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36th GST Council Meeting held in New Delhi
On July 27, 2019, the 36th Goods & Service Tax (GST) Council Meeting was held in New Delhi Via Video Conference under the chairmanship of Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.
i. The GST Council made the following changes in the GST rate on supply of goods and services which will be effective from August 1, 2019:
ii. The GST rate on all Electric Vehicles (EVs) was reduced from 12% to 5%. The GST rate on charger or charging stations for EVs was reduced from 18% to 5%……………………Click here to Read more
Dr Jitendra Singh reviewed the status of implementation of various projects under MDoNER
On July 26, 2019, Minister of State (I/C), Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MDoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh chaired a review meeting with senior officers of Ministry of DoNER, North Eastern Council (NEC) and other organizations of MDoNER in New Delhi.
i. The Minister briefed about the progress report of 100 Days Action Plan for Ministry of DoNER. It sanctioned 200 projects worth about Rs 3,000 crore.
ii. First Bamboo Industrial Park will be set up at Manderdisa in Dima Hasao district of Assam in an area of 75 hectares at a cost of Rs. 50 crores…………………..Click here to Read more
Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh launches DDP Dashboard
On July 25, 2019, Union Minister of Defence Shri Rajnath Singh launched a Dashboard of Department of Defence Production (DDP) to help in effective monitoring of various initiatives and schemes of the departments of the Ministry of Defence in the presence of Secretary (Defence Production) Dr Ajay Kumar, Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri Shripad Yesso Naik and other senior officials of the Ministry.
i. It is available for the general public at www.ddpdashboard.gov.in
ii. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) launched an online encyclopedia called Securitypedia which incorporates a wide range of security related issues, best practices and latest technologies (in the domain of security) available across the world…………………………Click here to Read more
Ministry of Mines organizes workshop called ‘Waste To Wealth’ on effective utilization of ‘Red Mud’ in New Delhi
On July 26, 2019, The Ministry of Mines in association with the Jawaharlal Nehru Aluminium Research Development and Design Centre (JNARDDC) Nagpur, has organized a workshop called ‘Waste To Wealth’ on productive utilization of ‘Red Mud’in New Delhi.
i. The workshop, which was presided over by Dr. K. Rajeswara Rao, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Mines.
ii. Discussion: The workshop discussed the present status regarding the generation of red mud and its safe disposal and utilization.
iii. Deliberations were held to focus efforts for productive utilization of red mud with necessary government support, which will be a win-win situation for all the stakeholders. A road-map will also be prepared based on these Deliberations.
iv. Participants: The workshop was attended by representatives from organizations like Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, CPCB, Odisha state Pollution Control Board, BARC, Indian Bureau of Mines, Ministry of Road Transport, NHAI and BIS, Engineer-in-Chief of Army, top executives from aluminium producing companies such as NALCO, VEDANTA & HINDALCO as well as from user industries like cement and ceramic industry.
i. Bauxite residue also known as red mud is a solid waste generated during the aluminum production process. This is an environmental concern due to the presence of impurities such as caustic soda and other minerals.
ii. The generation of red mud is more than 150 million tons globally and there exists a global inventory of more than 3 billion tons.
iii. In India, the generation is around 9 million tons per year.
Ministry of Mines
♦ Headquarters : New Delhi
♦ Union Minister: Pralhad Joshi
Two Defence Industrial Corridors to be set up in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu
In pursuance of the announcement made by the then Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley in the budget speech 2018-19, the Government has decided to set up 2 Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It will cover the needs of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).Key Points:
i. The 6 nodes of Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor are Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Aligarh, Chitrakoot, and Jhansi.
ii. Investments worth Rs 4,000 crore have been received and the project is expected to cost Rs 20,000 crore.
iii. Change is proposed in the Defence Policy-2018 of the Uttar Pradesh government for the inclusion of the manufacture of arms, ammunition, and explosives as an investment area for the defence corridor.
About Ministry of Defence:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Founded: August 15, 1947
♦ Minister In-charge: Rajnath Singh
Nepal invited as Gita Jayanti Mahotsav 2019 partner
Manohar Lal Khattar, Chief Minister of Haryana has invited Nepal to be the partner country for 2019 International Gita Jayanti Mahotsav scheduled to be held at Kurukshetra, Haryana from December 3 to 8,2019. Khattar made this offer to Nilamber Acharya, Ambassador of Nepal to India.Key points:
i. On December 6, 2019, an International Seminar on Shrimad Bhagwad Gita would also be organized as part of the celebrations.
ii. For the last 3years, Haryana had been celebrating Gita Jayanti Mahotsav and every year a country is invited to become a partner country for this Mahotsav.
iii. Many countries have also started celebrating Gita Jayanti. In February 2019, Mauritius organized Gita Mahotsav & it will be held in the United Kingdom from August 7 to 9,2019.canada has also proposed to organize this event.
iv. 18,000 students recited ‘shlokas’ of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita in the 2018 celebration.
It is the birthday of Bhagavad Gita, the sacred text of Hindus and is celebrated on the 11th day (Shukla Ekadashi), Margashirsha month (December-January) of the Hindu calendar. It is believed the “Bhagavad Gita” was revealed to Arjuna by Lord Krishna Himself in the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
♦ Capital: Chandigarh
♦ Governor: Satyadev Narayan Arya
♦ Chief Minister: Manohar Lal Khattar
♦ National Parks: Kalesar National Park ,Sultanpur National Park.
♦ Wildlife Sanctuaries: Abubshehar WLS, Bhindawas WLS, Bir Shikargarh WLS, Chhilchila WLS, Kalesar WLS, Khaparwas WLS, Morni Hills (Khol-Hi-Raitan) WLS, Nahar WLS.
♦ Capital : Kathmandu
♦ Currency: Nepalese rupee
♦ President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari
♦ Prime Minister :Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli
upGrad with Liverpool John Moores University offers India’s 1st online Master’s degree program in Machine Learning and AI
An online higher education platform, upGrad with Liverpool John Moores University(LJMU), North England, UK offers India’s first online Master’s degree program in Machine Learning(ML)and AI(Artificial Intelligence).
The 18-month program- 1st 11 months delivered by IIIT-B (International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore) and next 7 months by LJMU will provide the learners with PGD (postgraduate diploma) in ML&AI from IIIT-B and a Master’s degree(M.Sc) from LJMU.
i. It helps learners get full access to the digital library at LJMU and connect with a global network of faculty and postdoctoral fellows.
ii. The program fee for Master’s in ML&AI is ₹4.85 lakh, which is 1/10th the cost of the on-campus program.
iii. It helps professionals switch to a career through 1-1 mentorship, where 360-degree career support will be provided to the learners. It will be launched on September 29,2019.
♦ Founded: 2015
♦ MD and Co-founder: Mayank Kumar
♦ Founders: Ronnie Screwvala, Phalgun Kompalli, Ravijot Chugh
BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting 2019 held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Foreign Ministers Meet was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on July 25-26, 2019. India was represented by Gen. (retd) VK Singh who is the Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways
i. They called for an expedited adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and welcomed the adoption of UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2462 (2019)……………………….Click here to Read more
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Badri Narain Sharma re-appointed Chairperson of National Anti-profiteering Authority for 2 years
On July 25, 2019, The appointment committee of cabinet (ACC), Government of India has re-appointed Badri Narain Sharma (1985-batch IAS officer from Rajasthan) as chairman of the National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA). He will continue as the NAA chairman for two years. Key points:
i. Currently, NAA has three members including J C Chauhan (Chairman, Tax tribunal, Himachal Pradesh) and Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers R Bhagyadevi and Amand Shah.
ii. NAA: It was constituted under Section 171 of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017.
Directive: To protect interests of consumers by ensuring that benefits of reduction is GST rates on goods and services made by GST Council and proportional change in Input tax credit passed on to consumers and recipient respectively by way of reduction in the prices by the suppliers.
Structure: It is headed by a senior officer of the level of Secretary to Union Government. It has four technical members from Centre or States. Chairman and four members should be less than 62 years of age.
Powers of NAA: It has the power to cancel the registration of any entity/business if it fails to pass on to consumers benefit of lower taxes under the GST regime.
Lt Gen Paramjit Singh will be the next Director-General of Military Operations
Lt Gen Paramjit Singh, currently serving as General Officer Commanding of the Army’s Nagrota-based XVI Corps will be the next Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) of the Indian Army. He will succeed Lt Gen Anil Chauhan, who has been appointed new General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command by replacing Lt-Gen M.M. Naravane.Key points:
i. Singh, who has extensive experience in counter-terror operations will take over as the new DGMO on October 15, 2019.
ii. He will oversee the various operations of the Indian Army including the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir(J&K).
iii. He was also involved in a group planning of a surgical strike in 2016.
iv. Singh, an alumnus of Defense Service Staff college located in Wellington, Tamil Nadu and Ami War College in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh has also been instrumental in the deployment of the army in the Kashmir valley.
v. He spent most of his career in operating anti-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir. He joined the Indian Army in 1982, he was shifted to the Parachute Regiment (Special Forces) in January 1984.
About Indian Army:
♦ Motto: “Service Before Self”
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Chief of the Army Staff (COAS): General Bipin Rawat
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
IIT Madras develops Agricopter to eliminate manual spraying of pesticides
A ‘smart agricopter’ has been developed by the team of three students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras to eliminate manual spraying of pesticides in agricultural fields & It also allows spraying pesticides 10 times faster with 100% accuracy than manual spraying.
i. Smart agricopter: It is hexacopter drone having the capacity to carry 15 liters of pesticide. It is also fitted with advanced multispectral imaging camera that helps to identify crop health by using imaging camera. Its autonomous pesticide refilling system ensures entire spraying is completely autonomous.
ii. Uses: It eliminates the need for farmers to come in contact with pesticides as well as intelligently identify which crops on the farm require pesticides and which did not. Its imaging camera makes smart maps of farmland based on crop health.
iii. Cost: The price of agricopter estimated to be around Rs. 5.1 lakh.
Indian scientists from ARIES discovered 28 new stars in Milky Way
A team of scientists at Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) in Nainital district of Uttarakhand has discovered 28 new variable stars in Milky Way galaxy.
i. Discovery: The team led by Dr. Sneh Lata and Dr. A K Pandey performed photometric observations of globular cluster ‘NGC 4147’ using 3.6-meter powerful Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT). This is the first time variable stars have been found in NGC 4147, in the constellation of Coma Berenices. NGC 4147 is located closer to the Earth, was discovered by British astronomer William Herschel in 1784.
ii. Benefit: The discovery provides knowledge about the composition of globular clusters in general.
iii. Variable stars: Theses are stars whose luminosity changes due to periodical swelling or shrinking or external factors like eclipses.
iv. Globular cluster: It is a spherical collection of more and older stars that orbit a galactic core & it is tightly bound by gravity that gives spherical shapes and relatively high stellar densities towards their centres.
v. Journal: The findings of the research have been published on arXiv, a respected and well-used online archive for research & it will be published in detail in the August issue of Astronomical Journal.
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High-level 10-member committee constituted to strategize preparations for 2020, 2024 Olympics
On July 27, 2019, A high-level 10-member Committee has been formed under the Chairmanship of Kiren Rijiju, Sports Minister to coordinate and strategize the preparation for the 2020 and 2024 Olympics.Key points:
i. Objective: The objective of the high-level committee is ensured that the performance of the Indian athletes is to optimize in the Olympics and other multidisciplinary events.
ii. 2020 Tokyo Games: The aim of the committee for the 2020 Tokyo Games would be to provide all possible support to potential and qualified athletes.
iii. 2024 Paris Games: The committee will make road-map for the preparation for 2024 Paris Games, and continuously review and suggest course correction whenever required.
iv. Other members of the committee include Leander Paes(tennis ace) and Gagan Narang(shooter), Radhey Shyam Julaniya ,Secretary of Department of Sports, Indian Olympic Association(IOA) President Narinder Batra, IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta, President of Indian Athletics Federation Adille Sumariwalla and Boxing Federation of India chief Ajay Singh among others.
v. Rijiju received the Special Olympics(It will be held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai from 3rd -6th August 2019) torch came from Singapore from the Dr. Amar Prasad Reddy, Chairman of the Special Olympics International Football Championship in New Delhi.
Khelo India Youth Games 2020 will be held in Guwahati, Assam
Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju informed that the third edition of Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) will be held in Guwahati, Assam from January 18-30, 2020.Key Points:
i. It will be conducted in partnership with Indian Olympic Association (IOA), School Games Federation of India (SGFI) and Assam as host State.
ii. The inaugural edition of Khelo India was held in New Delhi in 2018 and Pune hosted the second edition of games in 2019.
They are national-level multidisciplinary grassroots games in India held for two categories, namely under-17 years school students and under-21 college students. Every year the best 1000 kids will be given an annual scholarship of Rs 5,00,000 for 8 years to prepare them for the international sporting events. KIYG was formerly known as Khelo India School Games (KISG).
Overview of Thailand Open International Boxing Tournament 2019
The 7th edition of Thailand Open International Boxing Tournament 2019 was held in Bangkok, Thailand. Indian boxers finished their campaign with 8 medals- 1 gold, 4 silver, and 3 bronze. It was organized by the Thailand Boxing Association. Key Points:
i. Asian Championships silver medallist Ashish Kumar (75 kg) bagged his first international gold against Korea’s Kim Jinjae by 5-0.
ii. Former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen (51 kg) lost to Chang Yuan of China and settled for silver.
iii. Asian silver-winner Deepak Bhoria (49 kg) won the silver medal by losing to Mirzakhmedov Nodirjon of Uzbekistan.
iv. GeeBee Boxing silver-medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg) and India Open silver medallist Brijesh Yadav (81kg) also settled for Silver medals.
v. Former Asian youth silver-medallist Ashish (69kg) lost to Thailand’s Wuttichai Masuk and settled for bronze.
vi. Among the women pugilists, Manju Rani (48kg) who lost to Thailand’s Chuthamat Raksa and Bhagyabati Kachari (75 kg) settled with bronze medals.
Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir retires from Test cricket
On July 26, 2019, Pakistan left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Amir(27) announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect citing his desire to concentrate on white-ball cricket.
i. He represented Pakistan in 36 Tests since making his debut as a 17-year-old in 2009.
ii. In August 2018, he was one of the thirty-three players to be awarded a central contract for the 2018–19 season by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
iii. He is the only player to have bowled in a five-wicket (1 caught, 2 bowled, 2 run-outs) maiden over in T20 cricket, doing so against Australia in 2010.
iv. He has played 77 one-day internationals (ODI) and 42 Twenty20s for Pakistan.
World Hepatitis Day 2019 observed on July 28
World Hepatitis Day (WHD) was observed on July 28, 2019. It is observed to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis. The theme of the World Health Organization (WHO) for WHD 2019 is “Invest in Eliminating Hepatitis”.Key Points:
i. July 28 was chosen to celebrate WHD as it is the birthday of scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg who discovered the hepatitis B virus (HBV).
ii. In 2008, the World Hepatitis Alliance in association with patient groups declared May 19 as the first WHD. Later, the World Health Assembly (WHA) changed it to July 28 in May 2010.
iii. Georgia’s hepatitis C elimination program, launched in 2015, was named as the world’s first Centre of Excellence in Viral Hepatitis Elimination by the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) International Liver Foundation.
iv. The host country for WHD 2019 was Pakistan where the global events were held in Islamabad on 27-28 July 2019. As per WHO, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal & Thailand achieved Hepatitis B control.
♦ Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Founded: 7 April 1948
World Nature Conservation Day 2019 observed on July 28
World Nature Conservation Day was observed on July 28, 2019. It is celebrated with an objective to increase awareness about natural resources and protecting them.
i. The day recognizes that a healthy environment is a foundation for a stable and productive society and to ensure the well-being of present and future generations.
ii. A report from the World Wildlife Foundation mentioned that since 1970, the pressure that people exerted on the planet was doubled and the resources upon which people depend declined by 33%.
About World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF):
♦ Founded: April 29, 1961
♦ Headquarters: Rue Mauverny, Gland, Switzerland
Nagaland government formed a committee to compile tribal customary
The Nagaland government formed a four-member committee headed by Chief Secretary Temjen Toy (IAS) to compile the customary practices and usages of all the tribes of Nagaland. The other members of the committee are Home commissioner, secretary of Justice and Law departments and the commissioner of Art and Culture department who will be the member secretary.
i. It will submit its report within two months.
ii. It will frame the modalities to carry out its work in the manner it deems appropriate.
Panel to frame RIIN modalities:
Nagaland government constituted a three-member commission to chalk out modalities for the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) Exercise. Advisor to the commission is Justice (Retd) Zelre Angami. The members of the committee include 2 retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers, Banuo Z Jamir, and T Kiheto Sema and C Shingwang Konyak.
i. The State Home Commissioner and the Law and Justice Secretary are the ex-officio members of the commission.
ii. It will study and examine all issues like eligibility criteria to be an indigenous inhabitant, relevant authority to authenticate claims, place of registration and nature of documents needed to substantiate claims and submit its recommendations to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio government within three months.
♦ Capital: Kohima
♦ Governor: RN Ravi
♦ National Parks: Intanki National Park
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