August 07, 2019

READ IN HINDI

National

  1. National Conference (22nd) on e-Governance to be held at Shillong
  • The Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG), in association with Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India and the State Government of Meghalaya will organize the 22nd National Conference on e-Governance (NCeG) 2019 on 8-9th August, 2019 at Shillong, Meghalaya.
  • This year conference will be organized with a theme “Digital India: Success to Excellence”. The Conference would provide considerable momentum to the e-Governance initiatives in the North Eastern region.
  • About 28 States and 8 Union Territories have confirmed their participation in the Conference and over 500 delegates are expected to attend it.
  1. Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill, 2019
  • To increase the number of Supreme Court judges from the present 30 to 33 Supreme Court Number of Judges Amendment bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha.
  • The Bill amends Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Ac, 1956. It helps to meet long standing demand of increasing strength of Supreme Court judges to resolve number of pending cases can be brought down substantially.
  • The Bill to increase strength of Supreme Court judges by 10% i.e. to 33 from present 30 (excluding Chief Justice of India).
  1. Lok Sabha passes The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019
  • The bill aims to ban commercial surrogacy in India and it was passed in the house by a voice vote. Effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy will be ensured by the Bill. It will allow ethical surrogacy only.
  • The bill bans commercial surrogacy, including sale and purchase of human embryos and gametes, but allows ethical altruistic surrogacy for needy couples on fulfillment of stipulated conditions.
  • Under the provisions of this bill, it has been defined as a practice in which woman gives birth to the child for intending couple with the intention to hand over the child to the intending couple after the birth.
  1. Union environment ministry unveiled a draft ‘National Resource Efficiency Policy’
  • In order to save the natural resources, the Union environment ministry unveiled a draft ‘Nation Resource Efficiency Policy’ which suggests the institutional mechanism and a three-year action plan through the principle of 6R and ‘green public procurement’.

Key Points:

♦Reason: In India, the consumption of fossil fuels, biomass, metal ores and non-metal ores was increased by over 6 times in 45 years, from 1.18 billion tonnes (BT) in 1970 to 7.4 BT in 2015. It is projected to be doubled by 2030 from 2015 level.

♦6R: The 6R stands for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Redesign, Re-manufacture and Refurbish.

♦Green public procurement: It is to procure products with lower environmental footprints such as secondary raw materials and locally sourced materials.

♦NREA: The draft suggests to set up ‘National Resource Efficiency Authority’ (NREA) to develop an action plan with 3 years time-frame, create and maintain database, measure progress and build capacities.

♦NREAB: Under initial action plan (2019-22), the draft seeks to constitute an inter-ministerial body – National Resource Efficiency Advisory Board (NREAB) – for coordination among different agencies.

♦Establishment of Vehicle Dismantlers: More than 8.7 million vehicles had reached ‘end-of-life vehicle’ (ELV) status in 2015. It is estimated to reach 21 million by 2025. So, the draft seeks to establish 20 vehicle dismantlers across major urban centres by 2020.

♦Zero landfill approach: The draft pitches for moving towards ‘zero landfill’ approach. It may impose ‘landfill taxes’ and ‘high tipping fees’ for bulk generators of waste so that they can move towards optimal use of materials and better waste management.

State

  1. Bihar gets Centre’s nod for Kosi-Mechi river interlinking
  • The Centre has approved the Rs 4,900 crore project for interlinking of Kosi and Mechi rivers of Bihar.
  • This is the second major river interlinking project in the country to be approved after the Ken-Betwa project in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Bihar has got the final remaining mandatory techno- administrative approval for the project from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • The central government has approved construction of 76.20 km canals on eastern bank of Kosi for irrigation purpose.
  • The project will prevent recurring floods in north Bihar and also irrigate over 2.14 lakh hectares of cultivable land in Bihar.

International

  1. China labeled as a currency manipulator for the first time in 25 years by the US
  • For the first time in 25 years, the United States (US) has labelled China as a currency manipulator.

Key Points:

♦Definition: The US Treasury department defines currency manipulation as when countries deliberately influence the exchange rate between their currency and the US dollar to gain “unfair competitive advantage in international trade”.

♦Criteria: The US Treasury has 3 criteria to determine if a country is manipulating its currency for unfair advantage: the nation must have a trade surplus with the US of more than $20 billion, a current-account surplus of more than 3% of GDP and must buy assets worth 2% of GDP in attempting to reduce the value of its own currency on foreign exchange markets.

♦Reason: Beijing allowed its yuan to fall below the politically sensitive level of 7 to the US dollar and Chinese firms have reportedly stopped buying US farm produce.

♦7 per dollar level: China’s currency broke the 7 per dollar level for the first time since 2008. China set the mid-point of the yuan at $6.9683, the lowest since 2008 and vowed not to use the currency as a tool in its ongoing trade dispute with the United States.

♦Consequence: When China’s yuan falls against the U.S. dollar, Chinese products become cheaper in the U.S. market and American products become more costly in China.

♦Way ahead: US will engage with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to eliminate the unfair competitive advantage created by China’s latest actions.

Banking & Finance

  1. Anglo-Gulf Trade Bank partners with Publicis Sapient and Microsoft to launch world’s first end to end digital trade finance bank
  • Microsoft and Publicis Sapient have partnered with Anglo-Gulf Trade Bank (AGTB) to launch the world’s first end-to-end digital trade finance bank. AGTB is headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
  • Publicis Sapient will function as a digital partner of the bank, utilizing Microsoft’s intelligent Cloud-based security and data solutions.
  • This has made AGTB the very first trade bank that is fully digital from the outset. Trade finance represents the financial instruments and products that are used by companies to facilitate international trade and commerce.
  1. Sovereign Gold Bonds 2019-20 Series III Set To Open
  • The Sovereign Gold Bonds 2019-20 (Series III) will be opened for the period August 05-09, 2019.
  • The issue price of the Bond during this subscription period shall be Rs. 3,499 (Rupees Three Thousand Four Hundred Ninety Nine only) – per gram with Settlement date August 14, 2019.
  • Minimum investment in the Bonds shall be one gram with a maximum limit of subscription per fiscal year of 4 kg for individuals, 4 kg for Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) and 20 kg for trusts.
  1. Mastercard launches ‘Identity Check Express’ for uninterrupted secured online transactions
  • American multinational financial services corporation, Mastercard has launched a next-generation, mobile-first authentication solution, called “Identity Check Express” that will help customers to do uninterrupted secured transactions while shopping online.

Key points:

♦The new card payment feature was showcased in New Delhi at the Global Mastercard Cybersecurity Summit 2019, held for the 1st time in India.

♦Present status: As per the Mastercard’s analysis, up to 20% of mobile e-commerce transactions are interrupted mid-way. The present rules to verify an identity online are time-consuming which led to the shoppers away from a merchant’s website due to the issues such as consumers being redirected to a third website to complete the payment process or mobile network fluctuations.

♦Solution: The Identity Check Express combines the new age technology, including device intelligence and behavioural biometrics, with the latest EMV 3-D Secure and FIDO authentication standards will eliminate unnecessary friction and enhance the security of online transactions.

♦Offering:  Master will offer hassle-free payment solution with this express to its cardholders for an amount less than ₹ 2,000 on forefront merchants trusted mobile devices by sharing a onetime merchant-specific consent.  For transactions above Rs 2,000, cardholders will be able to authenticate themselves with a transaction PIN(Personal identification number) of their choice.

♦Background: In May 2019, Mastercard announced an investment of $1 billion over the next 5 years in India as part of its commitment to strengthen and secure digital transactions space.

About Mastercard:

♦ Headquarters: United States

♦ Founded: 16 December 1966

♦ President and CEO: Ajay Banga

Sports

  1. Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori’s jersey number 11 retired
  • Former New Zealand all-rounder Daniel Vettori’s jersey number 11 has been retired, the cricketing board for Kiwi players announced.
  • Daniel Vettori, who wore number 11, has played 291 ODI matches.
  1. South Africa’s leading wicket-taker Dale Steyn retires from Test cricket
  • South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn has announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect
  • Steyn made his debut in 2004 against England
  • He become the highest wicket-taker for his country in the longest format with 439 wickets from 93 matches at an average of 22.95 including 26 five-wicket hauls and 5 10-wicket hauls

Appointment & Resignation

  1. Kandikuppa Sreekant is the new Chairman and MD of Power Grid
  • The Indian state-owned electric utilities company, Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd.has appointed Kandikuppa Sreekant as its chairman and managing director(MD) till December 31, 2023, or until further orders, whichever is earlier. He replaces Ravi P Singh (director (personnel), who holding the post of chairman &MD of the company give away the additional charge.

Key points:

♦Prior to this appointment, Sreekant was the finance director of Power Grid.

♦Sreekant, a CMA (Certified Management Accountant) and Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management (finance) had over 33 years of experience in the power sector, involving finance and accounting functions, long-term financial planning, etc.

Award & Honors

  1. Pathamadai Silk Mat gets GI Tag
  • Tamil Nadu’s Pathamadai mats have been granted Geographical Indication (GI) status by the trademarks and GI authorities.
  • These mats are made especially for wedding ceremonies and have bride’s and groom’s names as well as the wedding date woven in it.
  • Outdated handicraft methods used in the making of Pattamadai mats is facing tough competition from increased domestic and international demand and supply imbalance.
  1. India’s Naaz Joshi wins Miss World Diversity for the third consecutive time
  • Naaz Joshi, transsexual woman from India won the beauty pageant title of Miss World Diversity 2019 held in Port Louis, Mauritius.

Key points

♦This was her third successive victory in this beauty pageant competition as she won the title previously in 2017 and 2018.

♦Naaz Joshi had also won Miss Republic International Beauty Ambassador 2017 and Miss United Nationals Ambassador.

About Mauritius

♦ It is an Indian Ocean island nation, known for its beaches, lagoons and reefs.

♦ Capital- Port Louis

♦ Currency- Mauritian Rupee

♦ President-ParamasivumPillayVyapoori (acting president)

♦ Prime minister-PravindJugnauth

Books

  1. Hilary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton teamed up for the book on ‘Gutsy Women’
  • American politician,diplomat,lawyer,writer and public speaker Hilary Rodham Clinton (called as Hilary Clinton) and her daughter Chelsea Clinton are to write a book called “The Book ofGutsy Women” to honour famous women personalities.

Key points

♦This book includes portraits of more than 100 famous women personalities.

♦The Clintons (Hilary and Chelsea) were represented by Robert Barnett,, attorney of Washington DC,

♦The book will be published by Simon&Schuster publications on October 1, 2019.

♦Some of the women included in the book are scientist Marie Curie, Activist Greta Thunberg, activist Manal al-Sharif, entertainer Ellen DeGeneres.

Science, Space & Technology

  1. Iran launched 3 new precision-guided missiles “Yasin”, “Balaban” & “Ghaem”
  • Iran unveiled three precision-guided missiles “Yasin”, “Balaban” and a new series of “Ghaem” in Tehran. The air-to-air missiles were developed jointly by the Ministry of Defence of Iran and Sa Iran, also known as Iran Electronics Industries.

Key Points:

♦Yasin is a smart, guided missile with folding wings that can be fired from a range of 50 kilometres (30 miles) of its target from manned or unmanned aircraft.

♦Balaban is guided by GPS (Global Positioning System) and sensors. It is equipped with folding wings and can be mounted under the aircraft.

♦Ghaem is a heat-seeking missile which can hit within 50 centimetres of a target.

Important Days

  1. Hiroshima Day 2019 observed on August 6
  • Hiroshima Day was observed on August 6, 2019. It marks the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States (US) in 1945.

Key Points:

♦An American B-29 bomber had dropped the first atomic bomb nicknamed ‘Little Boy’ on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

♦Three days later i.e on August 9, 1945, a second atomic bomb “Fat Man” was dropped on the city of Nagasaki.

♦Hiroshima Day, the annual event is organised by the Galway Alliance Against War (GAAW) in Eyre Square, Ireland.

♦2019 marks the 74th anniversary of the disastrous event.

Obituary

  1. Former external affairs minister and BJP stalwart, Sushma Swaraj passed away
  • The senior BJP(Bharatiya Janata Party) leader and India’s former external affairs minister(EAM) Sushma Swaraj passed away in All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi due to a massive heart attack. She was 67.
  • Born on 14 February 1952 in Ambala Cantt town of Haryana, Sushma started her political life with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the RSS’(Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) student wing, and later joined the BJP.
  • She was the external affairs minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet from 26 May, 2014 to 30 May, 2019, only the 2nd woman in the role after Indira Gandhi.
  • Swaraj was known for her active presence on social media, often replying to calls and messages of distress from Indians abroad.
  • The BJP stalwart, Sushma got her credit such as being country’s youngest-ever Cabinet Minister(at the age of 25 in 1977), first woman Chief Minister of Delhi(13 October, 1998 to 3 December, 1998).
  • Swaraj, a law graduate who practiced in the Supreme Court(SC), was served as a seven-time MP(Member of Parliament) and as MLA(Member of the Legislative Assembly) for three terms. In the 2014 Indian general election, Sushma won from the Vidisha constituency in Madhya Pradesh for a second term(MP), retaining her seat by a margin of over 400,000 votes.
  • In 1996, She was the Information and Broadcasting (I&B)Minister in the 13-day Atal Bihari Vajpayee government & she also contested against the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Bellary, Karnataka in the 1999 Lok Sabha polls.
  • In her last tweets, she welcomed the revoking of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir(J&K) and thanked Prime Minister Modi for the move.

READ IN HINDI

August 8, 2019

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