Current Affairs of 18 November 2015

1. Cabinet approves 10% stake sale in Coal India
The Union Cabinet gave its approval for the Government to sell 10 per cent of its stake in Coal India. The stake sale will bring down the Government’s holding to 69.65 per cent from 79.65 per cent currently.
The timing of the Coal India stake sale will be decided by the Finance Minister, Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy said after the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
At Wednesday’s closing share price of ₹ 333.75, the sale will fetch the Government a little over ₹ 21,000 crore. This would be less than the ₹22,557 crore mop-up from the last time the Government sold a 10 per cent stake in Coal India on January 31, 2015.

2. Cabinet approves long-awaited interest subvention scheme for exporters
The Union Cabinet has approved the long-awaited interest subvention scheme that would allow exporters, mostly in the labour-intensive and small and medium sectors, to avail of loans from banks at a 3 per cent lower rate.
The scheme will give a boost to exporters in sectors such as handicrafts, agriculture products, food processing ventures, and small and medium enterprises that were not able to access foreign loans and were dependent on high-cost domestic loans.
The interest subvention scheme, the provision for which was made in this year's Budget, will be applicable from April 1, 2015.
The move has come as a big relief for exporters grappling with falling exports over the past 11 months.

3. Govt approves six FDI proposals worth Rs. 1,810 cr
The Government has approved six proposals for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) amounting to Rs. 1,810.25 crore—the largest from IIFL Holdings Ltd.
Other proposals that got a nod from the Finance Ministry following recommendations made by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board include US-based Monsoon Capital LLC, Sharekhan Ltd, Agile Electric Sub-assembly Pvt Ltd, Serap India Pvt. Ltd and SeQuent Scientific Ltd, according to an official release.
Value-wise, IIFL Holdings’ proposal was the largest, as the NBFC seeks to increase the foreign equity from 50.16 per cent to 80 per cent by way of issuing shares to FIIs.

4. Kiren Rijiju conferred with Disaster Risk Reduction Asia Champion honour by UN
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, was  designated as the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Champion for the Asia Region by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Rijiju also became the first Indian to be conferred with this honour.
The honour was conferred Margarete Wahlstrom, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, during the inaugural session of the Asia Leaders’ Meeting towards Implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR in Asia. 
Rijiju is the first regional champion for DRR after the Sendai Agreement, giving an impetus to Union Government efforts to facilitate regional support towards enabling community resilience in the Asia-Pacific region.

5. Prithvi Raj Singh elected to Board of Governors of World Water Council
Prithvi Raj Singh of Jal Bhagirathi Foundation was  elected to Board of Governors of World Water Council (WWC) for 2016-18.
The elections took place during the triennial 7th General Assembly of WWC Members in Marseille, France where over 250 persons from 40 countries were gathered.
Prithvi Raj was one among 35 members elected to the board representing the five Council colleges. He was elected in the Civil society organisations and water user associations (College 4) category.
Over the next three years, from 2016 to 2018, the Board will support President Benedito Braga in implementing the council’s strategy focussing on water security, adaptation, and sustainability.

6. Zarin Daruwala appointed as CEO of StanChart Bank India
Zarin Daruwala was  appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Standard Chartered Bank, India. She succeeds Sunil Kaushal, who was appointed as Regional CEO for Africa and West Asia.
Zarin will be based in Mumbai and will report directly to Ajay Kanwal, Regional Chief Executive Officer of ASEAN & South Asia.
Zarin is currently working as the President of the Wholesale Banking Group at ICICI Bank.
During her 25 years in the industry, Zarin has led teams in corporate banking, project finance, structured finance, financial institutions, government and public sector banking.

7. Kosmos 2510, the first satellite of EKS (Tundra) system, launched by Russia
Russia successfully  launched the first satellite for its newest early warning system, named EKS or Integrated Space System. The satellite was officially named Kosmos 2510 (Tundra 11L).
This new-generation satellite is designed to restore Moscow's capability to detect, track and identify worldwide missile launches from space.
The satellite was carried by a Soyuz-2.1b rocket from Site 43/4 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, located in Northern Russia.
The launch was carried out under the command of Deputy Commander of Russian Aerospace Defence Forces (VKO) – Commander of the Space Troops Alexander Golovko.

8. Delhi to host the first International Qawwali Festival 2016
Delhi will host the first International Qawwali Festival 2015 titled Taali Ho that is scheduled to be held from 12 February 2015 to 14 February 2015. This was announced during the performance by Qawwali singers from India and Pakistan at India Islamic Centre providing a glimpse of the festival.
The festival aims to reinforce a notion that music is not restricted to any borders. 

9. Tianhe-2: World’s powerful Supercomputer for the sixth consecutive time 
 China’s Tianhe-2 supercomputer has emerged as the world’s most powerful supercomputer system for the sixth consecutive time. It was unveiled in 46th edition of Top500 list of supercomputers.

10. India, China agree to deepen defence ties, maintain peace at LAC
India and China have decided to deepen bilateral defence ties and maintain peace and tranquillity at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Both neighbouring countries also have decided to strengthen cooperation to fight the menace of terrorism, including at the international level. These decisions were taken in a meeting between Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and General Fan Changlong, Vice-Chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) in New Delhi.

11. Indian Red Cross Secretary General Dr. Satya Paul Agarwal passes away
Well-known neurosurgeon and Secretary General of Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) Dr. Satya Paul Agarwal passed away in New Delhi. He was 70. Dr. Agarwal was a well-known public health administrator. He had played pivotal role in execution of various disaster and emergency relief operations and control of disease and epidemics outbreak in the country. He was serving as Secretary General of Indian Red Cross Society since 2005. He was also the Chair of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Advisory Body on Sustainable Development and Health. He also had served as Director General of Health Services (DGHS), for Union Government of India from 1996 to 2005. He was awarded with India’s second highest civilian award Padma Bhushan for his contributions to public services.

12. Former RAW Director Shankaran Nair passes away
Former Director of country’s external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), K. Shankaran Nair passed away in Bengaluru, Karnataka. He was 94. He was credited with the success of covert operations that aided the liberation of then east Pakistan into new country Bangladesh in 1971.

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