• Current Affairs, 8 November 2019

    • November 8, 2019
    • Posted By : upliftlife
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    1. Finance Minister announces special window to complete stalled real estate projects
    2. Vigyanika-International Science Literature Festival to showcase Science Book Fair
    3. First ever movement of container cargo on Brahmaputra (National Waterway -2)
    4. 5th Global Exhibition on Services (GES)
    5. A delegation from Jammu & Kashmir meets MOS for Home Affairs
    6. 96th annual convocation of Delhi University
    7. Manoj Pande, IRPS appointed as Member Staff, Railway Board
    8. Women Scientists’ & Entrepreneurs’ Conclave: An inspiration for new science careers
    9. Mission Innovation (MI) Face-to-Face Meeting of Innovation Challenges
    • 19th India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission
    1. Amit Shah inaugurates the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Joint Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search & Rescue (SCOJtEx)-2019
    2. Cabinet Secretary chairs NCMC meeting to review preparedness for cyclone “MAHA” over Gujarat and Maharashtra
    3. Matildas: Australia women’s football team in landmark pay deal
    4. China Open
    5. ITF to shift India-Pakistan Davis Cup tie from Islamabad to neutral venue





    1.Finance Minister announces special window to complete stalled real estate projects

    ·     The Cabinet has approved establishment of a ‘Special Window’ to provide priority debt financing for completion of stalled housing projects in the Affordable and Middle-Income Housing sector.

    ·     Briefing media after the Cabinet meeting, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said a Fund has been set up to rescue stalled realty projects.

    ·     The government shall act as the sponsor of the Fund and infuse up to 10,000 crore rupees. The Fund will provide relief to developers with unfinished projects and ensure delivery of homes to buyers. Ms Sitharaman said a total of 4.58 lakh housing units are stuck and around 1600 projects are stalled.

    ·     The move will help relieve financial stress faced by a large number of middle-class home buyers who have invested their hard-earned money. It will also release a large amount of funds stuck in these projects for productive use in economy.

    ·     The decision will also generate considerable employment, revive demand of cement, iron and steel industries as well as relieve stress in other major sectors of the economy. The Finance Minister said several meetings were held with stakeholders, builders, buyers, authorities, the RBI and other banks in the last two months.

    ·     The Cabinet has approved the Cadre Review of Posts and Telegraphs Building Works Service, Group ‘A’. The number of Duty posts was fixed as 105. The approval would result in strengthening of the cadre structure both at the headquarters and in the field units of the Department of Telecommunications and Department of Posts on the basis of functional requirements.

    ·     It was also decided that there will be no fresh recruitment into the cadre which will be phased out in such a manner that there is no adverse impact on the incumbents.

    ·     The Cabinet gave ex-post facto approval for the MoU between India and Bangladesh on withdrawal of 1.82 cusecs of water from Feni River by India for drinking water supply scheme for Sabroom town Tripura.

    ·     It has also given ex-post facto approval to the MoU between India and Paraguay for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism. The MoU was signed in New Delhi on the 27th September this year.

    ·     The Cabinet also gave its nod to the MoU between India and Brazil in the field of health and medicine. It is expected to be signed this month. The Cabinet approved the signing of the Protocol amending the Convention between India and Brazil for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.

    ·     The Cabinet also gave ex-post facto approval to the MoU between India and Switzerland on Technical Cooperation in the field of Climate Change and Environment. It was signed in Switzerland on 13th September this year.

    • The Government has given approval for the MoU between India and Guinea in the field of Renewable Energy.


    2. Vigyanika-International Science Literature Festival to showcase Science Book Fair

    ·        Vigyanika-International Science Literature Festival, being organised as part of the 5th India International Science Festival (IISF) 2019 at Kolkata, will also feature a Science Book Fair where more than thirty publishers will display their scientific publications.

    ·        IISF 2019 is an annual event organised jointly by the Ministry of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences and Vijnana Bharati (Vibha). The fifth edition of IISF this year is being held at Kolkata during November 5–8, 2019.

    ·        Vigyanika-International Science Literature Festival is being coordinated by the CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (CSIR-NISCAIR), Vigyan Prasar and Vigyan Bharati. The event would be held at the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre in Kolkata.

    ·        The International Science Literature Festival will be inaugurated on 5th November 2019 by the Union Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan. Secretary, Department of Science & Technology,  Govt. of India Prof. Ashutosh Sharma will deliver the keynote address while Dr Shekhar C. Mande, Secretary, Department of Scientific & Industrial Research and Director General, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) will chair the session.

    ·        Apart from panel discussions, invited talks, and paper presentations on themes related to science communication, public engagement with science, and science policy for science communication Vigyanika will also feature innovative formats of science communication such as drama, poetry, and magic. A Science Book Fair will also be a major attraction of Vigyanika.

    ·        The Science Book Fair is expected to feature more than thirty renowned publishers of scientific literature from across the country. Apart from scientific publishers, several scientific institutes and departments will also display their scientific publications, which include popular science books, encyclopaedias, journals, science magazines and various other knowledge products – a unique opportunity for the lovers of scientific literature in Kolkata.

    ·        Apart from a display of scientific literature, the Science Book Fair will be interspersed with exciting events such as release of new books, meetings with authors, and science storytelling sessions. Two competitions are also being organized as part of the Science Book Fair. These include a debate competition and a competition to draw the best cartoon on a scientific topic.

    ·        Children, teachers, innovators, scientists, academicians, craftsmen and entrepreneurs are invited to this grand India International Science Festival. And those with an interest in science literature, popular science books and various other formats of science communication should not miss this opportunity to visit the Science Book Fair at the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre, Kolkata during November 5-7, 2019.

    3. First ever movement of container cargo on Brahmaputra (National Waterway -2)


    • In line with Government’s focus on improving connectivity to the North Eastern Region (NER), a landmark container cargo consignment will sail on inland waterways from Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) to the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) terminal at Pandu in Guwahati.
    • Shri Gopal Krishna, Secretary (Shipping) will flag off the inland vessel MV Maheshwari carrying 53 TEUs (containers) of petrochemicals, edible oil and beverage etc. The 12-15 days voyage will be an integrated IWT movement via National Waterway-1 (river Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and NW-2 (river Brahmaputra). This is the first ever containerised cargo movement on this Inland Water Transport (IWT) route. The 1425 km long movement is expected to establish the technical and commercial viability of IWT mode using these multiple waterways even as a series of pilot movements are planned on the stretch. The latest IWT movement is aimed at providing a fillip to North East Region’s industrial development by opening up an alternate route for transportation of raw material and finished goods.
    • Taking ahead the Government’s vision  of promoting IWT, the first consignment of containerized cargo on National Waterway-1 (Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system) was received by the Prime Minister on 12 November 2018 when he  dedicated to the nation, the Multi Modal Terminal at Varanasi. IWT on NW-1 has witnessed healthy growth with the augmentation of navigation capacity of Ganga under Jal Marg Vikas Project .
    • The traffic on NW-1 has grown from 5.48 million tonne in 2017-18 to 6.79 million tonne in 2018-19. Out of the total traffic of 6.79 million tonne on NW-1, approximately 3.15 million tonne is the EXIM trade between India and Bangladesh using the Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes.
    • The Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) between India and Bangladesh allows mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of their waterways for movement of goods between the two countries by vessels of both countries.
    • The IBP route extends from Kolkata (India) on NW-1 to Silghat (Assam) on NW-2 (River Brahmaputra) and Karimganj (Assam) on NW-16 (River Barak).Two stretches of Bangladesh inland waterways viz. Sirajganj–Daikhawa & Ashuganj-Zakiganj on the IBP route are being developed at a total cost of Rs 305.84 Cr. on 80:20 cost sharing basis (80% being borne by India & 20% by Bangladesh).
    • The development of these two stretches is expected to provide seamless navigation to and from North East India through waterways via the IBP route. The contracts for dredging on the two stretches have been awarded for achieving and maintaining requisite depth .
    • In addition to the above, India and Bangladesh have taken major steps to enhance utilization of waterways in the recent past. These include agreement on declaration of additional Ports of Call under PIWT&T at Kolaghat, Dhulian, Maia, Sonamura in India, and Chilmari, Rajshahi, Sultanganj, Daukhandi in Bangladesh. Both countries have also agreed on the following:-
    • Badarpur as an extended port of call of Karimganj (Assam, India) and Ghorasal of Ashuganj in Bangladesh.
    • Tribeni as an extended port of call of Kolkata, India and Muktarpur of Pangaon in Bangladesh.
    • Protocol route no.5 & 6 i.e. Rajshahi-Godagari- Dhulian to be extended upto Aricha (Bangladesh).
    • Inclusion of Daudkhandi-Sonamura stretch on Gumti river as new route no. 9 & 10.


    1. 5th Global Exhibition on Services (GES)



    • Union Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways, Piyush Goyal, will launch the curtain raiser of 5th Global Exhibition on Services (GES) in New Delhi on 5thNovember 2019. The exhibition will be held in Bengaluru from 26th – 28th November 2019.
    • The curtain raiser will be a prelude to the main GES and showcase the planned activities over the span of three days of Global Exhibition on Services 2019 and the expected outcomes of the exhibition. The event is expected to be attended by the heads of foreign diplomatic missions in India, line ministries, Indian State Governments, associations and private service industry players from around 100 countries.
    • Four editions of GES have already been held. The event is organised by Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry in partnership with Services Export Promotion Council and the Confederation of Indian Industry.

    This initiative will enhance the competitiveness of India’s service sectors through the implementation of focused and monitored Action Plans. These sectors include some of the largest and most critical sectors with the highest potential for global trade and investment, growth and employment. The objective is to give focused attention to the following 12 identified Champion Services Sectors for promoting their development and realizing their potential:




    1.   Accounting & Finance 7. Media & Entertainment
    2.   IT & ITES 8. Health & Wellness
    3.   Infra & Construction 9. Legal
    4.   Transport & Logistics 10.Banking, Financial & Insurance
    5.   Communications 11.Tourism & Hospitality
    6.   Education 12. Environment



    • GES 2019 will host focused knowledge sessions on key Champion Services Sectors and will cater to many B2B, B2G and B2C meetings.
    • Highlights of GES 2019
    • Focus on increasing ‘trade in services’
    • Showcasing 12 Champion Services Sectors
    • Over 500 participants from 100 countries
    • Knowledge Sessions focussed on Champion Services Sectors
    • States/Theme Pavilions
    • Huge participation of overseas delegates
    • Overseas delegations led by industry leaders
    • Release of Report on Services Sectors
    • Avenues for partnerships through B2B, B2G, G2G meetings
    • Studio Talks
    • Display of Culture & Cuisine
    • Food Festivals, Cultural Evenings, Networking Dinners


    • The ‘India Services’ brand was created by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to represent the services sector of India. The services sector having overtaken agriculture and manufacturing in terms of growth and size is a key driver of global trade and a very valuable source of employment.



    5. A delegation from Jammu & Kashmir meets MOS for Home Affairs, Shri G. Kishan Reddy



    • A delegation from Jammu & Kashmir met Shri G. Kishan Reddy, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs here today.  The delegation included Sarpanches, Moulvies, representatives of J&K Progressive People’s Front, Pahadi Youths Association, J&K Peace Foundation, All J&K State Pasmanda Sabka Development Welfare Society, All J&K Auto Union and Chairman, Block Development Council of  Anantnag, Baramulla, Kulgam.
    • During discussions, Shri G. Kishan Reddy explained to the representatives from J&K the steps taken by the Union Government to protect the people of the state from any incidents of violence in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 and the plans to spur peace and prosperity in the region.  It was mentioned that decision of the Union Government will enable the people to access and enjoy the same rights, same privileges and same facilities as their fellow citizens in the rest of the country.
    • The people of Jammu & Kashmir will now have access to Central schemes and benefits. The decision will now lead to private investments in education, health and tourism that will give create jobs and bring economic prosperity for the State. Shri Reddy reassured the representatives that nobody’s land would be taken away and government will use its own land for the establishment of hospitals, educational institutions, industries etc.  Shri Reddy also informed the delegation that now onwards the provisions of the 73rdand 74th Constitutional (Amendment) Acts would be applicable to Jammu & Kashmir and this would serve to empower local governance and Panchayati Raj institutions in J&K.
    • Further, the people of the State will have access to progressive and egalitarian laws – access to public information through the Right to Information Act; reservations in education and employment and other facilities for traditionally deprived communities.   The tourism potential of the State will be fully realized and investment in tourist infrastructure and hotels will create more jobs, he added.
    • Shri Reddy urged the representatives that it would be their responsibility to ensure that the benefits of various government schemes would reach the correct beneficiaries and that an atmosphere of peace and prosperity is maintained.
    • The representatives from J&K handed over a Memorandum to Union MOS (Home) seeking support for certain development projects for the UT of J&K. They also suggested certain Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) for restoration of normalcy.
    • These include special employment package, promotion of sports as a process of peace building, including some cities of J&K under “Smart Cities Mission” of the Union Government, development of ring-road projects etc.   Shri Reddy mentioned that the Government of India is fully committed towards the development of J&K and assured them that all their suggestions will be quickly examined in consultation with the concerned Ministries and all possible support will be extended so that people of J&K benefit from it.


    6. 96th annual convocation of Delhi University



    • Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’graced and addressed the 96th annual convocation of Delhi University in New Delhi today.  On this occasion Prof. D. P. Singh, Chairman, University Grants Commission & Prof. Yogesh Kumar Tyagi, Vice Chancellor, University of Delhi were also present.
    • About 3.0 Lakhs in absentia and 592 doctoral degrees, 86 D.M./M. Ch. Degrees in person along with more than 305 medal/Prizes were awarded to the students of the University in this Annual Convocation. Degrees for two academic years 2017-18 and 2018-19 were awarded in the Convocation.
    • Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” lauded the outstanding performance of the students and efforts of all involved in taking this institution to high levels of eminence. Minister encouraged the students to be honest, fearless and bold towards achieving their goals. He  enthused the students with new level of energy, fresh enthusiasm and novel direction. Shri Nishank also congratulated the University for its achievements and wished many more laurels in soon to arrive 100th year of its establishment in 2022.
    • Vice Chancellor of University of Delhi Prof. Yogesh Kumar Tyagi congratulated all the awardees and said that ever since its establishment in 1922, the University of Delhi has been demonstrating consistent progress. It began with about 750 students. Today, it has almost 7 lakh students. The Delhi University alumni family is not only huge but also prodigious and awe-inspiring. Both the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Justice of India are distinguished alumni of our University. In the fitness of things therefore Delhi University holds the twenty-first position in World QS Rankings in respect to the criterion of the alumni strength with a score of 96.6 per cent. We are proud of our family and we wish them all the best!


    7. Manoj Pande, IRPS appointed as Member Staff, Railway Board


    • Shri Manoj Pande, Indian Railways Personnel Service (IRPS) (1981 CS Exam) has taken over as Member Staff, Railway Board and ex-officio Secretary to Govt. of India on 2ndNovember, 2019. Prior to this, he was working as Director General, Personnel, Railway Board.
    • During his long career, Shri Pande has worked in various capacities in different Railways beginning with Central Railway and in Diesel Locomotive Works, Western Railway, West Central Railway, South Central Railway and South Eastern Railway.  He was the Principal Chief Personnel Officer for over 12 years in three different Zonal Railways – West Central Railway, South Central Railway and South Eastern Railway.  He was Executive Director/Adviser (Training & MPP) in Railway Board prior to his promotion as Additional Member (Staff) in January, 2017.
    • He also has the unique distinction of being the first Divisional Personnel Officer of a new Division (Bhopal) and first Chief Personnel Officer of a new Railway (West Central Railway).  In all these assignments, simplification of procedures was done besides staff welfare initiatives.
    • He is a Post Graduate in Economics from Delhi School of Economics, MBA (Specialization in HR), L.L.B. and has a Diploma in Russian language from JNU.   He has a keen interest in Railway Heritage and History and has written several articles on the subject.  He was also the winner of Rs.50 lakhs in the KBC 2007.




    8. Women Scientists’ & Entrepreneurs’ Conclave: An inspiration for new science careers


    • A chance to meet some of the top women leaders in science from India and abroad, grass root innovators awaits visitors at the Women Scientists’ and Entrepreneurs’ Conclave of the India International Science Festival (IISF) at Kolkata.
    • The third edition of women scientists’ conclave to be organized on November 7-8, 2019 at Biswa Bangla Convention Center is an effort to inspire young women to take up careers in Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship and help them get exposed to opportunities in the field. It celebrates women in science and also paves a way for more women to be part of a larger scientific community.
    • Apart from sessions like ‘Stellar Women In Global Science’, ‘Women In STEMM: Opportunities and Challenges for New India’, that were witnessed in the previous years of the conclave, this year has brought together three new sessions; Women leaders and achievers in science, technology and innovation for risen India, Women in Science, technology and innovation—an international perspective and a session for grassroot women.
    • The Women leaders and achievers in science, technology and innovation for risen India session seeks to promote women in higher research careers in science and technology. The main attraction of the session is that it will be attended by women vice chancellors of various universities, school principals and several academicians.
    • This will give a larger perspective to how women’s education has improved over the years. It will also help a renewed understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by women in pursuing science based careers. To retain and regain women in science there are various government schemes which will be discussed in this. Interested students and researchers can learn about these opportunities so that they can access them.
    • The Women in Science, technology and innovation; international perspective will give an outlook about how Indian women are contributing to global science and about the position of women in science technology development in other South Asian countries. This session will be attended by Dr Archana Sharma, an Indian woman scientist who was part of Higg’s Boson discovery team and Dr Shweta Vijay Shankaran, a leading international researcher in Biosciences.
    • The conclave will have one session on grassroot women in catalyzing sustainable development for new India. This session will feature women who are working in the fields at grass root level in seed conservation, water conservation, agricultural, health, sanitation and energy sectors.
    • The development of women and children has been at the forefront of policy making of Government of India for the last few decades.The conclave aims to develop scientific temper among enthusiastic students uplifting science in India to its highest rank. It deliberates on issues which encourage science education and entrepreneurship among young women scientists and researchers to motivate them in pursuing science, technology and innovation towards sustainable growth. The conclave discusses the challenges and brings out the opportunities for women in playing the lead role in science, technology and innovation. In addition, women scientists would find this conclave an encouraging platform to excel in their career through proper interaction with potential women leaders & mentors. The conclave will come out with recommendations on how women can increase their footprints in science, technology and innovation (STI) for building New India.
    • The main objective of this conclave is to provide a platform for young women scientists to interact with the women leaders in science and technology towards risen India. This is an effort to acknowledge the contribution of women in catalyzing sustainable growth. It will also give an opportunity to learn from experiences of successful women entrepreneurs, connect to mentors and to learn the ropes for taking up startups and entrepreneurship. This event will also encourage and inspire girl students in pursuing science as a career by showcasing opportunities in science, technology and innovation.



    9. Mission Innovation (MI) Face-to-Face Meeting of Innovation Challenges


    • The Union Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Health and Family Welfare,Dr.  Harsh Vardhan  inaugurated the Mission Innovation (MI) Face to Face meeting of Innovation Challenges(IC) here today. Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Dr. Dean Haslip (Chairperson, Analysis and Joint Research Group), and Dr. John Loughhead (Chairperson, Mission Innovation Steering Committee) were also present on the occasion.Members and senior representatives from Mission Innovation Countries and international agencies also participated in the meeting.
    • The objective of the meeting is to take stock of the deliverables by MI and its plans until 2020. Another major objective is to identify major gap areas in Clean Energy Innovation and how to address these beyond 2020 to make MI more impactful.
    • Dr Harsh Vardhan said that Mission Innovation is the name coined by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and it was launched by 20 countries during COP 21 in November, 2015. He expressed happiness over the fact thatMI currently comprises of 24-member countries and the European Commission. He added that these countries have committed to double Government funding on clean energy research and development over 5 years and enhance international engagement in programmes on clean energy R&D.
    • The Minister saidIndia has taken concerted efforts to address climate change challenge by promoting and disseminating clean energy R&D and deployment activities. He added that renewable resources are now no longer fringe sources but has become a mainstay of energy mix. They are now critical both from environment and energy security point of view, he added. The Minister said that in India, we are going to increase the share of non-fossil fuel, and by 2022 we plan to increase our renewable energy capacity to much beyond 175 GW and later till 450 GW.
    • Dr Harsh Vardhan said that many countries have shown interest to emulate India’s remarkable successful journey in last few years in solar energy. The Minister added that India is also working to considerably increase the proportion of the biofuel blend in petrol and diesel. He also mentioned about world’s largest clean cooking fuel programme called Ujjawala Yojana releasing around 150 million connections so far. He also spoke about Saubhagya Yojana, Solar study lamp scheme, LED lights, micro solar Dome-Surta Jyoti, Atal Innovation Mission and a New Initiatives for Development and Harnessing of Innovations (NIDHI).
    • The Minister said that innovative solutions to provide clean energy with limited resources requires application of scientific understanding and ‘out of box’ solutions which can emanate from vast cross section of society. He said that the Ministry has initiated several national, bilateral and multilateral collaborative research programmes in solar energy, energy efficiency, advance biofuels and energy storage with significant investment.
    • Renu Swarup, Secretary DBT, reiterated India’s commitments to create a sound research development and demonstration eco-system involving all stakeholders both within India and connecting them globally.  She said that this 2-day meeting is going to be very important and will guide us and direct us.
    • On the occasion, the Minister released a report on sustainable biofuels and bio-energy. He also awarded 5 Innovators as Mission Innovation India Champions for their exemplary contribution to energy related innovations.
    • John Loughhead, Chairperson, Mission Innovation Steering Committee, highlighted the initiatives of Mission Innovation since its inception and also acknowledged the contribution of participating countries and partners in devising several R&D initiatives and business models for accelerated clean energy innovations. He appreciated the spirit of cooperation of the members.
    • Dean Haslip, Chairperson, Analysis and Joint Research Group, stated that innovation challenges under Mission Innovation have succeeded in pooling resources of several countries for research, development and demonstration in technology areas which can have impact. He added that we need to use this meeting for sharing our views.
    • Mission Innovation was announced on November 30, 2015 due to pioneering efforts by India, France and USA, as world leaders came together in Paris to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate changes.  Mission Innovation (MI) is a global initiative of 24 countries and the European Union to dramatically accelerate global clean energy innovation. As part of the initiative, participating countries have committed to double their governments’ clean energy research and development (R&D) investments over five years, while encouraging greater levels of private sector investment in transformative clean energy technologies. These additional resources are expected to dramatically accelerate the availability of the advanced technologies that will define a future global energy mix that is clean, affordable, and reliable.  Mission Innovation has identified eight (8) Innovation Challenges which are global calls to action aimed at accelerating research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) in technology areas where increased international attention would make a significant impact in shared fight against climate change. The Innovation Challenges cover the entire spectrum of RD&D; from early stage research needs assessments to technology demonstration projects. India is also         co-leading Smart Grids, Off Grids and Sustainable Biofuels Innovation and is actively participating in all ICs and other activities of MI.  These challenges taken up under Analysis and Joint Research and co-led by India and Canada includes:
    • Smart Grids
    • Off-Grid Access to Electricity
    • Carbon Capture
    • Sustainable Biofuels
    • Converting Sunlight
    • Clean Energy Materials and
    • Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings Innovation Challenge






    10.         19th India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission



    • Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh is scheduled to visit Russian Federation from November 5-7, 2019 to co-chair 19thIndia-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC) in Moscow.
    • During his visit, Raksha Mantri is expected to hold extensive discussions with Defence Minister of Russian Federation General Sergei Shoigu covering all areas of military-to-military cooperation and defence industrial cooperation.
    • Shri Rajnath Singh is scheduled to inaugurate, along with Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Mr Denis Manturov, ‘India-Russia Defence Industry Cooperation Conference’. The Conference will discuss ways to promote defence industrial cooperation between India and Russia, technology transfer and investment in India in defence industry under the ‘Make in India’ programme.
    • Shri Rajnath Singh is scheduled to visit St Petersburg where he will place wreath at the Piskarevsky Memorial Cemetery honouring the soldiers and civilians who lost their lives during the Second World War. Raksha Mantri may visit Russian defence production facilities in and around St Petersburg.


    11.         Shri Amit Shah inaugurates the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Joint Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search & Rescue (SCOJtEx)-2019

    ·        The Union Minister for Home Affairs, Shri Amit Shah inaugurated the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Joint Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search & Rescue (SCOJtEx)-2019 in New Delhi.

    ·         The Exercise is being organized by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) from November 4-7, 2019. The exercise is the outcome of 9th Meeting of the Heads of Government Departments of SCO countries dealing with the prevention and elimination of emergency situations in Kyrgyzstan during 2017, in which India offered to organize the next Annual Disaster Management Exercise for the region.

    ·        Addressing on the occasion, the Home Minister extended warm greetings to all delegates from the SCO Nations that have come together to participate in the joint exercise. He said that their presence for this exercise represents their governments’ passion and commitment to make this exercise a success. He informed that India attaches special importance to SCO as an excellent platform for synergizing the efforts of all member States in the field of multilateral, political, security, economic and people-to-people interaction in the region. He also noted that SCO has emerged as an international organization as it represents 40 % of global population, 20 % of global GDP and 22% of the global geographical area.

    ·        Shri Shah said that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi gave ‘HEALTH’ mantra for SCO Members for cooperation in 6 areas. He called for strengthening mutual cooperation on issues in six areas which are Healthcare cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Alternate Energy, Literature and Culture, Terrorism-Free Society and Humanitarian Cooperation.

    ·        Bringing the importance of this joint exercise in perspective, the Home Minister said that during 1996-2015, more than 3lakh people have lost their lives due to natural calamities. Earthquakes have taken more than 2 lakh lives, which account for two-thirds of disaster related mortality in SCO countries. In this background, this joint exercise will be very useful for improving the collective preparedness & building a common understanding of internationally recognized procedures to co-ordinate post-earthquake responses. He further added that this joint exercise with SCO member states will be helpful in developing personal understanding amongst counterpart teams when they will work together to tackle any disaster situation.

    ·        Establishing the centrality of SCO Nations in tackling disasters, Shri Shah said that none of the global targets on reducing disaster losses- whether they are enshrined in the Sendai Framework or Sustainable Development Goals -can be met by 2030, unless achieved by the SCO countries. International cooperation in this area is, therefore very important, he emphasized.

    ·        India’s efforts in this direction, Home Minister said that we are making concerted efforts for strengthening our response capabilities and taking focused steps. Our National Disaster Management Plan was launched in 2016. All our 28 States, 09 Union Territory and 90% of our districts have completed their disaster management plan. Now, efforts are on to revise this National Plan which has taken in to consideration not only the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction but the Sustainable Development Goals and Agreement on climate change also, he added.

    ·        Highlighting the India’s effort to reduce preventable deaths and other losses from disaster, Home Minister cited the example of India’s effective handling of Phaillin, Hudhud and Fani in the recent past and said that this was the direct outcome of a series of policy initiatives and enhancement of early warning capabilities, advance preparation, training and capacity development. During the cyclone Fani, loss of lives was reduced to 64 persons compared to 10,000 lives in the 1999 Odisha Super Cyclone. In the other words, in a little over a decade, India has been able to reduce the loss of lives to less than 1% in the comparisons to that of past, he said.

    ·        Talking about India’s focus on disaster resilient infrastructure to minimize deaths, Shri Shah informed that India is championing a Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, which will be multi-hazard oriented and will also help in minimizing the losses to property and infrastructure. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched this Coalition during the UN Climate Summit in New York. This global Coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure would address concerns that are common to developing and developed countries, small and large economies and countries that have moderate or high risk. Focus on disaster resilient infrastructure would simultaneously address the loss reduction targets under the Sendai framework, address a number of SDGs and also contribute to climate change adaptation, he added.

    ·        Shri Shah also highlighted that India has established the Tsunami Early Warning System for the Indian Ocean RIM countries. India has launched the South Asia Geostationary Communication Satellite to improve communication, weather forecasting, etc. among the South Asian countries. He underlined that after Gujarat Earthquake-2001, the ‘Owner Driven Reconstruction for Housing’ was first implemented in Gujarat which has now been adopted by many countries after the Indian Ocean Tsunami and in Nepal after the 2015 Nepal Earthquake. Today, this project has become a globally accepted model for housing construction after a disaster, he added.

    ·        The Home Minister further said that during the Nepal Earthquake in 2015, Government of India launched ‘Operation Maitri’ and provided all types of support to Nepal including rescue, relief and reconstruction activities in the affected areas. Considering the importance of reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts, India committed assistance of US $ 1 billion for this purpose. He expressed hope that over next few days besides focusing on joint exercise, delegations will have the opportunity to share their country’s experience and acquire the skills of others as well.

    ·        During this four day long simulation exercise, there will be a Joint Urban Earthquake Search & Rescue Exercise for SCO member states, SCO experts meeting of Ministries responsible for Prevention and Elimination of Emergency Situation, followed by 10th Meeting of Heads of Departments of Disaster Prevention of SCO member States.

    12.         Cabinet Secretary chairs NCMC meeting to review preparedness for cyclone “MAHA” over Gujarat and Maharashtra

    ·        A meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, Shri Rajiv Gauba, was held today to review the preparations for the cyclone over Gujarat, Maharashtra and Daman & Diu.

    ·        Cabinet Secretary took stock of the current situation and preparedness for rescueand relief operations and directed that immediate assistance, as required, be provided.

    ·        IMD informed that the Cyclone, currently over east central Arabian Sea is moving west and north westwards and is likely to intensify further till 5th November morning. It will thereafter weaken and crossthe Gujarat and Maharashtra coast by mid night of 6th November and early morning of 7th November2019. Heavy rainfall, accompanied by winds reaching upto 90 to 100 kmph and tidal waves up to 1.5meter,are expected.

    ·        Chief Secretaries of Gujarat and Maharashtra informed that necessary preparations have been made by them and NDRF, SDRF teams alongwith Coast Guard and Naval ships have already been positioned. The district authorities have been put on alert and all fishing activities have been suspended. Daman and Diu Administration also apprised of their preparedness and evacuation plans.

    ·        Senior officials of the Ministries of Home, Defence,as well as those from IMD, NDMA  and NDRF, attended the meeting. Chief Secretaries of Gujarat and Maharashtra alongwith officers from the UT Administration participated in the meeting.





    1. Matildas: Australia women’s football team in landmark pay deal




    • In Australia, women’s football team, the Matildas, have struck a historic deal which will see them earn equal pay and entitlements on many key measures. This deal hailed as landmark for gender equality in sport.
    • Under a new centralized contract system announced by Football Federation Australia (FFA), Matildas stars such as Sam Kerr and Ellie Carpenter will be paid an equal amount as big-name Socceroos like Aaron Mooy and Mat Ryan.
    • They will also be afforded business class flights to international fixtures and tournaments, like the men. The Matildas are currently ranked 8th in the world while Australia’s men’s team, the Socceroos, come in 44th. The gender pay gap in football was widely discussed following the Women’s World Cup in July.
    • The breakthrough will be a big boost for America’s women footballers, who have filed an equal-pay lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation due to be heard in May next year. The United States triumphed at the Women’s World Cup in France this year with chants of equal pay ringing out after they defeated the Netherlands in the final.


    14.       China Open

    ·     In China Open, ace Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap, B Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma will play their singles matches.

    ·     In Women’s singles, eighth seed Saina will open her campaign against China’s Cai Yan Yan. In Men’s singles, B Sai Praneeth, who had won a bronze at the World Championships, will face Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia. Former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap will face Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin while Sameer Verma will square off against Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu.

    ·     India’s men’s and mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty and Ashwini Ponnappa will play their second-round matches of China Open in Fuzhou. Thailand Open champions Satwik and Chirag Shetty, who had reached the French Open finals last month, will face sixth seeds Japanese Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe in the men’s doubles category.

    ·     In the Mixed doubles, pair of Satwik and Ashwini Ponnappa will face fifth-seeded Korean pair of Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yujung. Satwik gave the Indian camp reason to be cheerful with twin victories after World Champion P.V. Sindhu and H.S. Prannoy suffered a shock defeat in their opening matches.

    15.       ITF to shift India-Pakistan Davis Cup tie from Islamabad to neutral venue

    ·     The International Tennis Federation, ITF has decided to shift India’s Davis Cup tie against Pakistan from Islamabad to a neutral venue.

    ·     The tie was scheduled to be held in September but was delayed after India expressed concerns about the safety of their players. Due to prevailing diplomatic tensions between the two nations after the revocation of Article 370, India’s national tennis federation expressed concern about safety of players.

    ·     The ITF statement said that the Davis Cup Committee has decided that the Group I tie between Pakistan and India on 29-30 November must be played at a neutral venue.

    ·     According to Davis Cup regulations, the Pakistan Tennis Federation now has the choice to propose neutral venue within five working days.


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