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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Current Affairs Update – 31 October, 2017


Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 31 October, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming IBPS PO, IBPS Clerk, OICL AO & NICL Assistant Exams.

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Banking & Financial News

HDFC Bank opens SmartUp Zones in 9 branches in Bengaluru

  • HDFC Bank has opened nine SmartUp Zones in Bengaluru.
  • A SmartUp Zone is an exclusive area inside the branch dedicated to start-ups. In the first phase, SmartUp Zones have been launched in nine branches in the city, catering to all the start-ups located in Karnataka.
  • The new SmartUp Zones were inaugurated by Vidhya Shankar, Executive Director, Grant Thornton India and Arun Mediratta, Branch Banking Head, HDFC Bank.
  • The branches with SmartUp Zones are in Koramangala, M G Road, J P Nagar, Whitefield - ITPL Road, Marathalli Junction, Indira Nagar CMH Road, BTM Layout, Jayanagar - RVS Paradise and Koramangala – II HSR Layout.

India, Italy sign six MoUs to boost bilateral relation

  • India and Italy on Monday signed six Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) across various fields to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries.
  • The MoUs signed between the two sides included Joint Declaration of Cooperation for Safety in the Railway Sector, MoU on 70 years of Diplomatic Relations, MoU on Cooperation in the field of Energy, Executive Protocol on Cultural Cooperation, MoU between MFA, Italy & FSI, MEA, India and MoU for Promoting Mutual Investment.
  • The MoU were exchanged following delegation-level talks between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni.
  • Earlier in the day, the two leaders interacted with Indian and Italian CEOs for boosting economic and investment cooperation.
  • The visiting dignitary also met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and discussed issues of mutual intrest.
  • After receiving a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan by Prime Minister Modi, the Italian Prime Minister said that both the nations have strong economic relations, common interest and are fighting against terrorism.
  • The Italian Prime Minister and his wife Emanuela Gentiloni also paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, at Rajghat.


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Union Government launches MSME Samadhaan Portal

  • The Union Government on 30 October 2017 launched MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise) delayed payment portal 'MSME Samadhaan' (http://msefc.msme.gov.in).
  • The portal was launched with an aim to empower micro and small entrepreneurs (MSEs) across the country to directly register their cases related to delayed payments by Central Ministries, Departments, CPSEs or State Governments.
  • The portal will give information about the pending payments of MSEs with individual CPSEs, Central Ministries, State Governments, etc.
  • The CEO of public sector enterprises and the Secretary of the Ministries concerned will also be able to monitor the cases of delayed payment under their jurisdiction and issue necessary instructions to resolve the issues.
  • The portal will help in monitoring the delayed payments in a more effective manner.
  • The information on the portal will be available in public domain with an aim to exert moral pressure on the defaulting organisations.
  • It will also empower the MSEs to access the portal and monitor their cases.

India, Tunisia sign agreements to boost bilateral relations

  • India and Tunisia on 30 October 2017 jointly agreed to enhance cooperation in various sectors including in the fields of renewable energy, infrastructure, transport and automobiles, textiles, agriculture, drugs & pharmaceuticals, healthcare, ICT, SMEs and energy.
  • The nations also agreed to jointly combat terrorism and extremism while boosting cooperation in the field of security.
  • The agreements were signed during the 12th Session of the India-Tunisia Joint Commission, which was held in New Delhi on 30 October. While External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj led the Indian delegation at the meeting, the Tunisian delegation was headed by Khemaies Jhinaoui, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia.
  • This was the first time India-Tunisia Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) was held at the Foreign Ministerial level.
  • The meeting enabled a comprehensive review of bilateral ties between India and Tunisia and also detailed discussions on how to strengthen them further.
  • The two sides also discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest.
  • The two sides have also come with a roadmap for India-Tunisia partnership to give a new thrust to bilateral relations.
  • India signed a MoU with Tunisia for establishment of Soil, Water and Tissue Testing Laboratory in Tunis.
  • Tunisia shared India’s concerns on terrorism and agreed to fight against terrorism, extremism, radicalism, drugs and organized crime and cooperate in the field of security including cyber security.
  • Both countries also proposed to reach the bilateral trade to USD 1 billion in the next five years, in order to expand bilateral trade and investment.
  • India called for greater market access in pharma and fertilizer sectors.

News related to India & states

India’s first indigenously built offshore patrol vessel handed to Coast Guard

  • OPV Vikram, the first-ever defence vessel to be entirely built in a private shipyard, was handed over by Larsen and Toubro (L&T) to the Indian Coast Guard, ahead of the March 2018 delivery schedule.
  • The vessel was indigenously developed in-house at L&T’s Kattupalli shipyard. Its entire design and construction processes have undergone dual certification from American Bureau of Shipping and Indian Registrar of Shipping.
  • OPV Vikram is the first of the seven vessels for which Ministry of Defence had awarded Rs 1,432 Cr contract to L&T in March 2015.
  • The vessel is equipped with modern weapon and state-of- the-art radar systems.
  • It would mainly be deployed for day and night surveillance patrol, search and rescue and in pollution response operations in exclusive economic zones of the country.
  • It will be inducted into service by April 2018 after completion of extensive trials of equipment and machineries.

Union Minister launches Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana in Mumbai

  • Union Minister for state for social justice and empowerment, Ramdas Athawale on 30 October 2017 launched the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana during the fourth workshop of ''Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana'' in Mumbai.
  • The workshop was organised by Pratishtha and Sanjivani trust. Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister stated that generic drugs for one and all are the need of the hour and we are glad to launch the same in our state. “This will be a revolutionary step in healthcare and we will also urge doctors to prescribe for generic drugs. This will help people save money and bring relief to the public,” he added.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an objective of making high-quality medicines available to all at affordable prices, especially to the poor and underprivileged, through exclusive outlets such as Jan Aushadhi Medical store.
  • The scheme would make quality drugs available at affordable prices through dedicated stores selling generic medicines.
  • The medicines, though lesser in price, are equivalent in quality and efficacy as expensive branded drugs.

India tops list of new tuberculosis cases in 2016: WHO

  • The World Health Organisation on 31 October 2017 released Global TB Report 2017, according to which, India has topped the list of seven countries that account for almost 64 per cent of the 10.4 million new tuberculosis (TB) cases worldwide in 2016.
  • India was followed by Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa. The report stated that an estimated 1.7 million people died from TB in 2016, including nearly 400,000 people who were co-infected with HIV, recording a drop of 4 per cent in comparison to 2015.
  • India along with China and Russia accounted for almost of half of the 490,000, multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases registered in 2016. Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis and a health security threat.
  • The WHO estimates that there were 600 000 new cases with resistance to rifampicin, the most effective first-line drug, of which 490 000 had MDR- TB.
  • Despite global efforts to combat TB, which saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and reduced TB mortality rate by 37 per cent, the disease still was the top infectious killer in 2016.
  • TB has also been reported to be the main cause of deaths related to antimicrobial resistance and the leading killer of people with HIV.

Carbon-free tourism initiative to be launched in Assam's Majuli district

  • The Assam Tourism Development Corporation(ATDC) announced to launch the Majuli Sustainable Tourism Development Project (MSTDP) on 2 November 2017 to encourage carbon-free tourism experience in the country's largest river island, Majuli.
  • Thirty cycles painted in orange will be launched as part of the carbon-free travel experience at Majuli. The objective behind the project is to create an environmental protocol for tourism industry in the island.
  • The MSTDP will be managed by Root Bridge Foundation which is an NGO promoting sustainable tourism practices in northeast India.
  • The Assam government had recently announced that Majuli will be the ‘first carbon neutral district’ in India and major steps have been initiated to achieve the same.

Appointments


Suresh Chukkapalli appointed as Consul General of Korea

  • Suresh Chukkapalli, Chairman of Phoenix Group of Hyderabad, has been appointed as Honorary Consul General in Hyderabad by the Republic of Korea, with consular jurisdiction over the state of Telangana.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, notified the same recently.
  • Suresh Chukkapalli will be given charge/invested formally on November 1 at a ceremony in New Delhi.
  • Now Chairman of Phoenix group, Suresh Chukkapalli, who comes from a distinguished family of entrepreneurs, was former Director and founder Promoter of Lanco Group and former Member of Central Board of Film Certification.

Vikram Singh appointed Private Secretary to President

  • Railway officer Vikram Singh was today appointed Private Secretary to President Ram Nath Kovind.
  • Singh is a 1997 batch officer of the Indian Railway Traffic Service.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved his appointment to the post for a period of two years, an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.
  • In another order, IAS officer P C Meena was appointed Private Secretary to Minister of State for Commerce and Industry C R Chaudhary.
  • Meena is a 2004 batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre.

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Shekhar Kapur Appointed Honorary Scholar at MIT Media Lab

  • Veteran filmmaker Shekhar Kapur has announced that he has been appointed scholar at the MIT Media Lab, an interdisciplinary research laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • “Proud to be appointed honorary Scholar at MIT. Start my semester soon. It’s going to be the most exciting next phase of my life,” Kapur tweeted Oct. 29.
  • The laboratory is devoted to projects at the convergence of technology, multimedia, sciences, art and design.
  • Kapur is best known for directing films like “Masoom,” “Mr. India,” “Bandit Queen,” “Elizabeth” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age.”
  • He is currently busy working on “Paani.”

Neelamani N Raju appointed as chief of Karnataka Police

  • Neelmani N Raju has been appointed as Director General and Inspector General of Karnataka Police on Tuesday.
  • Neelamani, a 1983 batch IPS officer is the first lady to be appointed as the police chief after Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG&IGP) Rupak Kumar Dutta retired on Tuesday.
  • Raju, was serving as the state intelligence head prior to her appointment on Tuesday.
  • Retired Karnataka Police chief, RK Dutta who had served for the post for 10 months was given a grand farewell at KSRP grounds in Koramangala on Tuesday.

Poonguzhali becomes first woman Sr DDG appointed in TERM, DoT

  • N Poonguzhali has become the first woman to be appointed as senior Deputy Director General, Tamil Nadu, Telecom Enforcement Resource Monitoring, Department of Telecommunications.
  • An Indian telecom service officer of the 1979 batch, she is an alumnus of IIT Madras, from where she graduated in Electronics and also completed her Masters in Business Administration, an official release said.
  • Her new role is in Telecom Enforcement Resource Monitoring under the Department of Telecommunications. The wing ensures that the telecom service providers function within the rules and regulations stipulated by the Centre.
  • She has 36 years of experience in the Department of Telecommunication and at Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd in various responsibilities. She also bagged the distinguished woman engineers' award by the Institute of Engineers, it said.
  • Prior to taking up the new role, she served BSNL as Chief General Manager, Tamil Nadu Circle, the release added.

Lists & Indexes

India jumps to 100th spot in World Bank’s ease of doing business index

  • India jumped into 100th place on the World Bank’s ranking of countries by ease of doing business for the first time in its report for 2018, up about 30 places, driven by reforms in access to credit, power supplies and protection of minority investors.
  • The report, based on data from the capital New Delhi and the financial hub of Mumbai, ranked India among the top 10 “improvers” globally, having done better in eight out of 10 business indicators.
  • India has for the first time broken into the club of the top 100 nations easiest to do business in.
  • India has also been adjudged the 5th best performing nation globally in reforming the business environment.
  • It also improved it's ranking in six of the ten sub-categories used by the World Bank to judge the climate of business ease in a country.
  • The multilateral agency has recognised reforms by the government in eight sub-categories.
  • Among these, the biggest improvement in rankings was seen in the category of paying taxes where India managed to reach 119th position from the 172nd position earlier.
  • The World Bank, however, did not specifically ask respondents about the implications of the Goods and Services Tax regime. While the multilateral body said that GST was not a majorly mentioned issue from the respondents side, it cautioned that the tax system would play out significantly in the rankings over the next few years.
  • In the protecting minority investors category, India is now the 4th best in the world, a jump of 9 ranks from the 13th place last year.
  • However, despite hoping to get a better ranking in the securing construction permits category, India's rank has only improved to 181 from last year's 184.

Days

World Cities Day 2017 observed globally

  • The World Cities Day was observed across the world on 31 October 2017 with the theme 'Innovative Governance, Open Cities'. While, the general theme of World Cities Day is 'Better City, Better Life'.
  • Every year, a different sub-theme is selected to celebrate the day to promote successes of urbanization and to address specific challenges resulting from urbanization.
  • This year's sub-theme Innovative Governance, Open Cities highlights the important role of urbanization as a source of global development and social inclusion.

Rashtriya Ekta Diwas observed on 142nd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel

  • The nation observed Rashtriya Ekta Diwas on 31 October 2017. The day is celebrated annually to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who has played a huge role in unifying the country.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to Sardar Patel on 142nd birth anniversary. Speaking on this occasion Home Minister Rajnath Singh appealed to the people of the country to resolve for ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’.
  • The Prime Minister also flagged off the ‘Run For Unity’ from Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi. ‘Run for Unity’ is organised to celebrate Sardar’s extraordinary vision and strategic astuteness. In 2013 he also laid the foundation of Statue of Unity as a tribute to the visionary leader.

Awards & Honors

Girish Karnad to be honoured with Tata Literature Lifetime Achievement Award 2017

  • Versatile actor and playwright Girish Karnad will be honoured with Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 on 19 November 2017. The award will be presented to the veteran actor at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point in Mumbai. The actor will receive the award as a playwright.
  • He writes in Kannada which is often translated in English and some other Indian languages.
  • He is also a proud recipient of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards.
  • Among other recipients of the Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award include notable writers Amitav Ghosh (2016), Kiran Nagarkar (2015), MT Vasudevan Nair (2014), Khushwant Singh (2013), VS Naipaul (2012), and Mahashweta Devi (2011).
  • Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award which honours distinguished writers in India will be held from 16-19 November 2017 in Mumbai.

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