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Evening News Digest: 15 Oct 2018

India wins Test Series against West Indies by 2-0

  • India defeated the West Indies by 10 wickets in the second Test and claimed the two-match Test series 2-0 in Hyderabad on Oct 14.
  • First Innings:
    • India: 367/10
    • West Indies: 311/10
  • Second Innings:
    • West Indies: 127/10
    • India: 75/0
  • India is currently at No.1 position in ICC Test Rankings.

Novak Djokovic wins Shanghai Masters of tennis

  • Novak Djokovic won a record fourth Shanghai Masters title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over 13th-seeded Borna Coric on 15 Oct.
  • The second-seeded Djokovic has won all four Shanghai finals he's contested in his career (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018).
  • Djokovic holds an 11-0 overall record in finals played in China, where he also won the Beijing tournament six times and the 2008 year-end Tennis Masters Cup held in Shanghai.

India International Silk Fair -2018 begins in New Delhi

  • Union Minister of Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani inaugurated the 6th edition of India International Silk Fair (IISF) in New Delhi on October 16, 2018.
  • Over 108 exhibitors of silk and blended silk products manufactured in different parts of the country will display their produce during the three-day event, organised by the Indian Silk Export Promotion Council (ISEPC).
  • The IISF-2018 is expected to generate  business of over USD 20 million for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) engaged in producing silk and blended silk garments, fabrics, accessories and floor covering.
  • Silk Production in India
    • India is the 2nd largest producer of silk in the world. 
    • The silk industry is agriculture based and labour intensive and provides gainful employment to around 8 million artisans and weavers in rural areas.
    • China is the largest producer of silk.
    • India is the only country producing all the four known commercial silks, namely, mulberry, tasar, eri, and muga.
    • Currently, 85 Lakh people are employed in sericulture industry.
    • India has set a target to be self-reliant in the production of silk by 2020.

Graded Response Action Plan comes into force in Delhi

  • An emergency action plan has been implemented in the national capital to combat air pollution that has begun to show a trend towards poor category. 
  • Central Pollution Control Board has predicted further fall in the air quality index in the coming days. 
  • Under the emergency plan called Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), stringent actions will be implemented based on the air quality of the city.
  • Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)
    • In November 2016, the Supreme Court of India had directed the government to frame and implement a Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to control air pollution under various categories of the National Air Quality Index (AQI). 
    • Installation of Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS): Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have initiated work on setting up these stations. 
    • The state pollution control boards of UP and Haryana have been directed to monitor pollution from thermal power plants.
    • The Delhi police and Delhi Transport Department are working to strictly enforce directions of the Supreme Court, which requires only trucks destined for Delhi and not older than 10 years to be allowed entry after payment of an Environment Compensation Charge (ECC). 
  • Problems Remain:
    • However, burning of residue crops in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh remains a challenge.
    • Secondly, increasing number of cars and transport remains another problem which won’t be resolved until public transport system becomes more efficient.
    • Garbage burning, road and construction dust are also problematic in the winters.

Election Commission introduces C-vigil app as pilot project

  • The Election Commission of India is introducing the unique internet based mobile app C-vigil in the upcoming assembly polls.
  • The ‘CVIGIL’, which stands for ‘citizens’ vigil’, will be operationalised for the first time as a pilot project. 
  • It allows voters to send geo-tagged videos and photos of any violations that take place during elections, including distribution of money or gifts by political parties or even hate speeches being made while canvassing.
  • It was first launched in Karnataka elections.
  • The election commission has now decided to extend the service during the upcoming assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram.
  • Purpose: To report any violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during elections.
  • Model Code of Conduct:
    • It is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, election manifestos, processions and general conduct. 
    • The Model Code of Conduct comes into force immediately on announcement of the election schedule by the commission for the need of ensuring free and fair elections.
    • The MCC is not enforceable by law.
    • However, certain provisions of the MCC may be enforced through invoking corresponding provisions in other statutes such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Representation of the People Act, 1951.

India, China launch their first joint programme for Afghanistan to train its diplomats

  • The first India-China Joint Training Programme for Afghan Diplomats will be held from October 15-26, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • The joint training programme is being held after an understanding for such a cooperation was reached during an informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held in April 2018 at China's Wuhan city.
  • China and India are two big neighbours Afghanistan has, and much of the stability in this region depends upon the cooperation between these two countries.
  • China-India joint stabilization and development efforts will achieve their shared longer-term goal of increased connectivity across the new and old Silk Roads, the heart of which is Afghanistan.
  • It is important for India to have a strong presence in Afghanistan as its number of international projects will go through this region such as TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) pipeline.

Ashok Chakra for Odisha Police’s SOG officer Pramod Kumar Satpathy

  • An Assistant Commandant of the Odisha Police’s Special Operations Group (SOG) has been conferred with the Ashok Chakra posthumously for sacrificing his life while fighting the Naxals.
  • Assistant Commandant Pramod Kumar Satpathy laid down his life on February 16, 2008 during a fire-fight between the security forces and the Maoists in the Gosama jungle of Ganjam district and adjoining areas of Phulbani district.
  • Ashoka Chakra
    • Ashoka Chakra is India's highest peacetime military decoration awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield.
    • It is the peacetime equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra, and is awarded for the "most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or self-sacrifice" other than in the face of the enemy.

Formations of Integrated Battle Groups (IBG) cleared

  • Integrated Battle Groups (IBG) is a specialized agency of Indian army which consists of elements like air power, artillery, armour etc.
  • The biennial Army Commanders Conference held in New Delhi cleared formations of the IBGs.
  • The IBGs are smaller and more flexible allowing faster mobilization and more flexibility to the army.
  • Indian Army: Does it need a right sizing?
    • The Indian Army is battling a bulge in its revenue expenditure, leaving less and less for capital purchases.
    • During 2010, the Indian Armed Forces had a reported strength of 1.4 million active personnel and 2.1 million reserve personnel.
    • In addition, there were approximately 1.3 million paramilitary personnel, making it one of the world's largest military forces.
    • Indian army is struggling to get modern weapons and advance technologies as the financial burden to sustain this large army eats all the capitals.
    • Right-sizing of the Indian Army is likely to reduce manpower by 100,000 to 150,000 men, leading to saving of Rs 7000 crore every year.
    • The right-sizing exercise will lead to merges some verticals or do away with those that are redundant.
    • For example, separate wings like the Directorate of Perspective Planning and Directorate General of Weapons and Equipment will be merged. Similarly, serving officers will no longer work at the National Cadet Corps, which will instead be run by retired officers.

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