Saturday, 10 December 2016 05:26




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16- NOVEMBER - 2016




  • The Supreme Court refused to stay government notification demonetising Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes.
  • However SC asked the Centre to take immediate measures to alleviate the sufferings of the traumatised common man who is “forced” to stand in queues to withdraw a little bit of his own hard-earned money.
  • Court did not want to interfere with the government’s economic policy, Chief Justice Thakur said the objective of demonetisation might be a “surgical strike” on black money, but it should not cause hardship to the common man.
  • “Carpenters, masons, daily wage earners, maids, vegetable sellers are dependent on cash; we are only wondering if you are capable of doing anything to reduce the trauma of ordinary man,” Chief Justice Thakur asked
  • The Bench asked the Centre to file an affidavit by November 25, detailing the various measures it could take to lessen the hardship and inconvenience caused to people without hindering the larger objective of the government notification to get rid of black money and cross-border terror financing.
  • “After demonetisation, the black money hoarders do not even have the money they once used to have in their pyjamas,” Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi Rohatgi submitted in the Supreme Court
  • He said 3.25 lakh crore in Rs. 500/1000 notes was deposited out of 15 or 16 lakh crore in circulation. At least, Rs. 10 to 11 lakh crore is expected to come in.


  • The government asked banks to start using indelible ink to mark and identify persons who exchange old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes upto Rs 4,500 to ensure that the facility isn’t used multiple times.
  • A small mark of indelible ink, used during elections to prevent multiple voting, will be put on the right hand finger of persons exchanging the recalled currency notes.
  • Freshly minted notes of Rs. 100 denomination will start reaching banks soon to ease the lack of change for the new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes that is impeding day-to-day transactions.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, meanwhile, asserted that the Centre was fully prepared for the impact of the exercise and was working for ‘effective currency management’ even as officials sought to manage the fallout.
  • “There are enough currency notes with banks and in the system. The situation will be continuously monitored… both the supply of cash and of essential commodities.”
  • The government has also asked religious institutions, which receive donations in smaller denomination notes, to deposit these notes in bank accounts to increase their supply in circulation, Mr. Das added.
  • Both the RBI and govt emphasised that the facility to exchange Rs. 4,500 worth of notes was a one-time opportunity and not a daily limit to clear any confusion that may have arisen in the matter owing to the language of the notification.


  • The Union Cabinet gave a go-ahead to declare the NGO run by Islamic preacher Zakir Naik as an “unlawful association” which disturbed social and communal harmony and placed it under a ban for five years with immediate effect.
  • Banning any organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) requires an approval by the Cabinet, and a Gazette notification will follow soon.
  • The NGO, Islamic Research Foundation, was declared an “unlawful association” under the UAPA primarily on the basis of four key points: criminal cases against Dr. Naik, provocative speeches by the preacher, its dubious relationship with the banned Peace TV and transfer of money to the channel .
  • A tribunal will be set up where Dr. Naik can challenge the ban.


  • In a bid to boost production of pulses, the Centre increased its MSP by up to Rs. 550 per quintal, including the bonus, while increasing the MSP for wheat by Rs. 100 to Rs. 1,625 per quintal for the rabi 2016-17 season.
  • The decision to increase the MSP for rabi crops was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.
  • The CCEA approved the MSP increase for pulses, such as masoor (lentil), to Rs. 3,950 per quintal from Rs. 3,400/q last season while the MSP for gram has been fixed at Rs. 4,000 per quintal against Rs. 3,500/q last year.
  • The MSP for wheat has been raised by Rs.100 to Rs.1,625 a quintal for the rabi season against Rs. 1,525 a quintal for the previous season.
  • Similarly, the MSP for barley has also been increased to Rs. 1,325 per quintal against Rs.1,225/q last season.
  • The support price for rapeseed-mustard seed, including bonus, has been fixed at Rs. 3,700 per quintal against Rs. 3,350/q last year, while that of sunflower has been increased to Rs. 3,700 per quintal from Rs. 3,300/q last season.



  • The head of China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Jin Liqun, has signalled that the United States under President-elect Donald Trump could reverse its decision not to join the lender.
  • A move that could pave the way for Washington’s broader acceptance of Beijing’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) connectivity initiative across the Eurasian region.
  • The AIIB is widely viewed as part of a new global financial architecture, and is expected to back infrastructure projects in Asia that are part of OBOR.
  • U.S. embrace of OBOR under the newly elected President could be on the cards, in case Beijing agreed not to the alter the status quo in the Asia-Pacific.
  • According to the People’s Daily , “Woolsey recognised China’s leadership role, but also said that the balance of power in Asia depends on America’s strength”.
  • The daily also carried an article by Nicholas Rosellini, the China head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), extolling the OBOR’s potential to positively change the international landscape.


  • President Barack Obama sought to reassure the global and domestic audiences that his successor in waiting, Donald Trump, would ensure continuity in policy even as the latter continues to send out conflicting signals.
  • Ahead of embarking on his last foreign tour as President, Mr. Obama said the U.S.’s foreign policy was the “result not just of the President”.
  • Mr. Obama’s final foreign tour is to Greece, Germany and Peru as American allies and foes struggle to fathom what could be in store under a Trump presidency.
  • During campaign, Mr. Trump had initially said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had become obsolete and later amended his position to say that the military coalition’s new focus on Islamist terrorism makes it relevant.
  • America’s European allies are anxious about Mr. Trump’s policy towards Russia while its Asian partners are more concerned about his China policy.
  • The memo said the Trump administration would focus on U.S. trade relations in the first 200 days and could scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
  • The new administration will seek to negotiate bilateral trade treaties with Canada and Mexico.
  • Meanwhile, the appointment of far-right activist Stephen Bannon as the chief strategist of the administration has triggered a wave of protest from Democrats and civil rights activists.



  • India and Israel agreed to intensify counter-terror efforts to deal with “constant” security threats posed by terrorism.
  • Welcoming visiting Israeli President, PM Modi said that both sides would work to counter terrorism, radicalism and extremism even as they agreed to work together in areas such as agriculture and water resource management.
  • “Our people are constantly threatened by forces of terrorism and extremism. We recognise that terrorism is a global challenge, knows no boundaries,” Mr. Modi said.
  • Mr Rivlin recollected the 26/11 attacks which claimed the lives of Israeli citizens.
  • “We recognise that terrorism is a global challenge, knows no boundaries and has extensive links with other forms of organised crime. We stand together defending our people.”
  • The declarations came even as both leaders referred to the twenty-fifth anniversary of formal diplomatic ties between two countries that have turned out to be “broad-based.”
  • Mr. Modi also thanked Israel for supporting India in multilateral diplomacy and said: “India is also grateful to Israel for its clear support to India’s permanent candidature in a reformed UN Security Council.”
  • Both sides agreed to take “practical and specific” measures such as cyber-security cooperation and agreed to expand defence ties.
  • The Israeli President is accompanied by a delegation of representatives of the country’s defence sector, leading academics and technology solution providers.



  • Retail and wholesale inflation slowed in October due to lower food prices with analysts predicting a further declining trend due to a demonetisation move, leading the central bank to cut rates in its next review meeting.
  • Growth in the Wholesale Price Index slowed to 3.4 per cent and in the Consumer Price Index dipped to a 14-month low of 4.2 per cent.
  • The Consumer Price Index registered a growth of 4.4 per cent in September, and the slowdown of retail inflation since then can be attributed almost entirely to easing food inflation.
  • The food and beverages category grew 3.7 per cent in October compared with 4.1 per cent in September.
  • The easing of inflation across both indices lends hope of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India, according to analysts.
  • Inflation in the pan, tobacco and intoxicants category of the CPI accelerated to 7.1 per cent in October from 6.8 per cent in September.
  • Similarly, inflation quickened marginally in the clothing and footwear category to 5.24 per cent in October from 5.2 per cent in September.
  • Inflation in the fuel and light segment slowed to 2.8 per cent in October down from 3.07 per cent in September.
  • On the other hand, the housing segment saw inflation slowing marginally to 5.15 per cent in October from 5.18 in September.
  • In the wholesale price index, the primary articles category saw inflation slowing to 3.3 per cent in October from 4.8 per cent in September.
  • Within this, inflation in the food articles category slowed to 4.3 per cent from 5.75 per cent over the same period. The non-food category saw inflation slowing even more drastically to 1.13 per cent in October from 4.5 per cent in September.
  • The fuel and power segment, however, saw inflation accelerating to 6.2 per cent in October compared with 5.6 per cent in September.
  • Notably, inflation in the manufactured products segment accelerated to 2.7 per cent compared with 2.5 per cent over the same period.


  • The country’s trade deficit widened to $10.16 billion in October, compared with $9.69 billion in the same month a year earlier, as gold imports more than doubled, government data showed.
  • Exports of goods grew 9.59 per cent to $23.51 billion compared with the same month a year earlier due to an increase in exports of gems & jewellery, engineering goods and readymade garments.
  • Imports expanded 8.11 per cent to $33.67 billion.
  • Owing to poor global demand, goods exports had fallen for 20 of the 23 months since December 2014 – the three months that the shipments registered positive growth this year were in June (1.27 per cent), September (4.62 per cent) and October.
  • India’s exports could touch $280 billion during the current fiscal, adding that the support given by the Centre will further be seen in exports figures in the coming months as well.
  • Working capital requirement hurdles in the refund process for exports in the proposed Goods & Services Tax regime along with infrastructural bottlenecks and further reduction in logistics cost should also be looked into by the Centre.
  • Oil imports grew by 3.98 per cent to $7.14 billion, while exports of petroleum products recorded a 7.24 per cent growth to $2.71 billion.
  • Non-petroleum exports in October grew 9.9 per cent to $20.79 billion, the ministry said.
  • Transport equipment was an item that witnessed a major jump in imports — registering a 15.77 per cent growth to $1.88 billion, while machinery imports grew by 0.55 per cent to $2.25 billion.


  • Stocks of non-banking finance companies fell as a government bid to replace high denomination currencies from the system affected small businesses, which are mostly financed by the NBFCs.
  • While the broader indices fell by about two per cent, the fall in NBFC shares was much sharper.
  • A substantial number of NBFC customers are from semi-urban and rural areas, and the borrowers are transport operators, farmers, equipment hirers, small and medium enterprises and small traders, among others who mostly deal in cash.
  • Last week, the Centre banned Rs.500 and Rs.1000 denomination bank notes in a move to curb black money and said such notes can be exchanged at bank branches and post officer before December 30.
  • The process of exchange and withdrawal of legal tenders have been slow with automated teller machines requiring re-calibration.
  • NBFCs have also requested the Centre to allow them to accept such notes will December 30. The benchmark Sensex fell 514.19 points, or 1.92 per cent, to 26,304.63.
  • Market participants attribute the fall to global cues along with concerns of an interim domestic slowdown on account of the Centre’s demonetisation move.
  • The overall market was in the red with 2,354 declines as against only 346 gainers on BSE. All the sectoral indices - barring BSE IT - ended the day in negative territory.



Maharashtra became the first Indian state to adopt Fly Ash Utilisation Policy. The policy will pave way for prosperity by creating wealth from waste, and environment protection.

The decision to implement the policy was taken at the weekly cabinet meeting chaired by state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Key highlights of the Fly Ash Utilisation Policy

As per the policy, 100 per cent of fly ash generated from thermal power plants and biogas plants will be used for construction activities.

This fly ash will be used to make bricks, blocks, tiles, wall panels, cement and other construction materials.

The policy also allows usage of fly ash within 300 kilometres of the power plant. Earlier, it was allowed to  be used within 100 kilometres radius.

The policy will create new employment opportunities in the power plant areas.

It will also make available raw material for construction at low cost to help Housing for All projects.

What is Fly Ash?

Fly ash is one of the coal combustion products.

It is composed of the fine particles that are driven out of the boiler with the flue gases.

In modern coal-fired power plants, fly ash is generally captured by electrostatic precipitators or other particle filtration equipment before the flue gases reach the chimneys.

Fly ash includes substantial amounts of silicon dioxide, aluminium oxide and calcium oxide.

Reuse of Fly Ash

Fly ash can be reused as a substitute material for Portland cement and sand in concrete production. It can also be used for road construction. Its agricultural uses include soil amendment, fertilizer, cattle feeders and soil stabilization in stock feed yards etc. It can also be used as a substitute material for clay for cement clinkers production.

Environmental impact of Fly Ash

Heavy metals can leach from stored fly ash into groundwater, which can put the health of the surrounding population in danger. Apart from causing air pollution, it can also contaminate water and soil systems.


The Union Cabinet gave its approval for creation of a ‘special committee’ in accordance to an order passed by the Supreme Court in 2012 for inter-linking of Indian rivers.

The approval was given in a Cabinet council session headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 November 2016. According to the government, this move will help in monitoring the projects that are to be carried out under its National Perspective Plan, 1980.

Supreme Court Order

•  The Apex Court ordered the union government to create a ‘special committee’ immediately for inter-linking of rivers’ project.

•  The court declared the project as a matter of national benefit and progress.

•  The court also held the opinion that success of this project would save people living in drought-prone zones from hunger and those living in flood-prone zones from destruction.

Abiding by the judgment passed by a bench of Justices in a 2002 case related to the inter-linking of rivers, the special committee would be required to submit a status-cum-progress report to the Cabinet biannually to ensure fast and appropriate decisions are taken in the interest of the country.

Inter-Linking of Rivers Project

It is a proposed project that aims to link all Indian rivers by the creation of a network of canals and reservoirs in order to reduce the problem of continuous floods in some parts of India and water shortages in others.

The project has been divided into three parts:

-  Northern Himalayan rivers inter-link component

-  Southern Peninsular component

-  Intrastate rivers linking component

India’s National Water Development Agency (NWDA) under Ministry of Water Resources has been given the responsibility of managing the project. 
The project was proposed by NDA Government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.


The word Post Truth was named as word of the year 2016 by Oxford Dictionaries. The word was selected after research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries revealed a fact that the use of word post-truth saw an increase of about 2000 percent over its usage in 2015.

The Word of the Year of Oxford Dictionary is an expression or word that is chosen to reflect the passing year in language. These words are chosen by the Oxford after reviewing and debating on the merits of the words, ethos, mood or preoccupations of that particular year.

About word Post-truth

Post-truth (adjective): Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

It is also become associated with a particular noun, in the phrase ‘post-truth politics’.

The word post-truth has been in existence for more than a decade but its usage saw a spike some events of recent past. The events that saw increase in frequency of usage of term post-truth like

a) It was used maximum time in June 2016 in the United Kingdom during European Union referendum.

b) It also saw its usage during the United States Presidential election. It again saw the rise in usage in July 2016 when Donald Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination.

As per Oxford Dictionaries, the word post-truth was first used in a 1992 essay of the Nation Magazine. The essay was written by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich. Reflecting on the Iran-Contra scandal and the Persian Gulf War, Tesich lamented that ‘we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world’. There is evidence of the phrase ‘post-truth’ being used before Tesich’s article, but apparently with the transparent meaning ‘after the truth was known’, and not with the new implication that truth itself has become irrelevant.

Words shortlisted to be the Word of the Year

Certain words which were shortlisted to be the Word of the Year reflect the social, economic, political, cultural and technological trends and events that have been a part of 2016. These words were either coined in 2016 or are the older ones. The words were

• Adulting (noun): The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.

• Alt-right (noun): An ideological grouping associated with extreme conservative or reactionary viewpoints, characterized by a rejection of mainstream politics and by the use of online media to disseminate deliberately controversial content.

• Brexiteer (noun): A person who is in favour of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union.

Chatbot (noun): A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.

• Coulrophobia (noun): Extreme or irrational fear of clowns

• Glass cliff (noun): Used with reference to a situation in which a woman or member of a minority group ascends to a leadership position in challenging circumstances where the risk of failure is high. The word was coined in 2004 by psychologists Michelle Ryan and Alex Haslam.

Hygge (noun): A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).

• Latinx (noun): A person of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina).

• Woke (adjective): Alert to injustice in society, especially racism.


More than 20 countries, including Brazil, France and India, signed the framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) at Marrakech, Morocco.

The Framework Agreement of ISA was opened for signature on the sidelines of the CoP22 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This will make ISA a pioneering, action oriented and sui generis international and inter-governmental treaty-based organisation that will be registered under Article 102 of the United Nations charter.

What is International Solar Alliance?

ISA was jointly launched by Prime Minister Modi and French President Francois Hollande at the CoP21 held in Paris in 2015.

This initiative was proposed by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi first during his speech at Wembley Stadium. He launched the initiative at the India Africa Summit.

Its main aim is to collectively work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil based fuels.

The alliance is also referred to as the International Agency for Solar Policy and Application (IASPA).

The structure of ISA will consist of two tiers in the form of an Assembly and Secretariat. The Secretariat will be set-up in New Delhi for the initial five years.

Also, India already offered a contribution of 175 crore rupees for creating ISA corpus fund and for meeting the cost of ISA secretariat.


Third Thursday of November: World Philosophy Day

The World Philosophy Day was observed globally on 17 November 2016. This year, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) organised the special events from 16 November to 18 November.

The Day is celebrated on every third Thursday of November. This year, the Day was celebrated in line with the International Day for Tolerance (16 November). Here is the list of events conducted during 3-day celebrations:15th International Encounters on New Philosophical Practices (16-17 November)

  • Roundtable Conference on Tolerance (17 November)
  • Inauguration of UNESCO Chair on the Practice of Philosophy with Children (18 November)
  • Roundtable Conference on Teaching Aristotle (18 November)
  • A Night of Philosophy (18-19 November)


  • The World Philosophy Day was introduced in 2002 by UNESCO to encourage the world to share their philosophical heritage and open their minds to new ideas.
  • In 2005, the UNESCO General Conference decided to celebrate World Philosophy Day on every third Thursday of November.
  • The day is organized by UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme.




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Last Updated on Saturday, 10 December 2016 09:01