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Current Affairs August 15 2019

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Reconstitution of Inter-State Council; PM Modi is the chairman
The Inter-State Council was reconstituted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its chairman and 6 Union ministers and chief ministers as members.
i. Members: The Union ministers who will be members of the reconstituted council are Amit Shah (Home), Nirmala Sitharaman (Finance), Rajnath Singh (Defence), Narendra Singh Tomar (Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj), Thaawar Chand Gehlot (Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment) and Hardeep Singh Puri (Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs), Chief Ministers of all states and Union territories having legislative assemblies and administrators of the Union territories not having a legislative assembly are the members.
The government reconstituted the standing committee of the Inter-State Council with the chairmanship of Home Minister Amit Shah. 4 Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Singh Tomar, Thaawar Chand Gehlot & Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and 8 chief ministers are the members……………………Click here to Read more

CORAS of Indian railways launched by railway minister Piyush Goyal
On august 04,2019 CORAS (Commandos For Railway Security), a special railway unit for the Indian railways  and a new establishment manual for the Railway Protection Force(RPF) was launched by union Railway Minister Shri Piyush Goyal at a function in New Delhi railway station.

  • The CORAS induction was planned by the RPF and the CORAS team will be provided with the best modern equipment and world class training.
  • A state of the art commando training centre is to be established in Jagadhri, Haryana……………………….Click here to Read more

First ever space museum of India inaugurated at Hyderabad
On July 26 2019, the first space museum of India opening new attraction to space enthusiasts, was set up at Hyderabad in association with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The museum is housed in the Birla Science Museum.
i. It was inaugurated on the celebration on golden jubilee year of the Birla Archaeological and Cultural Research Institute (BACRI).
ii. ESL Narasimhan, Governor of Telangana inaugurated the ceremony…………………….Click here to Read more

Indian Institute of Skills (IIS) will be set up in Mumbai in association with the Tata Trust
On August 14,2019, Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) stated that world-class Indian Institute of Skills (IIS) will be set up in Mumbai, Maharashtra in association with Tata Educational and Development Trust (TEDT) aimed at scaling up of skill training enabling the young generation to acquire skills at par with global standards.
Key points:
i. P-P-P model: The Government has provided 4.5 acres of land for the project, which will be executed on a Public-Private Partnership (P-P-P)basis, where the TEDT will invest around Rs. 300 crore for the construction of IIS ,which will have a capacity to train 10,000 trainees in various areas including security, aerospace, iron and natural gas.
ii.  Another 2:  The government also plans to set up 2 more institutes in Ahmedabad and Kanpur by 2022.
iii. Skilling of youth:  The state government of Maharashtra has made remarkable progress in skill development and has set the benchmark for other states by skilling a large number of the youth, farmers in way of skilling programs.
iv. Pandey also praised seven top-performing candidates from Maharashtra, who have made their way to WorldSkills 2019 (known as Olympics of Skills)  will be held in Kazan, Russia from August 21 -27, 2019. He also attended CII (Confederation of Indian Industry ) convention &discussed the role of corporate India in skill development and laid emphasis on increasing engagement with apprentices within the industry.
About Maharashtra:
♦ Capital
: Mumbai
♦ Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis
♦ Governor: C. Vidyasagar Rao
♦ National Parks: Gugamal National Park ,Nawegaon National Park , Pench National Park ,Sanjay Gandhi (Borivilli) National Park.

 Japanese defense ship “JS Sazanami“, visits Kochi on a 2-day goodwill visit
Japanese Ship, JS Sazanami, the fourth vessel of the Takanami class destroyers of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) commanded by Commander Shoji Ishkawa visited  Kochi on a 2-day goodwill visit from August 13 to 14, 2019.Japanese defense ship “JS Sazanami“, visits KochiKey points:
i. Activities such as the visit of Indian Navy personnel onboard JS Sazanami and professional interaction between the two navies were conducted during the visit. The visiting team was also provided with a conducted tour of the Anti-Submarine Warfare School and the Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel, INS (Indian Navy Ship ) Sunayna.
ii. Shoji Ishkawa was accompanied by Koichiro Maeda , Coast Guard Superintendent, Commanding Officer of the Somalia Dispatch Team of the Japanese Coast Guard, and Captain Taiko Eda, Resident Defence Attaché of Japan at New Delhi, paid a visit with Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command.
iii. On August19,2019, JS Sazanami , which has about 25 officers, 156 sailors and 8 Japanese Coast Guard personnel (3 officers and 5 sailors) on board will depart for Bahrain from Kochi.
About Japan:
♦ Capital: Tokyo
♦ Currency: Japanese yen
♦ Prime Minister: Shinzo Abe


Overview of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visit to Beijing, China
External Affairs Minister(EAM) of India Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar visited(3-day from August 11 to 13,2019)Beijing, China during which he had bilateral meetings with his counterpart Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi, Vice President Wang Qishan, 4th meeting of the India-China Media Forum on cultural and people-to-people exchanges & signed 5 MoUs(memorandum of understanding) during the visit.
i. On August 12, 2019, The 2nd Meeting of China-India High-Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges Held in Beijing, China
ii. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on jointly inaugurated the ‘India-China Film Week’ in Beijing, China, that marks the commemoration of 100 activities that would be organised in the future in the areas of film, broadcasting, education, among others……………………..Click here to Read more


Centre issues guidelines for granting Rs 1 trillion credit guarantee for NBFCs
In a bid to help the Financially sound NBFCs (Non- Banking Financial Companies), including Housing Finance Companies (HFCs), which are facing stress following stocks of defaults, the Central Government has issued guidelines  of partial guarantee  scheme covering a maximum standard asset value of Rs 1 trillion under which state-run public-sector banks(PSBs) can purchase high-rated pooled assets  originated up to March 31, 2019, from NBFCs.
i. Guarantee: Central government will provide a one-time 6 months’ partial credit guarantee to PSBs for first loss of up to 10 %( valid for 24 months from the date of purchase).
ii. Reducing the stress:  This credit guarantee will address temporary asset-liability mismatches of NBFCs & help rework the Asset Liability structure within 3 months to have positive Asset Liability Management(ALM) in each bucket for the first 3 months and on cumulative basis for the remaining 3 month period………………….Click here to Read more

Reserve Bank asks banks not to count failed transactions, balance enquiry as ”free ATM transactions”
On August 14,2019 , The country’s Central Bank, Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has asked banks not to count failed transactions at ATMs due to technical reasons (hardware and software issues, non-availability of cash, and any other reason attributable to the bank), as part of “free ATM transactions” , which are permitted every month. Key points:
i. Using ATMs (Automated Teller Machine) non-cash withdrawal transactions (such as balance enquiry, cheque book request, payment of taxes, funds transfer), which constitute ‘on-us’ transactions (when a card is used at an ATM of the bank which has issued the card) shall also not be part of the number of free ATM transactions facility given to the bank customer. RBI also notified that charges will not be levied in future.
ii. Background: Banks provide a certain number of free transactions at ATMs permitted every month to their customers and beyond that limit, it imposes charges.
About RBI:
♦ Headquarters
: Mumbai
♦ Governor: Shaktikanta Das
♦ Founded: 1 April 1935
♦  Deputy Governors: 4 (BP Kanungo, Mahesh Kumar Jain, N S Vishwanathan & the 4th is yet to be appointed).

AePS crosses milestone of 200 million transactions in July 2019: NPCI
Umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement, National Payments Corporation of India(NPCI) has stated that Aadhaar enabled Payment System (AePS) used by a total of 6.65 crore Indian citizens stood at 220.18 million with transaction value Rs 9,685.35 crore during July 2019 against the transaction count of 194.33 million with  transaction value of Rs 8,867.33 crore in June 2019.AePS crosses milestone of 200 million transactionsKey points:
i. This will help improve the reaching out of financial inclusion in India.
ii. About AePS:

  • It allows a bank customer to use Aadhaar as an identity to access respective Aadhaar enabled bank account and perform basic banking transactions like cash withdrawal, intrabank or interbank fund transfer and balance enquiry.
  • AePS transaction requires the name of the customer’s bank, Aadhaar number, and fingerprint captured during enrollment.
  • 4As’ for financial inclusion: AePS delivers 4As’ for financial inclusion to a rural part of India which includes, authentication of customer, availability of services, accessibility through AePS channel and affordability as it’s free of cost to the customers.
  •  It also allows basic interoperable banking transactions at the point of sale (PoS)/MicroATM through which the Business Correspondent(BC) of any bank by using Aadhaar authentication.

About NPCI:
♦ Founded: 2008
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ MD & CEO: Mr. Dilip Asbe

Denmark’s Jyske Bank unveiled world’s first negative interest rate home loan
Denmark’s third-largest bank, Jyske Bank has launched the world’s first negative interest rate mortgage – handing out loans to homeowners where the charge is minus 0.5% a year. It has begun offering borrowers a 10-year deal at -0.5%.Denmark’s Jyske BankKey Points:
i. Under its negative mortgage, Jyske bank borrowers will make a monthly repayment as usual – but the amount still outstanding will be reduced each month by more than the borrower has paid.
ii. Negative interest rates effectively mean that a bank pays a borrower to take money off their hands, so they pay back less than they have been loaned.
iii. Another Danish bank, Nordea will begin offering 20-year fixed-rate deals at 0% and a 30-year mortgage at 0.5%.
About Jyske Bank:
Founded: 1967
Headquarters: Silkeborg, Denmark
CEO: Anders Dam


Assam’s rare variety tea from Dikom Tea Estate makes records for being sold at Rs.75,000 per kg
A rare tea variety of eastern Assam’s Dikom Tea Estate named “Golden Butterfly tea” created a record of being sold at Rs.75,000 per kg at the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC), Assam.
Key points
i. This golden butterfly tea surpassed previous record of sale of “Maijan Golden Tips” tea just by Rs.4,499. The Maijan Golden Tips was sold at Rs.70,501 per kg.
ii. The tea is actually handcrafted and is made from tender tea leaves and buds which are available only around June-July, thus raising its demand.  It is judged by its aroma, taste, and colour and this tea is characterised by extremely mellow and sweet caramel flavour
iii. The Dikom Tea Estate is situated near Eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh town.


Rajasthan wins best innovation awards at 14th World Education Summit-2019
On August 10, 2019, Rajasthan was awarded “best innovation and initiative leadership award” at the 14th World Education Summit-2019, held at New Delhi. The state was awarded for its achievement in higher education.
Key point
i. The award was received by Minister of State(MoS) for Higher Education Shri Bhanwar Singh Bhati.
ii. Bhanwar Singh Bhati announced that by various free education initiatives taken by the state, especially for girls, the state now has 108 girls against 100 boys studying in govt. Colleges.
iii. He also announced that Human Resource conclave would be organised in Rajasthan in the month of November 2019.
Representatives present:
i. Pradeep Kumar Barod, Commissioner  of College Education, Vaibhav Galriya-State Technical Education Secretary were present in the ceremony.
ii. Representatives from 8 countries and 17 states of India attended the summit.
Other awards:

Innovative Practices for Academic Excellence awardSant Nandlal Vidya Mandir, Jharkhand
Emerging University of India awardO P Jindal University, Raigarh, Chattisgarh.

About the World education summit
It is a 2 day organised summit from August9-10, 2019, showcasing the innovations, initiatives and best practices followed across the globe.
i. The summit was inaugurated by Dr.Dhan Singh Rawat, Minister of Higher education, Cooperatives and Dairy Development, Govt. Of Uttarakhand.

Rare snapshots of Simla Conference, 1945 is now part of the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) collection
Pune based National Film Archive of India (NFAI) has acquired rare black & white footage of the historic Simla Conference which was held during the crucial period prior to India’s independence (June 25 – July 14, 1945), at Viceregal Lodge (now known as the Rashtrapati Niwas), Simla, Himachal Pradesh.
Key points:
i. A Video Home System (VHS) cassette (8mm) containing about 12 minutes footage of the shots key moments of the Simla Conference attended by British administrators, top national leaders of the time, including Mahatma Gandhi, Rajendra Prasad, C. Rajagopalachari, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, and Mohammed Ali Jinnah – later the Founder of Pakistan – among others.
ii. The amazing collection was sent to NFAI by the UK(United Kindom) based Ms. Margaret South (nee Taylor), daughter of William Taylor, who had served with the British India Steam Navigation Company when he was just 17 and joined RIN (Royal Indian Navy) later in Second World War broke out.
About NFAI:
It is India’s premier organization for film preservation, conservation, and restoration.
ii. It works under the aegis of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Actor Steve Coogan to be honoured with 2019 Charlie Chaplin award constituted by BAFTA LA
BAF TA LA ( British Academy of Film and Television Arts- Los Angeles branch) is to honour 53-year-old English actor Steve Coogan with the prestigious “2019 Charlie Chaplin Britannia  Award for Excellence in Comedy”. He will be honoured during the 2019 Britannia awards to be held on 25th October at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, California, America.Actor Steve CooganKey points
i.The Charlie Chaplin awards recognises talents with unique transcendent quality of excellent comedy.
ii. Some of the famous movies of the UK (United Kingdom) born actor Steve Coogan includes  “Around the World in 80 Days”, “Philomena”, “What Maisie Knew” and “Stan & Ollie”.
Others to be honoured
American actress Jane Fonda and actor Jackie Chan will be honoured with Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in film and Albert R Broccoli Britannia Award for worldwide contribution to entertainment respectively.

ISRO chairman K.Sivan conferred with A.P.J. Abdul Kalam award
On August 15, 2019 chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) K.Sivan, under whose leadership the Chandrayaan- 2mission (mission to the moon) is launched, was conferred with Tamil Nadu Government’s Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam award.ISRO chairman K.Sivan Key points
i. The award was announced at the Independence Day celebration at Fort St.George, TamilNadu. As he was not present during the celebration, he will later collect it from the chief minister of TamilNadu Shri Edappadi K.Palaniswami at a later date.
ii. Other awards:

  • Kalpana Chawla award for Courage and Daring Enterprise – P. Ramyalakshmi, Assistant director of fisheries. She was awarded in recognition of her brave action against the usage of destructive band purse seine nets.
  • Special award for extraordinary Act of Bravery- Shanmugavelu and his wife Senthamarai. The couple bravely fought against two robbers, where the video went viral on social media.
  • Many other awards were distributed in various categories.


VG Somani appointed as new DCGI of CDSCO
On August 14, 2019, The Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) appointed VG Somani as Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) in Level 14 of the Pay Matrix as per the 7th Central Pay Commision (CPC), on deputation basis, for a period of 3 years. He is currently Joint Drugs Controller of India. He succeeds Dr. S. Eswara Reddy, who was on ad-hoc position for the post of DCGI.
About CDSCO:
Parent Organization: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
Headquarters: New Delhi


IIT Hyderabad, NIT Jalandhar Researchers develop Bone Implant Materials From waste Eggshells
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad and Dr. B R Ambedkar National Institute of Technology (NIT) Jalandhar (Punjab) researchers have developed a process by which bone implant materials can be synthesized from eggshells which are dumped as waste.
Key points:
i. Process: The team synthesized nanopowder, which is a hundred thousand times smaller than the width of a single human hair, from the eggshells, which are made of largely calcium-containing minerals (95.1%) along with small amounts of proteins and water.
ii.Benefits:  This will help people, who are affected in using synthetic chemicals as bone replacement materials because of the presence of chemical residues. Plaster of Paris is commonly used by people to heal bone defects but it is highly toxic.
iii.Publisher: The research work done by the team was published in the March 2019 issue of the journal Ceramics International.
iv. The research paper has been co-authored by Dr. Roopavath Uday Kiran, Dr. Subha Narayan Rath and Dr. Bharat B Panigrahi of IIT Hyderabad and Dr. Mahesh Kumar Sah of NIT Jalandhar.

For the first time, IIT Madras records initial success by fabricating a rechargeable iron ion battery
For the first time, a team of Researchers led by Ramaprabhu Sundara at Indian Institute of Technology(IIT) Madras has fabricated a rechargeable iron ion battery designed using mild steel as the anode.
Key points:
i. The rechargeable iron ion battery is cost-effective and it will store a high amount of energy in the battery & also displayed good stability with 54% capacity retention at the end of 50 cycles.
ii. Vanadium pentoxide is used as the cathode in Iron ion battery & it was chosen as it has a layered structure with very large spacing between the layers.
iii. Lithium ions are the charge carriers in lithium-ion battery, the Fe2+ ions perform that function in the case of iron ion battery. This is a significant achievement because lithium-ion batteries are widely in use as of now. But, the lithium reserves are limited when compared to iron reserves.
iv. The results were published in the journal Chemical Communications.

Astronomers discover massive black hole with mass of 40 billion suns.
Astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Germany discovered a Super Massive Black Hole (SMBH) with a mass of 40 billion suns (40 billion solar masses). The findings of this SMBH is published in the Astrophysical Journal.
Key points
i. This SMBH is twice as large as two other huge black holes and is expected to be 4 to 9 times larger than expected galaxy’s stellar mass.
ii. The SMBH sits in the center of a supergiant elliptical galaxy called Holmberg 15A which is 700million light-years away in the centre of Abell85 galaxy cluster.
iii. The work was completed by astronomer Kianusch Mehrgan and others at the Max PlanCk Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics,Germany and University Observatory, Munich, Germany.

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India wins Physical Disability T20 World Cricket Series 2019 by defeating England by 36 runs 
India won the T20 Physical Disability (PD) World Cricket Series 2019 after defeating England by 36 runs in the final held at the New Road Stadium in Worcester, England. The tournament was organized by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). 6 teams- India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, England, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe had participated in the tournament.Physical Disability World Series 2019 - Finali. The Indian team had scored 180/7 in the first innings, while England could only score 144/9. The team was coached by former Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni.

Uttarakhand gets full member status in the BCCI by CoA
The Cricket Association of Uttarakhand (CAU) have been granted full membership in the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) on August 13, 2019.
Key points
i. The association has been inducted as member association and as a full member with amendments that are required to be communicated by CoA.
ii. This membership grant brought an end to long-standing dispute among Uttarakhand Cricket Association(UKCA), United Cricket Association ( UTCA), Uttaranchal Cricket Association (UCA) and the CAU vying for BCCI affiliation.
iii. The Uttarakhand cricket association was also asked to appoint an electoral officer by September 14, 2019, in accordance with the approved constitution.
About BCCI
♦ Headquarters- Wankhede stadium, Mumbai.
♦ Chief executive officer- Rahul Johri.
♦ Men’s coach- Ravi Shastri.
♦ Women’s coach- W.V. Raman.
♦ President- CK Khanna (interim)

Wrestler Deepak Punia wins gold at the Junior World Championships 2019 in Estonia
On August 14, 2019, Wrestler Deepak Punia won gold in 86-kg junior freestyle category by beating Alik Shebzukhov of Russia at the Junior World Championships 2019 at Tallinn, Estonia. With this, he became the first Indian in 18 years to win the title.i. The last Indians to emerge gold medallists at the junior world championship were Ramesh Kumar (69 kg) and Palwinder Singh Cheema (130 kg) in 2001.
ii. In the 92kg, Vicky Chahar defeated Mongolia’s Batmagnai Eenkhtuvshin and claimed the bronze medal.


Nepal’s veteran Journalist Madan Mani Dixit passed away in Kathmandu
On August 15, 2019, Nepal’s veteran Litterateur and Journalist, Madan Mani Dixit, aged 96, passed away in Kathmandu. He was suffering from pneumonia. Born on February 17, 1923, in Kathmandu, he was the first photojournalist of Nepal.Nepal's veteran Journalist Madan Mani Dixiti. He is the author of Nepali literary masterpieces, namely “Madhavi”, “Meri Nilima” and “Rigveda”.
ii. He was awarded the Madan Puraskar for his literary masterpiece “Madhavi” and won the prestigious Madan Puraskar of Nepal.

Argentina’s football legend José Luis Brown passed away
Argentina’s 1986 World Cup winner José Luis Brown passed away on August 12, 2019, at the age of 62 in La Plata, Argentina after suffering from Alzheimer’s for a long time.Argentina’s football legend José Luis Brown Key points
i. Born on November 10, 1956, in Ranchos, Argentina, José made 36 appearances for his country and scored the first goal of 1986 World Cup final led by Diego Maradona, against West Germany(Argentina won 3-2).
ii. Commonly known as Tata, José worked as coach of the U-23 team of Argentina that won a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
iii. Before joining as a coach, he represented Argentine, Spanish and French clubs.

Veteran actress Vidya Sinha passed away at the age of 71 
Veteran Bollywood actor Vidya Sinha, aged 71 years passed away at Criticare Hospital in Mumbai, due to lung and heart disorders.Veteran actress Vidya Sinha Key points
i. Born on 15 November 1947 in Bombay to film producer Rana Pratap Singh, Vidya Sinha is popularly known for her roles in movies like Rajnigandha(1974), Chhoti Si Batt(1976) and BR Chopra’s Pati, Patni Aur Woh(1978).
ii. She last featured in actor Salman Khan’s Bodyguard. Later she was engaged in television shows such as Ekta Kapoor’s Kaavyanjali, besides Kulfi Kumar Bajewala.


India celebrates 73rd Independence Day on August 15, 2019
On August 15, 2019, India celebrated its 73rd Independence Day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi unfurled the national flag at the Red Fort, New Delhi.

i. PM’s Speech on Independence Day

  • Government to invest Rs 100 lakh cr in infrastructure building.
  • Jal Jeevan Mission to ensure safe drinking water to all households was announced. Government will spend Rs 3.5 lakh crore for it.

ii. The creation of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to integrate the efforts, training, operations and planning of the three defence services was announced by the prime minister.
iii. Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was conferred with Vir Chakra, India’s third-highest war time gallantry medal……………………..Click here to Read more


Odisha CM Naveen patnaik inaugurates new hockey academy in Bhubaneswar
On August 13,2019, chief minister of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the Naval Tata Hockey Academy (NTHA) at the Kalinga stadium, in the state capital Bhubaneswar, as a move to bring more sports talents and young Olympians from the state.
i. The partners in the programme will be Bovelander Hockey Academy of Netherlands founded by European Champion, World champion and three time Olympian, Floris Jan Bovelander…………………..Click here to Read more

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