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Top 5 Current Affairs: 20 November 2018

The World Toilet Day was observed across the world on November 19 to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and ensure that everyone has a safe toilet by 2030. This is part of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6, which aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of sanitation and water for all by 2030.

Nov 20, 2018 17:47 IST
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World Toilet Day observed globally

The World Toilet Day was observed across the world on November 19, 2018. The day’s main focus is to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and ensure that everyone has a safe toilet by 2030. This is part of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: sanitation and water, which aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of sanitation and water for all by 2030.

The 2018 theme of the International Day is ‘toilets and nature’. This year’s campaign is based on the narrative: When nature calls, we have to listen and act. The theme focuses on the need to build toilets and sanitation systems that work in harmony with the environment.

RBI Board meeting: Key decisions

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on November 19, 2018 held a marathon board meeting and discussed over several contentious issues including how much capital the RBI needs, lending norms for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and rules for weak banks.

The board meeting yielded a mutual agreement between the RBI and the government, where RBI agreed to refer the contentious issue of appropriate size of reserves that the RBI must hold to an expert committee, while restructuring of stressed loans of small businesses would be considered by the central bank.

Prime Minister launches Ease of Doing Business Grand Challenge

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 19, 2018 launched the Ease of Doing Business grand challenge on resolving seven identified ease of doing business problems with the use of cutting-edge technologies.

The grand challenge seeks to invite innovative ideas from individuals, startups or other enterprises to implement artificial intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain and other cutting-edge technologies for re-engineering related Government processes to eliminate physical interface, improve service delivery, enhance transparency and reduce cost and time.

It is open to all young Indians, start-ups and private enterprises. The main purpose is to provide solutions to complex problems using current technology.

SC to direct states to implement draft witness protection scheme

The Supreme Court of India on November 19, 2018 said that it would direct all the states to implement the draft witness protection scheme framed by the Centre in consultation with the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

The SC bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer took the decision in response to the plea made by Attorney General KK Venugopal that the draft scheme, which has now been finalised, would be made into a law in due course, but till then the court should direct the states to start implementing it.

The issue of the witness protection scheme had cropped up earlier when the top court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking protection for witnesses in rape cases involving self-styled preacher Asaram Bapu.

India asks WTO to set up panel against US for high import duty on steel, aluminium

India’s trade dispute with America has reached to a next level in the World Trade Organization (WTO), as India asked the WTO to form a panel against the USA for imposing high import duties on aluminium and certain steel products.

India decision to urge WTO to set up panel came after both countries failed to resolve the issue in a bilateral talk process under the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism.

Disputes in the WTO are essentially about broken promises. WTO members have agreed that if they believe fellow-members are violating trade rules, they will use the multilateral system of settling disputes instead of taking action unilaterally. That means abiding by the agreed procedures, and respecting judgements.

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