Current Affairs 2016 November - Current Affairs Today Banking, SSC, UPSC
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November 2016 – Current Affairs and Quiz
30 November 2016 Current AffairsQUIZ
The Australians scientists has announced that the Great Barrier Reef suffered from its worst coral die-off ever recorded. The scientists stated that warm seas around the Great Barrier Reef have killed two-thirds of a 700 kilometers stretch of coral in the past nine months. The northern region of the reef had escaped with minor damage in earlier bleaching events in 1998 and 2002. Highlights : The reef suffered its most severe bleaching in recorded history, due to warming sea temperatures during March 2016 and April 2016. The underwater surveys and aerial studies revealed that a 700-kilometre stretch of reefs in the less-accessible north lost two-thirds of shallow-water corals in the past eight to nine months.Most of the losses in 2016 have occurred in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef. There is a minimal damage in the central and southern regions, including major tourist areas around Cairns and the Whitsunday Islands, of the reef. Bleaching of the 2300-kilometre long reef was one of the foremost reasons of the damage. Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, which in turn drain them of their colour.The coral uses the organic products of photosynthesis to help it grow. Therefore, algae are vital for them. The loss of algae makes the host vulnerable to disease, which will eventually make them die.However, coral can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able to recolonise them. Scientists estimate that the northern region will take at least 10-15 years to regain lost corals. However, they are also are concerned that a fourth major bleaching event may occur before that, which will impede the recovery. Earlier in 2016, the reef studies centre have also warned that if greenhouse gas levels keep rising, then similar events would be the new normal. The reefs, which take plenty of time to recover from severe bleaching, it is likely to lose large parts of the Great Barrier Reef in just 20 years. Great Barrier Reef : The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system.It is composed of over 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.The reef is so vast that it can be seen from outer space. It is also the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms.This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. In 1981, it was selected as a World Heritage Site. A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use. A study published in October 2012 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that the reef has lost more than half its coral cover since 1985.The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reduced the cash withdrawal limit from the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) accounts to Rs 10000 a month only with an aim to protect farmers and rural Jan Dhan account holders from money launderers. It applies to know your customer (KYC) compliant PMJDY accounts funded through deposits of new bank notes after 9 November 2016. Highlights : PMJDY account holders, who want to withdraw more than Rs 10000 a month, will have to furnish appropriate documents to prove why they need the money. The branch managers can allow further withdrawals beyond Rs 10000 only after ascertaining the genuineness of such withdrawals and duly documenting the details on bank’s record. Limited or Non-KYC compliant PMJDY account holders will be allowed to withdraw Rs 5000 per month from the amount deposited in new currency notes after 9 November 2016. These account holders can withdraw up to Rs 10000. These limits have been applied with a view to protect the innocent farmers and rural account holders of PMJDY from activities of money launders and the legal consequences under the Benami Property Transaction & Money Laundering laws. The decision comes after witnessing the rise in the activities of money launders following the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes on 8 November 2016. Since then, the banks have been dispensing the new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes along with old notes of Rs 10, Rs 20 and Rs 100.A recent research has found that astronauts may experience blurry vision and impaired eyesight after long spaceflights due to changes in spinal fluid that occur while in microgravity. The research was presented at annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), Chicago on 28 November 2016. The syndrome known as 'Visual Impairment Intracranial Pressure' (VIIP) was reported in nearly two-thirds of astronauts after long-duration missions aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Some of the astronauts experienced severe structural changes that were not fully reversible upon their return to Earth. The problems includes flattening at the back of their eyeballs and inflamed optic nerves, which can lead to far-sightedness. Longterm space flyers also had significantly increased post-flight flattening of their eyeballs and increased optic nerve protrusion. On Earth, this spinal fluid system is designed to accommodate changes whether a person is sitting, standing or lying down. But in space, the system is confused by the lack of the posture-related pressure changes. The research was carried out by lead researcher Noam Alperin, professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Researchers initially thought that the problems were due to changes in the way blood is distributed in the body in microgravity, with more fluid lingering around the head area. But this was later falsified when Alperin and colleagues studied before and after brain scans on seven astronauts who had spent multiple months at the orbiting space station.They then compared the scans of these seven astronauts to nine astronauts who made short trips up and back aboard the US space shuttle, which retired in 2011.They found that long-duration astronauts had significantly more cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain. This fluid typically helps cushion the brain and spinal cord while circulating nutrients and removing waste materials.The Supreme Court (SC) ordered all cinema halls across India to play the National Anthem before the screening of films. The apex court also directed that all present must "stand up in respect" till the anthem ends before the screening. The court also stated that the practice would "instill a feeling within one a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism." The direction was given by a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy. Highlights of the order : The top court also directed the cinema halls to display the National Flag on screen when the anthem is played. The Bench stated that it is the duty of every person to show respect when the national anthem is played or recited or sung under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1951. The Union Government, represented by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, agreed with the guidelines to show respect and honour for the national anthem and the flag. The court also issued a complete ban on the commercial exploitation of the national anthem and the flag. It banned dramatisation of the anthem or it to be used in any part of any variety shows or for entertainment purposes. It also banned the display, recitation or use of the abridged version of the National Anthem. The Supreme Court was hearing a plea to clarify when the national anthem should be sung. The PIL was filed by Shyam Narayan Chouskey seeking a set of parameters on what amounts to abuse of the anthem.Donald Trump, the new President-elect of the United States, nominated Seema Verma to the post of Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She is the second Indian-American to be placed in one of the top administration positions, only after Nikki Haley, who created history by becoming the first-ever Indian-American to be appointed to a cabinet-level position under any US president. Seema Verma will be expected to work along with the newly elected Health and Human Services Secretary- Tom Price. Seema Verma : Verma, an Indiana resident, is the founder and CEO of a health policy consulting firm- SVC Inc. She has decades of experience in advising on Medicare and Medicaid policy. Previously, she has worked for the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County as vice president of planning and also at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials in Washington, D.C. As the president of SVC Inc, she has been an advisor to many US states including Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Maine, and Tennessee. She has worked with various Republican governors including Mitch Daniels, the Governor of Indiana and Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky. She has also previously worked with Vice President- Elect Mike Pence, as she constructed his Obamacare Medicaid expansion model called Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, a policy carved for low-income groups.The Parliament of Thailand has invited Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn to be the new king of the country. The invitation completes a formal step for the heir apparent to take the throne following the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October 2016. As per the established procedure, the prince will have to accept parliament's invitation in order for him to be proclaimed king. Maha Vajiralongkorn : Born on 28 July 1952, Maha Vajiralongkorn is the only son of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.He was made crown prince at the age of 20 by his father. He graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in Canberra, Australia. He is a qualified military pilot and helicopter pilot. He also took an active part in military operations against the Communist Party of Thailand during the 1970s. He will be the 10th king of the 234-year-old Chakri Dynasty. The prince, who will be known as King Rama X, can only be formally crowned after his father's royal cremation, which will take place in 2017. Until the new monarch takes over, General Prem Tinsulanonda, the president of the Privy Council, will serve as regent.Senior IAS officer M. M. Kutty was appointed the Chief Secretary of Delhi. Kutty replaced K. K. Sharma, who was transferred to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development as Officer on Special Duty (OSD). The Union Government had sent back Kutty to his parent Union Territories cadre before the completion of the tenure of his Central deputation. Previously, Kutty, who is a 1985 batch IAS officer, was working as the Additional Secretary in the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The IAS officer had also served as the Principal Secretary to the former Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit. He has also been the Finance Secretary in the present AAP Government. Chief Secretary : The Chief Secretary is the head of the state administrative machinery. The position of the Chief Secretary has been there in India since the British Empire. The Chief Secretary was the second most important official in the colonies of British Empire, after the Governor. He was known as the Colonial Secretary. The Chief Secretary serves as Chief of all government staff in the state and is the Secretary of the State Cabinet of Ministers. The post of Chief Secretary belongs to the cadre within the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). The Chief Secretary of a state is the leader of the state’s administrative machinery, the Cabinet Secretary, the chief of the state’s public service commission as well as the principal Public Relation Officer of the state’s government. In view of the importance of the post, the post of the Chief Secretary has been kept out of the tenure system.The Union Government has announced that the gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of the Public sector banks (PSBs) have touched around 66 lakh 40 thousand in the three months period from July to September 2016. As on September 30, 2016 gross NPAs of the PSBs in the country rose to Rs. 6,30,323 crore as against Rs. 5,50,346 crore by end of June 2016. It shows increase of Rs. 79,977 crore NPAs on quarter on quarter basis during this period. The incidence of NPAs is high in sectors like infrastructure, power, road textiles, steel etc. So, the Union Government has taken sector specific measures to tackle the menace of NPAs. These measures aim at improving resolution or recovery of bank loans. They are enactment of Insolvency and Bankruptcy code, 2016 followed by amendment of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act (SARFAESI) and Recovery of Debt due to Banks and Financial Institutions (RDDBFI), Act. In addition, six new Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) have been established. NPAs are loans made by a bank or finance company on which repayments or interest payments are not being made on time. Thus, NPAs are any asset of a bank which is not producing any income and are also called non-performing loans. The loan is considered to be a NPA once the borrower fails to make interest or principal payments for 90 days. In case of Agriculture/Farm Loans, the NPA varies for of Short duration crop loan (interest not paid for 2 crop seasons), Long Duration Crops (interest not paid for 1 Crop season). Large number of NPAs affects the profitability & liquidity of the banks. It adversely affects the value of bank in terms of market credit and widens assets and liability mismatch. It results in inflating the cost of capital for economic activities and banks may charge higher interest rates on some products to compensate NPAs.According new data from Civil Registration System ( CRS) released by the Office of the Registrar General of India, Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) continues to worsen in India. The SRB has declined to 887 in 2014 from 898 in 2013. The ratio has been declining since 2011 when the figure was 909. Thus, Sex ratio at birth is still on the decline. The SRB based on CRS figures indicate the gap between registered male and female births, calculated as the number of females per thousand males. Highest SRB has been reported in Lakshadweep (1043), followed by Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1031) and Arunachal Pradesh (993). Lowest SRB has been reported in Manipur (684), Rajasthan (799) and Tamil Nadu (834). These states have worst SRB. The level of registration of births with CRS has been improving. In 2014, it is estimated that 88.8% births were registered, up from 85.6 % in 2013. 16 States/UTs recorded all births. 14 out of 20 major States crossed the 90% level of registration of births in 2014. The new date show that the majority of births in 2014 occurred in an institution i.e. government or private hospital. Institutional delivery accounted for 72% of all births. Another 14.1% births were attended by physicians/nurse/midwife. However, around 3.8% of the cases were still attended by an untrained midwife. While 38.7% of the total registered deaths had occurred in institution, 23.3% did not receive any medical attention at the time of death. Only about 8.0% of the deceased received medical attention from qualified allopathic professional.Myntra's chief technology and product officer Shamik Sharma has moved into an advisory role at the Flipkart-owned fashion e-tailer, sources told TOI. According to people aware of the development, he is expected to leave Myntraafter a four-year stint. Sharma is currently transitioning out of his role at the company while also mentoring other startups, it is learnt. His move comes at a time when Myntra is trying to re-position the recently acquired smaller rival Jabong amid talks of it being shut down as a separate entity. When contacted, a Myntra spokesperson confirmed the development. In addition to the acquisition of Jabong which has given Myntra clear dominance in the online fashion space. The company at present is also working to launch its long planned omni-channel strategy with physical presence. Myntra is likely to open its first offline branded store this year starting from Bengaluru, while it is also in talks with traditional retail major Shoppers Stop to sell its private brands, TOI reported in its October 17 edition.A former law firm receptionist Susan Kiefel is appointed as Australia’s first woman Chief Justice of Australia on November 29, 2016 by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. She will replace Justice Robert French Kiefel will become the 13th Chief Justice of Australia and the senior judge on the seven-judge bench She became the first woman judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland state in 1993. She is currently one of three women on the High Court bench and the longest serving judge after French.Private sector lender ICICI Bank will transform 100 villages into digital villages in as many days to enable villagers go in cash less banking and payments transactions. These villages, which will be spread across the length and breadth of the country, will enable villagers to use digital channels for banking and payments transactions . The bank continues to be a catalyst to accelerate development in our country. We strongly feel that technology can play an important role in putting development on a fast lane. By leveraging technology, we converted Akodara in Gujarat from a village to India's first digital village last year. Transformed into 'ICICI Digital Villages', villagers will be able to open bank accounts using Aadhar-based e-KYC and make cashless payments to retail stores through a unique SMS/USSD-based mobile solution. The bank also said that it would also set up end-to-end merchant infrastructure that would enable the retailers at the village to accept mobile based payments.Manipur Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh flagged off World War II Vintage Jeep Rally from Koirengei Old Air Field . Apart from nine vintage jeeps, around 30 to 35 motorcycles and cycles also took part in this rally which was organised as a part of the Manipur Sangai Festival. The main objective to organise this event was to spread a message of peace and reconciliation and evils of war. The event was organised by the Second World War Imphal Campaign Foundation and Manipur Tourism Forum and the Department of Tourism. The rally will culminate at the India Peace Memorial, Maibam Lotpa Ching. The participants were seen in uniforms of the Japanese and Allied Forces and carried the flags of India, Japan and UK which attracted the eyeballs of all. Former MLA of Heingang N Biren Singh, Chief Secretary O. Nabakishore, Special Secretary (Tourism), N. Ashok Kumar, President Manipur Tourism Forum and Director, IPR Meghachandra Kongbam also attended the flag off.The festival of Losar has begun in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir to mark the beginning of New Year in this Himalayan region. 10 day long festival began with illumination of religious and residential places and by visiting monasteries for prayer. Losar is Tibetan word for ‘new year’ and this festival is an important social and religious celebration in Ladakh. Following the old tradition, people from Ladakh visit graveyards of ancestor family members and pray for peace for the departed soul. Special food items during the festival are prepared to mark the occasion including guthuk, the soup with nine ingredients, khura are being served. People visit each other for exchange of Losar greetings. On third day of the festival is people wait for the night to see the first moon of the New Year In India, Losar is also celebrated by Yolmo, Sherpa, Tamang, Gurung, and Bhutia communities residing in different regions in the country.Asia’s first and longest cycle highway was inaugurated in Uttar Pradesh. It is also India’s first cycle highway. The 207-km-long cycle highway runs between Etawah and Agra. It was inaugurated by state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. The cycle highway has been constructed by the UP public works department. It runs parallel to the main highway. It is about 7-feet-wide and is separated by a divider from main highway which ensures the safety of cyclists. The track begins from the lion safari in Etawah. Along its path it dots 92 villages across the two districts. It criss-crosses the natural beauty of the Chambal and Yamuna rivers On its way it has tourist destinations like Naugava ka Quila, Raja Bhoj ki Haveli, and Bateshwarnath Temple.The 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which was inaugurated by noted filmmaker Ramesh Sippy on 20 November 2016, came to a close on 28 November in Goa, India. The inauguration of the event was also attended by the Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting – M Venkaiah Naidu and South Korea’s Ambassador to India- Hyun Cho. The focus country this time was the Republic of Korea. The festival saw the screening of over 300 films from as many as 90 countries across the globe and saw participation from several young filmmakers. It also hosted a special screening of award-winning films from the first-ever BRICS film festival and a series of 20 award-winning short films based on the ‘Swachh Bharat' campaign theme. While Poland’s official entry to the 89th Academy Awards, ‘Afterimage’ by Andrzej Wajda opened the festival, South Korea’s official entry ‘The Age of Shadows’ by Kim Jee-Woon brought the curtains down. Highlights : Legendary Korean filmmaker Im Kwon-Taek was honoured with ‘The Lifetime Achievement Award’. He has a lot of acclaimed pieces of work to his name including films like Chunhyang, Chihwaseon, and Mandala. Iranian drama film ‘Daughter’ directed by Reza Mirkarimi beat 21 others to claim the Golden Peacock award for ‘Best film’. Along with the trophy, the film also won a cash prize of Rs 40 lakh. The film’s male lead Farhad Aslani won the Silver Peacock for the best actor male. Best actor female award went to Elina Vaska for her role in Latvian film – Mellow Mud. Silver Peacock for best director went to Soner Caner and Baris Kaya, co-directors of Turkish film- Rauf. They also won a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakh. Lee Joon-ik, South Korean director of film – 'The Throne' won the special jury award. He was honoured with the Silver Peacock and a cash prize of Rs.15 lakh. The ICFT- Unesco Gandhi medal was given to the Turkish drama film- ‘Cold of Kalandar’- directed by Mustafa Kara. The film was chosen for such a prestigious award for its ethnic values and respect for the environment. The Apology’ by Toronto-based Tiffany Hsiung received a special mention in the Gandhi Medal competition. The Centenary award for the ‘Best Debut Film of a Director’ went to Pepa San Martin for her Spanish film 'Rara' and the Centenary award for 'Indian Film Personality of the Year' went to actor and playback singer, S.P. Balasubrahmanyam. Besides this, another main highlight of the festival was the premiere of ‘Bahubali: The Conclusion’ by national award winning director S S Rajamouli, who was also the chief guest of the closing ceremony. Also present in the closing ceremony were other eminent personalities such as Minister of Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore, Governor of Goa Mridula Sinha and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.The Delhi High Court held the son, irrespective of his marital status has no legal right to live in his parent’s house. Parent’s house means, the house self-acquired by the father/mother. In its judgement, the court said the son can reside in there only at his parent's mercy up to the time the parents allow. The judgment was pronounced Justice Pratibha Rani while dismissing an appeal by a man and his wife challenging the order of a trial court. The trial court asked the couple to vacant the first floor of his parent’s property in west Delhi. The order had passed a decree in favour of his parents, who had filed a suit seeking a direction to their son and daughter-in-law to vacate the floors in their possession. Highlights of the verdict : It held that the son and his wife were allowed to stay at their parent’s home when their relations were cordial and it doesn’t mean that they have to bear his burden throughout their life. It held that in the case where the house is self-acquired, the son, married or unmarried, has no legal right to live there.Bangladesh will honour the families of 1668 martyrs of the Indian Army who fought in the 1971 India-Pakistan war, which resulted in the liberation of East Pakistan (Bangladesh), on the event’s 45th anniversary. According to the Liberation War Affairs Minister A K M Mozammel Huq, families of all the martyred soldiers will receive Rs 5 lakh as a mark of respect. The amount would be handed over by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina during her visit to Delhi between 18- 20 December 2016. The amount in question would be given in Indian currency. According to Huq, Demonetization would not pose a problem to them. First Bangladeshi Taka would be converted into dollars and handed over to the Bangladesh High Commission in Delhi, who in turn will convert it into Indian currency and hand it over to the Prime Minister upon her arrival. Aside from the money, the soldiers’ families will also be receiving a letter of gratitude from the Prime Minister in Bengali, English and Hindi and a plaque. A book on the contribution of the martyrs will also be published. Besides this, Bangladesh will also be constructing a war memorial in the district of Brahmanbaria to pay homage to all the Indian soldiers who gave up their lives for the cause of Bangladesh’s independence. 1971 War : The India-Pakistan war was ignited due to widespread genocide launched by West Pakistan army against the minority Hindu population and Bengalis living in East Pakistan, which led many to flee the country and take refuge in India. Several Indian state governments including those of West Bengal, Bihar, Meghalaya and Tripura set up refugee camps along the border to provide safe shelter to the fleeing refugees. After repeated failures in getting a response from the international community on the matter, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared India’s firm support towards Bangladesh’s independence struggle and decided to go on war against Pakistan. Bangladesh was finally liberated on 16 December 1971.
29 November 2016 Current AffairsQUIZ
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently had launched the ‘Indian Police at Your Call’ mobile app at a national police conference held in Hyderabad. It was organised by the Intelligence Bureau (IB). The app is a GIS Map based interface for the citizens to locate police stations near to their current location so that they can easily reach the police station in case of emergency. The app was developed by Nation Information Centre (NIC). It has been developed on Android and iOS platforms. It was launched as part of the Digital India initiative aimed at the safety and security of the citizen anytime anywhere. The app provides the names of the police stations, distance from the place where you are and how much time it will take to reach police station one wants to go to. It provides the police station number, number of control room and also the SP office number. However, no mobile phones numbers are provided. It also promotes facility to “Tap to Call” any of these police stations and know the route and road distance to reach there.The book titled Conflicts of Interest: My Journey through India's Green Movement was in news in the last week of November 2016 as it was acquired by Penguin India. The book is Narain’s personal account. The book includes an “environmental manifesto” in which she lays out an outline for the direction India must take, if it is to deal with the exigencies of climate change and environmental degradation. In the book, Narain goes on to discuss how corporate lobbies and political interests often scuttle effective resolution of environmental issues. Sunita Narain : Sunita Narain is an Indian environmentalist and political activist. She is also a proponent of the Green concept of sustainable development. She is Director General of the India-based research institute the Centre for Science and Environment, Director of the Society for Environmental Communications.She is also the Editor of the fortnightly magazine, Down To Earth. In 2005, the Government of India honoured her with the Padma Shri.In 20009, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Calcutta. In 2016, she was named in 100 Most Influential People of Time Magazine.In 2016, she received the IAMCR Climate Change Communication Research in Action Award.The website Dictionary.com named the word 'Xenophobia' as the Word of the Year for 2016. According to Dictionary.com, there was a massive surge in lookups for the word 'Xenophobia' that was larger than any of the peaks seen in 2016. This rise in lookups was connected to attacks on foreign workers and overall rising xenophobia in South Africa. The largest spike in Dictionary.com’s data for the word was in the month of June 2016 with a 938 per cent increase in lookups. tymology of Xenophobia The word Xenophobia has Greek roots. The etymology of the word can be broken down to 'xenos,' which means 'stranger' or 'guest,' and 'phobos,' meaning 'fear' or 'panic.' What does the word mean The word has two definitions on the Dictionary.com: fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers. fear or dislike of the customs, dress, etc., of people who are culturally different from oneself. Earlier in November 2016, the word ‘Post Truth’ was named as word of the year 2016 by Oxford Dictionaries. The word was selected after research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries unraveled the fact that the use of the word post-truth saw an increase of about 2000 per cent over its usage in 2015.An aeroplane carrying 81 people on board including Brazilian first division soccer team crashed on its way to Medellin's international airport. The Brazilian soccer team was travelling to Colombia for a regional tournament final. The cause of the incident is yet to be ascertained. As per reports, about 25 bodies have been recovered from the site of the air crash, while five people were rescued alive. Three players are among the five survivors. According to Medellin's airport officials, the aircraft, which embarked from Bolivia, was transporting the Chapecoense soccer team from southern Brazil, which was scheduled to play the Copa Sudamericana finals against Atletico Nacional on 30 November 2016 in Medellin. Reports say the British Aerospace 146 plane declared an emergency at 10 pm on 28 November 2016 due to an electrical failure. This short-haul plane was operated by a Bolivian charter airline named Lamia.In an exclusive association, e-commerce giant Amazon is going to sell popular Indian dairy brand Amul’s products online in the United States. The alliance is a part of Amazon’s Global Selling Programme, which was launched in India in May 2015. It will bring the brand’s products within reach of American consumers. Initially, Amazon will only be putting up Amul Ghee and Gulab Jamun for sale but more would be following suit. Amul Ghee according to the website is one of the top stock units in its ‘butter and margarine’ category. This would mark the dairy brand’s first official entry into the online space in the US. Though it is already selling its products there through traditional retail channels for the past 20 years, this move would expand its reach to a larger audience. Amazon’s ‘Global Selling Program’ : The program is aimed at making it easy for Indian sellers to sell their ‘Make in India’ products to consumers across the world. It offers an end-to-end solution to each seller such as assisting them with imaging, logistics, tax advisory and remittance. It covers all sellers, including small and medium-sized enterprises, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and large brands. After the launch of the program, there has been a 70 percent increase in online sellers in comparison to last year. A total of almost 18000 Indian sellers have started selling globally across the e-tailer’s 9 global marketplaces. Some of the retail brands that fall under the category include Biba, Fab India, Himalaya, Organic India and Liberty Shoes. These sellers have to though pay commission equivalent to a local seller of the country in which they plan to sell.Lt-General A K Bhatt was appointed as the Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) on 28 November 2016 . Lt-Gen Bhatt will succeed Lt-General Ranbir Singh, who declared at a press briefing that Army Special Forces had conducted surgical strikes against terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir on 29 September 2016. While, Lt-Gen Ranbir Singh will now head the 1 Corps (headquarters at Mathura), which is one of four strike corps among the 14 corps of the 1.3 million strong Army. He will replace Lt-Gen Shokin Chauhan, who in turn has been appointed as the director-general of Assam Rifles. General Dalbir Singh Suhag and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha will retire from their posts on 31 December 2016. Lt-General A K Bhatt : Bhatt belongs to the Gorkha Rifles.He has earlier served in the Military Operations Directorate as a Brigadier. He is currently posted as the Additional Director General of the Complaints and Advisory Board at the Army Headquarters after he commanded the 21 Division in Assam.The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relaxed the cash withdrawal limit from the bank accounts with an aim to spur the deposits on 28 November 2016. The depositors, who have made the deposits in the current legal tender notes, can now withdraw that amount over and above the weekly limit of Rs 24000. This move comes as a relief for certain depositors who were hesitating to deposit their monies into bank accounts due to the current limits on cash withdrawals from accounts. The withdrawals will be available in higher denominations bank notes of Rs 2000 and Rs 500. The move will also encourage small businesses and shopkeepers to deposit cash in legal tender which they can withdraw at the same point of time. The Union Government on 8 November 2016 banned the legal tender of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes. Since then, this demonetisation plan has fetched Rs 8.1 lakh crore in bank accounts. On the other hand, around Rs 34000 crore had been exchanged till date. In terms of total cash withdrawals, around Rs 2.16 lakh crore had been withdrawn as cash till date as per RBI record of 27 November 2016.Amidst the confusion created by demonetization, the Indian state of Goa prepares itself to become the first state to operate cashless in the country from 31 December 2016. This announcement was made by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is also the former Chief Minister of the state, during a rally at Sankhali on 25 November 2016. The plan includes making even small vendors selling perishable goods accustomed to mobile payment. All vendors would be given Mobile Money Identifier (MMI) codes when they register at the bank. Customers would be able to make the transaction by dialing *99# and following the instructions that appear on the screen. The information to be filled by them would include their bank account details, the total amount that is to be transferred along with the MMI code of the vendor. The mobile required to make the payment wouldn’t have to be a Smartphone. There will be no minimum limit on the cashless transfer of money and these transactions will also be immune from any sort of fees. This way the money will directly be debited from the sender’s account and credited to the receiver’s account. It will take away the hassle of installing swiping machines, especially in the case of small retailers and vendors. A drive to educate people on the working of the same system has already been initiated in Mapusa and Panaji. However, such a move will not nullify the usage of debit/credit and ATM cards, as their usage will continue as usual and it also doesn’t mean a ban on cash transactions. The effort just aims to encourage the society to go cashless. According to Goa’s Chief Secretary, RK Srivastava, the state has an added advantage due to its small size. With a population of 15 lakh, it already has around 17 lakh registered mobile connections and 22 lakh bank accounts. Srivastava also added that most people in Goa already use debit or credit cards to make their purchases.The Union Government has decided to constitute a sub-committee of Chief Ministers of five states in the wake of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes. The committee will be headed by Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu. It will suggest measures to normalise the situation. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has called up Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Karnataka CM Siddharamaiah, Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis to be part of the committee. Since demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes was announced by the Union Government, Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu government has been effectively tackling the cash crisis in the state. He has come up with several alternatives to encourage mobile and online transactions besides distributing small change at vegetable markets as an immediate relief to the people. As a long-term measure, Andhra Pradesh government has roped over 90 lakh members from co-operative sector in villages and towns to undertake statewide campaigns on online transactions. Under it, as many as 5,000 women are being trained as master trainers to train 90 lakh women. The state government is also designing a mechanism that makes ordinary phones do money transactions. The government will distribute such phones to families which do not have one.Iranian film “Daughter” has won the coveted Golden Peacock award at the 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI). It has been directed by Reza Mirkarimi. It is a family drama set in southern Iran. It brings out intergenerational conflict between a strict father and a young daughter. Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore conferred these awards during the concluding ceremony of IFFI held in Goa. Special jury award: The Throne (South Korea) directed by Lee Joon-Ik. Best Actor Female award: Elina Vaska (Latvia) for Mellow Mud. Best Actor Male award: Farhad Aslani (Iran) for Daughter. Best Director award: Jointly-shared by Soner Caner and Baris Kaya for Turkish film “Rauf”. ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal Prize: Turkish director Mustafa Kara for his film “Cold of Kalandar”. Special Jury mention award: Tiffany Hsuig for the Korean movie “The Apology”. Centenary Award for the Best Debut Feature of the director: Pepa San Martin for the film “Ra Ra”.Akodara village in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat has earned the coveted tag of becoming India’s first digital village in India. The village with a total population of 1,191 people and 250 households uses a various cashless system for payments of goods and services. All transactions in the village are carried out through digital modes like SMS, net-banking or debit cards. The village was adopted by ICICI Bank under its Digital Village Project in 2015 and made cashless by adopting digital technology. The project was launched in January 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochar to mark 60-year-celebration of the ICICI group’s existence. All households in village have savings account in local ICICI Bank branch. The bank has provided training to villagers to embrace digital technology to reduce dependence on cash. The village has almost 100% financial rate and all mobile banking is done in Hindi, English and Gujarati languages. It also has its own official website. The villagers’ most important transactions selling agri-produce at the local market or mandi or selling milk at the co-operative society have been made cashless. It has primary, secondary and higher secondary schools equipped with smart boards, computers and tablets. It can be said that this village has become prime example of how e-banking can be practically implemented in Indian villages without much difficulty to make India cashless economy.Lewis Hamilton win his 53rd Grand Prix title , while Rosberg, Sebastian, Verstappen claims the second, third and fourth position respectively on November 27, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. After Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg win the Formula One championship with 385 points (9 wins) and Hamilton hold the second position with 380 points(10 wins) Rosberg become Germany’s third champion after Graham Hill and Briton Damon HillUS space agency NASA will work with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Space Agency to put communications capability on the UAE's Mars spacecraft Hope that will reach the Red Planet in 2021. Dr Gale Allen, NASA's Deputy Chief Scientist, in an interview to Gulf News said that the development is part of an umbrella agreement for collaboration between the two agencies. For the Mars probe, one of things that is very interesting to us is an opportunity to put communications capability on the probe. The importance for us is that we really want to send humans to Mars in the 2030s On the agreement, she pointed out that it was an umbrella agreement, which meant that NASA wanted to collaborate in future space exploration missions. The Hope spacecraft will travel more than 60 million km in its nine-month journey, coinciding with the UAE's 50th anniversary in 2021. The mission will be supervised by the UAE Space Agency and developed by Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), with support from international partners.The second edition of Windmill Festival– ‘India’s First International Children’s Festival’ is scheduled to be held on January 14th and 15th, 2017 at Reliance Jio Garden, BKC in Mumbai. The festival is a joint initiative of Event Capital and Tribe Asia. Windmill Festival Windmill Festival, is a kind of playful festival that has something to offer for the entire family. It is aimed at children of all age groups, from toddlers to pre-teens and the parents too! WindMill Festival was the first international children’s festival that was started in 2015 and the first edition was held in Bangalore that focused at the age groups of 0-3, 4-7 and 8-11. Similar as in the first edition, the second version of the festival will also include a day care centre, play areas, centre for robotics, centre for art, workshops, music and sports arena, and much more, to suit the needs of different age groups of children. Event Capital : Event Capital is one of India’s fastest growing live event Intellectual Property (IP) specialist company. It was founded in 2013. Over the past three years, Event Capital has successfully created and acquired over 15 iconic live event IP brands including the Bollywood Music Project, Windmill Festival, Bike Festival of India, India Kids Fashion Week, Manifest, The Edutainment Show and Fulcrum Awards. Tribe Asia : Brand Tribe Asia is an independent media sales agency specialized in travel, food and lifestyle media brands. It helps to reach the most dynamic and engaged audience across Asia through specialist media partners. Headquartered in Mumbai, Tribe Asia has operational offices in Bangalore, Delhi and Kathmandu.Pune-based company, Finkick Adventures is organizing the India’s First Underwater Festival at the Finkick Adventures SCUBA Diving Center, Divisional Sports Complex, Rahim Shaikh Road, Yerawada, Pune on November 27, 2016. To promote is awareness about the state of marine life and encourage people to conserve it. The underwater festival is organized for both swimmers and non-swimmers above 10 years of age.Regular passes are available for Rs. 1750-2500 while VIP passes for Rs. 4500. Activities organized include: Water activities and dive games exclusively for swimmers; Underwater-chess and hockey; Underwater obstacle course for certified PADI, SSI and CMAS divers in 15-feet-deep pool; Adventurous and underwater photo exhibition focusing marine life; Underwater scribble board to share festival experience Interactive session with professional divers, for folks who are good at swimming and wish to know more about becoming a scuba diver. Finkick Adventures is the first fully-fledged scuba centre in Pune. The company organizes scuba classes, Octopush game sessions, and other diving-related activities in Pune, in addition to conducting multiple outbound trips to diving international destinations like Andamans, Thailand, Bali, Sipadan, South Africa, Phillipines, Mexico, Turks & Caicos, and Kenya.Private sector lender RBL Bank, has tied up with non banking finance company Bajaj Finance, to launch a series of co-branded credit cards for Indian customers. The first of these credit cards is proposed to be launched in the fourth quarter of FY17. The co-branded cards are targeted at the large segment of people in metros and non-metros who have no credit cards. These will have many customer-friendly features, including no-cost EMI options, easy borrowing rates, digital payment solutions and more. The cards will also boast attractive offers and deals . With this partnership RBL Bank hopes to strengthen its scale of operations in the credit cards business, and also enable Bajaj Finance, to expand its EMI network, especially in the consumer finance space. RBL Bank will use digital and API banking technology to offer a flexible and seamless product to customers. On the other hand, Bajaj Finance will offer the co-branded cards to its sizeable base of 18 million customers, which the company said is growing at 25-30% annually. The co-branded credit cards will be available to both existing and new customers of the NBFC.Canara Bank and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance signed a corporate agency agreement for distribution of Bajaj Allianz's general insurance products through Canara Bank's network of 5,920 branches across the country. Under the strategic agreement, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance will offer its industry leading general insurance products to the customers of Canara Bank, Bajaj Allianz. A bouquet of personal lines of products such as Motor Insurance, Home Insurance, Health Insurance, Travel Insurance and commercial line of products such as Fire Insurance, Marine Insurance and Engineering Insurancewill be available through branches of Canara Bank. The partnership aims to provide enhanced customer experience by leveraging technology to augment the comprehensive range of third party products and services distributed by the Bank. This tie-up will especially benefit our customers who will get easy access to a rich bouquet of innovative products to cover their valuable assets created out of Bank finance and also benefit from the expert risk management knowledge of Bajaj Allianz Co. Canara Bank's widespread 6,000 branch network will help Bajaj Allianz to reach out to a much larger customer base and offer comprehensive insurance solutions in Tier - II and III cities and consequently help leverage the existing network of banks to increase insurance penetration.The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has set up two high-level advisory committees to gather inputs from experts, including on service providers and corporate liquidation. IBBI has been set up under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and is expected to soon operationalize. The two committees have begun their deliberations. The advisory committee on services: It will be headed by educationist Mohandas Pai. It includes National Stock Exchange Vice-Chairman Ravi Narain, SEBI Executive Director J Ranganayakulu, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy’s Professor Ajay N Shah and senior lawyer Amarjit Singh Chandiok. The advisory committee on corporate insolvency and liquidation: It will be headed by noted banker Uday Kotak. It includes Credit Information Bureau Chairman M V Nair, Corporate and Economic Research Group Advisory’s Chairperson Omkar Goswami and BSE CEO Ashishkumar Chauhan. IBBI : IBBI seeks to consolidate and amend laws relating to reorganisation as well as insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time-bound manner. It has been set up by the code to regulate professionals, information utilities (IUs) and agencies engaged in the resolution of insolvencies of companies. It has chairman and 10 members. Present chairman is M S Sahoo. There four government-nominated members.India hosted the golden jubilee (50th anniversary) celebrations of United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in New Delhi. The opening address at international conference of the golden jubilee celebrations of UNCITRAL was given by President Pranab Mukherjee. United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) : UNCITRAL was established by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 1966 to promote the progressive unification and harmonisation of international trade law. It is the core legal body of the UN system in the field of international trade law. It specialises in reforms in commercial law worldwide for a period of over 40 years. India is a founding member of UNCITRAL. India is only one of eight countries which have been a member of UNCITRAL since its inception. IT has a membership of 60 States selected from among States Members of the UN. In 2015, India was re-elected for a term of six years (2016-2022). Out of total 60 members, 14 are Asian states, 14 are African, 10 Latin American & Caribbean states, 8 Eastern European and 14 Western European and other States. These member states are selected to ensure the representation of various geographic, principal economic and legal systems of the world.The World Health Organisation (WHO) has dropped the term ‘counterfeit’ and retained ‘falsified’ to describe medicines of inferior quality. This decision was taken by a WHO’s technical working group on draft working definitions of substandard/spurious /falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products. It settles longstanding India, EU medicine dispute and battle about labelling of drugs. It is considered as a significant victory for the global access to medicines campaign. The above mentioned terms were used interchangeably to confiscate Indian made cheap generic drugs exported to other countries by showing that they were in violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). It was also alleged that big pharmaceutical companies were using term ‘counterfeit’ to describe generic medicines and disrupting trade of generic medicines especially from India. Even the European Union Free Trade Agreement (EU FTA) was derailed after affordable, safe-to-use generic drugs made in India were confiscated as ‘illegal’ and ‘counterfeit.’ Between 2008 and 2009, nearly 20 shipments of generic drugs were detained while in transit from India to several developing countries via Europe. Under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) — the definition of counterfeit was clearly targeted at one particular area. It clearly mentioned that it is wilful infringement of trademark on a commercial scale. However in reality, campaigns and legislation against counterfeit drugs often have nothing to do with concerns about drug quality. The major European and US pharmaceutical companies used these rules for vested interest by limiting competition from generic drugs. They were using increased enforcement of IP laws as a tool to clamp down on the legitimate trade in high-quality generic medicines between developing countries The adopted definition will use falsified and drops the word counterfeit. The term falsified is much more in line with public health concerns regarding medicines. It makes false claims about what they contain or where they are from, that represent a genuine problem. It clarifies that the term ‘counterfeit’ will now be used by member States with respect to protection of IPR. Settles a long-standing battle about labelling of drugs as for far too long, genuine generic medicines have been labelled as counterfeit. Removes confusion on the much needed attention from the substandard medicines — which is a bigger public health problem for developing countries. WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.Argentina won its maiden Davis Cup title after defeating Croatia in the final on 27 November 2016. In the final match, Argentina’s Federico Delbonis defeated Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to give Argentina its first title. As of 2016, the Argentina Davis Cup team has competed in the World Group since 2002 and reached the finals five times (1981, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2016). At present, Argentina is Number 1 on the Davis Cup ranking by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Davis Cup : The Davis Cup is the premier international team event in men's tennis. It is governed by the International Tennis Federation. It is contested annually between teams from competing countries in a knock-out format. It is described also described as the "World Cup of Tennis." The winners of the competition are referred to as the World Champion team.The tournament was conceived in 1899 by four members of the Harvard University tennis team. The competition first began in 1900 as a challenge between Great Britain and the United States.By 2016, 135 nations entered teams into the competition. The most successful countries over the history of the tournament are the United States, which won 32 tournaments, and Australia, which won 28 times. India was the runner-up of the tournament in 1966, 1974 and 1987.The women's equivalent of the Davis Cup is the Fed Cup.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has introduced the Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha on 28 November 2016. The Bill that amends tax laws seeks to impose a higher rate of tax and penalty in respect of undisclosed incomes. This amendment bill has proposed to tax at 50 percent the unaccounted demonetised cash that is disclosed voluntary till 30 December 2016. Highlights : It says, up to 85 percent tax and penalty will be levied on undisclosed wealth that is discovered by authorities after 30 December 2016. The Bill proposes a Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) 2016 wherein the unaccounted, now banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes, deposited in banks between 10 November and 30 December 2016, will be taxed at 30 percent plus a 10 percent penalty. A 33 percent surcharge on the tax will take the total levy to 50 percent. The Bill proposes to amend Section 115BBE of the Income Tax Act to provide for a steep 60 percent tax and a 25 percent surcharge on it (total 75 percent) for black money holders who choose to disclose after PMGKY ends. The bill also inserts a new section that calls for an additional 10 percent penalty on being established that the undeclared wealth is unaccounted or black money, taking the total incidence of levies to 85 percent.Former Prime Minister, Francois Fillon has won France’s conservative presidential primary, defeating opponent Alain Juppe by a landslide. He will be up against National Front leader Marine Le Pen in the final presidential race, scheduled to be held in 2017. His vote count amounted to about 69.5% in comparison to Juppe’s 30.5%. While Fillon’s political campaign mainly revolved around the promise of radical economic reforms, Juppe was more on the moderate side and warned of encroaching populism. Some campaign promises made by Fillon Cutting down on public spending Reduce immigration to a minimum Support for traditional family values Friendlier ties with Russia and its President- Vladimir Putin While Juppe’s ideology was more or less similar to that of Fillon’s when it came to the country’s economy like reducing the number of civil servants, raising the retirement age from 62 to 65 and ending the 35-hour work week, his ideology towards Russia was completely different, as he felt instead of extending a friendly hand, France should put more pressure on Putin. Juppe also had a more tolerant attitude towards the country’s ethnic, religious and social diversity, which probably played a major role in making him the initial favourite in the race. However, he lost out when there was an unexpected surge in Fillon’s supporters in the last few weeks. For Fillon, his toughest challenge still remains, as his opponent, Le Pen is running an anti-establishment campaign targeting mainly immigrants, France’s large Muslim minority and the European Union. Current President Francois Hollande is also yet to announce whether or not he will be running in the race next year. However, as far as the polls go, 62-year-old Fillon, who served as the Prime Minister of France from 2007- 2012, has an incredibly good chance of winning the presidential elections.
28 November 2016 Current AffairsQUIZ
The Board of Tata Steel voted to remove Cyrus Mistry as the Chairman of the company. The Board voted to appoint O.P. Bhatt, former Chairman of State Bank of India, as the Interim Chairman of the company. The company also stated that it has summoned an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on 21 December 2016 to remove Mistry and Nusli Wadia, who is an independent director, from the company’s board. Six Tata Group companies, namely Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Tata Power, Tata Chemicals and Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), have convened EGMs to remove Mistry as Director from their respective boards. Recently, the Board of Tata Global Beverages had removed him as the Chairman of the company. Earlier, TCS had also replaced him with Ishaat Hussain as the Interim Chairman. On 24 October 2016, the Board of Tata Sons Ltd had replaced Mistry as Chairman of the India’s largest conglomerate. Tata Steel : Tata Steel Limited is an Indian multinational steel-making company, and a subsidiary of the Tata Group.It was formerly known as Tata Iron and Steel Company Limited (TISCO). It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It was founded by Jamshedji Tata and established by Dorabji Tata on 26 August 1907. It was the 11th largest steel producing company in the world in 2013.The company’s largest plant is located in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. In 2007, it acquired the UK-based steel maker Corus. In 2014, it was ranked 486th in the Fortune Global 500 ranking of the world's biggest corporations.As per Brand Finance, it was the seventh most valuable Indian brand of 2013.Pink, the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Bollywood film, has been invited by the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations for a special screening at its headquarters in New York, USA. Directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and written by Ritesh Shah, the film- a modern Indian courtroom drama- highlights the issue of gender violence. It is by far being considered as one of the best works by the all-time Bollywood superstar- Amitabh Bachchan and one of the most successful releases of 2016. The film was very well received by audience and critics alike from all across India for its extremely realistic narrative. It was released on 16 September 2016 under the U/A category with four verbal cuts. It was specially screened for the Rajasthan Police, in order to train them to become more sensitive towards women’s rights and dignity. It completed a 50-day run in the theatres on 4 November 2016. The film is about three working professionals- Taapsee Pannu, Andrea Tariang and Kirti Kulhari- who share a flat in a posh South Delhi colony. Amitabh Bachchan plays a retired lawyer, who is also the neighbour of the three girls. It shows how the lives of the three women change when they encounter gender violence at the hands of an influential politician’s son and his friends. It also highlights the social stigma attached to women who are modern and less bound by traditional norms. The girls end up being accused of ‘attempt to murder’ and here enters Amitabh Bachchan as their defence counsel, who goes up against the odds to fight for their innocence.In a historic move, the Indian Railways and Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) have included ‘transgender as the third gender’ in the gender option along with male and female in the railway ticket reservation and cancellation forms. The decision stands for both offline and online booking. It was taken in accordance with the judgment passed by the Supreme Court of India in the NALSA vs Union of India case on 15 April 2014. The court then had directed the Union and State Governments to recognise transgender as the third gender and to grant them with all the benefits provided to the socially and economically backward classes. Acting on the same, a Delhi-based advocate Jamshed Ansari had earlier issued a petition at the Delhi High Court alleging that IRCTC is violating Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India by not including a ‘third gender’ option in its reservation forms. Ansari had also demanded that there should be special coaches and reserved seats for the transgender community in all trains, for their protection and care. His petition was however dismissed by the court, leading him to approach the Railways directly with the demand that such changes should be brought about in its reservation forms. The Railways finally acting on his representation have included the option in the tickets. National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) vs Union of India case : Momentous decision by the Supreme Court of India that granted transgender people the right to identify themselves as male, female or as the ‘third gender’. In the judgment, the court also granted transgender people the right to exercise their fundamental rights like any other gender category and reservation for them in educational institutions and jobs. The case was heard by a bench consisting of two Supreme Court judges – Justices KS Radhakrishnan and AK Sikri. Both the justices had declared that the non-existence of law recognising transgender as the third gender could not be used to discriminate against them in any field or sector. Along with creating reservations for them, the bench had further urged the Union and State Governments to take steps for the welfare and protection of the community and to eliminate the social stigma attached to them through awareness campaigns.The Jharkhand government has introduced a strict law against placement agencies to rein in those involved in exploiting people on the pretext of giving employment outside the state. The government framed ?Jharkhand Nizi Niyozan Abhikaran and Gharelu Kamgar (viniyam) vidheyak 2016 (Jharkhand private employment agency and domestic employee bill) which was passed by the assembly recently. The bill was taken up at the behest of Chief Minister Raghubar Das who had advocated strong action against such agencies. The bill is aimed at removing the stain of human trafficking from Jharkhand and to put curb on placement agencies involved in the act. Under the new act, licence or proof certificate is required for placement agencies, and they should take licence within 90 days of the notification of the act, including those existing before the notification, the release said. On functioning as a placement agency without registration or licence or involved in illegal human trafficking, the offender would be sentenced to two years to jail or fined Rs 1 lakh or both Those who violate rules under the act or flout conditions of registration proof certificate would attract one year jail and Rs 20,000 fine or both, the release said. Under the new act, the placement agency could not take any money from the domestic workers and make available employment details and employment registration certificate within a week. The placement agencies cannot employ people below 18 years of age and should keep details of every employee along with regulation of minimum wage, eight hours duty and double the wage on doing overtime and leave as per the rule.Assam's picturesque hill station Haflong will host the three-day 'Judima Festival' next month when tourists can indulge in a number of adventure sports like trekking, hiking, angling and satiate their taste buds by gulping one of the best traditional brews of the region. The theme of the festival, to be held on December 18-20, will be centered on preservation, promotion and nurturing of ethnic culture, music, dance, craft and folk-art of Dimasa tribals living in Dima Hasao district of the state. Cycling, hiking, angling, local sight-seeing, heritage walk and night trekking for an ultimate trekking experience that ends with a breathtaking sight of sunrise along the Barail hills are part of the initiative which is being undertaken to promote tourism, the organisers said. The festival has been named after the Dimasa traditional brew - Judima, which is one of the best brews in the region. The name has been chosen due to its uniqueness in taste, methods of preparation and integral part it occupies in every aspect of Dimasa social and cultural life. The festival is not only a symbolic celebration of the rich Dimasa drink but also to initiate the idea of an alternative means of livelihood to the local brewers, they said. There will be rock-music contest and a rejuvenation session for both mind and body through 'Guided-Meditation' (with instrumental music) for the visiting tourists. While Guwahati-based band 'Spreading Roots' will perform in the final night, Bollywood singer Papon is expected to be the show-stopper. The first edition of the festival held in January 2016 saw the conglomeration of cultures from different ethnicities which helped in further strengthening the harmony among various tribes residing in the hill district.Indian Navy’s seventh landing craft utility (LCU) L-57 was launched by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) in Kolkata, West Bengal. LCU L-57 is the largest ship of this kind built anywhere in the world. It is the seventh vessel in the series of eight LCU Ships being designed and built by GRSE for the Indian Navy. LCU L-57 is fully designed in-house by GRSE. It is designed for a maximum speed of 15 knots with an endurance of more than 1,500 nautical miles. It has a capability to transport two tanks or four special vehicles and 160 Army troops for landing in remote area. It can be deployed for multirole activities like beaching operations, humanitarian and disaster relief operations and evacuation from distant islands. It will be extremely useful for joint operations carried out by the Indian Navy and Indian Army for ensuring maritime security and protection of remote islands. It is best suited for protection of India’s island territories of Lakshadweep islands in the Arabian Sea as well as Andaman and Nicobar in the Bay of Bengal.Lt. Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa was appointed Pakistan’s new army chief (or Chief of Army Staff , COAS). He will succeed Gen. Raheel Sharif who has formally retired from service. He was elevated to the rank of four-star general by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The post of Army chief is the most powerful in Pakistan. The Pakistani army is world’s sixth-largest army by troop numbers. The army has played a prominent role in Pakistan’s politics since its independence in 1947 and so far has staged three coups. Lt. Gen. Qamar Bajwa : Gen Bajwa has extensive experience of handling affairs in Pakistan-ocupied Kashmir and the northern areas of Pakistan. He belongs to infantry’s Baloch Regiment. He has commanded the 10 Corps, Pakistani army’s largest corp responsible for the area along the Line of Control (LoC). He has also served with a UN mission in Congo as a brigade commander alongside former Indian army chief Gen Bikram Singh. Prior to this elevation to the top post, Lt. Gen. Bajwa was serving as Inspector General of the Training and Evaluation.The 51st Annual Conference of Directors-General of Police of States was held at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA) in Hyderabad, Telangana. The three day (from November 25-27, 2016) conference was inaugurated by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. It was attended by around 100 DGPs of states, Director Generals of Central paramilitary forces and their Inspectors General. The Conference focused on cross-border terrorism, infiltration and radicalisation of youth into Middle East terrorist groups like ISIS. Besides, it also discussed issues related to reforms in police forces, filling up of vacant posts in various police forces, menace of narcotics smuggling and human trafficking. It concluded with presentations made by the delegates on Challenges posed by Communication Technology, Technology Deficit in Policing and the threat of Radicalization. Prime Minister Narendra addressed the conference on second day and took part in the ‘Yoga session’ at . He also launched a mobile app Indian Police at Your Call. Besides, Presidents Police Medals and Police Medals were also presented to the officers of the Intelligence Bureau during the conference. This was for the third time since Independence that the annual DGPs conference was held outside New Delhi. It was held in Guwahati (Assam) in 2014 and Kutch (Gujarat) in 2015. The idea of holding the meeting of DGPs and IGPs outside New Delhi was mooted by Prime Minister Modi after he assumed power in 2014.The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced an incremental Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) of 100% for fortnight to absorb excess liquidity in the banking system following demonetisation. CRR is the proportion of deposits that banks have to keep as cash with the RBI (or the central bank). Banks do not earn any interest on CRR balances kept with the RBI. Banks have to maintain 100% CRR for incremental deposits they received between September 16, 2016 and November 11, 2016. The incremental CRR requirement will be temporary measure and it is within RBI’s ‘liquidity management framework’. However, overall CRR requirement will stay at 4%. The incremental CRR will be reviewed on December 9, 2016 or even earlier. After Union Government announced demonization of old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes on November 8, 2016, banks started depositing and exchanging those notes. The deposits in banks had swelled by Rs.3.24 lakh crore between September 16 and November 11, 2016. The last fortnight of September 2016 saw deposit mobilisation jump by Rs.3.5 lakh crore. It is intended to absorb a part of the surplus liquidity arising from the return of specified bank notes to the banking system. Thus, it leaves adequate liquidity with banks to meet the credit needs of the productive sectors of the economy It will only have a marginal impact on bank’s cost of funds since it was a temporary measure.