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Current Affairs August 3 2019

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Parliament passed Code on Wages Bill, 2019
i. On August 2, 2019, Parliament passed Code on Wages Bill, 2019 which replaces the 4 laws- the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976. The new bill seeks to regulate wage and bonus payments in all employments where any industry, trade, business, or manufacturing is carried out.
ii. Applicability: The new bill will apply to all employees. The central government will make wage-related decisions for employment such as railways, mines, and oil fields, among others and the State governments will make decisions for all other employments…………………….Click here to Read more

Parliament passed Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill 2019
i. On August 2, 2019, Parliament passed the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which amends the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008. The new bill increases the threshold of annual passenger traffic for major airports to over 35 lakh from 15 lakh. It is increased as the number of air traffic passengers has been increased 117 million from 2008 to 345 million
ii. Tariff determination: Under the Act, AERA is responsible for determining the tariff for aeronautical services at different airports every 5 years, development fees of major airports, and the service fee of passengers.  It can call for necessary information to determine tariffs and perform any other tariff-related functions, including amending the tariffs if necessary in the interim periods……………………….Click here to Read more

National Medical Commission bill 2019,passed by Rajyasabha.
Amid strong protests by the medical fraternity, the Rajya Sabha passed the controversial National Medical Commission (NMC) bill 2019 which is proposed to bring one of the biggest reforms in medical education.
i. The National Medical Council (NMC) bill is passed to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) which is the central authority regulating the medical education.
ii. The bill is passed seeking increased representation from State Medical Council and vice-chancellors of medical universities on the NMC……………………..Click here to Read more

Parliament passed the Repealing and Amending Bill, 2019
On August 2, 2019, Parliament passed the Repealing and Amending Bill, 2019 which repeals 58 obsolete and irrelevant laws.
Key Points:
i. Background: The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 25, 2019, by the Minister of Law and Justice Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad and was passed on July 29, 2019. It was passed by Rajya Sabha through a voice vote on August 2, 2019.
ii. The new bill repeals 58 laws that have been listed in the First Schedule of the Bill. It includes the Beedi Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1976, and the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2001.
iii. The Bill makes minor amendments to two Acts which relate to the substitution of certain words. The two Acts are the Income Tax Act, 1961, and the India Institutes of Management Act, 2017.
About Ministry of Law and Justice:
Headquarters: New Delhi
Formed: 1833

Lok Sabha passes Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill 2019
Lok Sabha passed the Jallianwala Bagh national memorial bill introduced by minister of culture, Prahlad Patel,  by a voice vote. This bill seeks to remove the Congress chief from being a permanent member of Jallianwala bagh memorial trust established in 1951 in Amritsar, Punjab.
i. The bill amends Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act, 1951 which provides for the erection of a National Memorial in memory of the people killed in Jallianwala Bagh on 13 April 1919 in Amritsar, Punjab. It also creates a Trust to manage the National Memorial.
ii. This bill was opposed by the Congress party as the party considered this bill as a conspiracy to remove the name of Congress from history that protested against the massacre of 1919 Jallianwala bagh, went to jail, ran movement, built museum etc.,
Voting:  214 voted in favour and 30 against the bill.
iii. The bill also confers power to the central government to terminate a nominated trustee before the expiry of the term without the need of assigning reason.

Two new vaccines introduced to conduct India’s first tuberculosis preventive trial
India’s first large scale trial for Two new TB vaccines, was launched by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The two drugs are IMMUVAC and VPM1002.India's first tuberculosis preventive trial6 Trial states
i. The TB vaccine trial will be carried out in 6 States involving more than 12000 healthy household contacts of newly diagnosed TB patients with 2000 participants from each state.
ii. The six states are: Delhi, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana,Tamilnadu and Karnataka and will be implemented over the next 7-8 months.

  • It will be conducted in 7 main centres having six sub-sites.

iii. The trial commenced at the National Institute of TB and Respiratory Diseases (NITRD), New Delhi.
Need for new medicines
i. The BacilleCalmette- Guerin (BCG) is the vaccine used to treat TB and is generally given to infants at birth or first year of birth.
ii. The BCG is partially effective in protecting infants and young children from the most serious forms of TB and India has the highest number of TB cases in the world with an estimated 2.79million patients suffering from the disease according to 2016 WHO (World Health Organisation).
iii. it requires treatment course lasting 6 months or more. Hence the govt. felt the need to develop more effective TB vaccines and also to achieve the target of eliminating TB by 2025.
IMMUVAC and VPM1002
i. IMMUVAC is also known as Mycobacterium IndicusPranii or MIP and is manufactured by Cadillac pharmaceuticals, Ahmedabad.
ii. VPM1002 is manufactured by Serum Institute of India, Pune.
3 Phases
The trial vaccines involve three faces.
Phase 1: small group people receive trial vaccine.
Phase2: clinical study on the patients vaccinated.
Phase 3: vaccine given to several thousand people and tested for safety.

World’s first ultra-fast Hyperloop project granted to Maharashtra
The infrastructure project status worth $10billion (Rs. 70,0000 crore) was granted to Maharashtra by India, to establish the world’s first ultra-fast Hyperloop project. This project stretching over 117.5km, will link Mumbai with the neighboring city of Pune and travels to the destination in about 35 minutes.
i. Hyperloops freight at speeds up to 1200 km per hour (750miles per hour) using magnetic to levitate pods inside an airless tube.World's first ultra-fast Hyperloop projectMaharashta
♦ Chief minister– Devendra Fadnavis
♦ Governor-Vidyasagar Rao
♦ National parks- Sanjay Gandhi national park, Chandoli national park, Gugamalnationalpark, Navegaon national park.

Indian Army with EESL launches a batch of 10 electric cars in New Dehli to combat air pollution
On August 1, 2019, In order to tackle air pollution, the Indian Army has launched an environmental friendly initiative with deploying a batch of 10 electric cars (E-cars) in New Delhi to be used of its Army personnel. Lt Gen Gopal flagged off the first lot of e-Cars.
Key Highlights:
i. Partner:  The pilot project of employing e-cars in Delhi was envisioned on the World Environment Day (June 5, 2019)and launched now in partnership with Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), a joint venture state-owned NTPC Limited(National Thermal Power Corporation), Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation and Powergrid under the Ministry of Power.
ii. Boost: The initiative will promote further development of electric vehicle technology and its adoption by the general public in the near future.
iii. Services: The army’s Territorial Army Battalions (ECO), which posted in remote and ecologically sensitive areas from Kashmir to Kanyakumari have been taken part in various environmental activities such as forestation.
About Indian Army:
♦ Motto: “Service Before Self”
♦ Founded: 1 April 1895
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Chief of the Army Staff: Bipin Rawat
About EESL:
♦ Founded: 2009:
♦ Chairman: Rajeev Sharma
♦ Managing Director: Saurabh Kumar

Indus Valley inscriptions were written logographically
Research has found that a majority of the Indus Valley inscriptions were written logographically i.e by using word signs and not by using phonograms i.e speech sounds units. It was published in a Nature group journal Palgrave Communications.
Key Points:
i. The research paper was titled as “Interrogating Indus inscription to unravel their mechanism of meaning conveyance”.
ii. The author of the paper is Ms. Bahata Ansumali Mukhopadhyay.
iii. The inscriptions can be compared to the structured messages found on stamps, coupons, tokens and currency coins of modern times.
iv. The seals were inscribed with Proto-Dravidian or Proto-Indo-European names of the seal-owners.
v. The signs were classified into 9 functional classes.
vi. It will be the basis for decoding of Indus Valley Script in future.
About Indus script:
It is also known as the Harappan script. It is a corpus of symbols produced by the Indus Valley Civilization. Most inscriptions containing these symbols are extremely short. The first publication of a seal with Harappan symbols dates to 1875, in a drawing by Alexander Cunningham.

Gujarat CM launches a cash incentive scheme called ‘Vhali Dikri Yojna’ for the welfare of the girl child
On August 3, 2019, Gujarat Chief Minister(CM) Vijay Rupani has launched a flagship financial assistance scheme called ‘Vhali Dikri Yojna’ in Rajkot, Gujarat for the welfare of girl child in the state. The scheme launched in order to improve the child sex ratio in the state, which currently stands at 890 girl child per 1000 male child.‘Vhali Dikri Yojna’ Key points:
The amount will be given by the state government under the ‘Vhali Dikri Yojna to the girl child in the following manner.

When Will Assistance be Transferred
 
Amount under the scheme
At the time of admission to class 4th Rs. 4,000
At the time admission to class 9th Rs. 6,000
At the time of taking admission for higher education at the age of 18 Rs.1-lakh
At the time of marriage Rs. 1-lakh


The State Government has allocated Rs. 133 crore for Vahli Dikri Yojana in its recent Gujarat Budget 2019-20.
ii. The Yojana was launched in a function as a part of Seva Setu Mega Camp jointly organized by the district administration and Municipal Corporation.
iii. Eligibilty for Gujarat Vahali Dikri Yojana

  • Applicant must be a permanent resident of Gujarat state.
  • The girls must belong to a poor family with an annual income of less than 2 lakhs.
  • In the case of more than 2 female students from a family will be not allowed to attain this benefit.

About Gujarat:
♦ Capital
: Gandhinagar
♦ Governor: Acharya Dev Vrat
♦ Dams: Dantiwada Dam, Kadana Dam, Sardar Sarovar Dam, Ukai Dam.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India, US cooperate to promote Defence Industry and Startups
On August 3, 2019, In the 15th India-US Defence Policy Group meeting, 2019 on defence issues held in Washington, United States, officials of both countries agreed to follow a policy environment conducive to cooperation between the Defence industry and start-ups in both countries.India, US cooperate to promote Defence Industry and Startups Key points:
i. The Indian side was led by Sanjay Mitra, defence secretary and the US was led by John Rood, undersecretary of defence for policy.
ii. The top-level meet reviews and guides the progress made in various fields such as defence trade, technology, procurement, industry, R&D(Research & Development) and mil-to-mil engagement in past years.
iii. The two sides recognised the benefit of enabling defence agreements & appreciated India’s designation as a Major Defence Partner of the US.
iv. They strongly reassured the role of the DPG as an important part of the ministerial 2+2 meeting (between foreign & defence minister of India & U.S.A), helping translate the shared strategic vision of cooperation into reality.
v. The 14th meeting was held at Pentagon, headquarters of the United States Department of Defense.
About US:
♦ Capital: Washington, D.C.
♦ President: Donald Trump

BANKING & FINANCE

Rs.1.5 crore slapped on bank of India by RBI
Penalty of Rs.1.5 crore was fined on Bank of India over “non-compliance with RBI’s (Reserve Bank of India) direction on frauds” in Rotomac group companies.
i. The penalty amount was ordered to be paid within 14 days of receipt of RBI’s order.
ii. Further 7 more banks were imposed penalty for violating norms. They are Allahabad bank (Rs.2 crore), Bank of Maharashtra (Rs.2 crore), Indian Overseas Bank ( Rs.1.5 crore), Oriental Bank of Commerce( Rs.1crore), Union Bank of India (Rs.1.5 crore), Bank of Baroda ( Rs.1.5 crore).
Corporation bank was fine Rs.1crore for non-compliance with RBI directions on cybersecurity.
RBI
♦ Headquarters- Mumbai
♦ Founder-  British Raj
♦ Founded- 1 April 1935, Kolkata
♦ Governor- Shaktikanta Das.

SBI’s Shanghai branch becomes the 1st Indian bank connected to CNAPS
India’s largest lender, State Bank of India’s(SBI) Shanghai branch has become the first Indian Bank to be connected to China’s National Advance Payment System (CNAPS). SBI is the only Indian Bank to have obtained the license to do business in local currency and also inducted to the CNAPS by the china’s central Bank, ‘People’s Bank of China (PBOC)’.
Key points:
i. SBI Shanghai allows offering a real-time transfer of local funds within China through the PBOC route.
ii. CNAPS: The CNAPS, launched in 2008 allows PBOC, to provide real-time settlement services for all payments cleared in China, as well as in all clearing banks in offshore yuan(basic unit of the renminbi) centers, such as Hong Kong.
It is complemented by its international counterpart, the CIPS (China International Payments System / Cross-Border Inter-Bank Payment System), launched in 2015 with the aim of boosting global use of the yuan.
iii. The Payment System also be used for cross border Renminbi (RMB) payments which are previously being made through local correspondent banks. This will offer SBI opportunity to do the business of Bankers Acceptance Drafts (BAD).
iv. For the implementation of the CNAPS, SBI got approval from PBOC in December 2016 and it is now linked up to the PBOC live system after successful installation of hardware and software system.
v. This will facilitate India China trade relations and investments.
About SBI:
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Founded: 1 July 1955
♦ Chairperson: Rajnish Kumar
♦ Tag line: “Pure banking nothing else, With you all the way, The Nation banks on us”
About PBOC:
♦ Headquarters
: Beijing and Shanghai
♦ Formation: 1 December 1948
♦ Governor: Yi Gang

NHB infuses additional Rs 10,000 cr in NBFCs
The National Housing Bank (NHB) infused an additional Rs 10,000 crore in Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) for Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) as additional liquidity for individual housing loans for affordable housing. This is done to ease the flow of funds to the housing sector.
Key Points:
i. It will be over and above the existing finance schemes of the housing sector regulator NHB.
ii. The apex bank of the country, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched a slew of measures for banks to avail additional liquidity of Rs 1.34 lakh crore.
iii. Background: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Budget 2019-20 had announced that the Centre would provide one-time six months partial credit guarantee to public sector banks for the first loss of up to 10% to enable them purchase pooled assets of financially sound NBFCs amounting to Rs 1 lakh crore. It also received a proposal from the Reserve Bank on the draft modalities of the guarantee to operationalise the Budget announcement. The oversight mechanism for the scheme will be executed by the Department of Financial Services.
About NHB:
Founded: 9 July 1988
Headquarters: New Delhi
MD: Sarada Kumar Hota

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Pashmina testing centre to be set up by BIS in Leh
BIS Director-General Ms. Surina Rajan announced that a Testing center for Pashmina, a famous wool variety in the Jammu and Kashmir region, will be set up by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in partnership with the lab of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), in Leh, Jammu, and Kashmir.
i. Motorbike expedition was flagged by the Hill Council CEC (Chief Executive Counsellor) Gyal P Wangyal, and Surina Rajan under the team “Drive for Pashmina”.
ii. The locals will be trained by the BIS with the cooperation of Leh Hill Council to save time and money in marking of the standards.
BIS
It is the national standard body of India working and other ages of Ministry of Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution, Govt of India.
♦ Formed- 23 December 1986.
♦ Headquarters-New Delhi.
♦ Director- Surina Rajan.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

HAL appoints M S Velpari as Director of its operations unit
M S Velpari replaces Sunil Kumar as the director (operations) at the Bengaluru based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).M S Velparii. The appointment comes after Sunil Kumar was superannuated from his service.
ii. Mr. Velpari joined HAL as a management trainee in 1985 and also held various posts like Chief of Project of LCA-(Light Combat Aircraft)- Tejas at the LCA division.
HAL
♦ Headquarters- Bengaluru
♦ Chairperson- R Madhavan
♦ Founder- WalchandHirachand.

Siddhartha Mohanty takes charge as MD&CEO of LIC Housing Finance
On August 3, 2019, Siddhartha Mohanty (Odisha) has assumed charge as MD (Managing Director) & CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of  LIC Housing Finance (Life Insurance Corporation HFL) one of the largest housing finance companies in India. He replaces Shri Vinay Shah.Siddhartha Mohanty Key points:
i. Prior to this appointment, Mohanty was Chief Operating Officer (COO)with LIC HFL.
ii. In 1985, Mohanty started his career as a direct recruit officer with LIC of India. He was also the Executive Director(Legal)with LIC prior to joining to the LIC HFL.
iii. He also worked as Chief of Investments(Monitoring), Regional Head of marketing in LIC in the States of Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Goa.
iv. In LIC, he has a vast experience in the areas of Marketing, HR, Investments, and Legal.
About LIC HFL:
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Formation: 19 June 1989
♦ Chairman: Shri M. R. Kumar Chairman

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Ministries of Earth Sciences and Agriculture launched a mobile app called “Meghdoot” to help farmers
On August 2,2019, As a part of Digital India initiative & and bring technology to farmers, the minister for Earth Science, Science and Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan has launched a new mobile application called “Meghdoot” in New Delhi, developed by experts from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology(IITM) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR).mobile app called “Meghdoot”Key points:
i. Utilities:

  • The app will provide forecast relating to temperature, rainfall, humidity, and wind speed and direction, which play critical roles in agricultural operations. It also gives advisories to farmers on how to take care of the crops and livestock.
  •  Information given by the app is in the form of images, maps, and pictures. The app is available on Google Play Store & it also been integrated with WhatsApp and Facebook to help farmers share advisories with them.
  • The app would be available for 150 districts in different parts of the country & It will be extended to other parts of the country in a phased manner.

ii. Mandate: The users of the app will have to register their name and location so that they can get area-specific information in regional languages.
iii. Website:  In addition, IMD has also developed a website to spread weather and climate information.
iv. Other apps:  The central Government’s “Kisan Suvidha App”(Launched in 2016) and “Pusa Krishi Mobile App”(Launched on March 2016) provides information on weather, market prices, seeds, pesticides, agricultural machinery and information about the latest technologies developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute.
About ICAR:
♦ Established: 16 July 1929
♦ Headquarters:  New Delhi, India
♦ Director: Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra
About IITM:
♦ Headquarters: Pune, Maharashtra
♦ Formation: November 17, 1962
♦ Director: Dr. Ravi Nanjundiah

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SPORTS

Four footballers slapped with life bans for match-fixing in Asian Football Cup tournaments 
On August 2, 2019, Four football players have been banned for life by AFC (Asian Football Confederation, the governing body of association football in Asia and Australia ) for match-fixing at the AFC Cup in the year of 2017 and 2018.
The four players include Kursanbek Sheratov, Vladimir Verevkin and Iliaz Alimov (all Kyrgyzstan ), and Abdulaziz Mahkamov (Tajikistan).
Key points:

i. Kursanbek Sheratov was found guilty of supporting betting activity & fixing in connection with a match involving his club Dordoi FC (Football Club) at 2017.
ii. Verevkin and Alimov were found guilty of fix matches involving their club FC Alay in 2017 and 2018 season of the AFC Cup.
iii. Abduaziz Mahkamov was also conspired to fix matches involving FC Alay in 2017 and 2018.
iv. Turkmenistan forward Muhadov Suleyman was banned for four years for a doping violation at Asian Cup 2019 held in UAE (United Arab Emirates).
v. Earlier, 6 people including a former referee and members of Indonesia’s national soccer association, were given jail sentences in connection with a 2018 game in the nation’s third-tier league.
About AFC:
♦ President
: Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa
♦ Headquarters: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
♦ Motto: One Asia One Goal

OBITUARY

National Bravery Award winner Situ Mallick passed away in a road accident in Odisha
On August 2, 2019, Situ Mallick, aged 16, passed away in a road accident near Jarimula under Rajnagar area of Kendrapara district, Odisha. He had saved his uncle from the jaws of a crocodile and was awarded National Bravery Award 2019 instituted by the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Situ Mallick and his cousin Bapu Mallick were the 2 persons killed in a road accident.Situ Mallick

BOOKS & AUTHORS

“Tools and Weapons: The Promise and The Peril of the Digital Age” co-authored by Microsoft President Brad Smith & Carol Ann Browne set to launch on Sep 11, 2019
The book co-authored by Microsoft President Brad Smith & Carol Ann Browne, a director of communications at Microsoft, titled “Tools and Weapons: The Promise and The Peril of the Digital Age” will be released on September 11, 2019. It is published by Hachette Publishers.Tools and Weapons The Promise and The Peril of the Digital Age
i. The foreword is written by Bill Gates.
ii. The book depicts the biggest stories of Microsoft.

STATE NEWS

Veteran Telugu Actor Devadas Kanakala passed away in Hyderabad
Veteran Telugu Actor Devadas Kanakala, aged 74, passed away at KIMS Hospitals Kondapur in Hyderabad, Telangana after prolonged illness. He was born on 30 July 1945 and hailed from Andhra Pradesh.
i. He has acted in various movies like O Seetha Katha, Siri Sirmuvva, Gorintaku, Gang Leader, Bharat Ane Nenu, Mangalyanaki Maromudi, Siri Siri Muvva, Manchupallaki, Bhale Dampathlu, Chettu Kinda Pleader, Ammo! Okato Tareekhu, Mee Aayana Jagratha, Manasantha Nuvve, Okato Number Kurradu and Sreeram and Sambhu.
ii. He had set up an acting training institute in Hyderabad.

Madhya Pradesh- second state to unveil antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
The health minister of Madhya Pradesh, Tulsi Ram Silawat released Madhya Pradesh Action Plan for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance (MP-SAPCAR) in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
i. This action plan is preceded by Kerala which was the first state to develop an action plan to manage AMR (antimicrobial resistance).
Focus
MP-SAPCAR focuses on a ‘One Health’ approach.
AMR
AMR is considered to be a public health threat according to the World Health Organisation(WHO).  The AMR turns out to be a threat when antibiotics are misused in animals humans and aquaculture.
i. The AMR is expected to cause 10million deaths of people by 2050 causing global economic losses if not controlled in a timely bound manner.
ii. MP-SAPCAR in partnership with Mongabay-India, pivots on priorities such as reducing the infections through effective Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), optimising the use of antimicrobial agents in health, animals and food and promoting investments for AMR activities, research and innovations for AMR containment.

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