and Member of NITI Aayog Ramesh Chand will be the Part time members of the Commission.  Arvind Mehta will be the Secretary to the Commission.
  • The Commission will submit its report by 30 October 2019.

Terms of Reference of 15th Finance Commission

  • It will make recommendations on the distribution of net proceeds of taxes between Centre and States.
  • It will recommend the principles which will govern the grants-in-aid of the revenues of the States out of the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • It will recommend measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a State to supplement the resources of the Panchayats and Municipalities on the basis of the recommendations made by the State Finance Commission.
  • It will review the current status of the finance, deficit, debt levels, cash balances and fiscal discipline efforts of the Centre and the States and recommend a fiscal consolidation roadmap for sound fiscal management.
  • It will look at the resources of the Central Government and the State Governments for the five years commencing on 1 April 2020 on the basis of the levels of tax and the non-tax revenues.
  • It will look at the impact of GST, including payment of compensation for possible loss of revenues for 5 years and abolition of a number of cesses and other structural reforms programme on the finances of Centre and States.
  • It may review the present arrangements on financing Disaster Management initiatives, with reference to the funds constituted under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and make appropriate recommendations thereon.
  • It will indicate the basis on which it has arrived at its findings and make available the State wise estimates of receipts and expenditure.
  • The Commission can also use the population data of 2011 while making its recommendations.
  • 15th Finance Commission to propose performance-based incentives for States

The 15th Finance Commission may propose measurable performance-based incentives for States in following areas:

  • Efforts made by the States under GST
  • Efforts and progress made in moving towards replacement rate of population growth
  • Achievements in implementation of schemes of Government
  • Progress made in increasing capital expenditure and eliminating losses of power sector.
  • Progress made in increasing tax and non-tax revenues, promoting savings by adoption of Direct Benefit Transfers and Public Finance Management System
  • Progress made by promoting digital economy
  • Progress made in promoting ease of doing business
  • Progress made in sanitation, solid waste management and bringing in behavioural change to end open defecation.

 

Amazon launches special store ‘Saheli’ for women entrepreneurs

  • American online retailer Amazon has launched a new programme — Amazon Saheli — aimed at empowering and enabling women entrepreneurs across the country to sell their products on its marketplace.
  • Amazon India has collaborated with organisations that work with towards encouraging women entrepreneurship, including Sewa (Self-employed Women’s Association) and Impulse Social Enterprise.
  • Women entrepreneurs associated with these partner organisations will be able to offer their products to Amazon.in customers through a dedicated storefront, ‘the Saheli Store’, Amazon said in a statement today.
  • The company had earlier this year conducted a pilot for the store in Nagaland earlier this year in association with NSDC and the state government. Around 50 independent women entrepreneurs attended the workshop for two days.
  • Initially comprising handicrafts, apparel, handbags and home decor items, the Saheli Store will gradually scale up to onboard women entrepreneurs selling in different product categories, it added.
  • Besides offering the registered women entrepreneurs access to customers, the store will help them gain access to logistics and fulfilment facilities as well.

 

Meredith Corporation to acquire Time Inc. for USD 2.8 billion

  • US media company Meredith Corporation on 27 November 2017 announced to acquire Time Inc., the publisher of Sports Illustrated and Fortune magazines, for USD 2.8 billion in all-cash deal.
  • Meredith will pay USD 18.50 for per share of Time Inc. which totals at about USD 1.85 billion. However, Time Inc.’s debt will raise the total value of the deal to about USD 2.8 billion.
  • Out of the total sum, billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch will contribute USD 650 million via their private-equity firm Koch Equity Development.
  • The deal has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of Meredith and Time Inc. The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of year 2018.
  • Beyond comparison, Meredith’s media brands will now have a readership of 135 million and paid circulation of nearly 60 million with leading positions in celebrity, food, lifestyle, news and sports, parenting, home content creation, beauty, fashion and luxury advertising categories.
  • With this deal, Meredith looks ahead for a strong political advertising year in 2019. In 2017, Meredith’s broadcasting business generated record revenues and profit.
  • It will place Meredith in the list of Top 10 digital media companies with 170 million unique monthly visitors in the US, over 10 billion annual video views and nearly USD 700 million in digital advertising revenues.
  • Meredith will be benefitted from fast-growing digital advertising platforms such as video, shopper marketing, programmatic and social platform.

 

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News related to India & States

India, Russia sign anti-terror agreement

  • India and Russia on 27 November 2017 signed an agreement to help each other in combating terrorism. The agreement was signed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Russia’s Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev in Moscow after they held wide-ranging talks.
  • This new agreement between India and Russia will replace the October 1993 agreement between both the countries. This agreement will help in expanding and deepening cooperation on issues related to internal security.
  • During the meeting, both the sides also emphasized the strength of the relationship between India and Russia that has been consolidate over the past 70 years in all areas.
  • Indian and Russian representatives also signed a joint action plan for countering the threat posed by narcotics. This agreement will provide legal framework for bilateral cooperation in this field.
  • The joint action plan was signed by Indian ambassador to Russia Pankaj Saran and Deputy Minister for Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation Igor Zubov.
  • This is an updated and more comprehensive agreement for help in security related issues, including information technology crimes, counterfeiting currency, illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, human trafficking, economic crimes, etc.

 

ISRO to launch Aditya L-1 Mission to study the Sun in 2019

  • The India Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch its first solar mission Aditya-L1 in 2019. It will be ISRO’s and India’s first dedicated mission to study the Sun.
  • The mission aims to put 1500-kg heavy class Aditya-L1 satellite into halo orbit around Lagrangian point L1, a point between Sun and Earth. This point is at a distance of about 1.5 million km from earth.
  • The mission will provide observations of Sun’s Photosphere (soft and hard X-ray), Chromosphere (UV) and corona (Visible and NIR).  The particle payloads will study particle flux emanating from the Sun and reaching the L1 orbit and magnetometer payload will measure the variation in magnetic field strength at the halo orbit.

The satellite will carry few additional payloads with enhanced scope and objectives. These payloads are:

  • Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC): It will study the diagnostic parameters of solar corona and origin of Coronal Mass Ejections; magnetic field measurement of solar corona.
  • Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT): It will image the spatially resolved Solar Photosphere and Chromosphere near Ultraviolet (200-400 nm) and will measure solar irradiance variations.
  • Aditya Solar wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX) : It will study the variation of solar wind properties as well as its distribution and spectral characteristics.
  • Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA) : It will understand the composition of solar wind and its energy distribution.
  • Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS) : It will monitor the X-ray flares for studying the heating mechanism of the solar corona.
  • High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS): It will observe the dynamic events in the solar corona and provide an estimate of the energy used to accelerate the particles during the eruptive events.
  • Magnetometer: It will measure the magnitude and nature of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field.

 

Defence of Andaman & Nicobar Islands Exercise 2017 held

  • The Defence of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Exercise 2017 (DANX-17) was conducted under the aegis of Andaman & Nicobar Command from 20 November 2017 to 24 November 2017.
  • For carrying out the exercise, the joint planning and integrated approach was adopted, aimed at synergistic application of forces.
  • The key purpose of the exercise was to practice and validate procedures and drills of all the Command forces aimed at defending Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • Accretional forces from the main land including fighters, Special Forces, Naval ships and heavy lift transport aircraft participated in the exercise.
  • The exercise included night para jumps at sea, slithering of troops from helicopters and amphibious landings of troops by ships.
  • The exercise was crucial as at present, Indian Ocean Region (IOR) witnesses the increased Chinese footprint. China has been participating actively in anti-piracy operations in the region. It claims that the Indian Ocean is not India’s Ocean.

 

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Appointments

B N Sharma appointed as Chairman of National Anti-Profiteering Authority

  • The government on Tuesday appointed IAS officer Badri Narain Sharma as the Chairman of the newly constituted National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) under the GST regime.
  • According to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), Sharma is an IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre of the 1985 batch. He will have the rank and pay of a Secretary in the government.
  • The authority under the GST regime has been constituted to ensure that the benefit of lower indirect tax rates are passed on to consumers.
  • The anti-profiteering measures were recently approved by the Union Cabinet and have been designed to ensure that the full benefits of input tax credits and reduced GST rates on supply of goods or services flow to the consumers.
  • Prior to his current appointment, Sharma was the Additional Secretary, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.

 

Soumya Swaminathan to take charge as Deputy Director-General of WHO

  • Soumya Swaminathan, Chief of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), will take charge as the Deputy Director-General for Programmes (DDP) of World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva in December 2017. The announcement was made on 26 November 2017.current affairs
  • Her appointment as the Deputy Director-General of WHO elevates India’s stature globally as it is the second-highest position in the WHO.
  • Swaminathan, a pediatrician by training, is daughter of agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan, who is hailed as the father of the ‘Green Revolution’.

 

Karen Pierce appointed as Britain’s Ambassador to UN

  • Karen Pierce was on 27 November 2017 appointed as Britain’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) with effect from January 2018.  Pierce succeeds incumbent Matthew Rycroft, who has been serving the position since 2015.
  • With this appointment, Pierce became the first woman to be appointed to this role. Previously, she served as Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and had served as Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in New York as well.
  • Britain’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations did not give any reason for appointing Pierce as new Ambassador to UN.

 

Former DEA Secretary Shaktikanta Das appointed as India’s G 20 Sherpa

  • Former Secretary in Department of Economic Affairs Shaktikanta Das has been appointed as India’s G 20 Sherpa till December 31, 2018 for the Development Track of the G20.
  • The decision came from the government as a result of suggestion from the Former Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to find a full-time Sherpa for G20 talks as India’s role is expanding in the global arena.
  • Panagariya was appointed India’s Sherpa for the G20 talks in September 2015. He had replaced the then railway minister Suresh Prabhu.

 

N Sambasiva Rao appointed as DGP of Andhra Pradesh

  • N Sambasiva Rao was on 24 November 2017 appointed as the Director-General of Police (DGP) of  Andhra Pradesh, despite the fact that Union Home Ministry rejected his candidature on earlier occasions.
  • Rao has been holding the DGPs post as “full additional charge” since 23 July 2016, while his actual position was DGP (Coordination). He is due to retire on 31 December 2017. However, with this appointment, he may serve the post for a full two-year term as per the state law.
  • Sambasiva Rao is an Indian Police Service (IPS) Officer of 1984 batch.

 

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Awards & Honors

Japanese Professor Hiroshi Marui conferred with 3rd ICCR Distinguished Indologist award

  • President Ram Nath Kovind on 27 November 2017 conferred the 3rd ICCR Distinguished Indologist Award to Professor Hiroshi Marui of Japan for his exemplary contribution to Indology.
  • Indology is defined as the academic study of the history, cultures, languages and literature of India and is a subset of Asian studies.
  • Professor Marui has spent over 40 years working on Indian philosophy and Buddhist Studies.
  • His many acclaimed publications and research papers are considered as a final authority on several subjects the world.
  • As the President of the Japanese Association of Indian and Buddhist Studies, he has made a significant contribution to Indology in Japan.

 

Ruskin Bond conferred with Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Renowned author and Padma Bhushan Awardee Ruskin Bond was on 25 November 2017 presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Chandigarh Literary Society during the 5th edition of Chandigarh Literature Festival.
  • He was conferred with the award comprising a citation and Rs 2 lakh for his outstanding contribution in the field of literature.
  • He was awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for ‘The Room on the Roof’ in 1957.
  • He has published several pieces of work since then including non-fiction stories, supernatural fiction, short stories, autobiographies, poems, essays and children’s books.
  • Some of his best works include ‘The Blue Umbrella’, ‘The Eyes are not Here’, ‘A Face in the Dark and other Hauntings’, ‘Funny Side up, ‘A Flight of Pigeons’ and ‘The Lamp is Lit’.

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Days & Observances

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women observed globally

  • The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was observed across the globe on 25 November 2017 with theme ‘Leave no one behind: end violence against women and girls.’
  • To raise a stronger voice against gender-based violence, a 16-day -long campaign will be held starting from 25 November to 10 December, which is the Human Rights Day.  The campaign aims to raise public awareness and mobilise people everywhere to bring about change.
  • The theme reinforces the UNiTE Campaign’s commitment to create a world free from violence for all women and girls, while reaching out to the most marginalized people including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters first.

 

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World News

International Multilateral Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise 2017 begins in Bangladesh

  • The International Multilateral Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise 2017 (IMMSAREX 2017) began on 27 November 2017 in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh.
  • Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff of Indian Navy, is attending the exercise, on an invitation from Bangladesh. The exercise will be held till 28 November 2017 under the aegis of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).
  • Indian Naval Ships (INS) Ranvir, Sahyadri, Gharial and Sukanya along with one Maritime Patrol Aircraft P-8I will be participating in the exercise.
  • Besides, an ‘Extraordinary Conclave of Chiefs (ECoC)’ meeting of IONS will also be held on 28 November 2017. The ECoC will be focussed upon the activities being undertaken by IONS in-addition to review the progress made by three IONS Working Group (IWG)- HADR, Maritime Security and Information Exchange and Interoperability.

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