Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - November 29, 2017

Governance

Government constitutes 15th Finance Commission under chairmanship NK Singh

  • The Union Government with the approval President of India has constituted 15th Finance Commission which will make recommendations for the five years commencing 1 April 2020 till 31 March 2025.
  • The commission will recommend devolution of shareable central taxes to States.
  • It will also review several important aspects of federal fiscal finance. It will make its report available by 30th October 2019.

Composition of Commission

  • NK Singh, former bureaucrat and ex-Member of Parliament will be Chairman of 15th Finance Commission.
  • Its other members are Shaktikanta Das, Former Secretary Economic Affairs; Dr Anoop Singh, Adjunct Professor of Georgetown University. Besides, Dr Ashok Lahiri, Chairman of Bandhan Bank and Dr Ramesh Chand, NITI Aayog Member will be the Part-time its members. Arvind Mehta will be Secretary to the Commission.

Terms of Reference of Commission

  • The Commission will make recommendations on distribution of net proceeds of taxes between Centre and States, the principles which should govern grants-in-aid of revenues of States out of Consolidated Fund of India.
  • It will also suggest measures needed to augment Consolidated Fund of State to supplement resources of Panchayats and Municipalities in State on basis of recommendations made by Finance Commission of State.
  • It will also review current status of finance, debt levels, cash balances, deficit and fiscal discipline efforts of Centre and States and recommend fiscal consolidation roadmap for sound fiscal management.
  • While making its recommendations, it will look at resources of Central Government and State Governments for five years commencing on 1st April 2020 on basis of levels of tax and non-tax revenues likely to be reached by 2024-25.

Persons in News

Pandit Narayanaro Bodas passes away

  • Eminent exponent of Gwalior gharana of Hindustani classical music, Pandit Narayanrao Bodas, passed away in Pune, Maharashtra after a brief illness.
  • He was 84. He was revered for his deep voice and expressive face among actor vocalists.

Pandit Narayanrao Bodas

  • He was born into family connected with gayaki of Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar.
  • He learned music from his father Laxmanrao and subsequently from Pralhadpant Ganu.
  • He had started his career as an actor-vocalist from play Saubhagyarama written by B N Purandare.
  • He has acted in several plays including Sangeet Saubhadra, Buddha Tithe Harala, Pati Gele Ga Kathewadi, Sangeet Mrichhakatik, Sangeet Manapman, Sangeet Mahashweta, Sangeet Saubhadra and Sangeet Sanshaykallol.
  • He was awarded prestigious Balgandharva award by Maharashtra government for his outstanding contributions to music.

Health Sector Reforms

Stability Testing - Compulsory for all medicines sold in India

  • India’s drug regulator is set to propose amendments to the existing Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, to make “stability testing” mandatory for all drugs sold in the country before they are deemed suitable for use by patients.

What Impact the rules will have on Pharma Companies?

  • Once the rules take effect, pharma companies will have to subject their products to quality tests to make sure that drugs do not lose their potency and the expiry dates printed on the packaging are based on the test results.
  • Also random checks will be done from the samples picked up from the market and if any discrepancies are found, the companies will have to shell out fines and may lose their license.

Enlighten about Stability testing

  • Mandated around the world, stability testing is the process of subjecting drugs to different tests in varying degrees of temperature and sunlight.
  • In India, such tests are mandatory only for patented and proprietary drugs.
  • The Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO) has proposed making stability tests compulsory for all drugs, including active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), the raw materials used in a drug that give it a therapeutic effect.

Views of Pharmaceutical Companies on the proposed rules

  • The pharmaceutical industry is unhappy about the proposal to widen the ambit of the stability tests.
  • Currently the stability tests are carried out on formulations.
  • But widening the ambit of stability tests will usher in practical problems because it takes at least 6-9 months to carry out stability tests.
  • And the pharmaceutical companies are requesting CDSCO to not include all the drugs into it.
  • CDSCO officials say they are unlikely to yield.

National Crisis Response Centre - to be set up by Russia

  • Russia has agreed to assist India to set up National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) in the country to handle disaster and other emergency situations.
  • This was agreed during a meeting between Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov in Moscow.

Enlighten about it –

  • Both sides agreed that EMERCOM of Russia would cooperate with India in the establishment of the National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) in India. Besides, they also held detailed discussions on cooperation in disaster management.
  • They reviewed progress made on agreement on disaster management signed in 2010.
  • Both countries also agreed on programme of training of specialists and sharing of each other’s experiences as well as best practices in the field of Disaster Management.
  • They also signed a joint implementation plan for 2018-19 for cooperation in disaster management.
  • Both sides also reinforced their determination to further strengthen their cooperation in sectors of security and counter-terrorism.
  • They also reviewed the implementation of agreement on information security signed in October 2016. They also welcomed ongoing cooperation and regular exchange of visits between two National Security Councils.

Film Festival

48th International Film Festival of India held in Goa

  • The 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was held in Panaji in Goa. The closing ceremony was held at Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium in Bambolim.
  • Legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan was honoured with the Indian film personality of 2017 award.
  • Acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan was honoured with the lifetime achievement award.

Other Category Awards

  • Best film award: 120 Beats Per Minute (French movie) directed by Robin Campullo.
  • Best director award: Vivian Qu for Angels Wear White (China). Special Jury Award: Take-off (Malayalam film-India).
  • Best Actor (Female) award: Parvathy.
  • Best Actor (Male) award: Nahuel Perez Biscayart for his performance in 120 Beats Per Minute.
  • Best Debut Feature Film Director award: Kiro Russo for film Dark Skull (Spanish).
  • ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi Medal: Kshitij-A Horizon (Marathi movie) directed by Manouj Kadamh.
  • Film Beyond the Clouds directed by Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi was opening film this year, while Pablo Cesar-directed Indo-Argentine film Thinking of Him was the closing film. Around 200 films from 82 countries were screened during nine-day event.

International Film Festival of India (IFFI)

  • IFFI is biggest state-backed film festival and conducted jointly by Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Directorate of Film Festivals and Government of Goa. It was founded in 1952 and since then held annually in Goa.
  • IFFI aims at providing common platform for cinemas of world to project the excellence of the film art. It also seeks to contribute to create awareness for understanding and appreciation of film cultures of different nations in context of their social and cultural ethos and promote friendship and cooperation among people of the world.

International Summits

8TH Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit -2017

Where –

  • Hyderabad
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump’s advisor and daughter Ivanka Trump jointly inaugurated 8th annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES 2017) in Hyderabad, Telangana.
  • The mega event was co-hosted by National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog and US Government n partnership with Telangana Government.

Enlighten about GES – 2017

  • GES is preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes over one thousand emerging entrepreneurs, investors, and supporters from around the world. It is organized annually since 2010.
  • This is the first time GES is being held in South Asia.
  • The theme for 2017 GES is “Women First, Prosperity for All” to celebrate entrepreneurship in all its strength, diversity and entirety.
  • Around 1,500 delegates from over 160 countries will participate in 2017 GES.
  • GES 2017 aims to empower Indian entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas, build partnerships, secure funding, and create innovative products and services that will transform societies for better future.
  • It will not only bring global best practices to India, but also create irreplaceable place for India in global entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • The four primary focus areas of GES 2017 are Digital Economy and Financial Technology, Health Care and Life Sciences, Energy and Infrastructure, and Media and Entertainment. The summit will deliberate on four key sectors, focus on critical aspects of entrepreneurship

Multilateral Funding

ADB announced increase in annual funding to India

  • Multi-lateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced that it increase annual funding to India to up to $4 billion from existing $2.7 billion from next year to accelerate inclusive economic transformation.
  • As part of ADB’s Country Partnership Strategy 2018-22, the multi-lateral funding agency will provide loans up to $4 billion on annual basis including non-sovereign or private debt during 2018-22.
  • Cumulatively, India which is the largest recipient of ADB will get about $20 billion over a period of 5 years.

Enlighten about it -

  • Under this strategy, ADB’s annual sovereign funding to India will increase from $2 billion to $3 billion while private sector funding will be doubled to $1 billion.
  • The other priority pillars of strategy also include increasing annual funding to low income states and climate change.
  • ADB’s India specific programme will focus on boosting economic competitiveness to create more and well-paid jobs, improve access to infrastructure and services and addressing climate change and improving climate resilience over these 5 years.

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  • ADB is regional development bank which aims to promote social and economic development in Asia.
  • It was established in 1966. It is headquartered in Manila, Philippines. Now it has 67 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
  • The ADB has been modelled closely on World Bank. It has similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions. As of 2014, Japan was largest shareholder (capital subscription) of ADB having 15.7% shares followed by US (15.6%), China (6.5%), India (6.4%), and Australia (5.8%).

Awards

Professor Hiroshi Marui Conferred with 3rd ICCR distinguished Indologist Award

  • The third Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Distinguished Indologist Award for the year 2017 was awarded to Professor Hiroshi Marui of Japan.
  • He was presented with this award by President Ram Nath Kovind at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.
  • Indology is academic study of history, cultures, languages and literature of India and is a subset of Asian studies.

About Distinguished ICCR Indologist Award

  • ICCR Distinguished Indologist Award is an annual award instituted by ICCR.
  • It carries prize amount of US$ 20000. It is bestowed upon eminent Indologists working abroad who have made outstanding contribution to study, research, teaching of India’s history, philosophy, thought, art, culture, literature, languages, civilization, society etc.
  • The first award was given to Prof. Heinrich Freiherr Von StiCLcron of Germany in 2015. Prof. Yu Long Yu of China was awarded in 2016.

Appointments

Shaktikanta Das appointed as India’s G 20 Sherpa

  • The Union Ministry of Finance has appointed Shaktikanta Das, Former Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) as India’s G 20 Sherpa till December 31, 2018 for Development Track of G20.
  • Sherpa is personal representative of leaders participating at G-20 summit and are responsible for thrashing out details before meeting of the leaders.
  • There are two tracks in G 20-Development Track and Finance Track. Finance Track is managed by Secretary (Economic Affairs) as India’s Deputy to G-20 and Development Track is coordinated by Sherpa. The DEA, Ministry of Finance provides necessary support to the Sherpa.

Sherpa

  • Sherpa is personal representative of leader of member country at international Summit meeting such as G8, G20 or Nuclear Security Summit.
  • They are mostly career diplomats or senior government officials appointed by leaders of their countries.
  • The term has been derived from Nepalese Sherpa people, who serve as guides for mountaineers in Himalayas.
  • The Sherpa is mainly engaged in planning, implementation and negotiation tasks through Summit.
  • They coordinate agenda, seek consensus at highest political levels and participate in series of pre-Summit consultations to help negotiate their leaders’ positions.

South Africa’s Demi- Leigh Nel – Peters wins Miss Universe 2017

  • South Africa’s Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters (22) was crowned Miss Universe at pageant held at The AXIS at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.
  • With this she becomes, second South African to win this crown after Margaret Gardiner who had won Miss Universe 1978.
  • The runner-up of Miss Universe 2017 was Miss Colombia Laura Gonzalez, while second runner-up was Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett.
  • Contestants from 92 countries had participated in the Miss Universe 2017.
  • This year’s edition had the most contestants ever, including the first ever representatives of Cambodia, Laos and Nepal.

Miss Universe

  • It is an annual international beauty pageant that is run by the Miss Universe Organization.
  • It was founded in 1952 by the California clothing company Pacific Mills. Along with the Miss World and Miss Earth contests, Miss Universe is one of the three largest beauty pageants in the world and one of the most anticipated beauty pageants worldwide.

Places in News

Mount Agung:

  • Indonesian and regional authorities have heightened flight warnings around Bali’s Mount Agung as the volcano’s eruptions sent a plume of volcanic ash and steam more than 6,000 metres into the skies above the island.
  • Mount Agung or Gunung Agung is a volcano in Bali, Indonesia, southeast of Mt Batur volcano, also in Bali. Gunung Agung stratovolcano is the highest point on Bali.
  • It is an active volcano.