1. Urban Development Minister launched portal for small traders’ e-lala
i. Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on 23 November 2015 inaugurated ‘e-lala’, an e-commerce portal of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in New Delhi. The e-lala initiative is aimed at promoting the interests of 5.77 crore small businesses in the context of rapid expansion of e-commerce in the country.
ii. E-lala will enable physical stores to have their own online stores enabling them to retain their customer base besides additional source of growth in business. E-lala, a city and location based portal, seeks to promote business-to-business and trader-to-customer transactions in a city.
iii. It seeks to eliminate middlemen and resulting in reduced cost of goods and services. With the emerging global threat from e-commerce to small traders, e-lala initiative will address the problem with proper outreach and marketing strategies.
iv. E-lala's distinctive features include a specialty corner promoting unique products associated with each city. It carries an inquiry corner enabling consumers post their enquiries for a particular product which will be responded to in 24 hours. It carries an artisan’s corner enabling artisans and entrepreneurs display their products.
v. Online shoppers in the country are expected to increase from 34 million in 2014 to 100 million in 2016 and e-commerce has grown manifold from 3600 crore rupees in 2011 to 53000 crore rupees in 2015.
2. Rishi Gour appointed as Country President of Sodexo India On-site Services
i. Rishi Gour was on 23 November 2015 appointed as Country President of Support services company Sodexo India On-site Services with effect from 1 September 2015.
ii. Gour joined Sodexo in 2011 and has since then worked towards the brand's promise of delivering quality of life services to over 400 corporate, education and healthcare clients. Prior to joining Sodexo, Gour was associated with WNS Global Services, Accenture and CITIL across various functional areas.
iii. He has a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT-Varanasi and a Post-Graduate degree in Management from IIM Ahmedabad.
iv. Sodexo India On-site Services is a leading provider of services that impact the Quality of Life of clients and their employees in the corporate segment and remote sites, patients and visitors in the healthcare segment, and students and faculty in the education segment.
v. Sodexo is considered a strategic partner to its clients and delivers more than 40 different food and facilities management solutions across 1200+ sites through its 40000 employees who touch the lives of 1 million consumers daily.
3. SEBI signed MoU with Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission on bilateral cooperation
i. Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 22 November 2015 signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) on bilateral cooperation and technical assistance.
ii. The MoU was signed by UK Sinha, Chairman, SEBI and Dr M Khairul Hossain, Chairman, BSEC at Dhaka, Bangladesh. This MoU will further facilitate training and technical assistance program between the two jurisdictions.
iii. The MoU seeks to promote further development of economic links and cooperation between the two signatories. It aims at enhancing investor protection and creating conditions for an effective development of securities markets in the two countries.
iv. In the past, SEBI has been actively engaging with the securities market regulators in the SAARC region. Till date, SEBI has signed 20 bilateral MoUs with a number of countries. India and Bangladesh both are signatories to the multilateral MoU of International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
4. Marathi actor Prashant Damle selected for Dinanath Mangeshkar award
i. Noted Marathi actor Prashant Damle was on 23 November 2015 selected for the Master Dinanath Mangeshkar Award. He will be conferred with the award by Lata Mangeshkar in April 2016 on the occasion of the death anniversary of Master Dinanath.
ii. He was chosen for the award for his outstanding contribution in the field of theatre, film and music. The announcement was made by Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar at the 100th show of Damle's Marathi play Karti Kaljat Ghusli. Hridaynath was the chief guest for the 100th show of the the Marathi play.
iii. He is a leading actor of the Marathi theatre and has acted in numerous Marathi dramas, movies and television serials for over 33 years. He has been associated with Marathi Theatre since 1983 and till date has performed in 26 different plays and variety of roles.
iv. In the journey of performing arts, he has been honoured with many prestigious awards. Till date he has 4 Limca Book Records by his name. He has also performed in 37 Marathi Feature Films and 24 marathi serials.
v. Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar award was instituted in 1999 in the memory of Dinanath Mangeshkar, father of Lata Mangeshkar. The prestigious annual award is given to personalities from Marathi and Hindi theatre, music and films.
5. Kuldip Nayar honoured with Ramnath Goenka Lifetime Achievement Award
i. Kuldip Nayar, a veteran journalist, columnist and author was honoured with Ramnath Goenka Lifetime Achievement Award on 23 November 2015. He was awarded for his contribution to journalism. He was conferred with the award at the eighth edition of the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Excellence awards ceremony held in Delhi.
ii. The award for the years 2013 and 2014 was handed over by Information and Broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley, who also handed several awards in different categories to over 56 journalists for their exceptional reportage in print as well as broadcast media.
iii. Kuldip Nayar is former editor of Indian Express. For leading a protest against the excesses of the administration during the Emergency (21-month period in 1975–77), he was jailed under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA). At the time of emergency, he was a Urdu press reporter.
iv. Some other awardees includeed Prakash Kardaley Memorial Award for Civic Journalism (2014), Prakash Kardaley Memorial Award for Civic Journalism (2013),
6. Michael Keating appointed as Special Representative for Somalia and Head of UNSOM
i. The Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 23 November 2015 announced the appointment of Michael Keating of United Kingdom as Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).
ii. Keating will succeed Nicholas Kay, who will complete his assignment in December 2015. Kay was associated with UNSOM for over the past two and a half years.
iii. Keating along with him brings an extensive experience in supporting political and peace building transitions, as well as leading complex humanitarian and recovery programs in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Africa.
iv. While being Associate Director of Chatham House since 2012, he concurrently served as Senior Advisor to the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Syria. He was Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary.
7. Joint Statement on enhanced Malaysia-India Strategic Partnership released
i. The Prime Minister of Malaysia Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 23 November 2015 released the Joint Statement on enhanced Malaysia-India Strategic Partnership during Narendra Modi's official visit to Malaysia.
ii. The dialogue mechanisms at Ministerial and Official level between both the sides also provided a framework to harness the full potential of the Strategic Partnership established between the two countries in October 2010.
iii. Both the leaders acknowledged the contribution made by Malaysia and India in promoting growth, economic development and stability in the Asia–Pacific region. Both the Prime Ministers also witnessed the signing of one Agreement on Cultural Exchange Programme for 2015-2020.
8. Argentina's president-elect Macri promises an end to divisive politics
i. Mauricio Macri has upended Argentina's political establishment by defeating the ruling leftist party, in power for more than 12 years, in Sunday's election.
ii. Mr. Macri, the scion of an influential family and a former president of a popular soccer clubs, tapped into a groundswell of support among voters fatigued by the abrasive leadership of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
iii. "The plan is to govern for everyone," he said, adding that he would seek cross-party dialogue. “Progress,” he said in his victory speech hours earlier, "will not be the result of one enlightened person," alluding to President Kirchner and other past leaders seen as centralizing power in the presidency and diminishing the role of other branches of the government.
iv. Macri won with 51.4 percent of the vote in Sunday's runoff election, beating Daniel Scioli, who ran as Kirchner's successor. Macri has promised market-oriented reforms to revive the economy. These could include a currency devaluation, lower energy subsides, and easing protectionist policies like currency controls. He is also likely to distance Argentina from Latin America's hard-left governments like that of Venezuela.
9. Noted labour economist T.S. Papola passes away
i. Noted labour economist Dr. T.S. Papola passed away in New Delhi. He was 74. He had served as an advisor with the erstwhile Planning Commission of Union Government for eight years from 1987 to 1995.
ii. Papola was specialised in labour and employment, industrial economics, development planning, regional development and enterprise development. Papola had over 4 decades of experience in teaching, research and advisory assignments.
iii. He had taught at the various universities in India and abroad including in University of Lucknow and Bombay, Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad) and University of Cambridge, UK.
iv. Papola had served as Chairman and Member of several State and National level bodies including the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). He also had worked in consultative and advisory capacities with multiple international organisations such as UNCTAD, ILO, UNIDO, UNDP and UNICEF.
10. HRD Ministry sets up exclusive panel on Sanskrit promotion
i. The human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has constituted a 13-member expert committee exclusively on Sanskrit in its attempt to revive interest in the ancient language.
ii. Headed by N Gopalaswami, the former chief election commissioner (CEC) and now Chancellor of Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Tirupati, the committee has been asked to recommend measures to integrate the study of the ancient language with other disciplines such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, medical science and law, suggest changes in Sanskrit education in schools and universities and recommend ways to impart Sanskrit education through modern tools.
iii. The committee is also tasked with charting out an action plan to develop the language in the next 10 years.
iv. This is the second committee set up by the Smriti Irani-led ministry on Indian languages. Although the first panel’s broader brief included promotion of classical languages, the second one is exclusively dedicated to Sanskrit. Notified on November 18, the committee is expected to submit its report in three months.
11. Foodpanda ties up with IRCTC
i. Food ordering portal Foodpanda has tied up with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) for order and delivery of food to the passengers. IRCTC is Indian railways’ catering, tourism and online ticketing platform.
ii. Passengers can now order meals of their choice through foodpanda’s aggregator model from a wide variety of cuisine options. To ensure that food reaches consumers in the best condition, foodpanda will deploy its own delivery fleet to fulfil all deliveries.
iii. The service will be initially launched at the New Delhi Railway station post and then it will be rolled out in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Chennai.
iv. Customers will have the choice to order meals at least 2 hours in advance of the travel. Delivery of food will be aligned to the train arrival time at the station and consumers can pay for the order in advance online or make on the spot cash payment as per their convenience, the company said in a statement.