1. Union Cabinet gives nod to UDAY Scheme for financial restructuring package for power DISCOMs
i. Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its nod Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojna (UDAY) for financial restructuring of debt of power distribution companies. The Scheme aims for financial turnaround and revival of Power Distribution companies (DISCOMs) and also ensures a sustainable permanent solution to the problem.
ii. UDAY scheme allows power DISCOMs in selected states to convert their debt into state bonds as well as roll out number of measures to improve efficiency at power plants. Seeks to ensure that struggling DISCOMs can shake off years of losses and start on a path to profitability.
iii. Selected states would be able to sell the balance 25 per cent as state-backed power bonds or loans which will carry interest rates of g-sec plus 50 basis points.
iv. Thus with nod to UDAY Scheme, Union Government seeks to accelerate the process of reform across the entire power sector in order to ensure affordable and accessible 24×7 Power for All. v. The scheme has been framed by Union Power Ministry as power DISCOMs in several states have been severely mismanaged, resulting in a debt burden upward of 4 lakh crore rupees. This has taken a toll on the power as well as bank sectors.
2. Tanzania’s first female Vice President Samia Suluhu sworn in
i. Tanzania's first female Vice President Samia Hassan Suluhu on 5 November 2015 was sworn into office. She was sworn in along with the new President John Pombe Magufuli at the swearing-in ceremony held in the country’s economic capital Dar es Salaam.
ii. Magufuli, the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party's candidate, emerged victorious on 29 October 2015 in the presidential elections of Tanzania. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) declared that Magufuli won the election with 58.46 percent of votes.
iii. Born on 27 January 1960, Suluhu started her career by working as a clerk in the Ministry of Planning and Development. A graduate from the Institute of Development Management (now known as Mzumbe University) with an advanced diploma in public administration, she was employed on a project funded by the World Food Programme.
iv. In 2000, Suluhu was elected as a special seat member to the Zanzibar House of Representatives. President Amani Karume had appointed her as the Minister of Labour, Gender Development and Children. In 2010, she sought election to the National Assembly and won by more than 80 percent. She was appointed as the Minister of State for Union Affairs.
3. Veteran actor Vikram Gokhale honoured with Vishnudas Bhave Award
i. Renowned film, television and stage actor Vikram Gokhale on 5 November 2015 was conferred with the prestigious Vishnudas Bhave Award.
ii. Gokhale was honoured with the award at a ceremony held in Sangli, Maharashtra on the eve of Marathi Rangbhumi Din. Prominent actress-singer Faiyaz Shaikh presented the award to him.
iii. The actor was felicitated with the award for his outstanding contribution to Marathi theatre. In 2011, Gokhale was awarded with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his Acting in Theatre. In 2013, he was facilitated with the National Film Award for Best Actor category for his Marathi film Anumati.
iv. The Vishnudas Bhave Award is an annual award which was instituted by Sangli-based Akhil Maharashtra Natya Vidya Mandir. The award was instituted in the memory of famous Marathi dramatist Vishnudas Bhave.
4. Rebooting India authored by Nandan Nilekani & Viral Shah released
i. The book titled Rebooting India: Realizing a Billion Aspirations authored by Nandan Nilekani and Viral Shah was released on 4 November 2015. The book talks about the demographic dividend of India, which is expected to be the world’s youngest country by 2020 with 64 percent (roughly 800 million) of its population of working age.
ii. It also suggests that India may fail to become a global powerhouse, if it fails to resolve the contradictions and bridge gaps that distort our society.
iii. Through the book, the authors Nilekani and Shah say that challenge before us is to enable every one of India’s 1.2 billion citizens to realize their aspirations. According to them, it can be achieved only by using technology to radically reimagine government itself.
iv. Rebooting India identifies a dozen initiatives where a series of citizen-friendly, high-tech public institutions can deliver low-cost solutions to India’s grand challenges.
v. Viral Shah worked at the intersection of policy and technology at the Unique Identification Authority of India, where he led the design of the government's payments and subsidy platforms using Aadhaar. He is a co-inventor of the Julia programming language, and co-founder of FourthLion Technologies.
5. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Belgium for Energy
i. The government approved an agreement with Belgium for cooperation in development of new and renewable energy technologies.
ii. "The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved a Memorandum of Understanding which has been signed between Indian and Belgian government authorities at the Federal and regional level for energy," an official statement said.
iii. The objective of the Memorandum, it added is to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable energy issues on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity.
iv. "The areas of cooperation will focus on development of new and renewable energy technologies in the field of wind energy, biomass, solar (thermal and photovoltaic), smart grids, geothermal energy, marine energy, contribution of renewables to diversification of supply and energy security, and any other mutually agreed areas," the statement said.
6. Ashwin fastest Indian to reach 150 Test wickets
i. Ravichandran Ashwin's CV has another bullet point under the achievements column as he is now the fastest among Indian bowlers to reach the landmark of 150 Test wickets in 29 Tests.
ii. The historic moment arrived for the premier offspinner on the second day of the first Test in Mohali, part of his 13 five-for (5 for 51) in Tests that helped India eject South Africa for 184 after their disastrous first innings that ended in 201 all out.
iii. Ashwin collected figures of 5 for 51 in 24 overs to fox the visitors on a track that is dry from day one when 12 wickets fell for just 229 runs in 88 overs. But Indian trio of Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra spun a web around the South Africans to take all 10 wickets on the second day, which helped India take a slim 17-run lead.
iv. Overall, former England fast bowler Sydney Barnes is the fastest to the landmark of 150 wickets, which he achieved in 24 Tests. Second on that list is legendary Pakistan pacer Waqar Younis, who did it in 27 Tests, followed by Australian leggie Clarrie Grimmett, who took 28 Tests.