10 November 2016 – Current Affairs

RBI issues clarifications on Hedging for External Commercial Borrowings

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued the Clarifications on hedging for External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) in a bid to effectively address currency risk at the systemic level.
  • The Clarifications were issued by RBI under section 10(4) and 11(1) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999.
  • ECBs are commercial loans borrowed from foreign sources for financing the commercial activities in India.
  • It may be bank loans, securitised instruments, buyers’ credit, suppliers’ credit, foreign currency convertible bonds, etc. It should be noted that ECBs are not FDI.
  • In case of FDI, foreign money is used only to finance the equity Capital. But in case ECBs, foreign money is used to finance any kind of funding other than equity.

Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management adopted

  • The first International Agrobiodiversity Congress (IAC) held in New Delhi has adopted New Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management.
  • In the declaration, 900 participants from 60 countries have urged researchers and policy-makers to strengthen and promote complementary conservation strategies to conserve and use agro-biodiversity.
  • Nations must accord top priority to the agro-biodiversity conservation and their sustainable use towards achieving targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relating to poverty alleviation, food and nutritional security, good health, gender equity and partnership.

Union Govt launches Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana for entrepreneurs

  • The Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has launched Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana (PMYY) to scale up an ecosystem of entrepreneurship for youngsters.
  • The scheme was launched by Union Minister of State(I/C) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy to mark  2nd Foundation Day of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
  • PMYY is MSDE’s flagship scheme on entrepreneurship education and training.
  • The scheme spans over five years (2016-17 to 2020-21) with a project cost of 499.94 crore rupees.
  • It will provide entrepreneurship education and training to over 7 lakh students in 5 years through 3,050 institutes.
  • The institutes under the PMYY include 2,200 institutes of higher learning (colleges, universities, and premier institutes), 500 ITIs, 300 schools and 50 entrepreneurship development centres through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

Union Govt launches Healthy India Initiative magazine and No More Tension mobile App

  • The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched Healthy India Initiative magazine and No More Tension mobile App.
  • It was launched by Union Health Minister J P Nadda for promotion of health and to strengthen the health communications programmes.
  • Healthy India Magazine: It will be a quarterly magazine.
  • It will cater to health related information and raise awareness about healthy living. The magazine will cover different aspect of health including women and child health, elderly health, daily nutritional needs, seasonal ailments, safe medication practices and home remedies for healthy living.
  • No More Tension App: It will help users to manage stress and will also provide information regarding stress, symptoms and its management.
  • The application will allow user to measure their stress level and learn various techniques like yoga and meditation to reduce stress from their lives.

Union Govt launches Smart India Hackathon

  • The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has launched Smart India Hackathon 2017.
  • It is the world’s largest digital national building initiative.
  • Through this initiative, HRD Ministry is keen to reach out to all technology institutions in the country and challenge students to offer innovative solutions to some of the daunting problems faced by our nation.
  • The Hackathon aims to find digital solutions by harnessing creativity and technical expertise of over 30 lakh students from technology institutes in remotest parts of India.
  • Besides, it seeks to spark several institute-level hackathons countrywide and help build a funnel for ‘Startup India, Standup India’ campaign.
  • It is joint initiative of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), University Grants Commission (UGC), MyGov, NASSCOM, i4c, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhiniand Persistent Systems.
  • It will find digital solutions to problems in the areas of education, health, water, power, agriculture, finance, urban & rural development, energy, aviation & shipping, transport, sanitation, law & justice, sports, skill development & entrepreneurship, textiles, tourism, defence etc.
  • The initiative will help to institutionalize a model for harnessing the creativity and skills of youth for nation-building.
  • The Hackathon will have nearly 500 problem statements in all and will be published on innovate.mygov.in. In the first set of 250 problem statements were unveiled.

Donald Trump elected as 45th President of United States

  • Real estate mogul-turned politician and Republican Party candidate Donald Trump was elected as 45th President of United States of America (USA).
  • He will be the first President of USA without political experience since Dwight D. Eisenhower (34th President). Besides, he will oldest first term President of USA.
  • He will succeed Barack Obama and is scheduled to take office as the President of the USA on 20 January 2017.
  • In the 2016 Presidential elections, Donald Trump gained 48% of the votes and 279 votes in the Electoral College to defeat Democrat Party opponent Hillary Clinton who gained 47% votes.
  • Hillary Clinton had created history in this election by becoming the first woman to top the presidential ticket of a major US political party.

Union Cabinet approves India-Japan MoU for Marine-Earth Science and Technology

  • The Union Cabinet has approved India-Japan Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for advancement of academic research in the field of Earth Sciences.
  • The MoU will be signed between Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • The prime objective of the MoU is for the advancement of academic research in the field of Earth Sciences for the benefit of the peace and human welfare.
  • It will help to enhance needed exposure and hands-on experience to Indian scientists in the field of atmospheric and climate research, ocean technology observation and hazard mitigation.

Union Govt extends AFSPA in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh

  • The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • These districts are Tirap, Changlang and Longding.
  • They have been “disturbed area” under Section 3 of the AFSPA.
  • The Naga underground factions including National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah)/ NSCN-IM and NSCN (Khaplang)/NSCN-K continue to indulge in extortion, area domination, recruitment of locals and inter-factional rivalry in these districts.

India’s first LNG-powered bus rolled out in Kerala

  • India’s first eco-friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG)-driven bus was launched in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • The first pilot run of the eco-friendly bus was jointly flagged off by Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
  • The LNG-driven bus was rolled out as part of the Centre’s plans to use LNG.
  • Thus, it opens new chapter in the country’s transport sector which moves towards clean fuel.
  • The project has been a joint effort of Petronet LNG Limited (PLL), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOL) and Tata Motors Ltd.
  • As it is a pilot project, the LNG-driven bus will run on a trial basis and later after certification it will be launched for commercial application.
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