- Diplomatic passport holders of India in Benin no longer need a visa for travel
- India and Benin signed an important agreement for the circulation of diplomatic passport holders from both countries.
- After the bilateral talks with his Benin counterpart in the capital city Cotonou, President Ram Nath Kovind said in a press statement that both the countries have reviewed their global partnership.
- From now on, holders of diplomatic passports from Benin and India will no longer need a visa to travel to both countries.
- More than 5,000 electric buses sanctioned for 65 cities
- An inter-ministerial panel has sanctioned 5645 electric buses for operations in 65 cities and for inter-city operations to 8 state transport undertakings.
- NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant tweeted that the decision will give huge impetus to the automobile sector, clean up the cities and drive Make in India.
- The GST Council had decided last week to cut the tax rates on e-vehicles from 12 per cent to 5 per cent with effect from 1st of August.
- Parliament passes bill to ban unregulated deposit schemes
- Parliament has passed the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill 2019 with approval of Rajya Sabha. The bill has been already passed by Lok Sabha.
- Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill seeks to build a proper mechanism to ban the unregulated deposit schemes other than deposits taken in the ordinary course of businesses and to protect the interest of depositors.
- Bill provides for attachment of properties or assets and subsequent realization of assets for repayment to depositors.
- Average Monthly Income per Agricultural Household less than Rs. 6500: Agriculture ministry
- Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar stated that the average monthly income per agricultural household from all sources is Rs. 6,426 in the country based on the Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households conducted by National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) during its 70th round (January 2013-December 2013).
♦Since 2013, NSSO, the nodal agency for conducting surveys and collecting data has not conducted any survey on income per agricultural household.
♦In April 2016, The Government had constituted an inter-ministerial committee to examine the issues relating to doubling of farmers’ income and recommend strategies to achieve that goal.
♦In September 2018, the Committee has submitted its Report to the Government & it considered the estimates of agricultural household’s income obtained from NSSO 70th round unit-level data as the base level income. The Committee has kept 2015-16 as the base year.
- “Pink coaches” introduced for women by the Northeast Frontier Railway zone
- As a new initiative that would enhance the security of women, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NRF) zone has introduced pink colored SLRcoach (second Class -cum- Luggage-cum Guard’s Coach) for women. NRF Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO)PranavJyoti announced that these pink coaches will help women passengers to identify their coach during rush hours.
- Train operations Railway Police Force (RPF) and ticket checking staff will be deployed by the railway authorities to stabilize the new system. Initially a total of 8 trains in Rangiya district have begun the operations. They are-
- 6 trains between New Bongaigaon and Guwahati
- 2 trains between Rangiya and Murkongselek.
- 5th edition of Dharma-Dhamma conference held in Rajgir, Bihar
- A two-day 5th International Dharma-Dhamma conference was held at Rajgir International Convention Centre(RICC) in Rajgir, Bihar from 27 -28 July 2019 with the theme of “Sat-Chit-Ananda & Nirvana in Dharma-Dhamma Traditions”. Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports Kiren Rijiju who was the Chief Guest inaugurated the conference.
♦Purpose: To address people about terror, violence and global warming prevalent in world & subjects of Sat (Truth) -Chit (Consciousness)-Ananda (Bliss) and Nirvana (Enlightenment)Dharma-Dhamma Tradition which are pivotal topics of Buddhism.
♦Organizers: Nalanda University, Rajgir in collaboration with India Foundation (Centre for Study of Religion and Society), New Delhi organized the event.
♦2nd Time: This conference was hosted in Rajgir for the 2nd time after the previous 4th edition.
♦Participation: It saw the participation of around 250 distinguished scholars from 11 countries, including Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Korea, China and Maldives attended the event, which was inaugurated in the presence of in the presence of Sri Lanka’s Home Minister Gamini Jaiwickrama Perera, Bhutan’s Home and Culture Minister Lyonpo Sherub Gyeltshen, senior BJP leader Ram Madhav and Juna Akhada’s Awadheshananda Giri Ji Maharaj.
♦Benefits: The conference act as a platform for Hindu and Buddhist thinkers to express their views & also benefit the international community as well.
- Bangladesh records highest level of Dengue cases in 18 years
- According to Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) of Bangladesh, 10528 patients were infected with dengue and nearly 700 more people were reported with dengue infection across Bangladesh. It is the highest in 18 years. Dengue cases in Bangladesh were first detected in the year 2000.
♦8 people were dead in the current spate of dengue outbreak.
♦Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) data revealed that out of 800 beds in the medicine department, 561 were occupied by dengue patients as on July 27, 2019.
♦In 2018, a total of 10,138 Dengue patients were hospitalised.
♦72 cases were reported in Dhaka division (except Dhaka city), 142 in Chittagong, 71 in Khulna, 40 in Rajshahi, 35 in Barisal and 13 in Sylhet division accounting for 373 cases.
♦Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms typically begin three to fourteen days after infection. This may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rashes.
Banking & Finance
- An Account Aggregator platform “Sahamati” introduced to Solve Fintech’s Data Problem
- Infosys co-founder and its former chairman Nandan Nilekani has introduced a new platform “Sahamati” based on a new class of non-banking financial institutions called the account aggregator (NBFC-AA) model. This will work as consent brokers, which will take users permission to access their financial accounts, aggregate and organize all their financial information in one place.
♦The new application will help individuals and small businesses share their digital financial data with third-parties in a safe and secure manner.
♦A user in the need of a loan will be able to quickly share bank statements and other details online required by lending institutions through their choice of preferred account aggregator (AA).
♦It will be able to seamlessly obtain data from multiple service providers and deliver the same by consent-based channels to financial information users, eliminating the need for customers to physically visit multiple branches for their data.
♦The RBI(Reserve Bank of India) approved a new class of Non-banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) to act as Account Aggregators in 2016.
♦Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA), and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) in 2015 came together to allow related entities under their control to share data with user consent.
♦RBI granted in-principle approval to 6 AAs so far including NESL Asset Data, Jio Information Solutions.
Business & Economy
- 7th Economic Census began from Tripura
- 7th Economic Census (EC) for the year 2019 which is conducted by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) commenced from Tripura on July 29, 2019. It is held after a gap of 5 years. This is done to get a complete count of all economic units in India. After Tripura, it will be launched in Puducherry, and in other states and union territories in August and September, 2019.
♦Background: The previous Economic Censuses were conducted in 1977, 1980, 1990, 1998, 2005 and 2013. As per the Economic Census conducted in 2013, there were 58.5 million establishments employing around 131 million workers.
♦Implementing Agencies: Common Services Centers (CSC) e-Governance Services India Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeITY), are the implementing agencies for the development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) platform system and conduction of fieldwork for the 7th Economic Census.
♦Method: 7th EC will use technological interventions in the fieldwork and develop a nationwide Business Register for dynamic updation. The data will be collected through door to door survey of each household and commercial establishments under the provisions of Collection of Statistics Act 2008.
♦Schedule: The fieldwork is expected to be completed by December and the results at the national level is expected to be available by March 2020.
♦Sector: EC is the only source of information on the unorganized sector in the country.
- India’s Current Account Deficit to remain steady at 16-17 billion dollars in the first quarter
- According to Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency (ICRA), despite recent slowdown in Merchandise exports and imports, India’s Current Account Deficit (CAD) is expected to remain steady at a range of 16-17 billion dollars or 2.3 % of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the first quarter.
- The CAD is expected to widen from 63 billion to 68 billion dollars FY2020 (fiscal year/financial year 2020) and from 57.2 billion dollars in FY2019 while remaining steady at 2.1 % GDP.
- Indian cities contribute 59%- 70% of India’s GDP: IDFC Institute’s Report on Reforming Urban India
- According to IDFC Institute’s Report on Reforming Urban India, Indian Cities contribute between 59% and 70% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). They need urgent reforms in order to unlock their economic potential and transform the quality of life.
♦Focus: The existing cities suffer from neglect due to unacknowledged development. Therefore the focus should be made in recognizing the extent of urban growth, improve land utilization, empower urban local bodies and invest in public transport networks.
♦Rate of Urbanization: India’s urbanization rate may be anywhere between 47% and 65%. Census 2011 had estimated that 31% of India was urban.
♦Problems: India’s urban areas are unacknowledged. The existing towns and cities suffer from serious neglect. Air quality and congestion are worsening, house prices continue to soar, and amenities and services like clean water, public spaces, public transport, and solid waste management are severely deficient. The local bodies entrusted to govern cities do not have sufficient finances, expertise, or personnel to plan for and address these challenges.
♦Staff-to population ratio: Indian cities are behind international peers on the staff-to population ratio. Janaagraha’s Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems reports that Mumbai has approximately 1,300 staff for every 1,00,000 citizens, compared to New York, which has about 5,000 employees per 1,00,000 citizens.
- 2020 Tokyo Olympics will feature Table Tennis Mixed Doubles event
- For the first time in the Olympic Games’ history, Table Tennis Mixed Doubles event added in a new Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games. Manika Batra to pair with Sharath Kamal for mixed doubles spot in Tokyo Olympics.
♦Table tennis had appeared at the Summer Olympics in eight previous occasions beginning with the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.
♦The 2008 Games in Beijing, China saw men’s &women’s singles and team events.
Appointment & Resignation
- Fagu Chauhan, a six-time member of the UP Assembly, sworn as new Governor of Bihar
- Fagu Chauhan, a six-time member of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, was sworn in as the 29thGovernor of Bihar replacing Lal Ji Tandon who has taken charge as the Governor of Madhya Pradesh.
- Oath taking ceremony was administered by Chief Justice of the Patna High Court Amreshwar Pratap Shahi at the Raj Bhavan in Patna in the presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and other leaders.
- Anandiben Patel sworn-in as Uttar Pradesh governor
- Anandiben Patel took oath as the Governor of Uttar Pradesh(UP). Govind Mathur, the Chief Justice of the UP High Court administered her the oath of Office and Secrecy at Raj Bhawan in Lucknow, UP. Outgoing Governor Ram Naik also attended the swearing-in ceremony.
♦Ms. Patel was previously serving as the Governor of Madhya Pradesh.
♦President Ram Nath Kovind had appointed her as the new Governor of UP on July 20, 2019.
♦This is the first time that UP gets a woman Governor as Anandi Ben Patel since its inception in 1950. Sarojini Naidu was the first Governor in 1947 but the state was then known as the United Provinces.
- Special secretary in RAW, IPS officer VK Johri has been appointed as the new BSF DG
- The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC)headed by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modithat has Home Minister Amit Shah as its member,has appointed IPS officer V K Johri as the next Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF). He is currently the special secretary in the external Intelligence Agency, Research Analysis Wing (RAW) and will take over as the BSF Director General from incumbent RajniKanti Mishra.
- K.Johri is also appointed as an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Home Ministry.
Award & Honors
- Former International tennis player VidishaBalyan from Uttar Pradesh wins Miss Deaf World 2019 title
- 21 year old VidishaBaliyan from Muzaffarnagar,Uttar Pradesh became the firstIndian, crowned Miss Deaf World 2019 which was held in Mbombela, South Africa. She is a former International tennis player who represented India in the Deaflympics. Mr. Deaf World 2019 was won by South Africa’s Phumelela Mapukata
Miss Deaf World
♦ It is a beauty pageant award managed by the Miss & Mister Deaf World, a non profitorganisation ever since 2001
♦ Official language- International Sign Language
♦ First Miss Deaf World- Viktoriaprytychenko from Ukraine
- Sudarsan Pattnaik, a sand artist, awarded People’s Choice Prize at Boston International Sand Art Championship 2019
- A sand artist from Puri, Odisha, Sudarshan Pattnaik was awarded People’s Choice Prize at the Boston International Sand Art Championship 2019. He sculpted the sand art based on the global issue of plastic pollution with a message inscribed “Stop plastic pollution, Save our Ocean”. He received the People’s Choice medal from Revere Beach Partnership Board Member Adrienne Sacco-Maguir.
♦He participated in the 2019 Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, which was held from July 26-28, 2019.
♦15 sculptors had participated in the competition.
♦In 2017, he had won the jury prize gold medal at the Xth World Sand Sculptures Championship in Moscow, Russia.
♦He was awarded the Padma Shri by Government of India in 2014.
Science, Space & Technology
- Chandrayaan-2 completes third orbit-raising manoeuvre
- Chandrayaan-2 has been successfully carried out third orbit raising manoeuvre for India’s second lunar mission.
- The manoeuvre has been performed by burning the propulsion fuel onboard the spacecraft for 16 minutes and 48 seconds.
- After the manoeuvre, Chandrayaan-2 has reached a new elliptical orbit around the earth at 276 kilometres.
- IAF receives 1st batch of 4 AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack helicopters from the US
- Indian Air Force (IAF) has received 1st batch of 4 of total 22 AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack helicopters from US (United States)aerospace major Boeing at Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh(UP).
- An additional four Apache helicopters will arrive next week, and these 8 helicopters will be then moved to Pathankot Air Force Station, Punjab for their formal induction by the IAF in September 2019.
- Order: In September 2015, IAF had signed a contract with US Government and Boeing for purchasing 22 AH-64E Apache helicopters.
♦About: It is one of the most advanced multi-role combat helicopters in the world, and is flown by the US Army. It has advanced weapons systems and night-fighting features.
♦Manufacturer: It is developed and manufactured by the world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing. It has delivered more than 2,200 Apaches to customers around the world and India is 14th nation to select it for its military.
♦The Apaches are armed with stinger air-to-air missiles, Hellfire Longbow air-to-ground missiles, guns, and rockets. It has joint digital operability, improved survivability, and cognitive decision-aiding.
♦The helicopter has the capability to carry out precision attacks at standoff ranges and operate in hostile airspace with threats from the ground.
- WHO recommends the use of innovative anti HIV drug Dolutegravir (DTG)
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the use of anti Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) drug Dolutegravir (DTG) as the preferred first-line and second-line treatment for all populations, including pregnant women and those of childbearing potential. It will help more countries to improve their HIV policies.
♦Initial studies highlighted a possible link between DTG and neural tube defects (birth defects of the brain and spinal cord that cause conditions such as spina bifida) in infants born to women using the drug at the time of conception.
♦New data from two large clinical trials comparing the efficacy and safety of DTG and Efavirenz (EFV) in Africa have now expanded the evidence base. The risks of neural tube defects are significantly lower than what the initial studies may have suggested.
♦In 2019, 82 low and middle-income countries reported to be transitioning to DTG-based HIV treatment regimens.
♦DTG is more effective, easier to take and has fewer side effects than alternative drugs. It has a high genetic barrier to develop drug resistance.
- Jaipal Reddy, former Union Minister & Senior Congress leader, passed away in Hyderabad
- Former union minister and senior Congress leader from Telangana, S. Jaipal Reddy, aged 77, passed away at Asian Institute of Gastroenterology in Hyderabad while undergoing treatment for pneumonia.
♦Born on 16 January 1942, in Madgul, Telangana, he was a 4 time Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Kalwakurthy from 1969-84. In 1979, he joined Janata Dal and returned to the Congress party after 20 years in 1999 and held ministerial berths. He was elected to Lok Sabha for five terms in 1984, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009.
♦He served as a Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting in the IK Gujral cabinet in 1998 and Union Minister for the Ministry of Earth Sciences and the Ministry of Science and Technology from 2012 to 2014.
♦He was conferred with the best parliamentarian award in 1998.
- World Tiger Day 2019 observed on July 29
- World Tiger Day was observed on July 29, 2019. It is celebrated to promote the assurance of natural environment of tigers and increase awareness about the preservation of tiger. The day was built up in 2010 at Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia where the signatories declared an agreement that the governments of tiger populated counties would double the tiger population by 2022.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the results of the 4th cycle of All India Tiger Estimation 2018, at Lok Kalyan Marg in New Delhi
- According to the Survey, the count of tigers in India rose to 2967 in 2018. India has achieved its 2022 target of doubling tiger population four years before the deadline.