- Minister Piyush Goyal inducts first batch of ‘Commandos for Railway Security’
- Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal inducted first batch of Commandos for Railway Security (CORAS). The commandos will be posted in Left extremist wing affected areas for security of passengers.
- Inducted commandos will have access to high-tech equipments. Team will undergo world-class training and will further train fellow Railway Protection Force personnel.
- Indian Railways has also decided to set up a new state-of-the-art commando training centre for the Railway Protection Force (RPF) in Jagadhri, Haryana which will have access to latest technology and equipment to modernize and train commandos of the RPF.
- Inter-State Council reconstituted with PM Modi as chairman
- The government has reconstituted the Inter State Council and the Standing Committee of the Inter State Council.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the Chairman of the Inter State Council. Chief Ministers of all States and six Union Ministers including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and Nirmala Sitharaman are the members of the Council
- The Article 263 of the Constitution provides for the establishment of an Inter-State Council which is mandated to inquire into and advise upon disputes which may arise between states, investigate and discuss subjects in which some or all of the states, or the Union and one or more of the states, have a common interest.
- Home Minister Amit Shah will be the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Inter State Council.
- The standing committee will have consultation and recommend matters for consideration of the council, process all matters pertaining to Centre-state relations before they are taken up for consideration in the council.
- Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Singh Tomar, Thaawar Chand Gehlot and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and eight State Chief Ministers will be its members. These States are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
- India to have new post of Chief of Defence Staff
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government would create the post of a chief of defence staff (CDS) that will integrate the operations of the three forces–the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force (IAF).
- The CDS was to be a five star rank general – a rank above the chiefs of the army, navy and air force.
- In 2012, a task force headed by former cabinet secretary Naresh Chandra had recommended creating the post of a permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee
- Indian Institute of Skills (IIS) will be set up in Mumbai in association with the Tata Trust
- Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) stated that world-class Indian Institute of Skills (IIS)will be set up in Mumbai, Maharashtra in association with Tata Educational and Development Trust (TEDT) aimed at scaling up of skill training enabling the young generation to acquire skills at par with global standards.
♦P-P-P model: The Government has provided 4.5 acres of land for the project, which will be executed on a Public-Private Partnership (P-P-P)basis, where the TEDT will invest around Rs. 300 crore for the construction of IIS ,which will have a capacity to train 10,000 trainees in various areas including security, aerospace, iron and natural gas.
♦Another 2: The government also plans to setting up 2 more institutes in Ahmedabad and Kanpur by 2022.
♦Skilling of youth: The state government of Maharashtra has made remarkable progress in skill development and has set the benchmark for other states by skilling a large number of the youth, farmers in way of skilling programs.
♦Pandey also praised seven top-performing candidates from Maharashtra, who have made their way to WorldSkills 2019 (known as Olympics of Skills) will be held in Kazan, Russia from August 21 -27, 2019. He also attended CII (Confederation of Indian Industry ) convention &discussed the role of corporate India in skill development and laid emphasis on increasing engagement with apprentices within the industry.
- ‘Panchamirtham’ of Palani temple gets GI tag
- The famous Palani panchamirtham, given as ‘prasadam’ at the Murugan temple there, has been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
- This is the first time a temple ‘prasadam’ from Tamil Nadu has been bestowed with the GI tag.
- The panchamirtham is a combination of five natural substances — banana, jaggery, cow ghee, honey and cardamom. Dates and diamond sugar candies are added for flavour.
- The panchamirtham is an ‘abhishega prasadam’ (food that is a religious offering), which is served in a semi-solid state. It is sweet in taste and one of the main offerings for Lord Dhandayuthapani Swamy, the presiding deity of Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple, situated on Palani Hills.
- Ranipet and Tirupattur to become new districts of Tamil Nadu
- Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami announced the creation of two more districts with Ranipet and Tirupatturas their headquarters
- The move will increase the number of districts to 37 in Tamil Nadu
- Vellore district will be trifurcated into Vellore, Tirupathur and Ranipet. The CM also announced that a new taluk will be formed with headquarters at KV Kuppam in Vellore district.
- Vellore district was created in 1989 by bifurcating North Arcot district into Vellore and Tiruvanamalai districts.
- Japanese defense ship “JS Sazanami“, visits Kochi on a 2-day goodwill visit
- Japanese Ship, JS Sazanami, the fourth vessel of the Takanami class destroyers of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force commanded by Commander Shoji Ishkawa visited Kochi on a 2-day goodwill visit from August 13 to19,2019.
♦Activities such as the visit of Indian Navy personnel onboard JS Sazanami and professional interaction between the two navies were conducted during the visit. The visiting team was also provided with a conducted tour of the Anti-Submarine Warfare School and the Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel, INS (Indian Navy Ship ) Sunayna.
♦Shoji Ishkawa was accompanied by Koichiro Maeda , Coast Guard Superintendent, Commanding Officer of the Somalia Dispatch Team of the Japanese Coast Guard, and Captain Taiko Eda, Resident Defence Attaché of Japan at New Delhi, paid a visit with Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command.
♦On August19,2019, JS Sazanami , which has about 25 officers, 156 sailors and 8 Japanese Coast Guard personnel (3 officers and 5 sailors) on board will depart for Bahrain from Kochi.
- Overview of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visit to Beijing, China
- External Affairs Minister(EAM) of India Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar visited(3-day from August 11 to 13,2019)Beijing, China during which he had bilateral meetings with his counterpart Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi, Vice President Wang Qishan, 4th meeting of the India-China Media Forum on cultural and people-to-people exchanges & signed 5 MoUs(memorandum of understanding) during the visit.
- On August 12, 2019, The 2nd Meeting of China-India High-Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges Held in Beijing, China
- External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on jointly inaugurated the ‘India-China Film Week’ in Beijing, China, that marks the commemoration of 100 activities that would be organised in the future in the areas of film, broadcasting, education, among others.
Banking & Finance
- RBI finalises regulatory sandbox framework for innovation in fintech firms
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released the final ‘enabling framework for regulatory sandbox,’ taking into account inputs received after a consultation process that began in April.
- The framework will likely be a positive step for financial technology start-ups and companies looking to innovate in the fast changing and highly regulated sector.
- The regulatory sandbox allows live testing of new products or services in a controlled or test regulatory environment.
- The move by the RBI had received a largely positive response from most financial technology (fintech) firms, which welcomed the chance to be able to test their products in the initial stages or before launch. Another issue with the proposed guidelines was, however, the limitation of allowing testing to 10-12 selected entities at a time. The final version has not specified the number of entities that will be allowed testing at a time.
- The focus of the RS (regulatory sandbox) would be narrow in terms of areas of innovation, and limited in terms of intake. The RS shall begin the testing process with a few select entities through a comprehensive selection process as detailed in the framework under ‘Fit and Proper’ criteria for selection of participants in RS.
- RBI asks banks not to count failed transactions, balance enquiry as free ATM transaction
- Reserve Bank of India has asked banks not to count failed transactions at ATMs due to technical reasons as part of “free ATM transactions” permitted every month.
- Use of ATMs for balance enquiry and fund transfers too should not be part of the free transactions facility given to a customer
- RBI clarified that transactions which fail on account of technical reasons, non-availability of cash, and any other reason attributable to the bank should not be counted as valid ATM transactions for the customer
- Further, non-cash withdrawal transactions (such as balance enquiry, cheque book request, payment of taxes, funds transfer), which constitute ‘on-us’ transactions (when a card is used at an ATM of the bank which has issued the card) shall also not be part of the number of free ATM transactions.
Business & Economy
- Rare snapshots of Simla Conference, 1945 is now part of the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) collection
- Pune based National Film Archive of India (NFAI) has acquired rare black & white footage of the historic Simla Conference which was held during the crucial period prior to India’s independence (June 25 – July 14, 1945), at Viceregal Lodge(now known as the Rashtrapati Niwas), Simla, Himachal Pradesh.
♦A Video Home System (VHS) cassette (8mm) containing about 12 minutes footage of the shots key moments of the Simla Conference attended by British administrators, top national leaders of the time, including Mahatma Gandhi, Rajendra Prasad, C. Rajagopalachari, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, and Mohammed Ali Jinnah – later the Founder of Pakistan – among others.
♦The amazing collection was sent to NFAI by the UK(United Kindom) based Ms. Margaret South (nee Taylor), daughter of William Taylor, who had served with the British India Steam Navigation Company when he was just 17 and joined RIN(Royal Indian Navy) later in Second World War broke out.
- Assam’s rare variety tea from Dikom Tea Estate makes records for being sold at Rs.75,000 per kg
- A rare tea variety of eastern Assam’s Dikom Tea Estate named “Golden Butterfly tea” created record of being sold at Rs.75,000 at the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC), Assam.
♦This golden butterfly tea surpassed previous record of sale of “Maijan Golden Tips” tea just by Rs.4,499. The Maijan Golden Tips was sold at Rs.70,501 per kg.
♦The tea is actually handcrafted and is made from tender tea leaves and buds which are available only around june-july, thus raising its demand.
♦The Dikom Tea Estate is situated near Eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh town.
- India beat England by 36 runs to lift Physical Disability World Series T20
- India defeated England by 36 runs to win Physical Disability World Series 2019 in the final held at the New Road Stadium in Worcester, England.
- The tournament was organized by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
- England, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh were the five countries which participated in the tournament.
- Simone Biles makes history with a “triple-double” twist
- Simone Biles continues to raise the bar in competitive gymnastics.
- The four-time Olympic gold medalist made history when she landed a triple-double during her floor routine at the United States championships.
- No one else has landed a triple-twisting double somersault in competition.
- This came after Biles became the first person to land a double-double as part of a dismount on the balance beam.
- The performance helped her take home first place in the All-Around competition, her sixth AA title in the U.S. championship. She had the best score on floor, beam and vault while ranking third on the uneven bars.
- Wrestler Deepak Punia wins gold at the Junior World Championships 2019 in Estonia
- Wrestler Deepak Punia won gold in 86-kg junior freestyle category by beating Alik Shebzukhov of Russia at the Junior World Championships 2019 at Tallinn, Estonia. With this, he became the first Indian in 18 years to win the title.
- The last Indians to emerge gold medallists at the junior world championship were Ramesh Kumar (69 kg) and Palwinder Singh Cheema (130 kg) in 2001.
- In the 92kg, Vicky Chahar defeated Mongloia’s Batmagnai Eenkhtuvshin and claimed the bronze medal.
Appointment & Resignation
- VG Somani appointed as new DCGI of CDSCO
- The Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) appointed VG Somani as Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) in Level 14 of the Pay Matrix as per the 7th Central Pay Commision (CPC), on deputation basis, for a period of 3 years. He is currently Joint Drugs Controller of India. He succeeds Dr. S. Eswara Reddy.
♦ Parent Organization:Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
Award & Honors
- ISRO chairman K.Sivan conferred with A.P.J. Abdul Kalam award
- Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) K.Sivan, under whose leadership the Chandrayaan- 2mission (mission to moon) is launched, was conferred with Tamil Nadu Government’s Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam award.
♦The award was announced at the Independence Day celebration at Fort St.George, TamilNadu. As he was not present during the celebration, he will later collect it from the chief minister of TamilNadu Shri Edappadi K.Palaniswami at a later date.
♦Kalpana Chawla award for Courage and Daring Enterprise – P, Assistant director of fisheries. She was awarded in recognition of her brave action against the usage of destructive band purse seine nets.
♦Special award for extraordinary Act of Bravery- Shanmugavelu and his wife Senthamarai. The couple bravely fought against two robbers, where the video went viral on social media.
♦Many other awards were distributed on various categories.
Science, Space & Technology
- IIT Hyderabad, NIT Jalandhar Researchers develop Bone Implant Materials From waste Eggshells
- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad and Dr. B R Ambedkar National Institute of Technology (NIT) Jalandhar (Punjab) researchers have developed a process by which bone implant materials can be synthesized from eggshells which are dumped as waste.
♦ Process: The team synthesized nanopowder, which is a hundred thousand times smaller than the width of a single human hair, from the eggshells, which are made of largely calcium-containing minerals (95.1%) along with small amounts of proteins and water.
♦ Benefits: This will help people, who are affected in using synthetic chemicals as bone replacement materials because of the presence of chemical residues. Plaster of Paris is commonly used by people to heal bone defects but it is highly toxic.
♦ Publisher: The research work done by the team was published in the March 2019 issue of the journal Ceramics International.
♦ The research paper has been co-authored by Dr. Roopavath Uday Kiran, Dr. Subha Narayan Rath and Dr. Bharat B Panigrahi of IIT Hyderabad and Dr. Mahesh Kumar Sah of NIT Jalandhar.
- Nepal’s veteran Journalist Madan Mani Dixit passed away in Kathmandu
- Nepal’s veteran Litterateur and Journalist, Madan Mani Dixit, aged 96, passed away in Kathmandu. He was suffering from pneumonia. Born on February 17, 1923 in Kathmandu, he was the first photojournalist of Nepal.
- He is the author of Nepali literary masterpieces, namely “Madhavi”, “Meri Nilima” and “Rigveda”.
- He was awarded the Madan Puraskar for his literary masterpiece “Madhavi” and won the prestigious Madan Puraskar of Nepal.
- Veteran actress Vidya Sinha passed away at the age of 71
- Veteran Bollywood actor Vidya Sinha, aged 71 years passed away at Criticare Hospital in Mumbai, due to lung and heart disorders.
♦Born on 15 November 1947 in Bombay to film producer Rana Pratap Singh, Vidya Sinha is popularly known for her roles in movies like Rajnigandha(1974), Chhoti Si Batt(1976) and BR Chopra’s Pati, Patni Aur Woh(1978).
♦She last featured in actor Salman Khan’s Bodyguard. Later she was engaged in television shows such as Ekta Kapoor’s Kaavyanjali, besides Kulfi Kumar Bajewala.
- India celebrating its 73rd Independence Day
- India celebrates Independence Day every year on August 15
- On 15th August 1947 India was declared independent from British colonialism, and the reins of control were handed over to the leaders of the Country.