Current Affairs August 1 2019

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Rajya Sabha passed Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019
On July 31, 2019, Rajya Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

  • Background: The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is based on the recommendations of the Group of Transport Ministers (GoM) headed by Shri. Yoonus Khan, the then Transport Minister of Rajasthan, to address the issue of road safety and to improve the facilitation of the citizens while dealing with transport departments.
  • Vehicle Fitness: The Bill mandates automated fitness testing for vehicles and provides for compulsory recall of defective vehicles and power to examine irregularities of vehicle companies……………………………Click here to Read more

Parliament passed the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019
On July 29, 2019, Parliament unanimously passed the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019 which will replace the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Ordinance, 2019, promulgated on February 21, 2019. It will help to tackle the threat of illicit deposit taking activities in the country like exploiting regulatory gaps and lack of strict administrative measures to dupe poor and gullible people of their hard-earned savings.
i. Benefits: It will save gullible investors from ponzi schemes run by the Saradha Group companies and protect the hard earned money of the poor people……………………Click here to Read more

Parliament passed Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019
On August 1, 2019, The Parliament passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) (Amendment) Bill, 2019. It provides a 330-day timeline for insolvency resolution process and specifies minimum payouts to operational creditors in any resolution plan. The amendments will bring greater clarity to mergers, demergers, and amalgamations as part of the resolution process.
Key Points:
i. Earlier, the timeline was 270 days.
ii. It provides greater clarity on permissibility of corporate restructuring schemes, clarity on the rights and duties of authorized representatives of voters.
iii. It gives committee of creditors of a loan defaulting company an explicit authority over the distribution of proceeds in the resolution process.
iv. 8 amendments in the IBC, 2016 were made which include Section 5, Section 7, Section 12,  Section 25A, Section 30, Section 31, Section 33 and Section 240 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
v. It will be binding on the Centre, State and local authorities.
vi. IBC 2016 says that National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) must determine the existence of default within 14 days of receiving a resolution application and may accept or reject it and the new Bill states that the NCLT must record its reasons in writing if it has not passed an order within 14 days.
vii. The number of members of NCLT was increased and the strength at present is 52.
viii. The Bill specifies the manner in which the representative of a group of financial creditors should vote.

Air Force specification-cum-publicity Pavilion inaugurated by Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank”
The Union Minister for Human Resource Development (MHRD) Mr Ramesh pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, inaugurated the Indian Airforce Facilitation-cum-Publicity Pavilion in National Bal Bhawan, New Delhi to motivate students to join Indian Air Force.
Other officials in the inaugural function
i. Minister of State (MoS) for HRD Shri Sanjay Dhotre.
ii. Air Chief Marshal Shri BS Dhanoa.
iii. Secretary of Department of School Education & Literacy, Smt Rina Ray
iv. Joint secretary, MHRD – R.C. Meena
Facilitation-cum-Publicity Pavilion
i. The setup comprises of a flying simulator, a self-interactive career information kiosk( a counter, newsstand etc), a selfie point in G suite( cloud computing, collaboration and productivity tool) and  mannequins.
ii. The pavilion has running videos related to IAF exercise/ operations, aircraft models of Indian Air Force, digital flexes etc.
Mobile gaming app launched
“Indian Air Force: Cut Above” official Mobile gaming application was launched by Air Chief Marshal Shri B.S. Dhanoa. The app features facilities like experiencing first-hand roles of IAF air warrior and also to apply and appear for recruitment from the mobile phone itself.

Clean air initiative launched by India,UK in Bengaluru
A two-year UK-India joint initiative, the “Innovation for Clean Air” (IfCA) was launched by the British Deputy High Commissioner DominicMcAllister in Bengaluru to test interventions related to equality and support India’s transition to EV (electric vehicles) integration.
Key points
i. The air quality is measured by integrating satellite and sensor data
ii. The program is led by Innovate UK, which is a part of UK research and innovation (UKRI). The UKRI is funded by Newton Fund and by various other partners.
Partners in the program
Key partners: Indian Institute of Science(IISc),
Enzen, project lithium, C40 (Bengaluru and London are founding partners of C40)cities and Clean Air platform.
Other partners:  Indian Institute of Information Technology Bangalore (IIIT-B), shakthi foundation, India smart grid forum.
UKRI
United Kingdom Research and Innovation is a quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation of the United Kingdom that directs research and innovation funding, funded through the science budget of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Founded- April 2018
Bengaluru
State- Karnataka
Other names- Garden city of india, Silicon valley of india, Science city of india

Nepali and Santhali languages to be included in the Scheme for grant of Senior/Junior Fellowships of Culture Ministry
On July 30, 2019, The Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Shri Prahlad Singh Patel informed that 2 languages- Nepali and Santhali from the 8th  Schedule of the Indian Constitution will be included in the Sub-Field of Field “Literature” in the scheme component ‘Award of Senior/Junior Fellowships to Outstanding Artistes in the Fields of Culture’.
Key Points:
i. The Ministry of Culture regulates a scheme component namely Award of Senior/Junior Fellowships to Outstanding Artistes in the Fields of Culture.
ii. The Nodal institute for handling the Scheme of Sr. /Jr. Fellowship till selection process is the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT), Dwarka, Gujarat.
iii. “Literary Arts” is one of the Fields under the Scheme. The candidates can apply for research in 22 languages from the 8th Schedule of Articles 344(1) and 251 of the Indian Constitution as their Sub-Field.
iv. The 22 languages are Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English and Khasi.
About Ministry of Tourism:
Headquarters: New Delhi
Formed: 1967

India is the 46th highest risk country in the world: Water Stress Index 2019
According to the Water Stress Index 2019, formulated by London-based risk analytics firm Verisk Maplecroft, India is the 46th highest risk country in the world. It measured the water consumption rates of households, industries and farm sectors and the available resources in rivers, lakes and streams and plotted the index with projected population growth trends to rank the cities facing the biggest threat to their water resources. Chennai is the “tip of the iceberg” for India’s water-stressed cities.
Key Points:
i. 11 out of India’s 20 largest cities face an ‘extreme risk’ of water stress and 7 are in the ‘high risk’ category. Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Nashik, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Indore are among the cities facing ‘extreme risk’.
ii. Bengaluru and Surat are experiencing the greatest surge in demand for water and are most at risk of facing scarcity. Chennai and Delhi are also extremely vulnerable.
iii. India is rated ‘high risk’ in the Climate Change Vulnerability Index. The effects of climate change like an ‘extended dry season’ would deteriorate water stress situation in Indian cities and many Indian cities are projected to experience a higher number of consecutive drought days when precipitation is less than 1 mm.
iv. Bengaluru may experience 5% hike in consecutive drought by 2060, relative to the period from 1981-2005.
About Verisk Maplecroft:
President: Sondra Scott

Pilot basis of one Nation one ration card scheme launched in 4 States
In order to boost the National Food Security, the pilot basis of One Nation One Ration Card scheme was launched by the government in four states namely Telangana , Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.
Families holding this card can buy subsidized rice and wheat from any ration shop in these four states.
Key points
i. This program is expected to be implemented by August next year.
ii. A trial run of the project was conducted by the Telangana Civil Supplies Corporation last week where consumers from Andhra Pradesh bought their commodities from the fair price shop in Hyderabad.
iii. White ration cardholders can buy the subsidized rice and wheat from any fair price shops in these state and this same facility is available in Andhra Pradesh also through POS (Point Of Sale) machines.

  • 28 Crore customers have been benefited with this ration portability introduced in Telangana last year.
  • 56 lakh beneficiaries are covered under the National Food Security Act.

Availing the scheme
To avail, this One Nation One Ration Card scheme, the family’s ration card should be linked with their Aadhaar number.

Maharashtra Govt launches Automated Multi-modal Biometric Identification System (AMBIS) for crime detection
On July 29,2019, Maharashtra Chief Minister(CM) Devendra Fadnavis has launched a special digitized policing system called Automated Multi-modal Biometric Identification System (AMBIS)” to aid police investigations & it will soon be expanded across the country.
Key Highlights:
i. Detection:  AMBIS adopted by the Maharashtra Police, is an advanced crime detection database, detects crime based on the available fingerprint, palmprint and iris scan data of criminals on record as well as accidental finger/ palm-prints collected from crime scenes.
ii. AMBIS: It is an updated version of Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), which has limited utility, providing only one-to-one fingerprint matches has been used by Indian law enforcement agencies to explore finger and palm prints.
iii. Service:  The system is said to be first-of-its-kind in the country and the state has helped to crack 85 open cases of theft and break-ins and make 120 arrests during its one year testing period.
iv. Features:

  • It can be useful in identifying bodies, especially in cases where the body is mutilated.
  • Facial recognition of suspects in cases of mob violence and mob lynching with the help of photographs and CCTV footage.
  • It has a backup facility option, so there will be no data loss by using this system.
  • Data can be accessed anywhere, anytime as it can be interfaced with any other operating system(OS).

About Maharashtra
Capital: Mumbai
Governor: C. Vidyasagar Rao
National Parks: Chandoli National Park ,Gugamal National Park ,Nawegaon National Park ,Pench National Park .

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Sri Lankan government exempted visa fees for Indian tourists
The tourism minister of Sri Lanka, John Amaratunga announced that Indian tourists are exempted from visa fees which range from $20 to $40 with effect from August 1, 2019. It will not be charged for grant of one month visa for tourism.
i. Initially, it will be implemented for 6 months. Decision for extension will be taken depending upon its impact on revenue.
ii. In 2018, Tourism accounted for almost 5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Sri Lanka. It is the country’s third-largest and fastest-growing source of foreign currency.
iii. With this, India became one among the 48 countries to be exempted from visa fees for tourism by Sri Lankan government.
About Sri Lanka:
Capital: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo
Currency: Sri Lankan rupee
Prime Minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe

Nigeria, the fourth African Nation joins global collision to protect pollinators
Nigeria joined the Global coalition group of the willing on pollinators as the fourth African nation to protect pollinators and their habitats by developing and implementing National pollinator strategies, where currently the world’s pollinator species are on the decline.
i. With a lack of data on pollinators, there are only 10 years left to meet the 2030 agenda on sustainable development which will be a very great challenge to achieve.
Nations in coalition
The other African nation members in this group are Ethiopia, the first nation to join in 2017 followed by Burundi and Morocco.
i. Morocco became a member of this group in the month of May 2019
ii. The non-African nation members are as follows:  Bosnia and herzegovina the Dominican Republic Ireland and Mexico. They all joined the coalition in 2018.
iii. Currently, there are 28 signatories including 17 European Union countries, 5 from Latin America, 1 from Caribbean and 4 from Africa.
iv. The pollination services annual market value is estimated at $235 billion to $577 billion worldwide. It is due to this reason pollinator dependent crops are having higher prices than non-pollinator dependent crops
Goals relevant to pollinator protection
They are SDG2 (zero hunger), SDG 15(life on hand),SDG 3(good health and well being) SDG 8( decent work and economic growth) where SDG stands for Sustainable Development Goals.

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI permits domestic banks to directly sell their NPAs overseas as part of  one-time settlement
On July 31, 2019, India’s central banking institution, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has opened a new route to allow domestic banks directly sell their non-performing assets (NPA) in manufacturing and infrastructure sectors to investors abroad as part of the one-time settlement (OTS) on behalf of the borrowing company.
It will allow overseas investors to take direct loan exposure to Indian corporates.

Key points:
i. ECB For defaulters:  The loan defaulters are allowed to sell their assets in compliance with the OTS exercise, in order to raise external commercial borrowing (ECB) from overseas to repay domestic loans in the country.
ii. ECB For corporates:  RBI also opened this route to Indian corporate as they can also raise long-term loans for working capital, general corporate purposes and repaying domestic rupee loans. They can avail of ECB facility for repayment of loans availed for capital expenditure in manufacturing and infrastructure sector and it is classified as SMA-2 (Special Mention Accounts with outstanding not serviced for 60 to 90 days).
iii. ECB for Banks:  Lending banks too can sell off the loan assets through the assignment and recover their dues.
iv. Benefits:  It will also reduce the pressure on the NCLT(National Company Law Tribunal) under IBC (Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code), as banks and the companies will now easily get into an OTS between themselves, funds for which have to be raised overseas by the defaulter/banks.
About NPA:
It is a loan that is in default or close to being in default. In most cases, debt is classified as nonperforming when loan payments have not been made for a period of 90 days.
About RBI:
Headquarters: Mumbai
Founded: 1 April 1935
Governor: Shaktikanta Das

India Post Payments Bank will be converted into SFB: postal Department
The postal department has decided to convert the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) into a small finance bank (SFB) with the aim to provide micro-credit at the doorsteps to individuals and SME’s (Small and medium-sized enterprises). The postal department also sets a target to open one crore accounts for IPPB in 100 days. Key points:
i. The decision was taken during the annual Heads of Circles Conference held at Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir(J&K) to adopt a 100-day action plan and a five-year vision to align the Department of Posts with the Prime Minister’s New India initiative.
ii. In Partnership with Common Service Centre(CSC), India post will provide a suite of citizen-centric services such as banking, remittance, insurance, DBT, bill and tax payments, etc at post offices.
iii. By investing in 190 parcel hubs, 80 Nodal Delivery Centers and a Pan India Road Transport Network, the postal department has also decided to enhance the infrastructure to extend the reach of the e-commerce industry to tier II(Population between 50,000 to 99,999) and tier III town(20,000 to 49,999) as well as to rural areas.
About IPPB:
Founded: 1 September 2018
Headquarters :New Delhi , India
Parent organization: India Post
MD & CEO: Suresh Sethi

Edelweiss Tokio Life partnered with MobiKwik to offer insurance solutions
A private life insurer Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance tied up with MobiKwik to offer mobile-based group insurance solutions for the customers of MobiKwik.
Key Points:
i. Edelweiss Tokio Life will provide life insurance in the variants of Rs 1 lakh, Rs 3 lakh, and Rs 5 lakh through MobiKwik’s wallet app and website.
ii. The policies will be available for an annual premium of Rs 148, Rs 443, and Rs 738 respectively.
iii. Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance is a joint venture between Edelweiss Financial Services and Tokio Marine Holdings.
About Edelweiss Group:
Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman & CEO: Rashesh Shah 
About MobiKwik:
Headquarters: Gurugram, Haryana
Founded: April 2009
CEO: Bipin Preet Singh

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Finance Ministry imposed Anti Dumping Duty on PTA imports from South Korea & Thailand
Based on the recommendations of the Designated Authority in the Commerce Ministry in its sunset review findings, Union Ministry of Finance imposed definitive anti-dumping duty on all imports of Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA) from South Korea and Thailand. PTA is a primary raw material in the manufacturing of polyester chips, which are used in a number of applications in textile, packaging, furnishings, consumer goods, resins, and coatings.
Key Points:
i. The Revenue Department imposed a definitive anti-dumping duty of $27.32 per tonne on PTA produced by Hanwha General Chemical Co Ltd and exported by Hyosung TNC Corporation.
ii. A definitive anti-dumping duty of $23.61 per tonne has been imposed for PTA exported by Taekwang Industrial Co Ltd.
iii. For all other exporters from South Korea, the duty is charged at $78.28 per tonne.
iv. For the PTA exported by Indorama Petrochem Ltd and TPT Petrochemicals Public Co Ltd of Thailand, the Department has imposed an anti-dumping duty of $45.43 per tonne and for all other exporters from Thailand, it is charged at $62.55 per tonne.
About Ministry of Finance:
Headquarters: New Delhi
Founded: 29 October 1946
Minister In-charge: Nirmala Sitharaman

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Renowned entrepreneur Ruhan Rajput was bestowed with prestigious Entrepreneur of the year award 2019
Co-founder and director of Einfolge Technologies Pvt Ltd, Mr. Ruhan Rajput was honoured entrepreneur of the Year award 2019 for his excellence in the service sector and for his contributions and achievements in the business industry.
Key points
i. The event was hosted by America’s Business Magazine Entrepreneur India along with its Franchise India in New Delhi.
ii. Ruhan was also acknowledged as the “Entrepreneur Of The Year in Service Business- BPO/KPO recently” on 18th July
iii. Ruhan is also an actor and model in Bollywood industry and has recently starred in ‘Dil Mera’ produced by Zee music company.

Dr Vinayak S Hiremath, the youngest doctor of Gulbarga, felicitated with ‘Pride of Nation Award’
Dr Vinayak S Hiremath, aged 30,the youngest doctor of Gulbarga (Kalaburagi), Karnataka was felicitated with ‘Pride of Nation Award’ by the Defence Minister of India, Rajnath Singh at the ceremony held at NCC (National Cadet Corps) auditorium parade grounds in New Delhi on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas (July 26). He is the first South Indian doctor to offer free insulin consultation and treatment to gestational (pregnancy) diabetic mothers and family members of the Indian Army.
Key Points:
i. He is presently working as the Chief Consultant Physician Diabetologist and Intensivist at KMK Hospital, Cochin, Kerala.
ii. He is credited to be one among the top 10 achievers in the healthcare industry in India.
iii. ‘Pride of the Nation Award’ is given to the people who have made a notable contribution in their fields and in the process made India proud.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

R N Ravi took charge as 20th  governor of Nagaland
On August 1, 2019, RN Ravi (A 1976-batch Indian Police Service officer of the Kerala cadre,), a former Intelligence Bureau(IB) officer was sworn in as the 20th governor of Nagaland. Arup Kumar Goswami, Chief Justice (Acting) of Gauhati High Court(HC) administered the oath of office to Ravi at the Raj Bhavan in Kohima, Nagaland. Ravi succeeds Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya, whose tenure ended on July 19, 2019.i. Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and his cabinet ministers, Assembly Speaker Vikho-o Yhoshu were present in the swearing-in ceremony.
ii. Ravi, who is the interlocutor for the central government for the Centre-Naga peace talks.
iii. He played a key role in the signing of the Framework Agreement between the Indian government and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim Isak-Muivah(NSCN-IM).
iv. Ravi was appointed as Nagaland Governor by President Ram Nath Kovind on July 20, 2019.
v. He was worked closely with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval during the Doval’s stint in the Intelligence Bureau(IB).
About Nagaland:
Capital
: Kohima
Chief minister: Neiphiu Rio
National Park: Intanki National Park
Wildlife Sanctuaries: Fakim WLS, Puliebadze WLS, Rangapahar WLS.

Ravi Capoor took Charge as the Secretary in Ministry of Textiles
On August 1, 2019, Ravi Capoor (an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of 1986 batch) took charge as secretary in the Ministry of Textiles in New Delhi. He succeeds Raghvendra Singh.i. He was in charge of Mines & Minerals, Forest & Environment, Act East Policy Affairs, and Public Enterprises Department as Additional Chief Secretary, Assam, from the period of 2016 to 2019. Besides he also had the portfolios of Industry and Commerce & worked as additional Development Commissioner, Handicrafts from 2002 to 2004.
ii. He earlier served as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India from 2011 to 2016 and was handling India’s trade with ASEAN, CIS countries, engineering exports and export promotion program of the Commerce and Industry Ministry. He also worked as the CEO(Chief Executive Officer) of India Brand Equity Foundation.
iii. He held the position of Executive Director, Petroleum Conservation Research Association and Director in the Ministry of Petroleum from 2004 to 2008. He played a key role in the sectors of refining, project management and implementation, pricing and supply and resolving operational issues.
iv. He was the director of Rural Infrastructure project in Assam that was funded by World Bank.
v. He had a broad experience of working in international agencies like the World Bank(WB), European Union(EU), United Nations(UN), Department for International Development in the Primary Education Project with Government of India(GoI).

Guruprasad Mohapatra takes charge as secretary of DPIIT
On August 1, 2019, Guruprasad Mohapatra (an IAS Officer of 1986 batch) assumed charge of the office of Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) in New Delhi. He replaces Ramesh Abhishek.i. Prior to this appointment, he served as chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), a statutory body working under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, where he brought many changes in AAI’s strategic operations.
ii. He played a major role in achieving greater excellence in the sector of airport infrastructure development at the metro airports &in tier-II and tier-III cities.
iii. He also served as a joint secretary in the Department of Commerce, where he worked for the promotion of special economic zones (SEZs), public procurement and project exports (financing and insurance).
iv. As a municipal commissioner in Surat, Gujarat, he was involved in the process of converting Surat into one of the models of urban governance with its impetus on solid waste management, quality infrastructure, and financial management.
v. He was instrumental in developing several urban development projects such as the Sabarmati riverfront, BRTS(Bus Rapid Transit System), Kankaria lakefront and heritage promotion by worked as municipal commissioner of Ahmedabad.
vi. He also served as managing director(MD) in several listed public sector undertakings(PSU) in India and held a position as the transport commissioner and commissioner (commercial taxes) in Gujarat.
About DPIIT:
i. Formation: 1995
ii. Parent agency: Ministry of Commerce and Industry
iii. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) was renamed as the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) in January  2019.
iv. It is responsible for the formulation and implementation of promotional and developmental measures for growth of the industrial sector, keeping in view the national priorities and socio-economic objectives.

Girraj Prasad Gupta took over as CGA in New Delhi
On August 1, 2019, Girraj Prasad Gupta(a 1983-batch Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS) Officer) took over as the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) in New Delhi. He succeeds Anthony Lianzuala as the new CGA, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.
i. He held higher positions in the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Ministry of Rural Development and served as the Director of National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM), Faridabad.
ii. Gupta, as an Additional Controller General of Accounts, got credit for the work in development and implementation of Public Financial Management System (PFMS), a backbone IT (Information Technology) infrastructure for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in Government of India.
iii. He also served as Director (Finance) on the joint venture mega hydel power project in Bhutan.
iv. CAG: It works under the Ministry of Finance, Government of India(GoI).It is the apex accounting authority derives its mandate from Article 150 of the constitution which says, The accounts of the Union and of the States shall be kept in such form as the President may, on the advice of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India.

Civil Aviation DG, Rakesh Asthana given additional charge as Narcotics control Bureau secretary
The Appointments Committee chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given additional charge to 1984-batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana, Director General of Civil Aviation security (DG CAS), as the new DG of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) by approving “entrustment of the additional charge of the post of Director General Narcotics Control Board”.Key points
i. The post of NCB was lying vacant as incumbent Abhay was appointed as a director Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad, Telangana.
ii. Asthana will serve as the DG of NCB for the next 6 months or till new incumbent is appointed.
iii. Rakesh Asthana previously served the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and was transferred as DG CAS
NCB
Narcotics control Bureau is the nodal drug law enforcement and intelligence agency of India responsible for fighting drug trafficking and abuse of illegal substances
Headquarters- New Delhi
founded- 1986
Minister responsible- Minister of Home Affairs, Amit shah

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Microsoft acquired BlueTalon, a data privacy & governance startup 
Microsoft acquired BlueTalon, a data privacy and governance service, for an undisclosed sum. BlueTalon works with leading Fortune 100 companies. It helps enterprises to set policies for how their employees can access their data. Key Points:
i. BlueTalon will become part of the Azure Data Governance group.
ii. It had raised $25.87 million and was backed by firms like Biosys Capital, Signia Venture Partners, Maverick Capital, and Divergent Ventures.
About Microsoft:
Headquarters: Washington DC, US
CEO: Satya Narayana Nadella
Chairman: John Wendell Thompson

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Researchers from China & US developed a new computer model that predict India’s pollution levels 
The team of researchers from China and the United States developed a new computer model that can help accurately predict air pollution levels in the region a season in advance. The data from El Niño and Antarctic Oscillation events can be used to predict air pollution levels in northern India. It will allow the government to forecast aerosol pollution conditions in winter and formulate plans for pollution control.
Key Points:
i. The research was published in the journal Science Advances.
ii. Meng Gao from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University in the US said that the statistical prediction model uses 2 autumn temperature variation patterns as predictors.
iii. According to the State of Global Air 2019 Report, over 1.2 million people died in India due to air pollution in 2017.

Scientists from IIT-Kanpur develop a robotic hand to help paralyzed stroke patients
The scientists at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Kanpur have developed the world’s first robot hand for the rehabilitation of stroke patients. It is a two-finger robotic hand (exoskeleton) that uses a four-bar mechanism and has four degrees of freedom (DOF). It uses brain signals, with the help of the brain-computer interface (BCI).
Key Points:
i. The exoskeleton is operated by a MEGA (Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis) microcontroller of 300 Mhz and powered by a battery which costs around Rs 15,000.
ii. It was developed by Professor Ashish Dutta and Professor K S Venkatesh. In order to develop the product, they had partnered with the University of Ulster, United Kingdom, and their teacher Girijesh Prasad, who belongs to Gorakhpur.
iii. The research has been published in leading journals, including the Journal of Neuroscience Methods, Biomedical and Health Informatics, Haptics and Engineering in Medical and Biology Society.
iv. It is a Rs 55 lakh MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Department) and the British Council (the UK) project which was approved in 2018.

Three new exoplanets discovered by NASA’s TESS in a new planetary system TOI 270.
The Transmitting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) of NASA has discovered 3 new planets which are the smallest and nearest known to date. The planets include a small, rocky super-Earth and 2 Sub-neptunes orbiting a dwarf star just 73 light-years away from our earth. A paper describing the system was published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
Planet System on TOI (TESS Object of Interest) 270
i. The members present in the planetary system are a dwarf star which is 40% smaller than the size of the sun and the three exoplanets which are named as TOI 270b, TOI 270c, TOI 270d orbiting the star every 3.4 days 5.7 days and 11.4 days respectively.
ii. The innermost planet is the TOI 270b and is expected to be 25% bigger than earth.
iii. The TOI 270c and TOI 270d are Neptune like planets which are half the size of our icy giants( Uranus and Neptune).

SPORTS

PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal retained their top 10place in the latest Women’s singles rankings in badminton
In the recently released women’s singles ranking by Badminton World Federation, India’s star players PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal have retained 5th spot and 8th spot respectively. The ranking is topped by Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi.Key points
i. Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying was overtaken by Akane Yamaguchi to become the new world no.1 champion.
ii. Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara is ranked second and Tai Tzu Ying is ranked third in the BWF rankings.
iii. In BWF men’s ranking japan’s Kento Momota is ranked first whereas India’s Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma are ranked 10th and 13th respectively.
BWF
It is the International governing body for the sport of badminton recognised by the International Olympic Committee
Headquarters- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Founded- 5 July 1934
President- Poul Erik Hoyer Larsen

OBITUARY

Malcolm Nash, who was famously hit for six sixes in an over passed away
Former England cricketer Malcolm Nash, who was best known for being hit by Sir Garfield Sobers for six sixes in an over has passed away after he collapsed while attending a dinner at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. He was 74.i. He was born on 9 May 1945 in Abergavenny, United Kingdom(UK).
ii.
He took 993 first-class wickets in a 17-year career between 1966 and 1983 and was Glamorgan’s leading wicket-taker when they won the County Championship in 1969.
iii. His name was forever linked with that of Sobers after the sober went on the attack during a County Championship in 1968. It was the first time any batsman had hit six sixes in a six-ball over in first-class cricket.
iv. He also played 271 List A matches between 1967 and 1985 & helped Glamorgan defeat Australia in 1968.

Harold ‘Hal’ Prince, broadway legend and 21-time Tony winner passed away in Reykjavík, Iceland
On July 31, 2019, Broadway legend Harold ‘Hal’ Prince, aged 91, passed away in Reykjavík, Iceland after a brief illness. He was an American theatrical producer and director.i. Born on January 30, 1928 in Manhattan, New York, United States, he had won 21 Tony Awards over the course of his career.
ii. He was a producer and director known for his work on many classic musicals including, “Damn Yankees,” “West Side Story,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Cabaret,” and “Sweeny Todd.”

Indian coffee tycoon, V. G. Siddhartha Hegde found Dead
Indian billionaire and a founder of the largest coffee chain in India, Cafe Coffee Day(CCD), V. G. Siddhartha Hegde has been found dead on the banks of the Netravati river near Mangaluru.i. Siddhartha was the son-in-law of former Karnataka chief minister SM Krishna.
ii. Hailing from the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka, he established Cafe Coffee Day in 1996, which is an Indian café chain owned by Coffee Day Global Limited serves 1.8 billion cups of coffee, annually, in six countries like Malaysia, Egypt, the Czech Republic, and Austria.
iii. He was in talks with Coca-Cola about selling a large stake in Cafe Coffee Day. The business had come under pressure and in 2017. As on March 31, 2019, the borrowings of Coffee Day Enterprises stood at Rs 6,547.38 crore.
Cafe Coffee Day names S V Ranganath as interim chairman
Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd, which owns the Café Coffee Day (CCD) chain named S.V. Ranganath(a 1975-batch IAS officer from Karnataka), who has been a non-executive independent director as interim chairman after founder V.G. Siddhartha was confirmed dead.
i. Nitin Bagmane, who was one of the coffee day’s early investors appointed as the Interim chief operating officer(COO).
ii. The company has also set up a committee, which will have chief financial officer R Ram Mohan, Ranganath and Bagmane to manage operations.
iii. Bagmane is a director on the board of Tanglin Developments Ltd, a subsidiary of Coffee Day Enterprises.
About CCD:
Founded: 1993
Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka

STATE NEWS

Senior BJP leader Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri unanimously elected the 22nd Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly
Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, a senior BJP(Bharatiya Janata Party) leader and 6-time MLA(Member of the Legislative Assembly) has unanimously elected as 22nd  Speaker of the Karnataka legislative assembly after K R Ramesh Kumar resigned from the post.
Key points:
i. Kageri, an MLA from Sirsi constituency in Uttara Kannada was the only candidate to file his nomination for the post was elected unopposed. The opposition parties of Congress and JD(S)( Janata Dal (Secular)) did not field any candidate.
ii. He started his career as Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad leader.
iii. He served as MLA from the Ankola constituency(3-time till 2008). He then transferred to Sirsi constituency, where he won 2008, 2013 and 2018 Assembly elections.
About Karnataka:
Capital: Bengaluru
Chief minister: B. S. Yeddyurappa
Governor: Vajubhai Vala
Dams: Vani Vilasa Sagara Dam, Almatti Dam, Bhadra Dam, Tungabhadra Dam, Krishna Raja Sagara Dam.

Tamilnadu to get Rs 6.22 crore under Silk Samagra for the development of silk industry
Tamil Nadu will receive about Rs 6.22 crore under the Silk Samagra for the development of the silk industry. The state has been ranked among the leading silk-producing States in India. Silk Samagra is an Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry (ISDSI) implemented by the Union government through the Central Silk Board (CSB) at an outlay of Rs 2,161.68 crore for 3 years from 2017-18.
Key Points:
i. Upto March 31, 2019, Tamil Nadu produced 2,072 metric tons of raw silk.
ii. The leading marketing federations of Tamil Nadu- TANSILK, Kancheepuram, and the Government Anna Silk Exchange, Kancheepuram have met the sales target assigned to them during 2018- 19.
iii. Silk Samagra scheme has 4 major components – research & development, training, transfer of technology and Information Technology initiatives, seed organisations, coordination and market development and quality certification systems export brand promotion and technology upgradation.
About Tamil Nadu:
Capital: Chennai
Chief Minister: Edappadi K. Palaniswami
Governor: Banwarilal Purohit
National Parks: Guindy National Park, Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, Indira Gandhi (Annamalai) National Park, Mudumalai National Park, Mukurthi National Park
Wildlife Sanctuaries: Cauvery North WLS, Chitrangudi Bird WLS, Indira Gandhi (Annamalai) WLS, Kanyakumari WLS, Pulicat Lake WLS, Sakkarakottai WLS etc.

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