- 12 Indian beaches in the race to crest the ‘Blue Flag’ challenge
- The Union Environment Ministry has selected 12 beaches in India to vie for a ‘Blue Flag’ certification, an international recognition conferred on beaches that meet certain criteria of cleanliness and environmental propriety.
- These beaches are at Shivrajpur (Gujarat), Bhogave (Maharashtra), Ghoghla (Diu), Miramar (Goa), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Eden (Puducherry), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden (Odisha), and Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands).
- The Blue Flag Programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation FEE (the Foundation for Environmental Education).
- Govt launches “Kaushal Yuva Samwaad” to interact with youth and get their perspective on skill development
- To commemorate World Youth Skills Day (July 15) and celebrate the 4th Anniversary of the Skill India Mission, the Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MoSDE) launched ‘Kaushal Yuva Samwaad’ (A Youth Dialogue) in New Delhi.
- It aimed at creating an open dialogue with youth across all skill training centres to hear their views, ideas, opportunities, and recommendations help the Ministry of Skill Development scaling up existing programs and improve the overall efficiency of the on-going projects.
- The platform discusses potential issues and solutions from the candidates’ perspective. It also gives MoSDE perspective to match aspirations of youth with offerings of Skill India.
- Under Bharat Net, more than 1.28 Lakh Gram Panchayats linked with optical fibre
- Union Panchayat Raj Minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed that under Bharat Netprogramme, more than 1.28 Lakh Gram Panchayats were linked with optical fibre. The programme has uploaded the photographic evidence of the works taken up by them and assistance given to beneficiaries.
♦The development plans have been uploaded by 2.19 Lakh Gram Panchayats and the details of 16 lakh works taken up by them are available on the website to ensure transparency.
♦States which do not conduct local body elections are will not funded under the Finance Commission. This is done in order to empower the Panchayats.
- SC constituted a high powered committee to frame an emergency plan to prevent the extinction of Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican
- The Supreme Court (SC) by taking serious note of alarming extinction of two Indian birds namely Great Indian Bustard and the Lesser Florican has constituted a high powered committee to urgently frame and implement an emergency response plan for the protection of these species. It also sought responses from the Centre and state governments, where these two species of birds are prominently found.
♦Structure: The 3 member panel comprises Deepak Apte, Director of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Dr. Asad R Rahmani, former Director of BNHS and member of governing body of Wetlands International South Asia and Dr. Dhananjai Mohan, Chief Conservator of Forests of Uttarakhand.
♦Background: The panel was formed by especially powerlines the apex court on plea contended that over the last 50 years population of Great Indian Bustard has recorded decline of over 82%( falling from an estimated 1260 in 1969 to 100-150 in 2018) by wildlife activists
♦Over the past few decades, the population of Lesser Florican(also known as likh or kharmore) has seen a sharp decline of 80%. These two critically endangered bird species are facing threats of mortality by collision with infrastructure especially powerlines and wind turbines, depletion of grasslands, hunting, etc. Both birds are protected under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 but despite being accorded highest level of protection under national law, these birds are facing the threat of imminent extinction.
♦Emergency response plan: Under the plan, wildlife activists have suggested steps that should be taken includes, urgent dismantling and undergrounding of powerlines and wind turbines, immediate embargo on any upcoming wind, solar power projects, and powerlines in and around critical habitats, installation of predator-proof fencing in critical habitats to protect breeding grounds of both the species from invasive human activities as well as predators and implementation of dog population control program.
- Kids will be given eggs at home: Chhattisgarh Govt.
- Chhattisgarh government announced that if parents have issues with serving eggs in mid-day meals at the school, authorities should arrange to serve eggs to the students whose families have no objection at home.
- School education department suggested this year that eggs or food item with equivalent nutrition value should be served to the students.
- However, students who don’t eat eggs will be provided Soya Milk, protein crunch, fortified pulses etc.
- Maharashtra Govt. raised aid for martyrs’ kin to Rs. 1 crore
- The Maharashtra Cabinet approved an increase in the financial assistance given to families of martyred and disabled soldiers hailing from the state.
- Kin of martyred soldiers will now get Rs. 1 crore as opposed to the current Rs.25 lakh assistance.
- The government will provide Rs. 60 lakh to soldiers left 51-100% disabled, instead of the current Rs. 15 lakh.
- Bill Gates overtaken by Arnault as world’s second richest person
- A report released by Bloomberg said that Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates is no longer the world’s second-richest person as his wealth was surpassed by French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault’s wealth.
- Now, Gates is the world’s third-richest person with USD 107 billion as compared to second-richest person Arnault’s USD 108 billion wealth.
- Arnault derives most of his wealth from his holdings in Louis Vuitton owner LVMH.
- Palau signs International Solar Alliance Framework agreement
- Palau signed the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework Agreement here, lauding India for its efforts in promoting sustainable development projects through South-South cooperation.
- Palau became the 76th country to sign the ISA Framework Agreement, which till date has been ratified by a total of 54 of the 76 countries.
- Palau President Tommy Remengesau signed the ISA Framework Agreement during a special ceremony at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations. Remengesaurecognised the ISA as a key initiative for promoting sustainable energy.
- The partnership between India and Palau, Remengesau praised India as an important partner for South-South Cooperation and commended the positive role being played by the India-UN Development Fund in promoting sustainable development projects in partner countries.
- Palau will host the 2020 edition of the ‘Our Oceans conference’, which will focus on issues such as climate change, sustainable fisheries and marine pollution.
Banking & Finance
- HDFC Bank, CSC launch credit card for small traders, village entrepreneurs
- HDFC Bank launched a co-branded ”Small Business MoneyBack Credit Card” for small traders and village level entrepreneurs (VLEs).
- The credit card is specifically designed for CSC’s VLEs, and VLE-sourced customers, and will give users easy access to credit for their day-to-day business expenses.
- The card was launched by HDFC Bank MD AdityaPuri and CSC Chief Dinesh Kumar Tyagi.
- At present, as much as Rs 70,000 crore worth of business is transacted through the network of Common Services Centres (CSCs), which apart from providing a platform for essential government and public utility services also deliver a range of social welfare schemes, financial services, education and skill development courses, healthcare, agriculture services and digital literacy.
- RBI slaps a penalty on SBI &Union Bank for violating various norms
- The central Banking institution, RBI(Reserve Bank of India) has penalized Public Sector Banks in India, State Bank of India(SBI)with Rs.7 crore and Union Bank of India(UBI) with Rs.10-lakh for violating certain regulatory guidelines.
♦The Rs.7 crore penalty imposed on SBI with reference to its financial position as on March 31, 2017 reported non-compliance with the directions issued by the RBI on Income Recognition and Asset Classification (IRAC) norms, code of conduct for opening and operating current accounts and reporting of data on Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC), and fraud risk management and classification and reporting of frauds.
♦The RBI imposed the Rs 10 lakh fine on Union Bank of India for lapses in cybersecurity framework in 2016, which resulted in an attempted to steal $171 million using the Swift(Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) messaging systems of the bank.
- GPF rates reduced by 10 bps to 7.9% from 8%
- Ministry of Finance informed that the rates of the General Provident Fund (GPF) were reduced by 10 basis points (bps) to 7.9% from 8% with effect from July 1, 2019 to September 30, 2019.
♦It will be applicable to the General Provident Fund (Central Services), Contributory Provident Fund (India), All India Services Provident Fund, State Railway Provident Fund, General Provident Fund (Defence Services), Indian Ordnance Department Provident Fund, Indian Ordnance Factories Workmen’s Provident Fund, Indian Naval Dockyard Workmen’s Provident Fund, Defence Services Officers Provident Fund, and the Armed Forces Personnel Provident Fund.
♦All government employees who joined service on or before December 31, 2003 contribute to GPF. An officer/employee contributes 6% of his/her basic salary with an equal contribution from the Government.
- HDFC Bank GDRs Terminated, Delisted From Luxembourg Stock Exchange
- India’s leading private sector bank, HDFC Bank(Housing Development Finance Corporation) has terminated and de-listed its 22 outstanding global depository receipts (GDRs) from the Luxembourg Stock Exchange citing low trading volume of GDRs.
♦The listing and admission to trading of the HDFC Bank GDRs on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange will be cancelled after July 15, 2019.
♦HDFC board has approved the proposal for termination of the GDR program and delisting of 22 GDRs, which are outstanding and listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange in April 2019.
- HDFC & CSC launches co-branded ‘Small Business MoneyBack Credit Card’ for small traders and village level entrepreneurs (VLEs)
- India’s largest private sector lender, HDFC (Housing Development Finance Corporation)and CSC(Common Service Centres) launched a co-branded ‘Small Business MoneyBack Credit Card’ for small traders and village level entrepreneurs (VLEs).
♦Benefit: The Money-Back Credit Card is specifically designed for CSC’s VLEs, and VLE-sourced customers will facilitate users hassle-free access to credit for their daily business expenses.
♦Access point: CSCs, which now traded around 70,000 crore rupees work as an access point for delivery of various services and It has 3.6 lakh centers across the country.
♦Services: In addition to providing a forum for government and public utility services by CSCs, it also deals with social welfare schemes, financial services, education and skill development courses, health, agricultural services, and digital literacy.
♦Background: In July 2018, HDFC and CSC had entered into an agreement, under which the bank will provide various products and services in the remote areas to VLEs enrolled with CSC.
- Muthoottu Mini Financiers Ltd and HDFC ERGO entered Bancassurance Corporate Agency Agreement
- India’s leading private sector general insurance company, HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company entered into a corporate agency partnership with Kerala based Muthoottu Mini Financiers Limited, a non-deposit taking systemically important NBFC(Non Banking Financial Company) to provide comprehensive general insurance for the customers of the NBFC through its network branches.
♦HDFC ERGO’s offering will now be available in Muthoottu Mini Financiers Ltd.’s widespread network of over 750 branches which spreads across 10 states and 2 union territories in India.
♦Through this partnership, HDFC ERGO will strengthen its penetration in southern India, leveraging the NBFC’s wide network and edge in priority lending sector.
♦Muthoottu Mini Financiers Ltd will also benefit with the advantage to offer their customers’ comprehensive solutions for their financial requirements under a single roof.
Business & Economy
- Israel Aerospace Industries signed $50 million follow-up deal with Indian Navy & India’s MDL Shipyard
- Israel Aerospace Industries, a state-owned defense contractor, signed $50 million follow-up deal with Indian Navy & Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL).
♦The follow up agreement consists of a range of maintenance and other services for sub-systems of Israel Aerospace’s naval medium range surface-to-air missile.
♦It will help in the improvement of system development and delivery.
Appointment & Resignation
- First female President of European Commission
- Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen has been elected as the First female President of the European Commission by the European Parliament.
- Von der Leyen has resigned from the post of Germany’s Defence Minister to take over the new role at the European Union’s executive body.
- She will succeed Jean-Claude Juncker who is set to step down on October 31.
- B BHarichandan, AnusaiyaUikey appointed Governors of AP, Chhattisgarh.
- BJP veteran and former Odisha minister BiswaBhusanHarichandan and former BJP MP from Madhya Pradesh AnusuiyaUikey were appointed Governors of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh respectively.
- Harichandan will replace E S L Narasimhan, who is also Governor of Telangana, while Uikey will replace Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, who was holding additional responsibility of Chhattisgarh. Patel was given charge following the death of Governor Balram Das Tandon last year.
Award & Honors
- Sangeet Natak Akademi awards – 2018 announced
- Sangeet Natak Akademi has been selected Sonal Mansingh, Zakhir Hussain, K Kalyanasundaram Pillai and Jatin Goswami for Akademi Ratna category for the year 2018.
- 44 artists from the field of Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre, Music, Dance, Theatre, Puppetry and Overall contribution have been selected.
- Three joint awards are also included in these 44 awards. These awards will be conferred by President of India Ram Nath Kovind at a special ceremony.
Science, Space & Technology
- E-Cigarettes Damage Brain Stem Cells: UCR study
- A research team at the University of California, Riverside(UCR) has found that electronic cigarettes(e-cigarettes-ECs) damage brain cells. The team found that e-cigarettes, often targeted at youth and pregnant women produce a stress response in neural stem cells, which are critical cells in the brain.
♦e-cigarettes deliver nicotine and flavour chemicals through heating to these stem cells, placing them into a state of “stress-induced mitochondrial hyperfusion”(SIMH) which can lead to cell death or disease after chronic use.
♦The high levels of nicotine in ECs lead to a nicotine flooding of special receptors in the neural stem cell membrane. Nicotine binds to these receptors, causing them to open up where Calcium and other ions begin to enter & get overloaded.
♦The morphology and function of mitochondria will be changed when too much calcium in the stem cell. This could accelerate aging and lead to neurodegenerative diseases.
- Co-founder of Dalit Panther, Raja Dhale passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra
- An Indian writer, artist & activist, Raja Dhale passed away at the age of 78 in Mumbai, Maharashtra.He was one of the founding members of the Dalit Panther started in April 1972, alongside Namdeo Dhasal and Arun Krushnaji Kamble.He was born in Maharashtra.
- He belonged to Republican Party of India.
- Apart from Social Service he authoured two books namely, Dalit Pantherchi Sansthapana: Vastusthiti Ani Viparyas”, “Arun Kolhatkarchi Gacchi: Ek Nirupan”.
- World Day for International Justice
- World Day for International Justice is observed annually on 17 July every year. It is also known as Day of International Criminal Justice or International Justice Day. This day recognise the emerging system of international criminal justice.