Current Affairs August 10 2019

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

President Ram Nath Kovind Gives Assent To Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act 2019
On August 9, 2019, President of India Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act 2019 aimed to make India hub of domestic and global arbitration for settling commercial disputes. It will amend Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
i. Features of the new bill: It provides a mechanism to deal time-bound settlement of disputes and ensures accountability of the arbitrator
ii. ACI: It provides for establishing an independent body called Arbitration Council of India (ACI) for the promotion of arbitration, mediation, conciliation, and other alternative dispute redressal mechanisms. This will make the arbitration process more friendly and cost-effective, and ensure timely disposal of cases…………………Click here to Read more

President Ram Nath Kovind gives assent to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019
On August 10, 2019, President of India Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, to improve road safety and facilitation of the citizens while dealing with transport departments. The Act will amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
i. Provision:  The Act provides for the grant of licenses, regulation of cab aggregators, road safety and penalties for violation of these provisions.
ii. Golden hour: The bill allows to develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour(the time of up to one hour following a traumatic injury, during which the likelihood of preventing death through prompt medical care is the highest).It also enables to make a scheme for providing interim relief to claimants seeking compensation under third party insurance………………………….Click here to Read more

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan inaugurates interstate portability in two clusters of states
Shri Vilas Paswan, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution inaugurated the inter-State portability in two clusters of adjoining States of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana and Gujarat & Maharashtra, as a major step towards achieving the objective of ‘One Nation One Ration Card’.Under the National Food Security Act, beneficiaries can avail the benefits from any of the two cluster States.Inter state portability in two cluster of statesKey points
i. 11 States/UT have implemented the intra-State portability. The 11 states are

  • Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura.

ii. Having implemented intra-State portability already, the inter-State portability will be introduced in these 11 States by 1st January 2020.
iii. Other states apart from these 11 states will be included in the inter-state portability in a phased manner starting from 1st of June 2020.
iv. To sustain the reforms brought in by the ongoing scheme of ‘End-to-End Computerization of TPDS Operations’ and to introduce new reforms, the Department of Food & Public Distribution, is targeting implementation of nation-wide portability in distribution of subsidised foodgrains to the beneficiaries without the need of obtaining a new ration card under ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ System.
v. electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) devices supported by the biometric/Aadhaar authentication will be installed at Fair Price Shops(FPS)
vi. More than 4.1 lakh (77%) ePoS devices are already operational across the country. 25 States/UTs have either completed the installation in all FPSs or having significant progress. More than 85% ration cards (at least one member) in the country are linked with the Aadhaar numbers of the beneficiaries.

4th edition of National Entrepreneurship Awards, 2019 announced by Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
In a bid to encourage and recognize entrepreneurs and also to catalyse a cultural shift in youth for entrepreneurship, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has announced the 4th edition of National Entrepreneurship Awards (NEA) for the year 2019.National Entrepreneurship Awardsi. Aim: To honour outstanding young first generation innovative, inspiring and accomplished micro entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders for their contribution in entrepreneurship development.
ii. Objective: to recognize the businesses and businessmen and also to address the discontinuity towards better business systems and enhanced products & services with the help of a prize money.
The awards will be given on November 09, 2019.
iii. Award:

  • A total of 45 awards are to be announced with 39 enterprise awards and 6 Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders awards.
  • Winners will be presented with a Trophy, Certificate and a Cash Prize of Rs.5 lakh (enterprises/ individuals) and Rs.10 lakh (organizations/ institutes)

iv. Eligibility: to avail this award,

  • The nominee must be under the age of 40 years.
  • Must be first-generation entrepreneur, holding 51% or more equity and ownership of the business.
  • Women entrants must individually or collectively own 75% or more of the enterprise.

v. Evaluation: Candidates will be evaluated in three levels. Finally the National Jury of eminent persons drawn from academia/research, industry, social sector, banking etc.will select the winners.
vi. Supporters of NEA:  Indian Institute of Technology (Madras, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur), National Bank for Rural and Agriculture Development (NABARD), National Innovation Foundation, National Small Industries Corporation, Rural Development and Self-employment and Training Institute, TISS, Xavier’s School of Management.
vii. Previous winners

  • Wow Momo Foods Private Ltd and Jet Set Go Aviation services for 2016.
  • Rays Culinary Delights Pvt. Ltd. and Oravel Stays Pvt. Ltd. (that owns Oyo brand) for 2017.
  • Varun Engineering Works for 2018.

Mukhyamantri Krishi Ashirwad Yojana – vice president honorable M. venkaiah Naidu launches Jharkhand government’s financial assistance program for its farmers
Under the Jharkhand state’s scheme, Mukhyamantri Krishi Ashirwad Yojana launched by Shri Venkaiah Naidu, farmers/ beneficiaries having farmlands of less than 1 acre to 5 acres will be provided financial assistance of Rs5,000-25,000. The launching ceremony was held in 23 districts apart from Ranchi.
Key points
i. This scheme would benefit approximately 35 lakh farmers and by september/october this year. The outlay is  Rs 3000 crore.
ii. This scheme is apart from the benefits that the farmers are getting under Pratan Mantri Kisan yojana.
iii. As soon as this scheme was launched, money was transferred to the beneficiaries’ account.
iv. The centre has pledged to double the income of farmers by 2022.
v. The government is increasing Minimum Support Price of 23 farm produce in achieve the goal of boosting the income by 2022.
vi. Mr. Naidu praised the governments effort in protecting the interest of “annadata” (food providers).
Money distribution:

  • 5000- farmers having less than 1 acres of land.
  • 10,000- farmers having two acres of land.
  • 15000- farmers having three acres of land.
  • 20,000- farmers having four acres of land.
  • 25,000- farmers having five acres of land.

About JHARKHAND:
Capital-Ranchi.
Chief Minister-Raghubar Das.
Raghubar Das
He became the sixth and the first non-tribalx chief minister of Jharkhand in December 2014.He also served as the deputy chief minister and the urban development minister during the BJP led government in the state from 30 December 2009 to 29 May 2010.

BANKING & FINANCE

Chola MS ties up with Indian bank to provide insurance products to indian bank customers
Indian Bank Managing Director and CEO (Chief Executive Officer), Padmaja Chunduru and Cholamandalam MS (Chola MS) General Insurance Company, Managing Director, SS Gopalarathnam, have signed a corporate agency agreement where the Chola MS will deliver a wide range of insurance policies to the Indian bank customers.
Key points
i. Having over 2872 branches, this partnership would greatly benefit customers of the Indian bank.
ii. Corporate Agency Agreement: An agency agreement is a legal contract creating a fiduciary relationship whereby the first party (“the principal”) agrees that the actions of a second party (“the agent”) binds the principal to later agreements made by the agent as if the principal had himself personally made the later agreements.
Indian bank
Headquarters- Chennai.
Tagline- your own bank.
Founded- 15 August 1907.
Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Ltd (Chola MS)
It is a joint venture between the Murugappa Group, an Indian conglomerate, and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group (MSIG), a Japanese insurance company.
Founded- 2001.
Headquarters- Chennai.

India’s first Corporate credit card for SMEs launched by B2B payments startup EnKash
Business-Business payments startup company EnKash launched the country’s first corporate credit card called ‘Freedom Card’ for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups. It is the brainchild of Mr. Naveen Bindal, Co-Founder of EnKash.EnKashi. Freedom card: This card provides the freedom to avail credit facility for immediate needs and to manage the liquidity of startups.
To enhance the experience, banks are currently offering credit cards and EnKash partners.
ii. Enkash: It has come up with a corporate card to look into the varied billing cycles as per the working capital cycles of different businesses. This step is a first of its kind in India.
About Enkash
Founded–  2017 by Yadvendra Tyagi, Hemant Vishnoi, and Naveen Bindal(Co-Founder).
Recently Enkash has raised $3 million in a Series A round from Mayfield India and Axilor Ventures in April 2019.

RBL Bank with digital healthcare platform Practo launches co-branded credit card called “RBL Bank Practo Plus”
On August 8, 2019, RBL Bank, one of India’s fastest-growing private sector banks and Practo ,a digital healthcare platform have jointly launched co-branded health-focused credit card called “RBL Bank Practo Plus” powered by Mastercard.Key points:
i. It’s benefits include,

  • Unlimited online consultations with experienced and qualified doctors on all-time(24*7) for one year period
  • One free full-body health check-up
  • Cardholders can earn 1 Practo HealthCash for every Rs. 100 spent on this card.
    (1 Healthcash = 1 Rupee, that can be used while getting Practo services like ordering medicine, tests, online consultations).
  • The card also comes with complimentary access to the domestic airport lounge twice every quarter.

ii. The card is available on both Practo and RBL mobile apps and websites will help encourage users to think health-first on a daily basis. It also allows consumers to use their regular spends for household expenses for subsidizing their monthly health spends on Practo.
iii. Practo health plan account will be created on the Practo app, once RBL Bank Practo Plus credit card is issued to the customers. The cardholders need to log-in with their registered mobile numbers to access this plan under the “MyHealth Plan” section on Practo.
iv. The digital healthcare market reach $372 billion by 2022 because of its high market trend.
About RBL bank:
Founded :1943
Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO : Mr Vishwavir Ahuja
About Practo :
Headquarters: Bangalore
Founder & CEO:Shashank ND

DBS Bank India join hands with Social Alpha to incubate social entrepreneurs
On August 9, 2019, A leading financial services corporation, DBS Bank India has tied up with Social Alpha, the non-profit start-up incubator to mentor & support the start-ups (Even Cargo, Trust Circle Incredible Devices) focusing including inclusion, healthcare, and the environment in India over the next 18 months.
Key points:
i. DBS Bank will also give an annual programme grant of ₹1 crore to the three ventures.
ii. Even Cargo: It is a is a social enterprise that has trained and employed women as delivery personnel for major e-commerce companies.
iii. Trust Circle: It is a mental healthcare start-up that utilises mobile & AI(Artificial Intelligence) technology to improve emotional resilience & well-being.
iv. Incredible Devices: It is a medical devices startup with a mission to make safe, affordable & accessible healthcare solutions.
v. The partnership will encourage social entrepreneurs who are sustainable by generating enough returns to build scale.
About DBS bank India:

Headquarter: Mumbai
CEO : Surojit Shome
About Social Alpha
Co-Founder, CEO: Manoj Kumar

Digital payments usage acceleration “Digi Vyapari- Safal Vyapari” initiative launched by CAIT
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in partnership with HDFC Bank, Mastercard, Common Service Centres (CSCs) of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) and Global Linkers, launched Digi Vyapari- Safal Vyapari– to accelerate usage of digital payments in the country.
Key points
i. Live showroom of traders on e-commerce portal which will have integrated facilities of digital payments, logistics, and live chat will be made.
ii. Aim:  To accelerate the acceptance of digital payments among merchants and linking them with e-commerce portals by creating their e-commerce showrooms.
ii. With over 7 crore traders in the country, merchants will have easy access to business finance and banking resources through this initiative.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Centre sets target of transporting nearly 25% of cargo through coastal shipping and inland waterways over the next 10 years: Mansukh Mandaviya
On August 10,2019, On the event of 30th anniversary celebrations of the nation’s largest container port JNPT(Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust) in Mumbai, Union Minister of State for Shipping , Mansukh Mandaviya stated that the central government has set a target of transporting nearly 25% of cargo through coastal shipping and inland waterways over the next 10 years.
Key points:
i. This target will be achieved with the help of initiatives for the development of ports taken by the centre
ii. The increment in exim cargo will also help to reduce inflation by nearly 2.5 %.
iii. The government also aims to develop the infrastructure of railways, roads and airports sector. These initiatives are aimed at making the economy competitive in global markets and for that it is necessary to bring down the cost of logistics.
iv. Present status: India’s logistics cost (14%) is still 5 percent more than the global cost (9%).

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

UP govt creates world record by planting over 22 cr saplings in one day on 77th anniversary of the Quit India Movement
To mark the 77th anniversary of Quit India movement, Uttar Pradesh(UP) chief minister(CM)  Yogi Adityanath has launched the mega greenery plantation drive called “Vriksharopan Mahakumbh”, which now sets a world record by planting over 22 crore saplings in a day. The state also entered the Guinness World Records’ for distributing 76,823 saplings simultaneously in six hours across the state.UP govt creates world record Key points:
 i. The 1st record was made for planting Five crore saplings in the first hour i.e. from 9 am to 10 am. The 2nd record was made for planting 1.1 lakh saplings in Kasganj in presence of UP governor, Anandi Ben Patel. The 3rd record was made in Prayagraj for distribution of a record of 66,000 saplings at the same place in a certain time frame and the 4th record was made for planting 22 crore saplings in a day.
ii. The state also announced to plant 25 crore saplings in the Van Mahotsav in 2020. Adityanath also unveiled the logo of ‘Vriksharopan Mahakumbh’ and handed saplings of ‘Sahjan’ (Drumstick) to 5 rural women.
iii. The CM launched the drive by planting Harishankari, a combination of three sacred trees (peepul, pakar and banyan) at Jaitikheda area in Lucknow.

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SPORTS

BCCI  agreed to come under the jurisdiction of NADA: Sports Secretary
On August 10, 2019, The Indian Sports Secretary, Radheshyam Jhulaniya stated that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has agreed to come under the jurisdiction of the anti-doping watchdog, National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) after years of resisting the move.
Key points:
i. BCCI had raised a number of concerns (quality of the dope testing kits, competence of pathologists and sample collection) but finally agreed to come under NADA after the sports ministry gave assurances about resolving issues of the cricket board.
ii. Background: BCCI calling itself an autonomous body, and was against the signing up with NADA for a period of time. The Indian cricket board decided in March 2019 to work with the country’s anti-doping agency on a trial period of 6 months.
About BCCI in India:
Founded: 1928
Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra,
CEO: Rahul Johri
About NADA:
Director-General & CEO: Navin Agarwal
It is mandated for Dope free sports in India. Its objectives are to implement anti-doping rules, regulate dope control programme, to promote education and research and creating awareness about doping and its ill effects.

OBITUARY

Greek sculptor Takis, known for kinetic artworks passed away at the age of 93
Takis (Panayiotis Vassilakis), a Greek artist known for his kinetic sculptures, that made use of technology, motion, and light and were displayed in art galleries and museums around the world has passed away in Athens, Greece at the age of 93.Greek sculptor TakisKey points:
i. He was born on  25 October 1925, Athens, Greece. Over a 70-year career, Takis created some of the most innovative art of the 20th century.
ii. He was the founder of Takis Foundation, a research Center for the Art and the Sciences that contains a museum, garden, and the sculptor’s studio, and aims to promote the appreciation of the visual arts.
iii. His works adorn the most important museums of the world which include George Pompidou Center for Contemporary Art (Paris), the MOMA and the Guggenheim Museum (New York), the De Menil Collection (Houston), the Tate Modern (London), the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Venice).

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Biofuel Day celebrated on August 10, 2019
In order to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels and to highlight the various efforts made by Government in the biofuel sector, August 10 is observed as World Biofuel Day. In India, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas organized the World Biofuel Day at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.World Biofuel Day Ministers present:
i. The programme was inaugurated by  Shri. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas & Steel.
ii. Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan was the Chief Guest of the function.
Theme:
The theme for the World Biofuel Day 2019 was “Production of Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil (UCO)”.
Biofuel
i. Biofuels have the benefits of reduction of import dependence, cleaner environment, additional income to farmers and employment generation.
ii. Biofuel programme also compliments Government of India’s initiatives for Make in India, Swachh Bharat and increasing farmers income.
Risk in repeated usage of the same oil
If the same cooking oil is used for repeated frying, it adversely affects the health due to the formation of polar compounds during frying and would cause diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, liver diseases among others.
i. The National Policy on Biofuels, released by the Government of India in 2018, envisages biofuel production from UCO. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is implementing a strategy to divert UCO from the food value chain and curb current illegal usage. The benefits of transformation of UCO will help bring employment generation, infrastructural investment in rural areas & cleaner environment with reduced carbon footprint.
Current statistics
Approximately 850 crore litres of High-Speed Diesel (HSD) is consumed on a monthly basis in India.
i.The National Policy on Biofuels – 2018 envisages a target of 5% blending of Biodiesel in HSD by 2030. In order to achieve the blending target, 500 crore litres of Biodiesel is required in a year.
Biodiesel plants
To facilitate the production of Biodiesel from UCO, the Oil Marketing Companies shall float an Expression of Interest (EOI) for procurement of Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil across 100 cities. The purpose of inviting this EOI is to encourage applicants to set up Biodiesel producing plants from Used Cooking Oil (UCO), processing plants and further utilizing the existing potential of UCO based Bio-diesel in India.
ii.On this occasion, a sticker on RUCO viz., Repurpose Used Cooking Oil and a mobile app to facilitate the collection of UCO was also released by FSSAI.

STATE NEWS

Draft Agricultural policy released by Odisha government 2019
As a way of developing the agriculture sector and to focus on increasing the income of farmers, the Odisha government released a Draft Agricultural Policy 2019.Draft Agricultural policy Key points
i. Aim: To strengthen the social as well as the economic well-being of the farmers, sharecroppers and landless labourers.
ii. Focus:

  • Proper use of resources and opportunities with advanced technologies available to contribute to the farmers’ wellbeing.
  • Address the constraints faced in agriculture.

iii. Target: There are about 50,000 single landless women in Odisha. These women will be specially targeted in this draft policy scheme for economic development.
iv. Sector-specific strategy: The draft policy deals with 8 specific strategies. They are leveraging science and technology, adoption to climate change, markets, higher productivity, infrastructure, diversification, skilling and strengthening institutions.

  • The last time an agricultural policy was implemented in Odisha was in the year 2016. The year witnessed surplus production of food grains by producing 117 lakh MT (Metric Tonne) for 2016-2017.
  • The rate of monthly income of the farmers grew the fastest between 2002-03 and 2015-16 where average monthly income of a farmer of Odisha increased from ₹1,062 to ₹7,731. This indicated a growth of 16.5%against the national growth of 11.7%.

v. Other previous scheme: Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (Kalia) scheme was launched in December 2018. This scheme is being extended for another five years.
About KALIA
Earlier, the scheme was planned for only five crops. The small and marginal farmers receive financial assistance of Rs.5,000 per crop and some benefits for sharecroppers and landless agriculture farmers.

 9 year old Manipuri girl, Valentina Devi made Manipur’s green ambassador
Elangbam Valentina Devi, a 9-year-old girl from Manipur was made the ambassador of ‘Chief Minister’s Green Manipur Mission’, after a video of her crying over felled trees went viral on social media.
The govt. Made this step in recognition of her immense love and affection for trees.Valentina Devi made Manipur’s green ambassadorBackground:
The girl planted two Gulmohar trees near her house in Kakching district of Manipur when she was in class 1. She wept immensely when she saw the trees uprooted after coming from school.  The trees were cut down for road widening.
i. After the video was viewed by the chief minister of Manipur, he instructed the superintendent of police Viktoria Yenghkom to visit the girl’s house and was gifted some saplings.
ii. Valentina Devi will be the green ambassador for a period of 1year from the issue of order.
Responsibilities:
i. She will be involved in various green plantation and plan conservation programmes, including ceremonial plantations, VIP involved plantations, World Environment day and Van Mahotsava.
ii. She will be part of all advertisements/campaigns promoting green cover.
About Manipur
Capital- Imphal.
Governor- Padmanabha Acharya.
National park- Keibul Lamjao national park.

Rajasthan becomes the first state in the country to implement biofuel policy:  Sachin Pilot
On August 10, 2019, Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan state Government, Sachin Pilot stated that Rajasthan is the 1st  state in the country that released biofuel rules-2019 (after the notification of the Centre on April 30, 2019) with the vision to promote the use of biofuels. He introduced the biofuel rules-2019 at a state-level function on the eve of the World Biofuel Day (August 10, 2019).Rajasthan becomes the first state in the country to implement biofuel policyKey points:
i. Pilot also stated that there will be no delay in taking necessary steps for progress and welfare of the society and country.
ii.  Present status: 82% of fossil fuel in India comes from overseas which is a big burden on the taxpayers and India’s economy.
iii. The Rajasthan state currently using 1250 crore liters of fossil fuel, where 5% of it is replaced by biofuel ,lead to 62 crore liters of biofuel will have to be produced in the state.
Policy of Biofuels:
It categorizes the biofuels called Basic Biofuels into 3 categories which include:
 i. First Generation (1G) ,bioethanol & biodiesel
 ii.“Advanced Biofuels”, Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels and
 iii. Third Generation (3G) biofuels,  bio-CNG (Compressed natural gas )among others to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
iv. The National Policy on Biofuels-2018 approved by the Government envisages an indicative target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol and 5% blending of bio-diesel in diesel by 2030.

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