October 06, 2019

National

  1. Union Cabinet approves the new policy for disinvestment
  • The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the new policy for a new process of strategic disinvestment with a view to expedite privatisation of selected Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). Disinvestment is the action of an organization or government selling or liquidating an asset or subsidiary.
  • DIPAM secretary Mr Anil Khachi will co-chair the inter-ministerial group on disinvestment, along with the secretary of administrative ministries concerned.
  • The government has set a target of mobilising Rs 1.05 lakh crore from disinvestment proceeds. It will help the government to achieve the target of keeping fiscal deficit at 3.3% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2020.
  1. Power minister RK Singh approved amendments in E-vehicle charging guidelines and specifications
  • The Union Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy (IC) and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Shri RK Singh approved the amendment in Electric Vehicle(EV) charging guidelines and specifications. This amendment will supercede the previous guidelines issued by power ministry in 2018 with the revised guidelines being more consumer friendly. These revised guidelines will also help in faster adoption of EVs. Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), a statutory body under Ministry of Power has been nominated as the Central Nodal Agency for providing the guidelines.

Key points

♦Charging infrastructure guideline: Charging infrastructures will be installed in a phase wise manner across the country based on the following guidelines.

♦One charging station would be made available in a grid of 3 Km X 3 Km in the cities.

♦Charging Station will be made available at every 25 Km on both sides of highways/roads.

♦Fast charging stations, one on each side of highways shall be installed at every 100kms for long range and/or heavy duty EVs like buses/trucks etc., concerning the inter-city travel. It will be located with/alongside Public Charging Station (PCS).

  1. Dr Harsh Vardhan launched FSSAI’s ‘Trans-Fat Free’ logo in New Delhi
  • The union health & family welfare minister shri Harsh Vardhan launched “Trans Fat Free” logo of Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) during the 8th International Chefs’ Conference of 2019 (ICC VIII) held in New Delhi. The logo was launched to boost the ‘Eat Right Movement’ of FSSAI.
  • Slogan released: Shri Harsh Vardhan also released a slogan ‘Chefs 4 Trans Fat Free’ at the event, in which more than 1000 chefs pledged to use trans-fat free oils in their recipes and also work together to help achieve govt’s plan to eliminate trans-fat by 2022 having the motto ‘India@75; Freedom from Trans Fats’.
  1. NITI Aayog’s AIM and UNDP India jointly launched Youth Co:Lab for youth entrepreneurship & innovation
  • The Atal Innovation Mission(AIM) of NITI Aayog (National Institute for Transforming India) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India of United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF) launched a youth lab programme, Youth Co:Lab by signing a Letter of Intent(LoI) in-order to empower innovation and social entrepreneurship to the youths of India in New Delhi.  By this initiative entrepreneurs and innovators will connect with govt, mentors, incubators and other investors to gain entrepreneurial skills.

Key points

♦Youth Co:Lab benefits : This initiative will bring together, a series of youth dialogues across cities like New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai etc. and will also help to spread awareness on issues pertaining to youth and the future work on Sustainable Development Goals(SDG). Social innovation challenges will be invited from people aged between 18-29 years at national and sub-national level and will also get a chance to pitch their ideas at UNDP’s regional centre in 2020. Initially the selected applicants, will get the opportunity to incubate their ideas at Atal Incubation Centres(AIC).

♦Focus: the 1st phase of this programme focuses on 6 SDGs. they are SDG(gender equality), SDG6(clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).

  1. NHA and Google partners together to strengthen Ayushman Bharat scheme
  • The National Health Authority(NHA) and the Amercian multinational company, Google partnered together for strengthening the implementation of the national health protection scheme, Ayushman Bharat– Pratan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY). They have signed the Statement of Intent (SoI) in this regard.

Key points

♦Both the organisations will work together in increasing process efficiencies of day to day applications thus improving quality healthcare. Google will help in digital presence of the Ayushman Bharat scheme showcasing relevant content to the 50 crore entitled beneficiaries and also provide training to NHA personnel in enhancing digital skills.

About Ayushman Bharat:

♦ Launched- 2018.

♦ Chief Executive Officer(CEO)-  Indu Bhushan.

♦ It is the world’s largest public funded health insurance scheme.

♦ It provides Rs 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.

  1. Defence minister Rajnath Singh hiked monetary assistance for battle casualties from Rs2 to Rs 4 lakhs
  • The Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh gave approval in increasing the monetary assistance to Next of Kin (NoK) of all categories of Battle Casualty (BC) from Rs 2 lakhs to Rs 4 lakhs under Army Battle Casualties Welfare Fund (ABCWF).

Key points

♦Previous provisions: In the previous provision, financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh was given to BC which are fatal, greater than equal to 60% disability, and to the BC invalided due to disability. For people less than 60% disability, Rs 1 lakh was given. This was given in addition to family pension and financial assistance of Army Group Insurance(AGI) ranging from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 75 lakh, ex-gratia amount ranging from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 45 lakh and, Army Welfare Fund (AWF).

International

  1. Textiles Minister to represent India at World Cotton Day celebrations in Geneva
  • Union Minister of Textiles, Smriti Irani will participate in the plenary session of World Cotton Day being observed from October 7-11, 2019 in Geneva, which will also serve to shed light on the challenges faced by cotton economies around the world.
  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) is organizing World Cotton Day event in collaboration with the Secretariats of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).
  • WTO is hosting the event at the request of the Cotton – 4 countries, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali to celebrate their official application for the recognition of 7th October as World Cotton Day by the United Nations.
  • World Cotton Day will celebrate the many advantages of cotton, from its qualities as a natural fibre, to the benefits people obtain from its production, transformation, trade and consumption. World Cotton Day will also serve to shed light on the challenges faced by cotton economies around the world because cotton is important to least developed, developing and developed economies worldwide.
  1. India ranked 4th in GFP Index 2019; US tops
  • In the Global Firepower Index (GFP) /Military Strength Ranking 2019 of the Global Firepower which ranks each nation’s potential war-making capability across land, sea and air with conventional weapons, India was ranked 4th with the PowerIndex (PwrIndx) score of 0.1065 and in South Asia, it stood at the No 1 position.

Key Points:

♦Globally, the list was topped by the United States.

♦The military strength of 137 countries was taken into consideration.

♦The top power index score is 0.0000, which is “realistically unattainable,” according to Global Firepower.

♦More than 55 individual factors of each nation were assessed.

Banking & Finance

  1. ICICI inks pact with CSC e-Governance services India to expand rural outreach
  • Indian multinational banking and financial services company, ICICI Bank (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) has tied up with Common Service Centre e-Governance Services India Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle(CSC SPV) to expand its reach to villages and remote towns.

Key points:

♦Under this agreement, the bank will associate CSCs working in remote areas as banking correspondents.

♦People living in rural areas will be able to deposit money in their bank accounts through CSC, withdrawal and transfer of money to another account will also be possible . Apart from this, people will also get facilities like investment in bank’s term deposit schemes and low value loans.

Sports

  1. Harmanpreet beats Dhoni, Rohit to become 1st Indian to play 100 T20Is
  • India Women T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur became the first Indian (male or female) to play 100 T20I matches, achieving the feat after taking the field in the sixth T20I against South Africa Women.
  • Harmanpreet is followed by former Indian men’s team captain MS Dhoni and opener Rohit Sharma, who have played 98 matches each.

Science, Space & Technology

  1. US military successfully test fires Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile
  • The United States Air Force (USAF) successfully tested an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) equipped with reentry vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. It travelled approximately 4,200 miles (6,750km) across the Pacific Ocean to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

About Minuteman III:

♦It was the first US missile fitted with Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs), enabling it to carry up to three different warheads that can strike independent targets. It was started in 1966 and the missile is armed with 170 kilotons of TNT (Trinitrotoluene). Airborne Launch Control System is a part of the missile. The US presently has roughly 440 Minuteman IIIs in its arsenal

Important Days

  1. World Teachers day observed on October 5,2019
  • World Teacher’s Day or International Teachers Day was observed across the world with an aim to improve teachers’ situation in the world.The theme of this day for 2019 is Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession.
  • This day was established in 1994 and commemorates the signing campaign of 1966 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) /ILO recommendations concerning the status of teachers and students.
  • This day was organized by UNICEF(United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), UNDP(United Nations Development Programme), International Labor Organization(ILO) and Education International together.
January 26, 2020

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