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October 2018 Daily News Current Affairs

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  1. Oct 10, 2018
    1. Oct 10 - World Mental Health Day. 2018 Theme is ‘Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World’.
    2. Cabinet Approvals (Oct 10, 2018)
      1. General Approvals -
        1. Approved closure of National Jute Manufactures Corporation Ltd. (NJMC) and its subsidiary Birds Jute & Exports Ltd. (BJEL).
          1. NJMC has been incurring losses for several years and was under reference to BIFR since 1993. Its primary product was hessian jute bags used for packaging of food grain used by various State Governments.
        2.  Approved establishment of permanent campuses of 2 new Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research (IISERs) at Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) and Berhampur (Odisha). Cost  is INR 3074 crores.
        3. Approved merger of skills space regulatory institutions National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) and National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) into National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET).
          1. NCVET will regulate entities engaged in vocational education and training, and establish minimum standards for their functioning. 
        4. Approved Productivity Linked Bonus for Railway Employees Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) equivalent to 78 days’ wages for the financial year 2017-18 for About 11.91 lakh non-gazetted Railway employees.
      2. MOUs -
        1. Lebanon - agriculture and allied sectors.
        2. Romania - Tourism.
        3. Finland - Environmental Cooperation.
      3. CCEA Approvals -
        1. Approved closure of Biecco Lawrie Limited (BLL) including giving Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) to its employees.
          1. BLL is a Schedule ‘C’ CPSE with 67.33% and 32.33% equity share held by Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB) and Government of India respectively. It operates in four segments - Switchgear Manufacturing, Electrical Repair, Projects Division and Lube blending & filling facility.
          2. BLL has been making losses for several years. Net worth of Company stood  - 78.88 crores at end of FY 2017-18 and accumulated loss during 2017-18 were - 153.95 crores.
    3. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will start a new Roll on-Roll off (Ro-Ro) facility in collaboration with Assam Government to provide much-needed connectivity for Majuli Island. It will cut down circuitous road route of 423 KMs that trucks take from Neamati to Majuli Island via Tezpur Road Bridge, by limiting distance to only 12.7 KM.
      1. Majuli is one of the biggest riverine islands in the world located on river Brahmaputra and faces serious challenges of connectivity. It has 144 villages with a population of over 1,50,000. Currently, there are only four road bridges across river Brahmaputra - at Jogighopa, Guwahati, Tezpur and Sadiya for connectivity between southern and northern parts of Assam.
      2. Earlier, IWAI started a similar Ro-Ro service between Dhubri and Hatsingimari which reduced the travel distance by 190 KMs.
    4. Misc. Apointments (October 2018) -
      1. Paris Sain-Germain striker Neymar has been appointed as the permanent captain of Brazil’s national team. Brazil’s head coach Tite scrapped captaincy rotation policy of the team to give Neymar the permanent position.
      2. Amit Dev - Director General Air (OPS). 
      3. VR Chaudhari - Deputy Chief of the Air Staff.
      4. Raghunath Nambiar - Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Air Command.
      5. Harjit Singh Arora - Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief South Western Air Command.
      6. Sunil Bhaskaran - MD & CEO of AirAsia India (Joint venture of Tata Sons and Malaysia’s AirAsia Group). 
    5. Nobel Prizes 2018 -
      1. 2018 Winners -
        1. Trade Winners Description
          Physiology or Medicine James P Allison (USA) and Tasaku Honjo (Japan) For discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation
          Physics Arthur Ashkin (USA), Gerard Mourou (France)
          and Donna Strickland (Canada)
          For groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics
          Chemistry (a) one half to Frances H. Arnold (USA)
          (b) other half jointly to George P. Smith (USA) and Sir Gregory P. Winter (UK)
          (a) For directed evolution of enzymes
          (b) For phage display of peptides and antibodies
          Peace Denis Mukwege (Congo) and Nadia Murad (Iraq)

          For efforts to end use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.

          Both these winners are also nominated for 2018’s ‘Mother Teresa Memorial Award.

          Economic Sciences (a) William D. Nordhaus (USA)
          (b) Paul M. Romer (USA)
          (a) For integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis
          (b) For integrating technological innovations into
          long-run macroeconomic analysis
          Literature No Winners announced due to Sexual assault allegations. Postponed t0 2019.  
      2. Facts About Nobel prizes -
        1. In 2018, it was for first time in 70 years of Nobel Prizes, that no Literature Prize was given. It was announced by Swedish Academy after a recent sexual assault scandal. It has now been postponed to 2019.
        2. Background -
          1. Will of Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel established five Nobel prizes in 1895 - Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine, first awarded in 1901.
          2. In 1968, Sweden's central bank Sveriges Riksbank established the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, which, although not being a Nobel Prize, has become informally known as Nobel Prize in Economics.
        3. Physics -
          1. Granted by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
          2. 2 women have been awarded Physics Prize so far.
          3. Youngest - Australian-British physicist Lawrence Bragg (25 years age), awarded in 1915 together with his father.
          4. India's C. V. Raman was awarded Physics Nobel in 1930, For his work on scattering of light and for discovery of effect named after him.
        4. Chemistry
          1. Granted by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
          2. 4 women have been awarded the Chemistry Prize so far.
          3. 1 person, Frederick Sanger, has been awarded the Chemistry Prize twice, in 1958 and in 1980.
          4. Youngest - France's Frédéric Joliot (35 years age), awarded in 1935.
        5. Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences
          1. Granted by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
          2. 1 woman has been awarded Prize in Economic Sciences so far, Elinor Ostrom, in 2009.
          3. Youngest - USA's Kenneth J. Arrow (51 years age), awarded in 1972.
          4. India's Amartya Sen was guven Economic studies Nobel in 1998. For his contributions to welfare economics.
        6. Physiology or Medicine -
          1. Granted by Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute awards.
          2. 12 women have been awarded Medicine Prize so far.
          3. Youngest - Canada's Frederick G. Banting (32 years age), awarded in 1923 for discovery of insulin.
        7. Literature -
          1. Granted by Swedish Academy.
          2. 14 women have been awarded Literature Prize so far.
          3. Youngest - UK's Rudyard Kipling (41 years age), known for Jungle Book.
          4. Rabindranath Tagore, Only Indian to receive Nobel Literature Prize so far (in 1913). He is also first Indian Nobel Laureate.
        8. Peace -
          1. Granted by Norwegian Nobel Committee.
          2. 16 women have been awarded Nobel Peace Prize so far.
          3. Peace Prize Laureate Le Duc Tho (Vietnamese) declined his Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. He was awarded jointly with US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, for negotiating Vietnam peace accord.
          4. Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan is youngest to win Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, at the age of 17.
          5. 2 Indian Person have been given Nobel Peaze Prize so far. Mother Teresa (1979), Kailash Satyarthi (2014).
        9. Indian Nobel Laureates -
          1. Rabindranath Tagore in 1913 (Literature)
          2. C.V. Raman in 1930 (Physics)
          3. Mother Teresa in 1979 (Peace)
          4. Amartya Sen in 1998 (Economic Studies)
          5. Kailash Satyarthi in 2014 (Peace)
    6. General Conferences (Oct 1-10, 2018) -
      1. Workshop on 'Best Practices in International Arbitration’ held in New Delhi by NITI Aayog in collaboration with ICC International Court of Arbitration.
      2. 2-day First ever Regional Conference on ‘Women in Detention and Access to Justice’ held at Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), by Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D).
      3. First Uttarakhand Investors Summit held in Dehradun, atracting investments over 125000 Crores.
      4. Exhibition “Revisiting Gandhi: The Art of Shelly Jyoti” held at IGNCA (New Delhi).
      5. India Chem 2018, 10th Biennial International Exhibition & Conference held in Mumbai, as largest event of Chemicals and Petrochemical Industry in India. 
      6. PM Narendra Modi has unveiled a 64-foot-tall statue of peasant leader Sir Chhotu Ram at his native village Sampla in Rohtak district of Haryan, sculpted by renowned sculptor and Padma Bhushan-recipient Ram Vanji Sutar.
      7. International Conference on Technological Advancements in Railway and Metro Projects (IC-TRAM 2018) held in New Delhi.
      8. Women Health for Women Empowerment Conference held in Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh).
      9. Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference of India Region held in Guwahati (Assam).
      10. 14th Hospitality India and Explore the World Annual International Travel Awards 2018 held in New Delhi. Nepal won tourism award. Also, Chandragiri Hills Limited of Nepal got the best tourism destination of Nepal award in hospitality and tourism sector.
      11. Actor Ruhaan Rajput received the Mid-day Young Achiever Icons Award for 2018 recently in Mumbai,. in film and television category for his work in industry in short time.
    7. Visits from india (Oct 1 - 10, 2018) -
      1. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Kazakhstan (Central Asia).
      2. President Ra Nath Kovind Visited Tajikistan -
        1. Signed MoUs in various fields including political relations, strategic research, agriculture, renewable energy, traditional medicine, space technology, youth affairs, Culture and Disaster Management.
        2. Indian grant of 20 million US dollars was announced for Tajikistan to finance development projects.
      3. Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution, C. R. Chaudhary Visited Nigera for Regional Conclave on India-West Africa Project Partnership held in Abuja, organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)- EXIM Bank.
    8. Visits to India (Oct 1 - 10, 2018) -
      1. Malaysia's Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran Visited India.
      2. Opposition leaded of Canada, Andrew Scheer Visited India.
      3. President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev Visited India. 17 MOUs were signed -
        1. Visa-free travel for diplomatic passport holders.
        2. cooperation in field of tourism, military education, sphere of Law and Justice, agriculture and allied sectors, scientific-technical and innovation fields, health and medical science, combating illicit trafficking narcotic drugs, exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes, Foreign Affairs.
        3. MoU between Samarkand City of Uzbekistan and Municipal Corporation of Agra (Uttar Pradesh).
        4. Establishment of the Uzbek-Indian Free Pharmaceutical Zone in the Andijan Region of Uzbekistan.
        5. Cooperation between Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) and Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies under President of Uzbekistan.
      4. UN Secretary-General António Guterres (Portugal) Visited India.
        1. Formally opened new UN House in New Delhi.
        2. Participated in closing session of Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention. He will also meet with the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Sumitra Mahajan, before giving an address at the India Habitat Centre.
        3. Took part in General Assembly of the International Solar Alliance.
      5. Russian President Vladimir Putin Visited India -
        1. Attended 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit 2018 in New Delhi.
        2. Attended AIM-SIRIUS Innovation Festival 2018 in New Delhi.
        3. India and Russia signed their biggest defence deal in over two decades for Five S-400 air defence systems with worth $5.43 billion ( Rs. 40,300 crores) -
          1. The S-400 regiments will be delivered starting 2020 and are likely to be deployed to cover both the Pakistani and Chinese borders.
          2. China was first foreign buyer Signed a $3 billion deal for integrating Six S-400 in 2014.
          3. U.S. warned deal could attract sanctions under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law that restricts defence purchases from Russia, Iran and North Korea.
          4. S-400 Air Defence System (Previously known as the S-300 PMU-3)
            1. The S-400 uses four missiles to fill its performance envelope: the very-long-range 40N6 (400 km), the long-range 48N6 (250 km), the medium-range 9M96E2 (120 km) and the short-range 9M96E (40 km).
            2. One S-400 can launch 160 guided missiles simultaneously, engage 80 targets at a time.(2 Missile to attack 1 target).
            3. It can hit aircraft, cruise missiles and even fast-moving intermediate range ballistic missiles. The S-400 has three components — the missile launchers themselves, a powerful radar and a command centre.
            4. The radar can track targets 600 km away. For example, S-400 systems deployed in India can track aircraft flying well outside the country’s borders, which is a major threat deterrence to the enemy’s air force.
        4. 8 MOUs signed -
          1. Protocol for Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and MEA for the period 2019-2023
          2. MoU between NITI Aayog's Atal Innovation Mission and Russian Creative school SIRIUS, to provide a platform for joint scientific and entrepreneurial efforts by youth of two nations.
          3. MOU between ISRO and ROSCOSMOS on Joint Activities in field of Human Spaceflight Programme.
            1. ROSCOSMOS offered ride to Indian astronaut short visit to International Space Station (ISS) on board Soyuz spacecraft for short training mission in 2022.
          4. Cooperation between Railways, Nuclear Field, Transport Education, MSME, Fertilizers Sector.
    9. Henley Passport Index 2018.
      1. Indian passport secured 81st rank with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 60 destinations.
      2. Top 5 - Japan (1), Singapore (2), Germany (3), France (4), South Korea (5)
    10. Google will shut down its social network Google+ for consumer use over next 10 months after a bug exposed personal data of up to 5 lakh users. Google+ currently has “low usage and engagement” and that 90% of Google+ user sessions last less than 5 seconds. Company plans to keep it alive enterprise customers who use it to facilitate conversation among co-workers.
    11. Pakistan test-fired Ghauri ballistic missile capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads up to a distance of 1300 kilometres.
    12. Government will issue Sovereign Gold Bonds every month from October 2018 to February 2019 as per Given schedule, through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices, NSE and BSE.
      S.No. Tranche Period of Subscription Date of Issuance
      1 2018-19 Series II October 15-19, 2018 October 23, 2018
      2 2018-19 Series III November 05-09, 2018 November 13, 2018
      3 2018-19 Series IV December 24-28, 2018 January 01, 2019
      4 2018-19 Series V January 14–18, 2019 January 22, 2019
      5 2018-19 Series VI February 04-08, 2019 February 12, 2019
      1. Features of Bond -
        Item Details
        Eligibility Bonds will be restricted for sale to resident individuals, HUFs, Trusts, Universities and Charitable Institutions.
        Denomination Bonds will be denominated in multiples of gram(s) of gold with a basic unit of 1 gram.
        Tenor Tenor will be for 8 years with exit option in 5th, 6th and 7th year to be exercised on the interest payment dates.
        Minimum size Minimum permissible investment will be 1 gram of gold.
        Maximum limit 4 KG for individual, 4 Kg for HUF and 20 Kg for trusts and similar entities per fiscal (April-March).
        Issue / Redemption price Price will be fixed in INR on basis of simple average of closing price of gold of 999 purity, published by India Bullion and Jewellers Association Limited for last 3 working days of week preceding subscription period (50 per gram less for online payments)
        Payment option Cash payment (upto a maximum of `20,000) or demand draft or cheque or electronic banking.
        Interest rate The investors will be compensated at a fixed rate of 2.50% per annumpayable semi-annually on the nominal value.
        Collateral Can be used as collateral for loans. Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is to be set equal to ordinary gold loan mandated by RBI.
        Tax treatment Interest on Gold Bonds shall be taxable as per provision of Income Tax Act 1961. Capital gains tax arising on redemption of SGB to an individual has been exempted.
        SLR eligibility Bonds acquired by banks shall be counted towards Statutory Liquidity Ratio.
        Commission Commission for distribution of bond shall be paid at rate of 1 Rupee per 100 Rupees of total subscription received. Receiving offices shall share at least paise 50 per hundred Rupees of commission so received with agents.
    13. Arunachal Pradesh Govt launched two farmer welfare schemes - Chief Minister's Sashakt Kisan Yojana (CMSKY) and the Chief Ministers Krishi Samuh Yojana (CMKSY).
      1. CMSKY would subsume 3 programmes - CM's Employment Generation Scheme, CM's Agri-Mechanization Programme and the CM's Flagship Programme on Tea and Rubber.
      2. CMKSY aims at empowering farmers through cooperative approach, by providing them timely support and marketing intervention for better price realization and income.
    14. Odisha government launched ‘Olly’, official mascot of 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup, aimed at raising awareness about conservation of Olive Ridley turtle. 2018 Men's Hockey WC is to be hosted at Kalinga Stadium (Bhubaneswar) in Nov - Dec 2018.
    15. Government appointed Tushar Mehta as Solicitor General of India (second-highest ranking law officer of government) till June 2020.
      1. Attorney General for India is Indian government's chief legal advisor, and is primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India. Currently the post is held by K. K. Venugopal.
    16. From January 2019, Indian tourists travelling to Bhutan via road will need either a voter ID or a valid passport to enter the country, while accompanying children can also travel with a birth certificate. Visitors will now get entry permits instead of identification slips.
    17. International Monetary Fund (IMF) retained its India growth forecast for current year at 7.3% in FY19 and 7.4% in FY20, in IMF's World Economic Outlook (WTO) Report. With this, India will retain tag of fastest growing Major Economy.  
      1. In 2017, India had clocked a 6.7 % growth rate. China was the fastest growing economy in 2017 as it was ahead of India by 0.2 percentage points. 
      2. In China, growth is projected to moderate from 6.9 % in 2017 to 6.6 % in 2018 and 6.2 % in 2019.
      3. International growth projections for both this year and next are downgraded to 3.7 %.
      4. Growth rate of US for 2018 is 2.9 % and that of 2019 has been powered to 2.5 %.
    18. Haryana Government launched an anti-terrorist force (ATF) ‘Kavach, to deal with security challenges. For this, Haryana police recruits will be trained by National Security Guard (NSG).
    19. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu presented ‘Ramineni Awards 2018’ in Andhra Pradesh -
      1. Ramineni Foundation’s outstanding person award was presented to badminton coach Pullela Gopichand, carrying prize money of Rs 2 lakh. Special awards carry Rs 1 lakh each.
    20. President Ram Nath Kovind approved bill seeking punishment for sexual offenders, cyber criminals and traditional unlawful acts like bootlegging and dacoity in Telangana state. This will replace 1986 Act that had jurisdiction for the undivided Andhra Pradesh but not for Telangana.
    21. US-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies or HyperloopTT launched first full-scale transportation capsule to be operational in 2019, named Quintero One. Its a 32-metre 5 tonne capsule, made a specially made dual-layer smart composite material called “Vibranium”.
      1. It can move at speeds of more than 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) per hour and has a capacity to hold 30 to 40 passengers.
      2. In May 2018, Andhra Pradesh signed Mou with HyperloopTT to set up Hyperloop transportation system connecting Anantapur, Amaravati, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, as part of 700-800-km-long integrated public transit system.
      3. Maharashtra government too signed pact with Richard Branson-led Virgin Group to build Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop.
      4. HyperloopTT would build the first Hyperloop system in China in the Guizhou province.
    22. Japan joined joint exercise ‘Kamandag’(venom) with US and Filipino troops in Philippines for first time since World War II. Its first time Japanese armoured military vehicles were used on foreign soil since 1945.
    23. RBI proposed a flexible route for FPIs to invest in debt markets, called: voluntary retention route (VRR). Under this, a FPI will be required to invest a minimum of 67% of committed portfolio size (CPS) within 1 month.
      1. Under VRR-Govt, foreign portfolio investors will be eligible to invest in any government security, including treasury bills.
      2. Under VRR-Corp, FPIs may invest in corporate debt instruments, including commercial papers.
      3. FPIs under VVR would be eligible for participating in repo for liquidity only if their amount doesn’t exceed 10% of their investment under VRR.
    24. World Bank released its East Asia and Pacific economy update October 2018 edition.
      1. Countries of the East Asia and Pacific region will grow at 6.3 per cent in 2018 mainly due to China’s moderate growth, down from 6.6 % growth of region in 2017.
    25. Flipkart signed into pact with Bajaj Allianz to provide insurance to customers buying smartphones from its platform. Customers who buy the plan will be offered either a cash payout, or a free pickup, service and drop facility if their devices get damaged or stolen. Minimum insurance price for scheme is 99 for a year.
  2. Oct 09, 2018
    1. Oct 09 - World Post Day. It marks anniversary of establishment of the Universal Postal Union in 1874 in Swiss Capital, Bern. 2018 theme is Imagine you are a letter travelling through time. What message do you wish to convey to your readers?.
    2. 2nd World Conference on Access to Medical Products: Achieving the SDGs 2030 held in New Delhi.
    3. Foundation stone for Second Generation (2G) Ethanol Bio-refinery of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited laid at Baulasingha village in Bargarh ditrict of Odisha.
      1. The Bio-refinery, the first of its kind to be set up, will have a capacity to produce 3 crore litres of fuel grade Ethanol annually using Rice straw as feedstock. Ethanol produced from this plant will be blended with Petrol. The cost is around 100 Crores.
      2. India has surplus biomass availability of about 120-160 MMT annually which if converted, has potential to yield 3000 crore litres of ethanol. National Biofuel Policy of India 2018 targets 20% Ethanol blending to Petrol by 2030. However, due to non-availability of Ethanol, current Ethanol blending in Petrol is about 3 to 4%.
      3. Setting up of 2G Ethanol plants will help achieve target of Ethanol blending in Petrol. Bargarh Bio-Refinery will utilize about 2 lakh tonnes of Rice straw annually as feedstock which will be sourced from nearby locations.
    4. Corporate affairs ministry set up a 10-member panel to check on the discounts offered by online retailers. It will be headed by Injeti Srinivas (Secretary in Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA)).
    5. 2018 China Open (Tennis) -
      1. Men's Singles - Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia)
      2. Women's Singles - Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)
      3. Men's Doubles - Łukasz Kubot (Poland) AND Marcelo Melo (Brazil)
      4. Women's Doubles - Czech Republic's Andrea Sestini Hlaváčková AND Barbora Strýcová
    6. UK-based charity Oxfam International's 'Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index -
      1. India ranked 147th among 157 countries, describing country's poor commitment to reducing inequality.
      2. Top 5 - Denmark (1), Germany (2), Finland (3), Australia (4), Norway (5).
      3. Bottom 5 - Nigeria (157), Uzbekistan (156), Haiti (155), Chad (154), Sieraa Leone (153).
      4. Neighbours - Bhutan (152), Bangladesh (148), Nepal (139), Pakistan (137), Sri Lanka (102), China (81)
    7. Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has officially added word ‘Idiocracy’ in it, among 1400 new words, senses, and phrases added to latest update.
    8. United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released special report on global warming in Incheon (South Korea), with contributions from 91 authors from 40 countries. It will be key scientific input in upcoming Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December 2018.
      1. It shows how half degree of warming makes big difference, adversely impacting global population and overall ecosystem.
      2. It is possible to meet new warming target, with nations taking rapid transitions over 10 to 20 years and reach net zero around 2050, 25 years earlier than planned under earlier 2-degree goal.
      3. It lists four pathways to curb global warming and through which the 1.5 degree target can be achieved. Also, Varying amounts between 100 to 1000 gigatons (billion tonnes) of CO2 needs to be removed from atmosphere in these four pathways.
      4. Advantages of keeping global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees celsius -
        1. By 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5 degrees compared with 2 degrees Celsius.
        2. Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5 degrees, compared with at least once per decade with 2 degrees Celsius.
        3. Coral reefs will decline by 70-90% with global warming of 1.5 degrees, whereas virtually all (over 99%) would be lost with 2 degrees Celsius.
        4. Climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius and increase further with 2 degrees Celsius.
    9. Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid approved controversial Digital Security Bill 2018, combining colonial-era Official Secrets Act with tough new provisions such as arrests without warrant. It aims to deal harshly with cybercrimes, including hurting religious sentiment, spreading negative propaganda against 1971 Liberation War and Bangabandhu (Sheikh Mujibur Rahman).
      1. It also covers illegal activities in e-transactions and spreading defamatory data under its ambitIt provides for 7 - 14 years imprisonment and monetary fines of 25 lakh - 1 crore Taka
      2. Law faced widespread vocal opposition from rights groups and journalists that it could endanger freedom of speech– especially on social media. The law has also drawn opposition internationally including from USA.
    10. Government reconstituted Security Policy Group (SPG) to assist National Security Council (NSC) in Nation's security Operations. SPG will be 16-member body chaired by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval.
    11. SEBI allowed foreign entities to participate in commodity derivatives market of stock exchanges for hedging their exposures.
      1. Earlier, foreign entities were not permitted to directly participate in Indian commodity derivatives market, even if they imported or exported various commodities from and to India.
      2. Foreign entities participating in Indian commodity markets shall be known as eligible foreign entities (EFEs). They will be eligible for all commodity derivatives (except contracts defined as sensitive commodity).
      3. All eligible EFEs are mandated to have actual exposure to Indian physical commodity markets with minimum net worth requirement of $500,000.
      4. It will increase liquidity, especially in commodities like guar gum, guar seed, mustard seeds and cardamom that are not traded in other international exchanges. It will also expand participation of foreign entities in metals commodities.
    12. Department of Telecom (DoT) exempted wireless devices that operate in low frequency range like bluetooth, wireless chargers, internet-of-things (IoT) products, medical devices etc. from licensing requirement. It is aimed at facilitating ease of doing business for adoption of new technologies like IoT, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.
    13. China will sale 48 Wing Loong II high-end armed drones to Pakistan, as largest export deal for drones to date to any country.
      1. Wing Loong II is a high-end reconnaissance, strike and multi-role endurance unmanned aerial system, capable of being fitted with air-to-surface weapons. It can payload up to 480kg (1,060lbs), including 12 laser guided missiles or YJ-9E anti-ship missiles. It can fly at maximum altitude of 9,000 metres (29,500 feet).
    14. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) launched India for Humanity initiative,to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of M K Gandhi. It will feature year-long series of artificial limb fitment camps in a number of countries spanning globe. MEA has collaborated with renowned charitable organisation Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS).
    15. Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and World Bank jointly released report on Strengthening Forest Fire Management in Country. It provides recommendations on five broad themes – policy, institutions and capacity, technology, community engagement and data and information.
      1. People are main driver of fires in India and forest fires are distributed close to people and infrastructure. But over longer term, shifts in climate caused by anthropogenic global warming may further alter India’s forest landscape and fire regime.
      2. India’s monsoons are largely responsible for seasonal nature of forest fires in country. Forest fires peak during dry months of March or April before arrival of monsoon.
      3. Forest fires in Northeast are concentrated in smaller area that is subject to repeat burning. Peak fire season is most concentrated (shortest) in Northeast and Northern state of Bihar. Fires in other regions, particularly districts in Central and Southern India are more expansive.
      4. According to National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), fires affecting forests have significant ecological value. Between 2006 and 2015, NRSC scientists forest fires were detected in just under half (281 of 614) of protected areas in India.
      5. Report is significant in light of recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report that explores possibilities of keeping global temperature rise within 1.5 degree Celsius to prevent catastrophic impacts due to unchecked temperature rise.
    16. USA Scientists claimed to have developed world’s first bioelectronic medicine which is implantable, biodegradable wireless device that speeds nerve regeneration and improves healing of damaged nerve.
      1. It is controlled wirelessly by transmitter outside body that acts much like cellphone-charging mat. It operates for about two weeks before naturally absorbing into the body.
      2. During its animal test on rats with injured sciatic nerves, it was found that this bioelectronic medicine device delivers regular pulses of electricity to damaged peripheral nerves in rats after surgical repair process. This results in accelerating regrowth of nerves.
      3. Researchers envision that such transient engineered technologies can replace pharmaceutical treatments for a variety of medical conditions in humans.
    17. India’s first National Environment Survey (NES) will begin in January 2019 to map environment data of 55 districts across 24 states and 3 UTs. The earliest first set of complete green data from this survey will be available in 2020.
      1. It will be carried out by MoEFCC through Environmental Information System (ENVIS). It will be done through grid-based approach, using grids measuring 9×9 km to collect comprehensive data on various environmental parameters.
      2. Green data from this survey will provide important tool in hands of policy-makers for decision making at all levels – district, state and national. skilled manpower required for survey will be provided from persons skilled and trained under MoEFCC’s Green Skill Development Programme.
    18. Shipping and Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari laid foundation stone for development work of Ghagra River as National Waterway-40 at Basti in Uttar Pradesh, as part of Sagarmala Programme.
      1. Waterway will stretch from Manjhighat at Ganga-Gaghra river confluence to Faizabad or Ayodhya along Gaghra River for 354 kms.
      2. It was declared as National Waterway (NW)-40 during the year 2016.
      3. Together with National Waterway-1 (on river Ganga), NW-40 will be a major transport modal choice for cargo and passenger movement.
    19. UNICEF and NASSCOM Foundation signed an agreement to strengthen child rights through "meaningful business interventions.
    20. Ukraine began series of large-scale air force exercises with USA and other NATO countries, named Clear Sky 2018.
  3. Oct 08, 2018
    1. National Wildlife Week observed October 2 to 8, since 1952
    2. Oct 8, 2018 - 86th Indian Air Force Day. It was officially established on October 8, 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire and the prefix Royal was added in 1945 in recognition of its services during World War II.
      1. On this occasion, IAF launched ‘MedWatch’ mobile health app to provide health information to users, including first-aid and other health and nutritional topics. It is first of its kind mobile health app built by any of the three armed forces.
    3. Southern Railway became Unmanned Level Crossing (UMLC) Free Zone, by elimination of all 1054 UMLCs by providing alternate routes like provision of subways, the road under bridges etc.
    4. Controversial Candidate Brett Kavanaugh Sworn In as a US Supreme Court Judge After Senate Confirmation.
    5. NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Parker Solar Probe, the first mission to touch the Sun, successfully completed a flyby of Venus at a distance of 2,415 km during its first gravity assist from Venus.
      1. Remaining 6 Venus gravity assists will happen during 7-year mission.
      2. Parker Solar Probe was launched on August 12, 2018, on a 7-year journey to study the Sun’s outer atmosphere and its impacts on space weather.
  4. Oct 07, 2018
    1. National Housing Bank (NHB increased Refinance limit of Housing Finance Companies in current year (July 2018-June 2019) to 30000 crores up from 24000 crores. Its a credit flow to Housing Finance Companies & other Institutions.
      1. NHB is Principal Agency to promote Housing Finance Institutions (currently 97), and to provide financial support to eligible institutions.
    2. Indian Army completed indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile's First night trial. Its a surface-to-surface missile, with strike range of 350 km.
    3. Mercedes's Racer Lewis Hamilton (UK) won F1 Japanese Grand Prix -
      1. 2018 Formula 1 (F1) Calendar -
        1. Serial Grand Prix Date Winner
          1 Australian Grand Prix 25 March Sebastian Vettel (Germany)
          2 Bahrain Grand Prix 8 April Sebastian Vettel (Germany)
          3 Chinese Grand Prix 15 April Daniel Ricciardo (Australia)
          4 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 29 April Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          5 Spanish Grand Prix 13 May Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          6 Monaco Grand Prix 27 May Daniel Ricciardo (Australia)
          7 Canadian Grand Prix 10 June Sebastian Vettel (Germany)
          8 French Grand Prix 24 June Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          9 Austrian Grand Prix 1 July Max Verstappen (Belgian-Dutch)
          10 British Grand Prix 8 July Sebastian Vettel (Germany)
          11 German Grand Prix 22 July Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          12 Hungarian Grand Prix 29 July Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          13 Belgian Grand Prix 26 August Sebastian Vettel (Germany)
          14 Italian Grand Prix 2 September Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          15 Singapore Grand Prix 16 September Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          16 Russian Grand Prix 30 September Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          17 Japanese Grand Prix 7 October Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          18 USA Grand Prix 21 October
          19 Mexican Grand Prix 28 October
          20 Brazilian Grand Prix 11 November
          21 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 25 November
    4. Indian postal services honoured Udaipur-based non-profit organisation Narayan Seva Sansthan, by launching their rs 5 postal stamps.
    5. Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) reconstituted Supreme Court-empowered Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA). Bhure Lal will continue to be Chairman of reconstituted 20 Member EPCA.
      1. EPCA is Supreme Court mandated body tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region, notified in 1998 under Environment Protection Act 1986. It is also mandated to enforce Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in NCR as per the pollution levels.
      2. In November 2017, EPCA enforced several measures, including ban on brick kilns, closure of Badarpur thermal power plant, hot mix plants and stone crushers, and construction activities in NCR.
    6. Scientists at Rice University (US) developed tiny spheres that can catch and destroy bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic chemical used to make plastics that often contaminates water. This new material helps in overcoming two significant technological barriers for photocatalytic water treatment.
      1. BPA is used to coat insides of food cans, bottle tops and water supply lines. BPA that seeps into food and drink is considered safe in low doses, but prolonged exposure is suspected of affecting the health of children and contributing to high blood pressure.
    7. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) signed MOU with UN Environment for coherent implementation of environmental dimension of sustainable development. The major activity planned by CII and UN Environment under this MoU includes #Un-plastic Initiative. It will begin with ‘Call to Action’ which will include commitments by industry to take action to curb plastic pollution.
    8. Odisha Government launched Nirman Kusuma programme for providing financial assistance to children of construction workers for their technical education in state. It aims to help fulfil dreams of construction workers’ children by providing financial assistance for their education in Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and polytechnics.
      1. Under it, ITI student is entitled to get financial assistance of Rs. 23,600 and diploma student to get Rs. 26,300 per annum. Besides this, State government also -
        1. Increased financial assistance for girl students by 20%.
        2. Doubled death benefits for the construction workers, to 2 lakh now. Accidental benefit for construction workers’ also doubled to 4 lakh.
    9. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sanctioned 5 new battalions of anti-riot and crowd control Rapid Action Force (RAF), to be stationed at Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Hajipur (Bihar), Jaipur (Rajasthan), Mangalore (Karnataka) and Nuh (Haryana). Total number of RAF battalions in the country has gone up to 15.
    10. Gujarat Forest Department started vaccination of lions in Gir sanctuary to protect them from a deadly canine distemper virus (CDV) and protozoa infections, The virus blamed for death of as many as 23 lions in Gujarat’s Gir sanctuary in less than month.
      1. Asiatic lions are believed to have split from African Lions 100,000 years ago. Gir sanctuary is the only wild population of Asiatic lions in world, having over 523 Asiatic Lions.
    11. Karnataka Government unveiled 'Unnati Scheme' to help entrepreneurs from SC/ST Communities. Under it, State Govt. will invest up to Rs 20 crore to create end-to-end support infrastructure for startups and entrepreneurs from a marginalised background.
    12. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal laid foundation stone of 2 key railway projects in Chhattisgarh, Including INR 6000 Crores and 295 km Long Katghora-Mungeli-Kawardha-Dongargarh line. It would accelerate the growth of mineral rich region and bring prosperity.
    13. Sport Australia Hall of Fame announced cricketing great Richie Benaud, who died in April 2015, as 40th Legend of Australian Sport. He is third cricketer behind Sir Donald Bradman and Keith Miller to be given Legend status.
    14. RBI issued guidelines for operating Electronic Trading Platforms (ETPs) to transact in eligible instruments. Trading on electronic platforms is being encouraged across the world as it enhances pricing transparency, processing efficiency and risk control.
      1. As per norms,ETPs will mean any electronic system, other than a recognised stock exchange, on which transactions in eligible instruments. ETP Operator’ shall mean an entity authorised by RBI to operate an ETP under these Directions.
      2. An entity seeking authorisation as an ETP operator should possess and maintain a minimum net-worth of Rs 5 crore at all times.
    15. Maharashtra launched website and app Maha madat to analyze drought situation, to help in accurate analysis of drought-like situation in villages of state. Drought can be declared if a region does not receive rain for a span of 21 days.
  5. Oct 06, 2018
    1. Government’s gross direct tax collection rose 16.7% to Rs 5.47 lakh crore in first six months of Current FY 2018-19. Government issued refunds of Rs 1.03 lakh crore in the first six months, 30.4% higher than theamount returned during same period last year.
    2. RBI approved proposal of Kerala government for the formation of Kerala Bank, decided by special task force headed by M S Sriram. Bank will be formed by consolidating State Cooperative Bank and 14 district cooperatives, with net deposit amount of INR 65000 Crores. Unification will be completed by March 2019.
    3. India's Srinivasan Swamy appointed as chairman and world president of International Advertising Association (IAA) for 2 years.
    4. book “Feisty At Fifty” authored by Sudha Menon has been released.
    5. CRISIL upgraded AU Small Finance Bank’s Long Term Debt Instruments Rating to CRISIL AA– with Stable Outlook from previous CRISIL A+. Now, AU Bank’s long-term instruments have got a rating of AA- from all four rating agencies including CARE Ratings, India Ratings and ICRA Ratings.
    6. Global Payments service PayPal launched its first merchant-focused App in India called PayPal for Business. It will help small/medium merchants and freelancers conduct their domestic and cross border business.
    7. Vineet Nayyar has been appointed as Vice-chairman and Managing Director (MD) of the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS).
  6. Oct 05, 2018
    1. Oct 5 - World Teachers’ Day. 2018 marks 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) that recognizes education as a key fundamental right. 2018 theme is The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher.
      1. Note that In India, National Teachers Day is held on Sep 5. It marks Birtth anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (2nd President of India).
    2. RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) issued its fourth bi-monthly statement.It decided to keep policy repo rate under liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 6.5 %. GDP growth projection for 2018-19 is retained at 7.4 %. Current Monetary Policy Rates are -
      1. Repo Rate - 6.50 %
      2. Reverse Repo - 6.25 %
      3. Bank Rate - 6.75 %
      4. CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio) - 4 %
      5. SLR(Statutory Liquidity ratio) - 19.5 %
      6. Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) Rate - 6.75 %
    3. India Signed $110 million loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) to finance upgrade of 2800 kilometers all-weather rural roads in State of Madhya Pradesh under Prime Minister's Rural Roads Program (PMGSY). It is part of $500 million Second Rural Connectivity investment Program for India approved by ADB in December 2017.
    4. Alphonso Mango from Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Palghar, Thane and Raigad districts of Maharashtra has been registered as Geographical Indication (GI).
      1. GI is an indication used on products with a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. GI products can benefit the rural economy in remote areas, by supplementing the incomes of artisans, farmers, weavers and craftsmen.
      2. King of mangoes, Alphonso, better known as ‘Hapus’ in Maharashtra, is in demand in domestic and international markets not only for its taste but also for pleasant fragrance and vibrant colour.
    5. Northeast and Assam Petro-chemicals launched Asia's first cannisters based and India's first "Methanol Cooking Fuel Program" in Namrup (Assam). 500 households inside the Assam Petro Complex will be the first pilot project, scaling it to 40,000 households in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Goa and Karnataka.
      1. It aims at reducing import of crude and an effort to provide clean, import substitute, cost effective and pollution free cooking medium.
      2. Safe handling cannister based cooking stoves are from Swedish Technology and through a Technology transfer a large-scale cooking stove manufacturing plant will come up in India in next 18 months, producing 10 lakh Cookstoves and 1 Crore Cannisters per year. 
      3. This Cooking medium can directly substitute LPG, Kerosene, Wood, Charcoal and any other fuel for cooking. The gaseous form, Methanol - DME, can be blended in 20% ratio with LPG.
      4. It is a much more cost effective and environment friendly solution for domestic cooking needs.
    6. Election Commission announced Schedule for General Elections to Legislative Assemblies of Chhattisgarh Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram & Telangana (To be held in November - December 2018).
    7. IndiaSkills 2018, 2nd edition of India’s biggest skill competition held at Aerocity Ground in New Delhi. some of awardees in 46 trades will participate in 45th WorldSkills Competition at Kazan (Russia0 in 2019.
    8. Government appointed Rakesh Sharma as managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of IDBI Bank.
    9. National Dolphin Research Centre (NDRC) will be set up on banks of the Ganga river in Patna University campus in Patna (Bihar), as Asia’s first Dolphin research centre.
      1. Gangetic river dolphin (Platanista gangetica) is one of four freshwater dolphin species in world. The other three are found in Yangtze river, Indus river in Pakistan and Amazon river.
    10. Pankaj Sharma appointed as ambassador and India’s permanent representative to United Nations Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, replacing Amandeep Gill.
    11. Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship launched Closing the Skills Gap Task Force in India, in collaboration with World Economic Forum (WEF). It will be chaired by Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan along with Salil Parekh (Infosys MD & CEO). It aims to develop action plan to address skills gaps in India and make Indian workforce ready for jobs of future.
    12. IT Industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) launched its Centre of Excellence for the Internet of Things (CoE – IoT) at Gurugram (Haryana). It will provide platform to best minds from industry, academia, start-ups and government to drive culture of collaboration and co-creation to find solutions to accelerate India’s economic development.
      1. NASSCOM also stated that Indian BPM industry is largest in world, generating revenue close to $32.5 billion and an employee strength of 1.2 million. It now holds more than a 37% share in global sourcing and is witnessing a 1.7x revenue growth.
    13. Government Appointed R N Ravi as Deputy National Security Advisor (Internal Affairs). He will be 3rd deputy NSA to National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval after former Rajinder Khanna and Pankaj Saran.
    14. 36th National Games will be held in Goa in March - April 2019.
    15. Interbrand's "Best 100 Global Brands 2018" report -
      1. Apple displaced Google to become top brand in the world in 2018. Apple's brand value grew 16 % to $214.5 billion. It also became first company in US to hit the $1 trillion market cap.
      2. Amazon achieved 56% growth to become third top brand globally.
      3. Facebook fell to 9th place, amid data breach controversies.
    16. Reliance Health Insurance (subsidiary of Reliance Capital) received final approval from IRDAI for its new health insurance business. Ravi Viswanath has been appointed as CEO of new health insurance company.
    17. Sanjay Verma is appointed as India’s new Ambassador to Spain.
    18. National Stock Exchange’s (NSE) MD and CEO Vikram Limaye is appointed chairman of working committee and director on board by international industry body – World Federation of Exchanges (WFE).
    19. India defeated Sri Lanka to win their 6th Under-19 Asia Cup Cricket title.
    20. NASA announced that first crewed test flight by a SpaceX rocket to ISS will take place in June 2019. SpaceX will use its Falcon 9 rocket for launch with a Crew Dragon capsule attached on top.
  7. Oct 04, 2018
    1. Oct 04 - World Animal Day.It marks feast day of Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.
    2. International Cricket Council released updated version of the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) System along with the new ICC Code of Conduct and ICC Playing Conditions. These came into effect from 30 September, with an ODI between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
    3. USA pulled out of 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran, After International Court of Justice (ICJ) told US to lift sanctions on Iran which are linked to humanitarian goods and civil aviation. Iran took US to ICJ arguing that it violated terms of the treaty by imposing sanctions following withdrawal from 2015 nuclear deal.
    4. Lonar Lake, an ancient circular lake created by a meteorite strike, in Maharashtra and St. Mary’s Island, a hexagonal mosaic of basaltic rocks in an island off Udupi will be made global geoparks by Geological Survey of India (GSI).
      1. St. Mary’s Island which was declared a national geo-heritage site in 1975 is estimated to be an 88-million-year-old.
      2. Lonar crater became a geo-heritage site in 1979. It is around 50,000 years old.
    5. Manipur won 24th Senior Women’s National football championships in Cuttack (Odisha). Manipur secured their 19th title win after beating Odisha.
    6. US President Donald Trump nominated Indian-American woman to head the nuclear energy division at USA's Department of energy. Her appointment is now pending Senate approval.
    7. Bangalore's Kempegowda International Airport chosen L&T Construction to construct its Terminal-2 (T2) at approx 3036 crores. It will augment capacity of airport by 25 million passengers per annum.
    8. Indian Railways launched its Project ‘Utkrisht’ to upgrade 140 rakes of Mail/Express trains in first phase, enhancing and upgrading several passenger friendly facilities.
    9. Japan’s Hayabusa2 probe launched French-German Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout, or MASCOT, towards asteroid Ryugu’s surface.
    10. UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) conferred 2018 Nansen Refugee Award to South Sudanese surgeon Dr. Evan Atar Adaha, for his 20-year medical service to refugees of Sudan and South Sudan.
    11. Joint exercise of India and Vienam, named Sahyog-Hop Tac 2018 began off Chennai coast.
    12. IIT-Kharagpur named national coordinating institute of Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC) under Ministry of Human Resource Development.
    13. Financial Firm MobiKwik launched an instant loan approval and disbursal product called ‘Boost’, which will enable disbursal of loans upto 60000 within 90 seconds.
    14. Bharti Airtel acquired artificial intelligence (AI) service provider AuthMe ID Services.
    15. Justice Surya Kant appointed as Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court.
    16. 10th Edition Of Agriculture Census Data For 2015-16 Released By Agriculture Ministry -
      1. Female operational land holders increased from 12.79% in 2010-11 to 13.87% in 2015-16.
      2. By the number of people tilling the land, Uttar Pradesh topped the chart followed by Bihar and Maharshtra.
      3. In terms of total operated area: Rajasthan comes first followed by Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
      4. Among the states, the highest increase in number  of operational holdings is topped by Madhya Pradesh  followed by Andhra  Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, Meghalaya, Karnataka and Nagaland.
      5. Goa witnessed  the sharpest fall and Manipur had the lowest in number of operational holdings.
      6. The average size of agriculture landholding declined to 1.08 hectare in 2015-16 from 1.15 hectare in 2010-11.
      7. The average size of farm holding was the highest in Nagaland at 5.06 hectares and the lowest in Kerala at 0.18 hectare.
    17. Ramon Laguarta took charge as chief executive officer (CEO) of PepsiCo. He succeeded India-born Indra Nooyi, who rermained PepsiCo CEO for for 12 years.
    18. Foreign Bank State Bank of Mauritius’ India operations was hit by cyber fraud of USD 14 million. SBM got RBI approval to operate as a subsidiary in India in August 2018.
    19. Assam state assembly passed an amendment in Assam Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Act 2018 -
      1. GST registration for companies having up to 20 lakh rupees(earlier Rs. 10 lakh) turnover per annum has been exempted.
      2. limit of turnover from Rs 75 lakh to Rs 1.5 crorehas been increased for businesses to be eligible for filing one per cent composite tax.
    20. To check Rising Fuel prices, Government has cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2.50. Government and oil companies will absorb the price cut by INR 1.50 and 1 respectively. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also urged state governments to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel by another INR 2.50.
  8. Oct 03, 2018
    1. Cabinet Approvals (Oct 03, 2018) -
      1. General Approvals -
        1. Approved implementation of  Indore Metro Rail Project (MP) , with Ring Line of length 31.55 Km, to connect major public nodes.
          1. Length of the Ring Line is 31.55 km, with 30 Stations on Ring Line
          2. Estimated cost is INR 7500 crores and it will be completed in four years.
        2. Approved implementation of Bhopal Metro Rail Project (MP), comprising two corridors of total length 27.87 Km - Karond Circle to AIIMS (14.99 Km) and Bhadbhada Square to Ratnagiri Tiraha (12.88 Km) -
          1. Estimated cost is INR 6941 crores and project will be completed in 4 years.
        3. Approved 2nd Protocol amending Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with Singapore.
        4. Approved Redevelopment of Railway Stations by IRSDC as Nodal Agency, through simplified procedures and longer lease tenure (upto 99 years). Multiple sub leasing, simplified bid procedures Redevelopment will create smart stations that will function as mini smart cities.
        5. Approved establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation(NIMHR) in Sehore District (Bhopal-Sehore highway) instead of Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, as decided earlier.
      2. MOUs -
        1. Russia - Road Transport, MSME.
      3. CCEA Approvals -
        1. Approved providing a package of 469 crores for Revival and Mill Development Plan (RMDP) of PSU NEPA Limited, in Nepanagar (Madhya Pradesh).
        2. To boost farmers’ income, CCEA approved increase in Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for all Rabi crops for 2018-19 to be marketed in 2019-20 season. It will give additional return to farmers of INR 62635 crores to at least 50 % return over cost of production and will aid in doubling farmers’ income.
          1. Increase in MSPs of wheat has been raised by 105 per quintal, safflower by 845 per quintal, barley by 30 per quintal, masur (lentil) by 225 per quintal, gram by 220 per quintal and rapeseed & mustard by 200 per quintal.
    2. India signed $ 100 Million Loan Agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) to expand Sewerage and Drainage Coverage in Kolkata (West Bengal).
    3. India signed $240 million loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) for providing safe and sustainable drinking water to about 1.65 million people in three districts of state of West Bengal.
    4. Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu released the policy on biometric based digital processing of passengers at airports called “Digi Yatra”.
      1. It aims to develop standards for digital processing of passengers at airport to ensure uniform implementation and passenger experience across airports. DigiYatra Central Platform will be operational by February 2019, starting from Bangalore & Hyderabad Airports.
    5. PM Narendra Modi gave awards to top Ranked State, District and State with maximum citizen participation based on National Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2018. As part of Swachh Survekshan Grameen, 6786 villages were covered. top ranked States / Districts -
      1. States - Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra
      2. Districts  - Satara (Maharashtra), Rewari (Haryana), Pedapalli (Telangana)
      3. States with maximum citizen participation  - Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra
      4. Districts with maximum citizens’ participation  - Nashik (Maharashtra), Solapur,  (Maharashtra), Chittorgarh (Rajasthan)
    6. President Ramnath Kovind appointed Madan Bhimarao Lokur as Executive Chairman of National Legal Services Authority of India (NALSA).
    7. Indian GDP Growth Forecasts (October 2018) -
      1. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) predicted GDP growth of India for 2018 to be at 7%.
      2. International Monetary Fund (IMF) retained its India growth forecast for current year at 7.3% in FY19 and 7.4% in FY20, in IMF's World Economic Outlook (WTO) Report. With this, India will retain tag of fastest growing Major Economy.  
        1. In 2017, India had clocked a 6.7 per cent growth rate. China was the fastest growing economy in 2017 as it was ahead of India by 0.2 percentage points. 
        2. In China, growth is projected to moderate from 6.9 % in 2017 to 6.6 % in 2018 and 6.2 % in 2019.
        3. International growth projections for both this year and next are downgraded to 3.7 %.
        4. Growth rate of US for 2018 is 2.9 % and that of 2019 has been powered to 2.5 %.
    8. Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) closed its 51 branches across country (out of its approx 1900 branches) as part of cost-cutting measures, as first such measure initiated by any PSB.
    9. National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) signed MoU with Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to provide skill training and jobs in construction sector for 2.5 lakh poor people. It will strengthen skill trainings in construction sector for urban poor under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission.
    10. World Health Organization (WHO) launched first global guidelines on sanitation and health, aimed at securing health and wellbeing for everyone, everywhere by considering sanitation as fundamental foundation of human health and development. By adopting these, countries can significantly reduce diarrhoeal deaths due to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene.
    11. India ranked 28th among 73 countries in 2018 Government e-Payments Adoption Ranking (GEAR) by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) -
      1. India jumped 8 positions in this ranking from 36th in 2011.
      2. Norway has topped 2018 GEAR list scoring 89.7 points in seven categories.
    12. PM Narendra Modi conferred with United Nation’s Champions of the Earth Award 2018 by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New Delhi. He is among the six winners who received this award. Other Awardees are -
      1. French President Emmanuel Macron.
      2. India’s Cochin International Airport - Awarded in Entrepreneurial Vision category. It is world’s first fully solar-powered airport.
      3. Joan Carling - Awarded lifetime achievement award as a prominent defender of environmental and indigenous rights.
      4. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods - Jointly recognised in Science and Innovation category.
      5. China’s Zhejiang’s Green Rural Revival Programme - Awarded in inspiration and action category.
    13. India launched humanitarian operation Samudra Maitri to provide assistance to earthquake and tsunami victims in Indonesia, dispatching two aircraft C-130J and C-17 and three naval ships carrying relief material and personnel to Indonesia.
    14. Sandeep Bakhshi has been appointed as ICICI Bank’s new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, After Chanda Kochhar resigned from the post.
    15. Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi became first person from whom honorary Canadian citizenship has been taken back, for her role in gross human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims. The honour was bestowed on Suu Kyi in 2007.
    16. About Rafale Fighter Jets Deal -
      1. India in September 2016 signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with France to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets (Manufactured by Dassault Aviation), for €7.8 billion. Under the deal, it was decided that India will pay 15 per cent in advance.
      2. Earlier deal -
        1. In June 2001, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved procurement of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft.  In January 2012, IAF announced Rafale as preferred bidder and contract negotiations began.
        2. It was proposed that 18 Rafales would be supplied to the IAF by 2015, while remaining 108 would be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in India under transfer of technology agreements.
        3. Deal stalled due to a lack of agreement on various terms of RFP compliance and cost-related issues.
      3. Current Controversy is that India’s main opposition party raised an issue over Dassault partnering with Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence, a private company instead of state-owned HAL. However, Both French government and Dassault stated that it was Dassault's decision to choose Reliance Defence instead of HAL.
    17. National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) partnered with Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) to launch a month-long rafting expedition of a team of 40 members which will be led by Bachendri Pal (first Indian woman to scale Mount Everest). It will conclude in Patna in Bihar.
    18. RBI allowed state-owned oil companies to borrow long-term working capital from overseas (relaxing policy on borrowing up to 10 billion USD). RBI has allowed state-owned oil companies to raise ECB (External Commercial Borrowings) of minimum maturity of 3 or 5 years.
    19. Reliance Industries’ Chairman Mukesh Ambani named as richest Indian for 11th consecutive year with a net worth of USD 47.3 Billion, according to Forbes magazine. He is also year’s biggest gainer, adding USD 9.3 billion to his wealth. Wipro Chairman Azim Premji retained 2nd spot, followed by Arcelor Mittal Chairman and CEO Lakshmi Mittal at 3rd place.
    20. Misc. Sporting Events (October 2018) -
      1. Prithvi Shaw became youngest Indian to score a century on Test debut (aged 18 years), scoring against Windies in Rajkot.
      2. Virat Kohli became quickest batsman to reach 24 Test cricket centuries after great Australian Sir Donald Bradman.
      3. India’s Keerthana Pandian won girls’ title in IBSF World Under-16 Snooker Championships, in St Petersburg (Russia).
      4. India’s Squash player Vikram Malhotra won in Texas Open Squash Championship (USA), defeating Daniel Mekbib of Czech Republic.
      5. Indian pair of Meghana Reddy and Tasnim Mir won Under-15 girls doubles title in Badminton Asia Junior Under-17 and Under-15 championships, at Mandalay (Myanmar). India won total 5 medals in championships - 1 gold and 4 bronze.
      6. Deborah Herold won gold in elite women’s 40 kilometre competition at Saksham Pedal Delhi, India’s Premier Cyclothon. Shreedhar Savanur won gold medal in men’s 50 kilometres.
  9. Oct 02, 2018
    1. Oct 02, 2018. 150th Birth Anniversry of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Its also observed as UN International Non Violence Day, since 2007.
      1. Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention (MGISC) held in New Delhi.
      2. Earlier, On Sep 15 of 2018, PM Modi launched mega countrywide campaign- Swachhata hi Seva Campaign 2018.
      3. PM Narendra Modi inaugurated Mahatma Gandhi Museum in Rajkot (Gujarat). He also launched Mujkuva Solar Energy Cooperative Group in Gujarat, created with assistance of National Dairy development Board.
      4. On this occasion, Odisha government launched its own State Food Security Scheme (SFSS). Under this, 18.32 lakh poor and eligible people will receive 5 kg of rice at rate of Rupee 1 per kg. This is in response to the failure of the central government’s approval against the state’s request to include 25 lakh people under NFSA.
      5. 6 US lawmakers (Including 6 Indian Americans) moved a resolution in US House of Representatives to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to Mahatma Gandhi for his contribution towards promotion of peace and non-violence.
      6. On this occasion, SIDBI launched a National Level Entrepreneurship Awareness Campaign, Udyam Abhilasha in 115 Aspirational Districts identified by NITI Aayog. Campaign would run from Oct 3 - 8, 2018 across India. Objectives include -
        1. Inspire rural youth in aspirational districts to be entrepreneurs by assisting them to set up their own enterprise
        2. Impart trainings through digital medium, to create business opportunities for CSC VLEs (Village level entrepreneurs).
      7. On this occasion, world’s largest dome inaugurated at Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT)’s World Peace University (MIT-WPU) campus in Pune (Maharashtra). It has diameter of 160 feet, overtaking earlier record holding Vatican Dome having diameter of 139.6 feet . It stands 263 feet tall with bell hanging from centre and has prayer hall with area of around 30,000 sq ft.
      8. On this occasion, National Khadi Festival 2018 began in Mumbai, organised by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to promote Khadi products.
      9. Ministry of Railways was named the best department for its contribution to “Swachhta Pakhwada” under the “Swachhta Hi Seva” category of awards.
      10. Assam Govt.launched Universal Pension scheme in the state. Under it, pension will be given to all BPL and APL ration card holders over 60 years of age.
        1. 50 lakh rupees has sanctioned to filmmaker Rima Das whose movie Village Rockstar has been nominated for Oscars.
        2. Small tea growers exempted from levy of cess amounting to 10 paise per kilogram.
        3. Approved amendment in Assam GST Act by which GST registration has been relaxed from 10 lakh rupees annual turnover to 20 lakh rupees annual turnover.
        4. Sports University Bill introduced to set up a sports university at Chabua named after Aniruddha Dev.
    2. First Assembly of International Solar Alliance held at Vigyan Bhawan (New Delhi). 2nd IORA Renewable Energy Ministerial Meeting and 2nd Global RE-Invest (Renewable Energy Investors’ Meet and Expo) were also held alongside. Antonio Guterres (Secretary General of United Nations), was present on this occasion.
      1. ISA Is headquartered in Gurugram (Haryana), with Upendra Triathy as its curent chief.
    3. According to Association of Mutual Funds of India’s (AMFI) statistics, Maharashtra tops with maximum penetration and Assets Under Management (AUM) of 10.35 lakh crores. It is followed by Delhi having Rs 2.35 lakh crore and Karnataka having Rs 1.76 lakh crores.
    4. Iraq’s parliament elected Kurdish politician Barham Salih as new president.
    5. 2018 ATP Shenzhen Open Men' s(Tennis) in Shenzhen (China) -
      1. Singles - Yoshihito Nishioka (Japan)
      2. Doubles - Ben McLachlan (Japan) and Joe Salisbury (United Kingdom)
    6. 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final held in Samsun, Turkey.
      1. South Korea topped the medal tally with: 3 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medals. Turkey stayed at 2nd.
      2. India won 3 medals - 1 silver and 2 bronze.
        1. Silver - Abhishek Verma and Jyothi Surekha
        2. Bronze - Abhishek Verma AND Deepika Kumari
    7. Scientists from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and IISc Bangalore discovered 2 new species of lizards in Western Ghats. The Lizards are: Montane forest lizard and Spiny-headed forest lizard. They were wrongly identified under genus Calotes for over 150 years.
    8. China launched its Centispace-1-s1 satellite, on a Kuaizhou-1A low-cost solid-fuel carrier rocket.
    9. Arun Kumar appointed as Director-General of Railway Protection Force (RPF).
    10. Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad elected as new President of Hockey India (HI).
    11. Odia hockey player Lilima Minz selected for Ekalavya Puraskar 2018 by Karnataka based by IMPaCT, social wing of IMFA. It Comprises of a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh along with a citation. 2 other sportswomen felicitated - Weight lifter Jhili Dalabehera and Badminton player Rutuparna Panda.
    12. IRDA approved micro-insurance policies (sum assured of 50000 or less) disbursal through point-of-sales (PoS), to promote insurance coverage among economically vulnerable sections.
    13. NSE Indices launched 2 dynamic asset allocation indices designed to combine equity and debt. These are - Nifty 50 & short duration debt –Dynamic P/E index AND Nifty 50 & short duration debt – Dynamic P/B index.
      1. These compare current price-earnings ratio (P/E) or price-book ratio (P/B) with historical P/E or P/B ratio of Nifty 50 in previous seven years. Maximum allocation to equity is 80 % and minimum allocation is 65 %.
    14. SBI halved ATM withdrawal limit from 40000 to 20000 per day, for debit cards of ‘Classic’ and ‘ Maestro’ platforms. It aims to reduce number of fraudulent transactions and promote cashless transactions.
    15. World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) approved investment of $ 100 million in India Resurgence Fund (IRF), a joint venture of Piramal Enterprise Limited and Bain Capital.
    16. Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar announced Swachh Campus rankings -
      1. Cleanest Government universities -
        1. Maharashi Dayanand University, Haryana
          Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Punjab
          Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), New Delhi
      2. Cleanest residential campus of private universities - Symbiosis International University, Pune
      3. Cleanest non-residential campus of private universities - ITM University, Raipur
      4. Cleanest technical institutions -
        1. Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Coimbatore
        2. IIT Guwahati
        3. Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan University in Bhubhaneshwar
        4. IIIT Delhi.
    17. Persons Resigned / Retired (October 2018) -
      1. Igor Akinfeev - Russian footballer.
      2. Mile Jedinak - Australian footballer.
      3. Nick Compton - England Cricketer Retires.
      4. John Terry - England Footballer.
      5. Meng Hongwei - resigned as President of International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).
      6. Indian American Nikki Haley resigned as United States Ambassador to the United Nations (UN).
    18. UNICEF appointed India's Ravi Venkatesan as its special representative of young people, to provide strategic guidance and support UNICEF globally.
    19. Financial Frm Paytm became leading contributor to Unified Payments Interface (UPI) payments with over 33% of overall market share, with over 137 million UPI transactions in September 2018.
  10. Oct 01, 2018
    1. 6th edition IBSAMAR (joint Navy Exercise between Indian, Brazilian and South African Navies) began at Simons Town (South Africa).
    2. Oct 01 - International Day of Older Persons.  2018 theme is Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions. On this occasion, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu conferred Vayoshreshtha Samman-2018 on eminent senior citizens and institutions.
    3. Oct 01 - World Habitat Day. 2018 theme is Municipal Solid Waste Management.
    4. Oct 01 - International Coffee Day. 2018 theme is Women in Coffee. Oct 1 is also observed as World Vegetarian Day.
    5. Industrial Awards (October 2018) -
      1. Tapan Kumar Chand, (CMD of NALCO) has been conferred with NIPM Ratna Award in 37th NIPM Annual National Conference NATCON-2018 at Pune.
      2. Entrepreneur from Gujrat, Chiranjiv Patel won BW 40 under 40 award in BW Business World's 2nd edition of 40 Under 40 Summit and awards held in Gurugram.
      3. Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) won ISSA Good Practice Award for Administrative Solution for Coverage Extension at “Regional Social Security Forum for Asia and the Pacific” held at Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
        1. ESIC was honored in recognition of its measures taken for extension of coverage Scheme for Promoting Registration of Employers and Employees (SPREE), reduced rate of contribution rates for 24 months in newly implemented areas and raising wage limit for coverage under ESI Act, etc.
    6. India signed $150 Million Loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) for continued improvements to road connectivity and efficiency of International Trade Corridor in West Bengal and North-Eastern Region of lndia.
    7. Ministry of Corporate Affairs launched facility for completely online incorporation of Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). LLP Rules have been amended and came into effect from 02nd October 2018 -
      1. Introduction of a Web Service titled ‘RUN-LLP (Reserve Unique Name – Limited Liability Partnership)’ replacing the erstwhile Form 1 (Application for reservation or change of name).
      2. Introduction of a new integrated Form christened FiLLiP (Form for incorporation of Limited Liability Partnership) replacing the erstwhile Form 2 (Incorporation document and subscriber’s statement) combining therein 3 services i.e.,
      3. Name reservation.
      4. Allotment of Designated Partner Identification Number (DPIN/DIN).
      5. Note -
        1. In January 2016, Central Registry Centre (CRC) was established for online incorporation of companies and reserving unique names. Simplified Proforma for Incorporating Company Electronically (SPICe) and Reserve Unique Name (RUN) were launched.
        2. Now, PAN and TAN are issued on near real time basis by integrating online process with department of Income Tax. DIN is also allotted to the individuals at time of their appointment as Director in Company.
        3. Every week, over 2700 are incorporated through online company incorporation system.
    8. Dharmendra Pradhan (Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship) launched SATAT (Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation) as an innovative initiative to make available Compressed Bio-Gas CBG in market for use in automotive fuels.
      1. Under it, with PSU Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) are inviting Expression of Interest (EoI) to set up CBG production plants, by 31st March, 2019.
      2. Government is keen to set up 5000 CBG plants in next 5 years. Government will incur 75,000 Crore capital expenditure for setting up infrastructure for City Gas distribution network.
      3. SATAT initiative promises efficient municipal solid waste management and tackling problem of polluted urban air due to farm stubble-burning and carbon emissions.
    9. Mercedes's Racer Lewis Hamilton (UK) won F1 Russian Grand Prix -
      1. 2018 Formula 1 (F1) Calendar -
        1. Serial Grand Prix Date Winner
          1 Australian Grand Prix 25 March Sebastian Vettel (Germany)
          2 Bahrain Grand Prix 8 April Sebastian Vettel (Germany)
          3 Chinese Grand Prix 15 April Daniel Ricciardo (Australia)
          4 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 29 April Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          5 Spanish Grand Prix 13 May Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          6 Monaco Grand Prix 27 May Daniel Ricciardo (Australia)
          7 Canadian Grand Prix 10 June Sebastian Vettel (Germany)
          8 French Grand Prix 24 June Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          9 Austrian Grand Prix 1 July Max Verstappen (Belgian-Dutch)
          10 British Grand Prix 8 July Sebastian Vettel (Germany)
          11 German Grand Prix 22 July Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          12 Hungarian Grand Prix 29 July Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          13 Belgian Grand Prix 26 August Sebastian Vettel (Germany)
          14 Italian Grand Prix 2 September Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          15 Singapore Grand Prix 16 September Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          16 Russian Grand Prix 30 September Lewis Hamilton (UK)
          17 Japanese Grand Prix 7 October
          18 USA Grand Prix 21 October
          19 Mexican Grand Prix 28 October
          20 Brazilian Grand Prix 11 November
          21 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 25 November
    10. India-born Harvard University professor Gita Gopinath appointed as Chief Economist of International Monetary Fund (IMF). She will resign as Economic Adviser to Kerala CM.
    11. India ranked 5th among 206 countries in 2018 Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report by Canadian Cancer Society. In India, 85% of both sides of cigarette packets are covered with warnings.
      1. Top 5 - Timor-Leste (92.5%), Nepal (90%), Vanuatu (90%), New Zealand (87.5%) and India held 5th rank jointly with Hong Kong and Thailand for 85% warnings.
    12. Madhya Pradesh Government announced creation of Niwari as its 52nd district, carved out of Tikamgarh district. It will include tehsils of Niwari, Orchha and Prithvipur.
    13. Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) became first Indian stock exchange to launch commodity derivative contracts, with launch of contracts in popular commodities like gold (1kg) and silver (30kg). SEBI recently allowed BSE and NSE to launch commodity derivatives trading under unified exchange regime wherein stock exchanges will be allowed to offer trading in commodities derivatives.
    14. International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and World Trade Organization collectively launched report “Reinvigorating Trade and Inclusive Growth” report, seeking liberalisation of global service sector, asserting that barriers to these services trade currently is roughly as high as those to trade in goods about a half century ago.
      1. Services comprise some two-thirds of global GDP and employment, Yet facing lags due to limited opening of service sectors to foreign competition. Full services trade liberalisation can raise manufacturing productivity by average of 22%.
      2. Services comprise significant shares of value added of all sectors in economy, yet Only quarter of global trade is traded as services. The trade in services sector has potential of contributing particularly strongly to productivity growth and economic growth overall.
      3. Prolonged slowdown in pace of trade reform is leading to widespread trade distortions and putting at risk strength of global economic recovery, despite recent rebound in trade.
    15. Canada agreed to sign a trade deal with USA and Mexico, revamping North American Free Trade Agreement. New deal has been named as United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
      1. USMCA modernises what was covered by NAFTA by adding provisions on digital trade and intellectual property.
      2. It would allow US farmers greater access to Canada's dairy market and address concerns about potential US auto tariffs. The pact will come up for review every six years.
      3. Canada will export 2.6 million vehicles to USA, after 25 % global autos tariffs imposed by US on national security grounds. Deal, however, failed to resolve U.S. tariffs on Canada's steel and aluminum exports.
      4. Background -
        1. USA President Trump threatened to end 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement into a bilateral pact with Mexico and tax Canadian vehicle exports to USA if Canada failed to sign deal before September 30 midnight deadline. Canada, USA's 2nd largest trading partner, was left out when the US and Mexico had reached a preliminary deal in late August to revamp NAFTA.
    16. Uttarakhand High Court directed state government to provide reservation to transgenders in educational institutions and public appointments, for welfare of transgender persons in state.
    17. Assam Government become first Indian state to offer a Wage Compensation Scheme for pregnant women working in tea gardens of stae -
      1. INR 12000 will be given to pregnant women in 4 instalments - 2000 in 1st trimester, 4000 in 2nd trimester, 3000 for institutional delivery and 3000 for registration of child's birth. Women will also get maternity leaves, ranging 3 months before delivery to 3 months after delivery.
    18. Government appointed Rangachari Sridharan as chairperson of the National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA), which will function as an independent regulator for auditing profession.
    19. Central Information Commission (CIC) brought Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) under the RTI (Right to Information) Act, after concluded that characteristics of BCCI fulfil required conditions of Section 2(h) of RTI Act.
    20. Obituaries (October 2018) -
      1. Otis Rush - Noted Chicago blues guitarist (USA).
      2. Balabhaskar - Noted violinist.
      3. Thampi Kannanthanam - Noted Veteran Malayalam film personality.
      4. Will Vinton - Oscar-winning American animator.
      5. Natwar Thakkar - Noted Eminent Gandhian social worker from Nagaland.
      6. Montserrat Caballé - Noted Spanish Opera singer.
      7. Pradip Chowdhury - Noted journalist and former News Editor of Press Trust of India (PTI).

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