August 24, 2019

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National

  1. President of India inaugurates the First World Youth Conference on Kindness
  • The President of India, Shri Ram NathKovind inaugurated the first World Youth conference on kindness at VigyanBhawan in New Delhi.
  • The president addressed the event celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on the theme ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam: Gandhi for the Contemporary World’.
  • To impart empathy, compassion, mindfulness and critical enquiry to inspire, empower and enable youth to transform building a long-lasting peace in their communities and finding pathways to achieve Sustainable Development Goals(SDG).
  • The conference was organised by UNESCO(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’.
  1. PM Narendra Modi inaugurates memorial in honour of victims of 2 Air India crashes in France
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a memorial in the honour of the victims of two Air India crashes at the foothills of the Mont Blanc mountain in France in which several Indians, including Homi J Bhabha, regarded as the father of India’s nuclear programme, were killed.
  • The memorial at Nid d’Aigle, at the foot of Mount Blanc, was dedicated to Bhabha and several other Indians who were among the passengers and crew of the two Air India planes that crashed in 1950 and 1966.
  1. Common Service Centre SPV signs pact with Ministry to digitise gram panchayats across country
  • The Common Service Centre SPV signed a pact with the Panchayati Raj Ministry to turn gram panchayats into ‘digital panchayats’
  • The move is aimed at providing speedy delivery of government services to people in rural areas and promoting rural BPO across all 2.5 lakh panchayats in the country.
  • According to the MoU signed between MoPR and CSC e-Governance, Gram Panchayat Bhawans will host common service centres (CSCs), to provide easy access to government services and social schemes in rural areas.
  • CSC, which provides government services in rural areas, will help all gram panchayats regularly update Ministry of Panchayati Raj’s (MoPR) applications and provide online services in their area.
  • CSC will also be responsible for overall project management, monitoring and coordination with MoPR, state government, other ministries and gram panchayats.
  1. Environment Ministry to relax mandatory charging of lease rent of Rs 30000 per MW for wind power projects
  • Shri Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change stated that in order to boost the investment in wind power projects, the Government has decided to relaxthe mandatory charging of lease rent of Rs 30000 per MW for wind power projects.

Key points:

♦Present status: As per the existing procedure,  if the wind power companies want to establish wind power project over forest land, they are required to pay the mandatory charges for compensatory afforestation and Net Present Value (NPV). In addition to these charges, they had to pay additional lease rent of Rs.30,000 per MW(megawatt), which is not mandatory for other renewal energy projects such as solar power and hydel electric projects. As a result of additional charge, the per-unit cost of power will increase at the consumer level.

♦Benefit: The move will help in providing wind power at a cheaper rate & also strengthen India’s commitments towards International Agreements such as National Commitment pledged in Paris in December 2015, which was to have 40% of the power from renewable resources by 2030.

♦Aim: India has over achieved the target and ensures that more than 50% of its installed capacity will come from renewable by the year 2030.

  1. National Food Laboratory in Ghaziabad inaugurated by Harsh Vardhan
  • Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan has inaugurated the FSSAI’s (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) first National Food Laboratory(NFL) – Delhi, NCR(National Capital Region) in Ghaziabad on the 13th anniversary of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

Key points:

♦The lab has been built with the P-P-P model(Public-Private-Partnership) & equipped with state-of-the-art collaborative training centers, namely the Food Safety Solution Centre (FSSC) and the Centre for Microbiological Analysis Training (C-MAT).

♦The government has increased the number of food testing laboratories to 261 from 138 in 2014.

♦Harsh Vardhan has launched  2 ‘Food Safety on Wheels’ (FSW) vans to Uttar Pradesh which would cater to the food testing needs of Ghaziabad and Western Uttar Pradesh. There are 44 FSWs at present, which will be increased to 500 in future to support the states in ensuring food safety.

♦Vardhan also laid the foundation stone of 8-floor FSSAI Tower, released a report titled “Food Laboratories in India: A Meta Study” and awarded the Certificate of Recognition to 13 National Reference Laboratories.

♦NFL(Delhi-NCR), formerly the Food Research & Standardized Laboratory (FRSL, Ghaziabad), is one of the two premier referral laboratories under the direct administrative control of the apex food regulator, FSSAI.

State

  1. Gujarat tops in NITI Aayog Report on ‘Composite Water Management Index2019 (CWMI 2.0)’
  • According to the recently released report,” Composite Water Management Index 2019” (CWMI 2.0) for the year 2017-2018 by Government’s think tank NITI Aayog(National Institution for Transforming India) in association with Ministry of Jal Shakti and Ministry of Rural Development ,
  • Gujarat has again performed better in water management practices to get top spot with a score of 75. Uttar Pradesh(39), Bihar(38), and Jharkhand(34) continued to be in the low-performing category in the chart.
  • The Index was launched by Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of Jal Shakti, and Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog.

International

  1. Iran unveils home-grown missile defence system
  • Iran unveiled its new home-grown air defence system at a time of increased tensions with the United States.
  • Iranian officials have previously called Bavar-373 the Islamic republic’s first domestically produced long-range missile defence system.
  • Tehran began making Bavar — which means “believe” — after the purchase of Russia’s S-300 system was suspended in 2010 due to international sanctions.
  • The long-range Bavar-373 missile system is suited to Iran’s geography with a range of more than 200 kilometres (124 miles) … and competes with Russian and American systems such as S-300 and Patriot.

Banking & Finance

  1. DBS named ‘World’s Best Bank’ by Euromoney magazine
  • Globally, DBS has become the first bank to concurrently hold three global best bank awards. This was achieved after DBS was named “World’s Best Bank” by leading global financial publication Euromoney in its 2019 Awards for Excellence.
  • It follows the bank’s wins of Global Finance’s “Best Bank in the World” in August 2018 and The Banker’s “Bank of the Year – Global” in November 2018.
  • This is the first time an Asian-headquartered bank has been named “World’s Best Bank” by Euromoney since the award was launched in 1993.
  • Past winners included Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Citi and UBS. DBS was also named Asia’s Best Bank and Singapore’s Best Bank in this year’s Awards for Excellence.
  1. Bandhan Bank join hands with standard Chartered for co-branded credit cards
  • Private sector lender Bandhan Bank has entered into the partnership with multinational banking and financial services company, Standard Chartered Bank to provide co-branded credit cards to its 40 lakh savings bank account holders across the 1,000 branches of Bandhan.

Key points:

♦The co-branded cards are available in three variants. It includes,(i) One- for the mass market,(ii) Plus- for the affluent segment and(iii) Xclusive- for the premium segment. The credit period offered will be of 52 days.

♦As part of this partnership,  Standard Chartered Bank will take the risk of credit failure & Bandhan Bank will be responsible for identifying and issuing cards to its customers.

♦Standard Chartered currently has 100 branches in 43 cities in India & It has 12 lakh customers base having credit card.

  1. Balkan country Serbia becomes 73rd non-regional member of AIIB
  • The Minister of Finance Sinisa Mali of Serbia, announced membership with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB). By this membership, Serbia officially becomes the 73rd non-regional member of the AIIB after completing all procedures and met all the conditions for membership after passing a bill on approval of the AIIB Articles of Agreement and depositing the Instrument of Accession and the first capital installment with the bank.

Key points

♦The news was confirmed on August 15, 2019 by the resolution of the AIIB Board of Governors recalling the request for membership in 2018 by Sinisa.

About AIIB:

It is a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region.

♦Headquarters- Beijing, China.

♦President- JinLiqun.

Business & Economy

  1. Moody’s cuts India’s GDP growth to 6.2% for 2019
  • Moody’s Investors Service has cut India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate to 6.2 per cent for calendar year 2019 against its earlier projection of 6.8 per cent.
  • The rating agency scaled down India’s economic growth to 6.7 per cent for 2020, a cut of another 0.6 percentage points.
  1. Bharatcraft portal will generate Rs 10 lakh crore revenues in 2-3 yrs: Nitin Gadkari
  • The Union Minister of Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSME), Nitin Gadkari stated that the government’s planned e-commerce portal Bharatcraft has the potential to achieve revenues of around Rs 10 lakh crore in 2-3 years. He stated at the 200th listing of an MSME company ‘Wonder Fibromats’ on NSE Emerge in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Key points:

♦The portal Bharatcraft, which will be on the lines of Alibaba and Amazon, will provide a platform for MSMEs to market and sell their products & help promote the MSME sector which is currently contributing nearly 29 % to the manufacturing segment and 40 % to the exports.

♦The center sets a target to increase the contribution of MSMEs in the manufacturing sector to 50% as they have the capability to generate additional employment of 5 crore in the next 5 years.

♦For the welfare of MSME, a committee has also been set up to study the aspect of payments, which have always been the issue for the MSMEs.

Award & Honors

  1. Conservationist Vivek Menon wins Clark Bavin Award
  • Conservationist Vivek Menon, head of Delhi-based conservation non-profit, Wildlife Trust of India was awarded the prestigious Clark R Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Award for the year 2019 in Geneva.
  • Menon was presented the award by Ivonne Higuero, the secretary general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The eighteenth meeting of Conference of Parties to CITES is currently being held at Geneva.
  • The Bavin award is instituted by the Animal Welfare Institute for wildlife law enforcement officers, law enforcement agencies, agency administrators, criminal investigators, forensic scientists, attorneys, informants, and others who have gone beyond the call of duty and demonstrated a commitment and dedication to combating wildlife crime

Environment

  1. Nations around the world moved to protect giraffes as endangered species
  • At the global meeting on endangered species, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland, CITES member nations have agreed to protect giraffes for the 1st time, which draws the praise from conservationists and angry expression from some sub-Saharan African nations.

Key points:

♦This decision will be finalized at plenary at the end of Conference of the Parties. The meet runs from August 17 & end on August 28, 2019. The vote passed 106-21, with 7 abstentions.

♦The move would regulate the trade in giraffe, hunted for their skin, meat, bones, and tails, while stopping short of a full ban.

♦An environmental advocacy group, The Natural Resources Defence Council hailed the move, noting that giraffes are a vulnerable species facing habitat loss and population decline(up to 40 % during the past 3 decades).

♦The US (United States) was the world’s biggest consumer of giraffe product.

Obituary

  1. Former finance minister ArunJaitly passed away at the age of 66
  • Former Finance Minister Shri ArunJaitley passed away at the age of 66 due to health related ailments at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi where he underwent treatment several weeks after suffering from breathlessness and restlessness.
  • Being a finance minister under Modi’s first government, ArunJaitley stepped down from contesting in the 2019 loksabha election citing health issues.
  • He also served as a member of the Board of Governors of Asian Development Bank(ADB).

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September 7, 2019

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