Saturday, 10 December 2016 05:23




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12- NOVEMBER - 2016




  • India signed a historic civilian nuclear deal with Japan during the annual bilateral summit held in Tokyo.
  • Sealing of the deal marked the high point of the ongoing visit to Japan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who issued a media statement describing it as a ‘historic step’.
  • The nuclear deal which will help India access Japan’s nuclear market, had been under negotiation for six years and was firmed up during the 2015 visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India when the principles of the agreement were frozen.
  • However, the final seal on the text had to wait legislative clearance from Japan, which has 13 civil nuclear agreements with countries such as France and the U.S.
  • India is the first non-member of the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) to have signed such a deal with Japan.
  • Negotiations which began in 2010 during the UPA government were stuck on India’s non-NPT status as Japan sought assurances that the deal would be used for peaceful purposes.
  • The last stage of negotiations was keenly watched due to a “nullification clause” which seeks automatic cancellation of the deal if India resorts to nuclear testing.


  • The World Bank has “urged” India and Pakistan to agree to mediation on how to proceed in their dispute over two hydropower dam projects in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Replying to a strong statement from India that the World Bank, a signatory to the Indus Waters Treaty 1960, was favouring Pakistan by going ahead with an arbitration process, the Bank said it had gone ahead with both countries’ requests.
  • Conceding that a “draw of lots” was held to appoint three neutral umpires despite India’s objections, a senior World Bank official explained that the decision was a “procedural one.”
  • However, World Bank Group General Counsel admitted that two parallel processes were “unworkable” in the long run, and therefore mediation was required.
  • The dispute is over the Kishenganga (330 MW) and Ratle (850 MW) hydel plants India is constructing on the Kishenganga and Chenab rivers.


  • Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar told the media in Tokyo that the India-Japan civil nuclear agreement is “broadly in line” with other such deals New Delhi has signed so far.
  • However, Japan Times has reported that the deal includes the option that Japan can give a year’s notice before terminating it in case India breaks the nuclear testing moratorium that it had extended to the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2008.
  • The deal is significant as it will help guarantee Japan’s continued support to India’s civil nuclear programme.
  • Apart from the Russian reactors, the planned nuclear reactors with France and the U.S. depend on Japanese parts.
  • The deal is also likely to revitalise Japanese nuclear majors that are yet to recover from the setback of the Fukushima accident.
  • That apart, the deal will bring Japan into the Indian nuclear market where France and Russia have already have a strong presence.
  • Both sides also signed nine agreements including one on cooperation between ISRO and JAXA in outer space. Another MoU that was signed covered investment in infrastructure projects in railways and transport terminals.


  • The Centre’s demonetisation drive will help lower inflation, NITI Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya said.
  • “All these makes me believe that their could be some moderation in inflation in the short-term,” Mr. Panagariya said.
  • Yields on sovereign bonds softened after the government announced that the present Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes will not be a legal tender from November 9.
  • He also said that eradication of black money from circulation will have some impact on money supply.
  • As the black money goes out of the system, the money supply will shrink to some degree. This will reduce the inflation rate in the absence of any open market operations by the RBI,” Mr. Panagariya said.
  • Banks will see healthy growth in savings account deposits due to this exercise, he said.
  • Savings that were kept in different forms particularly in the form of currency notes, they will now move into bank deposits. So we will see some surge in bank deposits,” Mr. Panagariya added.
  • Separately, Bibek Debroy, member of NITI Aayog dismissed that the demonetisation will have any impact on economic growth.
  • He said black money was never in the calculation of GDP figures, hence the present demonetisation drive will not impact growth.



  • On 14th, the moon will be the biggest and brightest it has been in more than 60 years. So long as the sky is clear of clouds, it should be a great time to get outside and gaze at it or take some photos.
  • It’s what is commonly called a “supermoon”, or technically a “perigee full moon” — a phenomenon that occurs when a full moon coincides with the moon being the closest it gets to the Earth on its orbit.
  • What makes this one special is that the moon is going to be even closer to the Earth than it normally gets, making it a tiny bit bigger than even your average supermoon.
  • But, despite a lot of hyperbolic news written about the event in the past few days, don’t be too surprised if it looks much like any other full moon.
  • How much bigger will it be? At 8:09PM GMT, the moon will pass by the Earth at a distance of 356,511km — the closest it has passed the Earth since 1948. As it does so, it will be a full moon, making it a particularly big supermoon.
  • Supermooons are roughly 30% larger in area and 30% brighter than the smallest full moons — full moons that happen when the moon is at its furthest distance from Earth: at “apogee”. In terms of diametre — the width of the moon — it will be about 14% wider than the smallest full moons.
  • The difference between this unusually big supermoon and other supermoons is negligible.
  • While a supermoon is 30% brighter than the smallest full moons, it’s only about 15% brighter than an average full moon.
  • That’s nothing to sneeze at — on a clear night, away from city lights, it will provide more moonlight than you’d usually get from a full moon.
  • When it comes to the size, the difference in width (diameter) between a supermoon and an average moon is about 7%.
  • When the moon is high in the sky, that difference is something you’re unlikely to notice, because the sky is big and there’s nothing to measure it against.
  • But if you could compare it to a moon at apogee (when it’s farthest) you would probably be able to see the difference.
  • What’s more, the boost in actual size of the moon’s image from a supermoon is totally swamped by what’s known as the “moon illusion”, which affects your perception of the size of the moon.
  • That moon illusion (as the name suggests) is a complete illusion — the image of the moon does not change significantly at all as it moves from the horizon up into the sky.
  • But, when it is close to the horizon, observers think it looks bigger. Exactly what causes the moon illusion is still a matter of debate. But there are lots of possible explanations .
  • What causes a supermoon? The moon’s orbit around the Earth is not quite a circle but an ellipse — a kind of squashed circle.
  • Ellipses are described mathematically with two foci, one at either side of the centre. When an orbit is elliptical, the big body in the middle (the Earth in this case) sits at one of those two foci.
  • Since the Earth is sitting off to one side of the ellipse, the moon is inevitably closer to the Earth when it passes that side, and further away as it passes the other side.
  • When it is at the close side (called “perigee”), and it is a full moon, it’s called a supermoon. (That name was actually made up in the pseudoscience field of astrology but it has entered the common lexicon.)
  • Why are supermoons not all the same size? In short, the reason is that the shape of the ellipse that the moon draws around the Earth is changing all the time as it is pushed and pulled by other gravitational forces.



  • U.S. President-elect Donald Trump hailed Israel as a “beacon of hope to countless people” in his first public message to the country since his upset victory.
  • “Israel and America share so many of the same values, such as freedom of speech, freedom of worship and the importance of creating opportunities for all citizens to pursue their dreams,” Mr. Trump said
  • “Israel is the one true democracy and defender of human rights in the Middle East and a beacon of hope to countless people.”
  • He added that he hoped his administration would play a “significant role in helping the parties to achieve a just, lasting peace,” saying that any deal would have to be directly negotiated between the two sides.
  • France is currently pushing for an international conference to discuss peace in the Middle East, but Israel says any talks should be bilateral ones between the two sides.
  • The Palestinians have called for international involvement, accusing Israel of reneging on past agreements.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among the first leaders Mr. Trump spoke to after his election victory.
  • U.S. President-elect says he hopes to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve just, lasting peace.



  • The Centre announced a slew of measures, including one that requires all organisations having a significant IT infrastructure to appoint cyber security officers, in an attempt to strengthen cybersecurity in India.
  • The Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad, speaking at the Economic Editors’ conference here, also said that efforts are being made to strengthen CERT-In, the governments’ cybersecurity arm.
  • “CERT-In is being strengthened. The ministry has approved 26 new posts,” he said.
  • State Certs are being planned by Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala and Jharkhand. Also, three sectoral Certs in power sector — generation, transmission and distribution, have been set up, in addition to the banking one.


  • The IMF said it supports India’s efforts to fight corruption through demonetisation, but noted that the transition needs to be managed “prudently” to minimise any disruption.
  • “We support the measures to fight corruption and illicit financial flows in India.
  • Of course, given the large role of cash in every day transaction in India’s economy the currency transition would have to be managed prudently to minimise possible disruption,” IMF spokesman told correspondents.


  • Industrial output grew 0.7 per cent in September compared with the same period a year ago, snapping a two-month contraction, government data showed.
  • The Index of Industrial Production contracted 0.7 per cent in August, and shrank 2.5 per cent in July. The move back into growth territory was driven mainly by consumer goods, with consumer durables especially seeing a strong turnaround.
  • A healthy contribution by consumer durables is likely to be short-lived, with experts saying that the government’s demonetisation move will dampen consumption in the remaining two quarters of the year.
  • Growth has come in at 0.7 per cent for the month, which is much lower than our expectation of 3.1 per cent which was based on the better performance of infra industries and retail sales in October.
  • The consumer durables category in the IIP grew a robust 14 per cent in September, up from the 2.2 per cent seen in August.
  • This pushed the growth of the overall consumer goods category up to 6 per cent in September from the 0.7 per cent in August.
  • The capital goods category extended its run of poor performance with 11 consecutive months of contraction. The category contracted 21.6 per cent in September compared with 22 per cent in August.
  • The manufacturing sector recovered marginally, growing 0.9 per cent following two consecutive months of contraction. The electricity sector grew 2.4 per cent in September, much faster than the 0.1 per cent growth rate seen in August.



Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM), a three-day international event, began in Jaipur on 9 November 2016. The main focus of the meet is to double the income of farmers through suitable technologies and agricultural activities.

Australia, Netherland and Israel will be international partners of the meet. The representatives of these countries will share their new technology and agriculture activities with state's farmers. Representatives of industry and foreign delegation are also participating in the meet.

About GRAM

• More than 50 thousand farmers from around the state are participating in the meet.

• Aside from familiarising the farmers with new technology, the meet will also educate them about the opportunities of investment in agriculture field in the state.

• The meet would also host an exhibition presenting technology related to livestock and agriculture.

• Through Zazam Chaupal, the event will enable farmers to learn about the new technology in their own language.

• MoUs concerning setup of industries in the field of agriculture will be signed.

• Farmers with extra-ordinary achievements will be awarded the GRAM award.


India's first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) driven bus was launched in Kerala.

Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan jointly flagged off the first pilot run of the eco-friendly bus on the sidelines of the fourth meeting of the Group of Ministers, set up by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

The LNG-driven bus was rolled out as part of the Union Government’s plans to use LNG.

About Liquefied Natural Gas

Liquefied natural gas is natural gas (predominantly methane, CH4, with some mixture of ethane C2H6f) that has been converted to liquid form for ease of storage or transport.

It takes up about 1/600th the volume of natural gas in the gaseous state.

It is odorless, colorless, toxic and non-corrosive.

LNG achieves a higher reduction in volume than Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) so that the (volumetric) energy density of LNG is 2.4 times greater than that of CNG or 60 percent that of diesel fuel.

This makes LNG cost efficient to transport over long distances where pipelines do not exist.

Natural gas could be considered the most environmentally friendly fossil fuel, because it has the lowest CO2 emissions per unit of energy.

For an equivalent amount of heat, burning natural gas produces about 30 percent less carbon dioxide than burning petroleum and about 45 per cent less than burning coal.


Tata Sons Ltd announced the appointment of Ishaat Hussain as the Chairman of IT giant, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) with immediate effect.  He will hold the position until the name of a new chairman is announced.

The announcement was delivered to the company (TCS) through a letter dated 9 November 2016 from Tata Sons Ltd. Hussain succeeds Cyrus Mistry, who was ousted from the position on 23 October 2016 by the board of Tata Sons Ltd. At that time, the board appointed Ratan Tata as the Interim Chairman of the group until another suitable candidate was chosen.

Cyrus Mistry ousted as Tata Sons chief; Ratan Tata returns in interim

About Ishaat Hussain

• He is a member of the board of Tata Sons and the Director of several Tata companies such as Tata Industries, Tata Steel and Voltas.

• He is also the Chairman of Voltas and Tata Sky.

• He is a member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) committees on insider trading and primary capital markets.

• He is also a member of Confederation of Indian Industries finance committee.

• Prior to Tata Sons, Hussain served as the senior Vice President and Executive Director of finance at Tata Steel for around 10 years.

• He joined the board of the Indian Tube Company (a Tata Steel associate company) in 1981 and moved to Tata Steel in 1983 after the merger of both the companies.

• A pass out from the Doon School, he graduated in economics from St Stephens College, New Delhi and completed Chartered accountancy from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (FCA).

Apart from this, Tata Sons also issued a special notice under Section 169 read with Section 115 of the Companies Act, 2013 and a requisition for convening an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders of the company under Section 100(2) of the Companies Act, 2013 to consider a resolution for the removal of Cyrus P Mistry as Director of the Company.


California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris became the first India-American to win the U.S. Senate seat from the state.

Harris defeated fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez from her own party. She is the first black woman elected to the upper chamber in more than two decades. She is also the sixth black individual to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

Harris will replace Barbara Boxer who announced her retirement in 2014 after serving more than two decades in the Senate.

About Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris is an American lawyer, politician, and member of the Democratic Party.

She has been the 32nd and current Attorney General of California since 2011.

She graduated from Howard University and University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

She worked as a Deputy District Attorney in Alameda County, California, from 1990 to 1998.

From 1998 to 2000, she served as Managing Attorney of the Career Criminal Unit in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

From 2000 to 2003, she served as the Chief of the Community and Neighborhood Division in the office of San Francisco City Attorney.

She was elected California's Attorney General in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014.

She is the first female, the first African-American, the first Indian-American, and the first Asian-American attorney general in California.


Pramila Jayapal became the first Indian-American woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representative. She won the Senate seat from state of Washington.

Jayapal received 57 per cent of the votes from Washington State, leaving behind her rival Brady Walkinshaw who secured 43 per cent votes.

About Pramila Jayapal

Pramila Jayapal is a Democratic politician from the state of Washington.

She has represented the 37th legislative district in the Washington State Senate since 2015.

Prior to being elected to the U.S. House of Representative, she was a Seattle-based civil rights activist, serving until 2012 as the executive director of OneAmerica, a pro-immigration advocacy group.

She obtained her bachelor's degree from Georgetown University, and an MBA from Northwestern University.

She is the author of Pilgrimage: One Woman's Return to a Changing India, published in March 2000.


The 1st International Agro-biodiversity Congress that was held in New Delhi concluded with adoption of Delhi Declaration on Agro-biodiversity Management. The event saw participation of 900 participants from 60 countries.

During the Congress, the delegates of all countries discussed various aspects of access, conservation and use of the agro-biodiversity in 16 technical sessions, four satellites sessions, a gene-bank roundtable, a public forum, a farmers’ forum and poster sessions.

Based on these deliberations, the delegates unanimously adopted the Preamble and following declaration at the concluding session on 9 November 2016. Declaration

• Participating nations called to accord top priority to the agro-biodiversity conservation and their sustainable use towards achieving targets of SDGs relating to poverty alleviation, food and nutritional security, good health, gender equity and partnership.

• They recognized the importance of traditional knowledge on agro-biodiversity of farm men and women, pastoralists and other tribal and rural communities. Their central role in its conservation and use for a food and climate resilient world was considered. They called upon to develop the necessary funding, legal and institutional mechanism to ensure and facilitate their continued active participation.

• The participating nations urged researchers and policy-makers to initiate, strengthen and promote complementary conservation strategies to conserve and use agro-biodiversity including crop wild relatives in more dynamic way to ensure a continuum between ex situ, in situ and on farm conservation strategies to combat food and nutrition insecurity as well as adverse effects of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss.

• They also invited researchers to employ modern technologies including, but not limited to, genomic, space, computational, and nano-technologies for characterization, evaluation and trait discovery using genetic resources. The aim should be to achieve efficiency, equality, economy and environmental security in agricultural production systems and landscapes.

• The participants reemphasized on the necessity of global exchange of plant, animal, aquatic microbial and insect genetic resources for food and agriculture to meet the ever-growing food and nutritional needs of each country. Nations also need to harmonise their multiple legal systems and prioritize the improvement of their phytosanitary capacities to facilitate safe transfer of genetic resources using latest technologies and trans-boundary partnerships.

• They recommended the governments and societies to put greater emphasis on public awareness and capacity enhancement programs on agro-biodiversity conservation and use.

• They suggested for developing and implementing an agro-biodiversity index to help monitor conservation and use of agro-biodiversity.

• The nations urged public and private sector partnerships to actively invest in and incentivize the utilization of agro-biodiversity to address malnutrition, increase the resilience and productivity of farms, and enhance ecosystem services leading to equitable benefits and opportunities with particular emphasis on women and youth.

• The UN is urged to consider declaring soon a ‘Year of Agro-biodiversity’ to draw worldwide attention and to catalyze urgent action.

• They recommended that a congress focusing on agro-biodiversity be held each 3-5 years in order to maintain emphasis on this important area that we have realized in Delhi, for which a continuing committee be formed.

Agricultural biodiversity Congress

The congress was called to discuss the solution of problems on agricultural biodiversity (agro-biodiversity), as at present the world is facing challenges, like global malnutrition, climate change, increasing agriculture productivity, increasing shrinking food security and many more. The congress was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at Vigyan Bhawan on 6 November 2016.

The congress aimed at initiating and encouraging a dialogue among relevant stakeholders, including farmers, to better understand everyone’s role in agro-biodiversity management. It also aimed at conservation of genetic resources.

The event was co-organised by the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources and Bioversity International, a CGIAR Research Center headquartered in Rome, Italy. It received support from many Indian and international organisations engaged in the conservation and use of genetic resources.

Agricultural biodiversity (agro-biodiversity) is the foundation of sustainable agricultural development and is an essential natural resource to ensure current and future food and nutrition security.

Why India was chosen as the Venue to to host the first-ever International Agro-biodiversity Congress?

India was chosen to host the Congress because of its diverse nature. Being one of the most diverse countries in the world, India that takes up of only 2.4 percent of the world’s land area, harbours 7 to 8 percent of all recorded species.

As per Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 2014, Species that breathe in India include over 45000 species of plants and 91000 species of animals (CBD, 2014).




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Last Updated on Saturday, 10 December 2016 10:53