DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 23, 2018

India to expand polar research to the Arctic as well

Source- The Hindu

  • Three decades after its first mission to Antarctica, the government is refocusing priorities to the Arctic — because of opportunities and challenges posed by climate change.
  • Recently India has renamed the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) as the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research.

Note-
NCAOR- Since 1998, charged with conducting expeditions to India’s base stations to the continent.

  • It’s also in talks with Canada and Russia, key countries with the presence in the Arctic circle, to establish new observation systems, according to a source.
  • Now, India only has one Arctic observation station near Norway.
  • India is already an observer at the Arctic Council.

Note-
Arctic Council

  • It is a forum of countries that decide on managing the region’s resources and popular livelihood.
  • In 2015, India set up an underground observatory, called IndARC, at the Kongsfjorden fjord, halfway between Norway and the North Pole.

Why does India concern?

  • A big worry for India is the impact of melting sea ice on the monsoon.
  • Over the years scientists across the world are reporting that the rapid ice-melt in the Arctic is leading to large quantities of fresh water into the seas around the poles.
  • This impedes the release of heat from the water and directs warm water into the seas around India, the theory goes, and eventually weakens the movement of the monsoon breeze into India.

Research Stations in the Arctic

  • Himadri

Research Stations in Antarctica

  • Maitri
  • Bharati

Note- Dakshin Gangotri Antarctic research base superseded by the Maitri base from 1990.

 

Myanmar joins International Solar Alliance

Source- Business Standard

  • Myanmar recently joined the India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA), becoming the 68th member of the grouping that is aiming at optimum utilisation of solar energy.
  • India is a key development aid partner for Myanmar and is implementing a number of infrastructure projects in that country.
  • These include-
    (a) The Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project connecting Mizoram with Sittwe port in Myanmar
    (b) The Trilateral Highway Project connecting India with Myanmar and Thailand and the Rhi-Tiddim road etc.

Related Information

International Solar Alliance (ISA)

  • The ISA is an Indian initiative, jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and the President of France on 30th November 2015 in Paris, on the side-lines of COP-21, the UN Climate Conference.
  • The alliance’s primary objective is-
    (a) Work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
    (b) Mobilise $1 trillion in funds for the future solar generation, storage and technology across the world.
  • The ISA, headquartered in India, has its Secretariat located in the Gwalpahari, Gurgaon, Haryana.
  • India has offered to meet ISA Secretariat expenses for initial five years.
  • It is open to all 121 prospective member countries falling between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
  • ISA plans to approach multilateral development banks (MDBs) such as Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to create a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to specifically finance solar projects.
  • This SPV aimed at financing $150 billion would become a World Solar Bank.

 

Three in five HIV-carriers now have access to drugs: UN

Source- The Hindu

  • There were 36.9 million people living with the immune system-attacking virus in 2017, of whom 15.2 million were not getting the drugs they need — the lowest number since the epidemic exploded, the joint UN programme on HIV/AIDS reported.

Related Information

Mission 2020

The target of 90:90:90

  • The UN goal is for 90% of all HIV-positive people to know their status by 2020. Of these, at least 90% must receive ART, and the HIV virus be suppressed in 90% of those.
  • Assessing progress towards the target, UNAIDS said 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2017.
  • This was down from about 1.9 million the year before, and 3.4 million at the peak of the epidemic in 1996.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART)

  • ART are medications that treat HIV.
  • The drugs do not kill or cure the virus.
  • However, when taken in combination they can prevent the growth of the virus.
  • Antiretroviral drugs are referred to as ARV.
  • Combination ARV therapy (cART) is referred to as highly active ART(HAART).

 

4th BIMSTEC Summit to be held in Kathmandu

Source- AIR

  • The fourth BIMSTEC Summit will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal (30 to 31 August 2018).
  • The main focus of the summit will be to increase connectivity between the BIMSTEC nations including roads, airways and transmission lines.

Related Information

BIMSTEC

  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South-East Asia.
  • These 7 countries are- Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
  • The BIMSTEC states are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
  • Its secretariat is located in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

 

NMCG Organised “Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan” in Five Ganga Basin States

Source-PIB

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is running “Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan” in five main stem Ganga basin states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
  • The campaign, which has been initiated as part of the Forest Interventions in Ganga (FIG) component of Namami Gange programme, is significant as it aims to bring greater awareness among people and other stakeholders regarding the importance of afforestation for the task of Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • A number of schools, colleges and departments have been requested to “Adopt a Plant” for turning this campaign into a people’s movement.

Related Information

Ganga Gram

  • Under the “Namami Gange” Programme, the government plans to develop the villages located along the main stem of river Ganga which have historic, cultural, and religious and/or tourist importance.
  • Works related to Ganga Grams will encompass comprehensive rural sanitation, development of water bodies and river ghats, construction/ modernization of crematoria etc.

Namami Gange Mission

  • ‘Namami Gange Programme’, is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Union Government in June 2014.
  • The mission was launched to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 21, 2018

Samagra Shiksha – an Integrated Scheme for School Education

HRD Ministry Launches ‘Samagra Shiksha’ Scheme.  Source-PIB

  • Under the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, implemented with effect from 2018-19.
  • This programme subsumes the three erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  • Extending from pre-school to class XII.
  • The main emphasis is on improving the quality of school education and the strategy for all interventions would be to enhance the Learning Outcomes at all levels of schooling.

Related information

  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)
  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) a Centrally Sponsored Scheme implemented by Government of India in partnership with State Governments, is India’s main programme for universalising elementary education.
  • The scheme was started in 2001 by Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
  • 86th amendment gave legal and constitutional backing, which made free and compulsory. Education to the Children from 6-14 years age, a Fundamental Right.
  • Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA)
  • This scheme was launched in March 2009 with the objective to increase demand for secondary schooling.
  • It aims to ensure GER of 100% by 2017 and universal retention by 2020.

 

Dolphin population declines in India’s only dolphin sanctuary

A dolphin surfacing in the Ganga river in Bhagalpur in Bihar. Source- Down to earth

  • Dredging, freight transport, pollution, and a lack of management plan leaves India’s only dolphin sanctuary, Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS) in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district, under threat.
  • The number of dolphins in the sanctuary had declined to 154 from 207 in 2015.
  • Dredging activity has increased manifold in recent years because the current Indian government has declared the stretch of the Ganga from Varanasi to Haldia in West Bengal National Waterway- 1.
  • The experts involved in the survey blamed increasing pollution, human interference, siltation and decreasing water flow and water level in the river.

Related Information

  • Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary
  • Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS), a 65km stretch of the Ganga River between Sultanganj and Kahalgaon towns in Bhagalpur, Bihar, India.
  • It is a protected area established in 1991 to protect the endangered Gangetic river dolphin.
  • Gangetic Dolphin
  • Endangered under IUCN
  • Endemic to India’s Ganga- Brahmaputra belt
  • Found in freshwater habitat

 

Setting up of Ten Indigenous Nuclear Power Reactors

Union Cabinet approved setting up of 10 indigenous nuclear reactors. Source-PIB

  • Reactors of indigenous technology are being set up by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), a wholly owned PSU of Government of India under the administrative control of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

These reactors are proposed to be set up at the following locations:

Location & State Project Capacity
Chutka, Madhya Pradesh Chutka -1 & 2 2 X 700
Kaiga, Karnataka Kaiga – 5 & 6 2 X 700
Mahi Banswara, Rajasthan Mahi Banswara – 1 & 2 2 X 700
Gorakhpur,  Haryana GHAVP – 3 & 4 2 X 700
Mahi Banswara, Rajasthan Mahi Banswara – 3 & 4 2 X 700

Related Information

  • Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)
  • Came into force on August 3, 1954.
  • Headed by Prime Minister.
  • In Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • Engaged in the development of nuclear power technology, applications of radiation technologies in the fields of agriculture, medicine, industry and basic research.

 

Toxins found yet again, this time in PET bottles of five soft drinks brands

While Pepsi leads in antimony, lead, and DEHP contents, Coca Cola has the highest level of Chromium. Source – Down to Earth

  • At least 5 different toxins have been found in soft drinks produced by two multinational beverage companies—PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.
  • A government-led study, commissioned by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), which comes under the Health Ministry, has revealed the presence of heavy metals like antimony, lead, chromium and cadmium along with the compound DEHP or Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate in samples of Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, Sprite and 7Up.
  • All these samples were taken from the Polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
  • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), lead and cadmium are among the top ten chemicals of “major public health concern”.
  • These beverages cause deaths to about 200,000 people every year due to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancers.

Related Information

  • Lead can have serious consequences for children as it attacks the brain and central nervous system, causing coma, convulsions and even death. Survivors of lead poisoning may live with mental retardation and behavioural disorders
  • Cadmium, on the other hand, affects the kidneys, skeletal system and respiratory system. It is also considered a human carcinogen.
  • Antimony, chromium and DEHP are known to cause serious side effects on the body.
  • Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB)
  • Highest statutory decision-making body on technical matters related to drugs.
  • Constituted as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
  • Part of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

 

Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017

Free and compulsory education to all children of 6 to 14 years of age.

  • The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a Bill to amend the Right to Education (RTE) Act to abolish the “no-detention” policy in schools. No student can be detained up to class 8, under current provisions of the Act.
  • The Bill amends this provision to state that a regular examination will be held in class 5 and class 8 at the end of every academic year.
  • If a child fails the exam, he will be given additional instruction, and take a re-examination.
  • If he fails in the re-examination, the relevant central or state government may decide to allow schools to detain the child.

Related Information

  • No -Detention Policy
  • No- Detention policy states that no child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class.
  • S. R. Subramanian committee has recommended that the no detention policy must be continued for young children until completion of class V when the child will be 11 years old.
  • Schools are supposed to hold Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluations (CCE) for every child, instead of exams.

 

Cabinet relaxes NELP, pre-NELP pact rules

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs also extended the special dispensation of marketing and pricing freedom to natural gas produced from areas in the North Eastern region, said Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Source- The Hindu

  • The Union Cabinet on Wednesday eased the policies related to hydrocarbon exploration further by relaxing production sharing contracts (PSC) of Pre-New Exploration Licensing Policy (Nelp) and Nelp blocks.
  • From payment of 100 per cent royalty, these companies will now have to pay an amount depending on their equity in the project.

Related Information

New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP)
1997 2016
No uniformity

Equal platform to both Public and Private sector companies in exploration and production of hydrocarbons.

Profit sharing PSCs (Production Sharing Contracts)

Uniform license for exploration and production of all forms of hydrocarbon,

Revenue Sharing Contract,

An open acreage policy,

Easy to administer revenue sharing model

Marketing and pricing freedom for the crude oil and natural gas produced.

 

Jana Small Finance Bank starts commercially operating

Source- Economic Times

  • Jana Small Finance Bank formerly known as Janalakshmi Financial Services started operating from 19th
  • It had got its license in March 2018
  • Headquarters are in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Related Information

 

Small Finance Banks (SFBs) Payment Banks
Niche banks that focus and serve the needs of a certain demographic segment of the population. A payments bank is like any other bank, but operating on a smaller scale without involving any credit risk.
Can give loans and advances Cannot offer loans or advances
Can offer credit cards Can offer credit cards
Mainly for the growth of agriculture and Micro, Small and Medium industries. Mainly for the growth of individual/weaker section and etc.

 

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 20, 2018

Indian Air Force for the first time participating in Ex Pitch Black 2018

The IAF men and machines will undertake simulated air combat exercises. Source-PIB

  • From 24th July to 18th August, IAF will be participating in the mega exercise, which will involve over 100 aircraft from around the globe in Australia.
  • This is the first time IAF will be participating in the event.
  • The IAF contingent consists of 145 air-warriors including Garud team, 04 X Su-30 MKI, 01 X C-130 and 01 X C-17.

Related Information

Ex Pitch Black

  • Ex Pitch Black is a biennial multi-national large force employment warfare exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
  • The aim of the exercise is to practice Offensive Counter Air (OCA) and Defensive Counter Air (DCA) combat, in a simulated war environment.
  • The first Pitch Black exercises took place on 15-16 June 1981.

 

First Global Compact for Migration

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Source – The Hindu

  • First time United Nations member states, except the US, have agreed on a deal to create Global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.
  • It is the first intergovernmental negotiated agreement to cover all dimensions of migration.
  • It will be formally adopted by world leaders in Morocco in December.
  • It is non-binding and was signed by adopting “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants” in 2016.
  • It does not encourage migration, nor does it aim to stop it.
  • The objective is to address the challenges for migration, strengthen migrant rights.

 

India has not done much to address antimicrobial resistance: Global report

Source- Down to earth

  • A survey by FAO, OIE and WHO has found wide discrepancies in countries’ efforts toward tackling AMR.
  • There is no effort to train stakeholders such as farmers, farm workers, extension workers, food and feed processors and retailers, and environmental specialists on AMR.
  • India also does not have a national plan or system for monitoring sales and use of antimicrobials in animals and plants.

Related Information

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.

 

Special Remission Scheme for prisoners.

Govt approves special remission scheme for prisoners as part of Commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th Birth Anniversary. Source- The Hindu

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval to grant Special Remission to Prisoners as part of Commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • State Governments will place the recommendations of the Committee before Governor for consideration and approval under Article 161 of the Constitution.

Special remission will be given to:

  • Women and Transgender convicts: Of 55 years of age and above, who have completed 50 per cent of their actual sentence period.
  • Male convicts: Of 60 years of age and above, who have completed 50 per cent of their actual sentence period.
  • Physically challenged/disabled convicts: With 70 per cent disability and more, who have completed 50 per cent of their actual sentence period.
  • Terminally ill convicts and convicted prisoners: Who have completed 2/3rd of their actual sentence period.

Special remission will not be given to:

  • Prisoners who have been convicted for the death sentence.
  • Cases involving in serious and heinous crimes like rape, human trafficking, dowry death and convicted under UAPA, POTA, TADA, FICN, POCSO, etc.

 

Chandrayaan-II Mission

Chandrayaan-II Mission. Source-PIB

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to deploy a rover on the lunar surface through the Chandrayaan-2 mission.
  • The instruments on Rover will conduct an in-situ analysis of elements such as Na, Mg, Al, Si, etc; in the vicinity of the landing site.

Related Information

  • Chandrayaan-2 will be the first-ever mission to land a rover near the lunar south pole.
  • India’s second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1.
  • It is planned to be launched to the moon by a Geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV Mk II).
  • It includes a lunar orbiter, lander and rover, all developed by India.

 

Cabinet approves the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018

Cabinet approves Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018. Source- The Hindu

Features of the bill

  • It takes into consideration aggravated forms of trafficking, which includes trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, begging, trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage or after marriage etc.
  • It deals with punishment for promoting or facilitating trafficking of the person.
  • It deals with the confidentiality of victims/ witnesses and complainants by not disclosing their identity.
  • The confidentiality of the victims is maintained by recording their statement through video conferencing (this also helps in trans-border and inter-State crimes).
  • National Investigation Agency (NIA) will perform the tasks of Anti-Trafficking Bureau at the national level present under the MHA.
  • Punishment ranges from rigorous minimum 10 years to life and fine not less than Rs. 1 lakh.
  • The National Anti-Trafficking Bureau will perform the functions of international coordination with authorities in other countries.

 

First all-women branch of Jammu and Kashmir bank

Special services and products designed exclusively for women client were also launched. Source- Firstpost

  • The first all-women branch of Jammu & Kashmir Bank was inaugurated by the first lady Usha Vohra at an event at in Srinagar.
  • Special services for women customers are Pink Gold Saving Scheme, Pink Platinum Saving Scheme, Special Loan facility for Women Entrepreneurs, Pink Gold Debit Card and Pink Platinum Credit Card.
  • This step will help in broadening the financial inclusion of women.
  • It will also help in doorstep delivery and facility to women living in remote areas.

 

Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane

Source- The Hindu

  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane for the 2018-19 period.
  • It hiked Rs. 20 per quintal (higher by 77.42% over production) in the FRP of sugarcane at Rs. 275 per quintal for the basic recovery rate of 10%.
  • The cost of production of sugarcane for the sugar season 2018-19 is Rs. 155 per quintal.
  • This ensures that the farmers get the return of more than 50% over their production cost.
  • The Government with a view to protecting the interest of farmers has also decided that there shall not be any deduction in case of mills where recovery is below 9.5%. Such farmers will get Rs. 261.25 per quintal for sugarcane in place of Rs. 255/qtl in the current season.

Related Information

Fair and Remunerative Price

  • The FRP has been determined on the basis of recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and after consultation with State Governments and other stakeholders.
  • Recommended FRP is arrived by taking into account various factors such as the cost of production, overall demand-supply situation, domestic and international prices, inter-crop price parity, terms of trade prices of primary by-products, and likely impact of FRP on the general price level and resource use efficiency.

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs

  • The Prime Minister is the head of this committee.
  • Cabinet ministers of various ministries are its members.
  • Its important functions include coordinating the governmental activities in the economic sphere, deciding issues pertaining to the World Trade Organization, the Unique Identification Authority of India and monitoring general prices, assess availability and export of essential and agricultural commodities and taking measures for efficient Public Distribution System.

 

Scientists discovered 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter

Nasa photograph showing two of Jupiter’s 79 moons. Source – The Wired

  • Scientists have discovered 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter, bringing the grand total of known Jovian satellites to 79.
  • The mere existence of these newly discovered moons provides missing clues about the formation of the solar system.
  • The discovery includes 11 normal outer moons and one oddball.
  • Jupiter’s satellites orbit the planet at three different distances. Out of the new moons, 9 are part of a distant outer swarm of moons orbiting in the retrograde (opposite direction of Jupiter’s spin rotation).
  • Of them, the 2 new discoveries are part of a closer, inner group of moons that orbit in the prograde (same direction as Jupiter’s rotation).
  • The researchers named the wayward moon Valetudo, after the Roman god Jupiter’s great-granddaughter. It was the faintest of the objects, which makes it not only the palest Jovian moon ever discovered, but likely the smallest, as well.

 

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 19, 2018

 Google has partnered with UNEP for monitoring human activity on global ecosystem

Source- Economic Times

  • The UN has entered into a partnership with Google to monitor the impacts of human activity on global ecosystems by using sophisticated online tools.
  • Aim to develop a platform to enable governments, NGO’s and the public to track specific environment-related development targets with a user-friendly Google front-end.
  • Its initial focus will be on freshwater ecosystems including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.
  • This will help in achieving the UN sustainable developmental goals(UN SDGs) and also use of most sophisticated online technologies available for global climate sustainability.

Related Information

UNEP

  • UNEP is under the aegis of the UN.
  • It was founded as a result of United Nations Conference on Human Environment in June 1972.
  • Headquarter in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • It is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

 

 WCD Ministry set to move Cabinet to make child marriage void

The Ministry of Women and Child Development is set to move the Cabinet to make child marriages void. Source- Indian Express

  • In India, child marriage between a man under 21 years and a woman under 18 are merely voidable at the behest of the contracting parties.
  • UNICEF’s 2014 report puts India at 6th spot, among the top-10 countries, regarding high rates of child marriage among women.
  • The present law on child marriage PCMA- the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, does not invalidate child marriages.
  • It only gives the child bride and the groom the option of annulling it if a case is filed in a district court by either of the two contracting parties within two years of becoming adult, or through a guardian in case, they are still minors.

Note

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, (for Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains) and the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, do not still hold child marriages to be void.

Related information

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006

  • PCMA came into force on 1st November 2007 by replacing the earlier legislation of Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929.
  • The object of the Act is to prohibit solemnization of child marriage and connected incidental matters. This new Act is armed with enabling provisions to prohibit for child marriage, protect and provide relief to the victim and enhance punishment for those who abet, promote or solemnize such marriage.

 

 Supreme Court asks the Parliament to make lynching a separate offence

Tehseen Poonawalla addressing the media after the mob lynching case judgment at the Supreme Court in New Delhi on Tuesday. Source- The Hindu

  • The SC condemned lynching and recommended the Parliament to enact a separate law to punish offenders participating in the lynching.
  • It noted that ‘There cannot be a right higher than the right to live with dignity (article 21) and further to be treated with humaneness that the law provides’.
  • SC orders state to designate the officer of SP rank as the nodal officer in each district to prevent mob violence
  • Other directions include asking Centre, states to broadcast radio, TV and online warning messages; Fast track court in each district and compensation schemes for lynching in states

 

 UP plans foreign language course in tourist destinations

The programme funded under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan will be offered free of cost to class IX students. Source-Indian Express

  • The Uttar Pradesh Government has decided to introduce an optional three-month foreign language course in 50 schools in seven districts.
  • The pilot project will see the selected schools in Lucknow, Allahabad, Agra, Mathura, Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Ghaziabad offer training in at least two of the four foreign languages — French, German, Spanish and Japanese — depending on the number of students applying for the same.
  • This programme is funded under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan will be offered free of cost to class IX students.

 

 Government seeks power to fix salary, the tenure of information commissioners

The move has come under fire from RTI activists. Source- Indian Express

  • The government proposes to change 3 sections of the RTI Act (relating to ranks, salaries, allowances and tenure) of the Chief Information Commissioners and Information Commissioners of the Centre and states.
  • The proposed amendments say that the tenure, rank and perks of Central and State Chief Information Commissioners and Information Commissioners will be decided by the central government.

Related information

CIC (Central Information Commission)

  • The Central Information Commission (CIC) set up under the RTI Act is the authorized body, established in 2005, under the Government of India.
  • The Chief Information Commissioners are appointed by the President of India for a tenure of 5 years or 65 years of age (whichever is earlier).
  • They act upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit information requests.

 

 Plants may soon create own fertilizer from thin air

Green team: The scientists who are studying nitrogen-fixing bacteria at the Pakrasi lab. Source – The Hindu

  • Researchers said that it will soon be possible for the Engineer plants that develop their own fertilizer by using atmospheric nitrogen to create chlorophyll for photosynthesis.
  • The bacteria used in this research, Cyanothece is able to fix nitrogen because it has a circadian rhythm.
  • Circadian rhythm means that they follow the human sleep cycle and fix nitrogen only at night, after converting sunlight to chemical energy during the day.
  • The plants will be able to utilize the nitrogen present in the air will be most effective for subsistence farmers and the annual expenditure on chemical fertilizers will be reduced substantially

 

 Army to resume M777 trials

The M777 artillery gun, made of titanium and aluminium alloys, can be transported by helicopters. U.S. Army. Source- The Hindu

  • The Army will resume the trials of the U.S.-made M777 Ultra-Light Howitzer (ULH) in Pokhran firing range.

Related Information

  • In November 2016, India signed a deal with the U.S. government under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme for 145 M777 guns at a cost of $737 million.
  • The M777 is also used by the ground forces of Australia, Canada, India and Saudi Arabia.

 

 Odisha to get country’s 1st skill training centre

Foundation stone of India’s first National Skill Training Institute laid in Odisha. Source- New Indian Express

  • Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated India’s 1st skill training centre at Barang near Bhubaneswar.
  • The centre is planning to set up one National Skill Training Institute (NSTI) in every State to meet the rising demand for skilled manpower in the country.
  • It will empower the youth of the State and make them job ready for industries.
  • This will also help in addressing the issue of migration.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 18, 2018

Bihar to get world’s cheapest clean drinking water with the launch of “’Sulabh Jal”

Source- Business Standard

  • Bihar will soon provide the cheapest drinking water in the world with the launch of cost-effective innovative water project “Sulabh Jal”.
  • The first of such a water project was launched in Bihar’s Darbhanga district by Sulabh International.
  • With the help of this project, the people will easily be able to get pure and clean water only in 50paisa/litre.
  • The ‘Sulabh Jal’ project converts contaminated pond and river water into safe drinking water.

 

IIT-Madras unveiled the world’s first remote “LEAP” microscope

The LEAP 5000 XR at the IIT M.  Source- Deccan Chronicle

  • IIT Madras has launched “world’s first” remotely operatable microscope that would enable a precise atom-by-atom view of a material.
  • The Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP) was developed in a collaborative exercise involving eight top research institutions headed by IIT Madras.
  • It was developed at a cost of Rs 40 crore.
  • The microscope also enables a true 3D atomic scale reconstruction which would impart a major thrust to research in nanotechnology, among other fields.
  • The partnering institutions in the collaborative include – IITs of Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Ropar along with Nuclear Sciences and Department of Science and Technology, International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI).

 

Upgraded Vikas engine will soon boost ISRO’s rockets

The PSLV C26 lifting off with IRNSS 1C navigation satellite from Sriharikota. Source- The Hindu

  • All three satellite launch vehicles (PSLV, GSLV, GSLV MK-III) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are set to add muscle to their spacecraft lifting power in upcoming missions.
  • The Vikas engine will improve the payload capability of PSLV, GSLV and GSLVMK-III launch vehicles.
  • The main beneficiary of the high-thrust Vikas engine is said to be the heavy-lifting GSLV-Mark III launcher, which ISRO expects will now put 4,000-kg satellites to space.
  • This would be the third Mk-III and the first working one to be designated MKIII Mission-1 or M1.

Note-
The first MKIII of June 2017 started with a 3,200-kg satellite and the second one is being readied for lifting a 3,500-kg spacecraft.

 

Andamans request delisting of saltwater crocodile from Schedule 1 of Wildlife Protection Act

A saltwater crocodile in Australia.  Source- Down To Earth

  • The government of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has sent a proposal to the Central government requesting that saltwater crocodiles be delisted from Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972.
  • The request has been raised in order for the Andaman authorities to control the growing saltwater crocodile population in the islands and the resultant rise in human-croc conflicts.
  • The proposal was sent three months ago and is awaiting consideration.

Related Information

Wildlife Protection Act 1972

  • The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted for the protection of plants and animal species.
  • It extends to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own wildlife act.
  • It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection.
  • Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide absolute protection – offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties.
  • Species listed in Schedule III and Schedule IV are also protected, but the penalties are much lower.
  • Schedule V includes the animals which may be hunted.
  • The specified endemic plants in Schedule VI are prohibited from cultivation and planting.

Look Further

  • Under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, states can request the Centre to declare some species as “vermin” if their population becomes unmanageable, thereby removing protections assured by the Act.
  • Essentially, the species can then be hunted or culled.
  • The Central Government may declare any wild animal other than those specified in Sch. I and part 11 of Sch. H to be vermin for any area, so long as such notification is in force, such wild animal shall be deemed to have been included in Sch. V.
  • The National Wildlife Action Plan (2017-31) calls for “comprehensive, science-based species-specific and region-specific, conflict mitigation plans that can help in the prevention of human-wildlife conflict situations.

 

Red sanders not endangered anymore

Source- Down to Earth

  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has now reclassified red sander as ‘near threatened’ from the earlier ‘endangered’.
  • After being classified as ‘endangered’ in 1997 and added to the Red List, this is the first time that red sanders have been shifted to a better-conserved category.
  • Red sanders wood fetches huge prices in the international market for its use in making luxury products, musical instruments and medicine.
  • However, as the species is endemic to India and had been considered endangered, the Foreign Trade Policy of India doesn’t allow its export.
  • This ban, coupled with its high demand, made an illegal trade of red sanders rampant in states where it is found like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Related Information

IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)-

  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
  • The organization is best known to the wider public for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • IUCN has an observer and consultative status at the United Nations.
  • Its headquarter is located in Gland, Switzerland.
  • The species which come under ‘critically endangered’, ‘endangered’ and ‘vulnerable’ categories are considered threatened.

 

IFFCO launched e-commerce platform “IMandi” for farmers

The iMandi app, which was rolled out in Chandigarh, aims to cater to captive user base of 55 million farmers. Source- Economic Times

  • Fertiliser major IFFCO has partnered with Singapore-based technology firm iMandi to start an e-commerce platform for farmers with an investment of about Rs 80 crore.
  • An e-commerce app, ‘IFFCO iMandi’, has been launched that would cater to 5.5 crore farmers already associated with the cooperative.
  • A web portal has also been developed.
  • Under the agri inputs marketplace, the farmer can presently buy all IFFCO products, including fertilisers, agrochemicals and seeds at a discounted price and get free delivery at their doorstep.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 16, 2018

Pakistan’s Buddha of Swat smiles restored to original form

Source- The Hindu

  • The iconic Buddha of Swat, carved on a cliff in the 7th century, has been restored to its almost original form with Italian assistance in northwestern Pakistan, nearly 11 years after it was dynamited by Taliban.
  • The holy figure depicted in a lotus position at the base of a granite cliff in northern Pakistan.
  • The Buddha seated in a meditative posture considered one of the largest rock sculptures in South Asia.

Related Information

  • The Swat Valley in Pakistan has many Buddhist carvings and stupas, and Jehanabad contains a Seated Buddha statue.
  • Kushan era Buddhist stupas and statues in Swat valley were demolished by the Taliban.
  • Only the Bamiyan Buddhas (Afghanistan) were larger than the carved giant Buddha statue in Swat near Mangalore which the Taliban attacked.

Telangana govt puts restrictions on glyphosate sale

HT cotton or Bt3 developed by Monsanto lets the cotton plant to withstand the herbicide sprays intended to kill the weed. Source- Down to Earth

  • The Telangana government’s Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Family Welfare put restrictions on the sale of glyphosate on July 10, 2018.
  • It is India’s most popular broad-spectrum herbicide, in a bid to curb the illegal use of herbicide-tolerant BT cotton.
  • Though the herbicide is recommended for use only in tea plantations and non-crop areas, it is used across India to kill weeds.
  • In India, the health impact has not been studied.
  • However, the states have taken this action due to well-known adverse health impacts across the world.

Related Information

Glyphosate

  • Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant.
  • It is an organophosphorus compound, specifically a phosphonate.
  • It is used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops.
  • It was discovered to be a herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970.
  • Efforts to ban this chemical labelled carcinogenic, are on across the world.

 

The first round of bidding under new Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) completed

Oil and Natural Gas Corp bid for 26 blocks on its own and another 11 with partners. Cairn India, which is now known as Vedanta Ltd, bid for all the 55 blocks. Source- The Hindu

  • The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) announced the completion of the first round of bidding under its new Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), a part of the revamped Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP).

Related Information

Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP)-

  • Four main facets of this policy are:
  1. Uniform license for exploration and production of all forms of hydrocarbon,
  2. An open acreage policy,
  3. Easy to administer revenue sharing model and
  4. Marketing and pricing freedom for the crude oil and natural gas produced.
  • The uniform licence will enable the contractor to explore conventional as well as unconventional oil and gas resources including CBM, shale gas/oil, tight gas and gas hydrates under a single license.
  • The concept of Open Acreage Policy will enable E&P companies to choose the blocks from the designated area.

 

Railways launched its first consolidated Bridge Management System

The web-based platform will show the bridge master data, works data, information regarding inspection/monitoring and maintenance of the bridges and other essentials. Source- The Hindu

  • The Railways has launched its first consolidated Bridge Management System, a web-enabled IT application to store data on its one lakh 50 thousand bridges.
  • Railways Minister launched the service in New Delhi for “meaningful assimilation, analysis and dissemination of information related to various activities” about its bridges.

 

SpiNNaker: Novel computer mimics human brain networks

Source- India Today

  • Scientists have developed a computer “SpiNNaker” that mimics the brain’s neural networks and could overcome the speed and power consumption problems of conventional supercomputers.
  • The researchers compared the accuracy, speed and energy efficiency of SpiNNaker with that of NEST – a specialist supercomputer software currently in use for brain neuron-signalling research.
  • The system may help advance our knowledge of neural processing in the brain, to include learning and disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The ability to run large-scale detailed neural networks quickly and at low power consumption will advance robotics research and facilitate studies on learning and brain disorders.
  • The human brain is extremely complex, comprising 100 billion interconnected brain cells.

 

Eight endangered black rhinos die in Kenya in botched relocation

Source- DD News

  • Eight black rhinos have died in Kenya while being transported by the state wildlife service between two national parks.
  • The rhinos, who are part of a critically endangered species, died at Tsavo East National Park.
  • Kenya had a rhino population of 1,258 in 2017 of which 745 are black rhinos, 510 are southern white rhinos and three were northern white rhinos, having grown from less than 400 rhinos in the 1980s.
  • The white rhino is a near threatened species.

 

Indian naval ship INS Sumitra became the first-ever warship to enter the port of Sabang in Indonesia

Source- AIR

;”

  • Indian naval ship INS Sumitra became the first-ever warship to enter the port of Sabang in Indonesia.
  • The warship was deployed in Malacca Straits.
  • During Indian Prime Minister visit to Jakarta in May 2018, in a meeting with Indonesian President, it was decided that New Delhi will develop the strategically important Indonesian port Sabang in the Indian Ocean, close to the Andamans.

Related Information

INS Sumitra

  • INS Sumitra is the fourth and last Saryu class patrol vessel of the Indian Navy, designed and constructed by Goa Shipyard Limited.

Saryu-class patrol vessel

  • The Saryu class of offshore patrol vessels (OPV) are advanced patrol ships of the Indian Navy built at the Goa Shipyard Limited.
  • Ships of Saryu-class-
    (a) INS Saryu
    (b) INS Sunayna
    (c) INS Sumedha
    (d) INS Sumitra

 

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 14, 2018

Andhra Pradesh government launched ‘Anna Canteen’ in Andhra Pradesh

In all, 60 ‘Anna Canteens’ were opened in the first phase across the state. Source- India Today

  • Andhra Pradesh government launched an Anna Canteen that serves meals for just Rs five.
  • On the line of Amma Canteens in neighbouring state Tamil Nadu, Andhra government inaugurated Anna Canteens which will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner at just Rs 5 to the common man.
  • The state government is setting up 203 Anna Canteens in 110 municipalities across the state.
  • In the first phase, 60 Anna Canteens have been inaugurated in 25 municipalities.
  • Under Phase-2, 143 canteens will be inaugurated at 85 locations by August.
  • Andhra Pradesh government has entrusted the responsibility of managing these canteens to Akshaya Patra Foundation.

 

India’s genetically modified crop area fifth largest in world

The total area grew particularly during the first decade of this century. Source- Indian Express

  • India has the world’s fifth largest cultivated area under genetically modified (GM) crops, at 11.4 million hectares (mh) in 2017.
  • Its entire GM crop area is under a single crop- cotton- incorporating genes from the Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt soil bacterium coding for resistance against heliothis bollworm insect pests.
  • The country with the highest area under transgenic crops, at 75 mh, is the United States.
  • ISAAA’s latest ‘Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/ GM Crops in 2017’ report shows farmers across the world to have planted 189.8 mh under transgenic crops last year.
  • The report by the global crop biotech advocacy organisation has estimated the highest share in the world’s total 189.8 mh GM crop area for 2017 to be of soyabean (94.1 mh), followed by maize (59.7 mh), cotton (24.1 mh) etc.
  • In India, the GM crops that are under regulatory consideration — apart from the already commercialised Bt/insect-resistant cotton — include glyphosate-tolerant cotton and biotech hybrid mustard.

Related Information

GM crops

  • Genetically modified crops are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering techniques.
  • The aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species.
  • The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), India’s regulator for genetically modified seeds, had on May 12, 2017, this year cleared GM mustard for environmental release and use in fields.
  • DMH-11 is a Genetically Modified (GM) mustard hybrid.

Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton

  • Bt cotton is a genetically modified organism (GMO) cotton variety, which produces an insecticide to bollworm.
  • Strains of the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis produce over 200 different Bt toxins, each harmful to different insects.
  • Bt toxins are insecticidal to the larvae of moths and butterflies, beetles, cotton bollworms and ghtu flies but are harmless to other forms of life.
  • The gene coding for Bt toxin has been inserted into cotton as a transgene, causing it to produce this natural insecticide in its tissues.

 

Men’s hockey team to get monthly allowance under Target Olympic Podium Scheme

Source- AIR

  • The Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) of the Sports Ministry approved a monthly allowance of 50 thousand rupees for each of the 18 members of the men’s hockey team under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
  • The monthly allowance under TOPS has been started by the ministry in the year 2017 but the hockey team is getting the pocket allowance for the first time.
  • The decision to include hockey was taken after India’s performance improved under new coach Harendra Singh as they finished runners-up in the Champions Trophy in the Netherlands.
  • The women’s team could be included in the TOPS after reviewing its performance in the upcoming World Cup and the following Asian Games.

Related Information

Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme

  • The scheme was formulated by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports within the overall ambit of National Sports Development Fund (NSDF).
  • The aim of the scheme is to identify and support potential medal prospects for 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.
  • The selected players will be provided financial assistance for their customized training at Institutes having world-class facilities and other necessary support.
  • Focused disciplines will be Athletics, Archery, Badminton, Boxing, Wrestling and Shooting.

 

Mudra Yojana empowering the powerless, funding the unfunded

Source- DD News

  • The Prime Minister Mudra Yojana is playing a key role in empowering the powerless.
  • The scheme has been very successful in promoting and ensuring bank finances to the unfunded segment of the economy.

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana

  • It is basically a loan scheme launched by GOI April 2015 to provide funding to the non-corporate, non-farm sector income generating activities of micro and small enterprises whose credit needs are below ₹10 Lakh.
  • Under the scheme, the government created a MUDRA (Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency Ltd. (MUDRA) Bank to provide the loan to MSME’s.
  • MUDRA has created three categories for the loans to the MSME’s. These are-
    (a) Shishu: covering loans up to ₹50,000
    (b) Kishore: covering loans above ₹50,000 and up to ₹5,00,000
    (c) Tarun: covering loans above ₹5,00,000 and up to ₹10,00,000

 

BSNL launched India’s first internet telephony service ‘Wings’

Source- DD News

  • BSNL unveiled India’s first internet telephony service called ‘Wings’.
  • Starting July 25th, Wings will allow users to dial any telephone number in India through its mobile app.
  • And with this, BSNL has become first Mobile Operator to Launch Internet Telephony Services in the country.
  • The new BSNL service will allow users to dial any telephone number in India through its mobile app.
  • Customers will have to download the ‘Wings App’ and configure it with the Landline number.
  • ‘Wings’ will allow customers to make the unlimited video or audio calls by paying an annual fee of Rs 1,099.

 

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 13, 2018

Niti Aayog proposed a 15-point action plan ‘Breathe India’ to combat air pollution in ten most polluted cities

India has 14 of 20 most polluted cities of the world, according to WHO report. Niti Aayog has now prepared an action plan to fight air pollution. Source- AIR

  • Niti Aayog has proposed a 15-point action plan to combat air pollution in ten most polluted cities in the country, including Delhi, Kanpur and Varanasi.
  • The draft action plan titled ‘Breathe India’ includes encouraging electric vehicles, phasing out private diesel vehicle and development of crop residue utilisation policy.
  • The action plan also includes expediting strategic decommissioning of old and inefficient power plants and implementation of a large-scale feebate programme from 2020 onwards.
  • The report also said there is a need to enact strong measures to curb vehicular emissions.
  • It also called for concerted action from all levels of governance, cutting across ministries and departments.

Related Information

  • According to a recent WHO database (2018), Kanpur, Faridabad, Gaya, Varanasi, Agra, Gurgaon, Muzaffarpur, Lucknow and Patna are the top ten most polluted cities in India.

 

Gujarat government gave approval for Rs 39-crore ‘Seema Darshan’ project

“Vijay Rupani today gave in-principle approval for developing more infrastructure facilities from T-Junction to Zero Point at Nadabet near Suigam to instill patriotism through a unique initiative for border tourism,” Source- AIR

  • Gujarat government has given in-principle approval for the 39-crore rupees ‘Seema Darshan’ project.
  • The project is for developing more infrastructure facilities from T-Junction to Zero Point at Nadabet near Suigam in Banaskantha district to instil patriotism through a unique Gujarat initiative for border tourism.
  • The project being developed on Wagah Border pattern, entails an exhibition hall, a parade ground with the amphitheatre for 5,000 people.
  • They decided to send a proposal to the Union Home and Tourism Ministries for financial assistance.
  • The phase-1 of the project worth 22-crore was launched on December 24, 2016.
  • The project demonstrates BSF jawans’ tryst with protecting the border as round-the-clock sentinels.
  • The project will encourage local economic activity in the Rann region, alongside the visit to adjoining flamingo and wild ass sanctuaries.

 

India’s first private UAV factory to come up in Kota

Shriram Rayons, a company of DCM Shriram Industries Group, obtained a licence from the centre to manufacture UAV and LBPV on July 5 this year, claimed officials. Source- Hindustan Times

  • India’s first private sector unit for manufacturing unmanned air vehicles (UAV) and light bulletproof vehicles (LBPV) will be set up by DCM Shriram Industries Group on the campus of Shriram Rayons in Kota.
  • These UAVs and LBPVs are likely to be used by defence and para-military forces in the country.
  • The UAVs will be able to fly to a height of 500 to 2000 km, while LBPVs can operate in difficult terrains and has off-road abilities.

Related Information

  • In April 2018 the Central govt set up a 13-member task force to prepare a roadmap and fast-track the implementation of UAV technology headed by Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.

Important UAV in India

  • DRDO Abhyas
  • DRDO AURA
  • DRDO Lakshya
  • DRDO Netra
  • DRDO Nishant
  • DRDO Rustom
  • DRDO Ulka
  • Gagan UAV Israeli model
  • Pawan UAV

Rustom

  • The Rustom is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance unmanned air vehicle (UAV) being developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation for all three services.
  • Rustom is derived from the NAL’s LCRA (Light Canard Research Aircraft) developed by a team under the leadership of late Prof Rustom Damania in the 1980s.

 

Net Neutrality rules approved by Telecom Commission

Net Neutrality rules approved by Telecom Commission in India: Here’s what it means for the Internet in India and why it matters. Source- Indian Express

  • India’s Internet will be governed by the rules of net neutrality as the Telecom Commission has accepted the recommendations made by regulatory body TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Association of India).
  • The net neutrality rules mean that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) cannot discriminate against Internet content and services by blocking, throttling or granting them higher speed access.
  • India’s acceptance of Net Neutrality is a big victory for the open Internet movement.
  • It also means that zero-rating packages like says a Facebook Free Basics, where certain content is provided for free like access to Facebook, also remain illegal in India.

US and Net Neutrality

  • In the United States, the Net Neutrality rules expired recently after the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted against them in November 2017.
  • In the US, with no Net Neutrality, it is no longer illegal for ISPs to slow, block or offer “paid prioritisation” to some websites as long as they disclose these practices.
  • This reversed the initial pro-Net Neutrality rules from 2015.

What is out of the purview of Net Neutrality?

  • The Telecom Commission has kept some mission-critical applications or services like remote surgery and autonomous cars out of the purview of this framework.
  • TRAI in its recommendations had also kept CDN or content delivery networks out of the purview of Net Neutrality.
  • CDNs allow a telecom company to deliver content on their network, without accessing the public internet.
  • In order to access the content provided by them, the user has to be on the respective network.

 

Nepal, India to expedite Raxaul-Kathmandu rail project

Source- Indian Express

  • Nepal and India have agreed to seal an agreement for preliminary engineering cum traffic survey for building a rail link that will connect Raxual in Bihar to the Nepalese capital.
  • This agreement was signed weeks after Nepal and China agreed on a feasibility study for a railway line connecting Tibet with the Himalayan nation.
  • Apart from Raxaul-Kathmandu railway line, India has already started building five cross-border railway lines between Nepal and India.

 

Satyarup Siddhanta scales world’s highest volcano

Source- Times of India

  • Satyarup Siddhanta has become the 2nd Indian mountaineer (first- Malli Mastan Babu) to climb the highest volcano in the world, Mt Ojos del Salado.
  • Nevado Ojos del Salado is a stratovolcano in the Andes on the Argentina-Chile border.
  • It is the highest active volcano in the world at 6893 metres.

 

 

Question of the Day | Legal Terms List 12-July-2018

Question of the day

Principle: When a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone

Facts: Shreya, Nidhi, and Neha were good friends and roommates in a hostel. However, Shreya always use to score more than Nidhi and Neha in every subject. Nidhi and Neha were always jealous of this fact. So, to teach Shreya a lesson Nidhi and Neha decided to steal the mobile phone and the notebooks of Shreya. When Neha and Nidhi were stealing it, Shreya came and in panic Neha stabbed Shreya on her head. Are Neha and Nidhi liable for the offence of theft or murder?

(a) Both Nidhi & Neha will be liable for the offence of murder.
(b) Nidhi will not be liable for murder as she didn’t stab Shreya and will only be liable for theft.
(c) Only Neha will be liable for liable for murder
(d) Nidhi will also be liable for murder because both of them were involved in the plan

Legal Terms

  1. forbearance

An intentional delay in collecting a debt or demanding performance on a contract, usually for a specific period of time.

Forbearance is often consideration for a promise by the debtor to pay an added amount.

  1. obiter dicta

Remarks of a judge which are not necessary to reaching a decision, but are made as comments, illustrations or thoughts.

  1. Jane Doe

1) a fictitious name used for a possible female defendant who is unknown at the time a complaint is filed to start a lawsuit.

2) the temporary fictitious name given to an unidentified hospitalized or dead woman.

  1. waive

To voluntarily give up something, including not enforcing a term of a contract (such as insisting on payment on an exact date), or knowingly giving up a legal right such as a speedy trial, a jury trial or a hearing on extradition (the transfer to another state’s jurisdiction of one accused of a crime in the other state).

  1. defraud

To use deceit, falsehoods or trickery to obtain money, an object, rights or anything of value belonging to another.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 12, 2018

FSSAI launches “Eat Right campaign” to curb consumption of sugar, salt and fat

This campaign has kick-started at a crucial time when India is becoming the diabetes capital of the world. Source- Down To Earth

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has initiated a campaign “Eat Right”, wherein the key stakeholders like food processing industries and restaurants will volunteer to reduce the percentage of salt, sugar and fat content in food.
  • As a part of the campaign, edible oil industries took a pledge to reduce trans-fat content by 2 Percent by 2022.
  • Later, food companies also took a pledge to reformulate packaged foods with the reduced level of salt, sugar and saturated fat.
  • This Eat Right Movement is a collaborative move with stakeholders—on both the demand and supply side—coming together.
  • On the demand side, the campaign focuses on empowering citizens to make the right food choices.
  • On the supply side, it nudges food businesses to reformulate their products, provide better nutritional information to consumers and make investments in healthy food as responsible food businesses.
  • This is a voluntary movement from both the sides.

Related Information

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

  • It is an autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
  • FSSAI was established by Government of India on 5 September 2008 under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
  • FSSAI is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.
  • The FSSAI consists of a chairperson & 22 members.
  • The FSSAI has its headquarters at New Delhi.
  • In May 2018, FSSAI launched the initiative (safe and nutritious food at the workplace) to improve the nutrition of millions of office going Indians.
  • To aid workplaces and build a policy framework, FSSAI has also released The Orange Book: Your Guide to Safe and Nutritious Food at the Workplace.

 

Global Innovation Index ranks India the 57th most innovative nation

India ranks at 57th position in Global Innovation Index.  Source- Economic Times

  • The Global Innovation Index (GII) has ranked India as the 57th most innovative nation in the world.
  • The country has improved its ranking from 60th position last year.
  • Meanwhile, China improved its ranking from 22 in 2017 to 17 this year.
  • The GII is being developed jointly by Cornell University, Insead and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva.
  • GII ranks 126 economies based on 80 indicators.
  • Since 2011, Switzerland has been ranked at the top every year.
  • This year, the Netherlands follows at second place and Sweden at third.
  • The US drops down to sixth from fourth last year.
  • Although ranked at 57, India is a top performer in the lower middle-income group, where it is ranked at fifth position.
  • It is the most innovative country in its region of central and southern Asia.

Related Information

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

  • The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).
  • WIPO was created in 1967 “to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world”.
  • WIPO currently has 191-member states.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Andhra Pradesh tops government’s ease of doing business

Source- AIR

  • Andhra Pradesh has topped the ease of doing business rankings, while Telangana is in second and Haryana is in third position.
  • Jharkhand, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and West Bengal are in the top ten list.
  • DIPP in collaboration with the World Bank conducts an annual reform exercise for all States/UTs under the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP).
  • A large number of states have made significant progress in reforms suggested in Business Reform Action Plan 2017.

Related Information

DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion)

  • The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion was established in 1995 and has been reconstituted in the year 2000 with the merger of the Department of Industrial Development.
  • Role and Functions-
    (a) Formulation and implementation of industrial policy
    (b) Formulation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy and promotion, approval and facilitation of FDI
    (c) Formulation of policies relating to Intellectual Property Rights etc.

 

India becomes world’s sixth largest economy

Source- Times of India

  • India has become the world’s sixth-biggest economy, pushing France into seventh place, according to updated World Bank figures for 2017.
  • India’s gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to $2.597 trillion at the end of last year, against $2.582 trillion for France.
  • The country’s economy rebounded strongly from July 2017, after several quarters of slowdown.
  • India, with a population of around 1.34 billion, is poised to become the world’s most populous nation, whereas the French population stands at 67 million.
  • This means that India’s per capita GDP continues to amount to just a fraction of that of France which is still roughly 20 times higher, according to World Bank figures.
  • India has doubled its GDP within a decade and is expected to power ahead as a key economic engine in Asia, even as China slows down.
  • At the end of 2017, Britain was still the world’s fifth-biggest economy with a GDP of $2.622 trillion.
  • The US is the world’s top economy, followed by China, Japan and Germany.

 

UNSC adopts resolution 2427 to protect children in armed conflict

Source- Business Standard

The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution aimed at a framework for mainstreaming protection, rights, well-being and empowerment of children throughout the conflict cycle.

  • The resolution strongly condemns the recruitment and use of children by parties to armed conflict, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and abductions.
  • It demands that all relevant parties immediately put an end to such practices and take special measures to protect children.
  • The resolution also emphasizes the responsibility of all states to put an end to impunity and to investigate and prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other egregious crimes perpetrated against children.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JULY 11, 2018

NASA Funding Project “RAMA” to Turn Asteroids into Spaceships

NASA Funding Project RAMA to Turn Asteroids Into Spaceships Source- NDTV

  • NASA has announced it would give funds to a California-based 3D printing company for finding ways to turn asteroids into giant, autonomous spacecraft, which could fly to outposts in space.
  • The project is named as RAMA (Reconstituting Asteroids into Mechanical Automata).
  • The company plans to use 3D printing to turn the asteroids into self-flying vehicles by 2030.
  • The company is considering sending an advanced robotic “Seed Craft” out to rendezvous with a succession of near-Earth asteroids in space, as part of its long-term project.
  • The Seed Craft would harvest material from the space rocks, then use this feedstock to construct propulsion, navigation, energy-storage and other key systems onsite with the aid of 3D printing and other technologies.
  • Thus, transformed into autonomous spacecraft, the asteroids could be programmed to fly to a mining station in Earth-moon space, or anywhere else they’re needed.

 

Niti Aayog wants states to promote zero budget natural farming

Around five million farmers are working on zero-budget farming in different states. Source- Indian Express

  • NITI Aayog made a case for promoting Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) in states, saying it would help in doubling farmers’ income by 2022.

Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)

  • Under ZBNF, neither fertilizer nor pesticide is used and only 10 per cent of water is to be used for irrigation as compared to traditional farming technique.
  • Farmers use only local seeds and produce their own seeds.
  • The cost of biological pesticides and fertilizers is almost negligible compared to chemical fertilizers. So, this method of natural farming also called Zero Budget Farming.
  • These biological pesticides and fertilizers include earthworms, cow dung, urine, plants, human excreta etc.
  • The states can promote ZBNF under the two farm sector schemes- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojajna-

  • Launched in 2016.
  • Improve organic farming and soil health.
  • Also known as Traditional Farming Improvement Programme.

Note-

  • Sikkim has become India’s first fully organic state by implementing organic practices on around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land.

Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana

  • Launched in 2007 to achieve 4 Percent annual growth in the agricultural sector during the 11th five-year plan.
  • Incentivize the states to increase their investment in Agriculture.

 

India focusing more on the e-visa scheme

Source- Indian Express

e-visa scheme

  • The Government of India had launched the e-Visa scheme on November 27, 2014.
  • The scheme has been extended to 163 Countries/Territories. 25 Indian airports and 5 Indian Ports have been designated for providing e-visa service.
  • e-Visa has been sub-divided into 3 categories i.e.
    (a) e-tourist visa,
    (b) e-Business visa and
    (c) e-Medical visa
  • This facility is available to Foreigners whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sight-seeing, short duration medical treatment, casual business visit, etc. and not valid for any other purpose/activities.
  • Applicants of the eligible countries/territories may apply online minimum 4 days in advance of the date of arrival with a window of 120 days.
  • e-Visa will be valid for 60 days stay in India from the date of arrival in India.
  • e-Visa can be availed for the maximum of two times in a calendar year i.e. between January to December.
  • The Home Ministry has decided to enhance the e-visa scheme by including e-conference and e-medical attendant visa as well.

 

China successfully launched two remote-sensing satellites for Pakistan

This is second time space cooperation between China and Pakistan since the launch of PAKSAT-1R, a communication satellite, in August 201. Source- Business Standard

  • China successfully launched two remote sensing satellites for Pakistan, marking the first international commercial launch for the Long March-2C rocket in about 19 years.
  • The satellites (a) PRSS-1 and (b) PakTES-1A – were launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China.
  • The PRSS-1 is China’s first optical remote sensing satellite sold to Pakistan.
  • A scientific experiment satellite, PakTES-1A, developed by Pakistan, was sent into orbit via the same rocket.
  • It is another space cooperation between China and Pakistan since the launch of PAKSAT-1R, a communication satellite, in August 2011.

 

Only one male Great Indian Bustard left in Gujarat

Great Indian Bustards. Source- Down to Earth

  • There being only one male Great Indian Bustard (GIB) left in Gujarat’s Kutch district have been confirmed by experts.

Related Information

Great Indian Bustards

  • Found mostly in India and some regions of Pakistan, the GIB is considered a “critically endangered” bird in the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
  • Currently, it is found in only six states in the country — Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka.
  • Rajasthan has the maximum number of GIBs and the bird is found in Jaisalmer, Barmer and Bikaner districts.
  • The GIB plays a role in the germination of seeds in grasslands, and it is also a friend to farmers as it keeps a check on insects that destroy standing crops.”
  • GIB was found only in the Indian subcontinent. Hence, once the species is lost, there will be no other species to replace it, and that will destabilise the ecosystem of the grassland and affect critical bio-diversities, as well as blackbucks and wolves, who share their habitat with the GIB.

 

Fish samples in Chennai test positive for formalin

Fish being tested at the State Referral Laboratory for Fish Disease Diagnosis and Aquatic Animal Health in Madhavaram, Chennai.  Source- The Hindu

  • As many as 11 out of 30 samples of fish species purchased from Chinthadripet and Kasimedu, the two major fish markets in Chennai, have tested positive for formalin, a cancer-inducing chemical used illegally to preserve fish.
  • Fish industry experts said formalin or formaldehyde is sprayed on the fish or injected into the fish or the fish is dipped into the solution.
  • This helps keep the fish fresh for a longer time.

Related Information

Formalin

  • A clear aqueous solution of formaldehyde and methanol used especially as a preservative.
  • Formalin causes irritation in the eyes, throat, skin and stomach.
  • In the long run, continued exposure causes harm to the kidneys, liver and can even cause cancers.

 

ADB accords approval for lining project of the Son canal in Shahabad- Bhojpur region of Bihar

Asian Development Bank. Source- PIB

  • ADB representatives informed that ADB had accorded approval for this project.
  • The estimated cost of this project is USD 503 million out of which USD 352 million is being provided by ADB.
  • This project will bring immense benefits to the agriculture sector of Shahabad- Bhojpur region of Bihar.

Related Information

Asian Development Bank

  • It is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, which is headquartered in the city of Mandaluyong, Manila, Philippines.
  • From 31 members at its establishment, ADB now has 67 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
  • ADB is an official United Nations Observer.
  • Japan and United States hold the largest proportion of shares.

Related Information

Son River

  • Son River of central India is the second largest of the Ganges’ southern tributaries after Yamuna River.
  • The Son originates near Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The Son parallels the Kaimur hills, flowing east-northeast through Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar states to join the Ganges just west of Patna.
  • Its chief tributaries are the Rihand and the North Koel.

 

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS, JULY 10 2018

    Biodegradable plastic made from tree glue

Lignin, a natural glue, holds cellulose fibres together, find scientists

  • Scientists have found that a natural ‘tree glue’ which stiffens plant cells can be turned into a strong, biodegradable plastic.
  • The natural glue called lignin holds cellulose fibres together.
  • Researchers from the University of Warwick in the UK genetically modified some bacteria called Rhodococcus Jostii to turn lignin into useful chemicals.
  • There are only a small number of organisms that can break down lignin.
  • Plastic is notoriously difficult to recycle – and only 12 Percent of household waste is reprocessed.
  • The rest is either burnt or goes to landfill.

Related Information

  • Lignin is a by-product of the papermaking process.

    India to control Mattala airport

Mattala Airport

  • India has agreed to form a joint venture with Sri Lanka to operate the loss-making Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.
  • The $210 million facility, 241km south-east of Colombo, is dubbed the “world’s emptiest airport” due to a lack of flights.
  • The joint venture would see India gain a major stake of the airport.
  • Mattala airport, named after former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Related Information

  • The seaport built in Hambantota has been leased to China to set off Chinese loans as equity.

   Indian warship INS Trikand reaches Sri Lanka in goodwill visit

  • India’s latest frontline warship INS Trikand has reached Sri Lanka in a goodwill visit.
  • INS Trikand is a state-of-the-art warship of the Indian Navy equipped with a versatile range of weapons and sensors capable of addressing threats in all three dimensions – air, surface and sub-surface.

INS Trikand

Related Information

INS Trikand

  • INS Trikand (F51) is a Talwar-class frigate of the Indian Navy.
  • She is the third and final ship of the second batch of Talwar-class frigates ordered by the Indian Navy.
  • It was built by the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad, Russia.

Talwar Class Frigates or Project 11356

  • These are a class of guided missile frigates designed and built by Russia for the Indian Navy.
  • The Talwar-class guided missile frigates are the improved versions of the Krivak III-class (Project 1135) frigates used by the Russian Coast Guard.

  Cosmic collision with ‘Sausage’ galaxy reshaped Milky Way

Astronomers have discovered an ancient cosmic collision with an object, dubbed the “Sausage” galaxy, that reshaped the structure of the Milky Way galaxy.

  • Astronomers have discovered an ancient cosmic collision with an object, dubbed the “Sausage” galaxy,that reshaped the structure of the Milky Way galaxy.
  • It is observed using data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite.
  • Scientists propose that around 8 billion to 10 billion years ago, an unknown dwarf galaxy smashed into our own Milky Way.
  • Sausage debris was scattered all around the inner parts of the Milky Way, creating the ‘bulge’ at the galaxy’s centre and the surrounding ‘stellar halo.’
  • The orbits are further elongated by the growing Milky Way disk, which swells and becomes thicker following the collision.
  • The Milky Way continues to collide with other galaxies, such as the puny Sagittarius dwarf galaxy.
  • However, the Sausage galaxy was much more massive. Its total mass in gas, stars and dark matter was more than 10 billion times the mass of our Sun.

  How Ethiopia and Kenya have put a world heritage site in danger

Central Island, the breeding ground of what was once the world’s largest population of Nile Crocodile.

  • Lake Turkana is the world’s largest desert lake- located in Kenya’s remote northern arid lands and is the most saline of Africa’s great lakes.
  • Its ecology supports a host of local and migratory bird and wildlife populations.
  • It’s also home to unique fossil and archaeological discoveries.
  • In 1973, Sibiloi National Park was created on the north-eastern lakeshore to conserve these remarkable discoveries that have contributed so much to our understanding of human evolution.
  • And in 1983 and 1985, the lake’s South and Central Islands were designated national parks because of their outstanding wildlife breeding habitats, notably for the Nile crocodile.
  • These three national parks were inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1997 for their “geological and fossil records” and “diverse aquatic and terrestrial habitats”.

Related Information

  • There are 1,092 UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world, five of which are within Kenya.
  • Once inscribed, the sites are protected according to local legislation and international treaties.
  • Under the convention guidelines, state parties are obliged to submit reports every six years on each of their World Heritage sites.
  • If a site comes under threat, the World Heritage Committee can initiate the agreed process of “reactive monitoring” – an independent mission to review and produce a report on the state of conservation of the site.
  • If the site is found to be facing danger, the mission can recommend it be placed on the “List of World Heritage in Danger”.

Why the lake was put on the danger list

  • Threats were identified as the Gibe dams and irrigation plantation developments on Ethiopia’s Omo River.
  • More than 80% of the lake’s freshwater inflow is provided by the Omo River and so these projects affect the lake’s ecology.
  • The committee requested that Ethiopia suspend construction works on the Gibe III dam and submit assessments on the dam and irrigation development plans.

Next steps

  • The World Heritage Committee has now requested Kenya to invite a reactive monitoring mission to review what’s happened and to propose a way forward to remove the Lake Turkana National Parks from the “List of World Heritage in Danger”.

  PM Modi inaugurated the world’s largest mobile factory in Noida

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with South Korean President Moon Jae-in travel in a metro, in New Delhi.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Korean President Moon inaugurated the New Mobile Manufacturing Plant of Samsung at Noida.
  • With the beginning of this New Plant, India’s Make In India and Skill India Will get a major Push in the country.

  17th World Sanskrit Conference inaugurated at Vancouver in Canada

 

  • HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar inaugurated the 17th World Sanskrit Conference in Vancouver, Canada.
  • The purpose of this conference is to promote, preserve and practice the Sanskrit language all over the world by the people.
  • The World Sanskrit Conference is being held in various countries across the globe once in every three years and so far, it has been held thrice in India.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JUNE 30 2018

1) National Statistics Day: 29 June

  • The National Statistics Day is observed across India on June 29 with an aim to create public awareness about the importance of statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation. The theme selected for the 2018 Statistics Day is ‘Quality Assurance in Official Statistics’. The objective of the celebration of this Day is to acknowledge the contribution of Prof. PC Mahalanobis and to pay homage to him.  On the occasion, Vice President of India released a commemorative coin of Rs 125 and circulation coin of Rs 5 denomination as a mark of respect/homage to Prof. Mahalanobis.

2) International Day of the Tropics – 29 June

  • On 29th June 2018, International Day of the Tropics was celebrated all over the world. On 29th June 2014, Aung San Suu Kyi launched the first State of the Tropics Report. International Day of the Tropics marks the anniversary of the report’s launch. In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly declared 29 June as the International Day of the Tropics. The International Day of the Tropics is observed to create awareness on specific challenges faced by tropical areas and to highlight the important role that the countries in the tropics will play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

3) DISHA Week is being celebrated from June 25 to 29

  • From 25th to 29th June 2018, DISHA Week is celebrated to mark completion of 2 years of the District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee. On 28th June 2018, Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar discussed on the DISHA initiative with some MPs and senior officials in New Delhi. Awards of appreciation were given for remarkable work in regular organisation of DISHA meetings to Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Mizoram and Uttarakhand.
  • State-level guidelines and District committees guidelines were released. District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DDCMC) was named as Disha. The main purpose of this committee is to coordinate with Central and State Governments and local Panchayat to successfully implement the Central schemes such as infrastructure development or Social and human resource development.

4) North Korea Named ‘Worst Human Trafficking Country’

  • The US State Department categorised North Korea as one of the “worst human trafficking nations” for the 16th straight year, citing the use of forced labour. According to the annual ‘2018 Trafficking in Persons Report’, North Korea has been included in the Tier 3 category, which is the lowest ranking, along with China, Russia and Iran.
  • Reasons for categorisation of North Korea as the worst human trafficking country:
    1. North Korea used state-sponsored forced labour to fund government functions as well as other illicit activities.
    2. The North Korean government continued to use forced labour in prison camps and labour training centres and even encouraged forced labours of students and exported forced labour to foreign organisations.
  • The ‘2018 Trafficking in Persons Report’ placed India in Tier 2 category for making significant effort to comply with the US standards. However, India does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

5) Total market cap of top 100 global companies increases by 15% and reaches USD 20 trillion: PwC’s Global Top 100 ranking

  • On June 29, 2018, According to PwC’s Global Top 100 ranking the total market capitalisation of the top 100 global companies has increased by 15 per cent to USD 20 trillion, as the US retained the leading position with 54 companies in the list.
  • The Top 10 of the list are as follows:
    Company Amount Increased Country
    Amazon 278 mn US
    Tencent 224 mn China
    Alibaba 201mn China
    Microsoft USA
    Alphabet USA
    Apple USA
    Ping An Insurance 90 mn
    ICBC 89 mn
    Boeing 85 mn
    Berkshire Hathaway 81 mn

     

  • About USA’s Position:
    for the fourth year running, the US accounts for more than half of the top 100 (54 companies, down from 55 in 2017). It also weighs in with 61 per cent of the overall market capitalisation, down from 63 per cent last year.
  • About China’s M-Cap:
    the market capitalisation of the companies from China in the top 100 leaped by 57 per cent compared to 2017, with 12 Chinese companies making the top 100, up from 10 in 2017. Hong Kong also contributed another two companies, up from one in 2017.
  • Sector wise:
    i. Technology remains ahead of the financial sector in market capitalisation for the third successive year, with consumer goods in third place.
    ii. The global top three are still technology companies – Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft – followed by Tencent in fifth position and Facebook in eighth, down from sixth in 2017.
  • About Apple’s Position:
    i. Despite coming sixth in terms of absolute growth in value, Apple retained 1st position in terms of market capitalisation for the seventh year in a row.
    ii. Apple has also returned more cash to shareholders than any other company, handing back another USD 31 billion to investors in dividends and share repurchases in calendar year 2017 (having distributed USD 29 billion in calendar 2016).

6) Foundation stone of National Centre for Ageing laid at AIIMS by the PM;dedicated a tunnel connectin AIIMS and JNPA and 807 bedded Super specialty Block at Safdarjung

  •  On June 29, 2018, The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the National Centre for Ageing at AIIMSThe Prime Minister also dedicated the underground connecting tunnel between AIIMS and JNPA Trauma Centre, and Power Grid Vishram Sadan at AIIMS along with the 500 bedded New Emergency Block and 807 bedded Super Specialty Block at the Safdarjung Hospital to the nation. An underground connecting tunnel between AIIMS and JNPA Trauma Centre will reduce the commute time between the two centers to 1 km. It has a cost of Rs 44 crores
  • Dignitaries present at the event:Smt. Preeti Sudan, Secretary (Health), Prof. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS New Delhi, Dr. Rajendra Sharma, Medical Superintendent, VMMC & Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi and Shri I S Jha, CMD, Powergrid Corporation along with the senior officers from the Health Ministry and faculty of AIIMS.

7) Renewable Energy Dialogue-2018 held in New Delhi ; focus on India’s energy expansion

  • On June 29, 2018, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, addressed the Renewable Energy Dialogue in New Delhi. He announced that India is running one of the largest and most ambitious renewable energy capacity expansion programmes in the world. The Dialogue brought together several national and international stakeholders from the renewable energy community to deliberate on the drivers and challenges facing the sector. Independent studies on scaling up rooftop solar panels, clean energy investment trends, addressing renewable energy curtailment, and risks in renewable energy markets in emerging economies were released at the Dialogue.
  • About India’s Target :
    i. Government of India’s target of installing 20 GW of solar power by 2022 was achieved four years of ahead of schedule in January, 2018 through solar parks and India has set a fresh target of achieving 100 GW of solar power by 2022.
    ii. International Solar Alliance Project will promote the growth and development of solar power in over 120 countries.
    iii. Further, India has set a target of achieving 40% of its total electricity generation non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
  • About Renewable Energy Dialogue-2018:
    The Renewable Energy Dialogue was organised by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) in collaboration with Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), International Solar Alliance (ISA), International Energy Agency (IEA), Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (SSEF), and REN21. This edition of the Dialogue had a special focus on market creation and market trends.

8) Suresh Prabhu Launches Mobile App ‘ReUnite’

  • Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu launched a mobile application called ‘ReUnite’ which helps to track and trace missing and abandoned children in India. The app is multiuser where parents and citizens can upload pictures of children, and provide detailed description like name, birthmark, address, report to the police station, search and identify missing kids. The app is available for both Android and iOS.

9) Gujarat CM Announces Agriculture JWG With Israel

  • On the second day of his visit to Israel, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani met Israel’s Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Uri Ariel and announced a joint working group  (JWG) between Gujarat and Israel in the fields of agriculture, horticulture and allied sectors. The objective of the meeting was strengthening the Indo-Israeli agricultural cooperation and extension of theIndo-Israel Agriculture Plan (IIAP) and also to explore the opportunities of using the hi-tech protective cultivation and precision farming methods of Israel.

10) 173 offices in Punjab and 5 sub offices in Andaman& Nicobar Islands adopted National Generic Document Registration System.

  • On June 29, 2018, The Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Mines Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has inaugurated the National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS) in all sub-registrar offices in Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Punjab from New Delhi through a Video-Conferencing.To address the diversity and variations prevailing across the States on account of languages, processes, formulae and formats. This has been developed by the Department of Land Resources through the National Informatics Centre.
  •  This generic customizable software will enable ‘anywhere access’ to data and information to both the common man and the enforcement and regulatory agencies. Due to registration through digital means transparency will be promoted and people will get the benefits in a hassle-free manner.
  • In Andaman & Nicobar Islands:
    All 5 sub-registrar offices in the UT of Andaman & Nicobar Islands have been computerized and the NGDRS has been adopted in all 5 offices.
  • In Punjab:
    All 173 sub-registrar offices in the State of Punjab have been computerized and the NGDRS has been adopted in all 173 offices.

11) Dutee Chand Sets New National Record In Women’s 100m

  • India sprinter Dutee Chand set a new national record in the women’s 100-metre race when she clocked 11.29 seconds at the 58th National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships being held in Guwahati, Assam. The previous record of 11.30 seconds was also held by Dutee, which she achieved at the Indian Grand Prix in 2017. Dutee has qualified for the Asian Games in 100m and 200m by breaching the qualifying timings at the Inter-State Championships.

12) Rani Rampal Announced Captain Of Indian Women’s Hockey Team

  • Forward Rani Rampal was named as the captain of India’s 18-member squad for the women’s hockey World Cup to be played in London in July 2018. Hockey India announced the 18-member Indian women’s team for the prestigious tournament. India have been placed in Pool B alongside hosts and world no. 2 England, world no. 7 USA and world no. 16 Ireland. Goalkeeper Savita has been named vice-captain. The tournament will also witness the return of goalkeeper Rajani Etimarpu after having rested for the Spain Tour.

13) Madhya Pradesh to be awarded for reducing maternal mortality

  • On 29th June 2018, Madhya Pradesh will be awarded for reducing maternal mortality under Prime Minister’s Safe Motherhood Campaign. Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, Jagat Prakash Nadda has invited Minister of Public Health and Family Welfare of Madhya Pradesh Rustam Singh for the award function that will be held on 29th June 2018. The Prime Minister’s Safe Motherhood Campaign was launched to ensure quality of care of more than 3 crore pregnant women in India before delivery.
  • A 48-digit decline in maternal deaths in Madhya Pradesh has been registered by the office of the Registrar General of India 2014 to 2016. The maternal mortality rate was 221 in 2011-13. Now it has reduced to 173. A decline of 22% in the last 3 years has been witnessed in Madhya Pradesh. Results of awareness programmes such as institutional delivery, ANM, Anganwadi workers, knock-out campaigns etc. have started giving results.

14) Haryana government to start 5 more concessional canteens for labourers: Nayab Singh Saini

  • Minister of State for Labour and Employment Nayab Singh Saini said that, the Haryana government will launch 5 more concessional canteens in Haryana to offer food to labourers for Rs 10. The concessional canteens will be opened in Panchkula, Ambala, Panipat, Karnal and Bhiwani. At present, concessional canteens are present in Sonipat, Gurgaon, Yamunanagar, Faridabad and Hisar districts.
  • Nayab Singh Saini said that, a special campaign to register building and construction labour will be conducted from 2nd July to 31st July in Haryana. The registered workers can avail various labour schemes of the government. Nayab Singh Saini said that, the cooperation of the public works, irrigation, mandi board and other government departments is also required for the registration of labourers.

15) Inauguration of MAKAUT’s placement portal done by West Bengal’s Education Minister

  • On June 29, 2018, The Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (MAKAUT) launched a placement portal for graduates of the affiliated colleges under it to help the students get proper placement offers. It was launched by West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee. It contains information about students of 196 affiliated colleges under the university – MAKAUT.
  •  The portal will also enable companies to post placement or internship opportunities. The resume of the students will be extensively visible to potential employers. The portal will be a database of all students from MAKAUT colleges along with their academic and experience backgrounds. The talented students will be able to showcase themselves to the national and global job market through the portal.

16) RRVUNL gets additional financial aid of Rs 2626 cr from State owned Power Finance Corporation (PFC)

  • On June 29, 2018, State-owned Power Finance Corporation has provided additional financial aid of Rs 2,626 crore to Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam (RRVUNL) to meet new emission norm. The financial aid is to support their efforts to comply with the new emission norms of Ministry of Environment and Forest. It is mainly for installation of Flue Gas Desulphurisation Plant (FGD) & Selective Catalytic Reactor (SCR) as part of environmental up-gradation works at ongoing super-critical thermal power projects at Suratgarh and Chhabra having a capacity of 2×660 MW each. With this the cumulative sanction of PFC for above two projects amounts to Rs 10,218 crore.

17) Global Restructuring Review’s award for “most improved jurisdiction” goes to India for improved insolvency and restructuring regime

  • On June 29, 2018, The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) announced that India has won Global Restructuring Review’s “most improved jurisdiction” award. This award is to honour the jurisdiction which improved its restructuring and insolvency regime the most over the last year. In 2017, India lost the title to Singapore.
  • “Most improved jurisdiction” is one of the nine categories in which GRR presents the award, which were introduced in 2017.

18) Monti Rajkhowa first Assamese to scale Mt. Kanchenjunga

  • Monti Rajkhowa has become the first Assamese to scale Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world. Monti Rajkhowa is an executive engineer of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) based in Mumbai. She has also become the first female ONGC officer to scale Mt. Kanchenjunga. She was born and brought up in Meghalaya. Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan flagged off the ONGC Kanchenjunga expedition in April 2018. This expedition was a unique employee engagement initiative to encourage team spirit and experience adventure among the employees of ONGC.

19) Climate change may cost India 2.8% of GDP, says World Bank

  • On 28th June 2018, a World Bank report named ‘South Asia’s Hotspots: The Impact of Temperature and Precipitation Changes on Living Standards’ said that, Climate change might cost India 2.8 % of GDP. The report also said that, the climate change can depress living standards of around half of India’s population by 2050. Average annual temperatures are expected to increase by 1-2 % over three decades. If no measures are taken, average temperatures in India would increase by 1.5-3 degrees. Even if preventive measures are taken in line with recommendations of Paris climate change agreement of 2015, India’s average annual temperatures would increase by 1-2 degrees celsius by 2050.
  •  As per the report, nearly half of South Asia’s population, including India, lives in the “vulnerable areas” at present. These regions will be affected by declining living standards that could be attributed to lowering agricultural yields, lower labour productivity or related health impacts. Nearly 600 million people in India currently live in locations that could become moderate or severe hotspots of climate change by 2050 under a business-as-usual scenario.States in central, northern and north-western India are the most vulnerable to changes in average temperature and precipitation.
  •  By 2050, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh would be the top two climate hotspot states. They would witness a decline of over 9 % in their living standards. They are followed by Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. 7 out of the top 10 most-affected hotspot districts will belong to the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. These weather changes will lead to lower per capita consumption levels. This would further increase poverty and inequality in South Asia.To handle negative economic impact in India, the report recommends to improve educational attainment, reducing water stress, and improving job opportunities in non-agricultural sectors. It also predicts that a 30 % improvement on these measures could reduce the decline in living standards by nearly 1 % from 2.8 % to 1.9 %.

20) ICICI Bank appoints ex-IAS G C Chaturvedi as non-executive chairman

  • On 29th June 2018, ICICI Bank said that, it has appointed Girish Chandra Chaturvedi as the company’s non-executive chairman. G C Chaturvedi is a former petroleum secretary. Incumbent non-executive chairman M K Sharma’s term ends on 30th June 2018. G C Chaturvedi’s appointment is effective from 1st July 2018 for a period of 3 years. His appointment is subject to the approval of shareholders.

21) ICICI Bank appoints Walker Chandiok & Co as auditors

  • On 28th June 2018, ICICI Bank said that, it has appointed Walker Chandiok & Co as statutory auditors of the bank. B S R & Co LLP, Chartered Accountants, the statutory auditors of ICICI bank for the last 4 consecutive years will retire at the conclusion of the 24th Annual General Meeting on completion of maximum period of 4 consecutive years as per RBI guidelines.
  • ICICI board approved the appointment of Walker Chandiok & Co LLP as statutory auditors for the year ending 31 March 2019, at a board meeting held on 27th June 2018. Walker Chandiok & Co LLP will hold office from the conclusion of the 24th annual general meeting to the conclusion of the 25th annual general meeting. This appointment has been approved by RBI. It is subject to the approval of shareholders.

22) Ravi Thapar concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Costa Rica

  • Ravi Thapar has been appointed the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Costa Rica. Ravi Thapar is an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1983 batch. At present, he is the Ambassador of India to Panama. He has been concurrently appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Costa Rica. He will take up the new assignment soon.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JUNE 29 2018

1) President of Seychelles visit to India

  • On June 26,2018, The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, received His Excellency Mr Danny Antoine Rollen Faure, the President of the Republic of Seychelles, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. He also hosted a banquet in his honour.India, Seychelles ink six agreements in several fields
  • On June 26,2018, Six MOUs were signed between various dignitaries of India and the Republic of Seychelles. Following table shows the MOUs:
    S.No. MoU/Agreement Indian side Seychelles signatory
    1 MOU between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the

    Republic of Seychelles regarding Indian Grant Assistance for Implementation of Small Development Projects through Local Bodies, Educational and Vocational Institutions

    Shri M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs Ms. Pamela Charlette, Minister for Habitat Infrastructure and Land Transport
    2 Twinning Agreement on the Establishment of Friendship and Cooperation between the Corporation of the City of Panaji (Municipal Corporation) and the City of Victoria of the Republic of Seychelles Shri M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs Ms. Pamela Charlette, Minister for Habitat Infrastructure and Land Transport
    3 MOU between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in), Ministry

    of Electronics and Information Technology, Republic of India and the Department of Information Communications Technology of the Republic of Seychelles on Cooperation in the area of Cyber Security

    Shri M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs Mr. Charles Bastienne, Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture
    4 Cultural Exchange Programme between the Government of the Republic of India and

    the Government of the Republic of Seychelles for the years 2018-2022

    Shri M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs Ms. Pamela Charlette, Minister for Habitat Infrastructure and Land Transport
    5 Technical Agreement on Sharing White Shipping Information between the Indian Navy and the National Information Sharing and Coordination Center of the Republic of Seychelles Shri M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs Mr. Charles Bastienne, Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture
    6 MOU between the Foreign Service Institute of the Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of India and theDepartment of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of

    Seychelles

    Shri J.S. Mukul, Dean, Foreign Service Institute Amb. Barry Faure, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

     

  • India, Seychelles agree to work on naval base project. On June 26,2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Seychelles President Danny Faure agreed to work on the Assumption Island project  in the Indian Ocean as a naval base to expand its footprint.
    • An agreement to develop the island was inked in 2015 between India and Seychelles.
    • This was earlier cancelled by Seychelles due to internal conflicts.

2) India increases grants to $15 million to handle global environment crises

  • On 26th June 2018, India announced that, it will raise the fund from $12 million to $15 million to the Global Environment Facility (GEF)’s new four-year investment cycle called GEF-7. This announcement was made by India’s representative to GEF Council Aparna Subramani at a GEF meeting in Vietnam. The GEF council meeting is held from June 24 to June 28, 2018. Aparna Subramani also represents India in the World Bank. She represents Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, apart from India in the GEF Council.
  •  GEF was formed in 1992 during the Rio Earth Summit to manage serious environmental problems. It has so far provided $17.9 billion in grants and mobilised an additional $93.2 billion in financing for over 4,500 projects in 170 countries. India is both a donor and a recipient of GEF. GEF has 183 countries as members. The 6th GEF Assembly was held on 27th and 28th June 2018.

3) India Pledges $5 Million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for the welfare of Palestinian refugees

  • India has pledged USD 5 million in assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) working for the welfare of Palestinian refugees. This move has been made by India to manage the severe funding crisis faced by UNRWA after US reduced its annual funding to UNRWA. In January 2018, US said that it would withhold USD 65 million of USD 125 million it had planned to offer to UNRWA. US has been a major contributor to UNRWA. 20 countries, including India, announced contributions to the 2018 budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East at a meeting.
  •  In March 2018, India announced that it will raise its annual contribution to  UNRWA from USD 1.5 million to USD 5 million from 2018-19 for a period of 3 years. Sweden will contribute USD 250 million over 4 years. UK will offer USD 51 million. UAE will contribute USD 50 million. In January, UNRWA faced a loss of USD 300 million in voluntary contributions. It has been offering health, education, relief, social services, emergency humanitarian assistance, to around 5.3 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for 65 years.

4) Cost of Living Survey published by Mercer: Mumbai costlier than Washington and Melbourne

  • According to the 2018 Cost of Living Survey published by Mercer, Mumbai continues to be the most expensive city in India to live in for expatriates. It has secured rank 55 globally and has surpassed Washington and Melbourne. Mumbai has surpassed Washington ranked at 56, Melbourne ranked at 58, Frankfurt at 68, Buenos Aires at 76, Stockholm at 89 and Atlanta at 95. Mumbai is expensive for expatriates due to the rise in prices of food items like meat, butter, and poultry.
  •  Other Indian cities listed in the survey are:
    • Delhi – 103
    • Chennai – 144
    • Bengaluru – 170
    • Kolkata – 182

     

  • Hong Kong has been ranked as the world’s costliest city for expatriates. It is followed by Tokyo, Zurich, Singapore, and Seoul. This year’s ranking lists 209 cities in five continents. It measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location like housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

5) PASSEX 2018: Passage exercise untaken by Indian and Indonesian navies

  • On June 28, 2018, The navies of India and Indonesia participated in Passage Exercise (PASSEX). This exercise was decided during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Indonesia on May 29,2018 for enhancing maritime cooperation. From the Indian side , Indian Naval ships INS Shakti and INS Kamorta under the command of Rear Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet participated in the event.
  •  From the Indonesian side, Indonesian Naval Ship KRI Madidihang (855) a Stingrays Class Fast Patrol Craft participated in the event.

6) Indian real estate transparency ranked 35th globally: JLL Global Real Estate Transparency Index (GRETI) 2018

  • On June 28, 2018, India has emerged as one of the top 10 countries to have registered maximum improvement in transparency in real estate over last two years as per  JLL’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index (GRETI) 2018. India has moved up by five places to 35 since 2014 out of 100 countries that are mapped to over 180 parameters. It ranked 36th in 2016. Initiatives like implementation of Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016, land title insurance, the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, aligning the sector with the Goods & Services Tax, demonetization, opening up of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are prompting improvement in the country.
  •  Other factor effecting the positive change are : Improved market fundamentals, policy reforms, liberalisation of FDI into realty sector and retail, strengthening of information in public domain, digitisation of property records and assigning “industry status” to affordable housing.
    iv. Private equity investment in Indian realty has grown in every year from $2.2 billion in 2014 to $4.7 billion in 2015, to $6.9billion in 2016 and it was $6.3 billion in 2017.
  • About ranking of other nations:
    Country Rank
    UK 1
    Australia 2
    US 3
    France 4
    Canada 5
    Netherlands 6
    New Zealand 7
    Germany 8
    Ireland 9
    Sweden 10
    Sri Lanka 66
    Pakistan 75
    Venezuela (least transparent market) 100

     

  • Among BRICS Countries:
    Country Rank
    Brazil 37
    Russia 38
    India 35
    China 33
    South Africa 21

7) FATF placed Pakistan in ‘grey list’ during its plenary session in Paris

  • On June 28, 2018, Pakistan was placed in the ‘grey list’ of Financial Action Task Force. The decision was made at the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) plenary session in Paris.Despite submitting a 26-point action plan Pakistan was placed in the grey list for failing to curb anti-terror financing. It will stay on the list for a year or so. The process began in February 2018 when FATF approved the nomination of Pakistan for monitoring under its International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) commonly known as ‘grey List’. Earlier Pakistan remained on the FATF grey list from 2012 to 2015.

8) Jai Hind 1-S: World’s lightest satellite

  • Four students from department of aerospace engineering in Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science near Chennai have designed the world’s lightest satellite named Jai Hind 1-S that weighs only 33.39 grams. Jai Hind 1-S will be put into space in August 2018 from at the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, NASA, United States. Jaihind-1S is an experimental satellite. It might also be the cheapest satellite. It has been built with a very low budget of Rs 15,000.
  • The students were selected through “Cubes in Space” competition organised by Colorado Space Grant Consortium, NASA and idoodle-learning in January 2018. The satellite has been made by 3D printed PLA Nylon. It has been designed to conduct three experiments. The satellite mainly aims to check the working of nylon in microgravity. K.J. Harikrishnan is the team leader of the project. Other members of the team are: P. Amarnath, T. Giri Prasad and G.Sudhi. The satellite was assembled in less than a month. The satellite can also collect details about the temperature, pressure, altitude, UV ray intensity, rolling movement of the satellite cum rocket or balloon. The satellite can work for 15 to 20 hours.  It will travel up to 65 km to 70 km high in the atmosphere.

9) Launch of MES (Military Engineer Services) Website

  • On 28th June 2018, Military Engineer Services (MES) launched its newly designed website. The website was launched by Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra. The website is bilingual. It was developed to benefit 3500 officers and nearly 1.2 Lacs subordinate staff of MES. Policies and advisories associated with Recruitment, Promotions, Postings and other personnel matters of MES civilian employees can be accessed using the Website.
  • The website has been made more user friendly. It is line with the GIGW (Guidelines For Indian Government Websites) guidelines. Online Registration of Contractors, approved list of contractors and consultants, product approvals and enlistment procedures are also available in the website. Certain Technical Drawings of unclassified nature is also present in the website. MES publications like MES Regulations, Standard Schedule of Rates and scales of Accommodation will also be available to authenticated registered users. The website features information about MES to be published in compliance with section 4(1) of RTI Act 2005. The website possesses clutter free design, better functionality and user friendliness.

10) 5 SoIs signed by NITI Aayog’s Women Entrepreneurs Platform (WEP)

  • On June 28, 2018, NITI Aayog’s Women Entrepreneurs Platform (WEP) signed five separate Statement of Intent (SoIs) with Shri Mahila Sewa Sahakari Bank Limited, Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited, SREI Infrastructure Finance Limited, Sreemanta Sankar Mission and the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). It is a platform dedicated to increase the number of women entrepreneurs who will create and empower a dynamic New India. The WEP was established on the occasion of International Womens’ Day in March 2018. This initiative will work through its partner organizations, private as well as public organizations; by bringing their existing as well as new women specific initiatives on a single platform.
  • About the SoIs :
    The SoIs signed with financial institutions such as the Shri Mahila Sewa Sahakari Bank, Indiabulls Housing Finance and SREI Infrastructure Finance shall be housed under the WEP-Finance vertical and will provide financial assistance to women entrepreneurs through WEP. And those signed with the Sreemanta Sankar Mission of Guwahati to empower established as well as aspiring women entrepreneurs in North East India through WEP North East Chapter. The SoI with the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a trade union and as an organization of poor, self-employed women workers, includes commitments to mobilize women entrepreneurs in rural areas and promote them in Livelihood Entrepreneurship.
  • About Women Entrepreneurs Platform(WEP):
    The WEP is an initiative under the NITI Aayog which was launched on March 8, 2018 on the occasion of the International Women’s Day. The idea of the Platform was first mooted by Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog who announced the setting-up of a Women Entrepreneurship Platform in NITI Aayog at the conclusion of the 8th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) held in Hyderabad in 2017 with the theme of ‘Women first, Prosperity for All’.

11) Government Approves Draft Act To Replace UGC With HECI

  • The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) proposed a draft bill to repeal the University Grants Commission (UGC) and set up the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). This move that aims to reform higher education in India. The HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar stated that the draft Act is in accordance with the commitment of Government for reforming the regulatory systems that provide for more autonomy and facilitate the holistic growth of the education system.
  • The Act entitled ‘Higher Education Commission of India Act, 2018 (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act)’ revamps UGC Act, 1951 and its parent legislation completely. The HECI Act, 2018 is expected to be introduced in Parliament in the upcoming monsoon session.

12) Government Approves 2 More Strategic Oil Storages In Odisha And Karnataka

  • The government has decided to set up two more underground crude oil storages in Odisha and Karnatakato increase emergency stockpile cover by 12 days to 22 days. The Cabinet has approved setting up of 4 million tonne (MT) storage at Chandikhole in Odisha and 2.5 MT storage at Padur in Karnataka. The announcement was made by the Finance Minister Piyush Goyal in New Delhi. The storages will be additional to the existing rock caverns to shore 5.33 MT of crude Visakhapatnam (1.33 MT), Mangalore (1.5 MT) and Padur (2.5 MT).

13) Institution of “Home Minister’s Special Operation Medal”

  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the institution of “Home Minister’s Special Operation Medal”. Police Officers of States & Union Territories, Central Police Organisations (CPOs), Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Security Organisation involved in Special Operations are eligible for this medal.
  • Rajnath Singh has also instituted 3 more Medals namely:
    • Antarik Suraksha Medal
    • Asadharan Aashuchan Padak
    • Utkrisht & Ati-Utkrisht Seva Medal

     

  • The Medals will be presented annually. HM’s Special Operation Medal and Asadharan Aashuchan Padak will be awarded on 15th August (Independence Day). Antarik Suraksha Medal and Utkrisht & Ati-Utkrisht Seva Medal will be announced on 26th January (Republic Day). Asadharan Aashuchan Padak: will be awarded to officials of Intelligence organization of Central Government and Intelligence Dept./wings/Special Branches/Units of all State/UT Police, CPOs, CAPFs, Assam Rifles (AR) and National Security Guard (NSG) for exceptional courage and skill in intelligence gathering.
  •  Antarik Suraksha Medal: will be presented to Police personnel of States/UTs/ CPOs/CAPFs/Security Organisation for Operation Duty performed by them for every 2 years in Internal Security in J&K State/LWE region/NE region. Utkrisht and Ati Utkrisht Seva Medal will be presented to permanent Police personnel and other permanent support staff working in CAPFs, State/UTs Police Forces, CPOs, AR, NSG, Home Guard (HG) and Intelligence organization of Central Govt/State Govt./CAPFs for Long Service of 15 and 25 years and good service records.
  • There is no limit/quota for receiving the HM’s Special Operation Medal, Antarik Suraksha Medal and Asadharan Aashuchan Padak. There will be a cap of 1% and 0.5% of the sanctioned strength rank wise (Constable/HC/ASI/Sl/lnsp./Dy. SP/SP & above) subject to the eligibility conditions for the Utkrisht & Ati-Utkrisht Seva Medal respectively. The medal would be withdrawn if the holder is found guilty of disloyalty or brings the Force to disrepute like removal, major penalty, criminal offence etc.

14) To boost cooperation in agriculture & allied sectors a bilateral meeting amongst Union Agriculture Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh & Deputy PM of Uzbekistan, Mr. Suhrob Kholmuradov is being held

  • On June 28, 2018, The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh met Mr. Suhrob Kholmuradov, Deputy Prime Minister, Uzbekistan and Chairman of the State Investment Committee in Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi to strengthen bilateral cooperation inagriculture and allied sectors. India will partner with Uzbekistan in providing training and sharing expertise in skill development, effective and optimum use of water for dry lands, integrated farming systems, mechanization and farm machinery.
  • India can provide training to Uzbekistan for the development of Green House with the help of Centre of Excellence (CoE). A revised draft agreement on cooperation in the field of Plant Quarantine as proposed by Uzbekistan is under active consideration. Both parties will promote interaction among government agricultural institutions, experts, scientists and agro business and would work in the area of animal husbandry and India is willing to assist in setting up food processing industries in Uzbekistan. India is currently importing moong, natural gum, walnut, chickpeas, and juices from Uzbekistan. The Union Minister urged Mr. Suhrob to also consider importing mango, potato, wheat, meslin, sugar etc. from India.

15) 222nd Meeting of the Central Board of Trustees, EPFO held in New Delhi

  • On June 27, 2018, The 222nd meeting of the Central Board of TrusteesEPFO was held under the chairmanship of Union Minister of State for Labour & Employment (Independent Charge) Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar at New Delhi. The Central Board approved the proposal for insertion of Paragraph 68HH in EPF Scheme, 1952 provisioning advance from the fund to a member who ceases to be in employment for a continuous period not less than one month.
  •  Under this proposal a member can avail 75% of the total fund (including employee as well as employer share) standing to the member’s credit with interest thereon. The Board took note of the Investment of Rs 47,431.24 crore in Exchange Traded Funds (SBI MF, UTI MF, CPSE, Bharat 22) and notional return on ETF investments which stood at 16.07% for the period from August 2015 to 31st May 2018. It approved the proposal to continue SBI Mutual Fund and UTI Mutual Fund as ETF manufacturer for investment in ETF by EPFO for tenure of one year i.e. till 30/06/2019. It has considered and adopted the Consolidated Annual Accounts with Audit Report for the year 2016-17.

16) NIMHANS Digital Academy: for training medical professionals inaugurated by Shri JP Nadda

  • On June 27, 2018, Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare inaugurated the NIMHANS Digital Academy and addressed the first batch of professionals enrolled for undergoing courses in the fields of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Social Work in New Delhi. Smt. Anupriya PatelMinister of State for Health & Family Welfare also graced the occasion. The training modules and curricula for various training programmes were also released.
  • This will enhance the skill and potential of healthcare professionals and also serve the purpose of mental healthcare needs. Especially with the passing of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 brings forth a stronger and more robust legal scaffold and humane and patient-centric rights based approach for mental healthcare in our country.

17) BHEL Inks Pact With Korean Firm For Emission Controlling Equipment

  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) has inked a pact with South Korean firm NANO Co Ltd for design and manufacture of emission controlling devices for coal-based power plants. The Technology Collaboration Agreement (TCA) with NANO Co is for design and manufacture of SCR Catalysts for De-NOx application in coal-fired plants. The pact will enable BHEL to enhance its offerings for emission control systems (De-NOx applications).

18) TECH-THON: Seminar on Technology Partnership for POSHAN Abhiyaan in New Delhi; organized by WCD Ministry

  • On June 28, 2018, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India organized a day-long Seminar on Technology Partnerships for Steering POSHAN Abhiyaan called ‘TECH-THON’ for POSHAN Abhiyaan – PM’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment  at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi. Toshowcase and initiate a ‘Peoples Movement’ or Jan Andolan towards Nutrition.
  • Dignitaries present at the seminar:
    The WCD Minister Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi and Minister of State for WCD, Dr.Virendra Kumar was present in the Seminar. The seminar was inaugurated by Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog. Secretaries of convergent Central Ministries , Secretaries of State WCD/Social Justice Department, Director in-charge of ICDS/POSHAN Abhiyaan and nodal officer of the States/UTs were also present in the daylong seminar. Multilateral partner institutions like UNICEF, World Bank, WHO, WFP etc, the partners of MWCD – Tata Trust, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) etc, Philanthropic Private Sectors (viz CSR) and Civil Society Organizations were also present.

19) Ecotourism policy 2017:  a community based tourism policy released by Tamil Nadu Govt

  • On June 28, 2018, The Tamil Nadu government today released its Ecotourism Policy 2017 which is a community based ecotourism policy. The Forest Department will be the nodal department for implementing the policy. The SEB will finalise the strategies regarding pricing and appropriate packaging and branding of ecotourism destinations. The Ecotourism policy will be reviewed after five years.
  • About the policy:
    i. The ecotourism sites will be identified and will have specific ecotourism product associated with it in their uniqueness and value in terms of aesthetic, natural, cultural and landscape characteristics.
    ii. The initiatives will include hiking, trekking, wildlife sighting, bird watching trails, boating, photography, visit to medicinal plants conservation area, craft making, local handicraft, promoting local festivals, and adventure sports.

20) 6 reactors for Jaitapur nuclear plant to be built by France’s EDF and General Electric

  • On June 28, 2018, French utility EDF and General Electric have signed a pact to jointly build six reactors for India’s most ambitious nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra. This pact was signed between French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to India. The 9,900 megawatt (mw) plant at Jaitapur is being built by State run-Nuclear Power Corporation of India.This will be the world’s largest nucler power unit. The plant will have six nuclear reactors of capacity 1,650 mw each.
  • GE Power will design the conventional island for the Jaitapur plant and supply its main components. It will also provide operational support services and a training programme to as per the requirements of NPCIL E DF will be responsible for engineering integration for the entire project and will provide all the requisite input data. India aims to have nuclear power generation capacity of 22,480 mw by 2031, and the Jaitapur power plant would be crucial to achieving this target.

21) Mumbai based Swadhaar FinServe has been acquired by RBL Bank

  • On June 28, 2018, Private sector lender RBL Bank has fully acquired Mumbai-based financial product distribution firm Swadhaar FinServe Pvt Ltd from their earlier holding of 60.49%. RBL has purchased 35.94 per cent from Accion International and 3.58 per cent from promoters and others.  After the acquirement , RBL Bank’s share was up 0.17 per cent to Rs 545.60 on BSE.
  • About Swadhaar Finserve:
    It started operations as a non-banking finance company in 2008 and subsequently converted into a NBFC-MFI. It became a business correspondent for RBL Bank in 2014 and transferred its micro credit portfolio to the bank. It then surrendered the NBFC license in 2015. It holds responsibility for sourcing clients, evaluating credit worthiness and monitoring repayments for RBL, leveraging the bank’s balance sheet and infrastructure.

22) Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) to acquire Marine Infrastructure Developer Private Limited (MIDPL) for Rs 1,950 crore

  • On 28th June 2018, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) signed an agreement to acquire Marine Infrastructure Developer Private Limited (MIDPL) for Rs 1,950 crore. APSEZ is India’s largest port developer and a part of Adani Group. Out of the Rs 1,950 crore, APSEZ will pay Rs 1,562 crore for settlement of dues of MIDPL. The company has signed share purchase agreement on 27th June 2018, between Larsen and Toubro, MIDPL, L&T Shipbuilding Limited and Adani Kattupalli Port Private Limited to acquire 97 % stake of MIDPL.
  • MIDPL is involved in construction, maintenance, development and operation of Kattupalli Port. The acquisition would be completed in a week. Tamil Nadu government had granted approval for the transaction based on an order dated 29th February 2016. MIDPL was established in 2016.

23) Kanwaljeet Jawa becomes 1st Indian to be appointed as board member of Daikin

  • Daikin Industries Ltd has appointed its India operations MD & CEO Kanwaljeet Jawa into the board of the parent company. Kanwaljeet Jawa will be the first Indian on the Daikin Industries board. He will be a part of the 10 member board council. Kanwaljeet Jawa joined Daikin India in 2010 as the COO. He was then promoted as the MD & CEO of the Company.

24) Anoop Kumar Pandey to replace Rajiv Kumar as UP’s Chief Secretary

  • Anoop Kumar Pandey would replace Rajiv Kumar as the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh. Anoop Kumar Pandey is a 1984-batch Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer. He will replace Rajiv Kumar as the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh. Rajiv Kumar will retire on 30th June 2018. At present Anoop Kumar Pandey is the Industrial and Infrastructure Development Commissioner (IIDC) in Uttar Pradesh.
  •  Rajiv Kumar was appointed as chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh in June 2017. Earlier he was the Secretary in Shipping Ministry. He had also served as the divisional commissioner of Saharanpur and Meerut in Uttar Pradesh and also in the industrial development department.

25) B Sriram resigns as SBI MD amid IDBI stake sale buzz

  • SBI managing director B Sriram has resigned as SBI MD after his appointment as chief executive of IDBI Bank. B Sriram was appointed as managing director and CEO of IDBI Bank for a temporary period of 3 months, recently. He has submitted his resignation from the board of SBI. His resignation has been forwarded to Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). ACC will take the final decision on this.
  • B Sriram assumed charge as MD and CEO of IDBI Bank on 22nd June 2018 after M K Jain left the bank to serve as Deputy Governor of RBI. LIC is trying to enter the banking sector by acquiring majority stake in IDBI Bank. IDBI Bank would become a private sector bank if the government’s share reduces below 50%. B Sriram has been the MD (Corporate and Global Banking) in SBI since July 2014. He has served as Managing Director of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur.

26) Madhav Kalyan, CEO and MD, JPMorgan Chase Bank in India, to become the head of corporate banking in South and South East Asia

  • JPMorgan has promoted Madhav Kalyan, CEO and MD, JPMorgan Chase Bank in India, as the head of corporate banking in South and South East Asia. Madhav Kalyan will hold this position in addition to his existing responsibilities as head of corporate banking in India. JPMorgan’s corporate banking heads in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will report to Madhav Kalyan.
  • JP Morgan has promoted P D Singh as the head of the team, which serves local corporate clients. Rohit Khatri will head the MNC (Multinational) clients’ division. Guhaprasath Rajagopal will head treasury services. Brijen Puri, the managing director and head of currency and emerging markets, India, has been moved to Singapore with additional responsibilities of other markets of South East Asian countries.

27) Punjab Congress leader Surinder Singla passes away

  • On 28th June 2018, Punjab’s former finance minister Surinder Singla passed away after suffering from breathlessness at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi. Surinder Singla was 78 years old. He hailed from Samana town in Patiala, Punjab. He was a senior state Congress leader. He was a former Rajya Sabha member from Punjab. He had also served as Punjab’s finance minister.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS JUNE 28 2018

1) Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day – 27 June

  • On 27th June 2018, Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day was celebrated all over the world. In UN General Assembly declared 27th June as Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day in 2017. This day was coined to recognize the importance of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in achieving sustainable development goals, promoting innovation, creativity and sustainable work for all.
  • President Inaugurates Udyam Sangam-2018:
    i. On 27th June 2018, Indian President Ram NathKovind, inaugurated the Udyam Sangam-2018 in New Delhi.
    ii. He said that MSME sector accounts for around60% employment in India. He said that there are 6.5 crore MSME units in India providing jobs to more than 11 crore people.
    iii. He said they contribute to more than 10% growth which is higher than heavy industrial units.
    iv. He said that, UdyamSakhi portal of the MSME Ministry will empower women and weaker sections by offering training to 80 lakh women.
    v. He said that micro and small units are manufacturing parts for Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Tejas fighter aircraft.
    vi. A portal of the Ministry of MSME named “Sampark” was also launched by the President. This portal will link talent youth and enterprises looking for trained man power.
    vii. Over three thousand delegates participated in the conclave. The Conclave aims to promote dialogue and partnerships among stakeholders of the MSME ecosystem to encourage innovation and knowledge sharing on MSME related issues.
  • President launches Solar Charkha Mission, recruitment portal for MSMEs:
    i. On 27th June 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind launched the Solar Charkha Mission covering artisans in 50 identified clusters.
    ii.Every cluster will employ 400 to 2000 artisans. The Mission has been approved by the Government.
    iii. MSME Ministry will disburse subsidy of Rs. 550 crores in the initial two years to the artisans for this purpose.
    iv. Ram Nath Kovind said that, Solar Charkha Mission will produce employment in rural areas and enhance green economy.

2) 26th edition of world’s largest multilateral naval exercise RIMPAC has begun in Hawaii from June 27 to Aug 2 2018

  • On June 27, 2018, 26th edition World’s largest multilateral naval exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) began off Hawaii in the western Pacific Ocean from June 27 to August 2,2018. This will be a month long exercise and 26 countries are participating in it including India. About 25000 personnel and 52 ships will take part. From India’s part , INS Sahyadri will take part in it .
  •  It will be commanded by Captain Shantanu Jha and it is a indigenously built guided missile stealth frigate of the Eastern Fleet under Eastern Naval Command. Countries taking part on this exercise are : Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.

3) MoU for upgrade of Construction of Amravati between Andhra Pradesh and Singapore has been signed

  • On June 26,2018, Andhra Pradesh entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Singapore  to accelerate the construction work of its new capital, Amratvati. The MOU has been signed between AP Real Estate Regulatory Authority and Building (APRERA) and Construction Authority of Singapore in the presence of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and Singapore’s Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee.
  • The MOU will promote and create a safe, high quality, environment-friendly built environment in Andhra Pradesh. This will focus on Green Building Roadmaps and Green Mark Certification. The construction City of Amravati will be created as a hub for manufacturing of construction materials, designing, construction academies and trade.

4) Important Cabinet Approvals- 27th June 2018

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the following set of approvals. The important Cabinet Approvals are given as follows.
  • The Cabinet has approved-
    1. MoU between India and Singapore on Cooperation in the field of Planning- The objective of the MOU is to facilitate government agencies in the Centre and States, including Municipal Bodies, to readily tap into the expertise of Singapore agencies in the areas of urban development and management and other areas, and thus help in urban rejuvenation, mission.

    2. Agreement between India and Denmark on Cooperation in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation- The objective of the Agreement is to encourage, develop and facilitate co­operation between India and Denmark in fields of common interest within Science, Technology and Innovation.

    3. MoU between India and Germany on Cooperation in the field of Civil Aviation– The main objective of this Joint Declaration of Intent is to promote and facilitate mutual cooperation in the areas like Aviation Safety and Air Traffic Management, Heliports and Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS), Corporate and Business Aviation Development, and Training and Skills Development.

    4. Implementing Arrangement between India and France on Cooperation on Maritime Awareness Mission- The objective is to monitor the maritime traffic and to identify the non-compliant ships at the maximum possible revisit frequency.

    5. MoU between India and Denmark for cooperation in the fields of Animal Husbandry and Dairying- The MoU aims to develop bilateral cooperation in the field of Animal Husbandly and Dairying for the purpose of broadening the existing knowledge base on the dairy development and institutional strengthening.

    6. MoU between India and Indonesia on Technical Cooperation in the field of Railways sector.

    7.MoU between India and Bahrain on cooperation in the field of Healthcare.

    8. Capital infusion in Export Credit Guarantee Corporation Ltd.- The capital infusion of Rs.2000 crore for strengthening of  Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) would be infused in the three financial years i.e. Rs.50 crore in 2017-18, Rs.1450 crore in the year 2018-19 and Rs.500 crore for 2019-20.

    9. A Corpus to National Export Insurance Account Trust- The Cabinet has approved the contribution of Grant-in-Aid (Corpus) of Rs.1,040 crore to National Export Insurance Account Trust (NEIA). The Corpus would strengthen NEIA to support project exports from the country that are of strategic and national importance.

5) President Inaugurates Udyam Sangam-2018 To Mark UN SME Day

  • President of India, Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the Udyam Sangam-2018 in New Delhi. It is a step forward towards consolidating the convergence and synergy of all the government initiatives relating to MSME Sector. The President of India launched the Solar Charkha Mission which will cover 50 clusters and every cluster will employ 400 to 2000 artisans.
  • The Mission has been approved by the Government of India for which the MSME Ministry will disburse subsidy of Rs. 550 crores to the artisans. A portal of the Ministry of MSME called “Sampark” was also unveiled by the President. This portal will act as a bridge between the talent pool and those enterprises seeking trained manpower.

6) Key Decisions In 222nd Meeting Of Central Board Of Trustees, EPF

  • The 222nd meeting of the Central Board of Trustees, EPF (Employees’ Provident Fund) was held under the chairmanship of Union Minister of State for Labour & Employment (Independent Charge) Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar at New Delhi. The Central Board approved the proposal for insertion of Paragraph 68HH in EPF Scheme, 1952 provisioning Advance from the fund to a member who ceases to be in employment for a continuous period not less than one month.
  • Under this proposal, a member can avail 75% of the total fund (including employee as well as employer share) standing to the member’s credit with interest thereon. The Board took note of the Investment of Rs 47,431.24 crore in Exchange Traded Funds (SBI MF, UTI MF, CPSE, Bharat 22) and notional return on ETF investments which stood at 16.07% for the period from August 2015 to 31st May 2018.
  • The Central Board approved the proposal to continue SBI Mutual Fund and UTI Mutual Fund as ETF manufacturer for investment in ETF by EPFO for the tenure of one year. The Central Board has considered and adopted the Consolidated Annual Accounts with Audit Report for the year 2016-17.

7) MoU for upgrade of Construction of Amravati between Andhra Pradesh and Singapore has been signed

  • On June 26,2018, Andhra Pradesh entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Singapore  to accelerate the construction work of its new capital, Amratvati. The MOU has been signed between AP Real Estate Regulatory Authority and Building (APRERA) and Construction Authority of Singapore in the presence of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and Singapore’s Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee. The MOU will promote and create a safe, high quality, environment-friendly built environment in Andhra Pradesh. This will focus on Green Building Roadmaps and Green Mark Certification. The construction City of Amravati will be created as a hub for manufacturing of construction materials, designing, construction academies and trade.

8) Oxytocin formulations ban to come into effect from 1st July 2018

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has restricted the manufacture of Oxytocin formulations for domestic use to public sector only from 1st July 2018. The import of Oxytocin and its formulations is also banned. From 1st July 2018, private manufacturers will not be allowed to manufacture Oxytocin for domestic use. Only Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KAPL), a public sector company, will manufacture Oxytocin for domestic use from 1st July 2018.
  • Oxytocin formulations for domestic consumption will be supplied by KAPL to the registered hospitals and clinics in public and private sector directly. Oxytocin in any form or name will not be allowed to be sold by retail Chemist. All the registered hospitals and clinics in public and private sector in India are asked to contact only KAPL and place orders.

9) ISSF Junior World Cup: Saurabh Chaudhary Sets World Record, Wins Gold

  • Sixteen-year-old Indian shooter Saurabh Chaudhary set a new world record on the way to winning a gold medal in the ISSF Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany. Saurabh shot a total of 243.7 in the 10m air pistol event in the ongoing International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) tournament.
  • The junior world record prior to this was 242.5 by Chinese shooter Wang Zhehao at the first ISSF Junior World Cup of the year in Sydney. In the women’s 25m pistol final, Manu Bhaker was fifth with 19 hits and Devanshi Rana was eighth with five. With 8 gold medals, 1 silver and 5 bronze, India continued to top the medal standings.

10) Sanitation Action Plans Prepared For 10 New Swachh Iconic Places

  • Ten new Swachh Iconic Places of the country came up with the thorough action plans for raising their sanitation standards to exemplary levels. The plans were formulated at a two-day consultation in Hyderabad held between Central and State Government agencies, local administrations and the Trusts of the iconic places. Over 100 delegates from across the country attended the consultation. All the 30 Swachh Iconic Places, selected so far under the Swachh Bharat Mission, also resolved to make their sites completely free of plastic.
  • These 10 sites constitute Phase-III of the Swachh Iconic Places (SIP): 
    Sl. No. Swachh Iconic Place Location State
    1. Raghavendra Swamy Temple Kurnool Andhra Pradesh
    2. Hazardwari Palace Murshidabad West Bengal
    3. Brahma Sarovar Temple Kurukshetra Haryana
    4. VidurKuti Bijnor Uttar Pradesh
    5. Mana village Chamoli Uttarakhand
    6. Pangong Lake Leh-Ladakh J&K
    7. Nagvasuki Temple Allahabad Uttar Pradesh
    8. ImaKeithal/market Imphal Manipur
    9. Sabarimala Temple Pathanamthitta District Kerala
    10. Kanvashram Kotdwara Uttarakhand

     

11) E Sreedharan Committee To Lay Down Standards For Metro Rail Systems

  • The government has set up a committee under former Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan to lay down standardisation norms for components with an aim to cut costs in the construction and operation of metro rail systems in the country and bring them under the Make in India umbrella.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the proposal, following a meeting at the PMO to review ongoing and upcoming metro projects. The standards, once finalised by the committee, will be mandatory for all metro projects coming up with central assistance. Currently, metro projects with a total length of 370km are operational in eight cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Kochi and Mumbai.

12) Bengal swimmer Swadesh Mondal made yet another national record

  • On 26th June 2018, Bengal swimmer Swadesh Mondal created another national record at the 45th Glenmark Junior and 35th Sub Junior National Aquatic Championships in Pune, Maharashtra. Swadesh Mondal clocked a timing of 01:07.51 in the 100m breast stroke event and created a new national record. Earlier in the Boys Group II category he won gold medal with a national record breaking time of 02:10.93.
  • He has won four gold medals in the event so far. In the Boys Group I category Srihari Nataraj broke the National record in the 50 m backstroke with a time of 00:26.31. He has broken his own record. Neel Roy has made a new national record in the 200 m Individual Medley Boys Group I breaking his own record set in 2014 with a time of 02:10.26. Md. Rehan Mirza of Assam won the Boys Group III 50 m Breaststroke with a time of 00:34.61 and made a new National record.
  •  In the 4 X 100 m Medley relay Boys Group I, Srihari Nataraj set a new national record of 04:00.76. Karnataka’s Khushi Dinesh won gold medal in the 1500 m race for girls Group I with a timing of 17:58.81. R. Navneeth Gowda won the 100 m freestyle in the boys Group IV category with a time of 01:07.57. Kiara Bangera has won the 100 m Freestyle in Girls Group III with a time of 01:03.52. Anubhuti Baruah of Assam won gold medal in the 100 m Butterfly Girls Group I. Ankit Yadav of Uttar Pradesh won gold in the 50 m breaststroke Boys Group IV with a time of 00:39.31. Sahil Laskar of Bengal won gold medal with a time of 00:29.25 in the Boys Group II 50 m backstroke event.

13) 6 MW small Hydro-electric power project inaugurated by Arunachal Pradesh CM in Gongkhar village

  • On June 26, 2018, The Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu inaugurated the 6 MW Shaikangchu small hydro electric project at Gongkhar village in Arunachl Pradesh. Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju was present.  It is considered to be the biggest project undertaken by the department of hydropower in the state. It has 14 hydel stations with total installed capacity of 11.41 MW developed by hydropower department of the state. It will supply electricity to 27 villages around Mukto circle and the surplus power will be supplied to Tawang headquarters.

14) Exim Bank of India extends $10 mn loan facility to Seychelles for healthcare

  • On June 27, 2018, The Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) announced that it has extended $10 million worth of line of credit (LOC) toSeychelles. This is for healthcare and procurement of goods and projects. It is the first tranche of the $50 million sanctioned by the Exim Bank to the country. With this agreement for $10 million, Exim Bank, till date, has extended two LOCs to Seychelles, taking the total value to $28 million.
  • Other LOCs of EXIM Bank:
    i. Exim bank earlier had extended two LOCs aggregating $31 million to the Republic of Suriname for upgradation of transmission line network and maintenance of Chetak helicopters there (during the President’s visit in Suriname on June 21,2018)
    ii. Exim Bank has 233 LOCs in place at present, covering 62 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the CIS, with credit commitments of around $22.86 billion, available for financing exports from India.

15) Health Cover Under Odisha’s Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana Increased

  • The Odisha government decided to raise the health cover from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh under Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) for women. This was announced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik while interacting with the people of four districts during a video conferencing on Ama Gaon Ama Bikash Yojana. On the occasion, the chief minister also sanctioned Rs 31.54 crore for 154 panchayats in seven blocks of six districts under Ama Gaon Ama Bikash Yojana at the block level.

16) Anant Barua is new SEBI whole-time member

  • Anant Barua has been appointed the new whole-time member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Anant Barua is currently the executive director in SEBI. He has been appointed as whole-time member of SEBI for 3 years. His pay is as admissible to additional secretary to the central government or a consolidated salary of Rs 4 lakh per month. He became the executive director of SEBI in May 2010. Earlier, he was legal adviser, Legal Affairs Department (LAD), SEBI. He started working with LAD from 1992.

17) Nasser Khan Janjua resigns as Pakistan’s National Security Adviser

  • On 27th June 2018, National Security Adviser (NSA) of Pakistan, Nasser Khan Janjua, submitted his resignation. Nasser Khan Janjua is a retired Lieutenant General of the Pakistan Army. He had been Pakistan’s National Security Adviser since October 2015. He had succeeded Sartaj Aziz as NSA. Pakistan’s Caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk has accepted Nasser Khan Janjua’s resignation. The reason for Nasser Khan Janjua’s resignation has not been mentioned. Earlier, he had served as the Quetta corps commander and National Defence University president.

18) HCL acquires German IT firm H&D International Group

  • HCL Technologies has acquired H&D International Group, a German IT and engineering services provider. Acquisition of H&D International Group is a part of HCL’s long-term growth plan in Germany. H&D International Group is involved in IT Infrastructure, application services particularly in R&D IT, shop floor IT and Industry 4.0 solutions and has extensive expertise in SAP, computer-aided technologies (CAx), engineering services and customer-specific product development. It functions in more than 20 locations worldwide. H&D’s existing delivery centre in Gifhorn, Germany, will become part of HCL Tech’s global delivery footprint. It will focus on IT and engineering services in Germany and across the world.

19) Sagarmala’ receives Gold Award at the 52nd Skoch Summit 2018

  • The Ministry of Shipping’s ‘Sagarmala’ programme was awarded the ‘Gold Award’ in infrastructure sector in the 52nd Skoch Summit 2018 that recently ended in New Delhi. The award was presented in recognition of the programme’s contribution to India’s socio-economic transformation and in enhancing fast-track growth and infrastructure development. The Sagarmala Programme was also awarded the ‘Order of Merit’. The Secretary (Shipping) Gopal Krishna shared the award with Minister for Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari.
  •  The Skoch Awards honours leadership and excellence in promoting socio-economic changes. The Joint Secretary (Sagarmala), Ministry of Shipping, Kailash Kumar Aggarwal received the award from Sameer Kochar, Chairman, Skoch Group and Gopal Krishna, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, who was the Chief Guest at the valedictory session of the awards ceremony. The ‘Order of Merit’ was received by Abhishek Chandra, Deputy Secretary (Sagarmala) Ministry of Shipping. Sagarmala is the flagship programme of the Ministry of Shipping for port-led-development of India by utilising India’s 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways and strategic location of India on major international maritime trade route.
  • The Sagarmala programme aims to double the share of domestic waterways (inland & coastal) in the modal mix, produce logistic cost savings of Rs. 35,000-40,000 Cr per annum, enhance merchandize exports by USD 110 Billion and creation of 1 Crore new jobs, including 40 Lac direct jobs, in the next 10 years. Under Sagarmala programme, over 576 projects with an estimated project cost of Rs. 8.7 Lac Crore have been identified for implementation over 20 years. Out of the 576 projects, 69 projects worth more than Rs. 13,500 Crore have already been completed. Another 424 projects worth more than Rs. 4.1 Lac Crore are under various stages of implementation and development.
  •  Nearly 97 projects worth more than Rs. 38,000 Crore would be completed in 2018. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had given its ‘in-principle’ approval for the concept and institutional framework of Sagarmala Project in 2015. The National Perspective Plan (NPP) was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the inaugural Maritime India Summit in April 2016, in Mumbai.

20) Social activist Pushpa Bhave selected for Rajarshi Shahu award

  • On 26th June 2018, Pushpa Bhave, an eminent scholar and social activist was awarded the ‘Rajarshi Shahu Puraskar’ at an event in Kolhapur, Maharashtra.The function was organised on 26th June 2018 on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Rajarshi Shahu, a former ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Kolhapur. The ‘Rajarshi Shahu Puraskar’ award is given in the memory of Rajarshi Shahu, a well-known social reformer. The award consists of a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh. The award honours remarkable contribution of an individual in social work, science, fine arts, education and sports sectors.
  •  Pushpa Bhave is a resident of Mumbai. She has been active in several fields. She is 79 years old. She is also a thinker and an author. She has been honoured with this award for her contribution to several fields. She has fought for the empowerment of Dalits, women head loaders, sweepers, women beedi workers etc.She had involved in many political struggles. She also participated in the Samyukt Maharashtra Movement that started in 1956 to fight for a separate state for Marathi-speaking people. She also supported the Narmada Bachao Andolan for rehabilitation of dam-affected people.

21) Aye Finance introduces android-based App to expedite MSME lending

  • On 27th June 2018, Aye Finance announced the launch of an android-based loan application workflow for its fleet executives.The android-based loan application solution to expedite MSME lending will help in faster delivery for micro businesses.Aye Finance has equipped its 1000+ field staff with an android based loan application workflow that works on the cloud infrastructure enabling low cost operations that helps the inclusion of a larger number of grassroots businesses in organized lending.This platform integrates the entire loan process including customer enrolment, underwriting, monitoring and disbursal, improved accuracy and turnaround times.

22) Payment for ASHA workers hiked by 25%: Himachal Pradesh Cabinet

  • On June 26,2018, The Himachal Pradesh cabinet announced increment of the honorarium of ASHA workers of the health department from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,250. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. This will benefit 7,829 ASHA workers in the state.
  •  It was also decided to open a Government Model ITI at Sansarpur Tarrace in Kangra district along-with creation of requisite staff to manage the institute. Approval  to open a Regional Horticulture and Forestry Development and Extension Centre at Thunagand Jhanjehli in Mandi district was also given.

23) TechnipFMC India CSR initiative “’Seed of Hope” wins special recognition from GCNI

  • On 8th June 2018, TechnipFMC was awarded a special recognition award for their community development initiative in India called ‘Seed of Hope’, at the 13th National Convention 2018 at Shangri-La, Bengaluru. The 13th National Convention 2018 was conducted by Global Compact Network India (GCNI). More than 65 entities from private sector, public sector, NGOs and academic institutes took part in the Case Study Competition to exhibit Innovative Practices on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  •  TechnipFMC has been adjudged by the jury as a responsible corporate citizen in private sector for their integrated village development project at Suva Village in Dahej, Gujarat under the Seed of Hope program. Seed of Hope is the flagship CSR program of TechnipFMC. The project was started in 2016. It aims to enhance the quality of life of the village people in Suva in line with the UN SDGs framework:
    1. improving the quality of education
    2. better access to healthcare
    3. improving skill development
    4. women empowerment with livelihood opportunities
    5. environmental sustainability such as promoting clean energy, hygiene, sanitation and improving biodiversity

24) Uddhav Thackeray’s younger son Tejas Thackeray discovers 11 rare species of crabs

  • Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s younger son Tejas has discovered 11 rare species and a new genus of fresh water crabs in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra. Tejas Thackeray is 20 years old. His scientific research has been published by the journal named Zootaxa. The team has named the new genus ‘Sahyadriana’. It has been derived from “Sahyadri”. Sahyadri is the name for the Western Ghats in Marathi Language. The genus is endemic to this Mountain range.