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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - November 2019

Nov 2019

Nov 20, 2019

Google Removes 'Anti-India App'

  • Acceding to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's demand, IT giant Google has removed the secessionist, anti-India mobile application '2020 Sikh Referendum' from its Play Store.
  • A spokesperson for the Chief Minister's Office said this app was not available any more on Google Play Store for mobile users in India.
  • The Chief Minister, who had also urged the Central government to persuade Google in the matter, had asked the Director-General of Police to coordinate with Central security agencies to tackle the threat resulting from the launch of the app, created by 'ICETECH'.
  • The app had asked the general public to register themselves to vote in the 'Punjab Referendum 2020 Khalistan'.

Network for Intel Agencies to Share Info will go Live in 2020

  •  The ambitious National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) project will be operational by December 31, 2020.
  • The NATGRID will enable multiple security and intelligence agencies to access a database related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details, among others, from a common platform.
  • The project, initially started in 2009 with a budget of ₹2,800 crore, is an online database for collating scattered pieces of information and putting them together on one platform.

Govt Plans to Change Agra's Name to Agravan

  •  The Uttar Pradesh government led by CM Yogi Adityanath is planning to change the name of Agra district to Agravan. The government has sought expert advice from the Ambedkar University in this regard.
  • The Ambedkar University in Agra has been asked to look into the historical aspect of the name. The history department of the university is now looking at the proposal.
  • Sources say the government has moved to change Agra's name to Agravan as it is believed by some that earlier the place was known as Agravan. Historians and experts have been asked to look into the circumstances and time when Agravan's name was changed to Agra.
  • Earlier the Uttar Pradesh government had changed the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj and the historic Mughal Sarai railway station was renamed after Deendayal Upadhyay.

Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurates SARAS IITF 2019 in New Delhi

  •  The Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Agriculture Shri Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurated the SARAS India International Trade Fair (IITF) 2019 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi on November 18, 2019.
  • SARAS Mela is an initiative by the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India.
  • It aims to bring the rural women SHG members formed under DAY-NRLM, in one platform to showcase their skills, sell and build linkages with potential market players.

Survey identifies 153 Encroachments on a 10.5-km stretch of Raja Nala

  •  The officials concerned have completed the survey works to identify the encroachment of Raj Nala along a 10.5-km stretch from Gabbur to Unkal.
  • Speaking at a Meet-the-Press programme organised by the Dharwad Journalists Guild, Mr. Itnal, Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) Commissioner said that during the survey, a total of 153 encroachments were identified.
  • These form 128 full encroachments and 25 partial encroachments. The length of the encroachments is a minimum seven metres and a maximum 21 metres.
  • It was noticed during the survey that encroachers had taken land on lease for short periods several years ago.
  • The lease was for constructing sheds but large buildings have been raised. In some cases, the Slum Board has issued title deeds.
  • The officials are looking into these matters and cross checking the documents.

Bio-mining to be Taken up at Alevoor Plant

  •  Bio-mining would be taken up to clear heaps of garbage at the solid waste management (SWM) plant at Alevoor.
  •  'Swachh Nildana – Udupi City Bus Nildana' (Clean Udupi City Bus) programme was inaugurated by Mr. Jagdeesh on 19 November, 2019.
  • Mr. Jagadeesh said that the district administration was in talks with a Tamil Nadu-based firm for this purpose. This project was expected to cost ₹3 crore and it would be made available under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Rajya Sabha passes the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment), Bill

  •  Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019 has been passed by the Parliament after it was passed in Rajya Sabha. The Bill was earlier passed in Lok Sabha on 2nd August 2019.
  • It seeks to make apolitical the trust that runs Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial by removing the clause pertaining to the President of INC as a permanent member of the trust.
  • The Bill also amends to include the Leader of Opposition recognised as such in the House of the People (Lok Sabha) or where there is no such Leader of Opposition, then the Leader of the single largest Opposition Party in that House as a member of the trust.

Nov 19, 2019

India, France to jointly patrol Indian Ocean Region

  •  In a move aimed at strengthening the defence ties, French Navy Chief Admiral Christophe Prazuck announced that the navies of India and France will carry out joint patrolling in the Indian Ocean region.
  • Prazuck said that the joint patrolling could be carried out in the northwestern or southern Indian ocean around the island administered by France.
  • Region could be the northwestern Indian Ocean or southern Indian ocean around the island which are part of France. The idea is that if you don't control an area then it will be pillaged and when it is pillaged then it can be contested.

Meghalaya-Based Insurgent Group HNLC Banned By Government

  •  Meghalaya-based insurgent group Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has been banned by the central government for its increased activities of violence and other subversive acts.
  • In a notification, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the HNLC along with all its factions, wings and frontal organisations has been openly declaring as its objective the secession of the state's areas, which are largely inhabited by Khasi and Jaintia tribals, from the Indian Union.
  • The group continues to intimidate and bully civilians to extort funds, maintains links with other insurgent groups of the Northeast to carry out acts of extortion and intimidation, and maintains camps in Bangladesh to give sanctuary and training to its cadre.

Nov 18, 2019

Winter Session Of Parliament Begins

  •  The Winter Session of Parliament began on 18th November 2019. The Session will have 20 sittings.
  • It will end on the 13th of December (2019). Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed hope that both Houses of Parliament will have constructive debates on ways to empower citizens and further India's development.
  • Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that Mr Modi urged the political parties to make Winter Session of Parliament productive, like the last one. He said Prime Minister stated that constructive discussions in Parliament keep the bureaucracy.
  • Mr. Joshi said the Prime Minister also talked about the Constitution Day to be observed on November 26, 2019. Mr. Modi said the Constitution and the democratic system of the country are unique and this should be branded. PM Modi said this time the Rajya Sabha will mark its 250th Session.

Kochi sets Guinness record in CPR training

  •  A Guinness World Record was set in the city on Saturday, with 28,523 students being trained in eight hours to perform hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • The attempt broke two previous records of 9,000 and 28,015 people being trained in eight hours and 24 hours respectively. The attempt also set a record in the country and entered the 'Best of India' record book.
  • Students of classes 9 to 12 from around 350 schools in the district participated in the training program, 'Heart Beats', held at the CIAL convention centre at Nedumbassery.
  • The session was conducted by the Kochi chapter of the Indian Medical Association, district administration, Angels International Foundation, and the District Legal Services Authority to create awareness among children on performing CPR.

Nov 17, 2019

ECI To Set Up T.N. Seshan Chair At Its Institute

  •  In honour of the former Chief Election Commissioner T.N. Seshan, who passed away on November 10, 2019 the Election Commission of India (ECI) will establish and fund a chair at the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM).
  • The visiting chair on interdisciplinary approach to electoral studies at the Centre for Curriculum Development, IIIDEM, from 2020-2025, will be mentored by former CEC N. Gopalaswami.

ITAT Orders Withdrawal Of Tax Exemption To Congress-Controlled Young Indian

  •  The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) has ruled that the withdrawal of income tax exemption to Young Indian, an entity controlled by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her family and others, by the tax department is correct and it cannot be called a charitable organisation.
  • An appeal to restore the withdrawal of exemption from income tax was made by Young Indian before the ITAT.
  • The Delhi bench of the ITAT, in an order on November 15, 2019 said Young Indian's "entire move for acquiring the AJL (Associated Journals Ltd), which had stopped/suspended its publication activities and was holding large number of properties worth hundreds of crores with huge rental and lease income, was for acquiring control and interest in such properties for mere sum of Rs 50 lakh."

Nov 16, 2019

Delhi Polls: Postal Ballots for Senior Citizens and Disabled

  •  According to chief electoral officer of Delhi, Ranbir Singh, Delhi in its upcoming assembly elections in 2020 would become the first state in India to allow Persons with Disabilities (PWD) and senior citizen voters above the age of 80 to cast their vote through postal ballots.
  • Singh said that the facility will first be rolled out on a pilot basis in a few constituencies in Jharkhand during the upcoming Assembly elections scheduled to be held between November 30 and December 20, 2019. At present, casting votes through postal ballots are available only to armed forces and officials assigned poll duties.
  • After the pilot project in Jharkhand, Delhi will be the first state to go hold elections in which the postal ballot will be made available in all 70 constituencies.

Centre Puts Citizenship Bill on Agenda of House

  •  The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government has officially informed Parliament that it wants to amend the Citizenship Act in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament, a move that promises to trigger protests by many Opposition parties and make for a lively session.
  • The controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, which accelerates the process under which non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan can get Indian citizenship, figures in the tentative list of 35 bills the parliamentary affairs ministry has sent to the legislative branch of the Lok Sabha.
  • The list, provided by the Lok Sabha secretariat, also includes the industrial relations code — one of the four key labour reforms the government wants to legislate — and laws replacing two ordinances, one banning e-cigarettes and the other lowering corporate tax rates.

Panel to Divide Assets between J&K and Ladakh

  •  The Parliamentary Standing Committee on home affairs was informed that situation in the newly-created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir was returning to normal and though assured that the detained political leaders, which includes three former Chief Ministers, would be released, no deadline for it was specified.
  • The Centre has also constituted a three-member committee for division of assets between the two UTs, the committee was told.
  • The committee has been constituted under Section 84 of the J-K Reorganisation Act for division of assets, rights and liabilities between the two UTs. While former defence secretary Sanjay Mitra would be the chairman of the committee, retired IAS officer Arun Goyal and retired Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS) officer Giriraj Prasad Gupta would be its members.
  • The 14th Finance Commission award was apportioned between the two UTs in the ratio of 70 per cent for J&K and 30 per cent for Ladakh for the remaining five months of the 2019-20 fiscal. Recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission have been approved for government employees of the UTs of J-K and Ladakh.

Punjab Farmers Compensated for Not Burning Stubble

  • The Punjab government has disbursed Rs. 19 crore among 29,343 non-basmati cultivating small and marginal farmers who did not burn paddy residue.
  • The government has decided to give Rs. 2,500 per acre as compensation to small and marginal farmers who have refrained from burning paddy straw, a major contributor to air pollution in the region.
  • Agriculture secretary Kahan Singh Pannu said that the compensation was released directly to the bank accounts of the farmers as per the list supplied by the field officers.
  • As many as 85,000 applications have been received till now, the last date for submission of these applications is November 30, 2019.

India and US Close to Signing Initial Trade Deal

  •  India and the US are set to finalise an initial trade agreement soon in what could pave the way for a larger deal, including a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), at a later stage.
  • An American delegation is scheduled to travel to India in November 2019 to put the final touches to the deal, following productive conversations between commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal and his US counterpart Robert Lighthizer.
  • The two countries are looking at a near-term deal and a long-term version later, according to Indian and US officials.
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