August 08, 2019

National

  1. Parliament passes Consumer Protection Bill
  • Parliament has passed the Consumer Protection Bill, 2019, with the Rajya Sabah approved it.
  • The Lok Sabha has already passed it. The bill aims at protecting the interests of consumers by establishing authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers’ dispute.
  • The Bill has a provision to set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.
  1. President Kovind gives assent to AERA (Amendment) Bill- 2019
  • President Ram NathKovind has given his assent to The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India, AERA (Amendment) Bill- 2019
  • The bill increases the threshold of annual passenger traffic for major airports from 15 lakh to over 35 lakh passengers.
  • Earlier, the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008 defined a major airport as one with annual passenger traffic over 15 lakh, or any other airports as notified by the central government.
  1. India’s first National Time Release Study conducted from August 1-7, 2019
  • The Department of Revenue of the Ministry of Finance conducted India’s first national Time Release Study (TRS) from August 1-7, 2019. It will be conducted on an annual basis, during the same period every year hereafter. It is lead by the Central Board of Indirect Tax and Customs (CBIC).

Key Points:

♦TRS: It is an internationally recognized tool advocated by the World Customs Organization (WCO) to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of international trade flows. The WCO TRS is specifically referenced in Article 7.6 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) as a tool for Members to measure and publish the average release time of goods.

♦Objective: To identify and address bottlenecks in the trade flow process and take the corresponding policy and operational measures required to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of border procedures.

♦Coverage: The exercise was conducted across 15 ports including sea, air, land and dry ports. They cumulatively account for 81% of total Bills of Entries for import and 67% of Shipping Bills for export filed within India.

♦Components: It measured rule based and procedural bottlenecks (including physical touchpoints) in the clearance of goods, from the time of arrival until the physical release of cargo.

♦Beneficiaries: The expected beneficiaries of this initiative will be export oriented industries and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

♦Way ahead: This initiative will help India maintain the upward trajectory on Ease of Doing Business, particularly on the Trading Across Borders indicator. In 2018, India’s ranking on the indicator improved from 146 to 80.

State

  1. Mohali gets first 3-D traffic signal
  • In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country, Mohali traffic police have launched 3-D Smart Traffic Signal devised by the students of a Chandigarh university.
  • The wireless system, called ‘Intelights’, has been installed at the traffic crossing near the Airport Road, on a pilot project basis, and will regulate traffic signals with a smart bird’s eye view wireless sensor system.
  • The team worked to develop one-of-its-kind, real-time solution for defending ‘Green Corridors’ for ambulances while controlling the movement of vehicles on roads.
  • Intelights proposes a 360-degree solution to curb the rising problem of traffic congestion. One of the major reasons for traffic congestion is the inefficient working of traffic signal timers installed at intersections.
  1. Rajasthan government launches new higher education model named RACE
  • Bhanwar Singh Bhati, Minister of State (MoS) for Higher Education inaugurated Resource Assistance for Colleges with Excellence (RACE) in presence of various college principals.

Key points

♦Aim: This model has been launched for faculties distribution and asset movements among govt.colleges to rationalise availability of resources.

♦Applying in need: The colleges in need of faculties and resources like projectors, digital libraries, equipment should submit their requirement to nodal college. The nodal college will help the needy colleges by sending teachers on deputation and other resources if needed.

♦Use: The number of teachers in the state falls short by 2000 even though the sanctioned no. Of teachers in the state is 6500.

♦The RACE will act in place where teacher shortages are high and ensure quality education until additional posts are created.

Banking & Finance

  1. Third Bi-monthly Monetary Policy of RBI 2019-20
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced its third Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Rates for 2019-20 in Mumbai. The three-day (5 to 7 August 2019) policy review meeting by the six members of Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das.
  • All members of the MPC unanimously voted to reduce the policy repo rate by 35 basis points(bps) under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) to to 5.40 % from 5.75% for the 4th consecutive time.
  • The RBI’s MPC cut its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth forecast to 6.9 percent from 7 percent for FY20(Fiscal year) due to a slowdown in consumption and Investmnet, which is causing dampening effect on growth.
  1. RBI Expands biller categories for Bharat Bill Payment System
  • The central banking institution, Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has permitted all categories of billers (except prepaid recharges), who provide for recurring bill payments to participate in BBPS (Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)on a voluntary basis.

Key points:

♦Uses:  The decision taken as a part of the digitisation of cash-based bill payments & this will also enable standardized bill payment experience, centralized customer grievance redressal mechanism, customer convenience fee, etc.

♦Background: Presently, The BBPS covers billers in 5 segments including DTH(Direct-to-Home), electricity, gas, telecom, and water bills.

♦Additional offering:  RBI also decided to offer ‘on tap’ authorization to entities wishing to function as / provide platforms for Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU), Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS), White Label ATMs (WLAs).

Business & Economy

  1. Apple issues Apple Credit Card in partnership with Goldman Sachs
  • Apple in partnership with Goldman Sachs has started the issue of its Credit Card that is named “Apple Card”. The issue has been started from August 06, 2019.
  • It is a virtual credit card that is built-in the Apple Pay App and hence lives on an iPhone. The physical version of the Apple Card does not have any number like other credit cards. Even CVV number is not written on it.
  • The transactions are authorized by Apple Pay — Face ID, Touch ID, unique transaction codes. Goldman Sachs is the issuing bank for the Apple Card.
  1. India’s GDP to grow at 6.2% in FY 2019-20: NCAER
  • As per the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), an economic think-tank, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth will be 6.2% in FY 2019-20, down from 6.8% in 2018-19. The decline in estimation was due to flat growth in the agriculture sector as it depends largely on the south-west monsoon.

Key Points:

♦It predicts that annual Gross Value Added (GVA) at basic prices will grow at 6% for 2019-20 on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis.

♦As per the quarterly model, GVA will grow at 6.2% on a y-o-y basis.

♦The real agriculture GVA is predicted to grow at 0%, real industry GVA at 6.1%, and real services GVA at 6.9%.

♦The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation is projected at 2.6%.

♦The growth rates in exports and imports, in dollar terms, are estimated at 4.4% and 3.3% respectively.

♦The current account balance and central fiscal deficit, as percentages of GDP, are projected at (-) 0.6% and 3.5% respectively.

Sports

  1. Bangalore will host the 10th AASF Asian Age Group Championships 2019 for the 1st time
  • For the first time, Bangalore(Karnataka) will host the 10th AASF (Asia Swimming Federation)Asian Age Group Championships 2019 starting from September 24, 2019, to October 2, 2019, will give the country’s swimming enthusiasts an opportunity to witness the aquatic event.

Key points:

♦Organizer: Swimming Federation of India(SFI)will organize the 9-day event.

♦Olympic qualification: The event recognized by FINA (International Swimming Federation) as an Olympic Qualifier, so the top Indian Swimmers will take advantage as they aim for A Qualification Mark for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

♦Participation: The event will have over 40 countries and about 1200 participants competing for top honours in 4 different aquatic disciplines such as swimming(will held at Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence(Sept-24 to 27), Diving(Sports Authority of India, Kengeri (Sept-29 to Oct 2), water polo(Sports Authority of India, Kengeri (Sept- 24 to 30)), and the visually-mesmerizing artistic swimming (Kensington Swimming Pool, Ulsoor from Sept-29 to Oct-2).

♦The 9th AASF Asian Age Group Championships was held in Uzbekistan in 2017.

Appointment & Resignation

  1. ONGC, IOC get new directors
  • ONGC said Rajesh Kumar Srivastava has taken over as the new director (exploration), replacing A K Dwivedi.
  • IOC said Sandeep Kumar Gupta has taken over as the director (finance) of the company. He replaces A K Sharma who retired from service in May.

Science, Space & Technology

  1. ISRO announces Vikram Sarabhai Journalism Award in Space Science, Technology and Research
  • ISRO has announced its “Vikram Sarabhai Journalism Award in Space Science, Technology and Research” to recognize and reward journalists who have actively contributed towards the field of space science, applications, and research.
  • The articles published from 2019 to 2020 will be considered, says the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • First category holds a cash price of Rs 5,00,000, a medal and citation and two journalists or freelancers of print media will be awarded. The second category of the award holds 3 cash prizes of Rs 3,00,000, 2,00,000 and 1,00,000 and citation each for journalists or freelancers of print media.
  1. Chandrayaan-2 successfully completes its final earth-bound orbit-raising manoeuvre
  • Chandrayaan-2 has successfully completed its fifth and final earth-bound orbit-raising manoeuvre today.
  • ISRO has said in a tweet, the operation began at 15:04 hours, by firing the engine onboard the aircraft and went on for 17 minutes and 21 seconds.
  • The next important move would be to inject Chandrayaan-2 in a trans-lunar path. It is scheduled to be held early in the morning on the 14th of this month.

Important Days

  1. Nation celebrates National Handloom day on august 7
  • The National Handloom Day is celebrated on August 7 to honour the Handloom weavers of the country and also to highlight the Handloom industry. A function to mark the occasion is held at VigyanBhawan, New Delhi. The function was presided by Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister of Textiles and Women and Child Development.

Other ministers present

  • The other ministers present were

♦Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas

♦Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Minister of State(MoS) for Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries and Micro,Small and Medium Enterprises.

National Handloom Day

♦The first National Handloom day was inaugurated in Chennai at the centenary of Madras University by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 7th August 2015.

♦August 7 was chosen to commemorate Swadeshi Movement that was launched in Calcutta Town hall in 1905 protesting against Bengal’s partition by the British govt that ruled the Country.

♦Focus: This day focuses on socio economic development contributed by the Handloom industry and also to increase the income of people working in that handloom sector.

August 8, 2019

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