This Daily Current Affair Capsule for 11th November gives a concise brief of important and relevant news from national dailies and government releases on PIB. Aspirants for UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. will find it highly useful.
National Important Current Affairs – 11 November 2017
■ November 11 is being celebrated as National Education Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of freedom fighter and independent India’s first Education Minister, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. He was awarded the highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 1992.
He wrote many books including India Wins Freedom, Ghubar-e-Khatir, Tazkirah and Tarjumanul Quran. In 1920, he became one of the founding members to establish Jamia Millia Islamia at Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh without the help of the British. Later in 1947, he was elected as the first education minister of the independent India, which he served till 1958. Under his tenure, he founded most of the major cultural and literary academies of today including the first IIT in Kharagpur, UGC Sangeet Natak Academy, Lalit Kala Academy, Sahitya Academy as well as the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the School of Planning and Architecture.
■ The Union cabinet has approved the establishment of an independent body, National Testing Agency, to oversee the conduct of high-profile entrance exams in the country, including the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) for students aspiring to join medical colleges and the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE-Main) for admission to the elite Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), twice a year. The 2017-18 budget statement had mentioned that the government was aiming to set up a testing body.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) will be an autonomous organization to conduct entrance exams for admission to higher educational institutions. The NTA will relieve the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and other organizations that now conduct nearly a dozen entrance tests every year.
■ Google honoured Anasuya Sarabhai with a doodle on her 132nd birth anniversary. Known as ‘Motaben’ in Gujarati, she was born in 1885.
Sarabhai’s name is remembered for championing the women’s labour movement in India. She founded the Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association (Majoor Mahajan Sangh), which is India’s oldest union of textile workers, in 1920.
Note that: In current times, Ela Bhatt is synonymous with Anasuya. In 1950s she came in contact with Anusuya Sarabhai and became one of her closest aides. Their relationship became the backbone of the formation of the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA) in 1972. She has been awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1977) and the Padma Bhushan (1986).
■ The Union Home Ministry has formed two new divisions to exclusively deal with emerging security challenges such as radicalisation and cybercrime.
The two divisions called Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Radicalisation (CTCR) and the Cyber and Information Security (CIS) have been formed after a merger of some of the Ministry’s existing divisions. The judicial division and centre-state divisions are also being rolled into one, similarly, the international cooperation and public grievances divisions have been merged too.
Hence, the Home Ministry will continue to have 18 divisions, each headed by a joint-secretary level officer.
Functions of the newly formed divisions of Home Ministry:
- The CTCR wing is modified from the internal security-II division, to focus on tracking and assessing the online reach of global terrorist outfits and devising strategies to counter their propaganda.
- The CIS division will monitor online crimes and threats, including cyber fraud and hacking, and suggest ways to minimise and fight them.
■ A centre-run pollution agency, the System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) has identified a late October dust storm in the Middle East and stubble-burning in northern states as the prime factors behind the ongoing air pollution crisis in Delhi, which is now showing signs of waning.
The dense smog layer, which kept the city shrouded since Tuesday, has thinned considerably and level of pollutants has dropped steadily in Delhi.
- Since 9th November, upper air winds have considerably slowed and there is now no trace of dust entering the Indian subcontinent.
- Note that: A dust storm, which swept across Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia in the last week of October and first week of November, had severely affected Delhi’s air quality. It was carried by relatively cool winds, after getting into upper part of atmosphere and reaching towards India.
Note that: The Agriculture Ministry has also issued an advisory to the state governments to create awareness among the farmers about the harmful effects of straw burning.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 11 November 2017
■ Pakistan has said it will allow convicted Indian death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet his wife, months after India had requested Islamabad to grant a visa to his mother on humanitarian grounds.
About Kulbhushan Jadhav Case:
Pakistan claims its security forces arrested him from Balochistan province in March 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy. In a rare move, Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April this year on charges of espionage and terrorism. Pakistan has repeatedly denied India consular access to Jadhav on the ground that it was not applicable in cases related to spies. The International Court of Justice in May halted his execution on India’s appeal.
■ The 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit is being held in Danang, Vietnam with theme “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future” from November 10. The 2-day summit will give an opportunity to tout the benefits of global free trade. US President Donald Trump also participated in the summit.
■ Utilising the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association (LEMOA) between the US and India, a US Navy tanker refuelled an Indian Navy ship in the Sea of Japan this week. INS Satpura, an Indian Navy stealth frigate, was refuelled by USNS John Ericsson, a US Navy tanker, as a Replenishment at Sea (RAS) activity which was carried out under Exercise PASSEX (participation exercise). This PASSEX, hoped to build on Exercise Malabar which was held between the three navies in July, and was requested by the Indian Navy.
Note that: A PASSEX like this arises when ships from two or more navies are operating in the same area and decide to take the opportunity to train together.
India and the US signed LEMOA in August 2016, giving the militaries of both countries access to each other’s facilities for supplies and repairs. The bilateral agreement was operationalised earlier this year, once the two sides exchanged the annexures listing the point of contacts and the authority chain to be followed.
Uses of LEMOA in past:
- During Exercise Malabar, the two countries had first utilised the LEMOA to transfer fuel from INS Jyoti to two US Navy ships.
- LEMOA was again used for accounting purposes during the training Exercise Yudh Abhyas in the US.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 11 November 2017
■ The GST Council meeting in Guwahati has decided to cut the tax rate on 177 items from 28% to 18%, thereby leaving only 50 items in the highest tax slab and offering major relief to consumers and businesses. This rationalisation of rates from the council, which comes into effect from 15 November, is likely to boost consumer demand, reduce disquiet over compliance costs.
In another relief measure, more units will be brought within the scope of a special tax payment window for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) called the composition scheme, and halving the tax rate allowed under it to 1%. The eligibility threshold for the composition scheme too has been raised to Rs 1.5 crore from Rs 1 crore now.
■ The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has simplified the Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by a Person Resident outside India) Regulations, by putting all the 93 amendments issued under one notification. This will significantly make it easier for foreign investors to invest in the country.
The new notification combines two regulations on foreign investments —
- FEMA 20, which involves investment in an Indian company or a partnership, or in a limited liability partnership.
- FEMA 24, which is an investment in a partnership firm.
The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) is an Act of the Parliament of India “to consolidate and amend the law relating to foreign exchange with the objective of facilitating external trade and payments and for promoting the orderly development and maintenance of foreign exchange market in India”.
It replaced the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA). FEMA Act seeks to make offenses related to foreign exchange civil offenses. It also enables a new foreign exchange management regime consistent with the emerging framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Sports Current Affairs – 11 November 2017
■ The BCCI has rejected the proposal by India’s anti-doping body NADA, to conduct dopes tests on Indian cricketers, stating that they have no jurisdiction to conduct tests on Indian cricketers.
There is no requirement for NADA to test its cricketers since the board is not a National Sports Federation (NSF) and its present anti-doping system is robust enough. The BCCI is compliant with the WADA Code. Since BCCI is an autonomous body affiliated to the International Cricket Council (ICC), it is only required to operate within the rules and regulations of the ICC.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 11 November 2017”
Q1. Which Indian city will host the first-ever Nordic-Baltic Youth Film Festival?
- A) Panaji
- B) Guwahati
- C) New Delhi
- D) Mumbai
Q2. The 3rd edition of international film festival “Russian Film Days” in India has begun in which city?
- A) Delhi
- B) Pune
- C) Kochi
- D) Chennai
Q3. Which Indian city has been included in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network for its rich musical tradition?
- A) Chennai
- B) Surat
- C) Lucknow
- D) Kanpur
Q4. Who hashonouredonored with the 2017 National Entrepreneurship Award under Mentor (Government) Category?
- A) Sheetal Salve
- B) Renu Swarup
- C) Prahalad Sharma
- D) Pankaj Gupta
Q5. Which country hosted the 2016 Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit?
- A) Peru
- B) Philippines
- C) Vietnam
- D) Malaysia
Answer these questions in the comments below. We encourage you to discuss your thoughts on the news and issues mentioned in today’s current affairs post. The idea is to promote healthy discussions on interesting issues to make preparation fun. Have a good day!