27th Nov-28th Nov 2014

India and Mozambique signed MoU for cooperation in Oil and Gas sector


  • India and Mozambique on 28 November 2014 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in Oil and Gas sector for a period of five years. The MoU was signed during Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mozambique Oldemiro Julio Marques Baloi visit to India.
  • The MoU will enhance bilateral cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. It seeks cooperation in oil and gas in both upstream and downstream sectors in the areas of enhancing capacity-building, forging closer cooperation between research and training centres and intensifying technology transfer, among others.
  • Mozambique plans to produce 34 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas annually from its Rovuma Area 1 offshore block - where state-run ONGC Videsh Ltd, Oil India and Bharat Petroleum Corp have bought 30 percent stake.
  • The MoU will allow the Indian companies to participate in the LNG project of Mozambique that will facilitate access to LNG for the growing Indian gas market. It will bring natural gas to India at market-determined price.
  • Ten more LNG terminals are likely to be set up to produce five million tonnes of gas annually each.
  • Other partners of Rovuma 1 project are US-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp, Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos EP of Mozambique, Mitsui of Japan and PTT Exploration and Production of Thailand

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Nepal


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kathmandu, Nepal from 27 November to 28 November 2014. He visited Nepal as a part of 18th SARRC Summit.
  • During his visit, Prime Minister Modi also had bilateral interactions with all six leaders of SAARC member countries to develop closer neighbourly ties, except Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
  • He had meeting with Prime Minister of Nepal Sushil Koirala and both the leaders witnessed the signing of many memorandums of understanding (MoU) and agreements between India and Nepal that includes on tourism, youth exchange, and a motor vehicle agreement.
  • He also held bilateral talks with the other five leaders countries includes Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani , President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen  and President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi also urged the SAARC countries to fulfil the pledge taken by them to combat terror and trans-national crimes. He also reminded the terror attack in Mumbai in 2008 and asked to work together to combat terrorism.
  • Prime Minister Modi has invited Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay to visit India, in January 2015 in view of Vibrant Gujarat event.
  • At the end PM Narendra Mondi met Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and broke the ice. The two leaders during the whole summit spent cold shouldering each other.

18th SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu, Nepal


  • 18th South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit was held at Rastriya Sabha Griha Sanandan Raj in Kathmandu, Nepal from 26 November 2014 to 27 November 2014.
  • The theme of the summit was Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity. The summit was focused on enhancing connectivity between the member states for easier transit-transport across the region.
  • The Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala hosted the event.
  • The summit took place after an interval of three years. The last summit was held in 2011 in Maldives. The next summit will now be held in Islamabad in 2016.
  • During the summit, the leaders signed an agreement on energy cooperation namely SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation, SAARC Regional Railway Agreement and SAARC Motor Vehicle Agreement.


  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and geopolitical organisation of eight countries that are primarily located in South Asia. Eight members are Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan,Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka.
  • The SAARC Secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The combined economy of SAARC is 3rd largest in the world in the terms of GDP (PPP) after the United States and China and 8th largest in the terms of GDP (Nominal).
  • SAARC nations are having 3% of world's area and in contrast having 21% (around 1.7 billion) of world's total population.

SAARC Countries signed Energy Pact to ensure electricity trading through grid connectivity


  • The eight member-countries of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) on 27 November 2014 signed an Energy Pact at the 18th SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • As part of Energy pact, the SAARC leaders signed the framework agreement on cooperation in the power sector to ensure electricity trading through grid connectivity.
  • Pakistan had opposed the energy pact, citing non-completion of internal process but finally agreed to sign it after heads of states and governments took up the matter with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at a retreat session in Dhulikhel.
  • A timeframe of three months had been fixed for according approval to the connectivity pacts which will encourage people-to-people contact and movement of goods.
  • The Agreement will enable greater cooperation in the power sector among SAARC countries. The Agreement is expected to improve the power availability in the entire SAARC region. It would facilitate integrated operation of the regional power grid.

Telangana Assembly passed TS-iPASS Bill 2014


  • The Telangana Assembly on 27 November 2014 unanimously passed Telangana State Industrial Project Approval and Self Certification System (TS-iPASS) bill 2014 for timely clearances to industrial units proposed to be set up in the new State.

    • By passing the new industrial policy bill, the assembly repealed the existing Andhra Pradesh State Industrial Single Window Clearance Act of 2002.

Provisions of the TS-iPASS Bill 2014
• The Bill is aimed at speeding up processing for issue of various licences, clearances and certificates required by industries. The bill seeks to provide an investor-friendly environment in the State.
• The Bill also seeks to create a Telangana state-wide Investment Facilitation Board (T-SWIFT) to be chaired by the chief secretary to deal with clearances for mega projects. 
• District-level committees will clear projects other than mega projects under a similar system.
• The T-SWIFT Board will pursue clearances with departments through the nodal officer and the approvals arranged through the T-SWIFT Board would be final and binding on the departments.
• The government also introduced a provision of Right To Clearances under TS-iPASS to enable the applicant to know the reasons for the delay besides imposing penalties on the designated officers of the competent authority.
• The bill mandates State committee with industries secretary as chairman to issue all the clearances required to set up an industry within 30 days at a single-point clearance system.
• As per the bill, mega project should have an investment of over 200 crore rupees and should employ more than 1000 people.

Industrial Policy 2014
• The policy aims to achieve a growth rate of 4-5 percent higher than the national growth rate in the manufacturing sector.
• Innovate, invest and incorporate in Telangana is the hallmark of the policy.
• The policy identified 14 thrust areas including aviation, IT hardware, life sciences, pharma, automobiles, textiles, renewable energy and engineering and capital goods.
• Six industrial corridors, industrial parks, mini-industrial townships and a pharma city and a chemical city are among the initiatives proposed in the policy.
• The policy also stated that an industrial land bank of about 20 lakh acres will be developed and transferred to the Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC) which will set up core sector specific industrial parks.

RBI released guidelines for Licensing of Payments Banks


  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 27 November 2014 released guidelines for Licensing of Payments Banks.  These guidelines will allow mobile firms and supermarket chains, among others, to enter the banking arena to cater to individuals and small businesses.
  • The objectives of payments banks will be to further financial inclusion by providing small savings accounts and payments or remittance services to migrant labour workforce, low income households, small businesses, other unorganised sector entities and other users.

RBI Guidelines 
• Existing non-bank Pre-paid Payment Instrument (PPI) issuers, mobile firms and supermarket chains, among others existing NBFCs and micro finance lenders are promoters who are eligible to set up payment banks.
• Large public sector enterprises and big industrial houses are not allowed to establish Payment banks.
• A promoter or promoter group can have a joint venture with an existing scheduled commercial bank to set up a payments bank. But they should have a sound track record of five years period of running businesses.
• Payment Banks will initially be restricted to holding a maximum balance of 1 lakh rupees per individual customer. It can issue ATM or debit cards but not credit cards.
• Payment bank cannot undertake lending activities but can distribute the non-risk sharing simple financial products such as mutual fund units and insurance products, etc.
• These banks also should maintain Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) with the Reserve Bank, it will be required to invest minimum 75 percent of its demand deposit balances in Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) with maturity up to one year and hold maximum 25 per cent in current and time or fixed deposits with other scheduled commercial banks for operational purposes and liquidity management.
• The minimum capital for payments banks is 100 crore rupees and it should have a leverage ratio of not less than 3 percent that is its outside liabilities should not exceed 33.33 times its net worth (paid-up capital and reserves).
• The promoter’s minimum initial contribution to the paid-up equity capital for payments bank shall at least be 40 percent for the first five years from the commencement of its business.
• The foreign shareholding in the payments bank should be as per the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy for private sector banks as amended from time to time.
• The operations of the bank should be fully networked and technology driven from the beginning, conforming to generally accepted standards and norms. It should have a high powered Customer Grievances Cell to handle customer complaints
• Those who are interested can apply before January 16 for first round of such permits however these guidelines are subjected to periodic review and revision.
• External Advisory Committee (EAC) of RBI will evaluate the applications and decision to issue an in-principle approval for setting up of payment bank will be taken by RBI.
• The validity of the in-principle approval issued by the Reserve Bank will be eighteen months.

Artists from 5 countries create artworks out of industrial scrap at Abhisaran


  • Artists from five countries have come together at Vijayanagara in Karnataka to create artworks fashioned out of industrial scrap.
  • They created the artwork during a three-work long residency called Abhisaran, which began on 10 November 2014 and will stretch till 30 November 2014.
  • At the end of the residency, says the curator, the artworks would be placed in communities in and around Vijaynagara.
  • The idea is to inspire artists to push their boundaries and create works that engage with the community and how they can communicate with general audiences.
  • A total of 10 artists from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal are creating paintings, installations, video and sound.
  • Artists make use of site-specific material like metal scrap, local pottery, local crafts and material at the residency, which is being supported by the JSW Foundation.

India offered polio vaccine along with other deliverables for SAARC countries


  • India on 27 November 2014 offered polio vaccine for SAARC countries which would mean Pakistan and Afghanistan. The offer was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 18th SAARC summit in Kathmandu.
  • The PM also committed a large number of deliverables from India for the SAARC region. These are

• To set up a Special Purpose Facility to finance infrastructure projects in SAARC region to enhance the connectivity and trade. 
• To upgrade border facilities and push for common standards between SAARC countries.
• To give business visa for 3-5 years for SAARC countries and will issue SAARC Business Traveller Card.
• To set up a power trading facility in the region through which electricity can be traded as a commodity. 
• To put in extra funds to establish the SAARC Regional Supra Reference Laboratory for TB and HIV.

• To sell the pentavalent vaccine to other South Asian countries and has promised quick delivery medical visas.


  • The offers made by India is an attempt to shred the image of Big Brother in South Asia and project itself as a responsive regional power, a country willing to assist its SAARC neighbours, whatever their challenges. Further, Modi tries to inject the momentum into attempts at South Asian synergy. 
    Moreover, the offer of polio vaccine to SAARC member countries though has been welcomed by Afghanistan but has put Pakistan in bind.

18th SAARC Summit issued Kathmandu Declaration


  • Eighteenth Summit meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was held in Kathmandu, Nepal from 26 to 27 November 2014. The 18th SAARC summit was the 30th Year of the SAARC.
  • The summit concluded on 27 November 2014 with Kathmandu Declaration. Theme of the summit was Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity.
  • In Kathmandu Declaration SAARC leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the principles and objectives of SAARC for ensuring the welfare and quality of life of the peoples of South Asia and recognized to reinvigorate SAARC’s regional cooperation and revitalize SAARC as an effective vehicle to fulfill the developmental aspirations of the peoples of South Asia.
  • Observer participants of the 18th SAARC summit were Australia, China, Iran, Japan, Korea, Mauritius, Myanmar, the US and the European Union.
  • The leaders agreed to hold the Nineteenth Summit of SAARC in Islamabad, Pakistan in 2016.

Main highlights of Kathmandu Declaration
• Regional Cooperation: SAARC leaders determined to deepen regional integration for peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia by intensifying cooperation in a prioritized, result-oriented and time-bound manner
• South Asian Economic Union (SAEU): SAARC leaders committed to achieve South Asian Economic Union (SAEU) in a phased and planed manner, through Free Trade Area, a Customs Union, a Common Market, and a Common Economic and Monetary Union. In context of the Least Developed, Land-locked, and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) member states, they agreed to effectively implement the existing preferential facilities under SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area) and SATIS (SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services)
• SAFTA and Trade Facilitation: Free trade in goods and services operations will be simplified and transparent of origin; implementation of trade facilitation measures, harmonization of standards relating to Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures
• SAARC Development Fund (SDF): Agreed to strengthen Social Window of the SDF and operationalise its Economic Window and Infrastructure Window at the earliest for effective implementation of regional and sub-regional projects
• Connectivity: In context of connectivity, the leaders made significant progress towards finalization of the SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement and SAARC Regional Railways Agreement. They agreed to hold a Meeting of the Transport Ministers within three months in order to finalize the Agreements for approval.
• Energy: Leaders welcomed the signing of the SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation (Electricity) and directed the relevant SAARC bodies and mechanisms to identify regional and sub-regional projects in the area of power generation, transmission and power trade and implement them with high priority with a view to meeting the increasing demand for power in the region
• Poverty Alleviation: Leaders agreed to free South Asia from poverty and directed the Ministerial and Secretary-level mechanisms on poverty alleviation to review the progress. They also directed to revisit the SAARC Plan of Action and its effective implementation, also taking into account the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
• Post-2015 Millennium Development Goals: On this SAARC leaders agreed to initiate Inter-Governmental process to appropriately contextualize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the regional level
• Agriculture and Food Security: Leaders agreed to eliminate the threshold criteria from the SAARC Food Bank Agreement and constitute the Seed Bank Board. They also agreed to finalise establishment of Regional Vaccine Bank and Regional Livestock Gene Bank. 
 Environment: relevant authorities were directed to effectively implement SAARC Agreement on Rapid Response to Natural Disasters, SAARC Convention on Cooperation on Environment and Thimphu Statement on Climate Change. They also agreed to establish the SAARC Environment and Disaster Management Centre
• Blue Energy: They recognized the manifold contributions of ocean-based Blue Economy in the SAARC Region and the need for collaboration and partnership in this area
• Health: Importance of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) was recognised. Male’ resolution on Regional Health Issues adopted at the Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Health Ministers was endorsed. Aim to end AIDS epidemic in the region by 2030 was urged and also directed to complete all necessary processes for upgrading the SAARC TB Reference Laboratory at SAARC TB and HIV/AIDS Centre (STAC), Kathmandu to Supra-national Reference Laboratory with necessary funding from SDF. 
• Education: Agreed to eliminate illiteracy from the region in line with global goal of education for all ensuring quality education in all institutions by reforming curricula, teaching methods and evaluation systems adequately supported by physical, technical and other facilities. 
• Youth: The Leaders welcomed the declaration of 15 July as the World Youth Skills Day at the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly and agreed to commemorate, as appropriate, the said event by SAARC
• Science and Technology: The Leaders agreed to develop capacity of the Member States to apply space technology for socio-economic development and the welfare of the peoples through experience sharing among themselves. In this context, they welcomed the offer of India to develop and launch a satellite dedicated to SAARC Countries
• Culture: Leaders declared the year 2016 as the SAARC Year of Cultural Heritage and tasked the relevant bodies to develop an action plan for its success. They also agreed to develop a cultural trail linking major Buddhist historical sites in the region. The Leaders further agreed to facilitate access of persons visiting prominent and holy sites of Islam, Hinduism, Christianity and all other major religions in South Asia.
• Combating Terrorism and trans-national Crimes: The Respective authorities have been directed to ensure full and effective implementation of the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism and its Additional Protocol, including enacting necessary legislations at national level to root out terrorism. The leaders agreed to take effective measures to combat illicit trafficking of narcotics and psychotropic substances, arms smuggling, money laundering, counterfeit currency and other transnational crimes. They also agreed to establish a cyber crime monitoring desk.
• Governance: The leaders agreed on the need for cooperation and collaboration within SAARC on issues of common interest and concern to Member States.
 Strengthening SAARC processes: To strengthen SAARC processes, the leaders of SAARC nations agreed to hold henceforth the meetings of the SAARC Summit every two years or earlier, if necessary, the Council of Ministers once a year, the Standing Committee at least once a year, and the Programming Committee at least twice a year. They also agreed to make the Programming Committee a Charter body of SAARC Strengthening SAARC processes.

Crime novelist PD James died at the age of 94


  • Crime novelist Phyllis Dorothy James on 27 November 2014 died at the age of 94 in Oxford, UK. She was best known for her series of detective novels starring the policeman and poet Adam Dalgliesh.
  • Her novels include The Children of Men, The Murder Room and Pride, and Prejudice spin-off Death Comes to Pemberley.About PD James

• PD James was born in August 1920.
• She started her writing career in the 1950 and her first novel was Cover Her Face.
• She worked in the forensic science department and then the criminal law department till 1979.
• She gained international recognition after the publication of Innocent Blood in 1980.
• Many of her novels were adapted for television such as Death in Holy Orders and The Murder Room starring Martin Shaw as the detective.
• She was awarded the Crime Writers' Association's Diamond Dagger award in 1987 for lifetime achievement.
• She also received the Medal of Honour for Literature in 2005 by National Arts Club.
• She served as a BBC governor from 1988 to 1993.
• She was created a Conservative life peer - Baroness James of Holland Park - in recognition of her role in 1991.

Two Indians authors among the list of five shortlisted for DSC Prize for the year 2015


  • Two Indians authors namely Jhumpa Lahiri and Writer critic Shamsur Rahman Faruqi were among the list of five authors shortlisted for DSC Prize for the year 2015. The shortlist for 2015 was announced on 27 November 2014.
  • The final winner of the award will be announced at the Jaipur Literature Festival. DSC Prize is one of the South Asia's biggest literary awards. The award carried 50000 US dollar prize money.
  • The finalists are:
  • • Bilal Tanweer for The Scatter Here is Too Great

• Jhumpa Lahiri for The Lowland
• Kamila Shamsie for A God in Every Stone 
• Romesh Gunesekera for Noontide Toll 
• Shamsur Rahman Faruqi for The Mirror of Beauty

  • Jhumpa Lahiri's novel The Lowland is an intimate portrayal of two brothers and political passion. The novel was earlier shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for the year 2013. Her debut short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies had won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
  • Indian Poet, novelist and literary critic Faruqi has been shortlisted for his novel The Mirror of Beauty which he translated from Urdu and deals with the sunset of the Mughal Empire.
  • Pakistani author Bilal Tanweer is on the shortlist for his debut book The Scatter Here Is Too Great, which won the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize for the year 2014.
  • Kamila Shamsie, also from Pakistan has been nominated for A God in Every Stone while Sri Lankan-born London based writer Romesh Gunesekera's Noontide Toll is also nominated. Gunesekera was a finalist at the Man Booker Prize for his novel Reef in 1994.

Book titled Your Dreams Are Mine Now: She Showed him What Love was released


Your Dreams Are Mine Now: She Showed him What Love was: Ravinder Singh

  • The book titled Your Dreams Are Mine Now: She Showed him What Love was authored by Ravinder Singh was released on 20 November 2014..
  • The novel Your Dreams are Mine Now is a powerful and poignant love story that explores the romantic relationship between Rupali and Arun. They are complete opposites and have nothing in common when it comes to their interests and priorities in life.
  • Rupali is a small town girl and an idealist, whereas Arun is a Delhi guy with keen interest in youth politics. A major scandal on the college campus brings them together and somewhere along the line they fall in love with each other. But their fight against evil comes at a heavy price which becomes the ultimate test of their lives.
  • Set against the backdrop of heavy campus politics in Delhi University, Your Dreams Are Mine Now is an innocent love story that will make for an engaging read for those who enjoy love stories.

About Ravinder Singh
• Born into a Sikh family in Kolkata, Ravinder Singh spent his childhood in the small town of Burla in Odisha. 
• After completing Computer Science Engineering, he later moved to Bhubaneswar to work at Infosys Technologies for five years. 
• He pursued his postgraduation in Business Management from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and was working as a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft. 
• He is best known for his debut novel I Too Had a Love Story which was based on his life. He has also authored Can Love Happen Twice and Like it Happened Yesterday.

Book titled Black Tornado: The Three Sieges of Mumbai 26/11 released


Black Tornado: The Three Sieges of Mumbai 26/11: Sandeep Unnithan

  • The book titled Black Tornado: The Three Sieges of Mumbai 26/11 authored by Sandeep Unnithan was released on 23 November 2014.
  • Sandeep Unnithan in his book puts together a blow-by-blow account of the 26 November 2011 terrorist attack in Mumbai and how the siege of Mumbai was thwarted by India's security forces.
  • The 26/11 attack is widely regarded as the world's first hybrid terrorist attack. The attackers achieved through this long-drawn siege what Al Qaeda did through the high-visibility mass-casualty attack on the World Trade Centre of USA on 11 September 2001.
  • The response to this attack was the first instance of all three wings of the Indian armed forces coming together to fight terror. The attacks tested the India's elite counter-terrorist force, the National Security Guard (NSG).
  • Black Tornado, the operation called by the NSG, is the story of the men called into action including army personnel, Indian Navy and the air force in the desperate hours following the most sensational terrorist attack the country had ever seen.

About the Author: Sandeep Unnithan
• Sandeep Unnithan is Deputy Editor with India Today magazine in New Delhi where he writes on security related issues. 
• He hails from Mumbai and has a BA degree in ancient Indian culture from St. Xavier's College. 
• He has been a journalist for twenty years. Black Tornado: The Three Sieges of Mumbai 26/11 is his first book.

RBI released Guidelines for Licensing of Small Finance Banks in the Private Sector


  • The Reserve Bank of India on 27 November 2014 issued Guidelines for Licensing of Small Finance Banks in the Private Sector. As per the issued guidelines, the minimum paid-up equity capital for small finance banks shall be 100 crore rupees.
    But the licenses will be granted after the applicants fulfill the necessary ‘fit and proper’ criteria, among other conditions with a sound track record of professional experience or of running their businesses for at least a period of five years. Those interested, would need to apply before 16 January 2015 for first round of such permits.
  • These norms for payment banks and small finance banks would allow mobile firms and supermarket chains, among others, to enter the banking arena to cater to individuals and small businesses. The move aims at deepening financial inclusion and boost saving habits.

Key features of the Small Finance Bank guidelines are:
i. Objectives: The objectives of setting up of small finance banks will be beneficial in financial inclusion by
a) Provision of savings vehicles
b) Supply of credit to small business units, small and marginal farmers, micro and small industries and other unorganised sector entities, through high technology-low cost operations
ii. Eligible promoters
a) Resident individuals/professionals carrying 10 years of experience in banking and finance and companies and societies owned and controlled by residents will be eligible to set up small finance banks.
b) Existing Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs), Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs), and Local Area Banks (LABs) that are owned and controlled by residents can also opt for conversion into small finance banks. 
iii. Promoter's contribution: The promoter's minimum initial contribution to the paid-up equity capital of such small finance bank shall at least be 40 percent and gradually brought down to 26 percent within 12 years from the date of commencement of business of the bank.
iv. Foreign shareholding: The foreign shareholding in the small finance bank would be as per the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy for private sector banks as amended from time to time.
v. Prudential norms
a) The small finance bank will be subject to all prudential norms and regulations of RBI as applicable to existing commercial banks including requirement of maintenance of Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR). No forbearance would be provided for complying with the statutory provisions.
b) The small finance banks will be required to extend 75 percent of its Adjusted Net Bank Credit (ANBC) to the sectors eligible for classification as priority sector lending (PSL) by the Reserve Bank.
c) At least 50 percent of its loan portfolio should constitute loans and advances of upto 25 lakh rupees.


  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Union Budget 2014-15 presented on 10 July 2014 announced that a structure will be put in place for continuous authorisation of universal banks in private sector in the current financial year; it will be put forward after making suitable changes in current framework. Framework of licensing small banks and other differentiated banks will be created by RBI.

Anoop Mishra appointed as new Secretary General of Lok Sabha


  • Former Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Anoop Mishra was on 26 November 2014 appointed as new Secretary General of the Lok Sabha. He was appointed by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
  • He will hold the rank and status of Cabinet Secretary with effect from 1 December 2014 up to 30 November 2016 or until further orders.

Anoop Mishra
• As an accomplished civil servant of 1978 cadre, Mishra has held several important positions at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh.
• He was the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh for a year with the overall responsibility of the state administration, superintendence of law and order and developmental and infrastructure schemes in Uttar Pradesh.
• He has also held the position of the Chairman of UP State Road Transport Corporation for two years overseeing its operations and management.
• At the Centre, Mishra had held the position of Joint Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat with the responsibility of strategic ministries such as Home, Defence, External Affairs, Atomic Energy and Space and the economic ministries.

Historian Tapan Raychaudhuri died


  • Tapan Raychaudhuri, a distinguished historian of modern India’s economic and social history, died on 26 November 2014 at his home in Oxford, England. He was 88.
  • Raychaudhuri died of a series of strokes. He was bedridden for a year before his death. He is survived by his wife Pratima Raychaudhuri and daughter Sukanya Wignaraja.
  • From 1973 to 1993, Professor Raychaudhuri was Reader in Modern South Asian History at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. During his tenure at Antony’s College, he was given an Ad Hominem Chair as Professor of Indian History and Civilisation. He retired from Oxford in 1993.

Tapan Raychaudhuri
• He was an Indian historian specialising in British Indian history, Indian economic history and the History of Bengal
• Post retirement, he remained as an Emeritus Fellow until his death
• Raychaudhuri was born on 8 May 1926 in Barisal (pre-Independent India) on the northern shore of the Bay of Bengal, at present in southern Bangladesh
• He earned his D. Phil at the age of 25 from Calcutta University 
• He worked on his second D. Phil from 1953 to 1957 at Balliol College, Oxford and at the archives of the Dutch East India Company at the Hague, Netherlands 
• Some of his publications include
a) Bengal Under Akbar and Jahangir 
b) Jan Company in Coromandel 
c) Europe Reconsidered: Perceptions of the West in Nineteenth Century Bengal 
d) The Cambridge Economic History of India (co-edited with Irfan Habib)

  • After his retirement, he wrote two memoirs titled Bangal Nama in Bengali and The World in Our Time in English (2012). Raychaudhuri in the book The World in Our Time has narrated social life in a zamindari estate in east Bengal, and described his uneasy time at the Delhi School of Economics and inherent racism in Britain, among other key events in his life.

Awards and Honours 
• Watumull Prize awarded by the American Historical Association, 1982 (jointly with Irfan Habib) for the Cambridge Economic History of India
• Doctor of Letters 1993, University of Oxford
• Doctor of Letters honoris causa by the University of Calcutta
• Doctor of Letters honoris causa by the University of Burdwan
• Padma Bhushan in 2007 in recognition to his contributions to history
• National Research Professor 2010

Rajya Sabha passed Apprentices (Amendment) Bill, 2014


  • Rajya Sabha on 27 November 2014 passed the Apprentices (Amendment) Bill, 2014 by voice vote. The bill seeks to amend the Apprentices Act, 1961.
  • The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 7 August 2014.

Main Highlights of Apprentices (Amendment) Bill, 2014

  • It amends the definition of appropriate government to include an establishment operating in four or more states to be regulated by the central government.
  • It amends the definitions of: (i) designated trade, (ii) graduate or technician apprentice, (iii) trade apprentice, (iv) industry and (v) worker and add two new definitions: (i) optional trade, and (ii) portal-site.
  • It adds that the minimum age for apprenticeship in designated trades related to hazardous industries shall be 18 years although the Act sets the minimum age for being engaged as an apprentice at 14 years.
  • It states that the hours of work and leave will be as per the discretion or policy of the employer. Earlier the hours of work and leave as per the Rules prescribe in the Act.
  • The Bill specifies the amount/maximum amount of the fine and removes the provision for imprisonment for such offences. Earlier certain offences were punishable with imprisonment up to six months or with a fine (quantum unspecified) or both under the Act.
  • It states that the central government shall prescribe the number of apprentices to be engaged by an employer for designated trade and optional trade. Earlier it was central government, after consulting the Central Apprenticeship Council (CAC) established under the Act shall prescribe the minimum number of apprentices.
  • It permits multiple employers to come together, either themselves or through an approved agency (as against only themselves given in the Act), to provide apprenticeship training (as against practical training given in the Act) to apprentices under them.
  • The Bill removes the requirement for Adviser’s approval for practical training to apprentices as was required under the Act.
  • It specifies that basic training to apprentices can be provided in any institute with adequate facilities.
  • It adds that proficiency test for apprentices may be conducted and certificates may be granted by other authorised agencies as well. This is in addition to the proficiency test conducted and the certificates granted by the National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT).
  • The Bill states that powers to make rules to implement the Act shall include the power to make Rules retrospectively with effect from a date on or after the President grants his assent to the Bill. No Rule shall have a retrospective effect if it prejudicially affects the interests of any person to whom such Rule may be applicable.

The Apprentices Act 1961

  • The Act was enacted in 1961 and came into force in 1962. It was enacted for regulating the programme of training of employees working as apprentices in the company.
  • The Apprentices Act 1961 was first amended in 1973 through the Apprentices (Amendment) Bill 1973 for induction of graduate engineers as "Graduate" Apprentices. The Act was further amended through the Apprentices (Amendment) Bill 1986 to include training of 10+2 vocational stream as "Technician (Vocational)" Apprentices.

Scientists at Katholieke University found new method to turn sawdust into petrol


  • Scientists at Katholieke University in Belgium have found new method to convert sawdust into building blocks for petrol. The research was published in the September 2014 issue of journal Energy & Environmental Science.\
  • The new method to derive these hydrocarbon chains from cellulose was developed by researcher Beau Op de Beeck.

The process used

  • Cellulose is the main substance in plant matter and is present in all non-edible plant parts of wood, straw, grass, cotton and old paper.
  • With the right temperature and pressure, it takes about half a day to convert the cellulose in the wood shavings into saturated hydrocarbon chains, or alkanes. These hydrocarbons can be used as an additive in gasoline, or as a component in plastics.
  • In order to turn sawdust into hydrocarbon chains or high liquid alkane yields, scientists used a new chemical process to convert the cellulose.
  • Firstly, they converted cellulose to glucose and then to HMF by gradually heating the reactor. Secondly, they adopted a proper hydrothermal modification of commercial Ru/C to tune its chemoselectivity to furan hydrogenation rather than glucose hydrogenation. Finally, they used a biphasic reaction system with optimal partitioning of the intermediates and catalytic reactions.
  • The result is an intermediary product that requires one last simple step to become fully-distilled gasoline.
  • The green hydrocarbon can also be used in the production of ethylene, propylene and benzene - the building blocks for plastic, rubber, insulation foam, nylon, coatings and so forth

Lok Sabha passed Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2014


  • Lok Sabha on 27 November 2014 passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders Amendment Bill, 2014. The bill seeks to include more castes under Scheduled Castes category in four states and exclude Majhi (Nepali) community from it in Sikkim.
  • The four States mentioned in the Bill are Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Tripura.
  • For this, the Bill seeks to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and the Constitution (Sikkim) Scheduled Castes Order, 1978.

List of community under SC category that have been included in the Bill

  • Kerala: Pulluvan, Thachar (other than ‘Carpenter’)
  • Madhya Pradesh: Dahiya
  • Odisha: Amata, Amath, Bajia, Jaggili, Jagli, Buna Pano
  • Tripura: Chamar-Rohidas, Chamar-Ravidas, Dhobi, Jhalo-Malo
  • During the debate on the Bill in Lok Sabha, the Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot rejected the demand of some parties that Christian and Muslims Dalits too should be included in the Bill.
  • The Union Government rejected the demand on the ground that the matter is pending before the Supreme Court.


  • The bill was first introduced in Lok Sabha in 2012 but lapsed after the 15th Lok Sabha was dissolved. It was later introduced by Narendra Modi-led NDA government in August 2014 in Lok Sabha.
  • Article 341 of the Constitution empowers the President to specify castes which will be deemed as Scheduled Castes through a notification.  It also empowers Parliament to include or exclude castes from the list of Scheduled Castes in the notification

Namsai became the 18th district of Arunachal Pradesh


  • Namsai on 25 November 2014 officially became the 18th district of Arunachal Pradesh. The Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Nabam Tuki made the declaration.
  • The Chief Minister exhorted the officials to prepare a master plan for the new district and the state government would extend all possible help.
  • The State Legislative Assembly passed the District re-organisation Bill on 20 March 2013 for creation of Namsai district and notification was issued on 15 July 2013. The formal announcement was made during the 68th Independence Day celebration on 15th August 2014.
  • The nascent district has a population of 95950 as per 2001 census and has an area of 1587 square kilometres with a literacy rate of 54.24 percent.
  • It is inhabited by the Tai Khampti, Singpho, Deori and Mishing tribes. The district also has a high potential of growth in the tourism sector, particularly in the spiritual segment with numerous temples and stupas making it an abode of the Theravada Buddhists.
  • On the socio-economic front, tea has become a dominant industry while rubber is picking up pace. Paddy has been the major crop in the agriculture sector.

Union Ministry of Sports honoured Olympics Gold winning Hockey Team of 1964


  • The Union Ministry of Sports on 26 November 2014 honoured Olympics Gold winning Hockey Team of 1964.
  • They were honoured during the commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of 1964 Tokyo Olympics where Indian hockey team had defeated Pakistan by 1-0 and won a gold medal. The gold in 1964 Olympics was India's seventh in the quadrennial event.
  • Five of the eight surviving members of the team led by star midfielder Charanjit Singh were present at the felicitation ceremony at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi.
  • Ministry felicitated the then hockey players with a cheque of 7.5 lakh rupees each. Besides Charanjit, Harbinder Singh, Balbir Singh Jr, Dharam Singh and Ali Sayeed graced the occasion.
  • The families of players who have passed away Shankar Laxman, RA Christie, Prithpal Singh, Mohinder Lal, Jagjit Singh, Rajinder Singh, Joginder Singh, Bandu Patil, Udham Singh, were also present to collect the cheques.

SBI Mutual Fund announced to launch Shariah Equity Fund


  • State Bank of India (SBI) Mutual Fund (MF) announced on 26 November 2014 that it will launch Shariah Equity Fund on 1 December 2014. The fund is aimed at attracting investments from Muslim populations of India.
  • The fund has been approved by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, an authority that oversees the observance of Muslim civil laws in India.
  • With this, SBI MF will become the fourth fund house in India to have an Islamic equity fund after Goldman Sachs MF, Taurus MF and Tata MF.
  • Also, India became the second country outside the Islamic world where a state-owned bank is offering a Shariah-compliant fund. The UK is the first country who issued sovereign Islamic bonds in June 2014.

About Shariah Equity Fund
• Shariah Equity Fund is a diversified equity fund, including large, mid and small cap companies. 
• These funds are basically an investment fund which meets all of the requirements of Shariah law and the principles articulated for Islamic finance.
• The fund must follow a variety of rules, including investing only in Shariah-compliant companies, appointing a Shariah board, carrying out an annual Shariah audit and purifying certain prohibited types of income, such as interest, by donating them to a charity.
• Shares of companies linked to alcohol, tobacco, gambling and casinos and financial institutions that earn interest would be excluded from the fund.

Union Government launched Electronic Travel Authorization Scheme for 43 countries


  • Union Government on 27 November 2014 launched Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) Scheme or E-visa to make travel of foreigners to India on Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVOA) facility easier. The scheme is available for 43 countries to boost tourism to India.

About Electronic Travel Authorization Scheme

• The Electronic Travel Authorization Scheme or E-visa facility is available to Foreigners who wants to visit for recreation, sightseeing, short duration medical treatment, casual business visit, casual visit to meet friends or relatives which is not valid for any other purposes. 
• The facility will allow entry into India within 30 days from the date of approval of ETA and will be valid for 30 days stay in India from the date of arrival in India. 
• The facility cannot be available more than twice in a calendar year and it will be available at nine International airports in India namely Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Goa. 
• The foreigner or visitor can apply for an India visa online without visiting Indian Mission and can also pay the visa fee online.
• Once visa is approved then applicant will receive an email authorising the applicant to travel to India and the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities on arrival to India where they will stamp the entry into India.
• The facility is available to following 43 countries nationals to travel to India for tourism for a short stay of 30 days.
• The countries are Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kingdom of Tongo, Laos, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Oman, Palestine, Papua & New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Kiribati, South Korea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Republic of Nauru, Republic of Palau, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, USA, Vietnam and Vanuatu.
• However, this facility will not be available to people from countries like Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Somalia

Boeing delivered Sixth P-8I maritime patrol aircraft to India


  • American firm Boeing on 24 November 2014 delivered the sixth P-8I maritime patrol aircraft to India. It arrived at Naval Air Station Rajali in Tamil Nadu on 25 November 2014.
  • The P-81 is a long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. It joined five others P-81 aircrafts being used by the Indian Navy.
  • The delivery of sixth P-81 aircraft took place under the eight-aircraft deal signed in 2009 between Boeing and Indian Navy. The deal was worth 12000 crore rupees with three each were to be delivered in 2013 and in 2014 respectively and two were to be delivered in 2015.

About P-81 aircraft
• The P-8I is based on the Boeing next-generation 737 commercial airplane. It is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon that the US Navy uses. 
• It is equipped with foreign and indigenous sensors for maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine operations and electronic intelligence missions. 
• It is integrated with latest sensors and anti-surface and anti-submarine weapons.

Delhi & District Cricket Association re-appointed Yashpal Sharma as chairman


  • Delhi & District Cricket Association on 26 November 2014 re-appointed Yashpal Sharma as Chairman. Yashpal Sharma had resigned from his post in the second week of November 2014 due to some personal issues.
  • His resignation coincided with Delhi’s dismal performance in the recently concluded Vijaya Hazare one-day tournament.
  • Yashpal Sharma was a member of the 1983-World Cup winning team. He was born in 1954 in Ludhiana, Punjab.
  • His re-appointment as the head of the panel was crucial in lieu of the Delhi's opening Ranji Trophy game against Saurashtra.

Bharti Airtel Launched 4G Services in Seychelles


  • Bharti Airtel on 26 November 2014 launched 4G service in Seychelles.  This is the first commercial LTE (Long Term Evolution) network of Airtel in Africa.
    Airtel launched the service on a state-of-the-art network based on FD-LTE. Seychelles became the first countries amongst sub-Saharan Africa to commercially deploy this cutting-edge technology.
  • The network is expected to cover 10000 LTE (Long Term Evolution) subscribers in the first phase and will greatly enhance connectivity, giving customers an improved smartphone experience, with faster web browsing, downloads and improved quality of service.
  • The infrastructure is a new, nationwide LTE 800MHz network, which will meet the growing customer demand for mobile broadband services.
  • The deployment of the next generation mobile network across the Seychelles will enable an enhanced mobile experience and reliable services.
  • Bharti Airtel is the first telecom service provider in India also to launch 4G services in April 2012.
  • Airtel 4G services are now available in 15 Indian cities – Bangalore, Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Kolkata, Amritsar, Kapurthala, Phagwara, Hoshiarpur, Nagpur, Patiala, Pune and Nasik.

Pakistani actress Veena Malik sentenced to 26 years in jail for blasphemy


  • Pakistani actress Veena Malik was sentenced to 26 years in jail on 26 November 2014 by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) of the Gilgit region of Pakistan.She was sentenced for blasphemy for appearing in mock Geo TV wedding scene in which religious song about the wedding of the Prophet Muhammad's daughter was played in background. 
    Apart from Veena Malik, the court’s Judge Shahbaz Khan also sentenced Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, owner of Geo TV and Jang group, Malik’s husband Asad Bashir Khan and TV host Shaista Wahidi for 26 years each.
  • The ATC also imposed a 1.3 million Pakistani rupees fine on the convicts and ordered that their properties should be sold to raise the fine, if they failed to pay it.
  • The court in its 40-page verdict also asked the police to arrest the convicts. But it said that the convicts can appeal in the regional high court in Gilgit-Baltistan.
  • The court order will be enforced in the Pakistan-controlled city of Gilgit, which is also part of the India-claimed Kashmir regions.


  • ATC’s verdict came in light of the blasphemy case that was registered on 26 May 2014 in a police station in Gilgit by a hard-line Sunni cleric Himayatullah Khan, deputy chief of the anti-shia organisation Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba.

Chennai Super Kings should be disqualified: SC on IPL spot-fixing


  • The Supreme Court of India on 27 November 2014 observed that Indian Premier League (IPL) team Chennai Super Kings (CSK) should be disqualified without any further enquiry. The observation of the SC came while hearing the Mudgal report Committee probe on IPL spot-fixing.The court observed that as a consequence to the Mudgal Committee probe, the CSK needs to be disqualified because by owning CSK and being BCCI chief, Srinivasan had breached the provision of conflict of interest.
    The court also expressed displeasure over India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni holding the post of vice-president in India Cements owned by Srinivasan and also being the captain of the India Cements owned CSK team. It said that dual role is a matter of concern.
  • The court also observed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should proceed with elections and Srinivasan should stay out of it.
  • Further, SC observed that betting by Gurunath Meiyappan - son-in-law of the sidelined BCCI president N. Srinivasan - was like insider trading wherein even if he was not placing bets in his own name, he was passing on the information to bookies.
  • These observations were made by the SC bench of Justice T S Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla.
  • Earlier in November 2014, Supreme Court had disclosed names of few personalities, who were probed by the Justice Mudgal Committee for alleged links to the IPL spot-fixing scandal. The disclosed names include
  • • N. Srinivasan, former President of BCCI
  • • Sunder Raman, BCCI chief operating officer (COO)
  • • Raj Kundra, Rajasthan Royals co-owner
  • • Gurunath Meiyappan, Chennai Super Kings team principal
  • CSK, led by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, is owned by the India Cements company of which Srinivasan is the managing director and has won the seven-year-old IPL tournament twice in 2011 (IPL Season 3) and 2012 (IPL Season 4).

Stanford University engineers discovered multilayered material for cooling surfaces


  • The engineers of Stanford University discovered an ultrathin multilayered material which can reflect sunlight from buildings and thereby can lower the temperature of the building. The findings were published in the Journal Nature on 26 November 2014.

Integrated Photonic Solar Reflector and Thermal Emitter

  • Stanford University engineers experimentally demonstrated the radiative cooling to nearly 5 degrees Celsius below the ambient air temperature under direct sunlight.
  • Using a thermal photonic approach, they introduced a material named integrated photonic solar reflector and thermal emitter. The material consists of seven layers of hafnium oxide and silicon dioxide.
  • At a thickness of about 1.8 microns, the material is thinner than an aluminium foil. It is designed to reflect both infrared light and visible sunlight. The material reflects 97 percent of incident sunlight at the frequency which is not absorbed by atmospheric gases. This is known as the atmospheric window.
  • When exposed to direct sunlight exceeding 850 watts per square metre on a rooftop, the photonic radiative cooler cools to 4.9 degrees Celsius below ambient air temperature and has a cooling power of 40.1 watts per square metre at ambient air temperature.

Need of this ultrathin multilayered material

  • Cooling is a significant end-use of energy globally and a major driver of peak electricity demand. Air conditioning accounts for nearly fifteen percent of the primary energy used by buildings in the United States.
  • A passive cooling strategy that cools without any electricity input could have a significant impact on global energy consumption. To achieve cooling one needs to be able to reach and maintain a temperature below that of the ambient air.
  • At night, passive cooling below ambient air temperature has been demonstrated using a technique known as radiative cooling in which a device exposed to the sky is used to radiate heat to outer space through a transparency window in the atmosphere between 8 and 13 micrometres.
  • Peak cooling demand, however, occurs during the daytime. Daytime radiative cooling to a temperature below ambient of a surface under direct sunlight has not been achieved because sky access during the day results in heating of the radiative cooler by the Sun.

Conclusion of the study
• These results demonstrate that a tailored, photonic approach can fundamentally enable new technological possibilities for energy efficiency. 
• Further, the cold darkness of the Universe can be used as a renewable thermodynamic resource even during the hottest hours of the day.
• The entire goal of the discovery is to harness the effect on the surface specifically during the day and not to cool the atmosphere itself in anyway

Union Government passed Central University Amendment Bill 2014


  • Union Government on 26 November 2014 passed Central University Amendment Bill 2014 in the Lok Sabha. The bill provides for the establishment of Mahatma Gandhi Central University in Motihari (Bihar).
  • The bill also proposed renaming of the existing Central University in the state of Bihar as the Central University of South Bihar.
  • The initial expenditure for the establishment of the Mahatma Gandhi Central University will be approximately 240 crore rupees. The expenditure would be met from consolidated fund of India through budgetary provisions of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • The representatives in Parliament, Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council of Bihar supported for the establishment of Central University in Bihar after the name of Mahatama Gandhi.
  • Motihari in Bihar has historical importance because Champaran movement by Mahatama Gandhi during freedom struggle was launched from this place.

Vehicles older than 15-years not permitted to ply on Delhi roads: NGT


  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 26 November 2014 held that all vehicles which are more than 15-years-old would not be permitted to ply on Delhi roads.
  • This direction would be applicable to all vehicles without exception i.e. two wheelers, three wheelers, four wheelers, light vehicles and heavy vehicles irrespective of whether commercial or otherwise.
  • Besides, the bench of Green tribunal also directed the concerned authorities to take appropriate steps in accordance with the provisions of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, including seizure of the vehicles, wherever such vehicles of this age are noticed. The bench strictly directed the transport officers not to renew registration of vehicles which are over 15-years-old.
  • The Tribunal also said that no person will be permitted to burn plastic or any other material in the open. In its order, the bench said that in case any person is found burning plastic or any other material including tree leaves in the open, would be liable to be punishment in accordance with law and the Police, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and NCT.
  • Further, the green tribunal found that haphazard parking resulted in traffic congestion where vehicles stuck in jam keep their engines on and cause more pollution. In this regard, the tribunal directed the Commissioner of Police of Delhi, Municipal Authorities and DPCC to ensure that tarred roads for regular traffic are not permitted to be used for parking thus causing avoidable congestion of traffic.
  • The decision was passed by a bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar. The decision was passed while hearing a petition of Vardhaman Kaushik who had contended that the level of particulates in Delhi is raising manifold and the reasons for which should be identified and curbed.
  • Delhi has the dubious status of being the world’s most polluted city according to World Health Organisation (WHO).

Nippon Life Insurance to hike stake in Reliance Capital from 26 percent to 49 percent


  • Japan based Nippon Life Insurance on 26 November 2014 announced to hike its stake in Anil Ambani-led Reliance Capital Asset Management (RCAM) from 26 percent to 49 percent. As part of it, Nippon will invest 675 crore rupees for the first tranche of 9 percent stake in RCAM.
  • As a result of the first tranche of investment, the total value of RCAM will reach 7300 crore rupees which is the highest valuation till date for any asset management company in India. The transaction is expected to be completed within the financial year 2014-15, subject to regulatory approvals.
  • Nippon’s existing 26 per cent stake in RCAM was acquired in 2012, for about 1450 crore rupees. Nippon also has stake in Reliance Capital’s insurance arm, Reliance Life Insurance.

Consolidation in MF industry

  • Nippon’s decision to increase stake in Reliance Capital’s asset management arm comes at a time when larger asset management companies (AMCs) are seen consolidating operations, while a few smaller companies are exiting the business.
  • Through the 2013, three small players have been acquired by large AMCs — PineBridge Mutual Fund was acquired by Kotak Mahindra AMC; Morgan Stanley’s domestic mutual fund business by HDFC MF; and ING MF by Birla Sun Life AMC.
  • With assets under management, HDFC MF is the largest fund house, with assets of 1.41 lakh crore rupees, followed by ICICI Prudential with assets worth 1.28 lakh crore rupees and Reliance MF is the third-largest AMC.
  • However, when pension fund and wealth management is included then RCAM becomes the largest asset manager in India with a total assets of 2.18 lakh crore rupees.
  • The overall assets under management of the Indian mutual fund sector stand at about 10 lakh crore rupees.

About Nippon Life and RCAM
Nippon Life manages over 500 billion US dollars (30 lakh crore rupees) in assets which is the highest in the world for any life insurer. The President of Nippon Life Insurance is Yoshinobu Tsutsui.

On the other hand, RCAM manages mutual funds, pension funds, managed accounts and offshore funds. The CEO of Reliance Capital is Sam Ghosh

Potential Drug target for treatment of Type 2 Diabetes mellitus discovered


  • A potential drug target for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes mellitus was discovered by a team of scientists led by Satish Kumar, Chief Scientist and Group Leader at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB). The findings were published in the journal Diabetologia on 23 November 2014.
  • The team of scientists genetically deleted Wdr13 gene in a mouse afflicted severely with Type 2 diabetes and demonstrated that the absence of the gene corrects the pathology of the disease. It was found that the destruction of beta cells in severely diabetic model would be corrected with removal of the gene.
  • The deletion of the gene not only increased insulin production, but also showed better glucose clearance and reduced inflammation and triglycerides.
  • The significant reduction was noticed in the expression of genes involved in inflammation of pancreas, liver and adipose tissue.
  • In a previous study, the team had created a mutant mouse strain lacking Wdr13 gene and showed that the mutant mice had increased islet mass due to beta cells proliferation leading to enhanced insulin production.

Conclusion of the study

  • This study provides evidence that loss of WDR13 protein in the mouse model of diabetes is beneficial. Based on these findings, WDR13 may be a potential drug target for ameliorating hyperglycaemia and inflammation in diabetic conditions.

Type 2 Diabetes mellitus

  • Type 2 Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that is characterized by hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) in the context of insulin resistance and relative lack of insulin.
  • The classic symptoms are excess thirst, frequent urination, and constant hunger. Type 2 diabetes makes up about 90 percent of cases of diabetes. Obesity is thought to be the primary cause of type 2 diabetes in people who are genetically predisposed to the disease.
  • With diabetes emerging as a global epidemic and around 350 million suffering from the condition, the WHO has projected that deaths due to diabetes would double by 2030 and it would be the seventh leading cause of death by then.

President Pranab Mukherjee penned a book titled The Dramatic Decade on 1970s era


Dramatic Decade: The Indira Gandhi Years: Pranab Mukherjee

  • President of India Pranab Mukherjee penned a book titled The Dramatic Decade: The Indira Gandhi Years. The book has been published by Rupa and will be released on 11 December 2014.
  • The Dramatic Decade is the first of a three-part volume; the second one will be on the years from 1981–88 and the third volume will be from 1988 to 2012.
  • The book Dramatic Decade provides an insight into the era of 1970s, the era that largely belonged to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Years of 1970s are considered as a turning point in the political and economic evolution of India as this decade witnessed the India-Pakistan war, internal Emergency, economic reforms and the beginning of coalition politics in the country.
  • The book presents an exceptional portrait of a complex nation and draws from Pranab Mukherjee’s personal diary extracts, conversations with key players of the 1970s, and vital secondary literature.
  • Referring to the watershed moments in Ms. Gandhi’s political career, he makes a reference in the book to her mid-term resignation. He writes, Which democracy in the world would permit a change of a popularly and freely elected government through means other than a popular election? Can parties beaten at the hustings replace a popularly elected government by sheer agitation? Was it not prudent for those who were determined to change the government to wait till the elections which were but round the corner? Does the rule of law mean that the remedies available to the common man are to be denied to someone holding an elected office? How could anybody replace her when the overwhelming majority of Congress MPs—with a two-thirds majority in the Lok Sabha—resolved that Indira Gandhi should continue as the party’s leader in Parliament and thereby as the Prime Minister of India?
  • Pranab Mukherjee earned the title of troubleshooter during his long years with the Congress. He began his role as a politician in 1969 as a Rajya Sabha member and earned himself the position of deputy minister in the Indira Gandhi government in 1973–74.

Israeli Cabinet passed Jewish Nation-State Bill


  • Israeli Cabinet on 23 November 2014 approved a bill to call Israel the nation of the Jewish people. The Cabinet passed the bill by 14 votes to six and will now be presented in the Parliament (Knesset). 
    To become a law, it needs the Knesset’s approval. 
    The draft legislation, titled Israel, the Nation-State of the Jewish People, is backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu, earlier, has promised that it will guarantee equality for all Israeli citizens.
  • The bill also referred as the nationality law is intended to become part of Israel’s basic laws, and would recognise Israel’s Jewish character, institutionalise Jewish law as an inspiration for legislation and delist Arabic as a second official language.


  • This controversial legislation would raise debate as 20 percent country’s population includes Arab Muslims and Christians. The Palestinian lawmakers consider that the bill is a threat to the rights of the state’s Arab minority and its democratic principles.

World Gold Council and IIMA collaborated set up India Gold Policy Centre


  • World Gold Council (WGC) and Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) collaborated to set up India Gold Policy Centre to conduct research on all aspects of the domestic gold industry. The decision was announced by WGC and IIMA on 26 November 2014.
  • The objective of centre is to develop insights into how the significant stocks of gold India owns can be used to advance growth, employment, social inclusion and economic wealth of the nation.
  • The centre will conduct research that has a practical application which all stake holders can use to develop an effective gold ecosystem. It will also provide innovative solutions and insights for the gold industry through cutting-edge research.
  • The centre will conduct research that has a practical application which all stakeholders can use to develop an effective gold ecosystem.
  • The Centre is situated within the campus of IIMA and it will be commenced it operations from December 2014. It is funded by WGC grant and will operate independently.

New exotic carnivorous plant Nepenthes zygon discovered at Kew Gardens in London


  • An exotic carnivorous plant species Nepenthes zygon was on 25 November 2014 discovered at the Kew Gardens in London. The species was previously unknown to science.
  • The plant was seen growing at Kew Gardens for almost a decade by the Botanists where it was helping to keep down cockroaches. Pitchers and the other carnivorous plants at Kew help keep pests under control while some are even big enough to consume mice and rats.
  • Earlier the plant had been labelled as the pitcher plant Nepenthes copelandii but after the investigations it was known to be Nepenthes zygon when it produced flowers.
  • Nepenthes zygon will soon be placed on public view in the Princess of Wales glasshouse along with another species of pitcher plant N robcantleyi.

Nepenthes zygon

  • Nepenthes zygon is a tropical pitcher plant that originated from the Philippines. It was collected as a seed by a plant hunter Robert Cantley in 1997 on Mount Pasian, Mindanao.
  • It was donated to Kew Garden of London in 2004 as a seedling to be placed in a tropical glasshouse.

Biography My Name is Abu Salem released


My Name is Abu Salem: S Hussain Zaidi

  • Biography titled My Name is Abu Salem was released on 16 November 2014. Biography on underworld gangster Abu Salem has been written by S Hussain Zaidi and published by Penguin.
  • The author of the book, Zaidi who knows the Mumbai underworld better than anyone else has tried to tell, the life of Salem. In My Name is Abu Salem, the author has tried to present complete unknown details and first accounts of the gangster.
  • Biography My Name is Abu Salem depicts that Mumbai has produced many dons, but perhaps none so colourful like Abu Salem. The book investigates into the personal and criminal life of Abu Salem, including his relationship with actress Monica Bedi.
  • The book states that the flamboyant ex-aide of Dawood Ibrahim is best known for his involvement in the Mumbai blasts of 1993 and for the murder of music composer Gulshan Kumar. Beside this, Salam is equally famous for his relationship with actress Monica Bedi and his close connection to Bollywood, leading to a number of attempted murders of the film industry’s biggest names.


  • After being released, the book came into controversy after a TADA court on 25 November 2014 issued notices to the author, former journalist S. Hussain Zaidi, and Penguin, publisher of the book. The notices were issued after the underworld gangster Abu Salem moved an application urging a Terrorist And Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court to direct the withdrawal of a book titled My name is Abu Salem that documents his flamboyant life.
  • Salem in his petition has also argued that the murder of builder Pradeep Jain in 1995 is sub-judice but the author has pronounced him the killer and conspirator in the murder.

Hussain Zaidi

  • Hussain Zaidi is an Indian writer and former investigative journalist. He was born and raised in Mumbai. He authored Dongri to Dubai: Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia (2013), Mafia Queens of Mumbai (2011) and Black Friday (2001).
  • His two books namely Black Friday and Dongri to Dubai have been adapted as Bollywood films.

West Bengal government passed West Bengal Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill 2014


  • The West Bengal government on 19 November 2014 passed the West Bengal Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2014 relaxed the cap on private land holding.

Amendments of Land reforms Bill

  • • The amendment will allow development of large housing projects and included in the exempted category.
  • • It also allowed the industrialists to keep the allotted land of 24 acres unused under Section 14Y for a maximum period of five years instead of three years.
  • • In 2011, then West Bengal government removed township development from exempted category which slowed down the pace of several housing projects.
  • • According to Land Reforms Act-1955, No person will be allowed to keep land above 24.7 acres.
  • • It also allowed exemptions were made on the ceiling of land marked for various other industries such as transportation or terminal, logistic hub, financial and logistic hub, educational and medical institutions, oil and gas products piped transportation, mining and allied activities.

First 3D-printed object developed in space by NASA and Made In Space Inc


  • The first 3D-printed object was on 25 November 2014 developed in space by world's first zero-gravity 3D printer created by NASA and Made In Space Inc on the International Space Station (ISS).
    The printer was delivered to the space station in September 2014 via a Space X Dragon capsule. NASA astronaut Barry Butch Wilmore, Expedition 42 commander installed the printer on 17 November 2014 at the International Space Station and conducted the first calibration test print. Based on the test print results, the ground control team sent commands to realign the printer and printed a second calibration test on 20 November 2014. These tests verified that the printer was ready for manufacturing operations. 
    Made In Space engineers commanded the printer to make the first object while working with controllers at NASA’s Payload Operations Integration Centre in Huntsville.
  • The first object 3-D printed in space is the printhead faceplate that is engraved with names of the organizations that collaborated on this space station technology demonstration: NASA and Made In Space Inc.
  • As the first objects are printed, NASA and Made In Space engineers are monitoring the manufacturing via downlinked images and videos. The majority of the printing process is controlled from the ground to limit crew time required for operations.
  • The first objects built in space will be returned to Earth in 2015 for detailed analysis and comparison to identical ground control samples made on the flight printer. The goal of this analysis is to verify that the 3-D printing process works the same in microgravity as it does on Earth.

Zero-Gravity 3D printer

  • The 3D printer was developed under a contract with the firm Made In Space Inc which based in California. The purpose of the 3D printer is to experiment with the possibility of manufacturing crucial replacement parts on the station foregoing the expense of shipping them via rocket.
  • The 3-D Printing in Zero-Gravity Technology Demonstration on the space station aims to show that additive manufacturing can make a variety of 3-D printed parts and tools in space.
  • The 3-D printer uses a process formally known as additive manufacturing to heat a relatively low-temperature plastic filament and extrude it one layer at a time to build the part defined in the design file sent to the machine.

Boxer Manoj Kumar received Arjuna Award


  • Boxer Manoj Kumar on 26 November 2014 received the prestigious Arjuna Award. The 2010 Commonwealth Games gold-medalist was given the award by Union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at a function in New Delhi.
    Earlier, Manoj was denied the award by the Kapil Dev-led selection committee, as it believed that he was involved in a doping case. The committee recommended name of another boxer Jai Bhagwan for the coveted honour.
  • After being denied the coveted medal, Manoj had approached the Sports Ministry. After being snubbed for a second time in the review meeting, Manoj took the legal route and filed a case in the Delhi High Court. He won the case which led to the Ministry accepting his nomination for the award.