1. Germany replaces US as best country in Nation Brands Index
• Germany has replaced the US as the best country in the Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index. The Index measures global perceptions of countries across six dimensions namely culture, governance, people, exports, tourism and, investment and immigration.
• Among the 50 nations surveyed, the US was the only country which showed overall decline in 2017, dropping from the top to the sixth position.
2. Delhi will get caste certificates, driving licenses at doorstep from next year
• The Delhi government today announced that it would roll out a scheme within three to four months wherein 40 public services, including driving licences, caste certificates and new water connections, will reach the doorsteps of citizens.
• The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Public services of eight departments have been selected under the scheme in the first phase. In the second phase, 30-35 more services would be added to the scheme every consecutive 30 days from the day of roll-out, till all services are covered.
3. Mumbai Metro One, Paytm launches
• Reliance Infrastructure-run Mumbai Metro One has launched a mobile ticketing facility called Skiiip Q in association with digital payments player Paytm, that will help commuters book their tickets even from outside the metro stations.
• Instead of using tokens or smart cards, commuters can travel using the QR code generated by mobile app on automated fare collection gates of the 11.4-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro line.
• The facility is available on the Paytm App and app of technology partner Ridlr and will soon be introduced on the Mumbai Metro App. The tokens and smart cards will continue to be available at ticketing windows with the added option available. Cash Suvidha eyes Rs 100 cr loan book by Mar.
4. Indian Army looks to procure 60 surveillance drones
• Seeking to bolster its ability to monitor movements of Chinese and Pakistani troops, the Indian Army is looking to procure 60 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
• The Army issued a request for information (RFI), which stipulates that the drones should have a range of 200 kilometers and must remain operational at altitudes of 15,000 feet.
• The development comes around a month after Army chief General Bipin Rawat warned that the Indian military must prepare for a two-front war with India and Pakistan.
5. Maharashtra State Bans Plastic Bottles at Government Offices, Hotels
• The Maharashtra government, in a bid to become plastic-free state from March 2018, has banned packaged water bottles in Mantralaya and other government offices.
• Reports say, plastic bottles of mineral water have also been banned at hotels and the regulation will soon be imposed on restaurants.
• Maharashtra Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam, while informing about the plan, said that a team will be sent to six Indian states of the country that have achieved plastic-free status, including Himachal Pradesh and Kerala, to study their model.
6. Mumbai to soon get three-storey public toilets
• Owing to space constraints, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporartion (BMC) has now decided to construct two to three storey public toilets across the city.
• Through this, the civic body aims to reduce the area required to build one toilet seat by 1 square meter. The idea was floated in the civic chief’s weekly meeting last month.
• After a report by the Maharashtra government, which puts the Mumbai civic body in the bottom five municipal corporations in terms of construction of toilets, the BMC is rushing to meet its target to construct 18, 818 toilets seats across the city in 2018.
7. Cabinet clears setting up of GST anti-profiteering authority
• Days after announcing GST rate cut for 231 items, the union cabinet approved the establishment of the much-anticipated National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA) to ensure the benefits of such rate cuts are passed on to consumers.
• Anti-profiteering measures will provide an institutional framework to ensure that the full benefits of input tax credits and reduced GST rates on goods or services flow to consumers.
• This institutional framework comprises the National Anti-profiteering Authority, a Standing Committee, a Screening Committee in every state and the Directorate General of Safeguards under the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).
8. Karnataka partners with Nasscom for CoE in data science and artificial intelligence
• The Karnataka government announced launch of a ?40-crore Centre of Excellence for data science and artificial intelligence with Nasscom as its programme and implementation partner.
• The centre is based on a public-private partnership model and will accelerate the ecosystem in Karnataka by providing impetus for development of data science and artificial intelligence across the country.
• Centre of Excellence (CoE) will provide high-end technology capabilities, data, expertise, thought leadership, and curated programmes to augment capabilities across academia, enterprises, government, innovators and advanced start-ups.
9. Tata Sons elevates Bhaskar Bhat, Saurabh Agrawal as Directors
• Tata Sons, the holding company of all Tata group firms, has elevated Group Chief Financial Officer Saurabh Agrawal and Titan Company Managing Director Bhaskar Bhat to its board.
• Bhat, who is currently heading Titan, has helped the company drive brand value and a market cap of $10 billion, while Agrawal brings “deep” capital market knowledge and “valuable cross industry experience” to the group.
10. Google, Facebook join news organisations in ‘Trust Project’
• Google, Facebook and other tech firms joined global news organisations today in an initiative aimed at identifying “trustworthy” news sources, in the latest effort to combat online misinformation.
• News organisations participating include the Washington Post, Mic and the Independent Journal Review in the US, Canada’s Globe and Mail, the German press agency DPA, the Economist, Italy’s La Repubblica and La Stampa, and Trinity Mirror, which includes the Mirror newspapers in Britain.
11. Indo-Bangladesh Exercise ‘SAMPRITI 2017’ comes to an end
• Closing ceremony for the seventh Indo-Bangladesh joint exercise SAMPRITI was held at Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Vairengte in Mizoram today.
• Exercise SAMPRITI is an important bilateral defence cooperation endeavour between India and Bangladesh.
• Major General Md Moshfequr Rahman of Bangladesh Army and Major General M S Ghura of the Indian Army presided over the ceremony.
• The exercise is aimed at strengthening and broadening the aspects of interoperability and cooperation between the Indian and Bangladesh Armies while working together in a counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism environment under the UN mandate.
• Exercise was conducted under the aegis of the Red Horns Division of Gajraj Corps and had two distinct components which included Command Post Exercise (CPX) and Field Training Exercise (FTX).
12. Health Ministry introduces Daily Drug Regimen for treatment of Tuberculosis
• The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has recently announced the launch of daily regimen for TB patients across the country under The Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP).
• The Health Ministry has been providing the thrice weekly regimen for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB), however it has now decided to change the treatment strategy for TB patients from thrice weekly to daily drug regimen using fixed dose combinations (FDC) for treatment.
• This change will bring transformation in the approach and the intensity to deal with this disease which accounts for about 4.2 lakh deaths every year.
13. Qaumi Ekta Week will be observed from November 19-25, 2017
• With a view to foster and reinforce the spirit of Communal Harmony, National Integration and pride in vibrant, composite culture and nationhood, the “Qaumi Ekta Week” (National Integration Week) will be observed all over the country, from the 19th to 25th November, 2017.
• The observation of the ‘Quami Ekta Week’ will help to highlight the inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand actual and potential threats to the eclectic and secular fabric of our country, and nurture a spirit of communal harmony in its widest sense.
• This occasion also provides an opportunity to reaffirm age old traditions and faith in the values of tolerance, co-existence and brotherhood in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society.