Punjab govt notifies ban on truckers’ cartelisation

Punjab State Government notified the ‘Punjab Goods Carriages (Regulation and Prevention of Cartelization Rules), 2017’, banning goods carriage operators from forming cartels in the state.

This notification is aimed at creating a favorable environment for industries and business houses in the state which will encourage industrial and infrastructural investment.

As per the notification, operators and permit holders of goods carriages have been barred from forming cartels which deny freedom of choice to prospective consignors and consignees.

Besides, operators should not compel or coerce any other operator to become a member or partner with him and should not stop him to pick up goods from any local areas, towns or cities within the State.

In case of violation of these norms, police recourse and penalty in the form of suspension or cancellation of the permit has been prescribed.

President of India inaugurates International Gita Mahotsava-2017 in Haryana

On November 25, 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the International Gita Mahotsava-2017 in Kurukshetra, Haryana.

Gita Mahotsava-2017 will conclude on December 3, 2017. Mauritius is the partner country and Uttar Pradesh is the partner state for this event.

About 20 lakh people participated in Gita Mahotsav last year, which also included people from 35 countries.This year, about 25-30 lakh people are expected to participate in this event until December 3, 2017.

On November 25, 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind, also participated in Gita Yajna and Gita Poojan ceremonies at Brahma Sarovar and inaugurated an international seminar on Gita at the Kurukshetra University campus. 

President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates two-day conference on National Law Day in New Delhi

On 25th November 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the 2-day conference on National Law Day in New Delhi.

This conference is organized by the Law Commission and the Niti Aayog to mark the National Law Day. The National Law Day is celebrated on November 26, the day on which the Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly in 1949.

There will be four sessions on relevant issues concerning India’s judicial system. These include ‘judicial review and parliamentary democracy – balancing the separation of power’ and ‘appointments to higher judiciary – constraints of collegium system and reforms ahead’.

There will also be sessions on themes like ‘structural reforms for overcoming delays in justice delivery’ and ‘scope of judicial powers, judicial activism’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver the valedictory address at the end of 2-day of the conference.

Myanmar, Bangladesh sign deal for return of Rohingya Muslims

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a memorandum of understanding on the return of Rohingya Muslims who fled the Rakhine state in Myanmar to escape a military crackdown.

Since August 2017, nearly 600000 Rohingya people fled Myanmar to the neighboring Bangladesh after army started an operation in response to an attack by Rohingya militants.

Myanmar has now accepted to repatriate these Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh and a deal in this regard has been signed by Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmud Ali and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw. 

Myanmar will start the repatriation process in two months. A joint working group to oversee the process will be formed comprising of foreign secretaries of both the countries.

While negotiating the deal, Bangladesh had sought the involvement of UN agencies to verify proper resettlement of repatriated refugees. However, this proposal was rejected by Myanmar in the final deal.

Ayodhya Mahotsav to be held in South Korea next year

‘Ayodhya Mahotsav’, depicting the cultural heritage of the temple town, would be held in Seoul and Gimhe cities of South Korea in 2018.
Ayodhya Mahotsav:

In return, a ‘Korea Festival’ will be held in Lucknow and Ayodhya. An in-principle decision in this regard was made during the meeting of the Uttar Pradesh government and a delegation from South Korea led by Mayor of Gimhe city, Kim Wonman.

People in South Korea believe that 2,000 years ago, an Ayodhya princess had married a Korean king Kim Suro.  At present, their descendants are members of the “Crock Clan” and had built a memorial in Ayodhya.

During the meeting, it was also decided that Agriculture department of UP government will receive technical support from South Korea for research in rice production.


Ritu Phogat clinches Silver medal in Under-23 Senior World Wrestling Championship in Poland


India wrestler Ritu Phogat (48kg) clinched the silver medal in the Under-23 Senior World Wrestling Championship at Poland.

Ritu Phogat lost to Turkish Wrestler Demirhan in the gold medal clash and settled for a silver medal. She is 23 years old. She had won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship in 2016.

In the quarterfinal, Ritu defeated Bulgarian Wrestler Selishka 4-2 points before defeating Chinese Wrestler Jiang Zhu 4-3 points in the semifinal. Ritu had won the National championship in Indore this month. She also won a bronze medal at the Asian Championships in May 2017.

Lionel Messi wins fourth European Golden Shoe Award

Lionel Messi drew level with Cristiano Ronaldo's tally of four European Golden Shoes after receiving the award at a ceremony in Barcelona, Spain. The FC Barcelona superstar claimed the prize- handed to Europe's top goal scorer- for his 37 LaLiga strikes in 2016-2017.

It is the fourth time Messi has taken the honors, after his successes in 2010, 2012 and 2013.


India to help Mauritius on digital locker services

The Government of India will assist Mauritius to develop and set up digital locker services.

Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of electronics and IT, said that Government of India will assist Mauritius to develop and set up digital locker services, on the sidelines of Global Conference on Cyber Space 2017.

The government will offer technical support and advisory services to Mauritius. The decision was taken during a bilateral meeting during the conference.

DigiLocker is a key initiative of the Indian government under its flagship Digital India program. The free service provides citizens a shareable private space on a public cloud wherein they can store their documents.

The service is aimed at paperless governance. Till now, about 8.87 million registered users have uploaded about 12.14 million documents on the DigiLocker.

India conducts major exercise in strategically-located Andaman & Nicobar Islands

India has conducted a major military exercise in the strategically-located Andaman and Nicobar Island archipelago.

This is expected to help to counter China’s strategic moves in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and ensure the security of sea lanes converging towards the Malacca Strait.
The “Defence of A&N Islands Exercise” (DANX), with fighters, heavy-lift transport aircraft, warships, infantry combat vehicles, special forces and regular troops, was conducted from November 20 to 24, 2017 to fine-tune operational drills and synergy among the Army, Navy and Air Force in the region.

China successfully launches remote sensing satellites

On November 25, 2017, China successfully launched remote sensing satellites for conducting electromagnetic probes and other experiments.

These Satellites were launched on a Long March-2C rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan. However, a number of satellites launched has not been specified.
Just a few days ago, China had launched three remote sensing satellites to improve observation capability to promote commercial use for the remote sensing industry.
Those satellites were carried by a Long March-6 rocket developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

New species of gecko discovered in Andhra Pradesh after 5-year study

A new species of gecko named ‘Hemidactylus sushilduttai’ was found in the Eastern Ghats in northern Andhra Pradesh.

The reptile, Hemidactylus sushilduttai is endemic to the Eastern Ghats in northern Andhra Pradesh. It was identified as a different species after a five-year study.
It is named after eminent herpetologist Sushil Kumar Dutta from Odisha, as Hemidactylus sushilduttai. It is also called as Dutta’s Mahendragiri gecko.
The species was identified from few areas in northern Mahendragiri range and scattered coastal hills in northern Andhra Pradesh.
The discovery report was published in November 2017 in the taxonomy journal Zootaxa. It was a collaborative effort between scientists from Indian and international institutions.



NPPA caps prices of 51 essential medicines

India’s drug pricing regulator, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) capped prices of 51 essential formulations, including those used for the treatment of cancer and heart conditions.

Reduction in prices for these essential formulations is in the range of 6-53%.
Oxaliplatin (injection 100mg), used for colon or rectal cancer treatment, Japanese encephalitis vaccine and measles-rubella vaccine are some of the drugs for which the ceiling prices have been capped.

Besides, NPPA has notified ceiling prices of 13 formulations and has revised prices for 15 formulations.
NPPA is authorized to fix ceiling price of essential medicines of Schedule I under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO) 2013.

Government doubles incentives rates for garments, made-ups to 4 percent

Under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS), Central Government has doubled incentive rates for export of readymade garments and made-ups to 4 percent from 2 percent earlier.

This decision has been taken to boost shipments of readymade garments and made-ups.Readymade garments and made-ups are labor intensive sub-sectors of textile sector. Thus encouraging its exports through incentives would lead to more production, which would eventually generate employment opportunities.

Incentives to be paid under this initiative are estimated to be Rs 1143.15 crore for 2017-18 and Rs 685.89 crore for 2018-19. The new incentive rates will be applicable to effect from November 1, 2017, and will continue until June 30, 2018.

Axis Bank launches blockchain-based international payment service

Private sector bank, Axis Bank has launched an instant international payment services using RippleNet (Ripple’s enterprise blockchain technology solution).

This facility is currently available for Axis Bank’s retail customers in India to receive payments from the UAE-based Rak Bank. Axis Bank’s corporate customers in India can also use this facility to receive payments from Standard Chartered, Singapore.

RippleNet is referred to as world’s only enterprise blockchain solution for global payments. It connects banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporates for enabling seamless experience to send money globally.

S&P retains India’s sovereign rating at ‘BBB'; maintains stable outlook

Rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) kept its sovereign rating for India unchanged at ‘BBB-‘, with the outlook for the nation as ‘stable’.

BBB- rating is the lowest investment grade and just one notch above junk status. S&P stated that India’s sizable fiscal deficit, low per capita income, and high government debt do not warrant a sovereign rating upgrade as of now.

However, it praised the recent reforms undertaken by Indian Government and expects Indian economy to grow strongly during 2018-2020. S&P’s ’Stable’ outlook for India indicates sound external account position.

It is to be noted that, last week another rating agency, Moody’s had upgraded India’s sovereign ratings to Baa2 with the outlook for the nation as ‘positive’. Moody’s cited recent economic and institutional reforms by Modi Government as the primary justification for this upgrade.