Current Affairs August 2016

INTERNATIONAL

China, ASEAN countries agree to form South China Sea framework

China and a grouping of Southeast Asian nations aim to finish by the middle of next year a framework for a code of conduct to ease tension in the disputed South China Sea. The agreement was reached between both sides during a meeting at Inner Mongolia in northern China held on August 15 and 16, 2016. The two sides also agreed to get the framework for the code of conduct done by mid-2017. They also approved guidelines for a China-ASEAN hotline for use during maritime emergencies. They also agreed that a pact on unplanned maritime encounters signed by countries in the region in 2014 is applied to the SCS.

Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ elected 39th Prime Minister of Nepal

Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Chairperson (CPN-MC) Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on 4 August 2016 was elected the 39th Prime Minister of Nepal.

Dahal was the sole claimant to the post of Prime Minister, when he filed his candidacy at the Parliament Secretariat on 2 August 2016.

  • Pushpa Kamal Dahal had served as the Prime Minister of the country from 2008 to 2009.
  • He led the CPN (M) as it launched a communist insurgency on 13 February 1996. In the ensuing civil war, more than 17000 Nepalese died.
  • He resigned as Prime Minister on 4 May 2009 after his attempt to sack the army chief, General Rookmangud Katawal, was opposed by President Ram Baran Yadav.
  • He is also widely known by his nom de guerre ‘Prachanda’, a name he went by during his guerrilla days.

World’s Longest, Highest Glass Bridge To Open In China

The world’s longest and highest glass bridge will open to visitors. The bridge concreted with 99 panes of three layer transparent glasses, hangs between two steep cliffs 300 metres altitude is maintained from the ground. The bridge has set 10 world records spanning its design and construction.

Singapore ranked 6th in Global Innovation Index

India climbed 15 spots, from 81 last year, to 66 in the Global Innovation Index (GII) and maintained the top spot in the Central and South Asia regions, according to the rankings released by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Switzerland, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America and Finland have been placed ahead of Singapore as the top 5 in the index, while Ireland, Denmark, Netherlands and Germany follow, including in the top 10 most innovative economies.

Brazil free of measles WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Brazil free of measles, after no case of the disease was registered in the last year. The eradication of measles is the conclusion of work spanning several years. Brazil saw no domestic cases of measles from 1985 to 2000, although it broke out in 2013 in the northeastern states of Pernambuco and Ceara. The WHO will issue a certification for the eradication of measles to Brazil. Measles can be transmitted orally, through mucus or saliva and mainly affects children. It can be spread rapidly through the air due to sneezing or a cough, and the first symptoms appear after 10 days with red spots on the skin.

Canada to conduct world’s first Zika vaccine test on humans

Researchers from Laval University based in Quebec City, Canada are going to conduct the world’s first Zika vaccine test on humans. They are first international researchers team in the world to complete all of the steps in the regulatory process for the test. The development of the Zika vaccine has been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada. Until now, vaccines have been tested on mice. According to World Health Organization (WHO), more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies, including France’s Sanofi and India’s Bharat Biotech, are working on developing a Zika vaccine.

INDIA & WORLD

PM Modi, Russian Prez Vladimir Putin jointly dedicated Kudankulam to the Nation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa jointly dedicated to the nation Unit 1 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant through a video conference 10 August. It has been built with Russian expertise following a pact between the then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Soviet leader Mikahil Gorbachev in November 1988. Now the first unit of Kudankulam power plant is generating its full capacity of 1000 megawatts of electricity.

India to attend SAARC young Parliamentarians conference in Islamabad

A three-member Parliamentary delegation would be travelling to Islamabad to attend the first SAARC Young Parliamentarians Conference (YPC) on `Peace and Harmony for Development’ scheduled to be held from 16 to 18 August in Islamabad. The Parliamentarians would be going to Pakistan days after the India-Pakistan show-down in Islamabad at the 7th SAARC Interior and Home Ministers conference. The YPC intends to offer young Parliamentarians’ narrative as a prelude to the 19th SAARC Summit that Pakistan will be hosting in November.

Indian-American girl becomes the youngest delegate at DNC

An 18-year-old Indian-American girl has become the youngest delegate at the Democratic National Convention which has nominated Hillary Clinton as the party’s presidential candidate. Sruthi Palaniappan from Cedar Rapids and a student of Harvard University is a strong supporter of Clinton, the first woman to be nominated as a presidential candidate by a major political party. Sruthi Palaniapan is a student of the prestigious Harvard University and an ardent supporter of Hilary Clinton, to make her as the first ever woman president of the United States.

BRICS policy planning dialogue concludes in Patna

The BRICS Policy Planning Dialogue was successfully concluded in Patna, Bihar. Delegates of BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa had attended the meeting. The two day (25-26 July 2016) dialogue provided a common platform to BRICS countries for sharing of best practices in foreign policy planning and assessment between the BRICS countries. It forwarded the Policy Planning talks initiated under the Chairmanship of Russia in 2015 in line with 2016 theme of “Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions”. They also discussed the role of BRICS in international governance, ongoing cooperation at BRICS Forum and reflected on areas of convergence among BRICS.

India makes the first contribution to UN Trust Fund

India has contributed USD 100,000 to a trust fund set up for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers. The fund was established at the end of March and continues to seek funds to support services for victims and address gaps in services. This is the first contribution to the Trust Fund the Secretariat has received. India has historically been one of the largest troop contributing countries in peacekeeping operations and is currently ranked as the second largest contributor of military and police personnel. Historically, India has been one of the largest troop-contributing countries in the UN peace keeping operations. Currently, India is second largest contributor of military and police personnel.

India, US signed LEMOA

India and the United States on 29 August 2016 signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). The logistics agreement will enable the forces of the two nations to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.

The agreement was signed in Pentagon during Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s visit to the US. The two leaders had agreed on the memorandum in principle when they last met in India in April 2016.

The agreement makes joint operations easier and more efficient. It does not allow each nation to set up bases on the other, but to use bases and equipment only for operating together when they choose to.

India, Myanmar signed four agreements to boost bilateral cooperation

India and Myanmar on 28 August 2016 signed four Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation and bilateral relations between the two countries.

The four agreements signed include

  • MoU on cooperation in the construction of 69 Bridges including AP Aproach Roads in the Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa Road Section of the Trilateral Highway in Myanmar.
  • MoU on cooperation in the construction / upgradation of the Kalewa – Yagyi Road Section.
  • MoU on cooperation in the Field of Renewable Energy.
  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine.

NATIONAL

Union Govt allows Online Authentication using Aadhaar for new mobile connections

The Union government has allowed internet Aadhar authentication for new mobile sim connections. In this regard the Department of Telecom has issued guidelines for Electronic Aadhaar, know your client (e-KYC). The e-KYC seeks to make the online process of application and authentication faster and simpler for subscribers. Customer through their Aadhaar number and biometrics will online authorise UIDAI to provide demographic details. The details will include name, address, date of birth and gender, along with the digitally signed photograph, to the mobile operator.

Parliament passes Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Rajya Sabha on 1 August 2016 passed Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by voice vote. The Bill seeks to amend the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

It also seeks to replace the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016. The Bill states that its provisions will come in to force from 24 May 2016.

The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016

  • It seeks to introduce a uniform entrance examination for all medical educational institutions. This would be applicable at the undergraduate and the post-graduate level.
  • It states that in case a state has not opted for the uniform entrance examination, then the examination will not be applicable at the undergraduate level for the academic year 2016-17. This provision will apply to state government seats in government and private medical colleges.
  • It states that the entrance examinations will be conducted in Hindi, English and other languages.
  • It provides powers to the MCI to frame regulations with regard to:
  1. a) The authority designated with the conduct of the exams
  2. b) The manner of conducting the exams
  3. c) Specifying languages other than English and Hindi in which the examinations may be conducted.

Railway Budget set to be merged with Union Budget from next fiscal

The 92-year-old practice of presenting a separate Rail Budget is set to come to an end from the next fiscal, with the Finance Ministry accepting Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s proposal to merge it with the General Budget. The move is considered to be a relief to the national transporter, which was suffering from an additional burden of about Rs 40,000 crore on account the Seventh Pay Commission and close to Rs 35,000 crore on subsidy burden. If the merger happens, the Railways will get rid of the annual dividend that it has to pay for gross budgetary support from the government. According to a report, the finance ministry has given a go-ahead signal to the proposal by the Railways ministry and has set up a five member committee in this regard.

India’s first Nuclear Suppliers’ Insurance Policy unveiled by INIP

The country’s first Nuclear Suppliers’ insurance policy was unveiled by India Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP). The policy was unveiled by Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chairman Sekhar Basu in Mumbai, Maharashtra. INIP is the 27th global nuclear insurance pool which was launched by state run General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re), in association with non-life insurance companies. New India Assurance Co (NIAC) and INIP will issue the policy and administer the claims on behalf of the pool. Earlier NIAC had issued a policy for the operators of nuclear power plants under INIP by underwriting premium to the tune of Rs 100 crore.

Maharashtra, Telangana sign pact to resolve long standing river water dispute

Telangana and Maharashtra government on 23 August 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to start work on three barrages- Tummidi Hatti on Pranhita River, Medigadda on Godavari River and Chanaka-Korata on Painganga River.

  • The approval for these 3 projects was given on the recommendations of the Inter-State Board of Maharashtra and Telangana that had been set up for the purpose.
  • All expenses for these projects will be borne by Telangana government and not a single village of Maharashtra will be submerged.
  • More than thirty thousand hectares of land in Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Yavatmal will come under irrigation because of these barrages.

This MoU to construct irrigation projects will help in ending the long standing water dispute on water utilization of Godavari River and its tributaries between the two states.

Union Cabinet approves liberalization of FDI norms for NBFCs

The Union Cabinet has approved liberalization of foreign investment norms for the non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) to improve the ease of doing business. Decision in this regard, Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Cabinet has approved Foreign investment in NBFCs can now come under the automatic route provided they are regulated by any of the financial sector regulators. Entities not regulated by any of the regulators (RBI, SEBI, PFRDA etc.)/ government agencies will need approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). A NBFC is a financial institution that provides banking services without meeting the legal definition of a bank, i.e. one that does not hold a banking license.

Rajya Sabha passes Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Following the Cabinet approving the amendment made to the Maternity Benefit Act, which aims to raise maternity leave for women from 12 to 26 weeks, the Rajya Sabha has passed the amendment. The Bill seeks to amend the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. The law protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her of a ‘maternity benefit’. The Bill aims at increasing women’s participation in the workforce which is “decreasing day-by-day.” The provisions of bill apply to every establishment employing ten or more persons and include mines and factories. No employer can remove any woman employee on the ground of pregnancy. It is a mandatory for every establishment having 50 or more employees to have a creche.

Parliament passes Central Agricultural University (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Parliament has passed the Central Agricultural University (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to help the north-eastern state achieve higher growth in animal husbandry sector. The Bill proposes to amend the Central Agricultural University Act, 1992 to include Nagaland under the jurisdiction of Imphal Central Agriculture University (CAU). The amendment will help Nagaland to reap the benefit of the Imphal Central Agriculture University which was established for the entire north eastern region.

STATES

India’s first BIO-CNG plant inaugurated in Pune

India’s first BIO-CNG fuel plant was inaugurated by Union Minister of surface Transport Nitin Gadkari and Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in Pune, Maharashtra. The plant was commissioned by Pune-based Primove Engineering Private Limited. It has been set up as a Proof of Concept (PoC) which can be replicated elsewhere. It uses special bacterial solution for treating agricultural waste in the process of generation of CNG. The gas generated is cleaned and compressed for use in vehicles. The bio-fuel will help in reducing the import of diesel up to 50% and therefore the huge amount of foreign exchange can be saved.

PM Narendra Modi launches Mission Bhagiratha in Telangana

Bhagiratha at Komatibanda Village, Gajwel, in Medak District of Telangana. The scheme has been launched by the State Government with an objective to provide safe drinking water to all. The Prime Minister unveiled plaques to lay Foundation Stones for important development projects. These included the 1600 MW Thermal Power station of NTPC at Ramagundam; revival of a Fertilizer Plant at Ramagundam; Kaloji Narayana Rao University of Health Sciences, Warangal; and Manoharabad-
Kothapalli Railway line. He also dedicated to the nation the 1200 MW Thermal Power Station of Singareni Collieries at Jaipur, in Adilabad district.

Union Cabinet approves amendments in Central List of OBCs to AP & Telangana

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for making suitable amendments in the Central List of OBCs by way of inclusion/ correction/ deletion of castes/ communities applicable to the State of Andhra Pradesh and the newly formed State of Telangana as per the advice received from the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).“A total of 35 changes recommended by NCBC in respect of Andhra Pradesh and 86 New Entries in respect of Telangana State will be notified. The changes will enable the persons belonging to these castes/ communities in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to avail the benefits of reservation in Government services and posts as well as in Central Educational Institutions as per extant policy. They will also become eligible for benefit under the various welfare schemes, scholarships etc. being administered by the Central Government, which are at present available to the persons belonging to the Other Backward Classes.

First green rail corridor opens in Tamil Nadu

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has inaugurated 114-km long Rameswaram-Mana Madurai route as the country’s first green rail corridor with zero toilet discharge section. Accordingly, 10 passenger trains consisting of 286 coaches moving in the section have been provided with bio-toilets enabling the rail corridor free from the discharge of human waste on the track.

Maharashtra CM launches pilot project of e-complaint system

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has launched a pilot project of e-complaint system on an experimental basis in Pune. After the pilot project, the system will be launched across the state within 8 months. It has been launched during the concluding ceremony of 14th Maharashtra Police Duty Meet at SRPF ground at Ramtekdi. Citizens can now register a police complaint online at any city police station from anywhere. As per current laws, FIRs have to be registered at the police station only. Also, a new SMS gateway has been launched where in people get an acknowledgment of the FIR on the phone through a system generated SMS, and also when accused are arrested, charge sheet/ final report submitted to the court.

Nagaland government to grant 33% reservation to women in Urban Local Bodies

The decision was announced by the Chief Minister TR Zeliang during the State Level Watershed Conference held in Kohima.

Elections to the state ULBs have been pending for several years as the tenure of the first municipal bodies came to an end between December 2009 and March 2010.

Zeliang said the Joint Action Committee on Women Reservation of the Naga Mothers’ Association was fighting in the Supreme Court for 33 percent women reservation, which has also led to withholding of the elections to the ULBs.

Gujarat becomes first state to distribute 2 crore LED Bulbs under UJALA

Gujarat in August 2016 has become the first state to distribute 2 crore LED bulbs under Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) scheme.The distribution of 2 crore LED bulbs has led to an annual energy savings of 259 crore kWh, which is equivalent to lighting up 5 lakh Indian homes for an entire year. Besides, Gujarat has also benefitted from daily CO2 emission reduction of 5000 tonnes.

Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), under the administration of Ministry of Power, Government of India, is distributing approximately 2 lakh bulbs daily in Gujarat.

V P Singh Badnore sworn in as Governor of Punjab

V P Singh Badnore on 22 August 2016 took oath as the new Governor of Punjab. He was also sworn in as the Administrator of Chandigarh Administration.

Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice S J Vazifdar administered the oath of office and secrecy to Badnore at Punjab Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh.

Badnore replaced Kaptan Singh Solanki, who is the Governor of Haryana. Solanki had been holding additional charge of Punjab Governor and Administrator of Chandigarh Administration since January 2015.

 

CONFERENCES

BRICS women parliamentarians’ forum passes Jaipur Declaration

BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) women parliamentarians’ forum on 21 August 2016 passed unanimously the Jaipur Declaration. The declaration was adopted by them on the concluding day of the BRICS Women Parliamentarians’ Forum meet held in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

The declaration has emphasized the need to inform, communicate and educate citizens about developmental schemes.

The Declaration mentions the need to address climate change and protection of ecological system and forest as well as food security, expeditious parliamentary approval of SDG related legislation and adequate budgetary resources.

It calls upon international financial institutions to extend support to developing and least developed countries and help them gain easier access to new and affordable technologies as envisaged under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement

It also emphasizes on plans for incorporating gender concerns and greater involvement of women parliamentarians in integrating citizens in the development process.

Besides, the need to inform and educate citizens about the developmental schemes and institutionalisation of the BRICS Women Parliamentarians’ Forum were also taken up in the declaration which was unanimously adopted.

Heads and members of delegation from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa were present in the two-day meeting which held from 20 August to 21 August 2016.

First SAARC Youth Parliamentarians Conference begins in Islamabad

The First SAARC Young Parliamentarians Conference begins in Islamabad, with the key theme of “Peace & Harmony for Development.” The two-day (from August 16 to 18, 2016) intends to offer young Parliamentarians’ narrative as a prelude to the 19th SAARC Summit to be hosted by Pakistan in November 2016. 8 parliamentary delegates from 8 SAARC member countries are participating in the conference. Lok Sabha MP Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, is leading the three member Indian delegation. The goal of the conference is to build bridges between the future leaders of South Asia on a platform that supports continued engagement and cooperation.

WEF India Economic Summit in Delhi on October 6-7

World Economic Forum (WEF), will host its annual India Economic Summit on October 6-7 in New Delhi which would be attended by over 500 business and political leaders including top policymakers and CEOs. This year’s meet will be convened under the theme, ‘Fostering an Inclusive India through Digital Transformation.

India to host international summit on tobacco-control

India is going to host a crucial global summit in November to eliminate the illicit trade of tobacco products. The summit is scheduled for November 7-12 at the Indian Exposition Mart in Noida. In this summit delegates from 180 countries will take part. This is the 7th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP7) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC).

Policy planning dialogue meeting of BRICS has begun today in Patna

BRICS policy planning dialogue meeting has begun on 25 July in Patna. Delegates of BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are participating in this meeting. The dialogue meeting is being held ahead of the 8th BRICS Summit, which is going to be held in Goa on October 15-16 under the chairmanship of India. This year’s theme of dialogue is Building responsive, Inclusive and collective solutions. The dialogue will provide an opportunity for exchange on strategic assessments of an internal situation and the regional situation of each country. The dialogue will also seek to enhance sharing of best practices in foreign policy planning and assessment between the BRICS countries.

AWARDS & HONOURS

UP announces Rani Laxmi Bai award for Sakshi Malik

The Uttar Pradesh government will honour Sakshi Malik, the first woman Indian wrestler to win a medal in Olympics, with the coveted Rani Laxmi Bai award. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 3.11 lakh. The 23-year-old won the bronze in the 58-kg category wrestling.

Havildar Hangpan Dada honoured with Ashok Chakra posthumously

Havildar Hangpan Dada, who died in Kupwara on May 27 after killing three terrorists, has been awarded Ashok Chakra, while Lt. Col. Niranjan Ek of the National Security Guard, who died during Pathankot operations, was awarded Shaurya Chakra on the eve of Independence Day by President Pranab Mukherjee. Dada, who laid down his life for the country on May 27 this year, valiantly fought at the treacherous Shamsabari range in North Kashmir eliminating four heavily-armed terrorists who had infiltrated into North Kashmir from Pak-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). Hailing from Boduria village in far-flung Arunachal Pradesh, the Havildar, who was popularly known as ‘Dada’ among his team, was posted at the high mountain range since late last year.

Hindi author Sunita Jain conferred with Vyas Samman award 2015

Hindi scholar and writer Sunita Jain was on 17 August 2016 awarded with the prestigious 25th Vyas Samman 2015 for her poetry collection Kshama. She received the award by West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi.Jain, through her poetry, portrays the fine emotions between poet Tulsidas and his wife Ratnavalli in Kshama. She has managed to aptly convey the sentiment of forgiveness between Tulsidas and his wife using very fine language.

The award instituted by the K K Birla Foundation carries a cash prize of 2.50 lakh rupees. It is given annually to outstanding literary work in Hindi authored by an Indian citizen.

Kamal Haasan chosen for France’s Chevalier de L’Ordre Arts et Lettres

The Minister of Culture and Communication, France, in the third week of August 2016 selected Kamal Haasan for the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (Knight in the National Order Arts and Letters).

The distinction is in recognition of his high level of artistic excellence and his distinguished career achievements.

Haasan is the second Tamil star after thespian Sivaji Ganesan to be honored with the prestigious French award.

Kerala Tourism bags six National Tourism awards

Kerala Tourism has bagged six National Tourism awards for 2014-15 in the marketing category for states. It received two more awards, including the one for its Responsible Tourism (RT) initiative in Wayanad. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan presented the awards to Principal Secretary Venu V and Director U V Jose in the presence of Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma at a function at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi. Kerala Tourism received three out of the six awards for states in the Tourism Promotion and Publishing category, including the one for ‘Most Innovative use of Information Technology’ – social media/ mobile app. The Wayanad initiative, which has transformed the hilly district’s economy through intensive participation of the local people, was selected for the award in the ‘Responsible Tourism’ category.

India’s CSIR ranked world’s 12th best Government Institute

The Council of Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR) has been ranked world’s 12th best government institution. The institutes were ranked by a prestigious Scimago Institutions Rankings that ranks institutes based on the research performance, innovation and social impact. France’s National Centre for Scientific Research was ranked first followed by Chinese Academy of Science, China.

Bezwada Wilson and T.M. Krishna win Ramon Magsaysay Award

Two Indians, social activist Bezwada Wilson and musician TM Krishna, have won the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award 2016. They are among the total six awardees selected for the 2016 Ramon Magsaysay Award, often regarded as Asia’s Nobel Prize. The 6 awardees are Bezwada Wilson (India), the National Convener of the Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA) Thodur Madabusi Krishna (India): He has been recognized for ensuring social inclusiveness in culture. He is a Carnatic music vocalist. Conchita Carpio Morales (Philippines) Dompet Dhuafa (Indonesia) Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (Japan): The organisation has been recognized for building a world of genuine solidarity. Vientiane Rescue (Laos): The organisation has been recognized for volunteering to save lives at risk. They will be bestowed with this award at the awarding ceremony scheduled to be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City on August 31, 2016 i.e. on the birth anniversary of former Filipino President Ramon Magsaysay. Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s highest honour and is often regarded as the region’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

SPORTS & GAMES

PV Sindhu becomes first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal

P V Sindhu became India’s first woman to win an Olympics silver medal on Friday, creating history and pulling an entire country out of its Games gloom with a stunning display of talent, power and grace. The 21-year-old Indian, who has been simply unstoppable in the tournament so far, crumbled under the tremendous pressure created by the two time World Champion from Spain to lose 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 in a high-intensity final that lasted for an hour and 23 minutes at the Riocentre in Rio de Janeiro. Sindhu thus became the fourth Indian to win a silver at the Olympics after shooters Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (2004, Athens) and Vijay Kumar (2012, London) and wrestler Sushil Kumar (2012, London).

Wrestler Sakshi Malik wins bronze for India in Rio 2016

Gritty woman wrestler Sakshi Malik ended India’s painful wait for a medal at the Rio Olympic Games by clinching the bronze in the 58kg category, pulling off a sensational 8-5 victory over Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan in the play-off bout. The 23-year-old became the 4th Indian woman to have ever won an Olympic medal.

Jamaica’s Usain Bolt wins Gold medal in 100 meters event at 2016 Rio Olympics

Jamaica’s speedster Usain Bolt has won the Gold medal in 100 meters final event at 2016 Rio Olympics by sprinting at recorded time of 9.81 seconds. With this he has retained his coveted title “Fastest man alive on the planet”. Besides, American Sprinter Justin Gatlin won silver medal (9.89 seconds) and Andre De Grasse of Canada won bronze medal (9.91 seconds). This was Usain Bolt’s third Olympic Gold medal in the 100m event after he had won in 2008 and 2012 Olympics. He also has all the sprinting world record to his name including the 100m, 200m and 4x100m. He is the first man to hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records.

IOC gives nod to addition of five new sports in Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will now have five brand new games in its contest as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the recommendation of adding Baseball/ Softball, Karate, Skateboard, Sports Climbing and Surfing to the sports programme. The decision was taken by the 129th IOC session being held in Rio de Janeiro. The additional sports in Tokyo will not impact the athlete or event quotas of existing Olympic sports or be binding on future host cities. The inclusion of the new sports will add 18 events.

Lewis Hamilton wins 2016 German Grand Prix of F1

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton from Great Britain has won the 2016 German Grand Prix title of Formula One. It was his fourth consecutive win in the 2016 season and overall fifth title of the 2016 season. It was also his third win of German Grand Prix of F1 after winning it in 2008 and 2011. Earlier in 2016 season, he had won Monaco (May 2016), Canadian (June 2016), Austrian (July 2016), British (July 2016) and Hungarian (July 2016) Grand Prixes. German Grand Prix was the twelth race of the 2016 season and was held at the Hockenheimring motor-racing circuit in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Patna Pirates wins 4th season of Pro Kabaddi League

The Patna Pirates have won the fourth edition of STAR Sports-ProKabaddi League by defeating Jaipur Pink Panthers. With this win Patna Pirates has become first team to defend its title which they won in the third season in March 2016. In the final match played at Gachibowli Stadium, Hyderabad (Telangana) the defending champion defeated Jaipur Pink Panthers by 37-29 score. The Puneri Paltan was placed at the third place in this edition after they defeated Telugu Titans by 40-35 score. Women’s Section: Storm Queens have won inaugural edition of the Women’s Challenge of Pro Kabaddi League. In the final match they defeated Fire Birds by 24-23 score.

ECONOMY

Rajya Sabha passes The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014

The passage of this historic GST Bill has now paved the way for the concept of one nation, one tax.

 It will enable both the Centre and the States to simultaneously levy the GST, which will subsume all indirect taxes currently levied, including excise duties and service tax. It will be levied on consumption rather than production.

 The Bill was introduced and passed in Lok Sabha in May 2015. However, the bill will now go back to the Lok Sabha to incorporate the amendments approved by the Rajya Sabha.

 Provisions of the Bill

  • The GST will have two components keeping in mind the federal structure of India: the Central GST (CGST) and the State GST (SGST).
  • For goods and services that pass through several states, or imports, the Centre will levy another tax, the Integrated GST (IGST).
  • Alcohol for human consumption has been kept out of the purview of GST.
  • It empowers the centre to impose an additional tax of up to 1% on the inter-state supply of goods for two years or more. This tax will accrue to states from where the supply originates.
  • Initially, GST will not apply to (a) petroleum crude, (b) high speed diesel, (c) motor spirit (petrol), (d) natural gas and (e) aviation turbine fuel. The GST Council will decide when GST will be levied on them.
  • Tobacco and tobacco products will be subject to GST. The centre may also impose excise duty on tobacco.
  • Parliament may provide for compensation to states for revenue losses arising out of the implementation of GST for up to 5 years, based on the recommendations of the GST Council.

 

Central Taxes replaced by GST Bill

  • Central Excise Duty
  • Additional Duties of Excise and Customs
  • Special Additional Duty of Customs (SAD)
  • Service Tax
  • Cesses and Surcharges on Supply of goods and services

State Taxes Subsumed in the GST Bill

  • VAT
  • Central Sales Tax
  • Purchase Tax
  • Luxury Tax
  • Entry Tax
  • Entertainment Tax
  • Taxes on advertisements, lotteries, betting, gambling
  • State Cesses and Surcharges

GST Council

The GST Council will consist of (a) the Union Finance Minister (as Chairman), (b) the Union Minister of State in charge of Revenue or Finance and (c) the Minister in charge of Finance or Taxation or any other Minister nominated by each state government.

 All decisions of the GST Council will be made by three fourth majority of the votes cast; the centre shall have one-third of the votes cast, and the states together shall have two-third of the votes cast.

It will make recommendations on taxes; goods and services; threshold limit of turnover for application of GST; rates of GST; principles of levy; special provisions with respect to the eight north eastern states, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand.

RBI constitutes Tarun Ramadorai Committee on Household Finance

The committee will have representation from financial sector regulators namely, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) apart from Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Terms of reference of the Tarun Ramadorai Committee
• To benchmark the current depth of household financial markets in India among those in other major world markets and to identify areas of priority for growth and change.
• To characterize and evaluate Indian households’ demands in formal financial markets (for assets such as pensions as well as liabilities such as home loans) over the coming decade.
• To consider whether, how and why the financial allocations of Indian households deviate from desirable financial allocation and behaviour like the large household allocation to gold.
• To evaluate the design of new systems and the redesign of existing systems of incentives and regulations to encourage better participation by Indian households in formal financial markets.
• To assess the role of new financial technologies and products in the cost-effective provision of high-quality financial products to Indian households while containing risks.
• The Committee is expected to submit its report by end of July 2017.

Tata Power Solar commissions 100 MW project for NTPC

Tata Power Solar, one of the country’s largest integrated solar companies, announced that it had successfully commissioned a 100 MW solar project for NTPC in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. This is the biggest solar project commissioned using domestically manufactured solar cells and modules, the company said in a release. The plant is expected to generate nearly 160 million kWh of energy per year and help offset approximately 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in its first year of operation.

9th edition of Global Innovation Index 2016 released

The 9th edition Global Innovation Index (GII) 2016 was released on 15 August 2016 jointly by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The GII 2016 was based on the theme of Winning with Global Innovation.

India has ranked 66th in the 2016 Global Innovation Index. In this edition, India has jumped up by 15 spots from 81st position in 2015 GII.

The report explores the rising share of innovation carried out via globalized innovation networks. The report also found that gains from global innovation can be shared more widely. The report also concludes that there is ample scope to expand global corporate and public R&D cooperation to foster future economic growth.

Microsoft acquires gaming startup Beam

Microsoft has acquired Beam, an interactive livestreaming startup that lets viewers watch and play along with game streamers in real time and did not disclose financial terms of the deal. Beam, launched in January this year, has 24 employees. The move will support Microsoft’s growth strategy around Xbox Live, one of the world’s most popular social gaming platform.

Google fined $6.8 million by Russian antitrust body

Russia’s antitrust body has slapped Google with a $6.8 million fine after ruling that the firm didn’t do enough to open Android up to other companies. Officials believe that the search engine has abused its dominant position by crowding-out domestic rivals like Yandex, commonly known as Russia’s Google. For instance, other firms aren’t able to pre-load rivals apps for navigation or search on Android devices that are certified ready for Google Play.

Intel buys AI startup Nervana Systems run by Indian-origin entrepreneur

Intel Corp said it would acquire startup Nervana Systems as the world’s largest chipmaker bolsters its artificial intelligence capabilities. Nervana Systems is led by former Qualcomm re-searcher Naveen Rao, founded in 2014 and headquartered in San Diego, California. Nervana will help develop Intel’s artificial intelligence portfolio and enhance the deep learning performance of Intel Xeon and Intel Xeon Phi processors.

Aadhaar-linked e-Signature facility launched to digitise documents

With over a billion Aadhaar cardholders and about 25 million transactions taking place every quarter, digital signatures are expected to save time, money and paper.

Highlights of the eSignDesk Facility
• Built on the Aadhaar platform, eSign is an initiative of the Union Government and meant to save money and time for citizens.
• Its users need to have a registered mobile number associated with the Aadhaar card.
• The service will be available on www.eSignDesk.com and will be offered for free to the first 1000 users.
• The documents signed electronically will be legally valid in the country.
• The e-signature deters fraud to a large extent as it cannot be replicated or forged, and the content of the document cannot be tampered with.

Union Cabinet increases limit for foreign investment in Stock Exchanges from 5% to 15%

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for raising foreign shareholding limit from current 5% to 15% in Indian Stock Exchanges. The decision brings the investment limit of foreign entities at par with that of domestic institutions. This enhanced limit is for a stock exchange, depository, banking company, insurance company and commodity derivative exchange.

LeEco buys US-based VIZIO for $2 bn

Chinese handset maker LeEco said it has acquired US-based consumer electronics firm VIZIO for $2 billion. As part of the definitive agreement, LeEco will acquire all of the VIZIO hardware and software operations, technology and intellectual property and the transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2016. The VIZIO hardware and software businesses will be owned and operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of LeEco, while VIZIO’s data business – Inscape will spin out and operate as a separate, privately owned company. The acquisition will offer LeEco a steady install base of users and a brand that is both popular and successfully distributed through out major North American retail channels.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Airlander 10 World’s largest aircraft embarks maiden flight

The world’s “largest aircraft” has embarked on its maiden flight, four days after a previous attempt was abandoned due to technical issues. The Airlander 10 – part plane, part airship took to the skies amid cheers and applause from crowds gathered at an airfield in Cardington, central England. It is a hybrid airship made by Hybrid Air Vehicles in United Kingdom. Its successful flight comes 85 years after another airship the ill-fated R101 took off in October 1930 from the same airfield before crashing in France. Airlander 10 is hybrid ship i.e. it is a partly plane and partly airship filled with helium gas. It is 92-metre-long and 43.5m wide. It can fly at up to 4,880 metres and reach speeds of 148 kilometres per hour. It can also carry a 10-tonne payload.

CSMCRI researchers develop photocatalyst to completely degrade industrial dyes

Scientists at the Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), Bhavanagar, Gujarat have been able to completely degrade three industrial dyes – methyl orange, methylene blue and reactive black-5 in the presence of sunlight. The researchers developed a photocatalyst using titanium dioxide doped with red seaweed polymer carrageenan to degrade the dyes.

China launches Gaofen-3 Satellite to get accurate images of earth

Gaofen-3 is  a high-resolution satellite for the protection of its maritime rights as the South China Sea dispute continues to simmer.

Highlights of the Gaofen-3 Satellite
• It is also China’s first low orbit remote sensing satellite that has a lifespan of eight years.
• It will be used for disaster warning, weather forecasting, water resource assessments, and the protection of maritime rights.
• With 12 imaging modes, the high-definition observation satellite is capable of taking wide pictures of the Earth and photographing detailed scenarios of specific areas.
• It is able to provide high-definition remote sensing data for its users over a long period of time.
• It was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology and the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, under the guidance of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

China successfully launches world’s first quantum satellite

China has launched the world’s first quantum communications satellite which boasts of establishing hack-proof-communications between space and the ground as it is equipped with security features to prevent wiretapping and intercepts. The 600 kg spacecraft blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Center in the Gobi Desert. The satellite nicknamed “Micius” was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre. Quantum communication boasts of ultra-high security as a quantum photon can neither be separated nor duplicated. It is hence impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through it.

IMD to use supercomputer to forecast monsoon based on dynamical model

The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has announced that India Meteorological Department (IMD) will use supercomputer to forecast India’s annual summer monsoon. The forecast made by a supercomputer will be based on a dynamical monsoon model and will be operational from year 2017. This model will be used along with the present traditional en-semble model. The dynamical monsoon model works by simulating the weather on powerful computers (supercomputers) and extrapolating it over particular timeframes. This modern forecasting model is being tested at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune. The dynamical monsoon model is also called the Coupled Forecast System version 2. So far it has achieved only 60% accuracy in forecasting the monsoon.

ISRO successfully test-fires Scramjet Rocket Engine

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on 28 August 2016 successfully test launched the Supersonic Combustion Ramjet engine, called Scramjet, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikotta in Andhra Pradesh.

The experimental mission aimed at realisation of an Air Breathing Propulsion System (ABPS) uses hydrogen as fuel and oxygen from the atmosphere air as the oxidiser.

Solar power tree developed for the generation of electricity

The Ministry of Science and Technology has come up with a ‘Solar Power Tree’, an innovative way to generate electricity using solar power in a limited space. The Solar Power Tree model is actually designed like a tree with branches made of steel to hold the photovoltaic panel. It has been developed by the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), Durgapur, a laboratory of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

PERSONS IN NEWS

APPOINTMENTS

Urjit R Patel appointed as 24th Governor of Reserve Bank of India

Union Government on 20 August 2016 appointed Dr. Urjit R Patel as the 24th governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI). He will be having tenure of three years with effect from 4 September 2016.

He will succeed the present RBI Governor Dr. Raghuram Rajan, the former International Monetary Fund chief economist.He headed a panel that recommended landmark changes to monetary policy in India, which included a switch to inflation-targeting and the creation of a panel to set interest rates. In January 2016, he was reappointed as the deputy governor in charge of monetary policy, the department he ran since 2013. Earlier between 1990 and 1995, he had worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) covering US, India, Bahamas and Myanmar

Microsoft appoints Sriram Rajamani as MD of its India lab

Microsoft has announced the appointment of Sriram Rajamani as new managing director of its India lab. Based in Bengaluru, he will spearhead Microsoft India’s continued focus on world-class research, innovation and collaboration with the scientific community. He will replace Chandu Thekkath, who was the managing director of the lab for two years.

Dinesh Kumar Khara appointed as Managing Director of SBI

Dinesh Kumar Khara was today appointed Managing Director of State Bank of India (SBI). He is presently working as MD and Chief Executive Officer of SBI Funds Management Pvt Ltd. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has appointed Khara for a period of three years, extendable by two years after review of his performance. Gopal Murli Bhagat and Himanshu Joshi were also appointed as executive directors of Corporation Bank and Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC), respectively.

Air Marshal Neelakantan takes charge of Southern Air command

Air Marshal S Neelakantan has assumed charge as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Air Command. The traditional Guard of Honour was presented to him by the ‘Air Warriors.’ Air Marshal Neelakantan, who was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force on December 28, 1977, is an alumni of National Defence Academy, Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and Tactics and Combat Development Establishment.

Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale sworn in as Chief Justice of Allahabad HC

Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale was sworn in as the new chief justice of Allahabad High Court. The oath of office was administered by governor Ram Naik in Allahabad. Chief Justice Bhosale was serving as acting chief justice of high court of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Born in Mumbai in 1956, Justice Bhosale was first appointed as judge of Bombay high court in 2001, and later in 2012, he was transferred to Karnataka high court.

European Commission appoints Michel Barnier as Chief Brexit Negotiator

The European Union’s executive appointed Michel Barnier, former French Financial Services Commissioner, as its Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom’s exit from the bloc. He was appointed under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. He will be a prominent figure in the negotiations over Britain’s exit from the union. In June 2016, Didier Seeuws, a Belgian diplomat, was appointed as head of a Brexit task force by the European Council.

RESIGNS

Bill Maris, the CEO and founder of Google Ventures quits

Bill Maris, the chief executive, and founder of Alphabet Inc’s , venture capital arm of GV, is leaving the company. Maris, who will leave on Friday, will be replaced by GV managing partner David Krane. GV, previously known as Google Ventures, was founded in 2009 and has invested in more than 300 companies from life science, healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, transportation, cyber security, and agriculture, and more.

Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger retires

German professional footballer, Bastian Schweinsteiger has retired from the national team, marking the end of a glittering international football career. The 31-year-old midfielder was an instrumental player for Germany when they won the World Cup in 2014 and earned 120 caps for his nation – scoring 24 goals.

Nepal Prime Minister KP Oli resigns ahead of a no-confidence vote

Nepal’s Prime Minister, Khadga Prasad Oli has resigned from his office. He resigned ahead of a no-confidence vote. Oli, 64, who became prime minister of Nepal in October 2015, has been facing a no-trust motion after the Maoists withdrew support from the coalition government. Oli tendered his resignation after two key ruling alliance partners -Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Democratic and Rastriya Prajatantra Party decided to support the no-confidence motion tabled against him by the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-Maoist Centre led by Prachanda.

DEATHS

Noted actor & director Gobind Tej passed away

Noted actor and director Gobind Tej passed away while undergoing treatment at a private hospital. He was 88. He received the Odisha State Film Award for Best Director for movies like ‘Kaberi’, ‘School Master’, ‘Tunda Baida’ and ‘Gare Sindura Dhare Luha.’

Award-winning Malayalam screenwriter TA Razaq passed away

Noted Malayalam filmmaker-scriptwriter TA Razaq passed away in Kochi. He was 58. Razaq was reportedly undergoing treatment related to liver-related ailment at a private hospital, where he breathed his last.

Former minister S.P. Sarguna Pandian passed away

Former DMK Minister S.P Sarguna Pandian, who began her political career as a platform speaker even when she was a school student, died. She was 75 years old. She was elected to the Assembly from the R.K. Nagar constituency in 1989 and again in 1996. As a Minister she held the portfolio of Social Welfare between 1996 and 2001. In the 2006 Assembly elections, she contested unsuccessfully from the Royapuram constituency.

Nobel Laureate Ahmed Zewail has passed away

Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian-American chemist Ahmed Zewail, a science and technology advisor to President Barack Obama and the first U.S. science envoy to the Middle East, has passed away in the United States. He was 70 years old. He was an author of some 600 scientific articles and 16 books, he also is credited with developing a new research field dubbed four-dimensional electron microscopy.

Akshardham founder Pramukh Swami passed away

Pramukh Swami, the 95-year-old founder of Akshardham temples and a saint of the Swaminarayan sect, passed away after prolonged illness at the Sarangpur temple. He was the president of the Bochasanvasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (BAPS), a sub-sect of the Swaminarayan sect, which during his tenure expanded globally, with over 3000 temples built in five decades worldwide. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the late President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam were among his followers. Kalam had written a book on his “spiritual experiences with Pramukh Swami” and during his tenure as President, he had inaugurated the Akshardham temple complex in New Delhi.

VISITORS

Wang Yi visits India

Mr. Wang on his three-day visit met Prime Minister Narendra Modi & Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi. India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, during their talks in New Delhi, decided to put in place a new mechanism at the level of Foreign Secretaries to discuss various aspects of bilateral ties which have witnessed strain in the recent past.

MISCELLANEOUS

Over 1000 Dancing Robots Set Guinness Record In China

A new Guinness World Record for the most robots dancing simultaneously has been set in China where 1,007 robots shimmied in unison, nearly double the previous record. Each of the 43.8 cm tall dancing machines at the Qingdao Beer Festival were controlled using just one mobile phone and they had to dance for a full minute in order to count towards the record total, the Guinness World Records said. A few robots were dis-qualified because they did not dance or fell over, but the majority of the mechanical dance troupe completed the 60 second routine in perfect unison. Each of the 43.8 cm tall dancing machines at the Qingdao Beer Festival were controlled using just one mobile phone and they had to dance for a full minute in order to count towards the record.

Six-year-old Indian boy enters Guinness World Record

In a proud moment for the nation, a six-year-old boy from Karnataka set the world record for covering longest distance by limbo-skating under cars. Om Swaroop Gowda clinched the Guinness World records title after a successful attempt to travel a staggering 65.283 metre distance while holding his body just above ground and maintaining a splits position throughout. Om managed to clear 36 cars during the incredible challenge at Orion Mall in Bangalore. Official Guinness World Records ad-judicator Rishi Nath attended the event to ensure that all the rules for were followed correctly.

TCS top employer in IT industry, says Nasscom

Software services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been ranked as the top employer in the Indian IT industry by the representative body Nasscom. Though Cognizant is a US-based IT firm, it has the largest number of employees in India with development centres in Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. The Mumbai-based firm was followed by its peers Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro and Capgemini, Nasscom said in a statement. At the end of June 2016, TCS had a total headcount of 3.62 lakh while Infosys and Wipro had 1.97 lakh and 1.73 lakh, respectively. Others in the top 10 include HCL Technologies, Tech Mahindra, Genpact, Intelenet Global Services, and Aegis.

PLACES IN NEWS

Over 10000-Year-Old Camping Site Discovered in Ladakh

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered an ancient camping site dating 8500 BC in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), indicating humans were camping in the area 10,500 years ago. This site was unearthed at 14,000 feet above the sea level on the way from Saser La to Ladakh.

Books in News

‘Grassroots Innovation’ authored by Prof. Anil K. Gupta has released

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee received a copy of book ‘Grassroots Innovation’ authored by Prof. Anil K. Gupta of IIM Ahmedabad who is also the Vice Chairman, National Innovation Foundation at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The book was about stories of extraordinary men and women who are silently contributing to the innovation movement for the economic development and advancement of society.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child book launched

The book based on the script of the play ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ launched today globally. This is JK Rowling’s eighth Harry Potter story written along with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. Thorne scripted the two-part play based on the original story, which begins 19 years after ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, which was published in 2007.

COMMITTEES

Govt sets up National Committee on Trade Facilitation

India is setting up a national panel that will cut red-tape for the export-import industry while also ensuring faster clearances of merchandise, in line with the commitment to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The NCTF will facilitate domestic co-or-
dination and TFA provisions’ implementation, and help develop the pan-India trade facilitation road map. The committee is a mandatory, institutional arrangement under TFA.

Govt to set up panel to review e-commerce rules

Govt to set up panel to review e-commerce rules into all issues including foreign direct investment norms pertaining to the fast growing e-commerce industry in the country. The committee will be headed by the NITI Aayog CEO. The other members in the panel include officials from commerce and industry ministry and department of electronics and IT among others. It will look at all the issues, including FDI pertaining to the e-commerce sector. The committee would suggest ways to further promote the growth of the sector.

T V S N Prasad Committee to explore possible alternatives to pellet guns in Kashmir

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has setup a seven-member expert committee for exploring the other possible alternatives to pellet guns as non-lethal weapons. The Committee will be headed by T V S N Prasad, Joint Secretary in the MHA. It will submit its report within two months. Other members of the committee: Atul Karwal (IG, CRPF), Rajeev Krishna, (IG Operations, BSF), Tushar Tripathy (DDG, Small Arms, Ordnance factory Board) and Naresh Bhatnagar (Professor at IIT, Delhi). Earlier Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had announced in Lok Sabha that an expert committee will be set up to recommend alternatives to pellet guns.

Madhav committee constituted to prepare guidelines for desiltation of River Ganga

The Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted a committee to prepare guidelines for desiltation of Ganga River. The four member committee will be headed by Madhav Chitale (Expert Member of NGRBA). The tenure of the committee would be for a period of three months. The committee will prepare guidelines for desiltation of Ganga River from Bhimgauda (Uttarakhand) to Farakka (West Bengal).

IMPORTANT DAYS & DATES

Aug 07 – National Handloom Day

Aug 09 – International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Aug 10 – World Bio-Fuel Day

Aug 12 – International Youth Day

Aug 19 – World Humanitarian Day

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