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Current Affairs August 7 2019

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Parliament passed the Consumer Protection Bill, 2019
On August 6, 2019, Parliament passed the Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 which replaces the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It seeks to establish authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumer disputes.
Rights of consumers: Bill defined 6 consumer rights including the right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property; be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services; be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices; and seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices……………………..Click here to Read more

Lok Sabha passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019
On August 5, 2019, Lok Sabha passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 by a voice vote. It was introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 19, 2019 by the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thaawarchand Gehlot.
i. The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth and according to 2011 Census, there are more than 4.80 lakh transgenders in India.
ii. Prohibition against discrimination: The Bill prohibits any kind of discrimination against a transgender person………………………..Click here to Read more

President Ram Nath Kovind declares abrogation of provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution
On August 7, 2019, President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind declared abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution after Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha passed the resolution for the same. Article 370 gave special status to Jammu & Kashmir.

President Ram Nath Kovind approves AERA (Amendment) Bill 2019
On August 7, 2019, President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind approved the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) (Amendment) Bill 2019 which increases the threshold of annual passenger traffic for major airports from 15 lakh to over 35 lakh passengers. It amends the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008.

India’s first National Time Release Study conducted from August 1-7, 2019
The Department of Revenue of the Ministry of Finance conducted India’s first national Time Release Study (TRS) from August 1-7, 2019. It will be conducted on an annual basis, during the same period every year hereafter. It is lead by the Central Board of Indirect Tax and Customs (CBIC).National Time Release StudyKey Points:
i. TRS: It is an internationally recognized tool advocated by the World Customs Organization (WCO) to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of international trade flows. The WCO TRS is specifically referenced in Article 7.6 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) as a tool for Members to measure and publish the average release time of goods.
ii. Objective: To identify and address bottlenecks in the trade flow process and take the corresponding policy and operational measures required to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of border procedures.
iii. Coverage: The exercise was conducted across 15 ports including sea, air, land and dry ports. They cumulatively account for 81% of total Bills of Entries for import and 67% of Shipping Bills for export filed within India.
iv. Components: It measured rule based and procedural bottlenecks (including physical touchpoints) in the clearance of goods, from the time of arrival until the physical release of cargo.
v. Beneficiaries: The expected beneficiaries of this initiative will be export oriented industries and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
vi. Way ahead: This initiative will help India maintain the upward trajectory on Ease of Doing Business, particularly on the Trading Across Borders indicator. In 2018, India’s ranking on the indicator improved from 146 to 80.
About Ministry of Finance:
Founded: 29 October 1946
Minister In-Charge: Nirmala Sitharaman
About WCO:
Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium
Formed: January 26, 1952

Udaipur will host 3rd edition of India’s largest education brainstorming event “ScooNews Global Educators Fest 2019”
The City of Lakes, Udaipur (Rajasthan) will host the 3rd edition of India’s largest education brainstorming event called “ScooNews Global Educators Fest (SGEF)” on 2019 theme ‘Education for Sustainability: Moving on from conformity to creativity’ will be held on August 9 &10,2019.
Key points:
i. The fest will attract over 500 educators to discuss the way for establishing India as the next global education powerhouse.
ii. Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar of Udaipur will be the patron of 2019 edition, which will provide an excellent platform for individuals and organizations contributing to the cause of education, schools, start-ups to debate on innovation with industry leaders on Industry-Academia partnerships.
About Rajasthan:
: Jaipur
Chief Minister: Ashok Gehlot
Governor: Kalyan Singh


One- fourth of the world’s population is facing extreme water crisis
The World Resources Institute’s (WRI) President and CEO(Chief Executive Officer) Andrew Steer released a report on Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas stating that 17 countries in the world which hold a quarter of the earth’s population is facing extremely high water crisis.
i. India is one among those 17 countries facing extremely high water stress.
ii. All these countries are close to “Day Zero”.
This water crisis if not taken immediate actions has high possibilities of food insecurity, conflict and migration, and financial instability.
WRI’s rankings
The WRI ranked 189 countries and their respective states and union territories based on water stress, drought risk and riverine flood risk.

  • It is expected that by 2030 the number of cities in the extremely high stress category will increase to 45 with nearly 470million people.

India’s rank: India is ranked at13th place among the top 17 countries. India has a population thrice more than that of the other 16 countries.
India’s current scenario:

  • For the first time, Northern India was included in the calculation for water stress, as the groundwater in Northern India has been severely depleted.
  • Many places in India are experiencing chronic water stress especially the Chennai region of Tamilnadu gained global attention this year as it was severely hit by the water crisis.

About day zero
Day zero does not mean that there is no water in our dams. it means however that the dams are at a crucial low level. The crucial low means that dam storage will be at 13.5%.This is when the city will turn off most taps leaving only vital services with access to water.


Third Bi-monthly Monetary Policy of RBI 2019-20
n August 7,2019, The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced its third Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Rates for 2019-20 in Mumbai. The three-day (5 to 7 August 2019) policy review meeting by the six members of Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das.
i. All members of the MPC unanimously voted to reduce the policy repo rate by 35 basis points(bps) under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) to to 5.40 % from 5.75% for the 4th consecutive time.
ii. The RBI’s MPC cut its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth forecast to 6.9 percent from 7 percent for FY20(Fiscal year) due to a slowdown in consumption and Investmnet, which is causing dampening effect on growth…………………………Click here to Read more

RBI relaxes bank lending norms to NBFCs and eased bank’s exposure limits
On August 7,2019, Relaxing the bank lending norms to Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed the banks on lending through NBFCs (other than MFIs- Microfinance Institutions) to Agriculture, MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) and affordable housing to be  treated as priority sector lending for banks.
Key points:
i. Credit to the priority sector: The banks have been allowed on-lending to agriculture (investment credit) up to Rs.10 lakh, MSMEs up to Rs. 20 lakh and housing up to Rs.20 lakh per borrower (increased from Rs.10 lakh) to be classified as priority sector lending(PSL).
ii. Harmonization: The RBI also eased bank’s exposure limits to help the NBFC sector under stress. It has raised bank’s exposure limit to a single NBFC to 20% of the Tier-I capital (bank’s core capital, which consists of shareholders’ equity and retained earnings) of the bank against 15%.
iii. Background: As per the revised guidelines which came into force on April 1, 2019, a bank’s exposure to a single NBFC is restricted to 15% of its Tier I capital, while for entities in the other sectors the exposure limit is, 20 %.
About RBI:
Headquarters: Mumbai
Founded: 1 April 1935
Governor: Shaktikanta Das
About NBFC:
i. It is a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956, engaged in the business of loans and advances, acquisition of shares, stock, bonds, hire-purchase insurance business but does not include any institution whose principal business includes agriculture, purchase or construction of the immovable property.
ii. The working and operations of NBFCs are regulated by the RBI.

RBI Expands biller categories for Bharat Bill Payment System
On August 7, 2019, The central banking institution, Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has permitted all categories of billers (except prepaid recharges), who provide for recurring bill payments to participate in BBPS (Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)on a voluntary basis.
Key points:
i. Uses:  The decision taken as a part of the digitisation of cash-based bill payments & this will also enable standardized bill payment experience, centralized customer grievance redressal mechanism, customer convenience fee, etc.
ii. Background: Presently, The BBPS covers billers in 5 segments including DTH(Direct-to-Home), electricity, gas, telecom, and water bills.
iii. Additional offering:  RBI also decided to offer ‘on tap’ authorization to entities wishing to function as / provide platforms for
      i. Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU)
ii. Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS)
     iii. White Label ATMs (WLAs).
About BBPS:
Founded: 2013
Owner: NPCI(National Payments Corporation of India)

New insurance plan “Jeevan Amar” launched by LIC
Jeevan Amar is a non-linked,non-participating life term insurance plan offering great flexibility to policyholders in comparison to other insurance plans by the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). It is available for sale offline.New insurance plan “Jeevan Amar” Features of Jeevan Amar
i. Claim: The policyholder cannot claim the money on maturity but will be obtained as a death claim incase of demise of the person.
ii. Death cover options: policyholders can choose from two death cover options. They are level sum assured and increasing sum assured.

  •  In level sum assured, the death benefit will remain the same and will not change throughout the policy term. The minimum sum assured is Rs. 25Lakh with no maximum limit.
  • The death benefit will remain the same in the first five years and will increase by 10% of basic sum assured every year for the next 15 years or till the end of the policy term for increasing sum assured.

iii. Plan availability: People of ages 18-65 years are eligible. The maximum maturity age is 80yrs offering policy terms from 10 years to a maximum of 40 years. The insurance premium can be paid only once for a limited premium paid regularly. Low premium rates are offered to women.
iv. Flexibility: the death benefit flexibility can be chosen by the policyholder either in lump sum or in installments over a period of 5, 10 or 15 years to the nominee.
v. Smoker and non-smoker category: Person choosing non-smoker category has to undergo extra urine cotinine test. The cost of the premium for smokers will be more than that of non smokers.

About LIC:
Headquarters: Mumbai
Founded: 1 September 1956
Chairman: MR Kumar


India’s GDP to grow at 6.2% in FY 2019-20: NCAER 
As per the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), an economic think-tank, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth will be 6.2% in FY 2019-20, down from 6.8% in 2018-19. The decline in estimation was due to flat growth in the agriculture sector as it depends largely on the south-west monsoon.
Key Points:
i. It predicts that annual Gross Value Added (GVA) at basic prices will grow at 6% for 2019-20 on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis.
ii. As per the quarterly model, GVA will grow at 6.2% on a y-o-y basis.
iii. The real agriculture GVA is predicted to grow at 0%, real industry GVA at 6.1%, and real services GVA at 6.9%.
iv. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation is projected at 2.6%.
v. The growth rates in exports and imports, in dollar terms, are estimated at 4.4% and 3.3% respectively.
vi. The current account balance and central fiscal deficit, as percentages of GDP, are projected at (-) 0.6% and 3.5% respectively.
About NCAER:
Formed: 1956
Headquarters: New Delhi
President: Nandan Nilekani

PMS Bazaar & EbixCash Fintech partnered to introduce India’s first all-in-one PMS & AIF tracking portal for investors
PMS Bazaar & EbixCash Financial Technologies (ECFT) tied up to introduce India’s first all-in-one PMS & AIF tracking portal for investors. Through this platform, the investors can analyse their entire gamut of investments.PMS Bazaar & EbixCash Fintechi. The comprehensive platform covers entire wealth management functions across its various business units, replacing multiple legacy systems and improving efficiency.


World’s thinnest gold created by British Scientists
Scientists from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom (UK), claim to have created the world’s thinnest gold (periodic table representation of gold is Au) which is one million times thinner than fingernail of human. As it appears to be green in the water, researchers named it gold “nanoseaweed”.
This paperwork was published in the journal Advanced Science. The lead author of the study is author Sunjie Ye.
Key points
As only two atoms are layered one over the other, this material is regarded as 2D because all atoms are usually surfaced with no bulk atoms beneath the surface.
i. Thickness of the material is just 0.47 nanometres.
With further Research going on for this material, scientists believe that it could be used in medical diagnostic tests and water purification system, electronic inks and bending screens.

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Bangalore will host the 10th AASF Asian Age Group Championships 2019 for the 1st time
For the first time, Bangalore(Karnataka) will host the 10th AASF (Asia Swimming Federation) Asian Age Group Championships 2019 starting from September 24, 2019, to October 2, 2019, will give the country’s swimming enthusiasts an opportunity to witness the aquatic event.10th AASF Asian Age Group Championships 2019 Key points:
i. Organizer: Swimming Federation of India(SFI)will organize the 9-day event.
ii. Olympic qualification: The event recognized by FINA (International Swimming Federation) as an Olympic Qualifier, so the top Indian Swimmers will take advantage as they aim for A Qualification Mark for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
iii. Participation: The event will have over 40 countries and about 1200 participants competing for top honours in 4 different aquatic disciplines such as swimming(will held at Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence(Sept-24 to 27), Diving (Sports Authority of India, Kengeri (Sept-29 to Oct 2), water polo(Sports Authority of India, Kengeri (Sept- 24 to 30)), and the visually-mesmerizing artistic swimming (Kensington Swimming Pool, Ulsoor from Sept-29 to Oct-2).
iv. The 9th AASF Asian Age Group Championships was held in Uzbekistan in 2017.
About Karnataka:
Chief minister: B. S. Yediyurappa
Governor: Vajubhai Vala

India tops the test rankings released by ICC
On August 06, 2019 the ICC (International Cricket Council) Test rankings were released. The list was topped by India followed by New Zealand (2nd) and South Africa(3rd) respectively.
Key points
ICC Test batsmen rankings

  1. Virat Kohli (India)
  2. Kane Williamson ( New Zealand)
  3. Steve Smith ( Australia)
  4. Cheteshwar Pujara (India)

ICC Test bowler rankings

  1. Pat Cummins (Australia)
  2. Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)
  3. James Anderson (England)
  4. Vernon Philander (South Africa)

Indians in the top 10 spots are- Ravindra Jadeja placed at 6th and Ravichandran Ashwin placed at 10th spot.
ICC test all rounder rankings

  1. Jason Holder(West Indies)
  2. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
  3. Ravindra Jadeja( India)
  4. Ben Stokes (England)

Another Indian on the top 10 spot was Ravichandran Ashwin placed at 6th position.

Germany’s Fiona Kolbinger becomes the first woman to win cycling’s Transcontinental Race 2019
Germany’s cancer researcher Fiona Kolbinger, aged 24, became the first woman to win cycling’s Transcontinental Race 2019 (No.7) from Bulgaria to France. She cycled for more than 2,485 miles across Europe in just over 10 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes. Britain’s Ben Davies finished second who completed the race in 10 days, 13 hours and 10 minutes.⁠ Germany’s Fiona Kolbinger

Overview of Washington Open (Citi Open) 2019
The Washington Open (Citi Open) 2019 was held at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Washington DC, United States from July 29- August 4, 2019. It was the 51st Edition for Men’s Category & 9th Edition for Women’s Category. The tournament was a part of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour 500 series of the 2019 ATP World Tour, and of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) International tournaments of the 2019 WTA Tour.
Winners of the tournament

Men’s SinglesNick Kyrgios (Australia)Daniil Medvedev (Russia)
Women’s SinglesJessica Pegula (America)Camila Giorgi (Italy)
Men’s DoublesRaven Klaasen (South Africa) & Michael Venus (New Zealand)Jean-Julien Rojer (Netherlands) & Horia Tecău (Romania)
Women’s DoublesCori Gauff & Caty McNally (America)Maria Sanchez (America) & Fanny Stollar (Hungary)

i. It was the First WTA Title for Coco Gauff of America.
ii. The Prize money for Men’s category was $2,046,340 & for women’s category- $250,000.
About Citi Open:
Men’s Event first held: 1969
Women’s Event first held: 2011


Former external affairs minister and BJP stalwart, Sushma Swaraj passed away
The senior BJP(Bharatiya Janata Party) leader and India’s former external affairs minister(EAM) Sushma Swaraj passed away in All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi due to a massive heart attack. She was 67.Sushma Swaraji. Born on 14 February 1952 in Ambala Cantt town of Haryana, Sushma started her political life with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the RSS’(Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) student wing, and later joined the BJP.
ii. She was the external affairs minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet from 26 May 2014 to 30 May, 2019, only the 2nd woman in the role after Indira Gandhi.
iii. Swaraj was known for her active presence on social media, often replying to calls and messages of distress from Indians abroad.
iv. The BJP stalwart, Sushma got her credit such as being country’s youngest-ever Cabinet Minister(at the age of 25 in 1977), first woman Chief Minister of Delhi(13 October, 1998 to 3 December, 1998).
v. Swaraj, a law graduate who practiced in the Supreme Court(SC), was served as a seven-time MP(Member of Parliament) and as MLA(Member of the Legislative Assembly) for three terms. In the 2014 Indian general election, Sushma won from the Vidisha constituency in Madhya Pradesh for a second term (MP), retaining her seat by a margin of over 400,000 votes.
vi. In 1996, She was the Information and Broadcasting (I&B)Minister in the 13-day Atal Bihari Vajpayee government & she also contested against the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Bellary, Karnataka in the 1999 Lok Sabha polls. 
vii. She served as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting from 30 September 2000 – 29 January 2003 in Atal Bihari Vajpayee govt. Then from 29 January 2003 – 22 May 2004, she served as the Minister of Health and Family Welfare. She also served as the Leader of the Opposition in the 15th Lok Sabha 21 December 2009 – 26 May 2014. From 26 May 2014 – 7 January 2016, she was the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs. Then her last post was as the well-respected Minister of External Affairs 26 May 2014 – 30 May 2019 in Narendra Modi govt.

Nobel Prize winning novelist Toni Morrison dies at the age of 88
Famous novelist Toni Morrison who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993, passed away at the age of 88, due to old age ailments. She was born as Chloe Ardelia Wofford on 18 February 1931 in Ohio, America.Toni MorrisonKey points
i. She was the first African American to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Most of her work focused on the African community, African women and their struggles in life.
ii. She had written over 11 novels, 5 children’s books, 2 plays, a song cycle, and an opera.  Some of her notable novels are The Bluest Eyes, Song of Solomon, Jazz, Paradise, etc. Her last novel was ‘God Help the Child’ in 2015.
i. She won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, “Beloved” in 1988.
ii. She was made an officer of the French Legion of Honour in 2010.
iii. She was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 by the then-president Barack Obama.

Veteran Bollywood filmmaker J. Om Prakash passed away aged 92
On 6 August 2019 veteran Bollywood filmmaker and also the maternal Grandfather of Bollywood actor Hritik Roshan, J. Om Prakash, passed away at his residence in Mumbai at the age of 92.J. Om PrakashKey points
i. He was born on 24 January 1927 in Punjab’s Sialkot.
ii. Om Prakash made his debut in with actor Rajesh Khanna’s “Aap ki Kasam” in 1974 which became a huge success. His other notable films include Aakhir Kyon and Aadmi Khilona Hai.
iii. He served as President of Film Federation of India (FFI) from 1995-1996.
iv. He also produced many films like Aas Ka Panchhi, Ayee Milan Ki Bala, Aaye Din Bahar Ke.

Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht passed away after a crash in Tour of Poland 2019
On August 5, 2019, Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht, aged 22, passed away after a crash in the third stage of the Tour of Poland 2019. A Lotto-Soudal (Professional team) rider was born on April 2, 1997, in Ghent, East Flanders, Belgium. He was named in the start list for 2018 Vuelta a España in August 2018.


Nation celebrates 5th National Handloom day on august 7 2019
The 5th National Handloom Day is celebrated on August 7, 2019 to honour the Handloom weavers of the country and also to highlight the Handloom industry. A function to mark the occasion was held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.National Handloom day on august 7 The function was presided by Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister of Textiles and Women and Child Development.
Other ministers present
The other ministers present were

  • Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas
  • Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Minister of State(MoS) for Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

National Handloom Day
i. The first National Handloom Day was inaugurated in Chennai at the centenary of Madras University by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 7th August 2015.
ii. August 7 was chosen to commemorate Swadeshi Movement that was launched in Calcutta Townhall in 1905 protesting against Bengal’s partition by the British govt that ruled the Country.
Focus: This day focuses on socio-economic development contributed by the Handloom industry and also to increase the income of people working in that handloom sector.
Main event in Odisha

  • Bhubaneswar, Odisha having a rich tradition of Handlooms, has been chosen as the venue to conduct various events.
  • Objective: The prime objective to hold the events in Bhubaneswar is for empowering women and girls.
  • More than 50% of weavers in India reside in Eastern and Northern regions. Of them, most are women.

Activities undertaken:

  • Distributing Pehchan cards (health cards for the insured persons) and Yarn passbooks and MUDRA loans (Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency Ltd).
  • Lighting units and certificates distribution for work shed construction.
  • Observing National Handloom Day in different states at Weaver’s Service Centres.
  • Workshops, panel discussions, handloom products special stalls to be kept at 16 NIFT(National Institute of Fashion Technology) campuses.
  • Live broadcast discussion session on Twitter from IMG (International Management Group) Reliance Involving famous personalities from the handloom sector.
  • A symposium to be conducted at New Delhi by Fashion Design Council of India which will have participants from Textile ministry, master weavers, designers, and textile experts.
  • Workshops at IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) and NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling).


Rajasthan government launches new higher education model named RACE
Bhanwar Singh Bhati, Minister of State (MoS) for Higher Education inaugurated Resource Assistance for Colleges with Excellence (RACE) in presence of various college principals.
Key points
i. Aim: This model has been launched for faculties distribution and asset movements among govt. colleges to rationalise the availability of resources.
ii. Applying in need: The colleges in need of faculties and resources like projectors, digital libraries, equipment should submit their requirement to nodal college. The nodal college will help the needy colleges by sending teachers on deputation and other resources if needed.
iii. Use: The number of teachers in the state falls short by 2000 even though the sanctioned no. of teachers in the state is 6500.
iv. The RACE will act in a place where teacher shortages are high and ensure quality education until additional posts are created.
Exam without invigilators
Earlier this month, the Rajasthan state Commissioner of College Education Mr. Pradeep Kumar was instrumental in conducting exams in 237 govt. Colleges having nearly 1Lakh students without invigilators to inculcate ethical values to the youth.

Ex-DMK Minister Jennifer Chandran passed away at the age of 62
On August 6, 2019, S. Jennifer Chandran, who was the fisheries minister(1996- 2001) in DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam ) government, passed away in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, after suffering from kidney-related ailments. She was 62.
i. She won the DMK ticket from Tiruchendur in the 1996 assembly election & and lost in 2001 assembly election.
ii. In 2004, Jennifer switched over to the AIADMK (Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) party, where she worked as joint secretary of the fisheries wing and Thoothukudi district in-charge, but was removed from the post in 2010.
iii. She joined to the DMK again just before the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

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