August 05, 2019

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National

  1. One Nation-one Ration Card scheme implemented on pilot basis in four States
  • In a major boost to national food security government, launched the One Nation-One Ration Card scheme on a pilot basis in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • Families who have food security cards can buy subsidized rice and wheat from any ration shop in these states. Their ration cards should be linked with Aadhar Number to avail this service.
  • The white Ration Card holders in Telangana have been getting the portability facility, enabling them to buy their subsidized rice and other food grains from any Fair Price Shop in the state.
  • The same facility can be utilized anywhere in Andhra Pradesh now through PoS machines under the One Nation One Ration Card scheme which has come into force in the two states.
  • More than 56 lakh beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act in the state will be benefited from the facility. The same will be the case with consumers in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat which are identified for implementation of the pilot project.
  1. Parliament passed Code on Wages Bill, 2019
  • Parliament passed Code on Wages Bill, 2019 which replaces the 4 laws- the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976. The new bill seeks to regulate wage and bonus payments in all employments where any industry, trade, business, or manufacturing is carried out.
  • Applicability: The new bill will apply to all employees. The central government will make wage-related decisions for employment such as railways, mines, and oil fields, among others and the State governments will make decisions for all other employments.
  1. Parliament passed Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill 2019
  • Parliament passed the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which amends the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008. The new bill increases the threshold of annual passenger traffic for major airports to over 35 lakh from 15 lakh. It is increased as the number of air traffic passengers has been increased 117 million from 2008 to 345 million
  • Tariff determination: Under the Act, AERA is responsible for determining the tariff for aeronautical services at different airports every 5 years, development fees of major airports, and the service fee of passengers. It can call for necessary information to determine tariffs and perform any other tariff-related functions, including amending the tariffs if necessary in the interim periods.
  1. Indian Army with EESL launches a batch of 10 electric cars in New Dehli to combat air pollution
  • In order to tackle air pollution, the Indian Army has launched an environmental friendly initiative with deploying a batch of 10 electric cars (E-cars) in New Delhi to be used of its Army personnel. Lt Gen Gopal flagged off the first lot of e-Cars.

Key Highlights:

♦Partner:  The pilot project of employing e-cars in Delhi was envisioned on the World Environment Day (June 5, 2019)and launched now in partnership with Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), a joint venture state-owned NTPC Limited(National Thermal Power Corporation), Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation and Powergrid under the Ministry of Power.

♦Boost: The initiative will promote further development of electric vehicle technology and its adoption by the general public in the near future.

♦Services: The army’s Territorial Army Battalions (ECO), which posted in remote and ecologically sensitive areas from Kashmir to Kanyakumari have been taken part in various environmental activities such as forestation.

State

  1. Noida gets its 1st ‘Pink Toilet’, 10 more to come up soon
  • Noida got its first ‘Pink Toilet’ dedicated to women with facilities for sanitary napkins and baby care.
  • The toilet, located in the Sector 50 market, was inaugurated by the Noida Authority.
  • At least 10 more such toilets are expected to come up within the next two months.
  1. World’s first ultra-fast Hyperloop project granted to Maharashtra
  • The infrastructure project status worth $10billion was granted to Maharashtra by India, to establish the world’s first ultra-fast Hyperloop project. This project stretching over 117.5km, will link Mumbai with the neighbouring city of Pune and travels to the destination in about 35minutes.
  • Hyperloops freight at speeds up to 1200 km per hour (750miles per hour) using magnetic to levitate pods inside an airless tube. Maharashta
  1. Gujarat CM launches a cash incentive scheme called ‘Vhali Dikri Yojna’ for the welfare of the girl child
  • Gujarat Chief Minister(CM) Vijay Rupani has launched a flagship financial assistance scheme called ‘Vhali Dikri Yojna’ in Rajkot, Gujarat for the welfare of girl child in the state. The scheme launched in order to improve the child sex ratio in the state, which currently stands at 890 girl child per 1000 male child.

Key points:

♦The amount will be given by the state government under the ‘Vhali Dikri Yojna to the girl child in the following manner.

When Will Assistance be Transferred
 
Amount under the scheme
At the time of admission to class 4th Rs. 4,000
At the time admission to class 9th Rs. 6,000
At the time of taking admission for higher education at the age of 18 Rs.1-lakh
At the time of marriage Rs. 1-lakh

♦The State Government has allocated Rs. 133 crore for Vahli Dikri Yojana in its recent Gujarat Budget 2019-20.

♦The Yojana was launched in a function as a part of Seva Setu Mega Camp jointly organized by the district administration and Municipal Corporation.

International

  1. India, US cooperate to promote Defence Industry and Startups
  • In the 15th India-US Defence Policy Group meeting, 2019 on defence issues held in Washington, United States, officials of both countries agreed to follow a policy environment conducive to cooperation between the Defence industry and start-ups in both countries.

Key points:

♦The Indian side was led by Sanjay Mitra, defence secretary and the US was led by John Rood, undersecretary of defence for policy.

♦The top-level meet reviews and guides the progress made in various fields such as defence trade, technology, procurement, industry, R&D(Research & Development) and mil-to-mil engagement in past years.

♦The two sides recognised the benefit of enabling defence agreements & appreciated India’s designation as a Major Defence Partner of the US.

♦They strongly reassured the role of the DPG as an important part of the ministerial 2+2 meeting (between foreign & defence minister of India & U.S.A), helping translate the shared strategic vision of cooperation into reality.

♦The 14th meeting was held at Pentagon, headquarters of the United States Department of Defense.

Banking & Finance

  1. Bharti Airtel looks to phase out 3G network across India by March
  • Bharti Airtel will shut down its 3G network across India’s 22 telecom circles by March 2020, and increase its focus on providing 4G services, a top company official said.
  • The company started the process last month, when it wound down the 3G network in the Kolkata circle. It, however, continues to provide 2G services for feature phone users.
  1. SBI’s Shanghai branch becomes the 1st Indian bank connected to CNAPS
  • India’s largest lender, State Bank of India’s(SBI) Shanghai branch has become the first Indian Bank to be connected to China’s National Advance Payment System (CNAPS). SBI is the only Indian Bank to have obtained the license to do business in local currency and also inducted to the CNAPS by the china’s central Bank, ‘People’s Bank of China (PBOC)’.

Key points:

♦SBI Shanghai allows offering a real-time transfer of local funds within China through the PBOC route.

♦CNAPS: The CNAPS, launched in 2008 allows PBOC, to provide real-time settlement services for all payments cleared in China, as well as in all clearing banks in offshore yuan(basic unit of the renminbi) centers, such as Hong Kong.

♦It is complemented by its international counterpart, the CIPS (China International Payments System / Cross-Border Inter-Bank Payment System), launched in 2015 with the aim of boosting global use of the yuan.

♦The Payment System also be used for cross border Renminbi (RMB) payments which are previously being made through local correspondent banks. This will offer SBI opportunity to do the business of Bankers Acceptance Drafts (BAD).

♦For the implementation of the CNAPS, SBI got approval from PBOC in December 2016 and it is now linked up to the PBOC live system after successful installation of hardware and software system.

♦This will facilitate India China trade relations and investments.

  1. NHB infuses additional Rs 10,000 cr in NBFCs
  • The National Housing Bank (NHB) infused an additional Rs 10,000 crore in Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) for Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) as additional liquidity for individual housing loans for affordable housing. This is done to ease the flow of funds to the housing sector.

Key Points:

♦It will be over and above the existing finance schemes of the housing sector regulator NHB.

♦The apex bank of the country, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched a slew of measures for banks to avail additional liquidity of Rs 1.34 lakh crore.

♦Background: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Budget 2019-20 had announced that the Centre would provide one-time six months partial credit guarantee to public sector banks for the first loss of up to 10% to enable them purchase pooled assets of financially sound NBFCs amounting to Rs 1 lakh crore. It also received a proposal from the Reserve Bank on the draft modalities of the guarantee to operationalise the Budget announcement. The oversight mechanism for the scheme will be executed by the Department of Financial Services.

Business & Economy

  1. Pashmina testing centre to be set up by BIS in Leh
  • Director General Ms. Surina Rajan announced that a Testing centre for Pashmina, a famous wool variety in the Jammu and Kashmir region, will be set up by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in partnership with the lab of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Motorbike expedition was flagged by the Hill Council CEC (Chief Executive Counsellor) Gyal P Wangyal, and BIS Director General(DG)surina Rajan under the team “Drive for Pashmina”.
  • The locals will be trained by the BIS with the cooperation of Leh Hill Council to save time and money in marking of the standards.

Appointment & Resignation

  1. HAL appoints M S Velpari as Director of its operations unit
  • M S Velpari replaces Sunil Kumar as the director (operations) at the Bengaluru based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
  • The appointment comes after Sunil Kumar was superannuated from his service.
  • Velpari joined HAL as a management trainee in 1985 and also held various posts like Chief of Project of LCA-(Light Combat Aircraft)- Tejas at the LCA division.
  1. Siddhartha Mohanty takes charge as MD&CEO of LIC Housing Finance
  • Siddhartha Mohanty(Odisha) has assumed charge as MD(Managing Director) & CEO(Chief Executive Officer) of LIC Housing Finance (Life Insurance Corporation  HFL) one of the largest housing finance companies in India. He replaces Shri Vinay Shah.

Key points:

♦Prior to this appointment, Mohanty was Chief Operating Officer (COO)with LIC HFL.

♦In 1985, Mohanty started his career as a direct recruit officer with LIC of India. He was also the Executive Director(Legal)with LIC prior to joining to the LIC HFL.

♦He also worked as Chief of Investments(Monitoring), Regional Head of marketing in LIC in the States of Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Goa.

♦In LIC, he has a vast experience in the areas of Marketing, HR, Investments, and Legal.

Award & Honors

  1. Ravish Kumar wins 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award for his ‘ethical journalism’
  • Indian journalist Ravish Kumar was awarded this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award, regarded as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize.
  • Kumar, 44, who is NDTV India’s senior executive editor is one of India’s most influential TV journalists.
  • Overall 5 people have been selected for the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award. The other four are: Ko Swe Win from Myanmar, Angkhana Neelapaijit from Thailand, Raymundo Pujante Cayabyab from Philippines and Kim Jong-Ki from South Korea.
  • The award is the highest award given to Asian individuals and organizations and is named after former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay.
  1. India-born doctor Bhasha Mukherjee crowned Miss England 2019
  • India-born doctor Bhasha Mukherjee was crowned Miss England 2019 at a ceremony in Newcastle.
  • The 23-year-old moved to England with her parents at the age of nine and settled in Derby.
  • Mukherjee holds two different medical degrees, one in medical sciences and the other in medicine and surgery.

Books

  1. “Tools and Weapons: The Promise and The Peril of the Digital Age” co-authored by Microsoft President Brad Smith & Carol Ann Browne set to launch on Sep 11, 2019
  • The book co-authored by Microsoft President Brad Smith & Carol Ann Browne, a director of communications at Microsoft, titled “Tools and Weapons: The Promise and The Peril of the Digital Age” will be released on September 11, 2019. It is published by Hachette Publishers.
  • The foreword is written by Bill Gates.
  • The book depicts the biggest stories of Microsoft.

Science, Space & Technology

  1. Ministries of Earth Sciences and Agriculture launched a mobile app called “Meghdoot” to help farmers
  • As a part of Digital India initiative & and bring technology to farmers, the minister for Earth Science, Science and Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan has launched a new mobile application called “Meghdoot” in New Delhi, developed by experts from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology(IITM) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR).
  • The app will provide forecast relating to temperature, rainfall, humidity, and wind speed and direction, which play critical roles in agricultural operations. It also gives advisories to farmers on how to take care of the crops and livestock.
  • Information given by the app is in the form of images, maps, and pictures. The app is available on Google Play Store & it also been integrated with WhatsApp and Facebook to help farmers share advisories with them.
  • The app would be available for 150 districts in different parts of the country & It will be extended to other parts of the country in a phased manner.
  • Mandate: The users of the app will have to register their name and location so that they can get area-specific information in regional languages.
  • Website: In addition, IMD has also developed a website to spread weather and climate information.
  • Other apps: The central Government’s “Kisan Suvidha App”(Launched in 2016) and “Pusa Krishi Mobile App”(Launched on March 2016) provides information on weather, market prices, seeds, pesticides, agricultural machinery and information about the latest technologies developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute.

READ IN HINDI

August 5, 2019

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