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09- NOVEMBER - 2016




  • Five hundred and 1,000 rupee notes will cease to be legal tender, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in a surprise address to the nation. He said the decision was taken to root out the menace of black money and corruption.
  • Notes of 100, 50, 20, 10, five, two and one rupee remain legal tender and will be unaffected by the decision, the Prime Minister said, adding that all banks and ATMs will be closed on 9th and ATMs in some places on 10th as well.
  • Mr. Modi announced that existing Rs. 500 or Rs. 1,000 notes can be deposited in an individual’s bank or post office accounts between November 10 and December 30.
  • Currency value of up to Rs. 4,000 can be exchanged from any bank or post office per day till November 24 by showing a government identity card.
  • However, for 72 hours, government hospitals, railway, air and government bus ticket booking counters will continue to accept the old notes.
  • Old notes will also be accepted till November 11 at petrol, diesel and gas stations authorised by public sector oil companies, consumer co-operative stores authorised by State or Central government, milk booths authorised by States.
  • The Reserve Bank of India will issue new Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,000 notes starting from November 10.
  • The new Rs. 500 note will feature the Red Fort and the new Rs. 2,000 note will feature Mangalyaan, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said. These notes will become available from November 10.
  • Once the ATMs start functioning, there will be a withdrawal limit of Rs. 2,000 per debit card, which will be increased to Rs. 4,000 later, Mr. Modi said in a 40-minute televised address to the nation.
  • There will, however, be an overall limit on withdrawal from banks of Rs. 10,000 per day and Rs. 20,000 per week, which will be increased in the coming days.
  • Mr. Modi said there will be no restriction of any kind on non-cash payments by cheques, demand drafts, debit or credit cards and electronic fund transfer.
  • PM made a pointed reference to cross-border terror which was being funded by forged currency notes. “In the country’s history of development, there comes a moment where powerful and decisive decisions are needed,” Mr. Modi said.
  • Till March 2016, Rs. 14 lakh crore out of Rs. 16 lakh crore worth currency issued by RBI were in denominations of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000, as per the central bank’s official data.
  • Justice M.B. Shah, (retired) who heads the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team on black money, said there was no other alternative to curb black money than to scrap the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes.
  • Welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pronouncement Justice Shah, a former Supreme Court judge, said this would spell the end of circulation of unaccounted wealth inside the country.
  • Earlier this year, the SIT had called for a complete ban on cash transactions above Rs. three lakh as well as setting a Rs. 15-lakh cap on cash holdings by individuals to prevent holding of unaccounted wealth in cash.
  • It had also recommended the government to frame a new law to make transactions above this threshold illegal if the amount was not paid by cheque, bank draft, or electronic clearing system through a bank account.
  • The SIT recommendation had followed a Finance Ministry statement that large amounts of unaccounted wealth was stored and used in the form of cash.


  • The Supreme Court directed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to bear the expenses for all the matches to be played in the India-England Test series till December 3.
  • Ordering BCCI to foot the bill of Rs. 58.66 lakh for the first match in Rajkot scheduled for November 9, Bench said that the payments should be made directly to the parties the board has entered into contracts with for the series.
  • The Bench made it clear that the BCCI should not pay a farthing to the board’s member cricket associations in the States where the series matches are going to be held, including the Rajkot/Saurashtra Cricket Association.
  • According to a October 21 judgment, disbursal of funds from the BCCI to the State member associations is conditional on the latter filing undertakings to implement the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee recommendations in letter and spirit.
  • The BCCI moved the Supreme Court saying there are no funds for the India-England Test series scheduled to start on November 9.
  • The board sought a judicial order to the Lodha panel to clear the funds required for the match.


  • The National Green Tribunal banned all construction activities in Delhi city for a week to check the alarming air pollution levels. It said stone crushers and brick kilns should not operate in the region during this period.
  • Not stopping at this, the green court asked the Delhi government what the basis was for its decision to close schools and why it was sprinkling water using cranes.
  • A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar took the secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to task for not implementing its orders against burning crops and to contain air pollution.
  • “What did you do when all this smog was building up and particulate matter had increased beyond prescribed limits? What steps did you take till yesterday,” the bench asked.
  • “For the first five days, nobody did anything, be it the States or the Centre. Show us one thing visible to the common man.’’


  • The Centre has decided to extend the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • One of the primary reasons cited by the Centre is “extortion and intimidation” by the cadres of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), who are “contriving to dominate areas hitherto occupied by NSCN (Khaplang).”
  • The notification has been issued even after the NDA government signed a ‘framework agreement’ with NSCN-IM in September 2015 to find a final solution to the six-decade-old Naga issue.
  • After decades of violence, the NSCN-IM had entered into a ceasefire agreement with India in 1997.
  • The largest group representing the Nagas has demanded a “Greater Nagalim” or a contiguous land for the Nagas, across the States of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram.
  • The ceasefire signed with NSCN-IM is only for Nagaland; it does not include Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. This notification has been issued after much consultation between the security agencies.”
  • NSCN-K had unilaterally abrogated the ceasefire in March 2015 but NSCN-IM continues to be in a ceasefire pact with the Government of India.



  • Barack Obama claimed the presidency eight years ago in Chicago’s Grant Park, declaring “a new dawn” in U.S. history and promising the enthusiastic crowd of a quarter-million people that “we as a people will get there.”
  • But as the nation chose Mr. Obama’s successor, the bold agenda he described that morning remained incomplete. What Mr. Obama discovered — and what his successor will learn — is that every presidency lasts for only a brief moment in time.
  • Mr. Obama’s health care bill gave insurance to millions, but he now faces calls for big changes to it. The economy is markedly better, but incomes and growth remain stubbornly low.
  • The immigration overhaul he wanted is tied up in legal limbo, as are his tough new climate rules. Fewer Americans are fighting in overseas wars, but the Islamic State (IS) has emerged as a new threat. Partisanship and racial tensions have intensified.
  • Mr. Obama acknowledged recently that his legacy will be an incremental one. In an article in The Economist , he described the presidency as “a relay race, requiring each of us to do our part to bring the country closer to its highest aspirations.”
  • For a President who won the highest office in the land by promising big, sweeping change, Tuesday’s election is a reminder that it will be up to someone else to complete the change he long envisioned.
  • Climate change, too, remains a work in progress. The international agreements Mr. Obama helped forge will play out over decades.
  • It could be years before his environmental regulations are in place, if ever. It will be up to future Presidents to navigate the politics of climate change, around the world and here at home.



  • India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group will be centre-stage again this week as the group meets for the Consultative Group technical meeting on September 9-10, followed by the Plenary session in Vienna.
  • The government hopes its application will be considered again, five months after the last unsuccessful round.A flurry of diplomatic activity since then has focused on all the countries, including China, that didn’t back India’s bid.
  • While a slew of leaders from New Zealand, Turkey, Brazil and South Africa, all NSG countries that have hardline positions, have been invited to India in the past month.
  • India’s nuclear negotiators have travelled to other countries, who are still unconvinced about the issue of non-signatories to the Non Proliferations Treaty(NPT) — like India — being made members of the nuclear club.
  • However, with China making it clear that it’s position hasn’t changed, and little movement in the objections of other countries on the issue of the NPT, officials are calling it a “long haul”, given that the NSG works by consensus.
  • At best, India will hope that a process will be set into motion to define criteria for non signatories to the NPT, but that the criteria will broadly fit India’s credentials as a non-proliferator.
  • India, Pakistan, Israel and South Sudan are all non-signatories of NPT, of which India and Pakistan have both applied for NSG membership this year.
  • Meanwhile, India has been working with its support base that includes the U.S., Japan, Australia and South Korea, that has been exerting its influence as the new Chairperson of the NSG to push for India’s case.
  • India also hopes Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Tokyo on November 11, that coincides with the NSG Plenary session, will boost India’s non-proliferation image, as India and Japan are expected to announce their civil nuclear accord.
  • The U.S., that has backed India, said it remained optimistic about India’s chances of NSG membership by the year-end.


  • China and Pakistan planned to set up a joint counter-terrorism command system even as they held a bilateral anti-terrorism exercise, state media reported.
  • Their joint military exercise was carried out in a border region and involved elite commandos from both special forces, state-run China Radio International (CRI) reported.
  • The report quoted Rehang Aiming, a senior officer with the Chinese special forces, as saying that the troops also held in-depth discussion on a joint counter-terrorism command system.
  • “The Chinese and Pakistani forces have conducted in-depth and detailed communication regarding the subjects of construction of a counter-terrorism command system and use of tactics,” he said.



  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that India may still be a developing country but is no longer influenced by the rising clamour for protectionism around the world, and is instead looking to further open up its economy to spur investment and trade.
  • Normally, it is the least developed and developing economies that cry for protectionism and that is a voice which is now almost not heard in India. We are looking to open up and that’s been the direction of our economy.”
  • And an aspirational nation does not want to let go of any opportunities for the future,” Mr. Jaitley said, adding that though India is now the fastest growing major economy, there is a great amount of impatience to grow even faster.
  • “To reform more, open up further, attract more investment, expand more in manufacturing, fill up the infrastructure deficit faster than we have been doing, there is a growing impatience in India, and rightly so,” the Finance Minister said
  • “If industry has been investing outside, we welcome that, we encourage that,” he said. He referred to the fact that India is now one of the largest investors in the United Kingdom. “We (also) seek a lot of investment into India.
  • And therefore, we have liberalised our policy, created more instruments and our FDI policy is amongst the most open the world over,” the Finance Minister said.


  • India and the U.K. have begun to look at ways to deepen trade & investment ties even without a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Commerce Secretary said.
  • However, India will seek greater market access in the U.K. for goods including generic drugs and services such as IT/ITeS and healthcare through a bilateral FTA as well.
  • Negotiations on the proposed India-U.K. FTA will begin only after Britain completes the formalities for withdrawal from the European Union (EU) by around 2019, the secretary said.
  • In the absence of an FTA, India and the U.K. will have to address constraints inhibiting the development of bilateral trade and investment relations, she said.
  • In the meantime, India will attempt to conclude talks for an FTA with the EU, she said while speaking at a seminar titled ‘Brexit: Prospects for an India-UK FTA’ organised by the Centre for WTO studies at the IIFT, and industry bodies FICCI and FISME. \
  • Both the nations will gain if the U.K. National Health System procures generic drugs from India and if British insurance companies recognise the relatively low-cost treatment in India's globally accredited hospitals.
  • Negotiations on the proposed India-EU FTA have been stuck on issues including the EU's demand for greater market access in India for its automobiles and wines and spirits as well as on India's demand for ‘data security status’ for its IT sector.
  • Indian companies are the second largest creator of employment in the U.K., Ms. Teaotia said. There are huge complementarities between both the countries, she said.


  • President Pranab Mukherjee said the Centre needed to ensure that India’s exporters, particularly those in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) segment, are adequately supported through appropriate policy interventions to help them tide over the present downturn.
  • India’s exports had contracted in 20 of the 21 months till August this year except in June 2016, when it expanded 1.27 per cent.
  • Mr. Mukherjee said the Centre will have to consider strengthening India’s institutional credit guarantee framework in the trade sector to put the country back on a high export growth path.
  • The framework includes the state-owned ECGC that promotes the country’s exports by improving the competitiveness of the Indian exporters through credit risk insurance covers and related services.
  • “Export credit insurance and guarantees in the spectrum of trade financing are of critical importance in today’s scenario of continuing high systemic risk,” Mr. Mukherjee said.



The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016 came to an end with the adoption of the New Delhi Declaration and the Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework.

The Closing ceremony of the Conference was presided over by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. This three-day Conference was held in Delhi.

This was the first Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) after the advent of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (SFDRR).

Highlights of New Delhi Declaration

• The New Delhi Declaration is a political statement depicting the commitment of participating governments towards preventing and reducing disaster risk and strengthening the resilience of communities, nations and the Asian region.

• Recognising the need to accelerate the implementation of global frameworks, it commits to a people-centred and whole-of-society approach towards DRR.

• It also emphasises the need to enhance the capacity of communities and ensure participation of all stakeholder groups towards achieving resilience.

Highlights of Asian Regional Plan for Sendai Framework

• The Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework focuses on the ways to reduce disaster risk at national and local levels.

• It has longer term road map of cooperation and collaboration for 15-year horizon of the Sendai Framework.

• Besides, it also has a two-year action plan to further disaster risk reduction with specific, actionable activities.

About Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

• Sendai Framework is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action.

• It was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in March, 2015.

• It is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.
• It identifies targets and priority action areas towards reducing disaster risk by reducing the damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones.

• It aims for the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses and countries.

About Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR)

• Established in 2005, the AMCDRR is a biennial conference jointly organized by different Asian countries and the United Nations Office for Disaster RiskReduction (UNISDR).
• It serves as a forum for stakeholders to take a shared responsibility and make actionable commitments towards implementation of DRR in the Asia region.

• So far, countries in Asia in collaboration with UNISDR, have organized six AMCDRR conferences.

• The next AMCDRR will be held in Mongolia in 2018.


World's first hydrogen-powered and zero-emission passenger train was unveiled in Germany.

The Coradia iLint, developed by French rail company Alstom, only emits excess steam and condensed water into the atmosphere.

Key highlights of the Coradia iLint

Coradia iLint is powered by a hydrogen fuel tank on its roof. The fuel cell is supplied with hydrogen and oxygen from the air, which it converts into electric power.

The system is backed up by lithium batteries. These batteries store the excess power in order to later supply the train when needed.

The train is totally carbon-free, making it a much more sustainable alternative to the 4000 diesel trains currently in circulation in Germany.

It has enough onboard hydrogen storage to power an 800 kilometre journey, with speeds topping out at 87 miles per hour.

The testing of the train will be carried out by the end of 2016. If the results prove successful, the trains will service the Buxtehude-Bremervörde-Bremerhaven-Cuxhaven line in the German state of Lower Saxony by December 2017.

About Alstom

Alstom is a French multinational company operating worldwide in rail transport markets.

It is active in the fields of passenger transportation, signalling and locomotives, with products including the AGV, TGV, Eurostar, and Pendolino high-speed trains, in addition to suburban, regional and metro trains and Citadis trams.

It was formed from a merger between Compagnie Française Thomson Houston and the Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques in 1928. A merger with parts of the General Electric Company plc (UK) formed GEC-Alstom in 1989; the company became Alstom in 1998.


Construction company Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) became India’s first firm to get Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) approval for debt recast under Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A).

The RBI-mandated Overseeing Committee (OC) under the S4A approved HCC’s 5107 crore rupees debt recast that was passed by ICICI Bank-led joint lender forum in September 2016.

Highlights of the Debt Recast of HCC

• Under this debt recast of HCC, 52 percent of the debt was found to be sustainable and can be serviced as per original terms and conditions including interest rate and tenure.

• Out of the remaining 48 percent debt,  1000 crore rupees debt will be converted into equity for banks, which could eventually give them 25 percent stake in the company’s post-scheme equity capital.

• The balance of 1400 crore rupees will be converted into Optionally Convertible Debentures for 10 years with a coupon rate of 0.01 percent.

• The share price will be determined as per SEBI guidelines and debt will go down to the extent of the conversion amount.

• These measures will now go for approval from HCC’s shareholders.

About Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A)

• The S4A scheme was launched by RBI to resolve the corporate debt problem and strengthen the lenders’ ability to deal with stressed assets.

• Under this scheme, a company’s debt is bifurcated into two parts sustainable and unsustainable based on the cash flows of the company’s project.

• The sustainable debt cannot be less than 50 percent of existing debt and will have to be serviced over the same terms as that of existing facilities.

• The unsustainable debt can be converted into equity, Optionally Convertible Debentures or Redeemable Optionally Convertible Preference Share with clearly spelt out terms.

• Banks can sell this stake or equity to a new owner who will have the advantage of getting to run the business with a more manageable debt.

• Under this scheme, RBI also constituted advisory body called Overseeing Committee (OC) to review the resolution plans submitted by the Banks.


Indian lawyer Aniruddha Rajput was elected as a Member of International Law Commission (ILC), a top body of legal experts of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

He is India’s first time candidate to the Commission and youngest among the group. He is also the first Indian nominee chosen from outside the close circuit of lawyers of the Union Ministry of External Affairs.

Rajput is among other 34 individuals elected as members of the ILC. The members were elected from five geographical groupings of Asia-Pacific, African, Latin American and Caribbean, Eastern European and Western European states. They will have five-year term commencing from January 2017.

Rajput was elected from the Asia Pacific Group by gaining 160 votes.

About Aniruddha Rajput

• A practicising lawyer of India’s Supreme Court, Rajput is an alumnus of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

• He was a member of an expert group appointed by the Law Commission of India to study the Model Bilateral Investment Treaty 2015 of India.

• He drafted the Sports Bill, 2012 at the second revision stage and has advised the state governments of Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir on laws relating to industry and mining.

• He is also a member of the Governing Council of the Global Village Foundation.

• He has several publications to his name including books, articles, chapters, conference papers on legal issues.

About International Law Commission (ILC)

• The ILC was established by the UNGA in 1947 to undertake the mandate of UN to ensure promotion and progressive development of International law and its codification.

• It holds its annual session in Geneva, Switzerland for a period of ten to twelve weeks.

• The members of the Commission are the people who possess recognized competence and qualifications in both doctrinal and practical aspects of international law.


Indian Army launched ‘Operation School Chalo’ in South Kashmir. The operation is aimed at providing students with free coaching after their regular education system was interrupted by spiraling violence, protests by militants and their supporters triggered by the encounter killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

The operation closely follows its predecessor, ‘Operation calm down’, which was aimed at clearing off the anti-social elements from the valley.
About Operation School Chalo.

Spearheaded by Major General Ashok Narula, General Officer-in-Command of ‘Victor Force’, the Army under this operation is working out a plan for providing education to students. The plan includes:

• Identifying areas such as undamaged school buildings and community houses where the activities can be carried out safely.

• Identifying teachers in the localities and urging them to hold classes.

• Convincing parents to send their children to make-shift classrooms to study.

Apart from this, the Army also started ‘Naujawan Club’, which gives the youth a chance to display their strengths in extra-curricular activities and various sport games.

Significance of the operation

• The education system in the valley has come to a virtual standstill as apart from one school, ‘Army Goodwill School’ at Pahalgam, all others have remained shut ever since violence peaked on 9 July 2016 following Burhan Wani’s encounter.

• The situation has only worsened with the burning down of 31 schools by miscreants.

• Operation School Chalo aims at re-establishing normalcy in the students’ life and distancing them from anti-social activities and elements.

In spite of the unrest, General Narula’s plan of restoring normalcy in education sector has gained popularity in the valley.  The first big success of the operation has been a village in remote South Kashmir- Rainpora, where the arm troops have been successful in convincing parents to send their children to study. Two local teachers have volunteered to impart them education.

Who was Burhan Wani?

• Burhan Muzaffar Wani was the commander of Indian Kashmir’s largest rebel group- Hizbul Mujahideen.

• Born in Dadsara village to Muzaffar Wani, a village headmaster, Burhan fled his home at the age of 15.

• He was killed in an encounter with the Indian Army troops on 8 July 2016.

• Considered a martyr in Kashmir, Burhan’s death has triggered heavy violence in the valley, leading to the killing of more than 70 people and injury of over 7000 civilians and 4000 security personnel.


Reserve Bank of India appointed M Rajeshwar Rao as the Executive Director. He succeeded G Mahalingam, who took voluntary retirement from the central bank.

As Executive Director, Rajeshwar Rao will look after Department of Statistics and Information Management, Financial Markets Operation Department and International Department.

Rajeshwar Rao

•    Prior to taking over as the Executive Director, Rajeshwar Rao was the Chief General Manager, Financial Markets Operations Department.

•    He carried a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Master of Business Administration from University of Cochin. He is also a Certificated Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers.

•    He joined the Reserve Bank in 1984 and as career central banker has exposure in various aspects of central bank functioning.

•    He has previously held charge of the Risk Monitoring Department.

•    He has also worked as the Banking Ombudsman, New Delhi and in the Reserve Bank’s regional offices at Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai and New Delhi.





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Last Updated on Saturday, 10 December 2016 11:52