• Current Affairs , 25th OCTOBER 2019

    • January 9, 2020
    • Posted By : upliftlife
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    1. Panchayati Raj Minister confers National Panchayat Awards 2019
    2. operationalisation of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor
    3. New Ambassador of India for various countries
    4. VP calls for institutionalization of DHRUV programme
    5. Foundation stone laid for sri Sathya Sai Sanathana Samskruti project
    6. Japanese Ambassador Mr Kenji Hiramatsu calls on MoS PMO Dr Jitendra Singh
    7. Ravi Shankar Prasad unveils new initiatives to mark first MeitY Start-up Summit
    8. Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2019-20 (Series VI) – Issue Price
    9. Police Commemoration Day in Guwahati
    10. MNRE clarifies in respect of domestically manufactured solar PV cells
    11. Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and St. Vincent & the Grenadines
    12. Kais Saied sworn-in as the President of the Republic of Tunisia
    13. Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan to visit Russia and Japan
    14. Russian forces heading to Turkey border
    15. Praveen Kumar becomes first Indian man to win gold at Wushu World Championships




    1. Panchayati Raj Minister confers National Panchayat Awards 2019

    ·        Minister of Panchayati Raj Narendra Singh Tomar conferred the national Panchayat Awards, 2019 at a function in New Delhi today. 246 Awards were given to awardee Panchayats and States in various categories for their best performance at different levels, including the delivery of services.

    ·        195 awards were conferred under Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar category, 20 Gram Panchayats in Nanaji Deshmukh Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar category and 3 Gram Panchayats in Gram Panchayat Development Plan Award category.

    ·        22 Gram Panchayats were awarded in Child-Friendly Gram Panchayats Award and six states were awarded under e-Panchayat Puraskar category. Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been incentivizing the best performing Panchayats as recommended by the State Governments since 2011-12.

    ·        Narendra Singh Tomar asked the awardees to act as ambassadors for other Gram Panchayats and share their best practices so that they could also move on the path of development. He said, to create a new India, all the 2.50 lakh Gram Panchayats must be developed. He said, in 14th Finance Commission, over two lakh crore rupees have been allocated to Gram Panchayats as against 65,000 crore rupees given under 13th Finance Commission.

    ·        The Minister also launched an App called ‘Gram Manchitra’ which is a Geo-Spatial based decision support system for panchayats.

    ·        Panchayati Raj Ministers from Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Assam and Tamil Nadu along with representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions across the country took part in the award ceremony. Panchayati Raj Secretary Amarjeet Sinha also shared his views on the occasion.

    1. operationalisation of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor 


    • The Government has taken the initiative to put in place the state of art infrastructure and open the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on the auspicious occasion of the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji so that the pilgrims from India and those holding Overseas Citizen of India Card can undertake visit to the holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.
    • It is a matter of disappointment that while understanding has been reached on most of the elements for facilitating the visit of pilgrims from India, Pakistan continue to insist on levying a service fee of USD 20 per pilgrim per visit. Government has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee.
    • In view of the long pending demand of the pilgrims to have visa free access to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib and in the interest of operationalisation of the Corridor in time before the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak falling on 12 November 2019, Government has today conveyed that we would be ready to sign the Agreement on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on 23 October 2019.
    • While agreeing to sign the Agreement, the Government of Pakistan has been once again urged to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee on pilgrims. India would be ready to amend the Agreement accordingly at any time.


    3. New Ambassador of India for various countries

    ·        Shri Upender Singh Rawat (IFS: 1998), Ambassador of India designate to the Republic of Panama will be concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Nicaragua, with residence in Panama city.

    ·        Shri Arun Kumar Sahu (IFS:1996), presently High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, has been concurrently accredited as the next High Commissioner of India to Grenada, with residence in Port of Spain .

    ·        Shri Godavarthi Venkata Srinivas (IFS:1993), presently Ambassador of India to the Republic of Senegal, has been concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Cabo Verde, with residence in Dakar.


    4. VP calls for institutionalization of DHRUV programme





    • The Vice President Shri M Venkaiah Naidu said that India needs a scientific renaissance and cultural revitalization as both science and culture were essential for any civilization to flourish.
    • Speaking at the closing ceremony of DHRUV, Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme that seeks to enrich skills and knowledge of talented children, the Vice President lauded DHRUV initiative and said that it would kindle the fire for excellence and innovation in young people.
    • Calling for institutionalization of DHRUV programme, the Vice President said that it should become a movement across the country. He said that there was also a need to create permanent forums like Science Museums, Science Labs, Dance and Music courses. “Theatre and art should be part of our school curriculum.  I hope the Ministry will take up this task in the future,” he added.
    • Stressing the need to create the right conditions in schools, colleges and Universities for the spirit of excellence and innovation to thrive, Shri Naidu said that greater emphasis should be laid on quality education.
    • Referring to the first batch of 60 DHRUV students- 30 of whom are exceptionally talented in science and 30 others are outstanding performing artists- the Vice President said that the collaborative efforts of DHRUV TARAS from science, mathematics and Arts streams under the guidance of their mentors will contribute greatly towards nation-building. “DHRUV TARA is one of the brightest stars in the sky. It serves as a guiding beacon to the travellers on high seas,” he said.
    • Under the DHRUV programme, talented students from science and performing arts from schools across India are brought together and mentored by experts to enhance their knowledge and skills. IIT Delhi in association with Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, NCERT, Sangeet Natak Academy, SPIC-MACAY and Center for Cultural Resources and Training, Delhi are involved in honing the innovative and creative skills of the students.


    5. Foundation stone laid for sri Sathya Sai Sanathana Samskruti project

    ·        The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind laid the foundation stone for Sri Sathya Sai Sanathana Samskruti Project at Sai no Sato, Kakegawa, Japan Sai no Sato will be developed as a temple on the lines of Akshardham and Swaminarayan Temple to promote Indian traditional culture.

    ·        Speaking on the occasion, the President said that in today’s world, where we are searching for inner peace and happiness, looking to bring communities and cultures together, places like Sai no Sato provide us the right answers.

    ·        We need not just one but many more such fonts of peaceful existence, where women and men can contemplate about self and society, individual and community and eliminate the distance between “us and them”.

    ·        In the evening, the President also attended a banquet hosted in his honour by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan   Later in the night, the President will embark his return journey and expected to reach New Delhi in the early morning .

    6. Japanese Ambassador Mr Kenji Hiramatsu calls on MoS PMO Dr Jitendra Singh

    ·        The Ambassador of Japan Mr Kenji Hiramatsu called on the Union Minister of State (I/C) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh, here.

    ·        The Japanese Ambassador has spent about 3 years and 11 months in India and his tenure in India witnessed unprecedented transformation of India-Japan relationship under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Mr Shinzo Abe.

    ·        During the meeting, the Minister discussed various projects from J&K, Ladakh and North East region. Dr Jitendra Singh mentioned about the training of Nursing Care Workers (NCW).

    ·        He said that under the Technical Intern Training Programme (TITP), 12 candidates from Jammu have been selected in Japanese companies. The Ambassador assured to extend TITP programme in North Eastern region with participation of Government of Japan. The Minister proposed that in future, 100 students can be taken under TITP programme from Ladakh as well, with 50 each from Leh and Kargil respectively.

    ·        The Minister said that a huge headway has been made in the level of collaboration in various fields such as bullet trains, nuclear, space technology and railways.

    ·        Dr Jitendra Singh said that Japan shares emotional and historical relation with India, especially in North East. He added that Japan has specialisation in food processing units. He said that there is huge potential for opening specialised food parks for J&K apples, cherry, strawberry and Ladakh berry, on the lines of citrus fruit parks in North East.

    ·        Dr Singh said that substantial engagement and investment has been done by Japan in North East under Modi Government, specially in the state of Manipur.

    ·        The Minister congratulated the Japanese Ambassador for his successful tenure in India and his contribution towards realisation of the vision of the two leaders. He mentioned that Mr Hiramatsu’s tenure saw some major achievements, such as conclusion of a bilateral Nuclear Deal (December, 2016), establishment of Digital and Health Partnerships (October, 2018), agreement on commencement of ACSA negotiations (October, 2018), agreement on Japanese Language Education in India and Disaster Risk Reduction (September, 2017).

    ·        The Minister particularly thanked the Ambassador for his contribution in establishment of the India-Japan Act East Forum which is an important mechanism for synergising India’s “Act East Policy” and Japan’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy”. Speaking about the Act East Forum, the Minister said that the Forum has brought all the relevant stakeholders together, and synergised towards implementation of ongoing and new projects in the North-East region.

    7.  Ravi Shankar Prasad unveils new initiatives to mark first MeitY Start-up Summit

    ·        Union Minister of Law & Justice, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad had unveiled a series of new initiatives by Ministry of Electronics & Information (MeitY) in the first MeitY Start-up Summit held today at New Delhi.

    ·        Shri Ravi Shakar Prasad stressed that there is great maturity of the movement called ‘Digital India’ today under the visionary leadership of Shri Narendra Modi.

    ·         He gave the mantra of “Reform, perform, transform” as the key focus areas for the Government. In India’s journey of transformation technology is playing a big role.

    ·        Digital India, Make in India, startup India, Smart cities are all technology based programmes designed to reform. He further articulated the idea of Digital India which is based essentially on 3 premises.

    ·        It is designed to empower, bridge the gap between digital haves, have-nots and finally technology must be low cost, developmental and produced in India.  For Digital India to be competitive the Government must also be competitive.

    ·        Towards this, entities such as NIC and STPI have to play a crucial role.  Buoyed by concerted efforts over the years Digital India is now having a global resonance with many countries wanting to emulate the model.

    ·        eNam, e-Visas, Digital payments all have shown tremendous maturity and growth. Stressing the importance of JAM Trinity he said with 1.24 billion Aadhar cards, 1.2 billion mobile phones are riding its own story of success in the digital inclusion.

    ·        Stressing the importance of startups he said that if India has to grow it can’t do without startups. He said that steps are being taken up to include startups in the e-procurement portal of GoI.

    ·        In an effort to percolate the vision of Digital India to reach the tier 2, 3 4 and mofussil towns of India 200 BPOs are now operating across India. Imphal, Patna, Malda, Bareilly, Jalgaon Ghaziabad are some of the places where these centres have been opened.

    ·        To strengthen the digital infrastructure in villages 1.25 Lakh Gram Panchayats have been connected by optical fibre. Today there are 1 Lakh digital villages with wifi connectivity and CSCs. He exhorted MeitY to come out with digital cataloguing of indigenous products with special emphasis on products developed by rural artisans.

    ·        To conclude he said India must become a huge centre of software products and hub for intellectual property. By harnessing the power of technology nobody can stop India from being a superpower.

    8. Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2019-20 (Series VI) – Issue Price

    ·        In terms of Government of India Notification No. F. No. 4(7)-B(W&M)/2019 dated September 30, 2019, Sovereign Gold Bonds 2019-20 (Series VI) will be opened for the period October 21-25, 2019.

    ·         The issue price of the Bond during this subscription period shall be Rs 3,835 (Rupees Three Thousand Eight Hundred Thirty Five only) – per gram with Settlement date October 30, 2019, as also published by RBI in their Press Release dated October 18, 2019.

    ·        Government of India in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India has decided to allow discount of  Rs 50 (Rupees Fifty only) per gram from the issue price to those investors who apply online and the payment is made through digital mode. For such investors the issue price of Gold Bond will be Rs 3,785 (Rupees Three Thousand Seven Hundred Eighty Five only) per gram of gold.



    9. Police Commemoration Day in Guwahati



    • Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri G. Kishan Reddy said that India continues with its policy of zero-tolerance against terrorism. Shri Reddy was speaking at the Police Commemoration Day organised by Assam Police in Guwahati today, where he asserted that Indian forces have been capable of thwarting all threats to India’s internal security and there have been a reduction in casualties of Police Personnel and civilians.
    • the ‘Smriti Parade’, Shri Reddy said that the entire country salutes our police forces, their families and remember with pride those brave police personnel martyred in the line of duty this day on Police Commemoration Day. Acknowledging the exemplary service rendered by Assam Police, the Minister said that in the several decades of fighting insurgency and militancy Assam Police have displayed great professional qualities, courage and valour in the conduct of counter intelligence operations.
    • “Assam Police personnel have sacrificed their lives in battle against militants and insurgents, tackling crime, ensuring security in the border areas, maintenance of law & order, apart from helping the needy in times of floods and other natural disasters”, the Minister said. Since 1964, a total of 879 Assam Police Personnel have laid down their lives for maintenance of law order & order in the state, he added.
    • Lauding with great pride the supreme sacrifices made by Assam Police Personnel, Shri Reddy said that it is because of them that the security situation in Assam has completely changed and they have ushered in an era of peace and prosperity with a fillip to investment opportunities in the state. The entire state is carrying forward the Vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi of Act East Policy in word and spirit, he added. The Minister attributed courage, sincerity and devotion to duty as hallmark of Assam Police.
    • While speaking to the media, the Minister appealed to all the remaining militant or insurgent groups of the Northeast to lay down their arms and join the mainstream where they can also contribute to progress of the nation. He added that everyone should abjure violence and in a democracy like India, there is no place for violence and that every difference can be sorted out through dialogue in a peaceful manner.
    • The Union Minister, DGP, Assam and other senior most officers of each rank present in the ‘Smriti Parade’ laid wreath at the Memorial column. During the programme, officers of the Assam Police Headquarters also read out the names of the Police Officers/Men who have lost their lives in harness during 01-09-2018 to 31-08-2019.



    10.         MNRE clarifies in respect of domestically manufactured solar PV cells





    • In a major decision that is likely to give further boost to domestic manufacturing of solar cells in India, MNRE has issued a clarification in respect of domestically manufactured solar PV cell.
    • It may be noted that a number of flagship programmes of MNRE such as KUSUM, have provisions for mandatory use of domestically manufactured solar PV cells. However it was seen that some manufacturers have been importing semi –processed solar PV cells (generally called blue wafer) and making final Solar PV cells with little value addition in India.
    • The Ministry has clarified that if diffused silicon wafer (generally called ‘Blue Wafer’) is imported and the same is used as raw material for the manufacture of solar PV cells in India, such solar PV cells shall not qualify as domestically manufactured solar PV cells, for the purpose of MNRE’s Schemes / Programmes. A solar PV cell shall be considered to be domestically manufactured only if the same has been manufactured in India, using undiffused silicon wafer (generally called ‘Black Wafer’).
    • This is in reference to the schemes/ programmes being implemented by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, wherein it is mandatory to use domestically manufactured solar PV cells and domestically manufactured solar PV modules, and also in reference to the Manufacturing-Linked-PPA initiative by Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd (SECI).
    • A solar PV cell shall be considered to be domestically manufactured only if the same has been manufactured in India, using undiffused silicon wafer (generally called ‘Black Wafer’),classifiable under Customs Tariff Head 3818 and all steps / processes required for manufacturing solar PV cell from the undiffused silicon wafer have been carried out in India.
    • If diffused silicon wafer (generally called ‘Blue Wafer’)is imported and the same is used as raw material for the manufacture of solar PV cells in India, such solar PV cells shall not qualify as domestically manufactured solar PV cells, for the purpose of MNRE’s Schemes / Programmes mandating use of domestically manufactured solar PV cells.
    • The solar PV cell manufacturing facility required to be set-up under SECI’s Manufacturing-Linked-PPA initiative should manufacture solar PV cells from undiffused wafers, as explained above.”





    11.         Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and St. Vincent & the Grenadines



    • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given ex post-facto approval to theproposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and St. Vincent & the Grenadines on cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine. The MoU was signed at New Delhi on 11thSeptember 2019.
    • The MoU will provide a framework for cooperation between India and St. Vincent & the Grenadines for the promotion of traditional systems of medicines and will mutually benefit the two countries in the said field.
    • It will lead to promotion and propagation of Traditional Systems of Medicine in St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Activities mentioned in the MoU will boost the importance of AYUSH Systems of Medicine in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
    • As a consequence of the MoU, exchange of experts for training of the practitioners and Scientists undertaking collaborative research in Traditional Systems of Medicine are expected to lead to new innovations in drug development and practice of Traditional Medicine.



    1. Kais Saied sworn-in as the President of the Republic of Tunisia


    • Kais Saied, a political outsider and retired law professor, was sworn in as Tunisian president after he won a landslide victory in this month’s election.
    • Saied’s win delivered a heavy blow to a governing elite accused of failing to improve living standards or end corruption since the 2011 revolution that introduced democracy after years of authoritarian rule.
    • Even with a large mandate, the new president has less direct control of policy than the prime minister and both will quickly face a series of tough challenges including high unemployment rates and fighting corruption.
    • “There will be no tolerance in wasting any millime (cent) of the money of our people,” Saied said in a speech.
    • He vowed to protect freedoms, saying: “Those who have nostalgia to go back to the old years only pursue illusions and mirages,” he added. Tunisia’s president controls foreign and defense policy, governing alongside a prime minister chosen by parliament who has authority over domestic affairs.
    • Tunisia has a deeply fragmented legislature in which the largest party, the moderate Islamist Ennahda, has only 52 of the 219 seats.
    • Saied wants Tunisians to elect small local councils based on the character of their representatives rather than party or ideology. They would in turn choose regional representatives who would choose national ones.



    13.             Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan to visit Russia and Japan


    • Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, accompanied by an official and business delegation, will be visiting Russia and Japan from 22-26 October 2019.
    • As a follow up to the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister to Vladivostok for the Eastern Economic Forum in September 2019, the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel will visit Vladivostok on 22-25 October 2019.
    • During his visit, the Minister will have meetings with Mr. Sergey Tyrtsev, First Deputy Minister for Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, and with Mr. Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft. He will also visit the shipbuilding Complex,Zvezda and the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project in Russia’s Far East. Possible areas of collaboration in other sectors like coking coal, and shipping routes will also be discussed.
    • ONGC Videsh Ltd, a PSU under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, had joined Sakhalin-1 consortium by acquiring 20% participating interest in July 2001. The project is one of the largest single foreign direct investments in Russia.
    • In addition, Engineers India Ltd. (EIL), another PSU under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, will sign anMoU with the Russian National Chamber of Engineers. The MoU will strengthen the symbiotic bilateral energy cooperation as the technical expertise of both organisations will help EIL in providing its services for upcoming projects across the hydrocarbons value chain in Russia
    • At the invitation of the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, ShriPradhan will visit Tokyo, Japan, from 25-26 October to participate in the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity (GFSEC) Ministerial meeting. Presently, Japan holds the Chair of this Global Forum.
    • The proposed GFSEC meeting will involve policy discussions.Further, the Minister will have a meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Mr. Isshu Sugawara to discuss issues of bilateral collaboration in the fields of energy as well as steel. ShriPradhan will also have meetings with Japanese steel industries to discuss strengthening collaborative investments in India.In addition, meetings of the Minister with his counterpart Ministers from other countries are also scheduled, on the sidelines of the Ministerial meeting.
    • India and Japan have lot of synergies in the energy sector. In the run up to energy transition in India to a gas based economy, India is collaborating on a big scale with Japan in the LNG sector, to inter alia, exchange best practices and to develop a flexible global LNG Market


    14.       Russian forces heading to Turkey border




    • Russian forces in Syria are heading for the border with Turkey today, to ensure Kurdish fighters pullback after a deal between Moscow and Ankara wrested control of the Kurds’ entire heartland.
    • Kurdish forces, who previously controlled nearly a third of Syria, have lost almost everything after Turkey secured the right to remain fully deployed in an Arab-majority area that was the main target of a two-week-old offensive.
    • Russian military police and Syrian border guards are to facilitate the removal of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters and their weapons from within 30 kilometres of the Turkish-Syrian border. This is being done as per the Sochi deal between Russian and Turkish presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, following talks yesterday. The withdrawal must be finalised within six days.




    15.       Praveen Kumar becomes first Indian man to win gold at Wushu World Championships



    • Praveen Kumar became the first Indian man to win a Wushu World Championships gold, beating Russel Diaz of Philippines in the 48kg category in Shanghai. The Indian saw off his Filipino opponent 2-1 in the men’s Sanda event of the 15th World Wushu Championships.
    • Praveen had earlier defeated Uzbekistan’s Khasan Ikromov 2-0 in the semi-final on Tuesday to set up the summit clash with Diaz.
    • Among other Indians in the fray, Poonam (women’s 75kg) and Sanathoi Devi (women’s 52kg) secured silver medals while Vikrant Baliyan bagged the bronze in the men’s 60kg category.
    • India finished third overall in the championship in event with a gold, two silvers and a bronze.
    • Wushu is a Chinese martial art which combines full-contact kickboxing, including close-range punches and kicks, with wrestling, takedowns, throws, sweeps and kicks catch.


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