July 29, 2019



  1. 36th GST Council Meeting held in New Delhi
  • The 36th Goods & Service Tax (GST) Council Meeting was held in New Delhi Via Video Conference under the chairmanship of Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.
  • The GST Council made the following changes in the GST rate on supply of goods and services which will be effective from August 1, 2019:
  • The GST rate on all Electric Vehicles (EVs) was reduced from 12% to 5%. The GST rate on charger or charging stations for EVs was reduced from 18% to 5%.
  1. Dr Jitendra Singh reviewed the status of implementation of various projects under MDoNER
  • Minister of State (I/C), Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MDoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh chaired a review meeting with senior officers of Ministry of DoNER, North Eastern Council (NEC) and other organizations of MDoNER in New Delhi.
  • The Minister briefed about the progress report of 100 Days Action Plan for Ministry of DoNER. It sanctioned 200 projects worth about Rs 3,000 crore.
  • First Bamboo Industrial Park will be set up at Manderdisa in Dima Hasao district of Assam in an area of 75 hectares at a cost of Rs. 50 crores.
  1. Ministry of Mines organizes workshop called ‘Waste To Wealth’ on effective utilization of ‘Red Mud’ in New Delhi
  • The Ministry of Mines in association with the Jawaharlal Nehru Aluminium Research Development and Design Centre (JNARDDC) Nagpur, has organized a workshop called ‘Waste To Wealth’on productive utilization of ‘Red Mud’in New Delhi.

Key points:

♦The workshop, which was presided over by Dr. K. Rajeswara Rao, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Mines.

♦Discussion: The workshop discussed the present status regarding the generation of red mud and its safe disposal and utilization.

♦Deliberations were held to focus efforts for productive utilization of red mud with necessary government support, which will be a win-win situation for all the stakeholders. A road-map will also be prepared based on these Deliberations.

♦Participants: The workshop was attended by representatives from organizations like Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, CPCB, Odisha state Pollution Control Board, BARC, Indian Bureau of Mines, Ministry of Road Transport, NHAI and BIS, Engineer-in-Chief of Army, top executives from aluminium producing companies such as NALCO, VEDANTA & HINDALCO as well as from user industries like cement and ceramic industry.

Red Mud

♦Bauxite residue also known as red mud is a solid waste generated during the aluminum production process. This is an environmental concern due to the presence of impurities such as caustic soda and other minerals.

♦The generation of red mud is more than 150 million tons globally and there exists a global inventory of more than 3 billion tons.

♦In India, the generation is around 9 million tons per year.


  1. Two Defence Industrial Corridors to be set up in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu
  • In pursuance of the announcement made by the then Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley in the budget speech 2018-19, the Government has decided to set up 2 Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It will cover the needs of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

Key Points:

♦The 6 nodes of Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor are Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Aligarh, Chitrakoot and Jhansi.

♦Investments worth Rs 4,000 crore have been received and the project is expected to cost Rs 20,000 crore.

♦Change is proposed in the Defence Policy-2018 of the Uttar Pradesh government for the inclusion of the manufacture of arms, ammunition and explosives as an investment area for the defence corridor.

  1. Panel to frame RIIN modalities
  • Nagaland government constituted a three-member commission to chalk out modalities for the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) Exercise. Advisor to the commission is Justice (Retd) Zelre Angami. The members of the committee include 2 retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers, Banuo Z Jamir and T Kiheto Sema and C Shingwang Konyak.

Key Points:

♦The State Home Commissioner and the Law and Justice Secretary are the ex-officio members of the commission.

♦It will study and examine all issues like eligibility criteria to be an indigenous inhabitant, relevant authority to authenticate claims, place of registration and nature of documents needed to substantiate claims and submit its recommendations to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio government within three months.


  1. BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting 2019 held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Foreign Ministers Meet was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on July 25-26, 2019. India was represented by Gen. (retd) VK Singh who is the Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways

Key Points:

♦The members condemned terrorism in all its forms & manifestations and recognized terrorist acts as criminal and unjustifiable.

♦They expressed their conviction that a comprehensive approach is necessary to ensure effective results against terrorism.

♦Views were exchanged on key issues on the international agenda.

♦They called for an expedited adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and welcomed the adoption of UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2462 (2019).

♦The meeting focused on the importance of upholding and supporting the objectives of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and intensifying cooperation to implement and improve its Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation.

♦The Ministers emphasized the importance to comply with and strengthen the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC), including by adopting a Protocol to the Convention that provides for, inter alia, an efficient verification mechanism.

♦The Ministers looked forward to their next meeting on the margins of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) which will be held in September 2019.


  1. High-level 10-member committee constituted to strategize preparations for 2020, 2024 Olympics
  • A high-level 10-member Committee has been formed under the Chairmanship of Kiren Rijiju, Sports Minister to coordinate and strategize the preparation for the 2020 and 2024 Olympics.
  • Objective: The objective of the high-level committee is ensured that the performance of the Indian athletes is =optimized in the Olympics and other multidisciplinary events.
  • 2020 Tokyo Games: The aim of the committee for the 2020 Tokyo Games would be to provide all possible support to potential and qualified athletes.
  • 2024 Paris Games: The committee will make road-map for the preparation for 2024 Paris Games, and continuously review and suggest course correction whenever required.
  • Other members of the committee include Leander Paes(tennis ace) and Gagan Narang(shooter), Radhey Shyam Julaniya ,Secretary of Department of Sports, Indian Olympic Association(IOA) President Narinder Batra, IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta, President of Indian Athletics Federation Adille Sumariwalla and Boxing Federation of India chief Ajay Singh among others.
  • Rijiju received the Special Olympics(It will be held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai from 3rd -6thAugust 2019) torch came from Singapore from the Dr. Amar Prasad Reddy, Chairman of the Special Olympics International Football Championship in New Delhi.
  1. Overview of Thailand Open International Boxing Tournament 2019
  • Thailand Open International Boxing Tournament 2019 was held in Bangkok, Thailand. Indian boxers finished their campaign with 8 medals- 1 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze.

Key Points:

♦Asian Championships silver medallist Ashish Kumar (75 kg) bagged his first international gold against Korea’s Kim Jinjae by 5-0.

♦Former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen (51 kg) lost to Chang Yuan of China and settled for silver.

♦Asian silver-winner Deepak Bhoria (49 kg) won the silver medal by losing to Mirzakhmedov Nodirjon of Uzbekistan.

♦GeeBee Boxing silver medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg) and India Open silver medallist Brijesh Yadav (81kg) also settled for Silver medals.

♦Former Asian youth silver-medallist Ashish (69kg) lost to Thailand’s Wuttichai Masuk and settled for bronze.

♦Among the women pugilists, Manju Rani (48kg) who lost to Thailand’s Chuthamat Raksa and Bhagyabati Kachari (81kg) settled with bronze medals.

Appointment & Resignation

  1. Badri Narain Sharma re-appointed Chairperson of National Anti-profiteering Authority for 2 years
  • The appointment committee of cabinet (ACC), Government of India has re-appointed Badri Narain Sharma (1985-batch IAS officer from Rajasthan) as chairman of the National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA). He will continue as the NAA chairman for two years.

Key points:

♦Currently, NAA has three members include J C Chauhan (Chairman, Tax tribunal, Himachal Pradesh) and Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers R Bhagyadevi and Amand Shah.

♦NAA: It was constituted under Section 171 of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017.

♦Directive: To protect interests of consumers by ensuring that benefits of reduction is GST rates on goods and services made by GST Council and proportional change in Input tax credit passed on to consumers and recipient respectively by way of reduction in the prices by the suppliers.

♦Structure: It is headed by a senior officer of the level of Secretary to Union Government. It has four technical members from Centre or States. Chairman and four members should be less than 62 years of age.

♦Powers of NAA: It has the power to cancel the registration of any entity/business if it fails to pass on to consumers benefit of lower taxes under the GST regime.

  1. Lt Gen Paramjit Singh will be the next Director-General of Military Operations
  • Lt Gen Paramjit Singh, currently serving as General Officer Commanding of the Army’s Nagrota-based XVI Corps will be the next Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) of the Indian Army. He will succeed Lt Gen Anil Chauhan, who has been appointed new General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command by replacing Lt-Gen M.M. Naravane.

Key points:

♦Singh, who has extensive experience in counter-terror operations will take over as the new DGMO on October 15, 2019.

♦He will oversee the various operations of the Indian Army including the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir(J&K).

♦He was also involved in a group planning of a surgical strike in 2016.

♦Singh, an alumnus of Defense Service Staff college located in Wellington, Tamil Nadu and Ami War College in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh has also been instrumental in the deployment of the army in the Kashmir valley.

♦He spent most of his career in operating anti-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir. He joined the Indian Army in 1982, he was shifted to the Parachute Regiment (Special Forces) in January 1984.

Science, Space & Technology

  1. Indian scientists from ARIES discovered 28 new stars in Milky Way
  • A team of scientists at Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) in Nainital district of Uttarakhand has discovered 28 new variable stars in Milky Way galaxy.

Key points:

♦Discovery:  The team led by Dr. Sneh Lata and Dr. A K Pandey performed photometric observations of globular cluster ‘NGC 4147’ using 3.6-meter powerful  Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT). This is the first time variable stars have been found in NGC 4147, which is located closer to the Earth, was discovered by British astronomer William Herschel in 1784.

♦Benefit:  The discovery provides knowledge about the composition of globular clusters in general.

♦Variable stars:  Theses are stars whose luminosity changes due to periodical swelling or shrinking or external factors like eclipses.

♦Globular cluster: It is a spherical collection of more and older stars that orbit a galactic core & it is tightly bound by gravity that gives spherical shapes and relatively high stellar densities towards their centres.

♦Journal: The findings of the research have been published on arXiv, a respected and well-used online archive for research & it will be in the Astronomical Journal.

Important Days

  1. World Hepatitis Day 2019 observed on July 28
  • World Hepatitis Day (WHD) was observed on July 28, 2019. It is observed to raise awareness on the global burden of viral hepatitis. The theme of World Health Organization (WHO) for WHD 2019 is “Invest in Eliminating Hepatitis”.

Key Points:

♦July 28 was chosen to celebrate WHD as it is the birthday of scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg who discovered hepatitis B virus (HBV).

♦In 2008, World Hepatitis Alliance in association with patient groups declared May 19 as the first WHD. Later, World Health Assembly (WHA) changed it to July 28 in May 2010.

♦Georgia’s hepatitis C elimination program, launched in 2015, was named as the world’s first Centre of Excellence in Viral Hepatitis Elimination by the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) International Liver Foundation.

♦The host country for WHD 2019 was Pakistan where the global events were held in Islamabad on 27-28 July 2019.

  1. World Nature Conservation Day 2019 observed on July 28
  • World Nature Conservation Day was observed on July 28, 2019. It is celebrated with an objective to increase awareness about the natural resources and protecting them.

Key Points:

♦The day recognizes that a healthy environment is the foundation for a stable and productive society and to ensure the well-being of present and future generations.

♦A report from the World Wildlife Foundation mentioned that since 1970, the pressure that people exerted on the planet was doubled and the resources upon which people depend declined by 33%.


July 31, 2019

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