2013 - November 11 to 24 - Current Affairs


International

Russia successfully launched a Proton-M rocket carrying a military satellite on 12 November, from its Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch took place on 12 november, carrying a satellite for the Russian defence ministry, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said.Russia restarted launches of Proton rockets in September after a pause to investigate why one exploded on takeoff on July 2. 

The Proton-M rocket is Russia's most popular for commercial satellite launches. Roscomos chief Vladimir Popovkin was dismissed in October after two and a half years, with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev complaining of a "whole number of problems" in the space agency's work. 



India's public broadcaster Prasar Bharati and Radio-Television of Slovenia (RTV-SLO) on 13 November 2013 signed a MoU to develop and strengthen mutual friendly relations through an increased cooperation in the field of broadcasting. 

The agreement was signed by head of international department of RTV SLO, Suzana Vidas Karoli and Member Personnel of Prasar Bharati, V.A.M. Hussain. The MoU allows exploring further opportunities in potential projects of production of programmes. It also entails exchange of programmes in the field of culture, education, entertainment, sports and news. 



Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the UN Chemical weapons watchdog on 15 November 2013 started its work on the final roadmap for the destruction of chemical arsenals of Syria. In the plan, Syrian chemical weapons will be transported for destruction outside its territory to ensure their destruction in the safest and soonest manner, and no later than 30 June 2014. 

The deadline of OPCW to agree on the destruction milestones of more than 1000 tonnes of dangerous chemicals in Syria expired on 15 November 2013. The plan was adopted during the meeting of its 41-member Executive Council in The Hague. 



Abdulla Yameen, the candidate of Progressive Party of Maldives on 16 November 2013 defeated the former premier, Mohammed Nasheed to win the Maldivian Presidential elections. Election Commission of Maldives announced the result of the election on 16 November 2013, in which Yameen defeated Mohamed Nasheed of Maldivian Democratic Party with a margin of six thousand votes. 

Yameen secured 51.39 percent of votes, whereas Mohamed Nasheed received 48.61. 45 foreign observers and 22 foreign monitors saw the transparency and credibility of the election. The winning candidate Abdullah Yameen will be sworn in as the President at a special seating of the Majlis, the Maldivian Parliament. 

The 54-year old Yameen is an economist and the half-brother of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the former autocratic ruler, who ruled Maldives for 30 years. After the failure of the two polls, international community asked to conduct the elections as per the Constitutional provisions. 



The 22nd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting; CHOGM began in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 15 November 2013. The Summit was inaugurated by Prince Charles of England, who is representing Queen Elizabeth at the Commonwealth Summit. 

The theme for CHOGM 2013 is Growth with Equity; Inclusive Development. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid represented the India in the meet. 

This year, CHOGM in held Sri Lanka, the first time an Asian country is hosting the summit in 24 years. The last CHOGM Summit (in 2011) was held at Perth, Australia. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is held every two years to enable leaders of Commonwealth countries to come together to discuss global and Commonwealth issues, and to decide on collective policies and initiatives. 

Every CHOGM is jointly organized by the host country and the Commonwealth Secretariat. These biennial meetings serve as the principal policy and decision-making forum to guide the strategic direction of the association. 

The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of 53 countries, many of them former territories of the British Empire. It was established in 1949. The head of the Commonwealth is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Fifty-three countries are members of the Commonwealth. 

These Countries are from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific and are diverse – they are amongst the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries. 

The last two countries to join The Commonwealth - Rwanda and Mozambique - have no historical ties to the British Empire. Four countries - Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Fiji and Pakistan - have been suspended from the Commonwealth in the past. 

The Gambian Government on 2 October 2013 announced that it is pulling out of the Commonwealth with immediate effect. Gambia, a West African country joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1965.



The State Department of US, on 13 November, branded Boko Haram, the home-grown Islamist insurgent movement in Nigeria which has ties with al-Qaeda’s regional affiliate in North and West Africa, as a foreign terrorist organisation. The designation allows the United States to freeze assets, impose travel bans on known members and affiliates, and prohibit Americans from offering material support to the organisation, which the State Department says is responsible for thousands of deaths in northeast and central Nigeria over the last several years including targeted killings of civilians. The department also put the same label on Ansaru, a Boko Haram splinter faction that this year kidnapped and executed seven international construction workers. 

Administration officials said that the move would help Nigeria combat a growing menace that also threatened American citizens and investment in Nigeria. But many Africa scholars say that branding Boko Haram a terrorist organisation will only enhance the group’s international stature with jihadis and help its recruiting efforts. The group has gained particular notoriety for its attacks inside Nigeria. 

Boko Haram has been conducting a brutal campaign against the Nigerian military and government as well as civilian targets. On September 17, it carried out attacks in Benisheik, a northeastern town, that killed at least 143 civilians, including women and children. 



The 3rd BRICS International Competition Conference, 2013 was inaugurated by Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on 21st November. Delivering the inaugural address, the Prime Minister focussed on the need to recognise the complementarily between competition law enforcement and liberalisation of markets for procurement. He underscored the importance of adopting competition neutral policies. Elimination of unnecessary restrictions and better tender design and specification can enhance possibilities for effective competition, thereby making bid rigging more difficult. 

As a result, competitive procurement markets can help save valuable fiscal resources and release funds for development. Dr. Manmohan Singh expressed confidence that the two-day conference will see robust discussions covering all the challenges faced by the BRICS countries in the enforcement of their respective competition regimes. 

The two-day conference has been organised by Competition Commission of India (CCI) on behalf of BRICS countries in pursuance of the Beijing Consensus, New Delhi Declaration and Action Plan adopted at Fourth BRICS Leaders Summit in New Delhi on March 29, 2012. The theme of this BRICS ICC is “Competition Enforcement in BRICS Countries: Issues and Challenges”. 

Earlier, in his welcome address, Chairman, CCI, Mr. Ashok Chawla, expressed the hope that the 3rd BRICS ICC would provide an opportunity for the five BRICS countries to share the challenges faced in their respective countries and gain from the experiences of good practices of mature competition authorities and the international community at large. This would enable the competition authorities to become more effective institutional ombudsman for fair play in the market. 

The Heads of the Competition Authorities of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa signed a Joint Accord namely ‘DELHI ACCORD’ on November 22, 2013 during the ongoing 3rd BRICS International Competition Conference (ICC) at New Delhi. BRICS Competition Authorities, reflecting the principle of mutual trust and respect, considered the need of establishing good communication between the BRICS Competition Authorities on competition law and policy to further improving and strengthening the relationship between the BRICS Competition Authorities.

BRICS Competition Authorities, while recognising the benefits of technical cooperation among the competition agencies, in sound and effective enforcement of competition laws expressed their resolve and commitment to exchange views on different aspects of competition policy. The heads of the Competition Authorities of BRICS recommended the publication of the material of the 3rd BRICS ICC on their respective websites for the purpose of competition advocacy. The Competition Authorities of BRICS support the hosting of the Fourth BRICS ICC during 2015. 



Iran on 18 November 2013 unveiled a biggest missile-equipped drone with a range of 2000 km, which would enable it to cover much of the Middle East, including Israel. The drone named Fotros has an operational range of 2000 kilometers and can fly at an altitude of 25000 feet, with a flight time of 16 to 30 hours. The drone could carry out reconnaissance missions or launch air-to-surface missile strikes. 

In September 2013, Iran announced the mass production of the Shahed 129 drone, which it said has a range of 1700 kilometers, is capable of carrying eight missiles and can fly for 24 hours. In the same month, Iran unveiled a reconnaissance drone named Yasseer, which was said to be capable of flying for eight hours with a range of 200 kilometers and at an altitude of 4500 meters. 



China on 23 November, said it had set up an air defense zone covering the international airspace over parts of the disputed East China Sea, requiring all non-commercial aircraft to notify its authorities of their flight plans to avoid triggering a response from air defense forces. Japan lodged “a serious protest” in response to the move, describing it as “an extremely dangerous” step that could result in “unpredictable events.” The Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea may be followed by the establishment of similar zones covering China’s other frontiers, the Defense Ministry said, with zones to be set up to boost China’s territorial defenses “at an appropriate time after completing preparations.” 

The ADIZ is a predefined area over international airspace within which the Chinese military will monitor and track aircraft. Many countries, from India to the U.S. and Japan, monitor similar zones beyond their immediate territorial airspaces to track aircraft for security purposes. While the Chinese government said international flights will not be affected, any other non-commercial flights that have not notified authorities of their flight plans will likely face interception, and could also be brought down. 

The Chinese ADIZ overlaps with the ADIZ that Japan has already established in the region, with both zones covering the disputed Diaoyu or Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. The move is likely to fuel tensions with Japan, coming at a time when both countries have sparred over the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea. In recent months, both countries have dispatched patrol boats to enforce their claims, while Japan has also scrambled fighter jets after Chinese Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) entered the airspace above the islands and threatened recently to shoot them down. 



Malta, a Southern European country was on 17 November 2013 unanimously chosen as the host of the next Commonwealth summit in 2015. The decision was made at the retreat session of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, Sri Lanka after Mauritius withdrew as host of the 2015 Commonwealth summit as a result of its prime minister's boycott of the Colombo summit over Sri Lanka's human rights concerns. This is second time for Malta to host the Commonwealth summit. Before this, Malta hosted a Commonwealth Summit in 2005. 


National Affairs 

The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee released a commemorative postal stamp at an event organised on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the Times of India on, November 13, at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Speaking on the occasion, the President referred to the statement by the Managing Director of the Times Group that it has no political master and no hidden agenda and said let that be the motto of this great institution. The President recalled how Times of India has documented every twist and turn of India’s history. It reported on the coronation of Queen Victoria as the empress of India. 

It welcomed the formation of the Indian National Congress in 1885 with the following words: “Surely, never had so important and comprehensive an assemblage occurred in recent times on the soil of India.” Minister for Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibal also attended the function. 



The Union Government on 13 November 2013 gave its nod to the Union Health Ministry to go ahead with the scheme aimed at creation of the mid-level rural health cadre of professionals. To give the nod of creation of the mid-level rural health cadre of professionals, the government overruled the Parliamentary Committee recommendation to scrap the course in community health. 

The Union Cabinet in its meeting gave its nod to the health ministry to start a new three-year B.Sc. Community Health program. The program would help in creation of the new cadre of health professionals to improve the rural medicare infrastructure in India. The proposal was pending for few years but after the Ministry came up with the idea to create a new cadre of health professionals in rural areas as the doctors were unwilling to serve there. 



Election Commission decided to use Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) on a large-scale for the first time in the country in the Mizoram Assembly polls on 25 November 2013. 

The VVPAT is a machine attached to EVMS which allows voters to verify that their vote has been cast in the way they wished. The VVPATs are being used in only ten assembly constituencies of Aizwal District of the total 40 assembly segments in Mizoram. 

The VVPAT system was first experimented in the Noksen Assembly by poll in Nagaland on 4 September 2013 and Mizoram would be the first state where it would be introduced on a large scale. 

The VVPAT system is a new initiative of the Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections. 

The VVPT will enable electors to see a printout of their ballot -displaying the name, election symbol and serial number of the chosen candidate. However the voter cannot take the printout home. 



India's first fully privately funded Rapid Metro Gurgaon announces the start of its commercial operations from Gurgaon in Haryana on 14 November. Sanjiv Rai, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, IL&FS Rail Ltd., inaugurated the commercial operation of Rapid Metro Gurgaon in Gurgaon. Rapid Metro Gurgaon line will be open to commuters from 6.05 am till 12:20 (midnight). 

Five fully automated trains with a frequency of 4 minutes will be running between the six stations (currently five stations) with each train carrying over 800 passengers on each trip. The country's first fully privately-financed developed metro system has been launched in the public-private partnership mode. 

It was built at a cost of nearly Rs.1,100 crore and took 30 months to reach the present stage. The launch of Rapid Metro will boost connectivity within Cyber City, the corporate and retail hub of Gurgaon. Nearly one lakh people work or visit the hub each day. 


Bilateral 

The Financing and Project Agreements for World Bank assistance (IDA assistance) of US $ 236 million for Tamil Nadu-Puducherry Coastal Disaster Risk Reduction Project (CDRRP) were signed between the Government of India, Government of Tamil Nadu and the Government of Puducherry and the World Bank in New Delhi on 11 November. 

The Financing Agreement was signed by Nilaya Mitash, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of Government of India and Mr. Onno Ruhl, Country Director, World Bank on behalf of the World Bank. 

The Project Agreement was signed by Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Secretary, Revenue Department, Government of Tamil Nadu on behalf of Government of Tamil Nadu and Mr.Deepak Kumar, Project Director, Project Implementing Agency, Government of Puducherry on behalf of Government of Puducherry. 

The objective of the Project is to increase the resilience of coastal communities in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, to a range of hydro-meteorological and geophysical hazards along with improving project implementation entities’ capacity to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crisis or emergency. 

The Project will have the following five components, viz. 
(i) Vulnerability Reduction; 
(ii) Sustainable Fisheries; 
(iii) Capacity building in Disaster Risk Management; 
(iv) Implementation Support; and 
(v) Contingency Emergency Response. 



Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission (DG, Competition) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Competition Laws.  

The MoU was signed during the ongoing 3rd BRICS International Competition Conference at New Delhi on 21 November, by Mr Joaquin Almunia, Vice President for Competition, EU and Mr. Ashok Chawla, Chairman, CCI. The MoU provides for enhancement of the effective, transparent and non-discriminatory enforcement of the competition laws in the European Union and India. 

The two Sides have agreed to exchange non-confidential information, experiences and views with regard to 
(a) Competition policy and enforcement, 
(b) Operational issues, 
(c) Multilateral competition initiatives, 
(d) Competition advocacy and 
(e) Technical cooperation initiatives in the area of competition law and its enforcement. 

MoU provides for assistance to be provided between two Sides wherein on the request of one Side that may believe adverse impact of competition of its territory on account of action by the other Side, the other Side shall initiate appropriate enforcement activities as per their applicable competition law. CCI and DG,Competition, European Commission shall also take steps to minimize any potentially adverse effects of one Side’s enforcement activities on the other Side’s interests in the application of their respective competition laws. 



Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju, Hon’ble Minister of Human Resource Development visited Mauritius on 19th-20th November, 2013. During the visit, Dr. Pallam Raju meat the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Mauritius, Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam and held bilateral meetings with the Minister for Tertiary Education, Science and Research, Dr. R. Jeetah as also with Minister of Education and Human Resources of the Republic of Mauritius Dr. Vasant Kumar Bunwaree. 

Two MoUs were signed during this visit. The first MoU is between IIT, Delhi and Mauritius Research Council for setting up of an International Institute of Technology Research Academy (IITRA) in Mauritius. The aim of the IITRA is to provide world class research based educational platform for full time and part time post graduate research leading to MS(Research) and Ph.D. degrees to be awarded by IIT Delhi in identified areas (clusters). IITRA aims to attract foreign researchers and students to Mauritius, mainly from Africa and Asia and build core research infrastructure including faculty and facilities. The other MoU between Association of Indian Universities (AIU) and Tertiary Education Council (TEC) of Mauritius for mutual recognition of educational qualifications was also finalized and signed. 

The MoU will ensure that both parties facilitate the mutual recognition of higher education qualifications awarded to students in Mauritius and India. Both AIU and TEC would advise higher education institutions in their countries on the provision of higher education and the comparability of qualification with the aim of facilitating academic mobility and cooperation. They will make available information on currently recognized higher education institutions in their respective countries. 



India and Vietnam on 20 November, inked eight agreements, including one for oil and gas exploration in the seas off Vietnam that includes the South China Sea as visiting Vietnamese leader Nguyen Phu Trong and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks in New Delhi. Nguyen Phu Trong is the general secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party. 

The eight agreements as well as a $100-million line of credit to Vietnam for defence purchases is a major step forward in India's "Look East Policy". Manmohan Singh "reaffirmed that Vietnam was a pillar of India's 'Look East Policy', which was supported by the general secretary. They envisaged a more active role for India in the regional and international arena," a joint statement said. 

Eight agreements--Following their talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of eight cooperation documents, including the Air Service Agreement, an MoU on the establishment of the Indira Gandhi Hi-tech Crime Lab in Hanoi, an agreement on Protection of Classified Information, an MoU between two Ministries of Finance, a cooperation agreement between Hanoi National University and Indian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, an MoU on cooperation between India Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore and Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Public Administration, an MoU between Vietnam Oil and Gas Group and ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), and an MOU between the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and Tata Power Ltd on the development of the 1,320 MW Long Phu 2 Thermal Power Project in Soc Trang province, Vietnam. 

Both sides later issued Joint Statement, emphasizing that India - Vietnam agree to further strengthen and deepen the Strategic Partnership between the two countries. In the instrument, the leaders of both countries reiterated their desire and determination to work together to maintain peace, stability, growth and prosperity in Asia. 

They agreed that freedom of navigation in the East Sea should not be impeded and called the parties concerned to exercise restraint, avoid threat or use of force and resolve disputes through peaceful means in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 


Economy

MTNL (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited) and Los Alamos Technical Associates, Inc. (LATA) of the USA have signed an MOU on 12 November, for launching the state of the art training programs on Cyber Security, Risk And Crisis Management, Public Safety and Disaster Management, Homeland Security/ Critical Infrastructure Protection, Security Operations Management, Industrial Security, Fire & Safety Management etc. 

This will bring to India the best US practices followed in security, which has been developed over a period of time. India’s security needs are evolving rapidly and this partnership can help develop professional programs in cyber and physical security to meet the country’s growing demands. MTNL is going to start these trainings through its state of the art training centres at New Delhi and Mumbai. 

A dedicated resource will be allocated for this project and impart training, so that it is more relevant for Indian Conditions. First batch of training is likely to start from March 2014. MTNL will be developing a one or two day series of awareness programs for the top management of companies and the government departments. 



The country's largest software services firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) inaugurated its 10,000-seat campus at Gandhinagar on 15 November. The software development facility, inaugurated by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, has been developed over 25.5 acres, with a built-up area of 1.6 million sq ft, TCS said in a statement. "TCS has played a pioneering role to make Gujarat an attractive IT destination for global companies and also helped drive technology-led growth by investing in talented youth of the state and building long-term partnerships with state institutions," TCS CEO and MD N Chandrasekaran said. This centre will help TCS scale up its presence and drive the expansion of the IT industry in Gujarat, he added. 

The new centre has been developed as a 'green' campus and has applied for a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold rating. Built with locally sourced red stone, the campus will use solar panels, LED lighting, occupancy and light-sensitive sensors to optimise power consumption. The campus, which also features a learning centre and iClass rooms (connected with other TCS learning hubs globally), is located in an approved Special Economic Zone and will serve global customers across industry segments. 



Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi Jointly inaugurated India’s first all-women bank, Bharatiya Mahila Bank in Mumbai on 19 November 2013,marking the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. 

The main objectives of the bank will be to focus on the banking needs of women and to promote their economic empowerment. 

The bank will commence operations with an initial capital of one thousand crore rupees. The Union Government on 12 November 2013 appointed Usha Ananthasubramanian as the first chairperson and managing director of public sector Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB). 

The Union government approved 1000 crore Rupees seed capital for the women-focused public sector bank, announced by Union finance minister P. Chidambaram in his 2013-14 budget speech. 



The Reserve Bank of India on 18 November opened a 5000 crore rupees refinance window for MSME sector, for a period of one year to ease the liquidity. The view of easing the liquidity stress to the Micro and Small Enterprises sector was taken by the RBI to provide refinance to the small Industrial Development Bank of India. Basically the Micro and Small Enterprises sector is employment intensive and contributes significantly to exports. 

At present, the slowdown in the economy has resulted in the liquidity tightness in the MSEs in the manufacturing and services sector raising the need of liquidity support. The availability of the refinance facility will be till 13 November 2014. 



To boost research and innovation, twelve states and four UTs have been considered eligible to receive Rs. 120 crore each under the Research, Innovation and Quality Improvement Component of RUSA – Rashtriya Uchchatara Shiksha Abhiyan. They are – Andaman & Nicobar, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. All innovative schemes will be funded as per the decision of the PAB (Project Approval Board). 

The funds are meant to support different types of research programmes like base research, key technology (R&D), High end (R&D), etc during the current Five Year Plan. Setting up of science parks and cutting edge technology and instrumentation facility will be supported by this fund. The funds will also take care of promoting inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary research centres as well as promoting research and entrepreneurial activities. 

Some other areas to be funded under the Research and Innovation Component are:
  • initiative to attract quality researchers and students; institutions that offer merit-based scholarships, fully funded doctoral fellowships, post-doctoral fellowships
  • faculty and students exchange programmes with world-class institutions and 
  • initiatives to scale up industry-academia partnership. 
States may decide about unit of implementation. It can either be the State as a whole or a few select institutions. 



The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 19 November directed Public Sector Banks (PSBs) to provide loans to women self-help groups (SHGs) at 7 per cent per annum to avail the benefit of interest rate subvention scheme under the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana-Aajeevika (SGSY) scheme. 

All women SHGs will be eligible for interest subvention to avail the credit up to 3 lakh Rupees at 7 per cent per annum. Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana-Aajeevika (SGSY) is an initiative by the government to provide sustainable income to poor people living in rural areas of the country. 


Awards 

The Infosys Prize 2013 in Life Sciences is awarded to Dr. Rajesh S. Gokhale, Director, CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, for his work in the field of lipid metabolism in tubercle bacilli. Each year two million people are infected and die of tuberculosis (TB) and there will be 10 million new patients every year. Dr. Gokhale discovered biochemical networks and new paradigms necessary for the synthesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) cell envelope coat that makes these bacteria escape host immune systems. 

This discovery opens up new avenues to develop new therapy against TB. The Infosys Prize, comprising a 22-karat gold medallion, a citation certificate and prize money of Rs. 55 lakh, ranks among the highest monetary awards in India that recognizes scientific research. 

The prize endeavors to elevate the prestige of scientific research in India and inspires young Indians to choose a vocation in the scientific research. Prof Samir K. Brahmachari, Director General of CSIR, said that conferring this prestigious award to four CSIR scientists in three consecutive years after its inception in 2009 exhibits that internationally competitive scientific research is being carried out in CSIR and CSIR has an outstanding young scientific leadership in position. 



The Union Finance Minister P.Chidambaram released a Commemorative Coin of Rs. 20 and a circulation coin of Rs.5 to mark the culmination of the 125th Birth Anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad at a function held in New Delhi on 11 November. 

K. Rehman, Union Minister for Minority Affairs, Wazahatt Habibullah, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities were present on the occasion among others. This year marks culmination of 125th Birth Anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. 

Maulana Azad was one of India’s most prominent freedom fighters, who espoused the cause of an undivided India. He opposed the ‘two nation theory’ of Muslim League and was a leading proponent of Hindu-Muslim unity. He was India’s first Minister of Education. He was posthumously awarded country’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna in 1992. 



The Government on 16 November has decided to confer Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, on
  • eminent scientist Prof C.N.R. Rao
  • cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar. 
Prof. C.N.R. Rao is an eminent scientist and a well recognized international authority on solid state and materials chemistry. He has published over 1,400 research papers and 45 books. Prof. Rao’s contributions have been recognized by most major scientific academies around the world through conferment of memberships and fellowships. He has been honoured with several national and international awards. 



Renowned actress Waheeda Rehman will be conferred with the Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the Year at the International Film Festival of India 2013 in Panji, Goa. The 2013 edition of the Festival is being held between 20 and 30 November. 

The award has been instituted to commemorate 100 years of Indian Cinema, and being given annually to an outstanding film personality for his or her contribution to Indian cinema. After extensive deliberations, a five member jury identified Waheeda Rehman as the ideal member of the Indian film fraternity to be the first recipient of the award. 

The Centenary Award recognizes her prolific body of work through the film industry’s formative years. The award carries a citation, a certificate, a medal (Silver Peacock),a shawl and Rs.10 lakh cash prize. 



Shiraz Naval Minwalla, Professor of Physics in TIFR, Mumbai selected for the 2014 New Horizons in Physics Prize on 5 November 2013. He was awarded "for his pioneering contributions to the study of string theory and quantum field theory; and in particular his work on the connection between the equations of fluid dynamics and Albert Einstein’s equations of general relativity". 

The New Horizons for Physics Prize awarded to promising junior researchers by Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation. The award carries prize money of US $ 1,00,000. 

The Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation established by the Milner Foundation, Russia in 2012 and dedicated to advancing our knowledge of the Universe at the deepest level by awarding annual prizes for scientific breakthroughs, as well as communicating the excitement of fundamental physics to the public. The Fundamental Physics Prize recognizes transformative advances in the field, while the New Horizons in Physics Prizes are targeted at promising junior researchers. 



Lord Swraj Paul, a leading NRI industrialist and educationist was presented with the International Indian of the Decade award on 15 November 2013. Swraj Paul was presented the award for his outstanding achievements in the fields of industry, education and philanthropy.

Virender Paul, the acting High Commissioner of India to the UK presented the award to Lord Swraj Paul at the 20th anniversary of the publication of India Link International (a monthly magazine). Lord Swraj Paul is the founder of the UK-based steel and engineering multinational company Caparo, which at present employs about 10,000 people worldwide from UK, USA and India. 



The 18th International Children's Film Festival concluded on 20 November in Hyderabad. 
  • A Dutch Film named Kauwboy, directed by Boudewijn Koole won the Golden Elephant Award for best film in the 'International Live Action' category. The film is about a 10 year old boy and a bird.

  • The Golden Plaque for second-best film in the same section was won by a German film Das Pferd Auf Dem Balkon or A horse on the Balcony.
  • The Jury Prize for the best artwork was won by a Hindi film Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya directed by Shilpa Ranade. 

  • Ernest Et Celestine won the award for the Best Animation Feature. 

  • During the film festival, Batul Mukthiar received the best director award for his film Kaphal in the International Live Action. 

  • The best screenplay award went to Nono-The Zigzag Kid. 

  • The Golden Elephant trophy for Best Little Director category was given to an Indian film Breaking Silence and Tamator Chor. 

  • The film festival was organised by the Children's Film Festival India (CFSI), which is an autonomous body under the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Andhra Pradesh Government. 



Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt last year, on 20 November, received the EU's Sakharov human rights prize at a ceremony in Strasbourg. The European Parliament President, Martin Schulz, presented the award to the 16-year-old who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this year. 

Malala dedicated the award to "the unsung heroes of Pakistan" and to human rights campaigners worldwide. Malala was shot in the head a year ago for campaigning for better rights for girls in Swat Valley of northwest Pakistan, an erstwhile Taliban stronghold. 

The Sakharov Prize for free speech is awarded by the European Parliament annually in memory of Soviet physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov. The 50,000-euro (USD 65,000) prize is considered Europe's top human rights award. Malala joins a distinguished list of winners of the prize that includes South Africa's Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar. 



Dr. Angela Merkel, German Chancellor on 19 November selected for Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for the year 2013. The International Jury for the Prize was chaired by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, which made this announcement on 19 November 2013 on the birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi. 

Dr. Angela Merkel is nominated for her exemplary leadership in Europe and the world during the financial crises, her commitment to universal peace and disarmament and her leadership role in strengthening productive and mutually beneficial relations with India and other developing countries. 

The award is conferred upon the person or an organisation irrespective of race, religion, nationality or other aspects. It consists of award worth 2.5 million Rupees as well as trophy along with citation. The Indiara Gandhi Award is constituted by Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Liberian President was conferred with the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for the year 2012. 



The 44th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) began at Panaji in Goa on 20 November 2013. Academy award winning actress Suasan Sarandon inaugurated the 11- day cinematic extravaganza in the distinguished presence of Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parriker and a galaxy of cine stars. 

The 44th International Film Festival of India (from 20 to 30 November 2013) is organized by the IFFI Secretariat under the aegis of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, in collaboration with the Government of Goa. 

44th edition of IFFI is unique on several accounts. The festival would highlight for the first time Cinema from the North Eastern states of India. A package of 19 films from the North-East will explore the immense ethnic, traditional and cultural diversity in the 8 states of North- East. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award is being conferred on the legendary Czech film director Jiri Menzel whose films have been acknowledged as the Czech New Wave Cinema. Renowned actress Waheeda Rehamn will be conferred with the first Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the Year. 

The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia, held every year. The first edition of IFFI was organized by the Films Division, Government of India at Mumbai 1952. 



The General Council of Sangeet Natak Akademi, the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, New Delhi has declared fellowships (Akademi Ratna) and Akademi awards (Akademi Auraskar) for the year 2013 . 

A decision to this effect was taken in a meeting held on 21 November 2013 where three (3) eminent personalities in the field of performing arts, namely Smt. Kanak Rele, Shri R Sathyanarayana and Shri Mahesh Elkunchwar as Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellows (Akademi Ratna) were elected. 

The Fellowship of the Akademi is the most prestigious and rare honor, which is restricted to a very limited number at a given time. Presently there are only 40 Fellows of the Sangeet Natak Akademi. 

The General Council of the Akademi also selected thirty eight (38) artists (2 Joint Awards) from the fields of Music, Dance, Theatre and Puppetry for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the year 2013.

The honour of Akademi Fellow has been conferred since 1954 and Akademi Award since 1952. The honour of Akademi Fellow carries a purse money of Rs 3,00,000/- (Rupees three lacs) and Akademi Awards carry Rs 1,00,000/- (Rupees one lac), besides Tamrapatra and Angavastram. 



India's top scientist CNR Rao, who was recently named for the Bharat Ratna - the country's highest civilian award - has been elected honorary foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the first Indian to be so honoured. 

"Dr Rao is the first Indian scientist to be elected recently (November 4) to the prestigious academy, which consists of several Nobel laureates and eminent scientists of the world," the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) where Dr Rao is the founder-president, said in a statement in Bangalore on 22 November. 

The Chinese Academy of Science had bestowed upon the 80-year-old Dr Rao the Award for International Scientific Cooperation in January 2012.The Bangalore-born Dr Rao is chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh since 2005 in addition to being the national research professor. 



An icon for the film lovers and iconoclast for the professionals, Waheeda Rehman will be honoured with the first Centenary Award for the Indian Film personality at the 44th International Film Festival of India (IFFI). The award has been introduced this year and the veteran actor will receive the trophy on the opening day of the festival. It consists of a cash component of Rs. 10 lakh and a citation. The ‘Quintessential Beauty of Bollywood’ is known as much for her performance as for her choice of roles. 


Sports 

Mohammed Siddikur of Bangladesh won the 50th edition of Indian Open golf tournament on 10 November, 2013 held at Delhi Golf Club, New Delhi. It was his second Asian Tour title win after Brunei Open victory in 2010. 

The tournament carries a cash prize of US $ 1.25 million. This win catapulted him from ninth to third spot on the Order of Merit. Siddikur scored a total of 274 to edge past his Indian friends Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chowrasia to win the tournament. Mohammad Siddikur Rahman was born on 20 November 1984. He is a Bangladeshi professional golfer who plays on the Asian Tour. 



Novak Djokovic on 11 November 2013 retained the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title after defeating the number one Rafael Nadal. The world number two Djokovic, won 6-3, 6-4 at the O2 Arena in London. 

The ATP world tour took place between 4 and 11 November 2013. He earned US $ 19,23,000 prize money and 1,500 Emirates ATP Ranking points, while Nadal earned US $ 10,13,000 and 1,000 points as he dropped to a 10-4 record in finals in 2013. Earlier, Djokovic won the same title in the year 2008 and 2012. 



Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were crowned male and female World Athletes of the Year for 2013 by the sport's governing IAAF, in Monaco on 16 November. Bolt won gold in the 100 metres, 200 and 4x100 relay at the Moscow worlds in August to take his all-time tally to eight golds and two silvers at the championships, making him the most successful athlete in their history. 

The 27-year-old, who also has six Olympic gold medals and holds the 100 and 200 metres world records, won the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) award for the third season in a row and the fifth time in six years. 

Compatriot Fraser-Pryce claimed gold medals in the same three events in Moscow, having previously won two golds and two silvers, and is also the Olympic sprint champion. The 26-year-old Fraser-Pryce collected her first female World Athlete of the Year award. Bolt and Fraser-Pryce also receive a prize of $100,000. 



The four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel became the first driver to win eight straight races in a single season, with his victory at the US Grand Prix on 18 November. Sebastien Grosjean came second. Webber coming 3rd with Hamilton finishing fourth. 



Magnus Carlsen of Norway won the FIDE World Chess Championship 2013 at Chennai on 22 November 2013.Magnus Carlsen defeated the previous world champion Viswanathan Anand of India by 6.5-3.5. The victory was worth 8.4 crore Rupees for Magnus Carlsen.

Anand settled for 5.6 crore Rupees. The match was organized by FIDE and AICF.The Magnus Calsen’s victory was also the end of Anand’s six-year reign as the World champion. It was Anand’s first loss in a world title match since 2007. 



Lionel Messi, the Barcelonan forward footballer on 20 November 2013 won the Golden Shoe award. Messi won the award in recognition of his 46 goals in 32 leagues appearances in the Europe’s domestic football league in the 2012-13 seasons. 

This is the third Golden Shoe award of Messi and with this win he became the first footballer win the shoe three times. Earlier Messi won the award in 2009-10 for 34 goals and a Spanish record 50 in 2011-12. Lionel Andres Messi (26) is an Argentine Footballer and a captain to the national team of Argentina. At present he plays for FC Barcelona in Spain. 



Indian Cricketer Virat Kohli became the fastest batsman to score 5000 runs in one-day internationals when he scored 86 against the West Indies in the first ODI in Kochi on 21 November 2013. Virat Kohli achieved the feat in just 120 matches and 114 innings. He has so far scored 5005 runs, which included 17 centuries, and 27 fifties in his short career. 

In terms of innings, Virat Kohli has equalled the record of Sir Viv Richards of West Indies, who also achieved the feat in 114 innings way back in 1987 but it was Viv's 126th match. Before Kohli, former captain Sourav Ganguly was the fastest to achieve the feat among Indian batsmen in 131 matches and 126 innings. 


Persons 

The Union Government on 12 November 2013 appointed Usha Ananthasubramanian as the chairperson and managing director of public sector Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB), the first women’s bank. Before joining BMB, she was an Executive Director with Punjab National Bank (PNB). 

Usha Ananthasubramanian started her career in the actuarial department with LIC and banking career in February 1982 with Bank of Baroda. She holds a master’s degree in statistics from the University of Madras and a master’s degree in ancient Indian culture from University of Mumbai. 

During her tenure at Punjab National Bank, she was part of the panel formed for examination of the blueprint and other issues for setting up of the women’s bank. The panel’s report paved the way for India’s first public sector women’s bank. The bank aims to service women and women-run businesses, support women’s self-help groups and their livelihoods and promote further financial inclusion. The Union Cabinet cleared the proposal for setting up of all-women bank on August 2013. 

The Reserve Bank of India gave its in-principal approval for the Bharatiya Mahila Bank in June 2013 and the banking company was set up.The Union government approved Rs. 1,000 crore seed capital for the women-focused public sector bank, announced by Union finance minister P. Chidambaram in his 2013-14 budget speech. 



The Judge of the Madras High Court was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court on 12 November 2013. She was appointed by the President Pranab Mukherjee. The Supreme Court’s Collegium has cleared her elevation as Chief Justice in August 2013 and the Union government has taken three months to process and notify the appointment.



Union Government on 22 November appointed Justice Ajit Prakash Shah as the new Chairman of the 20th Law Commission of India. Justice Ajit Prakash Shah succeeded Justice D. K. Jain who resigned in October 2013 to take over as the President of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.



Nisha Desai Biswal assumed the post of the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia. On 21 November 2013, Nisha Desai Biswal was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia. Nisha Desai Biswal replaced at this post Robert Blake and will be responsible for policy of the US State Department for South and Central Asia. Prior to appointment, Nisha Desai Biswal worked as the Assistant Administrator for Asia at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). 



British Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing was died on 17 November 2013 at London. Her best-known works are The Golden Notebook, Memoirs of a Survivor and The Summer before the Dark. In 2007, the 88-year-old Doris Lessing became the oldest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. and only the 11th woman to win the award.


Science and Technology 

India has declared itself free from Notifiable Avian Influenza (H5N1), commonly called bird flu, and notified the same to World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). India notified outbreak of Avian Influenza (H5N1) at Poultry Production Unit, College of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, Anjora, Durg and Government Poultry Farm, Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh on 05th August, 2013. 

The control measures adopted in the outbreak were stamping out of entire poultry population including destruction of eggs, feed, litters and other infected materials in the radius of 1 km around the outbreak location, restriction on movement of poultry, disinfection and cleaning up of infected premises and subsequently issuing of the Post Operation Surveillance Plan (POSP). 

The POSP was issued on 12th August, 2013. Even though India is free from bird flu, regular surveillance to be continued throughout the country especially in the vulnerable areas bordering infected countries and in areas visited by migratory birds. 



The much-awaited USD 2.3 billion aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya was inducted into the Indian Navy on 16 November. The mammoth 44,500-tonne warship was commissioned into the Indian Navy at the Sevmash Shipyard in the northern Arctic port at a handing over ceremony attended by Defense Minister A K Antony and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and senior government and naval officials of the two countries. 

The commissioning papers were signed by deputy director of Russia's arms exporter Rosoboronexport, Igor Sevastyanov and the ship's captain Suraj Berry, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported. AK Antony arrived in Russia on 15 November, for the commissioning of the aircraft carrier at Russia's nuclear submarine building centre Sevmash Shipyard. Indian Naval Ship Vikramaditya is the country's second aircraft carrier and the navy's biggest warship. 

INS Vikramaditya's commissioning is being described as "a game changer" in naval circles, and is expected to project India's maritime power far beyond its shores. The aircraft carrier is expected to reach India by early next year. Vikramaditya is 284 meters in length, and with its beam of about 60 meters, it stretches to an area as large as three football fields. It has 22 decks and will have over 1,600 personnel on board. 

The warship can carry over 30 aircraft, comprising an assortment of MiG 29K/Sea Harrier, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, ALH-Dhruv and Chetak helicopters. Long range air surveillance radars and advanced electronic warfare suite makes the ship capable of maintaining "a surveillance bubble" of over 500 km around the ship. 

The ship is equipped with state-of-the-art launch and recovery systems and computer-aided Action Information Organization (CAIO) system, which is the heart of the operational network that infuses life into the combat systems onboard the ship. Negotiations over acquiring Admiral Gorshkov (which was re-named INS Vikramaditya) started in 1994. A memorandum of understanding was signed in December 1998, and the deal was made January 2004. The Navy has plans of bringing the warship to India and deploy it at the newly-developed Karwar naval base called Project Seabird. 



A spacecraft designed to dive deep into the upper atmosphere of Mars and find out what happened to the planet's water took off from Cape Canaveral on 18 November, in Nasa's most ambitious attempt yet to understand the causes of dramatic climate change on our planetary neighbour. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission, or Maven, is bristling with instruments able to measure the effect of solar wind and analyse thin traces of gases, in order to help scientists model the process that left the planet so dry and barren.

Orbiting between 3,864 miles and 77 miles above the desert surface, Maven is expected to reveal how Mars' atmosphere was gradually peeled away over billions of years, by the sun's radiation. 

Among the eight instruments and nine sensors on board the spacecraft is a magnetometer that will help scientists measure changes in the magnetic field around Mars that would once have protected its atmosphere from solar wind. In September, decade-long preparations for the mission were briefly interrupted by the US government shutdown. Maven will take nearly a year to reach the red planet and scientists estimate it should be sending back its first results by early 2015. 

Maven's prime mission is expected to last for one year, enough time for scientists to collect data during solar storms and other space weather events. Maven will remain in orbit for up to 10 years, serving as a communications relay for Curiosity, a follow-on rover slated to launch in 2020 and a lander that is being designed to study the planet's deep interior. 

Following its successful launch on 18 November, the spacecraft is due to reach Mars on 22 September 2014 – two days before India's Mars Orbiter Mission, which launched on 5 November. India's probe has been raising its orbit around Earth and should be in position to begin the journey to Mars on 1 December. 


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