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Important Current Affairs 16th August 2018

Important Current Affairs 16th August 2018

                                                       (National, Obituary)

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee Passes Away
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had been admitted to the AIIMS hospital in New Delhi for the past few weeks, died on Thursday. He was 93.
About Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Mr. Vajpayee was the first BJP leader to be sworn-in as the prime minister and the first non-Congress PM to complete five year term.
Born on December 25, 1924 in Gwalior, Mr. Vajpayee was elected 10 times to the Lok Sabha from four different States (the first time in 1957 from Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh), and was twice a Member of the Rajya Sabha in a storied career.

                                                           (National News)

Anandiben Patel takes oath as Governor of Chhattisgarh

•    Madhya Pardesh Governor Anandiben Patel, who has been given the additional charge of Chhattisgarh following the death of Governor Balramji Dass Tandon, was sworn in at a ceremony in Raipur.
•    Chhattisgarh High Court Chief Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi administered the oath of office to Patel during at the Raj Bhawan.
•    Anandiben Patel will discharge the additional duties until regular arrangements for the office of the governor of Chhattisgarh are made.


Bengal government removes income ceiling for 'Kanyashree' scheme

•    West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lifted the ceiling on annual family income for the beneficiaries of her government's flagship women welfare scheme 'Kanyashree' that aims to ensure girls stay in school and delay their marriages till at least the age of 18. So, from now everyone will get the Kanyashree benefit. 
•    Widening the reach of the scheme would cost the state government an additional Rs 200 crore.
•    The state had incurred an annual expenditure of Rs 1200 crore under the scheme last year.
•     It was the fifth anniversary celebrations of the scheme. 

Kanyashree Scheme
Kanyashree was launched in 2013 to prevent early marriage of girl children of socio-economically disadvantaged families whose annual income is Rs 120,000 or less. Close to 50 lakh beneficiaries are enrolled under the scheme so far in Bengal.

FSSAI unveils initiative to collect; convert used cooking oil into biofuel

•    The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched RUCO (Repurpose Used Cooking Oil), an initiative that will enable collection and conversion of used cooking oil to bio-diesel. 
•    The initiative has been launched nearly a month after the food safety regulator notified standards for used cooking oil.
•    Under this initiative, 64 companies at 101 locations have been identified to enable collection of used cooking oil. For instance: McDonald’s has already started converting used cooking oil to biodiesel from 100 outlets in Mumbai and Pune.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. The FSSAI has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which is a consolidating statute related to food safety and regulation in India. 
 

                                                             (Ranking)

Global Liveability Index 2018
  
•    Melbourne has been dislodged by Vienna for the first time at the top of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s global liveability index, strengthening the Austrian capital’s claim to being the world’s most pleasant city to live in.
•    The two metropolises have been neck and neck in the annual survey of 140 urban centres for years, with Melbourne clinching the title for the past seven editions.
•    This year, a downgraded threat of militant attacks in Western Europe as well as the city’s low crime rate helped nudge Vienna into first place.
•    Vienna and Melbourne scored maximum points in the healthcare, education and infrastructure categories. Osaka, Calgary and Sydney completed the top five in the survey
Global Liveability Ranking
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) publishes an annual Global Liveability Ranking, which ranks 140 cities for their urban quality of life based on assessments of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

                                                      (International News, Awards)

2018 Albany Prize Winners
Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., of the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), has been named a recipient of the 2018 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research for his leading role in the development of immunotherapy to treat cancer. Dr. Rosenberg will share the honor with fellow immunotherapy researchers James P. Allison, Ph.D., and Carl H. June, M.D. These all three will share a $500,000 medical prize.
Important to know:
•    Dr. Rosenberg is chief of the surgery branch at NCI, part of the National Institutes of Health.
•    Dr. Allison is chair of the Department of Immunology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
•    Dr. June is director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapy in the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 
•    Dr. Allison and Dr. June are supported by NCI grants and conduct research at NCI-designated cancer centers.
Albany Medical Center Prize
The Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research is the United States' second          highest value prize in medicine and biomedical research, awarded by the Albany Medical Center. 

                                                        (International News)

Additional funds for Nepal's Postal Highway by India 
•    The Indian Government  released additional NPR 470 million for the Postal Highway being constructed in Southern Plains of Nepal.
•    Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri handed over a cheque worth NPR 470 million to the Secretary of Nepal's Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Madhusudan Adhikari.
Important to know:
•    The amount has been released to maintain fund liquidity for the ongoing construction of 14 road packages under Postal Highway Project. 
•    With this payment, a total of NPR 2.35 billion stands released to the Government of Nepal out of the total grant assistance of NPR 8.00 billion committed by the Government of India for implementing 14 packages under Packages 2-6 of Phase I of the Postal Highway Project.

What is Postal Highway?
Postal Highway also called Hulaki Rajmarg runs across the Terai region of Nepal, from Bhadrapur in the east to Dodhara in the west, cutting across the entire width of the country. It is the oldest highway in Nepal constructed by Juddha Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana & Padma Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana to aid transportation and facilitate postal services throughout the nation.

24th World Congress of Philosophy opened in Beijing
 The 24th World Congress of Philosophy (WCP) opened on 13th August in Beijing. It is the first time that the quinquennial event is being held in China.
Themed "Learning To Be Human," the event will include more than 1,000 activities, such as plenary sessions, symposia, lectures and roundtables, according to the Chinese Organizing Committee of WCP 2018.
World Congress of Philosophy 
The World Congress of Philosophy (originally known as the International Conference of Philosophy) is a global meeting of philosophers held every five years under the auspices of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies (FISP). First organized in 1900, these events became firmly established after the Second World War. 
Purpose
The purpose of these events is to contribute to the development of professional relations between philosophers of all countries, promote philosophical education, and contribute to the impact of philosophical knowledge on global problems. 

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Important Current Affairs 15th August 2018

Important Current Affairs 15th August 2018 

                                                      National News

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0
Higher Education Institutions of Human Resource Development Ministry under its flagship program – Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA) 2.0 will participate in Gram Sabhas to be organised on the occasion of Independence Day tomorrow. 688 institutions are selected on a Challenge Mode (426 technical and 262 non- technical) which are reputed Higher Educational Institutes (both public and private) of the country, which have adopted 3555 villages for their development through UBA. IIT Delhi is also organizing 5 Gram Sabhas in its adopted village Panchayats.
Israel Opens Visa Application Centre In Kolkata

Film festival to be held on theme of “Freedom Struggle and Freedom Fighters”
 

Films Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will hold film festival on occasion of 72nd Independence Day on the theme, “Freedom Struggle and Freedom Fighters”, on 15th August, 2018.
The festival will be inaugurated by Smt. Rama Khandwala, nonagenarian freedom fighter and Indian National Army (INA) veteran.During the festival, noteworthy documentary films on freedom struggle and freedom fighters will be screened from 10:30AM.
Nepal-India Literature Festival 2018 Begins in Birgunj 


Exim Bank Signs MoU With BRIC Development Banks

Exim Bank of India has signed a multilateral cooperation agreement with member development banks of BRICS to undertake “collaborative research” in distributed ledger/blockchain technology. The MoU signed by Exim Bank Managing Director David Rasquinha was an outcome of the discussions the member development banks had during their annual meeting, with the objective of strengthening the cooperation under the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism.

Rain water harvesting system provided by CPWD
To address the problem of depleting ground water resources, CPWD had decided for storage of the rain  water and artificial recharge of the ground water by providing rain water harvesting systems in its campuses and works to conserve and use the rain water and augment ground water resources to save it from further depletion.
CPWD played a pioneering role in promoting adoption of the Rain water harvesting/artificial recharge to ground water in the country. CPWD has so far provided about 1100 rain water harvesting systems in different locations/ areas under its jurisdiction in the country. 

Meeting Of Senior Officials Of BIMSTEC Held
I. A special meeting of Senior Officials of the Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multi-Sectoral, Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was held in Kathmandu today.
II. The meeting also agreed to recommend a theme "Towards a peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable Bay of Bengal Region" for the Summit.

Nepal-India Literature Festival 2018 Begins in Birgunj 
I. Nepal-India Literature Festival 2018 has begun in Birgunj, Nepal. The festival was inaugurated by Chief Minister of Province 2 Mohammad Lalbabu Raut. The festival is aimed at strengthening Indo-Nepal ties. 
II. On this occasion, eminent writers from both the countries were also felicitated. Around 250 participants from India and Nepal attending the two-day festival.

Science and Technology

India To Launch 2nd Lunar Mission 'Chandrayaan-2'
 

India will launch its second lunar mission “Chandrayaan-2” on January 3, 2019, to land on the moon with a lander and rover. According to Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman K. Sivan, ISRO is aiming to launch the mission but the window to land on the lunar surface is open till March 2019. The 800-crore rupees is the cost of lunar mission named “Chandrayaan-2”. The 3,890-kg Chandrayaan-2, which will be launched onboard the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-3.

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Important Current Affairs 14th August 2018

Important Current Affairs 14th August 2018

NATIONAL NEWS

Ashish Kumar Bhutani appointed CEO of PM crop insurance scheme

Senior bureaucrat Ashish Kumar Bhutani has been appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), according to an order issued by the Personnel Ministry today.

Ashish Kumar Bhutani

Bhutani, a 1992 batch IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, has been appointed to the post till May 9, 2020.

Important:

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana was launched in 2016, the PMFBY is in line with one nation – one scheme theme.


Release of "Digital North East Vision 2022" in Guwahati
 

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice released the document 'Digital North East Vision 2022' at Radisson Hotel in Guwahati today.

Digital North East Vision 2022

•    According to the vision document, high-speed broadband connectivity will be provided in all the uncovered villages in the northeastern region. 

•    With an aim to empower the people of the northeastern region the vision document identified eight digital areas thrust areas -- digital infrastructure, digital services, digital empowerment, promotion of electronics manufacturing, promotion of IT and IT enabled services including BPOs, digital payments, innovation & startups,  and cyber security.

First project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme the ‘North East Circuit”
 
•    Dr. Najma A. Heptulla, Hon’ble Governor of Manipur will be inaugurating the project “Development of North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom” implemented under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in the presence of Shri N Biren Singh, Chief Minister Manipur, Shri K.J. Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism and Smt. Rashmi Verma, Union Tourism Secretary in Imphal today. 
•    The above project is the first project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme being inaugurated in the country.
Swadesh Darshan scheme
•    Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship schemes of Ministry of tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner. 
•    The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 70 projects for Rs.5708.88 Crore to 29 States and UTs under the Scheme. 
•    30 projects / major components of these projects are expected to be completed this year.


Launch of road safety awareness video
Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari today launched road safety awareness video with Brand ambassador of road safety campaign actor Akshay Kumar in New Delhi. 
  
According to facts, the number of people killed in road accidents is much more than the total lives lost in wars. 

Objective:

The priority of the Government is to reduce road accidents. 
Important:    
The central government is yet to get the Road Safety Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha, which has provisions for stricter penalties for offenders.

Launch of “Pitch to MOVE” 
NITI Aayog has launched “Pitch to MOVE” - a mobility pitch competition that aims to provide budding entrepreneurs of India a unique opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a distinguished jury. Startups working in the various fields of mobility can pitch their ideas to industry leaders and Venture Capitalists for raising investments. Winners of the event will be felicitated by Hon’ble PM during the Global Mobility Summit
Objective:
•    "Pitch to MOVE aims to identify and incentivise the startups, which will help the Government realize its vision of Shared, Connected, Intermodal and Environment Friendly Mobility for India.
•    The objective is to harness the latest disruption for generating employment and growth in our country. We look forward to working together with these startups", said Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog.

About “Pitch to MOVE”
“Pitch to MOVE” is organised by NITI Aayog in collaboration with Invest India and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) as a part of a series of engaging featured events in the run up to the main event. The Summit is scheduled to be held on 7th and 8th Sep 2018 at Vigyan Bhawan, in New Delhi and is being inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.

Inauguration of NDMC Smart City projects


Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated various initiatives as part of smart city project of New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).
Important:
•    The facilities inaugurated by Rajnath includes smart poles with free wi-fi, 360 degree cameras and environmental sensors, solar tree with the LED lights, mobile charging points, ideation centre for promoting smart city entrepreneurs, two hi-tech nurseries and others. He flagged off four mechanical road sweepers, two litter picking machines and ten auto trippers under the Swachhta initiatives.   
•    He also released a Coffee Table Book on green initiatives of NDMC titled “Green and Colourful NDMC - A Transformational Journey” on the occasion.

Consumer Price Index Numbers for the Month of July 2018
 
The Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has revised the Base Year of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from 2010=100 to 2012=100 with effect from the release of indices for the month of January 2015.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure that examines the weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food and medical care. It is calculated by taking price changes for each item in the predetermined basket of goods and averaging them.


Index Numbers of Wholesale Price in India 
 
The official Wholesale Price Index for ‘All Commodities’ (Base: 2011-12=100) for the month of July, 2018 rose by 0.4 percent to 119.7 (provisional) from 119.2 (provisional) for the previous month.

 Wholesale Price Index (WPI)
The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is the price of a representative basket of wholesale goods. Some countries (like the Philippines) use WPI changes as a central measure of inflation. But now India has adopted new CPI to measure inflation. However, United States now report a producer price index instead.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Iran unveils next generation short-range ballistic missile
                
Iran has unveiled its next generation short-range ballistic missile with a warning that its 'will to enhance our defence power in all fields will increase'.

Fateh Mobin rocket
•    The Fateh Mobin rocket was described by Iranian defence minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami as '100-percent domestically made - agile, stealth, tactical (and) precision-guided'. 
•    The new missile's range was not given, but previous versions had a range of around 200 to 300 kilometres, according to the US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
•    Fateh-110 missile was test-fired by Iran during naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz last week.

Approval of defense budget bill that focuses on threats posed by China
 

•    US President Donald Trump has approved a defense budget bill that focuses on threats posed by China. 

•    The President signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2019, authorizing 717 billion dollars for national defense, an increase of 17 billion dollars from the current fiscal year that ends in September. 
•    
The NDAA, outlines US military policy and the funds needed to support it. The Act bans US government agencies from using products of major Chinese communication equipment manufacturers, including ZTE, to prevent leaks of confidential information. 
•    It also strengthens screenings of foreign investors who want to buy US businesses. 

SPORTS

Kohli loses top spot in ICC Test rankings to out-of-action Smith
 

•    Indian captain Virat Kohli lost his number one position in the ICC Test rankings for batsmen, dropping to second after a forgettable performance in the lost second Test against England.
•    Kohli lost the position to former Australian captain Steve Smith, who is currently serving a one-year ban owing to his role in the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa earlier this year.
Background:

•    India captain Virat Kohli on 5th of August 2018 topped the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen.
•    Kohli thus became the seventh India batsman, and first since Sachin Tendulkar (in June 2011) to be ranked the number one Test batsman in the latest ICC rankings released on 5th August.


 

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Important Current Affairs 13th August 2018

Important Current Affairs 13th August 2018 

                                                      National News

Beneficiaries under the scheme for Adolescent Girls in 2017-18
•    The Government is implementing Scheme for Adolescent Girls, a Centrally-sponsored scheme, to provide nutrition support for out of school adolescent girls (11-14 years).
•    The scheme has two components Nutrition and Non Nutrition.
•    More than 7 lakh out of school adolescent girls (11-14 years) benefitted under the scheme for Adolescent Girls in 2017-18.
•    In 2018-19, against the allocation of Rs. 500 crore, as of now a sum of Rs. 81.59 crore has been released to States/UTs.
Objective:
•    In addition, the scheme aims at motivating out of school girls in the age group of 11-14 years to go back to formal schooling or skill training under non-nutrition component of the scheme. 
•    The Scheme aims at all-round development of out-of-school Adolescent Girls of age 11-14 years and is implemented through the State Governments/UTs using ICDS infrastructure.
Important:
Minister of Women and Child Development is Stm Maneka Sanjay Gandhi.

Centre unlocks over 66 thousand crore green fund to increase forest cover 
•    The Centre has unlocked more than 66,000 crore rupees to increase the country’s forest cover. 
•    The Centre has finally notified the rules for utilisation of the money by states and Union Territories, and for setting up authorities to monitor its use for afforestation and conservation.
•    The rules have been framed two years after a law to this effect was enacted.
•    The rules specify that 80 percent of the compensatory afforestation amount will be utilised by states for plantations, assisted natural regeneration of forests, forest fire prevention, and pest and disease control in forest, soil and moisture conservation works and improvement of wildlife habitat, among others, in the list of 13 permissible activities. 
•    The remaining 20 percent will be used for 11 listed works to strengthen forest and wildlife protection related infrastructure.

All districts will be covered under the POSHAN Abhiyan 2019-20
•    POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission - NNM) set up by Government on November, 2017 aims to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anemia and low birth weight babies. 
•    Coverage of districts in a phased manner is 315 districts in 2017-18, 235 districts in 2018-19 and remaining districts in 2019-20.
•    The total budget for the POSHAN Abhiyaan is Rs.9046.17 crore with GoI share of Rs.2849.54 crore.
The important components of the Abhiyaan are:
Ensuring convergence with various programmes; incentivizing States/ UTs for achieving goals; IT enabled Real Time Monitoring (ICT-RTM); Evaluation; weighing efficiency and making nutrition visible; Community mobilization awareness advocacy etc. measuring height and length of children below 6 years of age. 


Launch of “PARIVESH”
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, launched PARIVESH (Pro-Active andResponsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-windowHub) on the occasion of World Biofuel Day.
PARIVESH
PARIVESH is a Single-Window Integrated Environmental Management System, developed in pursuance of the spirit of ‘Digital India’ initiated by the Prime Minister and capturing the essence of Minimum Government and Maximum Governance.

                                                               National News, Appointment

New Chairperson of Appellate Tribunal for Electricity
Smt. Justice Manjula Chellur took Oath as Chairperson, Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, Ministry of Power, here today. Prior to this, Smt. Justice Manjula Chellur was Chief Justice of Bombay High Court.  
Background:
Smt. Justice Manjula Chellur was born on 5th December, 1955 in Karnataka. She was the first woman Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court.  Smt. Justice Manjula chellur also served as the Chief Justice of Kerala High Court and the first female judge of the Karnataka High Court.  She demitted her office as Chief Justice of Bombay High Court upon attaining the age of superannuation on 4th December, 2017.

                                                           National News, Science

Jammu, Agartala to get Space Research Technology Centres
•    Union minister Jitendra Singh said Jammu and Tripura will get the country’s first Space Technology Research Centre. While the first centre in north India will function under Jammu-based Central University, the Tripura centre will work will work under Agartala-based NIT.
•    This was disclosed on the occasion of the beginning of year-long "Sarabhai Centenary" programmes of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), starting from today, that is, the 99th birth anniversary of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, the first Chairman of ISRO and the founding father of India's Space Programme.
Important:
The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh.


Inauguration of the Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES)
Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan inaugurated a genetic resource storage facility at the Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES).
Details:
•    The Wildlife Genetic Resource Bank at LaCONES can store 17,000 vials worth of samples.
•    Currently genetic material, including DNA, cells and tissues besides semen and eggs of 23 wildlife species are stored. 
•    It is learnt a proposal has been made by the institution to increase the storage capacity. 
•    The bank will facilitate research and, if attempted, scope for cloning.

                                                       National News, Defence


DAC Approval for Procurement of Six Ngopvs
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman met here today and accorded approval for the procurement of six indigenously designed and manufactured Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessels (NGOPVs) for the Indian Navy at an approximate cost of Rs. 4941 crore.
Salient Features:
•    The NGOPVs will be built in indigenous shipyards and will be fitted with state-of-the-art sensor suite with increased endurance. These platforms will strengthen maritime security by undertaking a multitude of operational roles both in blue water and littorals. 
•    These include seaward defence, protection of offshore assets, maritime interdiction operations and search & seizure operations, surveillance missions, mine warfare, anti-piracy missions, counter infiltration operations, anti-poaching/trafficking operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and search and rescue missions.

                                                                         Obituary

Veteran leader Somnath Chatterjee passed away in Kolkata
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee passed away in Kolkata this morning following a multiple organ failure. He was 89.
Important about Somnath Chatterjee
•    Somnath Chatterjee (25 July 1929 - 13 August 2018) was an Indian politician who had been associated with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for most of his life, though he was independent in the last decade of his life. 
•    He was the 13th Speaker of the Lok Sabha (House of the People) from 2004 to 2009.
•    He was Member of Parliament for Bolpur, West Bengal, and Member of Parliament for Jadavpur, West Bengal, and Member of Parliament for Bardhaman, West Bengal.

                                                                        Day & Dates


World Elephant Day Observed on August 12

•    World Elephant Day is an international annual event on August 12, dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world's elephants.
•    The first International Elephant Day was held on August 12, 2012. The film Return to the Forest, narrated by William Shatner, is about the reintroduction of captive Asian elephants to the wild and was released on the inaugural World Elephant Day.
Objective:
The goal of International Elephant Day is to create awareness of the urgent plight of African and Asian elephants, and to share knowledge and positive solutions for the better care and management of captive and wild elephants. African elephants are listed as "Vulnerable" and Asian elephants as "Endangered" on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. 

International Youth Day is celebrated globally 
•    International Youth Day is celebrated globally on August 12. 
•    There are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world – the largest youth population ever.
Theme 2018
•    This year’s theme is Safe Spaces for Youth and the contributions they make towards freedom of expression, mutual respect, and constructive dialogue. Among these spaces are civic spaces, public spaces, digital spaces and physical spaces.
•    The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically Goal 11, emphasizes the need for the provision of space towards inclusive and sustainable urbanization.

                                                    International News, Appointment

Michelle Bachelet appointed as the world body's next top human rights official 
•    Former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet was appointed by the UN General Assembly as the world body's next top human rights official to replace Jordanian diplomat Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein.
•    UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had this week nominated Bachelet to be the next UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Her name was forwarded for consideration by the 193-member UN General Assembly, which approved her appointment.
Important
•    Bachelet will be the seventh High Commissioner since the Office was created in 1993. Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein has been in office since 1 September 2014. His predecessors are: Jos Ayala-Lasso (1994-97); Mary Robinson (1997-2002); Sergio Vieira de Mello (2002-03); Louise Arbour (2004-08); and Navi Pillay (2008-14).
•    Verónica Michelle Bachelet (29 September 1951) is a Chilean politician who was the President of Chile twice, from 2006 to 2010 and from 2014 to 2018, the first woman in her country to occupy this position.

                                                        International News


India hands over 1st lot of houses to Indian-origin people in Sri Lanka 
•    India has handed over the first lot of houses built under a USD 350 million project for Indian-origin people, mostly Tamils, in Sri Lanka's tea plantation areas.
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined the special ceremony through video conferencing at Dunsinane Estate in Nuwara Eliya city to hand over the houses constructed under the Indian Housing Project, the largest one by India in any country.
Figures and Facts:
•    Some 404 houses were handed over to the Indian-origin people, mostly Tamils. 
•    Out of the 60,000 houses, close to 47,000 have been completed so far.
•    Prime Minister Modi said that "we are signing the agreement for the construction of the additional 10,000 houses at a cost of 12 billion Sri Lankan Rupees". 

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Important Current Affairs 12th August 2018

Important Current Affairs 12th August 2018

NATIONAL NEWS

Axis Bank first to introduce iris authentication for Aadhaar-based transactions

Axis Bank became first bank in the country to introduce Iris Scan Authentication feature for Aadhaar-based transactions through its micro ATM tablets. These micro ATM tablets are Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) certified and UIDAI compliant registered devices with completely integrated iris sensors.
Axis Bank is presently running pilot program of iris-based Aadhaar authentication for its customers at eight branches in rural segment largely covering areas of Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. It is also exploring its application for varied services such as loan processing, insurance, eKYC account opening and others, most likely extending to the semi-urban and urban regions as well.


Interest Subvention on Loan of Farmers
The Government of India (GoI) has been implementing the Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS) since 2006-07 under which short term crop loans upto Rs. 3.00 lakh are made available to farmers at subvented interest rate of 7% per annum. Further from 2009-10 to incentivize the prompt payee farmers, the GoI also introduced a provision of Prompt Repayment Incentive (PRI) under the Scheme. Presently, under ISS, the GoI provides PRI @ 3% to the prompt payee farmers for repayment of their crop loans as per the repayment schedule fixed by the banks or within a period of one year from the date of disbursement, whichever is earlier.
A request has been received from the Government of Rajasthan for release of interest subvention by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural development (NABARD) to Rajasthan State Cooperative Bank Ltd. in the beginning of the year. Alternatively, it has been suggested that a revolving fund for matching amount be created to enable Short Term Cooperative Credit Structure to avail timely interest subvention.


CSIR’s new patented Clot buster, PEGylated Streptokinase set to revolutionize the treatment of Strokes


A new Clot buster, PEGylated Streptokinase - a Novel Biological Entity developed by Dr. Girish Sahni, DG, CSIR and Secretary, DSIR and his team of inventors at CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology (CSIR-IMTECH), Chandigarh is all set to revolutionize the treatment of ischemic strokes. Ischemic stroke is a condition caused by a dysfunction in the supply of blood to the brain due to emboli, thrombus or atherosclerosis occurring in cerebral arteries. According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), brain strokes are the second leading cause of death in the world with a staggering       15 million people effected causing 11 million people either die or become permanently disabled. Surprisingly, the prevalence of stroke is much higher in India than the West and about 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes.
 

Promotion of Zero Budget Natural Farming
Government of India has been promoting organic farming in the country through the dedicated schemes of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) since 2015-16 and also through Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY). In the revised guidelines of PKVY scheme during the year 2018, various organic farming models like Natural Farming, Rishi Farming, Vedic Farming, Cow Farming, Homa Farming, Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) etc. have been included wherein flexibility is given to states to adopt any model of Organic Farming including ZBNF depending on farmer’s choice. Under the RKVY scheme, organic farming/ natural farming project components are considered by the respective State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC) according to their priority/ choice.


Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) under Network Project on Organic Farming (NPOF) and All India Coordinated Research Projects (AICRP) on Integrated Farming Systems, has initiated an experiment on “Evaluation of zero budget farming practices in basmati rice-wheat system” at Modipuram (Uttar Pradesh), Ludhiana (Punjab), Pantnagar (Uttarakhand) and Kurukshetra (Haryana) from rabi 2017 to study the zero budget farming practices on productivity, economics and soil health including soil organic carbon and soil fertility.

Mission Indradhanush
Mission Indradhanush aims to increase full immunization coverage in India to atleast 90% children by December 2018. The salient feature of Mission Indradhanush is to cover unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children in areas with low immunization coverage, in both urban and rural areas. The State/UT - wise details of children and women vaccinated including Uttar Pradesh under Mission Indradhanush is given at Annexure-1.
No separate funds are allocated for Mission Indradhanush. Funds allocated for Routine Immunization under part ‘C’ of Programme Implementation Plan (PIP) are being utilized by the states to carryout activities under Mission Indradhanush. No Mission Indradhanush does not targets to reduce post natal death rate but targets to reduce diseases and death due to vaccine preventable diseases. The State/UT - wise number of children and women vaccinated during the year 2017-18 is given at Annexure-2.
 

Bhopal smart city incubation hub to get support from US-tech
Use of drone imagery to map and geo-tag properties, real-time video to map vehicular movement, electricity supply monitoring that predicts peak usage – could all be a reality in incubation centre of Bhopal Smart city development corporation limited (BSCDCL).
On Thursday, BSCDCL incubation hub, B-Nest inked an MoU with ESRI, a GIS mapping software, spatial data analytics and location company headquartered in California. Likes of pioneering ArcGIS, the world's most powerful mapping and analytics software and other software’s would be available for those associated with B-nest, said Esri India, president, Agendra Kumar. It is the second such tie-up by the company. The being Telangana government backed start-up incubator T-Hub.

DIHAR organises 25th annual Ladakhi Kisan-Jawan-Vigyan Mela
General Officer Commanding (GOC) 14 Corps Lt. Gen S K Upadhyay inaugurated two-day Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) annual Ladakhi Kisan-Jawan-Vigyan Mela in Leh. The army gets a lot of assistances from DIHAR. 45 per cent of the requirement of vegetables is made by local organic producers of DIHAR. The mela is a good platform to showcase the products of locals and also gives an opportunity to learn about agricultural activities at DIHAR. Over the decades, DIHAR has carried out researches in high altitude agriculture and animal sciences and made several breakthroughs.


OBITUARY

Nobel-winning writer VS Naipaul dies
 VS Naipaul, the Trinidad-born Nobel laureate whose precise and lyrical writing in such novels as "A Bend in the River" and "A House for Mr. Biswas" and brittle, misanthropic personality made him one of the world's most admired and contentious writers, died at his London home.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 

Nasa launches Parker Solar Probe, mankind's first mission to touch the Sun
Nasa's Parker Solar Probe, mankind's first mission to 'touch' the Sun, has been launched today on a seven-year-long journey to unlock the mysteries of our star's fiery outer atmosphere and its effects on space weather.

Liftoff took place from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the US early on Sunday. The $1.5 billion mission will perform the closest-ever observations of a star when it travels through the Sun's outer atmosphere, called the corona.

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Important Current Affairs 11th August 2018

Important Current Affairs 11th August 2018

 INTERNATIONAL NEWS

 Curtain Raiser: Exercise SCO Peace Mission 2018 

As part of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) initiatives, SCO Peace Mission Exercise is conducted biennially for SCO member states. The joint exercise for the year 2018 will be conducted by Central Military Commission of Russia from 22 August to 29 August 2018 at Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk, Russia. This will be a historic occasion due to the maiden participation of India post becoming a full member of the SCO in June 2017. This exercise marks a major milestone in the multilateral relations of SCO member nations. The exercise will involve tactical level operations in an international counter insurgency or counter terrorism environment under SCO Charter. 
Indian contingent of 200 personnel is primarily composed of troops from infantry and affiliated arms & services alongwith Indian Air Force. The Indian contingent has been put through a strenuous training schedule which includes firing, heliborne operations, combat conditioning, tactical operations and house intervention drills.

NATIONAL NEWS

56th Convocation of IIT Bombay
The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, addressed the 56th Convocation of Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in Mumbai. Addressing the graduating students, the Prime Minister said that the success of the IITs inspired the creation of several engineering colleges around the country, which led to India becoming one of the world’s largest pools of technical manpower.
The PM said that IIT graduates are at the forefront of some of the best start-ups in India. These are start-ups that are also at the forefront of solving so many national problems. 
Speaking of innovation, the PM said that the best ideas come not in Government buildings or fancy offices, but in campuses like that of IITs, in the minds of youngsters studying in such campuses. He invited students to Innovate in India, innovate for humanity. He stated that innovations and enterprise are going to be the foundation stone for making India a developed economy. A long term sustainable technology-led economic growth is possible on this foundation.

Index of Industrial Production (IIP): Industrial output records 5-month high growth of 7% in June 2018
According to data released by Central Statistics Office (CSO), factory output measured in terms of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had 7% in June 2018, five-month high. This was on account of higher output in mining, manufacturing and power generation segments.

Facts
1. The cumulative IIP growth for period April-June 2018 was 5.2% over corresponding period of previous year.
2. The manufacturing sector in June 2018 grew by 6.9%, as against decline of 0.7% in the year-ago month.
3. Power generation segment grew by 8.5% in June against 2.1% growth year ago. The mining sector output recorded 6.6% growth in June against 0.1% in June 2017.


Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
IIP is composite indicator that measures short-term changes in volume of production of basket of industrial products during given period with respect to chosen base period. It is compiled and published monthly by Central Statistical Organization (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.


IBC Bill amendment passed, puts homebuyers at par with financial creditors

A bill to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) 2016, allowing home buyers to be treated as financial creditors and seeking to set up a special dispensation for small sector enterprises, was passed by Parliament on Friday. The bill, which was passed in Lok Sabha on July 31, was approved in the Rajya Sabha by a voice vote. The legislation seeks to replace the June 6 ordinance that sought to put these amendments into force to aid quick resolution of several bankrupt firms.

India gets first all-women SWAT team, all 36 commandos from northeast

The Delhi Police inducted India's first all-woman Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team for anti-terrorist operations. After rigorous training of around 15 months from specialists all across India and abroad, 36 women commandos from the northeastern states have been inducted into this squad. While 13 members are from Assam, rest of them hail from Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Manipur.
Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, who was behind the idea of the SWAT team, said, "The team is ready to take on hostage crises and terror strikes in urban areas.


Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh launches 'Tiffin Yojana' for poor labourers

Cheif Minister Raman Singh has launched the "Mukhyamantri MNREGA Mazdoor Tiffin Vitaran Yojana" wherein the state will distribute tiffin boxes to over 10 lakh labourers for free.
He said, "The government has come forward with many beneficial schemes for the labourers. One among them is Tiffin Yojana that comes under Mahatma Gandhi Gramin Rozgar Guarantee Yojana in which around 10, 80,000 labourers will be given tiffins in a month."

Gita Mittal Becomes Jammu And Kashmir's First Woman Chief Justice

Justice Gita Mittal has become the first woman Chief Justice of Jammu And Kashmir High Court.  She took oath on Saturday morning. The ceremony was administered by Governor Narinder Nath Vohra at Srinagar. Mittal had been previously appointed as the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court on April 14, 2017, after the retirement of Chief Justice Gorla Rohini.
Justice Mittal completed her graduation from Campus Law Centre in 1981. In 2004, she was appointed as the Additional Judge of Delhi High Court and was made permanent in 2008. She had been a member of the Governing Council of the National Law University and Indian Law Institute, New Delhi since 2013.
Before being appointed as the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, she chaired the court committees on the Delhi High Court's Mediation and Conciliation Centre, as well as the committee monitoring the Implementation of Judicial Guidelines for Dealing with Cases of Sexual Offences and Child Witnesses.

President of India inaugurates ‘One District one Product’ Summit
The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the ‘One District One Product’ Summit in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
The President said that micro, small and medium enterprises are called the backbone of our economy. These enterprises are engines of inclusive development. After the agricultural sector, most people find employment in this sector. This sector generates more employment opportunities at a lower cost of capital. And the most important thing about this sector is that it creates jobs in rural and backward areas.
The President noted that under the ‘One District One Product’ scheme, the state government has set a goal of providing employment to 25 lakh people in five years through the financial assistance of Rs. 25,000 crores. He expressed hope that this scheme will create large number of employment opportunities for the youth and strengthen the inclusive and sustainable development of Uttar Pradesh.

Cage Farming in Karnataka
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) on Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries approved by the Government in December 2015 inter-alia provides financial assistance for (i) open sea cage culture and (ii) installation of cages/pens in reservoirs and other open water bodies. Under the CSS, the unit cost of open sea cage is fixed at Rs. 5 lakh per cage and having minimum diameter of 6 m and depth of 4 m in case of each circular cage and 96 cubic meter volume (6mx4mx4m) in case of each rectangular cage. 
Similarly, the unit cost for installation of cages/pens in reservoirs and other open water bodies is fixed at Rs. 3 lakh per cage including installation and inputs for first crop.
The Government of Karnataka reported the installation of 8 marine cages with an expenditure of Rs. 29.9 lakh for Seabass and Cobia culture and a total of 102 cages in reservoir with an expenditure of Rs.81 lakh. Besides, National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), Hyderabad has also sanctioned 500 brackish-water cages to the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) for installation in the selected District of Karnataka.

New Pension Scheme (NPS)

National Pension System (NPS) has been designed giving utmost importance to the welfare of the subscribers. Government has made a conscious move to shift from the defined benefit Pension Scheme to defined contribution pension scheme i.e. NPS, due to rising and unsustainable pension bill. There are a number of benefits available to the employees under NPS. Some of the benefits are enlisted below:
1. NPS is a well designed pension system managed through an unbundled architecture involving intermediaries appointed by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) viz. pension funds, custodian, central record keeping and accounting agency, National Pension System Trust, trustee bank, points of presence and Annuity service providers.
2. The pension wealth which accumulates over a period of time till retirement grows with a compounding effect. The all-in-costs of the institutional architecture of NPS are among the lowest in the world.
3. Contribution made to the NPS Tier-I account is eligible for tax deduction under the Income Tax Act, 1961. An additional tax rebate of Rs.50000 is also allowed for contributions made to NPS Tier-I under Section 80CCD (1B) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
4. PFRDA has increased the maximum age limit from 60 years to 65 years for joining NPS-All Citizen Model and Corporate Sector Model, vide “PFRDA (Exits and Withdrawals under the NPS) (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2017” dated 06.10.2017.
5. PFRDA vide “PFRDA (Exits and Withdrawals under the NPS) (Third Amendment) Regulations, 2018” dated 02.02.2018 has facilitated easy exit & withdrawal in case of disability and incapacitation of the subscriber covered under NPS.
6. Transparency and Portability is ensured through online access of the pension account by the NPS subscribers, across all geographical locations and portability of employments.

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Important Current Affairs 10th August 2018

  

Important Current Affairs 10th August 2018

                                            INTERNATIONAL NEWS

MoU between India and Indonesia on Health cooperation
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Indonesia on health cooperation.


 The MoU covers the following areas of cooperation:-
 1.    Research and development, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and IT-based medical equipment;
2.    Human Resource Development;
3.    Health services; and
4.    Any other area as may be mutually agreed upon.
 


India and Canada comes together on collaboration among Chartered Accountant Institutions  
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of the "Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)" between "Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)" and "Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)".

 Significance:
•    The aim is to work together to develop a mutually beneficial relationship in the best interest of ICAI members, students and their organizations.
•    The MoU will provide an opportunity to the ICAI members to expand their professional horizon and simultaneously ICAI will become an entity to aid strengthen brand building of local nations. 
•    The MoU will foster strong working relations between the ICAI & CPA Canada.

Beneficiaries:

•    The MoU would help encourage more and younger Indian Chartered Accountants to take up the recognition of "CPA Canada" professional designation to further help them pursue professional opportunities in Canada. 

•    A number of Indian Chartered Accountants are holding top level positions in Canadian companies and with the recognition from CPA Canada, the Canadian Corporates would trust Indian talent and skills more and proceed to hire them.

Global Innovation Index, GII- 2018 launched in India
•    India's rank on the Global Innovation Index (GII) has improved from 60th last year to 57th this year. India has been consistently climbing the GII ranking for the past two years.
•    Its position improved from 80 in 2015 to 66 in 2016 after sliding for successive five years. 
•    According to Mr Ratan P Watal Government and industry must synergise their efforts to promote R&D and innovation in the country. 
•    NITI Aayog will join hands with CII to drive innovation in India.


Scientific and Technological Cooperation between India and Indonesia 

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Indonesia on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.
Objective of this MoU:
•    The objective of the MoU is to promote cooperation in the fields of science and technology between India and Indonesia on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
•    The stake-holders will include researchers from scientific organizations, academia, R&D laboratories and companies from India and Indonesia.
•    Information and Communication Technology; Marine Science & Technology; Life Sciences (including Biotechnology, Agriculture and Biomedical Sciences); Energy Research; Water Technologies; Disaster Management; Space Sciences, Technology and Applications; Geospatial Information and Applied Chemistry were identified as potential areas for immediate collaboration.

Trade Remedy Cooperation between India and Korea 

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi gave its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Korea on Trade Remedy Cooperation.

The MoU was signed in July 2018 during the State visit of President of Korea to India.

Significance

The MoU will promote cooperation between the two countries in the area of trade remedies viz. anti-dumping, subsidy and countervailing and safeguard measures, which will enhance the bilateral trade relations.
Important
President of South Korea is Moon Jae-in


NRIs cannot file RTI applications

•    Non-Resident Indians cannot file Right to Information (RTI) applications to seek governance-related information from the Central government departments.
•    Only citizens of India have the right to seek information under the provisions of Right to Information Act, 2005. Non-Resident Indians are not eligible to file RTI applications.

Right to Information Act, 2005
•    Right to Information (RTI) is an Act of the Parliament of India to provide for setting out the practical regime of the right to information for citizens and replaces the erstwhile Freedom of information Act, 2002.
•    Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen of India may request information from a "public authority" (a body of Government or "instrumentality of State") which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days.
•     The Act also requires every public authority to computerise their records for wide dissemination and to proactively certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.

Important:
Minister of State for Personnel is Jitendra Singh 

                                             

                                                   NATIONAL NEWS

CIL entered into a tripartite MoU with NSDF and NSDC
In the coal sector, Coal India Ltd. (CIL) has entered into a tripartite MoU with National Skill Development Fund (NSDF) and National Skill Development Center (NSDC) under Skill India Mission of Govt. of India for standardization of Skills and Training & Assessment of their employees as well as Contractual Workers, Project affected Persons (PAP), Youth & Women in its command area to bring them in line with NSDC Qualifications. Till date, Rs.15 Crore (approx.) have been spent on the project to impart training to 39953 persons (including 4700 contractual workers).

Figures:

2018-19(Fund Allocation): 106.02 Crore
2017-18(Fund Allocation): 72.76 Crore

Important:

The Minister of Railways, Coal, Finance & Corporate Affairs is Shri Piyush Goyal 

Begging in the national capital is decriminalized by Delhi High Court

According to the Delhi High Court Criminalising begging is a wrong approach to deal with the underlying causes of the problem, as it quashed provisions in the law that made begging a punishable offence.

What the Law Says:

The act of begging in the national Capital was made a criminal offence after the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, was extended to Delhi by a Central government amendment in 1960.

The law prescribes a penalty of three years of detention in beggar homes in case of first conviction for begging and the person can be ordered to be detained for 10 years in subsequent conviction.

S Gurumurthy, Satish Marathe appointed as directors on RBI board 
The government has appointed Swaminathan Gurumurthy and Satish Kashinath Marathe as  part-time non-official directors on the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) board. 

The Cabinet's Appointments Committee approved their appointment following a proposal from the Department of Financial Services.

About Swaminathan Gurumurthy

•    Gurumurthy, an economist and chartered accountant by profession, is also the co-convenor of RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch. 

•    He is also the editor of Tamil political weekly Thuglak. 

•    A vocal supporter of PM Narendra Modi's policies, Gurumurthy had defended the demonetisation of high value currency notes.

About Satish Kashinath Marathe

•    Marathe, started banking career with Bank of India, then he became chairman of The United Western Bank Ltd.

•    He is also the founder of Sahakar Bharati, an NGO that supports co-operatives in India.

RBI to pay Rs 50,000 cr dividend to govt for FY18

•    The RBI decided to pay Rs 50,000 crore as dividend to government in line with the Union Budget provisions, helping the Centre stick to its fiscal roadmap.

•    The Reserve Bank, which follows July-June financial year, has paid about 63 per cent higher dividend than previous year (2016-17). The RBI made a dividend payout of Rs 30,659 crore for the fiscal ended June 2017.

Important:

•    The government projected to collect Rs 54,817.25 crore as dividend or Surplus of Reserve Bank of India, Nationalised Banks and Financial Institutions. 

•    The RBI transferred a surplus of Rs 30,659 crore as dividend to the government for the year ended June 30, 2017, which was less than half of what it paid in the previous year (Rs 65,876 crore). 
What RBI Act, 1934 says 

Under the RBI Act, 1934, the central bank is required to pay the government its surplus after making provisions for bad and doubtful debts, depreciation in assets and, contribution to staff and superannuation fund among others. 


ACC appointments

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the following appointments:
 
•    Shri Raghvendra Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Culture as Secretary, Ministry of Textiles vice Shri Anant Kumar Singh.

•    Shri Anant Kumar Singh, IAS  Secretary, Ministry of Textiles as Secretary, Department of Land Resources in the vacancy caused on superannuation of Shri Dinesh Singh.

•    Shri Arun Goel,  Special Secretary, Ministry of Culture as Secretary, Ministry of Culture vice Shri Raghvendra Singh on his appointment as Secretary, Ministry of Textiles.

                                                           DEFENCE NEWS


Cabinet approves raising of four additional battalions of National Disaster Response Force
 
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given the approval for raising of four (4) additional battalions of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to strengthen the India's disaster response set up at an estimated cost of Rs 637 crore.

Details:
 
•    The objective of raising four additional battalions is to reduce the response time keeping in view the vast geographic area of the country.

•    These four battalions will initially be raised as two battalions in Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and one battalion each in Border Security Force (BSF) and Assam Rifles (ARs).

•    Later these four battalions will be converted into NDRF battalions. Based on the vulnerability profile, these four battalions will be placed in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi National Capital Region.

 Background:

NDRF is a specialized force, which has been created in the year 2006 for the purpose of specialist response during the natural and man-made disaster or threatening situation. At present there are 12 battalions in NDRF which are deployed strategically across the country to provide immediate response.

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Important Current Affairs 9th August 2018

Important Current Affairs 9th August 2018

Current Affairs 9th August 2018: NATIONAL NEWS

MoU between TRIFED and National Medicinal Plant Board 
Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd. (TRIFED) under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs & National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Ministry of AYUSH signed an MoU on 9th August.
Aim of this MoU
The aim is to promote Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) forest produce for livelihood development of tribal people by promoting primary level value addition to MAPs produce from forest area at grassroots level.
Important
•    Tribal Affairs Minister is Shri Jual Oram 
•    The Minister of State for AYUSH is Shri Shripad Yesso Naik 
•    Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH is Shri Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha 

Rises of import duty on 328 textile products to curb imports 
 •    The government doubled import duty on as many as 328 textile products to 20 per cent. 
•    Minister of State for Finance Pon Radhakrishnan tabled a notification in the Lok Sabha which said that the govt seeks to "increase customs duty on 328 tariff lines of textile products from the existing rate of 10 per cent to 20 per cent under Section 159 of the Customs Act, 1962".
Objective:-
The government expects that the increase in duties would give an edge to domestic manufacturers as imported products are currently cheaper. And increase in manufacturing activity will help create jobs in the sector, which employs about 10.5 crore people.
Important
Last month, the government had doubled import duty on over 50 textile products - including jackets, suits and carpets - to 20 per cent, a move that was aimed at promoting domestic manufacturing. 

64th Foundation Day Celebrations of Lalit Kala Akademi 
 Dr. Mahesh Sharma Inaugurated 64th Foundation Day Celebrations of Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi.
About Lalit Kala Akademi 
•    The Lalit Kala Akademi or National Academy of Art is India's national academy of fine arts. It is an autonomous organisation, established in New Delhi in 1954 by Government of India to promote and propagate understanding of Indian art, in and outside the country.
•    It was established on 5th August in 1954 by the then Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
Important:
•    Chairman of LKA is Uttam Pacharne
•    Headquarters Rabindra Bhawan, Delhi
•    Official language is English
•    Parent organization is Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Launch of Mobile App Niryat Mitra
 Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Aviation Suresh Prabhu launched Niryat Mitra – mobile App in New Delhi. The app developed by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) is available both on Android and on IOS platforms.
About Mobile App Niryat Mitra
•    It provides wide range of information required to undertake international trade right from the policy provisions for export and import, applicable GST rate, available export incentives, tariff, preferential tariff, market access requirements – SPS and TBT measures. 
•    The most interesting part is that all the information is available at tariff line. 
•    The app works internally to map the ITC HS code of other countries with that of India and provides all the required data without the users bothering about the HS code of any country.
•    Presently the app comes with the data of 87 countries.


Launch of Swachh Survekshan 2019
 Shri Hardeep S Puri, Minister of State (I/C), Housing & Urban Affairs will launch the Swachh Survekshan 2019 on 10th August 2018 in New Delhi. 
Parallelly, a slew of new initiatives under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) as well as the Ease of Living Index will also be launched.
Background:
As a prelude to encouraging cities to improve urban sanitation, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) had conducted ‘Swachh Survekshan-2016’ survey for the rating of 73 cities in January 2016, followed by ‘Swachh Survekshan-2017’ conducted in January-February 2017 ranking 434 cities. The recently concluded Swachh Survekshan 2018 ranked 4,203 Cities.  

Schemes and Policy Initiatives for Development of Textiles and Handicrafts
•    Government has been implementing various policy initiatives and programmes for development of textiles and handicrafts, particularly for technology upgradation, infrastructure creation, and skill development.
•    These schemes are including Amended Technology Upgradation Funds Scheme (ATUFS), PowerTex India Scheme. 
•    Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks, SAMARTH- scheme for capacity building in Textile Sector, Silk Samagra- integrated silk development scheme, North Eastern Region Textile Promotion Scheme (NERTPS), National Handicraft Development Programme (NHDP) and Comprehensive Handicrafts Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS) are also being implemented.

Important:
Minister of State for Textiles is Ajay Tamta 

Government E-Marketplace (Gem) Completes 2 Years 
Government e-Marketplace (GeM), the National Public Procurement Portal, has turned 2 years old today on 9th August. 
About GeM
It was launched on 9th August 2016, with the objective of creating an open, transparent and efficient procurement platform for government. Over its short journey, GeM has achieved many significant milestones. 
Some of these are:
•    GeM has grossed over Rs. 10,000 Crores in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) through more than 6.16 Lacs transactions on the platform.
•    GeM has made over 4.2 lakh products available on its platform through a network of over 1.3 lakh sellers and service providers.
•    These products and services are being bought by over 25,000 government organisations (Central, State Governments and PSUs) registered on the platform.
•    More than 40% of transactions by volume are done with MSMEs registered on the platform.
•    Buyers from across 36 States & Union Territories (UTs) are buying on the platform. 24 States & UTs have signed a formal MoU with GeM to adopt GeM as the core procurement portal in their respective territories.

GOC-in-C Southern Command Visits Indian Naval Academy
• Lt Gen Dewan Rabindranath Soni, GOC-in-C (Southern Command), accompanied by Mrs. Suman Soni,  President, Army Wives Welfare Association (Southern Region) visited Indian Naval Academy (INA), Ezhimala on 07 August 2018. The General is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla and Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.
• The GOC-in-C was briefed on the training processes and facilities at INA. The General also interacted with Commandant, Deputy Commandant and officers of INA and visited the training facilities in the academy.
• Mrs. Suman Soni, President AWWA (SR) visited the Navy Wives Welfare Association (NWWA) facilities at station Ezhimala.

Current Affairs 9th August 2018: INTERNATIONAL NEWS

The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve included in the UNESCO 
•    The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve has become the 11th Biosphere Reserve from India that has been included in the UNESCO designated World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). 
•    The decision to include Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in WNBR was taken at the 30th Session of International Coordinating Council (ICC) of Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO held at Palembang, Indonesia, from July 23-27, 2018.  
•    India has 18 Biosphere Reserves and with the inclusion of Khangchendzonga, the number of internationally designated WNBR has become 11, with 7 Biosphere Reserves being domestic Biosphere Reserves.
Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve
•    Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in Sikkim is one of the highest ecosystems in the world, reaching elevations of 1, 220 metres above sea-level.  
•    It includes a range of ecolines , varying from sub-tropic to Arctic, as well as natural forests in different biomes, that support an immensely rich diversity of forest types and habitats. 
•    The core zone – Khangchendzonga National Park was designated a World Heritage Site in 2016 under the ‘mixed’ category.  Many of the mountains, peaks, lakes, caves, rocks, Stupas (shrines) and hot springs function as pilgrimage sites. 

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Important Current Affairs 8th August 2018

Important Current Affairs 8th August 2018

Current Affairs 8th August 2018: NATIONAL NEWS

Launch of integration & availability of TRAI Mobile Apps on UMANG platform

•    TRAI has now integrated its Mobile Apps namely DND 2.0 & MyCall with UMANG Platform.
•    Chairperson, TRAI launched integration and availability of following TRAI apps in a function held at TRAI, New Delhi on 7th August 2018. Certain key features of these applications are:
(a) TRAI MyCall App
TRAI MyCall is an intuitive and user friendly application for Crowdsourced Voice Call Quality Monitoring. The Application helps Mobile phone users to rate their experience about voice call quality in real time and help TRAI gather consumer experience data along with Network data.
(b) DND 2.0 App
DND (Do Not Disturb) Services App enables smart phone users to register their mobile number under DND and report spam messages or calls to avoid Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC)/Telemarketing Calls/SMS.

UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance)
•    UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) is developed by National e-Governance Division (NeGD), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
•    UMANG provides a single platform for all Indian Citizens to access pan India e-Gov services ranging from Central to Local Government bodies and other citizen centric services.


Implementation of scholarship to young artists (SYA) Scheme under the scheme of Scholarship & Fellowship for promotion of Art and Culture
 

•    Ministry of Culture is implementing a scheme component of scholarship to young artists (SYA) under the scheme of Scholarship & Fellowship for promotion of Art and Culture. 
•    This scheme is for young artists in the age group of 18 to 25 years for undergoing advanced training in different cultural fields. 
•    Under this scheme an amount of Rs. 5,000/- p.m. is given to the selected young artists for 02 years. The amount of scholarship under this Scheme is not released State-wise but directly into the bank account of beneficiaries.
 

 Implementation of a Scheme namely “Scheme for Pension and Medical Aid to Artistes” (SPMAA)
 

•    Ministry of Culture is also implementing a Scheme namely “Scheme for Pension and Medical Aid to Artistes” (SPMAA) under which maximum financial assistance of Rs.4000/- (Rupees Four Thousand Only) in the form of monthly pension is provided to old and poor artists including performing artists.
•    An amount of 50.7 Crores allocated and about 9,540 artists benefited under the Scheme for Pension and Medical Aid to Artistes in the last 3 years.

Important:

Minister of State (independent charge) for Culture and Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate change is Dr. Mahesh Sharma.
 


Approval of Rs 11,698 cr additional expenditure by Lok Sabha

The Lok Sabha has passed the Supplementary Demands for Grants - First Batch of 2018-19 in which Government had sought additional expenditure of 11,698 crore rupees. 

It involves net cash outgo of 5,951 crore rupees and additional expenditure of 5,745 crore rupees. 

Important Figures:

•    Of the cash spends of 5,951 crore, as much as 1,792 crore will go to the Agriculture Ministry, 

•    1,500 crore rupees to the Textiles Ministry for meeting additional expenditure,

•    Equity infusion of 980 crore in state-owned Air India and 600 crore rupees for meeting additional expenditure towards payment of arrears of revised Time Related Continuity Allowance to Gramin Dak Sewaks

•    Besides 1,058 crore rupees is being allocated to Defence Ministry towards salary and allowances in respect of employees of Border Roads Organisation.

•    The Petroleum Ministry has been allocated 1,708 crore rupees as grants for creation of capital assets under various schemes.


Maharashtra Government's special assistance for OBC community


•    Maharashtra Government has announced a special assistance of 500 crore rupees for OBC community to help them develop employment opportunities for the youth.

•    The state government has recommended to the Centre that the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, be conferred posthumously on 19th-century social reformer Jyotiba Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule, a pioneer of women’s education.


•    OBCs constitute 52 percent of the state’s population and they enjoy 17 percent reservation.


ACMA demands to bring auto component sector under uniform 18% GST slab

•    The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) demanded on 6th August demanded that the industry should be brought under a uniform 18 per cent GST rate.

•    According to the ACMA President Nirmal Minda "A benign rate of 18 per cent will not only ensure better compliance, but will also ensure a larger tax base,"


 Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA)
•    The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) is the apex body representing the interest of the Indian Auto Component Industry. 

•    Its membership of over 780 manufacturers contributes more than eighty five per cent of the auto component industry's turnovers in the organised sector. 


Kaziranga National Park not covered under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme

No sites have been adopted by any private institute in Assam under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme. Any monument/heritage site/natural site for whose inclusion, the concerned asset owner (ASI, State Government etc) agrees can be considered under the Adopt a Heritage Scheme. Kaziranga National Park is not covered under the scheme yet.


Adopt a Heritage – Salient Feature of Project Guidelines
•    ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project focusses on providing basic public conveniences and amenities which include cleanliness, drinking water, ease of access for differently abled and senior citizens, standardized signage, illumination and advanced amenities such as surveillance system, night viewing facilities, tourism facilitation centre etc.
•    It aims to involve public sector companies, private sector companies and corporate citizens/individuals to take up the responsibility for making our heritage and tourism more sustainable through development, operation and maintenance of world-class tourist infrastructure and amenities at ASI/State heritage sites and other important tourist sites in India.


Primary objectives of this Scheme:
 

•    To develop basic and advanced tourism infrastructure.
•    To promote cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods of local communities of respective heritage site/monument/tourist site.
•    To develop sustainable tourism infrastructure and ensuring proper Operations and Maintenance therein and thus increase the attractiveness of the tourist destinations.


Viability Gap Scheme for Revenue Generating Tourism Projects
 

•    The Ministry under the scheme of 'Viability Gap Scheme for Revenue Generating Tourism Projects' promotes Public Private Partnership (PPP) in tourism infrastructure development in case of Revenue Generating Tourism Projects which include Tourist Trains, Inter-Island/ Intra-Island/ Inland Waterway Ferries, Sea Cruise Vessels, Convention Centre’s, Rope-ways/Cable Cars/Funicular Rail, Theme Parks, Amusement Parks, Ski-Cable, Heli-Tourism, Spas. 
•    At present there is no project where PPP model is used to develop tourism under this Scheme.
Important Fact:
•    The scheme of Assistance to Large Revenue Generating Projects, now renamed as 'Viability Gap Scheme for Revenue Generating Tourism Projects.
•    The Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism is Shri. K. J. Alphons.

Revised MoA signed for Funding of Central Share of 99 Prioritized Irrigation Projects
 

A revised Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) has been signed amongst Govt. of India (through MoWR, RD & GR), NABARD and National Water Development Agency (NWDA) for funding of central share of 99 prioritized irrigation projects under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) through Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF).

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)

During 2015-16 PMKSY was launched by the Central Government with an overarching vision to ensure access to some means of protective irrigation for all agricultural farms in the country, and to produce ‘per drop more crop’, thus bringing much desired rural prosperity.
 


SC and the ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act passed by Lok Sabha
 

The Lok Sabha unanimously passed a Bill to reverse the effects of a Supreme Court order concerning certain safeguards against arrests under the SC/ST law.
All you need to know about the SC and the ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act
On March 20, the Supreme Court bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit ruled that the arrest of an accused under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act should be made after preliminary enquiry. The bench found that the Act had been misused in a vast number of cases and had "diluted" IPC Section 498A (relating to domestic violence) citing gross misuse by complainants. 
                             
Key points related to SC/ST Act 1989:

•    The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is popularly known as POA. The SC/ST Act was enacted on September 9, 1989. 

•    The SC/ST Act lists 22 offences relating to various patterns or behaviors cause criminal offences and breaking the self-respect and esteem of the scheduled castes and tribes community. This includes denial of economic, democratic and social rights, discrimination, exploitation and abuse of the legal process.

•    According to the SC/ST Act, the protection is provided from social disabilities such as denial of access to certain places and to use customary passage, personal atrocities like forceful drinking or eating of inedible food, sexual exploitation, injury etc, and atrocities affecting properties, malicious prosecution, political disabilities and economic exploitation.

•    In each district, for speedy trial, this SC/ST Act provides a special court to try offences.

Current Affairs 8th August 2018: INTERNATIONAL NEWS

3rd India-Nepal Coordination meeting 
 
The 3rd India-Nepal Coordination meeting will be held in New Delhi on 8th August 2018.


Objective:
Several important matters like security scenario along the border, coordination meetings at field level, sharing of information about crimes and criminals, training of armed police personnel and mutual visits by officers of two countries will be discussed. 
Important:

•    Inspector General of Nepal Armed Police Force is Shailendra Khanal 
•    Home Secretary of India is Rajiv Gauba.
 


Andaman rule for Restricted Area Permit eased for tourism

•    The Union home ministry has excluded 29 inhabited islands in Andaman and Nicobar from Restricted Area Permit (RAP) with an aim to boost tourism.
•    Foreigners are not allowed to enter most of the hundreds of Andaman &Nicobar islands and they are required to obtain a RAP to visit the islands.

What is Restricted Area Permit (RAP)?

In addition, the Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order 1968 states that a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is required for non-Indians to visit certain areas in India. As of 2009, RAP is required for all visits to the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and parts of the state of Sikkim.

Trekking Expedition of Indian Army and Royal Bhutan Army 

A joint Cycling cum Trekking Expedition of Indian Army and Royal Bhutan Army was conducted to commemorate “Fifty years of Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between India and Bhutan”. 

•    The expedition began on 31 July from Haa Dzong in Bhutan and was flagged-in at Thimpu on 07 August 2018. 

•    A total of seventeen personnel of both armies participated in the expedition which covered a total of 384 kms of distance across challenging mountainous terrain in both India and Bhutan.

Important point:

•    India and Bhutan celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations this year 2018.

•    Tshering Tobgay is the 7th and current Prime Minister of Bhutan.

Current Affairs 8th August 2018:  SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Earth heading towards the threat of irreversible 'hothouse' state

According to a study our planet is at the risk of entering an irreversible 'hothouse' condition - where the global temperatures will rise by four to five degrees and sea levels may surge by up to 60 metres higher than today - even if targets under the Paris climate deal are met.

Key points from the study:

•    According to the researchers, keeping global warming to within 1.5-2 degrees Celsius may be more difficult than previously assessed. 

•    Human emissions of greenhouse gas are not the sole determinant of temperature on Earth.

•    This study suggests that human-induced global warming of two degrees Celsius may trigger other Earth system processes, often called "feedbacks," that can drive further warming - even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases," .

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Important Current Affairs 7th August 2018

Important Current Affairs 7th August 2018

Current Affairs 7th August 2018: NATIONAL NEWS

External Affairs Minister on 3-nation central Asian tour

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on 2nd of August 2018 left on her first trip to the central Asian Nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

Important Takeaways

  • Astana is the capital city of Kazakhstan and Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev.
  • Bishkek is the capital city of Kyrgyzstan and Prime Minister Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev
  • Tashkent is the capital city of Uzbekistan and Prime Minister is Abdulla Aripov, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulaziz Kamilov.

Launch official Trailer Of Film “Halkaa” Under the Aegis Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban)

Shri Hardeep S Puri, Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs launched the official trailer, music and poster of Bollywood film “Halkaa” under the aegis of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), in partnership with the New Delhi Municipal Council, on 6th August 2018.

Awards to Movie

The film has already won numerous awards and accolades in the international arena including two prestigious Grand Prix – Best Feature Film awards at Montreal International Children’s Film Festival and KINOLUB Film Festival for Children and Youth in Poland.

About “Halkaa” Movie

“Halkaa” poignantly captures the journey of this simple and under privileged child’s dedication, struggle, and aspiration for achieving the goal of owning a personal toilet for his family despite resistance from his father.

Important:

Film director of this movie is Nila Madhab Panda who is a Padma Shri awardee.

Budget for DRDO for the Financial Year 2018-19

  • The total Budget of Department of Defence Research & Development (R&D) for the Financial Year 2018-19 is Rs. 17861.19 crore with manpower of approximately 24224 (including 7354 scientists).
  • A total of 13 research projects in Technology Development (TD) and Science & Technology (S&T) category have been taken up in the year 2018-19 in the broad areas of hybrid power system, advanced materials, CBW Defence technologies, laser diode technology, technologies for insensitive munition etc. and since these are in design phase, outcome of research projects will be seen in the subsequent years.

Defence Research and Development Organisation

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is an agency of the Republic of India, charged with the military's research and development, headquartered in New Delhi, India.
  • Formed in 1958.

Agency executives:

  • Sanjay Mitra : Secretary, Department of Defence R&D
  • G. Satheesh: Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister

Important:

Nirmala Sitharaman, the current defence minister of India is the second woman since Indira Gandhi to hold this major post.

Launch of Bidder Information Management System and Bhoomi Rashi - PFMS Linkage Portals

Shri Nitin Gadkari launched Bidder Information Management System (BIMS) and Bhoomi Rashi and PFMS linkage - two IT initiatives of the Road Transport & Highways Ministry that are aimed at expediting pre construction processes relating to bidding and land acquisition respectively.

What is BIMS?

  • Bidder Information Management System BIMS is aimed at streamlining the process of pre-qualification of bidders for EPC Mode of contracts for National Highway works with enhanced transparency and objectivity.
  • The portal will work as a data base of information about bidders, covering basic details, civil works experience, cash accruals and network, annual turnover etc

What is Bhoomi Rashi?

  • Bhoomi Rashi, the portal developed by MoRTH and NIC, comprises the entire revenue data of the country, right down to 6.4 lakh villages.
  • Bhoomi Rashi portal has been instrumental in reducing the time taken for approval and publication of notifications pertaining to land acquisition.

Important:

  • Integration of Public Financial Management System (PFMS) with Bhoomi Rashi is one of the key functionalities to facilitate payment related to compensation for land acquisition to all the beneficiaries directly through the Bhoomi Rashi system.

About PFMS:

  • PFMS is a web-based online software application developed and implemented by the Office of Controller General of Accounts (CGA) to facilitate sound public financial management system for Government of India (GoI).
  • It provides various stakeholders with a real time, reliable and meaningful management information system and an effective decision support system, as part of the Digital India initiative of GoI.

Annual Awards for Excellence in National Highways Projects

  • Annual Awards for Excellence in National Highways Projects from this year onwards, for recognizing concessionaires and contractors who are performing exceptionally.
  • The Annual Road Awards to be presented every year starting 2018 are designed across five categories as follows:

1. Excellence in Construction Management

2. Excellence in Operation & Maintenance

3. Best Toll Plaza 

4. Safe Highway 

5. Innovation in Design or Construction Technology 

India among one of the highest growing tourist economies of the world

The Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism Shri K. J. Alphons informed the Lok Sabha on 6th August that India is among one of the highest growing tourist economies in the world in 2017.

Important Figures:

  • More than 14.0% growth in number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India in 2017 over 2016 along with a 19.2% increase (in US dollar terms) in the Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism for the same period.
  • In 2017, Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism was Rs. 1, 77, 874 crores.
  • India ranks 26th in the world in arrivals of global tourists.
  • Ministry has sanctioned 69 projects worth for Rs.5711.79 Crore to 29 States/UTs under the PRASHD scheme.
  •  Under PRASHAD Scheme, Ministry has identified 26 sites in 19 states for development and till date, 24 projects have been sanctioned for Rs.727.16 Crore under the scheme.
  • PRASHAD Scheme full form is Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive.

National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 Passed in Parliament

  • National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 is passed by Rajya Sabha on 6th August 2018.
  • Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot  moved in Rajya Sabha the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Third Amendment) Bill, 2017 and the further Amendments made by the Lok Sabha.
  • This Amendment Bill is to repeal the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 as passed by the Lok Sabha.

About Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017

  • The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thaawarchand Gehlot on April 5, 2017. 
  • It seeks to grant the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC) constitutional status, at par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.

Functions:

  • Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the duties of the NCBC will include:
  • Investigating and monitoring how safeguards provided to the backward classes under the Constitution and other laws are being implemented
  • Inquiring into specific complaints regarding violation of rights, and
  • Advising and making recommendations on socio-economic development of such classes.  The central and state governments will be required to consult with the NCBC on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.

Parliament Passed Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2018

  • The Parliament passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018 with the Rajya Sabha clearing it by a voice vote. The Lok Sabha had passed the bill last month of July.
  • The bill replaces the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated on April 21 this year.
  • The bill stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 12 years and death sentence has been provided for rapists of girls under 12 years.

An MoU signed between FAGMIL and Government of Himachal Pradesh

  • FCI Aravali Gypsum and Minerals India Limited (FAGMIL), a CPSU under the administrative control of the Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Government of India has received a Letter of Intent (LoI) from the Government of Himachal Pradesh for grant of mining lease for setting up of White Cement Plant to cater to the demand of white cement in North India.
  • An MoU will be signed between FAGMIL and Government of Himachal Pradesh for the same.
  • This will be the first PSU white cement plant in India.

About Plant:

  • The installed capacity of the proposed Plant will be 1000 TPD.
  • Direct and indirect employment generation would be around 200 and 3000 respectively.
  • The plant would be installed using the latest available environment friendly technology. 
  • The project shall be a land mark in the development of Nohra Dhar and nearby areas of Himachal Pradesh.

Important:

  • The Ministry is headed by Minister of Chemicals and fertilisers. Ananth Kumar is the current minister for the department.
  • Smt. Alka Tiwari, Joint Secretary of Department of Fertilizers and Chairperson & Managing Director of FAGMIL.

Current Affairs 7th August 2018: INTERNATIONAL NEWS. SPACE

China successfully tests waverider hypersonic aircraft called Called Xingkong-2

China has successfully tested its waverider hypersonic aircraft which is capable of flying independently and of carrying nuclear warheads.

About Xingkong-2

  • The Xingkong-2 - also called Starry Sky-2 - was fired at a target range in north-west China and tested for 10 minutes.
  •  Xingkong-2 - designed by China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics reached an altitude of 30 kilometres at Mach 5.5.
  • Xingkong-2 is a flight vehicle which flies in the atmosphere and glides at high speeds using shockwaves generated by its own hypersonic flight with the air.
  • It can reportedly carry nuclear warheads and break past anti-missile defence systems currently in use the world over.
  • This is primarily because Xingkong-2 has an unpredictable trajectory and has a superior in-flight speed to cruise and ballistic missiles.

Current Affairs 7th August 2018: SCHEMES

Implementation of Central Sector Scheme of ‘Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse’

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment implements Central Sector Scheme of ‘Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse’ for identification, counseling, treatment and rehabilitation of addicts through voluntary and other eligible organizations.

About the Scheme

  • Under this Scheme, financial assistance is provided to NGOs/Voluntary organizations and other eligible agencies for setting-up/running Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts (IRCAs).
  • At present the Ministry is supporting 74 IRCAs in Maharashtra and Rs.10.10 crores grant in aid has been released to them during 2017-18.

Current Affairs 6th August 2018: INTERNATIONAL RELATION

Indo - Thailand Joint Exercise Maitree 2018 Opening Ceremony

  • Exercise Maitree is a joint military exercise between Indian Army and Royal Thai Army which will be conducted from 06 to 19 August 2018 in Thailand.
  • It is a platoon level exercise which comprises of infantry component.
  • The opening ceremony started with familiarization of organisation and display of weapons & equipment of both armies.
  • The exercise will emphasize to hone the tactical and technical skills in joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in rural and urban scenario under UN mandate.

Important

Prime Minister of Thailand is Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Current Affairs 7th August 2018: OBITUARIES

DMK chief M. Karunanidhi passed away

DMK chief M. Karunanidhi passed away at 6:10 pm on Tuesday. Mr. Karunanidhi was admitted to the hospital following a drop in his blood pressure in the early hours of July 28. Since then the five-time Chief Minister's medical status has gone through ups and downs.

The Tamil Nadu government has declared holiday on August 8, 2018, and announced a seven-day mourning period for the former chief minister.The DMK patriarch's last journey will be on Wednesday and the National Flag will be flown at half-mast during the mourning period.Mr. Karunanidhi's mortal remains will be kept at Rajaji Hall for the public to pay their last respects, a statement released by State Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan read. The Tamil Nadu government has refused permission to bury DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi at the Marina citing "legal hurdles and several cases pending in courts." Instead, the government is ready to allot two acres of land near the Gandhi Mandapam on Sardar Vallabhai Patel road. 

About M. Karunanidhi

Muthuvel Karunanidhi (3 June 1924 – 7 August 2018), popularly known as Kalaignar (artist), was an Indian politician who served as the chief minister of the state of Tamil Nadu for five separate terms in the 1969–2011 period. Before entering politics he worked in the Tamil film industry as a screenwriter. He has also made contributions to Tamil literature, having written stories, plays, novels, and a multiple-volume memoir.

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