1. World Toilet Day observed on 19 November with the theme Sanitation and Nutrition
i. World Toilet Day (WTD) was observed on 19 November 2015 across the world with the theme Sanitation and Nutrition. The aim of WTD is to raise awareness about the people in the world who don’t have access to a toilet, despite the fact that it is a human right to have clean water and sanitation.
ii. The effort of the WTD in 2015 was to draw the world’s attention to the importance of toilets in supporting better nutrition and improved health. WTD has been celebrated by the World Toilet Organisation since 2001. It was later became an official UN day on 24 July 2013 as the 67th session of UN General Assembly approved it through the Sanitation For All resolution.
iii. About 2.4 billion people around the world still do not have adequate sanitation and 1 billion among them still defecate in the open. Poor sanitation increases the risk of disease and malnutrition, especially for women and children.
iv. While 1000 children die each day due to poor sanitation, women and girls risk rape and abuse because they have no toilet that offers privacy. In September 2015, the UN General Assembly approved the Sustainable Development Goal 6 that aims at access to water and sanitation for all.
2. Mobile app to locate eToilet
i. Eram Scientific Solutions, manufacturer of electronic toilets, has unveiled a new eToilet mobile app. The Andriod app is downloadable for free from Google Playstore by typing the keyword ‘etoilets.’
ii. It helps locate the nearest etoilets via a map and address listings, Anvar Sadath K, CEO, Eram, says. It also provides details on mode of access and information on facilities such as napkin-vending machine and incinerator.
iii. The app enables sharing feedback on the user experience of eToilet along with image uploading. The public can also use the app to suggest new places for installing eToilets. eToilets have opened a new era in the public sanitation sector with its unmanned, self-cleaning and remote monitoring features, Sadath said.
iv. The app has been launched as part of establishing a new connected eToilet Infrastructure (CeTI) on the occasion of the World Toilet Day (November 19).
3. V Raja is MD of Philips India
i. Philips India has appointed V Raja as the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director effective December 1.
ii. In his new role, he will be responsible for driving and building the healthcare and consumer lifestyle businesses of the company in India.
iii. He takes over from A Krishna Kumar who took over the new role of Head of the Emerging Businesses Group for Philips globally.
iv. Raja is joining from TE Connectivity, where he was the President, India Operations, since 2011.
4. Vijay Keshav Gokhale appointed as India’s ambassador to China
i. Senior diplomat Vijay Keshav Gokhale has been appointed as India’s Ambassador to China. He will replace Ashok Kantha, who was appointed as envoy to China in January 2014 for a two-year term i.e. till January 2016.
ii. Currently, Mr.Gokhale is serving as the India’s Ambassador to Germany. He is a 1981 batch India Foreign Service (IFS) officer. Prior, to his appointment as India’s top envoy to Germany, he had served at different Indian missions including in Hong Kong, Hanoi, Beijing and New York.
iii. Mr.Gokhale also had held the posts of director (China and East Asia) and joint secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) headquarters in New Delhi, . He is known to be one of the most knowledgeable Indian diplomat who is well versed with international affairs of China.
5. Union Cabinet approved signing of Tripartite Agreement on IBSA Fund for Poverty Alleviation
i. The Union Cabinet on 18 November 2015 approved the signing of the Tripartite Agreement among India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) on the IBSA Fund for the Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger. The decision will help in strengthening the IBSA Fund which is a unique vehicle in the context of South-South cooperation.
ii. The IBSA countries contribute 1 million US dollars each annually to the Fund, which till January 2015 has accumulated to 28.2 million US dollars, with total implemented/approved projects commitment of 26.2 million US dollars. Remaining 2.09 million US dollars is available for programming. India on its part has contributed 9.1 million US dollars so far to the Fund.
iii. The IBSA Fund undertakes development projects in third countries. The first project to be financed by the IBSA Fund was in support of agriculture and livestock development. It was conferred with the South-South Partnership Award at the 2006 UN Day event held in New York in December 2006.
iv. The IBSA Fund for the Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger was set up in 2004 as one of the three pillars of cooperation under the IBSA Dialogue Forum. The other two pillars are consultation and coordination on global political issues and trilateral collaboration in concrete areas and projects.
7. WHO launched World Antibiotic Awareness Week with the theme Antibiotics: handle with care
i. The World Health Organisation (WHO) on 16 November 2015 launched the World Antibiotic Awareness Week with the theme Antibiotics: handle with care.
ii. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness and encourage best practices among the public, policymakers, health and agriculture professionals to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.
iii. The campaign is part of the WHO’s recent efforts to fight against antibiotic resistance due to growing misuse. In May 2015, the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly a global action plan to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication, education and training.
iv. Antibiotics, also known as antibacterials, are types of medications that destroy or slow down the growth of bacteria in order to contain bacteria-caused illness. Though all bacteria are not harmful, few of them do cause such illnesses as syphilis, tuberculosis, salmonella, and some forms of meningitis.
8. Justice T S Thakur appointed Chief Justice of India
i. The President of India Pranab Mukherjee on 18 November 2015 appointed Justice Tirath Singh Thakur as the Chief Justice of India. Justice Thakur will take over the office from 3 December 2015 as the 43rd Chief Justice of India. His tenure will be till 3 January 2017.
ii. Justice Thakur was enrolled as a Pleader in October 1972 and joined the Chamber of his father D.D. Thakur. He practised in Civil, Criminal, Constitutional, Taxation and Service matters in the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir.
iii. He was elected as the President of the Bar Association in 1986 and was designated as a Senior Advocate in 1990. He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir on 16 February 1994 and later was transferred as Judge of the High Court of Karnataka in March 1994.
iv. In July 2004, he was transferred as a Judge of the High Court of Delhi. He was appointed as Acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court on 9 April 2008. He took over as Chief Justice of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana on 11 August 2008. He was elevated as Judge of Supreme Court and assumed the charge on 17 November 2009.
9. Indian Resource Panel (InRP) on Resource Efficiency constituted
i. Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar on 18 November 2015 announced formation of Indian Resource Panel (InRP) on Resource Efficiency. India is the first country to constitute a National Resource Panel.
ii. The InRP was formed with an aim to promote sustainable development of the country by utilising secondary resources to meet developmental needs.
iii. The four of the 10 members of the InRP are former environment secretaries and they are Viswanath N Anand, RH Khwaja, Tishyarakshit Chatterjee and Prodipto Ghosh. Other six members are Ashok Khosla from Development Alternatives, Director-General of Bureau of Energy Efficiency Ajay Mathur, Ravi Agarwal of Toxics Link; CSE Director-General Sunita Narain, Seema Arora from CII and Prasad Modak of Environmental Management Centre.
iii. Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) will partner with relevant ministries of the Union Government, private and public enterprises for creation of a facilitative environment for recycling to promote sustainability and decouple growth from environment degradation.
10. CCEA approved disinvestment of 10 percent paid up equity capital in Coal India Limited
i. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 18 November 2015 approved the disinvestment of 10 percent paid up equity capital of Coal India Limited (CIL).
ii. With this disinvestment in CIL, the Union Government is expecting to mop up around 20000 crore rupees. As at current market capitalisation, based on CIL stock price, 10 percent stake sale could fetch about 21137.71 crore rupees.
iii. This disinvestment implies divesting of 631636440 shares of Face Value of 10 rupees each out of the Union Government shareholding of 78.65 percent through public offering in the domestic market. This figure has been estimated after adjusting one percent equity to be offered for sale to the employees of CIL as per CCEA decision in September 2014, which is under process of implementation.
iv. The paid up equity capital of the CIL is 6316 crore rupees. After the disinvestment of 10 percent equity, the Government's shareholding in CIL would come down to 68.65 percent. The disinvestment transaction will be an Offer for Sale (OFS) of shares by the Promoters through the Stock Exchange Mechanism method as per the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Rules and Regulations.
11. Union Cabinet approved German as additional foreign language in Kendriya Vidyalayas
i. Union Cabinet on 18 November 2015 gave its ex-post approval to the Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Federal Foreign Office of Germany. The JDI seeks to promote German as an additional Foreign Language in Kendriya Vidyalayas (KV) schools.
ii. With this approval, German language will now be taught as an additional foreign language in KVs in conformity with the National Education Policy, 1986. The approval also gives green signal to promotion of teaching of Modern Indian Languages in Germany.
iii. German was taught as a foreign language in KVs since September 2011 when a MoU was signed between Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) and Goethe-Institute, Max Mueller. The validity of the MoU expired in September 2014.
iv. Due to some inconsistencies in the MoU vis-à-vis National Education Policy and the National Curriculum Framework relating to the “three language formula”, it was not renewed further.
12. Technology Acquisition & Development Fund under National Manufacturing Policy launched
i. Union Government on 18 November 2015 launched the Technology Acquisition and Development Fund (TADF) under the National Manufacturing Policy, 2011. The TADF was launched by Minister of State for Commerce & Industry Nirmala Sitharaman.
ii. The fund will facilitate acquisition of clean, green and energy efficient technologies. It will also catalyse the manufacturing growth in Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector with an aim to contribute to ‘Make in India’ initiative.
iii. The scheme will be implemented through Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA), a joint venture company. GITA was launched in 2007-08 by CII and Department of Science & Technology to stimulate private sector's investment in R&D.
iv. Proposals from Indian industry will be invited for reimbursement of 50 percent of technology transfer fee or 20 lakh rupees, whichever is lower.
v. Financial support will be provided in acquiring of patent from across the globe based on applications received from MSMEs. Technology/Patent will be licensed to selected companies and the selected companies will get a subsidy of 50 percent of the mutually agreed value or 20 lakh rupees.
13. India ratified Articles of Agreement of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
i. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 18 November 2015 gave its approval for the ratification and submitting of the Articles of Agreement (AoA) of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
ii. India will be the second-biggest shareholder with 8.4 percent, followed by Russia, which will have a 6.5 percent stake.
iii. Establishment of the AIIB will help India and other signatory countries to raise and avail resources for their infrastructure and sustainable development projects. It will enable India to play a prominent role in the governance of a multilateral institution.
iv. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a proposed international financial institution which is focused on supporting infrastructure construction in the Asia-Pacific region.
v. The bank was proposed by China and supported by 37 regional and 20 non-regional Prospective Founding Members, 53 of which have signed the AoA that form the legal basis for the proposed bank.
14. Delhi Government approved Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015
i. The Delhi Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on 18 November 2015 approved the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015. The Bill envisages the establishment of an independent authority to investigate offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. It also covers the Chief Minister’s Office.
ii. The bill drafted by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia largely resembles the provisions contained in Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill, 2011.
iii. The bill prescribes time-bound investigation of offences within six months and states that as far as possible the trial in such cases should be completed in six months. It also allows authorities to provisionally attach assets acquired by corrupt means.
iv. It provides that punishment for any act of corruption cannot be less than six months and a maximum of 10 years. In rarest or rare cases, the corrupt public servant can be sentenced to life imprisonment. It seeks to bring Delhi Police, Delhi Development Authority and municipal bodies under its ambit.
v. The Delhi Janlokpal Bill, 2015 is the newer version of Janlokpal Bill, 2014, that had led CM Arvind Kejriwal to resign in February 2014 after being at the helm of Delhi Government for 49 days. He had resigned after the version 2014 was unable to get through the legislative assembly.
15. Indian cyclists won five medals on the opening day of Track Asia Cup
i. Indian men and women elite cyclists on 18 November 2015 won five medals on the opening day of the Track Asia Cup. The cyclists won one gold medal, three silver medals and one bronze medal at the event held in IG Stadium Complex Velodrome, New Delhi.
ii. India has fielded two additional teams of SAI National Cycling Academy (SAINCA) and Western Indian Team (WIT). However, the medals won by cyclists representing SAINCA and WIT will not be counted in India's medal tally.
iii. Anu clinched a silver medal in the 500m race distance event in the junior women category in a time of 40.093 seconds. Amritha Reghunathan, from SAINCA, won the gold medal in a time of 39.927 seconds.
iv. In women's elite event of 500m race distance, cyclists Deborah grabbed a silver medal in new national record time of 35.77 seconds. She lost to Korea's Kim Wangyeong. Junior women team of Anu and Rajesh Nayana won a gold medal in Team Sprint event with a timing of 39.702 seconds.