Current Affairs October 2019 - National


1 - Cabinet approved new strategic disinvestment process


The Cabinet has approved a new process of strategic disinvestment with a view to expediting privatisation of select public sector undertaking (PSUs). The Cabinet approved the new policy under which the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, DIPAM under the Ministry of Finance has been made the nodal department for the strategic stake sale.

DIPAM and NITI Aayog will now jointly identify PSUs for strategic disinvestment. The government has increased the divestment target from Rs 90,000 crore to Rs 1.05 lakh crore for the current fiscal year.

2 - Government launched Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan

Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan

Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat launched a unique initiative called 'Ganga Amantran' to connect with the stakeholders of the river. It is a pioneering exploratory open- water rafting and kayaking expedition on the Ganga river.

The expedition will start at Devaprayag and culminate at Ganga Sagar covering the entire stratch of over 25,000 kilometres of the River. This is the first ever effort by National Mission for Clean Ganga to spread the message of River Rejuvenation and Water Conservation on a massive scale.

3 - Union Consumer Affairs Minister, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, launched ‘Consumer App’

Shri Ram Vilas Paswan

In order to fast-track consumer grievance redressal process and provide an effective forum for consumers to give their valuable suggestions to the Department on consumer related issues, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Shri Ram Vilas Paswan launched the ‘Consumer App’ in Krishi Bhawan.

The app aims to provide a one stop solution for consumer grievance redressal at the palm of every consumer across the nation via mobile phones.The complaint status will be monitored on a daily basis by the ministry.

4 - Government launched Unified Portal for Licensing of Eating Houses/ Lodging Houses in National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi

Kishan Reddy

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri G. Kishan Reddy, launched a single window online system for licensing of eating houses/lodging houses, in New Delhi. This unique initiative is a joint effort of various agencies involved in the process of licensing in the NCT of Delhi for facilitating ease of doing business.

The portal is a single window clearance system. It is an integrated, transparent and seamless system for providing licenses on a time bound manner.

5 - Digital Exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi titled “Digital Gandhi Gyan-Vigyan” inaugurated

Ashutosh Sharma

The Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, Prof. Ashutosh Sharma inaugurated an exhibition titled “Digital Gandhi Gyan Vigyan Exhibition” to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The exhibition has the following components

VR Experience: This is an Immersive Virtual Reality experience based on the life of Gandhi ji, with special focus of his life at the Sabarmati Ashram.

Charkha with an AR App: This is a fabricated physical model of a Charkha which gets animated when seen through an augmented reality (AR) app on a hand-held device such as a smart-phone or tablet. Users get to know about its history, mechanics and linkage to Gandhi ji from the AR App.

6 - India to shift to BS VI vehicular emission norms by April 2020

BS VI Vehicular

The Supreme Court of India has mandated to implement Bharat Stage VI (or BS-VI) emission norm from April 1, 2020 across the country. The apex court has ruled that no Bharat Stage IV vehicle shall be sold across the country effective from that date.

While the BS-IV fuels contain 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur, the BS-VI grade fuel only has 10 ppm sulphur content. BS VI will bring the cancer causing particulate matter, PM 2.5 and PM 10, in diesel cars by a phenomenal 80%.

7 - Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched eDantseva website and mobile application


Union Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched the eDantseva website and mobile application, the first ever national digital platform on oral health information and knowledge dissemination. He also released the Braille booklet and Voice over on Oral Health Education for the visually impaired individuals, along with the oral health posters for pregnant women and children.

e-DantSeva contains information about the National Oral Health Program, detailed list of all the dental facility and colleges, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material and a unique feature called the ‘Symptom Checker’.

8 - India announced TAP for 5 additional African Countries on World Cotton Day

World Cotton Day

India announced the launch of the second phase of the Cotton Technical Assistance Programme (TAP) for Africa at the Partners Conference in Geneva. The Cotton TAP programme will now cover 11 African countries that includes 6 existing countries, namely – Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda and 5 additional countries, namely Mali, Ghana, Togo, Zambia and Tanzania.

India implemented a technical assistance programme (TAP) for cotton in the above six African countries from 2012 to 2018.

9 - India crossed one-crore LED street light mark

LED Street Light

India has doubled the number of LED street lights from 49 lakh in March 2018 to 1 crore as on 1st October, 2019. These lights have been installed under the Street Light National Programme (SLNP) and implemented by state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL).

The Union Government had set out to replace 3.5 crore conventional street lights with LED street lights by March 2019. The target was later scaled down to replace 1.34 crore conventional street lights with energy efficient LED lights by March 2019. Now, the target for replacing these street lights has been fixed for March 2020.

10 - India gets first tranche of Swiss bank account details

 Swiss Bank

India has received the first tranche of details about financial accounts of its residents in Swiss banks under a new automatic exchange of information framework between the two countries. India figures among 75 countries with which Switzerland's Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) has exchanged information on financial accounts within the framework of global standards on Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI).

The next exchange would take place in September 2020. In 2016, India and Switzerland had signed an information-sharing deal on bank accounts, which was to come in effect from January 2018.

11 - UNESCO, DD join hands for TV show on Gandhi's 150th Anniversary


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Doordarshan jointly hosted an hour-long television programme called 'Mahatma Lives'/'Bapu Zinda Hain' to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation. It was telecasted on October 1 at 10 pm and repeated on October 2 at 5 pm across the country on DD News.

The bilingual programme featured, rarely heard audio clips of Mahatma Gandhi. The clips include his speech from 1947 (November 29) in which he addresses corporate leaders and exhorts them to give wealth for welfare of the society. Other clips include his speech on the caste system and eternal set of duties (Sanatam Dharam).

12 - Ministry of Tourism launched Audio Guide Facility App "Audio Odigos" for 12 sites of India


On the occasion of “Paryatan Parv 2019”, Tourism Ministry has launched the Audio Guide facility “Audio Odigos” for 12 sites of India (including Iconic Sites). An MoU for Gol Gumbad, Delhi with Government of Delhi and Resbird Technologies was also exchanged for the development of Tourism Amenities during the programme at Paryatan Parv.

The Audio Odigos app contains an inbuilt map of the site for a smooth navigation during the tour. Listeners will be offered various versions of history like Synopsis, Detailed History and Podcasts. The audio can be chosen in their preferred language & version of the history.

13 - Government launched portal for monitoring coal supply to power plants

Coal Supply

The Union Government has launched PRAKASH - Power Rail Koyla Availability through Supply Harmony, a portal in New Delhi. The portal aims at bringing better coordination for coal supplies among all stakeholders. It was developed by an electric power distribution company National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC).

The portal is designed to help in mapping and monitoring entire coal supply chain for power plants. This is an important step in ensuring adequate availability and optimum utilisation of coal at thermal power plants.

14 - AIM NITI Aayog, UNDP India jointly launched Youth Co: Lab

Youth CoLab

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India launched Youth Co:Lab which aims at accelerating social entrepreneurship and innovation in young India. A Letter of Intent (LOI) was signed between AIM, NITI Aayog and UNDP India.

Through Youth Co:Lab, young entrepreneurs and innovators will get a chance to connect with governments, mentors, incubators and investors, who will help equip them with entrepreneurial skills. They will also get the opportunity to pitch their ideas at UNDP’s regional centre in 2020.

15 - NHA, Google sign SoI to strengthen implementation of Ayushman Bharat scheme

Ayushman Bharat Scheme

The National Health Authority (NHA) has signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) with Google to strengthen the implementation of Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY). Google will also support NHA in improving PM-JAY's digital presence and showcasing relevant content to the 50 crore entitled beneficiaries.

Google shall also help provide training and support to NHA personnel to build on digital skills. NHA is the nodal agency for implementing Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

16 - Health Minister Harsh Vardhan launched 'Trans-Fat Free' logo

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan launched the "Trans-Fat Free" logo during the 8th International Chefs Conference to accelerate the 'Eat Right India' campaign led by the FSSAI under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. He also released a slogan ‘Chefs 4 Trans Fat-Free’ at the event.

In compliance with the Food Safety and Standards (Advertisement and Claims) Regulations, 2018, food establishments that use trans-fat free fats/oil and do not have industrial trans-fat more than 0.2g/100g of food are eligible to display the logo.

17 - PM Modi, Prez Xi meet at Mamallapuram for their second informal summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the town of Mamallapuram near Chennai for their second informal summit.

Highlights of the Summit

  • Chinese side has accepted there are concerns in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

  • India, China agree to enhance people-to-people contact.

  • China agreed to tackle the trade deficit which is in China’s favor around 57 billion USD last year.

  • India will relax e – Visa provisions for Chinese citizens.

18 - Government launched SUMAN initiative for quality health care at no cost

Dr. Harsh Vardhan

Union Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan, SUMAN, initiative in New Delhi. The initiative was launched during the 13th Conference of Central Council of Health and Family Welfare.

The initiative aims at assuring dignified, respectful and quality health care at no cost and zero tolerance for denial of services for every woman and newborn visiting the public health facility in order to end all preventable maternal and newborn deaths. It also provides a positive birth experience to both mother and infant.

19 - HRD Minister inaugurated Pradhan Mantri innovative learning programme ‘DHRUV’ in Bengaluru

Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank

Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank launched ambitious DHRUV programme in the headquarter of Indian Space Research Organization in Bengaluru. DHRUV is a unique programme to identify talented students and mentor them in the centre of excellence for 14 days so that they can reach their full potential and work for the society.

60 students, 30 each from Science and Performing Arts discipline, have been selected for this ambitious programme in the first batch. Every student will be called 'DHRUV TARA'.

20 - Cabinet approved MoUs signed between India and Foreign Broadcasters in the field of Radio and Television

Foreign Broadcasters

The Union Cabinet chaired has given ex-post facto approval for the MoUs between India and Foreign Broadcasters in the field of Radio and Television.

The MoUs with the Foreign Broadcasters will help

  • Public broadcaster in exploring new visions;

  • New Strategies to address the demands of new technologies and stiff competition;

  • Media liberalization; and

  • Globalization.

21 - Cabinet approved relaxation of Aadhaar seeding of data of the beneficiaries under PM-Kisan

Aadhaar Seeded

The Union Cabinet has approved the relaxation of the mandatory requirement of Aadhaar Seeded data as a pre-condition for release of funds to the beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri KisanSamman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme.

The scheme provides income support of Rs 6,000 per year to landholding families, subject to certain exclusions. The amount is released in three 4-monthly instalments of Rs 2,000 each directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode.

22 - Low cost device for ocean states forecast and mapping potential fishing zones launched

Mapping Potential

For seamless and effective dissemination of emergency information and communication on disaster warnings, Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ) and Ocean States Forecasts (OSF) to fishermen, the Government launched the GAGAN Enabled Mariner’s Instrument for Navigation and Information (GEMINI) device.

Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) joined hands with Airports Authority of India (AAI) to utilize the GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) satellite system to transmit the PFZ, OSF and disaster warnings to fishermen. The GEMINI device receives and transfers the data received from GAGAN satellite to a mobile through Bluetooth communication.

23 - Dr. Harsh Vardhan launches WHO India Country Cooperation Strategy 2019–2023

India Country Cooperation Strategy

Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan launched ‘The WHO India Country Cooperation Strategy 2019–2023: A Time of Transition’. The Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) provides a strategic roadmap for WHO to work with the Government of India towards achieving its health sector goals, in improving the health of its population and bringing in transformative changes in the health sector.

The India CCS is one of the first that fully aligns itself with the newly adopted WHO 13th General Programme of Work and its 'triple billion' targets, the Sustainable Development Goals and WHO South-East Asia Region’s eight Flagship Priorities. The CCS also captures the work of the United Nations Sustainable Development Framework for 2018–2022.

24 - Mobile App, “mHariyali” launched


The government has launched a mobile app, “mHariyali,”, that is aimed to encourage Public engagement in planting trees and other such Green drives. People can now upload information/photos of any plantation done by them, which is linked to app and will be displayed on the website

The App provides for automatic geo-tagging of plants. This app will also enable nodal officers to periodically monitor the plantation.

25 - GRP’s website & mobile app “Sahyatri” launched

Mobile App Sahyatri

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai launched Government Railway Police (GRP) website and mobile app Sahyatri-Delhi Railway Police.

The website will have uploaded database of criminals, including their photographs, active in Indian Railways’ jurisdiction all over the country along with information on missing persons, wanted criminals, unidentified dead bodies etc. The Sahyatri mobile app will help passengers find out the jurisdiction of a police station as well as the details of GRP officials by geo-tagging with Google Maps.

26 - POSHAN atlas to map local crops, food grains


The government in association with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Deendayal Research Institute is developing a POSHAN atlas under POSHAN abhiyan in a bid to tackle malnutrition. The government will use the Atlas to map the crops and food grains grown in different regions of the country so that nutritious protein rich food in local areas can be promoted.

According to World Bank Global Nutrition Report, 2018, malnutrition costs around 10 billion USD annually in India.

27 - IIM-Bangalore, Ministry of Skill Development launch Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship

Ministry of Skill Development

The Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) and the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) jointly launched a programme named the ‘Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship’ (MGNF).

The fellowship is designed under Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP). The programme is launched on a pilot basis in 75 districts. The fellows will receive a stipend of ₹50,000 in the first year and ₹60,000 in the second year. On completion of their engagement, they will be awarded a Certificate in Public Policy and Management from IIM Bangalore.

28 - Cabinet apprised of Progress under NHM


The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Progress and new initiatives under National Health Mission (NHM) and the Decisions of the Empowered Programme Committee and Mission Steering Group of NHM. The outcomes achieved under the NHM during the last five years and during the year 2017-18 are −

  • Decline by 2.7% in the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) to 130 during 2014-16.

  • Decline in the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) to 34 in 2016.

  • Decline in the Under 5 Mortality Rate (U5MR) to 39 in 2016.

  • Decline in the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) to 2.3% in 2016.

29 - Government to achieve 10% blending percentage of ethanol in petrol by 2022


Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan addressed a gathering at India Energy Forum in New Delhi and announced that India is expected to get 58 billion dollar investment in the exploration and production sector by 2023. An estimated investment of 60 billion dollar is underway for augmenting gas infrastructure.

Pradhan appealed Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman to consider including petroleum products under GST regime. Government is targeting to achieve 10% blending percentage of ethanol in petrol by 2022, which in turn will boost farm economy.

30 - DPIIT launched website and mobile app for IPR

Intellectual Property

Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Guruprasad Mohapatra launched the website and mobile application [Learn to Protect, Secure and Maximize Your Innovation] on Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in New Delhi. The website and app has been developed by Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM)-DPIIT in collaboration with Qualcomm and National Law University (NLU), Delhi.

The modules of this e-learning platform [L2Pro India IP e-learning Platform and the L2Pro India Mobile App] will aid and enable entrepreneurs and small and medium industries to integrate IP into business models and obtain value for their R&D efforts.

31 - India and Netherlands launched the second phase of the LOTUS-HR

Willem Alexander

During the visit of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, a joint launch of the second phase of the Local Treatment of Urban Sewage streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUS-HR) program was done by the Union Minister for Science & Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

In the 2nd phase, 10 thousand L sewage water will be treated per day. The project will produce clean water which can be reused for various purposes. The innovative pilot scale modular plant upon commissioning will treat 10,000 L sewage water per day and will showcase a self-sustaining model for the end user.

32 - Release of two diagnostic kits developed by Indian Council of Agricultural Research

Agricultural Research

Two diagnostic kits developed by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) - Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, namely the Bluetongue sandwich ELISA (sELISA) and the Japanese Encephalitis lgM ELISA kit for the control of Swine and Detection of Antigen, were released by Shri Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying and Dr. T. Mahopatra, Secretary DARE and DG, ICAR.

This indigenous technology is helpful for assessing the active infection of JE virus in the swine population at a minimal price of Rs. 5,000 only.

33 - Dr. Jitendra Singh inaugurated 11th Nuclear Energy Conclave

Dr. Jitendra Singh

The Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region Dr. Jitendra Singh inaugurated 11th Nuclear Energy Conclave. The theme of Conclave was “Economics of Nuclear Power - Innovation towards Safer & Cost Effective Technologies”.

During the conclave, three technical sessions were held on the themes: “Growth of Nuclear Power for Meeting Base Load Demands - Opportunities & Challenges for Manufacturing Industry” , “Use of Nuclear Energy in Healthcare and Municipal Waste Treatment” and “Emerging Technologies for Economy and Enhanced Safety.

34 - PM Modi chaired meeting on ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’

Shri Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi chaired a meeting on 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' programme. Under the initiative, the government plans to hold people-to-people exchange between states to enhance knowledge about each others culture.

'Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat' is a personal initiative of the Prime Minister that highlights India's diversity and furthers national unity. The goal behind this unique Mission is to develop a holistic national perspective on important issues and encourage the celebration of India's vibrant regional cultures.

35 - CBIC launched programme to strengthen Make in India


Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) launched a revamped and streamlined programme to attract investments into India and strengthen Make in India through manufacture and other operations under bond scheme, of Customs Act, 1962. The Section enables conduct of manufacture and other operations in a customs bonded warehouse.

The scheme will enable efficient capacity utilisation, as there is no limit on quantum of clearances that can be exported or cleared to the domestic market. The scheme has been modernised with simplified compliance requirements ICT-based documentation and account keeping.

36 - Air India became first airline to use Taxibot on A320 aircraft


Air India created history and became the first airline in the world to use a Taxibot on a A320 aircraft with passengers onboard. Taxibot is a robot-used aircraft tractor for taxiing an aircraft from parking bay to runway and vice versa, with its engines switched off.

Taxibot, a pilot controlled semi-robotic towbarless aircraft tractor was first used on the Air India aircraft at Indira Gandhi International Airport. This is first such usage on any Airbus aircraft worldwide.

37 - IIT Madras collaborated with ExxonMobil for research in Energy and Biofuels


ExxonMobil signed agreements with the Indian Institute of Technology locations in Madras and Bombay, further expanding its extensive portfolio of research collaboration with India’s universities. The five-year agreements focus on progressing research in biofuels and bio-products, gas transport and conversion, climate and environment, and low-emissions technologies for the power and industrial sectors.

ExxonMobil conducted a joint study with IIT Bombay and the Council for Energy, Environment and Water, a leading India-based think-tank, focusing on the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

38 - Government launched Food Safety Mitra Scheme

Food Safety Mitra

On the occasion of World Food Day, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan launched Food Safety Mitra (FSM) Scheme, Eat Right Jacket and Eat Right Jhola. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India planned to engage motivated individuals with the food safety ecosystem at ground level. A FSM is an individual professional certified by FSSAI who assists in compliances related to FSS Act.

Eat Right Smart Jacket has been introduced to giving an identity to FSSAI staff to ensure transparent inspection. It is linked to software to capture entry of inspection staff into premise for monitoring.

39 - Indian Railways to become net zero carbon emitter by 2030

Indian Railways

As part of India's strategy to combat climate change, Union minister Piyush Goyal announced that Indian Railways will become the world first "net-zero" carbon emitter by 2030. Indian government already took many steps to curb pollution such as India has an installed renewable energy capacity of about 80 GW and plans to achieve 175GW by 2022 and 500GW by 2030.

Since, Indian Railways power consumption has been growing at an average 5% a year, India plans to run railways 100% electrically by 2023 and source 10% of its electricity needs through renewable energy sources by 2020.

40 - Indian railways start 9 Sewa Service trains to connect small towns with closest major cities

Indian Railways Started

The Indian railways started 9 Sewa Service trains to connect small towns with their closest major cities. Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal flagged off the Sewa Service train between Delhi and Shamli at New Delhi and other trains through video conferencing.

These trains will run between Delhi and Shamli, Bhubaneswar and Nayagarh Town, Murkongselek and Dibrugarh, Kota and Jhalawar City and Coimbatore and Palani as a daily passenger train. Seva Trains between Vadnagar and Mahesana, Asarva and Himmatnagar, Karur and Salem and Yesvantpur and Tumkur will operate six days a week.

41 - TechSagar, national repository of India’s cyber tech capabilities launched

National Cybersecurity

National Cybersecurity Coordinator’s office in partnership with Data Security Council of India (DSCI), a not-for-profit, industry body on data protection set up by Nasscom, has opened India’s first national cybertech’s repository portal named TechSagar(

TechSagar covers 25 technology areas such as IoT, AI/ML, Block Chain, Cloud and Virtualisation, Robotics and Automation, AR/VR, Wireless and Networking, and more. The portal will list business and research entities from the IT industry, startups, academia, and individual researchers.

42 - India and Philippines signed agreements

India and Philippines

In order to bolster defence and maritime security partnership, President Ram Nath Kovind and Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte signed various agreements. Both the countries celebrated 70 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Agreements signed were

  • Maritime domain

  • Security

  • Tourism

  • Science and technology and culture

  • Sharing of white shipping information between the Philippine Coast Guard and the Indian Navy

  • Cooperation in space through research of the history of their civilisational roots and commonalities in culture and tradition

43 - India and Sierra Leone signed six agreements including $30 mn line of credit

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu

India and Sierra Leone signed six agreements including extending a credit line of 30 million US Dollars for rice cultivation. India announced the decision to establish a High Commission in Sierra Leone, even as both the countries have agreed to enhance cooperation in agriculture, food processing, Information Technology, infrastructure development and capacity building.

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio committed to further strengthen bilateral relations.

44 - India and Pakistan signed agreement on Kartarpur corridor

India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan inked agreement on Kartarpur corridor. The agreement relates to the modalities for operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor at Zero Point, International Boundary, Dera Baba Nanak.

The highlights of the Agreement are, Indian pilgrims of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can use the corridor and the travel will be Visa Free. Pilgrims need to carry only a valid passport and pilgrims travelling in the morning will have to return on the same day.

45 - Rajnath Singh approved issuance of two OGELs for export of certain parts and components

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved issuance of two Open General Export Licences, OGELs for export of certain parts and components and intra-company transfer of technology to select countries. The decision will give a boost to defence exports and enhance ease of doing business.

The countries allowed under the OGELs are: Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA, Canada, Italy, Poland and Mexico. Export of items to a Special Economic Zone is not permitted.

46 - Union Cabinet approved revival plan of BSNL and MTNL


The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for revival of BSNL and MTNL by administrative allotment of spectrum for 4G services funded by the government through capital infusion at a value of Rs 20,140 Cr and the GST amount of Rs 3,674 Cr to this spectrum value will also be borne by the government.

BSNL and MTNL will also raise long-term sovereign bonds of Rs 15,000 Cr as well as Rs 38,000 Cr assets monetised. They will also offer Voluntary Retirement to their employees, aged 50 years and above through attractive Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS). The Union Cabinet also approved in-principle merger of BSNL and MTNL.

47 - Government relaxed norms for setting up petrol pumps

Petrol Pumps

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Review of Guidelines for Granting Authorization to market Transportation Fuels. The relaxed norms provide for setting up petrol pumps allowing non-oil companies to venture into the business.

Companies with a net worth of 250 crore rupees will be allowed to sell petrol and diesel. The companies will be subject to the condition that they install facilities for marketing at least one new generation alternate fuel such as CNG, LNG, biofuels or electric vehicle charging within three years of start of operations.

48 - Cabinet approves proposed MoU between India and St. Vincent & the Grenadines

India and St. Vincent

The Union Cabinet has given ex post-facto approval to the proposed Memorandum of Understanding between India and St. Vincent & the Grenadines on cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine.

The MoU will provide a framework for cooperation for the promotion of traditional systems of medicines and will mutually benefit the two countries in the said field. It will lead to promotion and propagation of Traditional Systems of Medicine in St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Activities mentioned in the MoU will boost the importance of AYUSH Systems of Medicine in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

49 - Cabinet approved proposal for Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation with USA

Science and Technology

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation between India and the United States of America.

The cooperation would be made in the various forms which include the following

  • Exchanges of scientific & technical information and experts.

  • Training of scientists and technical experts.

  • Conduct of cooperative research projects.

  • Establishment of science & innovation-based public-private partnerships.

  • Use of advance research facilities.

50 - Cabinet approved MoU between India and Kuwait in the field of accounting, finance and audit knowledge base

India and Kuwait

The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for capacity building and strengthening the accounting, financial and audit knowledge base in Kuwait. The aim of the MoU is to work together to develop a mutually beneficial relationship for the best interest of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) members, students and their organizations.

The MoU entails that ICAI and Kuwait Accountants and Auditors Association (KAAA) will work together to hold and conduct technical events, seminars and conferences in Kuwait for the benefit of both organizations’ members and development of their professional expertise.

51 - Cabinet approved administrative arrangement on Cooperation in the field of Railways

European Commission

The Union Cabinet has approved administrative arrangement on Cooperation in the field of Railways between the Ministry of Railways, India and the Directorate General for Mobility and Transport of the European Commission to strengthen future technical exchanges and cooperation.

  • Rail Reform and Regulations with particular emphasis on impact of European Union (EU) legislative framework on safety, interoperability, economic governance and financial sustainability of Railways;

  • Railway Safety;

  • The benefits of standardisation as well as harmonized conformity assessment and procurement procedures for economic performance of Railways;

  • Signalling/control systems (including the European ERTMS system);

  • Intermodality and transport infrastructure networks;

  • Innovation and digitalisation;

52 - Indian Railway launched One Touch ATVM

Touch ATVM

Indian Railways has launched ‘one touch ATVM’ at 42 suburban stations of Central Railway to render fast ticketing to millions of commuters over Mumbai Suburban Network. This new machine will reduce the waiting time of the passengers and allow passenger to avoid standing in long queues.

A total of 92 ATVMs has been installed at 42 suburban stations. The salient features of one touch ATVM is that a passenger can obtain a ticket in just two steps instead of earlier six steps on a regular ATVM. One touch ATVM will show one screen display for selecting single/return journey tickets.

53 - Indian Railways install most advanced Electronic Interlocking System on Grand Chord route

Electronic Interlocking System

Indian Railways has installed the most advanced Electronic Interlocking System on the Grand Chord route. The measure is expected to help Indian Railways speed up trains and achieve the objective of reducing the travel time between Delhi and Howrah to about 12 hours from the existing 17 to 19 hours.

The new Electronic system has replaced outdated 65-year old mechanical signalling system at Tundla Junction in Uttar Pradesh on the route.

54 - IIM Kozhikode & MRPL to support women entrepreneurs


IIM Kozhikode and Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) have announced a drive called La Eve (The Woman) that will identify innovative women-founded start-ups and provide support. Selected start-ups would be provided seed support funds of up to ₹25 lakh.

The initiative will be steered by IIMK Live, the institute's entrepreneurship development centre called Laboratory for Innovation, Venturing and Entrepreneurship, with the support of the start-up fund of MRPL. MRPL has provided seed funds to 11 start-ups incubated at IIMK LIVE.

55 - AYUSH Ministry signed MoU with Defence Ministry

AYUSH Ministry

The AYUSH ministry has signed a MoU with the Defence ministry to provide traditional medicine services at the armed forces’ hospitals and dispensaries. Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik inaugurated an Ayurveda Palliative Care Unit at the Base Hospital in the Delhi Cantonment.

Under the MoU, ayurveda units will also be established at palliative care centres at the Army Research and Referral Hospital, Air Force Hospital, Hindon in Ghaziabad and five identified ex-service men Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) polyclinics in Delhi –NCR.

56 - Union Culture Minister launched E-Portal, YouTube Channel of CCRT

Prahlad Singh

Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel launched the E-Portal of Centre for Cultural Resources and Training, CCRT ‘Digital Bharat Digital Sanskriti' and CCRT YouTube Channel in New Delhi. It will enable dissemination of cultural education through digital interactive medium into the classrooms all over the country.

For this initiative, CCRT has tied up with Routes 2 Roots, an NGO, for connecting seamlessly all the CCRT Regional Centres i.e., Guwahati, Udaipur and Hyderabad.

57 - Col Chewang Rinchen Setu inaugurated in Eastern Ladakh

Col Chewang Rinchen Setu

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated Colonel Chewang Rinchen Setu in Eastern Ladakh. This is India’s all-weather highest altitude bridge which is about 45 kilometres away from the Indo-China border.

The setu was built by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) on River Shyok. The bridge connects Durbuk and Daulat Beg Oldie areas. It is located between the Karakoram and Chang Chenmo mountain ranges. It is a 400-meter long bridge, built at an altitude of about 15,000 feet using micro piling technology.

58 - Postal Ballot for voters above 80 years and Divyangs

Postal Ballot

On the recommendation of the Election Commission, the Ministry of Law and Justice has amended the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, on 22 October. It allows disabled and people over 80 years of age to cast their vote through postal ballot.

The amendment allows senior citizens and person with disabilities in the absentee voter list. The absentee voter refers to a vote cast by someone who is unable to go to the polling station. In the last Lok Sabha elections, about 60.14% of absentee voters voted through e-postal ballot while in 2014, it was just 4%.

59 - Lucknow-based City Montessori School bagged Guinness World Record title

City Montessori School

Lucknow-based City Montessori School (CMS) has won the Guinness World Record for becoming the 'world's largest school' in terms of strength of students. CMS won the global award for having 55,547 students in 2019-20.

CMS has 18 branches. In 2002 CMS was awarded UNESCO Prize for Peace Education. The school has also received ‘Hope of Humanity’ Award from spiritual leader, Dalai Lama. In 2014 CMS society was accredited with United Nations Department of Public Information as affiliated NGO.

60 - Government accorded 'Maharatna' status to PowerGrid Corporation and HPCL

Power Grid

The government accorded 'Maharatna' status to Power Grid Corporation of India Limited and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL). The grant of Maharatna status will impart enhanced powers to their boards to take financial decisions.

List of Maharatnas

  • National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC)

  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)

  • Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL)

  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL)

  • Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL)

  • Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL)

  • Coal India Limited (CIL)

  • Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL)

  • Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL)

  • Power Grid Corporation Of India Limited (POWERGRID)

61 - CBSE, NCERT to launch 'Tamanna' aptitude test for Class 9, 10 students soon


The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) have launched an online aptitude test called as ‘Tamanna’ (Try And Measure Aptitude And Natural Abilities). It helps students of Class 9 and 10 make a better choice of subjects, eventually helping them in making an informed decision while choosing subjects in Class 11 and 12.

These aptitude tests will assess strengths of students and there is no criteria to fail or pass. CBSE conducted piloting of the test with 17,000 students of Class 9th and 10th across the country.

62 - First “Global Bio-India 2019” Summit to be held in New Delhi

Global Bio India

The Global Bio-India 2019, one of the largest biotechnology stakeholders conglomerate will be held for the first time in India at New Delhi from 21st to 23rd November, 2019. The event has been structured to bring together stakeholders from 30 countries, 250 start-ups, 200 exhibitors.

The event is expected to strengthen the indigenous research capabilities, bio-entrepreneurship, investments and last-mile-delivery of technology across rural India and tier-2, 3 cities. Department of Biotechnology along with Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) is organizing this event.

63 - List of MoUs signed during the visit of Prime Minister to Saudi Arabia

India and Saudi Arabia

India and Saudi Arabia signed 12 MoUs during PM Narendra Modi's official state visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Some of the key MoUs signed were

  • Strategic Partnership Council Agreement.

  • MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Renewable Energy.

  • MoU for Cooperation between National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul).

  • MoU for Cooperation in the field of Civil Aviation and collaboration in military acquisition, industries, research, development and technology.

  • MoU for Cooperation in the field of combating illicit trafficking and Security Cooperation.

  • MoU for Cooperation in the field of Civil Aviation.

  • MoU for Cooperation in the field of medical products regulations.