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Overview of Prime Minister’s one day Gujarat Visit on August 23, 2018
i. On August 23,2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Surat, where he was received by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
ii. During his day long visit, he addressed the 4th convocation of Gujarat Forensic Science University in Gandhinagar.
iii. On August 23, 2018, the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated various projects in Junagadh district of Gujarat.
iv. Laid foundation stone of Astole Water Supply Scheme for providing clean drinking water at the cost of Rs.586 crore in Kaprada region in Valsad district……………………………..Click here to Read more
India Banking Conclave 2018 held in New Delhi
On 23rd and 24th August 2018, India Banking Conclave 2018 was held in New Delhi.
India Banking Conclave 2018:
i. The India Banking Conclave 2018 was organized by Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). Knowledge Partner of the conclave was NITI Aayog.
ii. The conclave focused on reforming the banking sector. The following topics were discussed:
- Indian Debt, Indian Problem Indian Solution
- Small is good, Experience of Small Funding
- India and Resurging need of Development Banks
- FinTech for Financial participation
- Biting the Bullet: Privatisation vs Mergers
- Dawn of Tomorrow: Banking in Future
iii. Politicians, Industrialists, Bureaucrats, Analysts, Academicians, Chartered Accountants, Company Secretary, Corporate Lawyers, top bankers and ministers participated in the conclave.
About Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR):
♦ Type – independent think tank
♦ Works in – macro-economy, politico-economy, public policy, banking, agriculture, infrastructure, energy, international trade, manufacturing sectors
♦ Locations – Noida and Chandigarh
India, Singapore signed second protocol amending Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA)
On 24th August 2018, India and Singapore signed the Second Protocol amending the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) in New Delhi.
Second protocol amending CECA:
i. The Protocol was signed by Deputy Chief Negotiators, Rajneesh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India and Francis Chong, Senior Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore.
ii. CECA was the 1st comprehensive agreement covering trade in goods, services and investments, signed by India with any of its trade partners.
iii. CECA was signed on 29th June 2005. Its first review concluded on 1st October 2007. Signing of the Second Protocol concludes the negotiations on 2nd review of CECA that started on 11th May 2010.
iv. India and Singapore have reached mutual understanding and agreement in closing the second review of CECA. Conclusion of the Second Review was announced during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Singapore on 1st June 2018.
v. Provisions of the Second Protocol will come to effect on 14th September 2018. Both the countries have agreed to expand the coverage of tariff concessions, liberalize the Rules of Origin, rationalize Product Specific Rules and include provisions on Certificate of Origin and Cooperation on its verification.
vi. Signing of the Second Protocol amending CECA will enhance bilateral trade between India and Singapore.
vii. India and Singapore are planning to launch the 3rd Review of India-Singapore CECA in September 2018.
About India Singapore trade relations:
♦ Singapore is the second largest trading partner of India within ASEAN
♦ India is the largest trading partner of Singapore in South Asia
India’s First ISTS connected Wind Power Project Commissioned
On 24th August 2018, a part capacity of 126 MW wind power of India’s first Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS)auction, was commissioned in Bhuj, Gujarat, by Ostro Kutch Wind Private Ltd.
India’s First ISTS:
i. Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd (SECI) had conducted India’s first auction of wind power projects in February 2017. Tariff of Rs 3.46 was discovered in that, which was much lower than feed in current tariffs.
ii. It was a 1,000 MW bid for projects to be connected on ISTS. Through ISTS power generated from one state (renewable resource rich state) can be transmitted to other renewable deficient states.
iii. Mytrah, Inox, Ostro, Green Infa and Adani won this auction. Ostro Kutch Wind Private Ltd was issued letter of award for 250 MW capacity on 5th April 2017, with commissioning period of 18 months.
iv. The energy generated from this project is purchased by Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
v. This 126 MW ISTS project marks the beginning of capacity additions in wind power based on market discovered tariffs, in line with Government’s plan of 175 GW RE by 2022.
About Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd (SECI):
♦ Chairman – Anand Kumar
♦ Location – New Delhi
Neta App launched to rate and review elected representatives
On 24th August 2018, Neta app that allows voters to rate and review their political representatives was launched by former President Pranab Mukherjee.
i. The Neta App aims to build political accountability and transparency among leaders.
ii. It will enable users to rate their MLAs and MPs. It is billed as an instrument to measure voter sentiment in Indian constituencies.
iii. The Neta app has been developed by Pratham Mittal, a 27-year-old entrepreneur.
iv. It uses Artificial Intelligence, advanced algorithms, one time password and Aadhaar numbers to make sure that the users are genuine.
v. The app is in beta version. It was pilot launched during the February 2018 bypolls in Ajmer and Alwar constituencies of Rajasthan.
vi. Already more than 1.5 crore verified voters have rated and reviewed their local leaders using the app in 543 parliamentary constituencies and 4,120 assembly constituencies in the past 8 months.
vii. The app is available on Andriod and iOS and web in 16 languages. To ensure participation of rural people, mediums like IVR calls, SMS and offline activation through ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) and Aanganwadi workers to collect data, have been employed.
Various states and institutions renamed themselves after Late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee
On August 25, 2018, after the demise of the former PM of India MR. Atal Bihari Vajpayee,
various states and institutions renamed themselves after Late PM .They are as follows:
i. The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) announced its decision to rename its School of Management and Entrepreneurship as Atal Bihari Vajpayee School of Management and Entrepreneurship.
ii. Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh renaming upcoming capital of the state Naya Raipur as Atal Nagar.
iii. Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government to name the proposed Bundelkhand Expressway as ‘Atal Path’.
iv. AIIMS Rishikesh auditorium, a ghat on Sabarmati River in Gujarat and the cyber tower in Mauritius to be named after him.
v. Andhra Pradesh to name AIIMS Mangalagiri after the former PM.
vi. Himachal Pradesh to rename the Rohtang Tunnel.
vii. Shivraj Singh Chouhan led Madhya Pradesh government to rename the Habibganj railway station after him.
viii. Assam to name the yet-to-be-inaugurated Bogibeel bridge after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as Atal Setu.
ix. Jharkhand has decided to rename the following places a well:
- ‘Jharkhand Innovation Lab’ as Atal Innovation Lab,
- Convention Centre, Ranchi as Atal Convention Centre Ranchi,
- Upcoming airport at Deoghar as Atal Bihari Vajpayee Airport Deograh,
- Medical College Palamu as Atal Bihari Vajpayee Medical College, Palamu,
- Sahibganj Harbour to be renamed as Atal Bihari Vajpayee Harbour Sahibganj.
- Professional College Jamshedpuras Atal Bihari Vajpayee Professional College Jamshedpur and
- 8-lane 20-kilometre long stretch road from GOI Building to Kako Math in Dhanbad district as Atal Marg,(it is being built at a cost of Rs. 413 crorewith the help of World Bank).
Atal Bihari Vajpayee:
He was the 10th prime minister of India.
5G steering committee headed by AJ Paulraj submitted its report to DoT; India to get 5G by 2020.
On August 25, 2018, high-level 5G Forum headed by Stanford University’s Professor Emeritus AJ Paulraj, submitted its 62-page report to theDepartment of Telecommunication (DoT) and suggested the following measures to be taken.
i. The recommendations are as follows:
- announcement of a 5G spectrum policy,
- earmarking additional airwave bandsthat may have an economic impact of more than $1 trillion by 2035,
- assignment of free bandwidthfor trials for a fixed time frame of 6 months,
- provision of spectrum licensefor 12 months after the trials,
- most guidelines on regulatory matters must be promulgated by March 2019to facilitate early 5G deployment,
- Even after 5G spectrum, 2G, 3G and 4G will continue to remain in use and it may take 10 or more years to phase out.
- DoT may provide financial support to telcos related to deployment and
- additional financial support may be offered to internet service providers (ISPs), technology companies, local governments to participate in the trials
- India is likely to see the first 5G commercial launch in 2020.
ii. On the financial side, the committee has suggested a broad planning estimate of Rs.300 crore for the first year, Rs.400 crore for the second, Rs.500 crore in the third year, and Rs.400 crore in the fourth.
iii. It also suggested that the government announce its policy by December 31, 2018 for the launch of 5G.
♦ A high-level forum was set up by the government in September 2017 to articulate the Vision for 5G in India, followed by the constitution of a Steering Committee.
♦ Globally, 5G technologies are expected to evolve to a full range of services by 2024.
‘Speedex’ Contract launched by IAF for speedy delivery of consignments
On August 25, 2018, Air Marshal RKS Shera, Air Officer-in-charge Maintenance, IAF formally launched The Stores, Proactive, Efficient and Expeditious Despatch of Extra Size/ Wt Consignment (SPEEDEX) contract.
To reduce the time taken for transportation of items and ensure early availability of stores to the field units
i. This contract was concluded on 28 Jun 18 with M/s Balmer Lawrie & Co Ltd and M/s Ashok Travel and Tours for the Air & Surface component respectively.
ii. The theme of the contract is : ‘lift, shift and move’ , that on all principles of Military Logistics.
iii. According to the contract, movement of operationally urgent stores will be done by air and normal consignments by surface mode.
iv. This would include door to door pickup and delivery facility with fixed timelines, lesser than Speed Post.
Telangana government increases free power units for SC/ST families from 50 Unit to 101 Units
On 24th August 2018, Telangana State Government increased the free electricity supply to the families of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for domestic purpose from the current 50 units to 101 units.
i. This was announced by Telengana Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao at a review meeting in Hyderabad.
ii. This decision has been made keeping in mind, the increasing usage of electrical appliances. The state government will pay these charges to the distributary agencies.
iii. Telangana State Government has also increased the honorarium paid to Imams and Moazins of Masjids to 5000 rupees from the current 1500 rupees per month.
iv. It has also decided to increase the retirement age of Archakas in Temples to 65 years from the current 58 years. It will also pay their salaries through state treasury from September 2018.
9th edition of Mountain Echoes Literary Festival 2018 held in Bhutan
From 23rd to 25th August 2018, 9th edition of Mountain Echoes Literary Festival 2018 was held in Thimphu, Bhutan.
i. This festival is an initiative of the India-Bhutan Foundation and Siyahi, an Indian literary agency.
ii. It was presented by the Jaypee Group and powered by the Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan.
iii. This year’s festival celebrated 50 years of formal diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan.
iv. The festival focused on Spirituality and Philosophy, Performing Arts, Environmental Conservation, Food, Film & Theatre, etc.
BANKING & FINANCE
NABARD All India Financial Inclusion Survey (NAFIS) 2016-17
On 16th August 2018, NABARD All India Financial Inclusion Survey (NAFIS) report was released by Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog at an event, in New Delhi.
i. This survey was commissioned in 2016. Reference year of survey is 2015-16. The survey was conducted throughout India.
ii. Samples were taken from 2016 villages in 245 districts and 29 states. It covered 40,327 rural households and a population of 1,87,518.
iii. This is the first edition of this survey. NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) has proposed to perform this survey every 3 years…………………………………..Click here to Read more
Bondi bond : world’s first blockchain public bond launched by World Bank
On August 25, 2018, the World Bank has launched the world’s first public bond created and managed using only blockchain technology.
i. It has been named : Bondi Bond stands for Blockchain Operated New Debt Instrument.
ii. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia is the sole manager of the deal that has been priced by the World Bank at A$100 million ($73.16 million) with a two-year maturity.
iii. The price for the “kangaroo” deal at 23 basis points above benchmark rates
iv. This will be the first time that capital is raised from public investors through a legally valid bond using blockchain technology.
v. This would enable to collapse the manual allocation process to a faster and cheaper automation process.
i. Kangaroo bonds are bonds issued in Australian dollars by foreign institutions.
ii. Australian Securities Exchange plans to switch to blockchain technology to clear and settle equities trades from 2020 to help cut costs.
i. Earlier this year Russia’s MTS, a telecoms operator, and Sberbank claimed a world-first blockchain bond with a deal value of 750 million roubles ($11.20 million) of 182-day paper placed privately.
ii. Bonds issued by the World Bank carries a AAA rating. It issues between $50 billion and $60 billion a year of bonds to back economic progress in developing countries.
Headquarters: Washington D.C., United States.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
UoH Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podile bags J C Bose Fellowship-2018
Appa Rao Podile, Vice Chancellor, University of Hyderabad (UoH) has been selected for the J C Bose Fellowship of Department of Science and Technology by the Government.
i. This fellowship has been awarded as a recognition of his work in plant-microbe interactions and induced resistance in plants.
ii. He will receive a fellowship amount of Rs 25,000 pm and a research grant of Rs. 15 lakhs per annum.
iii. It is initially provided for 5 years. Later, the fellowship can be extended based on performance during the first 5 years.
iv. Appa Rao Podile has published more than 100 original research papers.
Forbes Marshall Lanka winner of Golden Flame Award in the Sri Lanka National Efficiency Awards 2018
On August 21, 2018, the Sri Lanka National Efficiency Awards 2018 commenced in Colombo.
The Sri Lanka National Efficiency Awards 2018 was instituted by Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority.
i. Forbes Marshall won the Gold Flame Award in the Energy Efficiency Improvement category of the Best Energy Services Companyfor its contribution to reduce energy use through energy management efforts.
ii. This award ceremony was organised annually by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy and Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority.
iii. It aims to advance the usage of renewable energy sources and develop efficiency of all the sectors related to power and energy.
iv. This time the Gold Awards were presented in the four categories:
- progress in energy efficiency,
- technical assistance in energy efficiency,
- larger scale hotelsand
- smaller scale productions.
About Forbes Marshall Lanka:
♦ It is a fully owned subsidiary of Forbes Marshall with a presence of over 25 years in Sri Lanka.
♦ It has established the Steam Engineering Training Centre in University of Peradeniya that helps train Sri Lankan engineers in energy efficiency.
Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA) is the apex institution, established by an act of the Parliament, with the objective of developing new level of sustainability in energy generation and usage and improving energy efficiency within the country.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Dr G. Satheesh Reddy appointed Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO
On August 25, 2018, Dr. G Satheesh Reddy has been appointed as the chairman of DRDO for a two year term.
i. He will also be the Secretary, Department of Defence Research and Development (DoDRD).
ii. He is currently serving as the scientific advisor to the defence minister and is also the Director General of the strategic missile division.
iii. He also heads the Research Centre Imarat (RCI).
iv. He will be replacing Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra who was holding the position as an additional charge after the retirement of S Christopher in May 2018.
♦ Established : 1980.
♦ It advises the government on scientific aspects of military equipment and logistics and the formulation of research, design and development plans for the equipment required by the three services– the Army, Navy and the Air Force.
Scott Morrison has been sworn in as Australia’s 30th Prime Minister
On 24th August 2018, Scott Morrison was sworn in as Australia’s 30th prime minister.
Scott Morrison – Prime Minister of Australia:
i. Scott Morrison is 50 years old. He was serving as Australia’s treasurer. He defeated former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton by 45 – 40 votes in an internal vote.
ii. This vote was conducted after former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull lost majority support of the Liberal party MPs. Josh Frydenberg was sworn in as the treasurer.
♦ Capital – Canberra
♦ Currency – Australian dollar
♦ National Language – English