August 31, 2019

READ IN HINDI

National

  1. HRD directs UGC to set up panel to inquire into allegations of varsities selling fake degrees
  • The HRD Ministry, directed the UGC to constitute a high-level committee to inquire into allegations of sale of fake degrees by certain universities.
  • The steps were taken after media reports alleging that a racket prevailed in several parts of the country where agents would claim to arrange degrees of recognised universities.
  • The committee is required to complete its enquiry within three weeks and identify institutions and individuals that have resorted to such illegal practices.
  1. ADB President Mr. Takehiko Nakao pledges over $12 Billion to India in support of New Flagship Initiatives
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Mr. Takehiko Nakao met India’s Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi in New Delhi and committed over $12 billion in lending to India over the next 3 years (2020-22) in support of new flagship initiatives, averaging annually over $3 billion for sovereign operations and $1 billion for non sovereign operations.
  • He announced a $100 million investment in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).
  • ADB estimates India’s growth in 2019 at 7.0% and in 2020 at 7.2%
  • India is hosting the first South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Finance Ministers’ meeting in March 2020.
  1. 3rd Advanced Estimate (2018-19) of Area and Production of various Horticulture Crops released
  • The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare of the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare released the 3rd Advanced Estimate (2018-19) of Area and Production of various Horticulture Crops based on the information received from different States & Union Territories (UTs) and other source agencies.
  • The total Horticulture Production of India for 2018-19 is estimated to be 313.85 Million Tonnes which is 0.69% higher than the Horticulture Production in 2017-18 which stood at 311.71 Million Tonnes.
  1. HM Amit Shah flags off the first fleet of eco-friendly e- buses in Ahmedabad, Gujarat
  • In a bid to make the city cleaner& greener, the Union Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah has flagged off the first fleet of eco-friendly e-buses(electric buses) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, which will be operated on major junctions in the city.
  • He also inaugurated the India’s 1st automated battery charging & changing station for e-buses in the city.

Key points:

♦Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) will operate the electric buses on a regular basis. In the 1stphase, a total of 50 buses will be rolled out, of which 18 e-buses will have swappable battery technology facility, while other 32 e-buses having fast charging facility will become operational.

♦FAME scheme: Under the Faster Adaption and Manufacture of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (FAME)scheme, Gujarat will get 550 electric buses, which aims to give 5,595 electric buses to 64 cities across India. Ahmedabad alone will get 300 e- buses.

♦e-buses: Each bus can hold up to 50 passengers & as these are electric buses it will be silent and will not release smoke. These are AC(Air Conditioner) buses with automatic door sensors and won’t able to start if the doors are open.

♦Mission Million: Amit Shah also culminates the Mission Million Trees project, which was organized by the AMC at the Science City on World Environment Day (5 June 2019). Under this mission, AMC has enabled planting of one million saplings since the launch of the initiative.

  1. 26th Ladakhi-Kisan-Jawan-VigyanMela inaugurated by Rajnath in Leh
  • The 26th edition of “Ladakhi-Kisan-Jawan-VigyanMela” organised by Leh-based Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was inaugurated by the Union Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh. The mela seeks to meet the fresh food requirements for soldiers serving in the harsh terrain regions.

Key points

♦Members present:  GyalPhunchokWangyal, Chief Executive Counselor(CEC) of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), and JamyangTseringNamgyalLadakh Member of Parliament(MP).

♦DIHAR: This institute produces organic farm produce to the Army by its advanced technologies and is also recently engaged in food production to the remotest areas of the Himalayan region.

  1. Health Ministry’s TB division signs MoU to explore AI based solutions for combating TB
  • A Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) was signed between the Central TB Division of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry (MoHFW) andWadhwaniInstitute (independent, nonprofit research institute and global hub in AI development) to explore future possibilities of tackling TB(tuberculosis) through Artificial Intelligence(AI) technologies. The MoU was signed by Shri VikasSheel, Joint Secretary of MoHFW and Dr P Anandan, ChieF Executive Officer(CEO) of Wadhwani AI.

Key points

♦Function: The Wadhwani group would support the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) which aims to eliminate TB by providing AI based solutions in screening diagnostics etc.

♦RNTCP:  It is the revised or rechristened form of the National TB Control Program(NTP) which aims at eliminating TB with its additional technology implementations.

♦TB free india: Best outcomes are expected through this MoU as the nation is committed to eliminate TB by 2025, which is 5 years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goal(SDG) target.

State

  1. Bihar Government bans Pan Masala containing magnesium carbonate
  • The Bihar Government has taken another strict decision after the liquor ban. The state government has banned the manufacture, storage, distribution, transportation or sale of pan masala containing magnesium carbonate.
  • The food and safety department of the State Government had found that pan masala contains magnesium carbonate which could cause heart disease. Govt. agencies have taken a decision after examining various samples.
  • The brands which were examined by the food and safety department were Pan Parag Pan Masala, Raj Niwas Pan Masala, Bahar Pan Masala, Kamala likes include Pan Masala, Rajshree Pan Masala, Signature Pan Masala, Rajnigandha Pan Masala, Supreme Pan Parag Pan Masala, Bahubali Pan Masala, Raunak Pan Masala, Madhu Pan Masala.
  1. Government gives nod to set up Gorewada International Zoo in Nagpur, Maharashtra
  • The Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar has announced the approval for the establishment of new International Standard Zoo and Biopark on 1914 hectares in the forest land at Gorewada in Nagpur, Maharashtra.

Key points:

♦The Zoo will be equipped with Bio Park, Indian Safari, African Safari, Night Safari, Research, Education and Training, facilities for tourists among others. Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited (FDCM), a wholly-owned company of the Government of Maharashtra (GoM)has been established for this purpose.

♦The Government will provide Viability Gap Funding (VGF) of Rs 200 crore for this project.

♦Special Purpose Vehicle(SPV) formation was approved between the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (having 51% shareholding) and the Joint Venture(JV) Company of private investors under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode Partner (with 49%).

♦The cost estimate is Rs. 392 Crores for this project.

International

  1. Mumbai ranks 45th & Delhi 52nd in 2019 world’s Safe Cities Index
  • According to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit sponsored by NEC corporation’s (formerly Nippon Electric Company), World’s Safe city index(SCI) for the year 2019, Mumbai was ranked 45thsafest city whereas Delhi stood at the 52nd position. The overall list was topped by Tokyo(Japan) followed by Singapore and Osaka in 2nd and 3rd spots respectively.

Key points

♦A total of 6 out of 10 cities of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, made it to the top 10 spots. Other cities Sydney and Melbourne were also placed in the top 10 list.

♦Seoul (South Korea) along with Copenhagen(Denmark) took the eighth spot.

♦Low scored states: Yangon(Myanmar), Karachi(Pakistan) and Dhaka(Bangladesh)were ranked at the bottom of the list.

♦The SCI ranks 60 cities based on 57 indicators under digital security, health security, infrastructure security and personal security. While the overall spot was topped by Tokyo, several other cities topped in those certain individual categories. They are as follows,

Rank  Digital security  Health security  Infrastructure security Personal security. Overall 
1 Tokyo(Japan) Osaka(Japan) Singapore Singapore Tokyo
2 Singapore Tokyo (Japan) Osaka(Japan) Copenhagen(Denmark) Singapore.
3 Chicago(America) Seoul (South Korea) Barcelona(Spain) Hong Kong(China) Osaka.

Banking & Finance

  1. RBI releases its Annual Report for the year 2018-19
  • India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has released its annual report for the fiscal year (FY) 2018-19. The report, which is released annually, analyses the working and operations of the RBI and suggests measures to improve the economic performance.
  • The number of cases of bank frauds reported by banks in 2018-19 increased 15 % on a year-on-year(Y-O-Y) basis to 6,801 cases from 5,916 cases in 2017-18. The amount of frauds touched at Rs 71,542.93 crore in 2018-19 as against Rs 41,167.04 crore in 2017-18, a 73.8 %.
  • The circulation of bank notes in the economy has increased 17% in FY2018-19 to Rs 21.1 trillion as against Rs 18.03 trillion in FY2017-18.

Business & Economy

  1. ‘Angikaar campaign’ launched by HAL to bring PMAY(U) beneficiaries into Ujjawala, Ayushman Bharat fold
  • ‘Angikaar campaign‘ was launched by Shri Hardeep Singh Puri,Minister of State(MoS-independent) of Housing and Urban Affairs(MoHUA), in order to bring the PMAY(U) (Pradhan MantriAwasYojana-Urban) beneficiaries into the fold of other schemes like the Ujjawala(free gas connections) and Ayushman Bharat(health protection scheme). The campaign will be rolled out on October 2 till December 10, 2019 in all the cities with PMAY(U).

Key points

♦HUA secretary DurgaShanker Mishra and other officials were present in the occasion.

♦Implementation: Around 88 lakh houses were approved so far after 2.99 lakh houses being sanctioned in the event, whereby the Angikaar aims at reaching the beneficiaries of the PMAY(U) in a phased manner with the help of volunteers in visiting the beneficiaries and making them enrolled in the scheme.

♦Vulnerability atlas e-course: An e-course on vulnerability atlas was also launched at the event in collaboration with School of Planning & Architecture (SPA), New Delhi, and the Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC). This course is about awareness and understanding about natural hazards.

  1. Mou signed between GeM and SIDBI to enable growth of MSMEs, Start-ups and Women Entrepreneurs
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Government e Marketplace (GeM), Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) in New Delhi to benefit Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), women entrepreneurs, Self Help Groups (SHGs), Women Self Help Groups and various loan beneficiaries under Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) and Stand-up India scheme.

Key Points:

♦It will promote special initiatives of GeM like Womaniya and Start-up Runway with SIDBI stakeholders.

♦It will strengthen capacity building through GeM-specific training programmes of personnel from partner agencies, value-added services through networking, workshops, marketing events, awards and recognition of MSMEs with special focus on SHGs, women entrepreneurs, artisans, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Start-ups and micro enterprises.

Sports

  1. Abhishek wins Gold, Saurabh bags Bronze at ISSF World Cup
  • India’s ace player Abhishek Verma won the gold while teen sensation Saurabh Chaudhary claimed the bronze as Indian shooters dominated the podium in the men’s 10-metre air pistol event of the ongoing ISSF World Cup In Rio De Janeiro.
  • Abhishek Verma, shot 244.2 in the eight-man final yesterday, while the 17-year-old Chaudhary’s 221.9 claimed the bronze after five gold medals this year.
  • Sanjeev Rajput claimed silver in the men’s 50-metre rifle 3 positions final to secure an Olympic quota for India.

Appointment & Resignation

  1. CBDT Chairman P C Mody’s tenure extended by the Govt
  • The Appointment Committee of Cabinet(ACC) headed by the Prime Minister(PM), has given its approval to extension/reappointment of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman Pramod Chandra Modyfor an additional period of 1 year.
  • The ACC has also appointed 1983-batch IRS (Indian Revenue Service) officer Prabhash Shankar as a new member in the CBDT. while the other members of the board are P K Dash, AkhileshRanjan and Neena Kumar, the CBDT still has two vacant vacancies.

About CBDT:

♦ The CBDT which frames policy for Income-Tax (IT) Department, is headed by a chairman and can have a maximum of six members.

♦ Functions under- Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963.

♦ The CBDT and all field offices celebrated the 159th Income Tax Day which is also known as AaykarDiwas on 24th July, 2019.

  1. MD and Group CEO of ICRA Naresh Takkar expelled by BoD
  • The Board of Directors (BoD) of rating agency ICRA (formerly Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency of India Limited), an affiliate of Moody’s, has terminated the services of its Managing Director (MD) and Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Naresh Takkar.
  • He was facing an enquiry into allegations related to the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) case.
  • Interim Chief Operating Officer (COO) Vipul Agarwal will hold the responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the company until a new CEO is appointed.

Award & Honors

  1. DAY-NULM bagged SKOCH Governance Gold Award for the year 2019
  • At Delhi’s constitutional club,The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs’ flagship mission, the DeendayalAntyodayaYojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) bagged 2019 SKOCH Governance Gold Award for its Portal for Affordable Credit and Interest Subvention Access (PAiSA) portal.

PaiSA:

♦It is a centralized Information Technology (IT) platform launched in november 2018 for quick processing of loans under Direct Benefit Transfer(DBT) mode. Mobile message will also be sent instantly after crediting the amount. Currently, there are about 1.50 lakh beneficiaries paid a total of Rs. 27 Cr.

♦End to end Claims for subvention (subsidy) are uploaded by banks through their CBS (Core Banking Solution) and are verified and approved by the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and State concerned.

♦Postal design: Thedesign and development was done through Allahabad bank.

♦Banks in portal: A total of 21 Public Sector, 18 Private and 35 Regional Rural Banks are boarded on the portal.

Science, Space & Technology

  1. Fourth orbital manoeuver for Chandrayaan-2
  • Chandrayaan-2 will undergo its fourth lunar orbit manoeuvring today. It will be aimed at reducing the farthest distance of the lunar craft from the surface of the moon.
  • The mission would be carried out by the scientists and engineers of the national space agency ISRO this evening.
  • ISRO scientists say the path would be the most suited to separate the lander called Vikram from the orbiter of Chandrayaan-2 on September 2.
  1. ‘Ghaznavi’ surface-to-surface ballistic missile test fired by Pakistan
  • The Pakistan army successfully test fired its 290km range surface to surface(SSM) name “Ghaznavi” during its night training launch.
  • The missile was launched from Sonmiani flight test range of Balochistan and is developed by National Development Complex (NDC) which is a missile developer for Pakistan army headquartered at Fatehjang, Punjab (Pakistan).

Environment

  1. IPCC “special report” on oceans and Earth’s frozen zones warns of rising seas, storm surges, melting permafrost
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “special report” on oceans and Earth’s frozen zones, known as the cryosphere, has warned on rising seas, storm surges and melting permafrost. It is a draft of a major United Nations (UN) report obtained by AFP, slated for release in Monaco on September 25, 2019.
  • The concentration of life-giving oxygen in marine environments has dropped 2% in 60 years, and is on track to lose another 3-4% by 2100 at current rates of carbon pollution.
  • In the 22nd century, the pace of sea level rise is likely to increase 100 fold from 3.6 millimetres per year today to “several centimetres” annually.

Important Days

  1. International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances observed on 30 August 2019
  • The United Nation(UN) jointly with the Amnesty International observes the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance every year on August 30. The day aims to Increase awareness about the number of enforced disappearances around the world.

Background:

♦Activists and family of the victim of enforced disappearances in the Philippines country declared august 30 to be observed as the International day of the disappeared in the year 2007.

♦Resolution: After increased disappearances globally, the UN expressed its concern in December 20,2010 during the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances under the resolution 65/209 and declared August 30th of each year to be International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance in 2011 onwards.

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September 7, 2019

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