i. Senior JDU leader Nitish Kumar was sworn-in as Chief Minister of Bihar for the fifth time on 20 November 2015. The swearing-in ceremony was held at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna.
ii. Governor Ramnath Kovind administered the oath of office and secrecy to Nitish Kumar. He also administered the oath of the office to other council of ministers belonging to RJD, JD(U) and Congress parties.
iii. RJD president Lalu Prasad’s sons, first time MLA Tejaswi Prasad Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, were also sworn in.
iv. In the elections held in five phases from October 12 October and 5 November 2015 Grand Alliance of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Janata Dal (United) (JDU) and Indian National Congress (INC) emerged as the winner of the election with thumping two-third majority. RJD, a part of the grand Alliance with 80 seats emerged as the largest party.
2. TCS, Intel launched Centre of Excellence for IoT in Hyderabad
i. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s largest software exporter, on 18 November 2015 launched a new Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Internet of Things (IoT) in collaboration with Intel. The CoE is located at the TCS campus in Hyderabad.
ii. Its focus is to integrate IoT solutions developed by TCS on Intel IoT platforms and to fast-track creation of end-to-end solutions. It will augment developing new use cases for various industries for global customers in manufacturing, retail, hi-tech, semiconductors, healthcare and telecom industries.
iii. It will enable the creation of indigenous and innovative solutions, establish a strong ecosystem of IoT, cloud computing, and a software-defined network. It will help in creating new business opportunities; simplify product development and help customers deal with rapid changes in technology.
iv. It refers to a network of internet connected devices which are embedded with electronic sensors and data transmitting technologies. By using the Internet, the data collected by sensors in the IoT devices like cars, power systems and even as small as tooth brushes transmitted to other networked devices and data processing systems.
3. World Economic Forum released Global Gender Gap Report 2015
i. World Economic Forum (WEF) on 19 November 2015 released the Global Gender Gap Report 2015. It ranked 145 economies according to how well they are leveraging their female talent pool, based on economic, educational, health-based and political indicators.
ii. As per the report, the global gender gap across health, education, economic opportunity and politics has closed by only 4 percent in the past 10 years suggesting it will take another 118 years to close this gap completely.
iii. And, out of the 145 countries surveyed, while Iceland topped the Gender Gap Index for the seventh year in a row, India stood at the 108th position.
iv. Top 5 countries with high gender equality are Iceland (1), Norway (2), Finland (3), Sweden (4) and Ireland (5) and five countries with least gender equality are Iran (141), Chad (142), Syria (143), Pakistan (144) and Yemen (145).
v. Among the G20 countries, while India and Saudi Arabia have the lowest rate of labour participation (40 percent), the USA has the highest participation rate that is at around 80 percent.
vi. In Economic Participation and Opportunity segment, India’s performance was one of the lowest (139 rank) among the surveyed countries. While the labour force participation rate among women was 29 percent, it was 83 among men.
4. 23rd APEC Economic Leaders Summit held at Manila
i. 23rd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Summit was held at Manila, Philippines from 18 November to 19 November 2015. The summit was chaired by Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III.
ii. The theme of the Summit was Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World. After the conclusion of the summit, the leaders from 21 member-countries issued the 2015 Leaders Declaration titled Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World: A Vision for an Asia-Pacific Community
iii. Peru will chair APEC throughout 2016 and host the 24th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. The idea of APEC was firstly publicly broached by former Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke during a speech in Seoul, Korea on 31 January 1989. Ten months later, 12 Asia-Pacific economies met in Canberra, Australia to establish APEC.
iv. China, Hong Kong, China and Chinese Taipei joined in 1991. Mexico and Papua New Guinea followed in 1993. Chile acceded in 1994. And in 1998, Peru, Russia and Viet Nam joined, taking the full membership to 21.
5. University of East London awarded honorary doctorate to Ashok Amritraj
i. Tennis champion-turned Hollywood filmmaker Ashok Amritraj on 19 November 2015 was awarded with an honorary doctorate of Arts by the University of East London. Amritraj was honoured for promoting talented moviemakers from across the world, including India.
ii. Born on 22 February 1956 in Chennai, Amritraj started his career as a tennis player who represented India on an international level. He competed in doubles at Wimbledon and the US Open. He reached the third round of the US Open in 1977. He also gained victories over Paul McNamee and his brother Vijay Amritraj in singles.
iii. His filmography as producer includes movies such as Bringing down the House, Premonition, Machete, Blue Valentine and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. He sat on the board of the Motion Picture and Television Fund (MPTF) for seven years.
6. 7th Central Pay Commission submitted its report; recommended 23.55% hike
i. The 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) headed by Justice AK Mathur submitted its report on 19 November 2015 to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The commission recommended 23.55 percent hike in pay and allowances of government employees.
ii. The recommended pay revision will come into effect from 1 January 2016. The minimum pay for government employees is recommended to be set at 18000 rupees per month. The maximum pay is recommended to be 225000 rupees per month for Apex Scale and 250000 per month for Cabinet Secretary and others presently at the same pay level.
iii. The increase in pay will be 16 percent, increase in allowances will be 63 percent and increase in pension will be 24 percent. The present system of pay bands and grade pay has been dispensed and a new pay matrix has been designed. Grade Pay has been subsumed in the pay matrix. The status of the employee, determined by grade pay, will now be determined by the level in the pay matrix.
iv. One Rank One Pension proposed for civilian government employees on line of OROP for armed forces. Increase in Military Service Pay and revised pension formula for civil employees including Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and Defence Personnel retiring before 1 January 2016.
v. Military Service Pay (MSP), which is a compensation for the various aspects of military service, will be admissible to the defence forces personnel only.
vi. The 7th Central Pay Commission headed by Justice A K Mathur was set up on 28 February 2014 by then Union Government to revise remuneration of employees and pensioners of central government including Defence and Railways.
7. CCEA approved extension of Indian Development and Economic Assistance Scheme
i. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on 18 November 2015 approved extension of Indian Development and Economic Assistance Scheme (IDEAS) for five years from 2015-16 to 2019-20. The extension was approved by the Prime Minister-headed CCEA in view of continued relevance of the scheme.
ii. During the extended period, about 3771 crore rupees will be utilized as part of the scheme. In fact, it was the second extension since its inception in 2005-06. The first extension was granted in 2009-2010 for five years.
iii. IDEAS attempts to promote India’s strategic political and economic interest abroad by positioning it as an emerging economic power, investor country and partner for developing countries. The fund is towards payment of Interest Equalization Support on Line of Credits (LoCs) to the lending bank.
iv. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) forwards the proposals for LoC to the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) of the Ministry of Finance. The LoC will be operated through Export Import Bank of India or any other willing bank/ lending agency decided with the approval of Finance Minister.
8. UNHCR chosen for Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2015
i. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was on 19 November 2015 chosen for the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2015.
ii. A decision in this regard was taken by the international jury of the prize, headed by Vice President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari on the occasion of birth annniversary of Indira Gandhi. The UNHCR was chosen for the award in recognition of its immense contributions in assisting millions of refugees in their rehabilitation and resettlement.
iii. It was established on 14 December 1950 by the UN General Assembly with a mandate to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland and operates in 123 countries across the world.
iv. Since its inception, it has helped tens of millions of refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and stateless people. Its ongoing work in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and the Mediterranean region to deal with the European Migration Crisis has been appreciated worldwide.
v. It is the prestigious annual award accorded annually by Indira Gandhi Trust since 1986. It is presented to individuals or organizations in recognition of creative efforts towards promoting international peace, development and a new international economic order.
9. Srishti Pandey won Indiana FIDE Rating Chess Tournament
i. Maharashtra’s chess player Srishti Pandey on 18 November 2015 clinched the second Indiana All India FIDE Rating Chess tournament. The tournament was organised by Nagpur Taluka Chess Association, which concluded at Dr Hedgewar Smarak Samiti Hall, Reshimbagh, Nagpur.
ii. Fourteen years old Pandey shared points with Avadh Chaitanya from Madhya Pradesh playing on the top board and ended with seven and half points each at the end of the ninth and last round of the Swiss-league tournament.
iii. After application of the tie-breaker, top-seed FIDE Master Vinaykumar Matta from Andhra Pradesh settled for the fourth position. Third seed FIDE Master Saurav Kherdekar from Railways was relegated to seventh position.
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