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Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s Visit to Andhra Pradesh from (11-13)th July,2018
i. On July 13, 2018, Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation returned from his 3 day visit to Andhra Pradesh where he laid foundation stone and inaugurated National Highway and Port connectivity projects worth a total of Rs. 6688 crore at an event in Vishakhapatnam.
ii. He laid the foundation stone for enhancing NH-16 to improve connectivity between Chennai and Kolkata, reduce travel time between the two cities and also lower traffic congestion in Vishakhapatnam city………………………………………………………..Click here to Read more
First meeting of Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on using MGNREGA to improve agriculture held at NITI Aayog
On July 12,2018, The First Meeting of Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on coordination between MGNREGA and Agriculture was held at NITI Aayog.
i. This group has been constituted by PM Narendra Modi.
Dignitaries who participated in the meeting:
i. The Convener of the Sub-Group Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh,West Bengal.
ii. Member (Agriculture), NITI Aayog Prof. Ramesh Chand, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog; Secretary, Rural Development; Chief Executive Officer, NRAA, Senior Officers of NITI Aayog, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Agriculture and State Government of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh attended the deliberations.
For suggesting ways and means about use of employment under MGNREGS for improving agriculture and reducing cost.
Discussions in the meeting:
i. Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh suggested use of MGNREGA funds in supplementing labour costs in agriculture and fencing of farm land to protect it from wild animals, etc.
ii. Discussions on 5 critical areas of:
- reducing the cost of cultivation,
- enhancing the production through efficient use of water or other inputs,
- providing remunerative price to farmers by incentivizing aggregation and market infrastructure,
- rehabilitation of agricultural land and assets after natural hazards or re-plantation using MGNREGA fund ,
- bringing diversity in agriculture to help occupational diversification and maximizing profit.
iii. These areas were to be enhanced using the MGNREGA Fund.
iv. For discussion of these issues with stakeholders, 5 regional meetings/workshops would be organized one each at Patna, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Guwahati and New Delhi.
v. NITI Aayog, in consultation with Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Agriculture and State Governments will finalize the regional meetings.
vi. These regional meetings will be completed before 15th of August, 2018.
vii. The next meeting of the Sub-Group will be held on 31st August,2018.
i. In the 4th Meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog held under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister on June 17th, 2018 at Rastrapati Bhawan, New Delhi, a major decision was taken for constitution of Sub group committee.
ii. This consists of Chief Ministers of 7 States viz. Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, and Sikkim and Member, NITI Aayog with the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh as the convener of the Sub-Group.
iii. Aim of the group is to work on policy coordination between agriculture sector and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) particularly in pre-sowing and post-harvest activities at the farmers’ fields.
IIIDEM organizes 5 – day Capacity Development programme for Media Officials from Bhutan
On a special request from Election Commission of Bhutan, India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) organized a 5 -day Capacity Development programme for Media Officials from Bhutan from July 9-13, 2018 at New Delhi.
Dignitaries Present on the Programme:
i. Hon’ble Chief Election Commissioner of India Shri O. P. Rawat inaugurated the programme.
ii. The participants include media journalists and media officials from Election Management Body of Bhutan.
iii. Other important officials present were: Deputy Election Commissioner Mr. Sudeep Jain, Director General Mr. Dhirendra Ojha, Electoral Expert at IIIDEM Dr. Noor Mohammad , Mr. Vivek Khare, Director (Training), ECI.
The program is aimed to hold interactive discussions on media in elections.
i. A course on media in elections is the first such course being organized by IIIDEM.
ii. The key topics of the programme include EMB and Media Relationship, Voter Education and Media Legal/ Institutional Framework, Paid News and Media Regulations, Code of Conduct for Media and issues related to Social Media, Media related Tools and Techniques among others.
♦ Prime Minister:Tshering Tobgay
♦ Currency: Indian Rupee, Bhutanese ngultrum.
♦ Capital: Thimpu.
4th National Conclave on Mines and Minerals will strengthen mineral auction regime
On July 13, 2018, The 4th National Conclave on Mines & Minerals was held at Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
For showcasing blocks which will be auctioned by the states in FY 2018-19 to the potential investors.
i. The agencies concerned with preauction preparations such as Exploration agencies (GSI & MECL), transaction advisors (SBICAP, CRISIL, KPMG), DGPS survey agency (MECON), etc would also put up their Stalls.
ii. Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) will be the partner of the event.
iii. PSUs responsible for organizing the conclave are HCL, NALCO, & MECL under the Ministry of Mines and the companies in which the government stake is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Mines, viz. HZL & BALCO.
iv. The metal and the allied sector would also participate in the conclave.
v. This Mining Conclave will provide unique opportunity to the State Governments to showcase their auctionable 100 mineral blocks with regard to its exploration, mineral resources, transport connectivity from mineral block, policy scenario in State and incentives to attract prospective investors.
Announcements and Releases in the meeting:
i. A webpage on the Ministry of Mines website, “NCMM July, 2018” has been created about the Conclave.
ii. The Minister of Mines, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar announced about the growth of 6% of the mineral production in terms of volume and 23.4% in terms of value. With average annual accrual of Rs 6000 crore and present accumulated fund of Rs 19,500 crores.
iii. Out of the 43 mines auctioned under the new auction regime, 2 have become operational and 9 more blocks are likely to be operational in this year.
iv. During the conclave, series of books have also been released by the Minister of Mines and Minister of State for Mines including a booklet on theachievements of Ministry of mines in the last four years.
v. Other releases include: bulletins of Geological Survey of India, ‘at a glance on mineral exploration in India’, Booklets of NALCO and HCL on ‘Aluminium –the future metal’ and ‘from waste to secondary resources’ respectively .
vi. An app of NALCO – NAMASYA was also launched by the Ministers.
The Ministry of Mines organized the 1st National Conclave on Mines & Minerals on 4-5 July, 2016 at Raipur, 2nd National Conclave on Mines & Minerals on 15th Feb, 2017 at New Delhi and 3rd National Conclave on Mines & Minerals on 20th March, 2018 at New Delhi.
Government allows photography at all protected monuments except Ajanta Caves, Leh Palace and Taj Mahal
On 13th July 2018, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), an organisation under the Ministry of Culture, issued an order allowing photography within the premises of all centrally protected monuments/sites except at Ajanta Caves, Leh Palace and Taj Mahal.
Government allows photography at all protected monuments except Ajanta Caves, Leh Palace and Taj Mahal:
i. This order has been issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi questioned the logic behind the existing restrictions at an event in Dharohar Bhawan, New Delhi, on 12th July 2018.
ii. In 2016, the ASI made it mandatory for photographers to be licensed to function commercially in protected monuments.
Some important UNESCO Natural Heritage Sites in India:
♦ Kaziranga National Park – Assam
♦ Keoladeo National Park – Rajasthan
♦ Manas Wildlife Sanctuary – Assam
‘Heritage Cabinet’ constituted by the Odisha Government ; CM Naveen Patnaik is the chirman
On July 13, 2018, The Odisha government announced the constitution of a ‘Heritage Cabinet,’ headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The decision regarding the constitution was taken at the state cabinet meeting in Puri on December 26, 2017.
It aims at protection of ancient monuments, temples and archaeological sites and preservation of culture in Odisha
i. There will be eight members including chief minister in the cabinet.
ii. Chief Secretary A P Padhi will be the secretary of the cabinet.
iii. The other members of the cabinet included are: The ministers of Finance, Odia Language, Literature &Culture and Tourism, Handlooms, Textiles & Handicrafts, SC, ST Development, Higher Education, School & Mass Education and Electronics & IT.
♦ Governor: Prof. Ganeshi Lal.
♦ National Parks: Bhitarkanika National Park, Simlipal National Park.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu unveils State Credit Plan (banking) 2018-19
On 13th July 2018, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu released the State Credit Plan (banking) 2018-19, with an aim to improve banking services in Andhra Pradesh.
Andhra Pradesh State Credit Plan (banking) 2018-19:
i. This plan was announced at the 203rd meeting of State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC). As per this scheme, Andhra Pradesh has been allocated Rs.1,94,220 crores for development and modernisation.
ii. The Priority Sector that includes agriculture and allied activities, micro and small enterprises, poor people for housing, students for education has been allocated Rs 1,44,220 crores.
iii. The non-priority sector, under which financial institutions lend credit to bank customers, has been allocated Rs 50,000 crores.
iv. Heavy industries has been allotted Rs 10,457 crores. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) has been allotted Rs 28,261 crores.
v. Issues related to financial support, review of increasing rural banking, details of ATMs available to the public, review of PM Jan Shannon Yojana accounts, study on the performance of Bank Mitra’s, loans to agriculture and allied sectors were discussed during the meeting.
v. SLBC also reviewed 39 issues in 20 major sectors. SLBC is an inter-institutional forum for coordination and joint implementation of development programmes and policies by the financial institutions in Andhra Pradesh. This Committee meets once in a quarter.
Some bird sanctuaries in Andhra Pradesh:
♦ Atapaka Bird Sanctuary
♦ Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary
♦ Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary
Haryana tops states in per capita revenue collection under GST and 4th highest generator of e-way bills in India
On 11th July 2018, Haryana Finance Minister Abhimanyu said that, Haryana has topped other states in per capita revenue collection under GST, and is also the 4th highest generator of e-way bills in India.
Haryana tops states in per capita revenue collection under GST:
i. He said that, Haryana has widened the tax base by 82.22 % and logged 19 % increase in revenue collections.
ii. Also, the compliance percentage of assessees in Haryana is 5-7 % higher than the national average and revenue collection under commercial taxes has recorded double-digit growth.
iii. The number of tax assessees under VAT, Central Excise and Service Tax in Haryana was 2.25 lakh before the introduction of GST. Now the number of dealers is nearly 4.10 lakh.
iv. In Haryana, the threshold limit for mandatory registration of tax assessees has been increased from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh under GST.
v .He said that, GST collected during 2017-18 (for 9 months) averaged Rs 1,505.93 crore, which increased to Rs 1,804.96 crore during the first 3 months of 2018-19, amounting to year-on-year growth of 19.85 %.
vi. Under GST, the compliance percentage of assessees filing returns in Haryana has been consistently 5-7 % more than the national average. It has been as high as 98.27 %.
vii. Nearly 1.12 crore e-way bills were generated in Haryana from 1st April 2018 to 30th June 2018. Haryana has become the 4th highest generator of e-way bills in India.
viii. Physical checking of 1.10 lakh e-way bills was conducted by Officers of the Excise and Taxation Department in April and May 2018. 3,358 cases of irregularities were detected and Rs. 21.37 crore was collected as penalty.
ix. He said that, during financial years 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18, Haryana has showed enormous growth in revenue collection under commercial taxes with a growth rate of 10.47 %, 11.9 % and 24.1 %, respectively.
x. The revenue collection figures under GST, CST, SGST, including other taxes subsumed later under the GST, are Rs 21,546.98 crore in 2015-16, Rs. 24,301.61 crore in 2016-17 and Rs 29,941.43 crore in 2017-18.
x. The total collection from food grains amounted to Rs 1,100 crore in Haryana.
xi. He said that, to recover arrears of taxes before implementation of the GST, the Haryana One Time Settlement Scheme for recovery of Outstanding Dues, 2017 was notified on 22nd June 2017.
xii. Through this scheme, outstanding dues of Rs 2,328.36 crore have been recovered from 1,954 dealers.
xiii. He added that, budgetary estimate for the Excise Department for 2018-19 had been fixed at Rs 6,000 crore.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Haryana:
♦ Bir Bara Ban Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Abubshahar Wildlife Sanctuary
Botanical garden in Kothaguda reserve forest inaugurated in Telangana
On 13th July 2018, the Botanical Garden in Kothaguda reserve forest was re-launched after renovation. It was inaugurated by Telangana Municipal Administration Minister K T Rama Rao.
Botanical garden in Kothaguda reserve forest inaugurated:
i. The Telangana State Forest Development Corporation (TSFDC) made improvements in the park at a cost of Rs 5 crore, as per the directions of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
ii. Total area of the reserve forest is 274 acres. Development activities were carried out in 12 acres of the visitors’ zone.
iii. The improvements were done in Nakshatra Vanam, Rasi Vanam and Navagraha Vanam, herbal and medicinal garden with 60 species, butterfly park, rose garden and cactus garden.
iv. An interpretation centre, an environmental education centre, and audio visual room have been developed for creating environmental awareness among students, employees, and children.
v. Fibre murals of wild animals have been made. An indoor gym with modern equipment, an open gym, an open Yoga platform, and meditation centre have been developed.
vi. Also, a three-km walking path in the conservation zone of the park has been made. Children’s arena, gazebos, food court, toilets, drinking water, sewage treatment plant, resting accommodation, and boating are other facilities have been created.
vii. A grid-connected solar power plant of 30 KW capacity has been developed. Fee for entry to the park will be Rs 25 per head for adults and Rs 10 for children.
Some important National Parks in Telangana:
♦ Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park
♦ Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park
♦ Mrugavani National Park
Second India-China Maritime Affairs Dialogue in Beijing, China
On 13th July 2018, the Second India-China Maritime Affairs Dialogue was held in Beijing, China.
Second India-China Maritime Affairs Dialogue:
i. The Indian delegation was led by Dr. Pankaj Sharma, Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security Affairs), in the Ministry of External Affairs.
ii. The Chinese delegation was led by Mr. Wu Jianghao, Director General at the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.
iii. India and China exchanged views on various topics of mutual interest like perspectives on maritime security and cooperation, blue economy, and further strengthening of practical cooperation.
iv. The Indian side explained India’s vision for the Indo-Pacific region as mentioned in Indian Prime Minister Modi’s keynote address in 2018 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
v. India and China stressed on strengthening maritime cooperation as an important area of India-China bilateral relations, and as a platform to improve political and strategic mutual trust between both the countries.
vi. During the visit, Indian delegation also met with H.E. Mr. Kong Xuanyou, Vice-Foreign Minister of China. The next round of the India-China Maritime Affairs Dialogue will be conducted at a mutually convenient time in India.
Some important dams in India:
♦ Warna Dam – Varna River
♦ Bhatsa Dam – Bhatsa and chorna River
♦ Pillur Dam – Bhavani River
Portugal parliament approves new gender change law
On 12th July 2018, the Portuguese parliament approved a law that will allow citizens to change their gender and name from the age of 16 without a medical report showing identity disruption.
Portugal parliament approves new gender change law:
i. Portugal has become the sixth European country to grant the right to self-determination of transgender identitywithout the guardianship of a third party and without a diagnosis of identity disruption following Denmark, Malta, Sweden, Ireland and Norway.
ii. The change of gender and name will be independent from any possible sex change operation.
iii. A law that was in force since 2011 required transgender citizens to have a medical diagnosis that reported gender dysphoria, when gender does not correspond to biological sex.
iv. Now, the new law must be signed by Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. The head of state wanted a medical report requirement for cases in which minors aged 16 to 18 were involved to back their decision.
v. The part of the law involving minors was amended and a medical report will be required.
vi. The law also prohibits surgical procedures on inter-sex babies, who are born with male and female reproductive organs. That will let them choose their gender later in life.
Some important airports in India:
♦ Veer Savarkar International Airport – Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
♦ Visakhapatnam International Airport – Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
♦ Tirupathi Airport – Tirupathi, Andhra Pradesh
INS Tarangini participates in Tall Ship Races – 2018 during its Lokayan-18 voyage
On July 13, 2018, INS Tarangini arrived at her seventh port, Sunderland in the UK, during her #Lokayan-18 voyage and also to participate in the prestigious ‘tall ship races – 2018’.
About #Lokayan-18 voyage :
i. Lokayan is a combination of two Sanskrit words: ‘Lokya’ meaning worldwide and ‘Yana’ meaning travel, thus literally meaning, ‘travel around the world’.
ii. INS Tarangini commenced ‘Lokayan-18’ on 10 Apr 18 from Kochi, India and is set to cover a distance of over 20,000 nautical miles, with a crew of 9 officers, 30 officer sea trainees and 43 sailors.
iii. The voyage will take seven months and Tarangini will have the honour of displaying the Indian flag at 15 ports across 13 countries.
About INS Tarangini:
i. The name ‘Tarangini’ is derived from the Hindi word ‘Tarang’ meaning waves; thus, Tarangini means ‘the one that rides the waves’.
ii. INS Tarangini is the first ship of the #Indian Navy to have circumnavigated the globe in the year 2003-04 and has participated in tall ship races conducted around the world in 2007, 2011 and 2015.
iii. The ship is part of the first Training Squadron based at Kochi, under the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy.
iv. INS Tarangini is a three masted ‘barque,’ commissioned in 1997 as a sail training ship for the Indian Navy
v. She was constructed in Goa, based on a design by a British naval architect, Colin Mudie.
vi. She has two sister ships in the Royal Navy, STS Royalist and STS Lord Nelson, also designed by Colin Mudie.
About Tall ships race:
i. ‘Sail Training International’ organizes tall ship races and regattas
ii. To promote international friendship and understanding among young sailors.
BANKING & FINANCE
LPG Subsidy fiasco: Airtel Payments Bank gets RBI, UIDAI nod to resume taking new customers
On 12th July 2018, Airtel Payments Bank said that, it has received required approvals from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to begin taking new customers.
Airtel Payments Bank gets RBI, UIDAI nod to resume taking new customers:
i. UIDAI (Home – Unique Identification Authority of India) has also allowed Airtel Payments Bank to use the 12-digit unique identification number (Aadhaar) based e-KYC.
ii. This decision has been taken 7 months after Airtel along with Airtel Payments Bank was alleged for opening payments bank accounts of its mobile subscribers without their consent, and LPG subsidy worth crores was deposited into these accounts.
iii. RBI thereafter had directed Airtel Payments Bank not to take new customers. UIDAI had suspended the e-KYC licence of both Airtel and the Airtel Payments bank.
iv. Airtel had denied any fraud and streamlined its processes to comply with the regulations.
v. In March 2018, UIDAI restored Airtel’s authorisation to conduct Aadhaar-based verification of its mobile subscribers. But it did not lift the suspension on its payments banks’ e-KYC licence.
vi. A payments bank operates on a smaller scale without involving any credit risk.
vii. It can accept deposits up to Rs 1 lakh, offer remittance services, mobile payments/transfers/purchases and other banking services like ATM/debit cards, net banking and third party fund transfers. It cannot offer loans or issue credit cards.
About Airtel Payments Bank:
♦ MD and CEO – Anubrata Biswas
♦ Founded – 2016
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
RIL’s market cap breaches Rs 7 lakh crore mark
On July 13, 2018, The market valuation of Reliance Industries surged past Rs 7 lakh crore mark, making it the second company after TCS to achieve this milestone.
i. RIL’s market capitalisation (m-cap) rose to Rs 7,01,404 crore (over USD 102 billion) during the early trade on BSE.
ii. The m-cap has been calculated at the stock’s 52-week high price (2.31 per cent) of Rs 1,107.25.
iii. RIL crossed the USD 100 billion mark for the first time in the last 10 years.
iv. Earlier, Reliance Industries had breached this mark in intra-day trade on October 18, 2007.
TCS is the country’s most valued firm with a market cap of Rs 7,60,355.03 crore followed by RIL, HDFC Bank (Rs 5,69,268.91 crore), HUL (Rs 3,75,455.73 crore) and ITC (Rs 3,33,506.50 crore) in the top five order.
♦ Chairman: Mukesh Ambani.
♦ Business across: energy, petrochemicals, textiles, natural resources, retail, and telecommunications.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ Founded: 1968.
♦ Chairman: Natarajan Chandrasekaran.
Railways launched its first consolidated Bridge Management System
On July 13, 2018, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal launched its first consolidated Bridge Management System (IR-BMS), a web-enabled IT application to store data on 1.5 lakh bridges.
Assimilation, analysis and dissemination of information related to various activities of the bridges.
The web-based platform will show the bridge master data, works data, information regarding inspection/monitoring and maintenance of the bridges and other essentials.
Other announcements at the launch:
i. Goyal felicitated the artists who participated in this initiative by giving them cash awards and appreciation certificates.
ii. He also felicitated artists who won the top prize in the national transporter’s in-house Station Beautification Contest. They worked for 7 railway stations.
iii. This innovative competition was organized among zonal railways in December 2017.
iv. More than 62 stations across zonal railways were beautified under this initiative by utilising skills of local artists, mostly using local art form, painting style, local themes or contemporary arts.
v. The entries were evaluated on the basis of : depiction of local subjects, culture, themes, overall harmony of art with the station colours, type of art form used, and quality of work done.
vi. The prize winning entries were awarded cash rewards Rs 10 lakh for the first prize, Rs 5 lakh for the second prize and Rs 3 lakh for the third prize.
The winners were:
|1st||Balharshah railway station (Maharashtra)||Central Railway|
|Chandrapur railway station (Maharashtra)|
|2nd||Madhubani Railway Station (Bihar)||Eastern Railway|
|Madurai Railway Station (Tamil Nadu)||Southern Railway|
|3rd||Gandhidham Station (Gujrat)||Western Railway|
|Kota Station (Rajasthan)||West Central Railway|
|Secunderabad Satation (Telangana)||South Central Railway|
Ministry of Railways:
♦ Union Minister: Piyush Goyal.
♦ Minister of State: Manoj Sinha and Rajen Gohain.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
India’s ICZM Project wins World Bank’s internal award
On 13th July 2018, a top Environment Ministry official said that, India’s Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)project has bagged World Bank’s internal award for exceptional performance in achieving many development goals.
India’s ICZM Project – World Bank’s internal award:
i. Union Environment secretary C K Mishra said that, the ICZM project is one among the eight projects that were awarded.
ii. They were selected from 42 final nominations received from the World Bank Task Teams in the South Asian Countries.
About World Bank:
♦ President – Jim Yong Kim
♦ Headquarters – Washington, D.C., U.S.
Piyush Goyal gives away awards for beautification of stations premises
On 12th July 2018, Union Minister of Railways & Coal, Piyush Goyal distributed awards to winning stations of Station Beautification competition in Rail Bhawan, New Delhi.
Station Beautification competition:
i. The Station Beautification competition was organized among Zonal Railways in December 2017.
ii. First Prize: Balharshah & Chandrapur Railway Stations of Central Railway – Rs.10 Lakhs.
ii. Second Prize: Madhubani station of East Central Railway & Madurai station of Southern Railway – Rs. 5 Lakhs.
iii. Third Prize: Gandhidham station of Western Railway, Kota station of West Central Railway & Secunderabad station of South Central Railway – Rs. 3 Lakhs.
iv. Piyush Goyal presented cash awards and appreciation certificates to the artists who participated in this initiative.
v. Piyush Goyal also released a booklet containing photographs of all the stations that have been beautified under this initiative.
vi. The station beautification initiative was launched by Indian Railways under the guidance of Minister of Railways & Coal, Piyush Goyal.
vii. This involved wall art of paints and graffiti or local arts with participation of local artists, private groups and volunteers.
viii. Over 62 stations across Zonal railways have been beautified under this initiative. An evaluation committee of senior officials of Ministry of Railways was formed to judge the entries of the stations that participated in this competition.
ix. The entries were evaluated based on various factors like depiction of local subjects, culture & themes, overall harmony of art with the station colours, type of art form used, quality of work done.
x. The award winning stations were selected on the basis of the recommendations of this committee and were approved by Chairman, Railway Board.
xi. Piyush Goyal also launched the Bridge Management System (IR-BMS). This is a web-enabled IT Application for meaningful assimilation, analysis and dissemination of information related to activities like Bridge Master Data, works Data, Inspection/Monitoring and Maintenance of the bridges of Indian Railways.
xii. He also released 3 technical booklets namely Ultrasonic Testing Pamphlet, AT Welding Pamphlet, Flash Butt Welding Technical Pamphlet.
Tag lines of some banks:
♦ Union Bank of India – Good people to bank with
♦ United Bank of India – The Bank that begins with “U”
♦ Vijaya Bank – A Friend You Can Bank On
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Vice President of India and the President of ICWA, M. Venkaiah Naidu appoints Dr. T.C.A. Raghavan as Director General of ICWA
Vice President of India and the President of ICWA, M. Venkaiah Naidu has appointed Dr. T.C.A. Raghavan as the Director General, ex officio Member-Secretary of the Council, ICWA (Indian Council of World Affairs).
Dr. T.C.A. Raghavan – Director General of ICWA:
i. This decision was taken in the meeting of the Governing Body and Governing Council of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) on 13th July 2018.
ii. Dr. T.C.A. Raghavan is an Indian Foreign Service Officer (IFS) of 1982 batch. He has served as India’s High Commissioner to Islamabad and Singapore and has served in India’s missions at London, Thimphu and Kuwait.
About ICWA (Indian Council of World Affairs):
♦ Established – 1943
♦ Location – New Delhi
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Rare double asteroid discovered (Near-Earth asteroid 2017 YE5): NASA
Near-Earth asteroid 2017 YE5, an asteroid discovered in 2017, is actually two objects, each around 900 metres in size and orbiting each other. This has been revealed by new observations made by three of the world’s largest radio telescopes.
Near-Earth asteroid 2017 YE5:
i. Near-Earth asteroid 2017 YE5 was discovered with observations provided by the Morocco Oukaimeden Sky Survey in December 2017.
ii. Details about the asteroid’s physical properties were not known until the end of June 2018.
iii. This is the fourth “equal mass” binary near-Earth asteroid ever detected that consists of two objects nearly identical in size, orbiting each other.
iv. The new observations provide the most detailed images ever obtained of this type of binary asteroid.
v. 21st June 2018, the asteroid 2017 YE5 made its closest approach to Earth for at least the next 170 years. It came within 6 million kilometers of Earth, or around 16 times the distance between Earth and the Moon.
vi. On 21st and 22nd June 2018, observations by NASA’s Goldstone Solar System Radar (GSSR) in California showed the first signs that 2017 YE5 might be a binary system.
vii. The observations showed two distinct lobes. But the asteroid’s orientation was such that scientists could not see if the two bodies were separate or joined.
viii. Later, the two objects rotated to reveal a gap between them. Scientists at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico along with researchers at the Green Bank Observatory (GBO) in West Virginia confirmed that 2017 YE5 consists of two separated objects.
ix. The new observations received between 21st June and 26th June 2018 showed that the two objects revolve around each other once in every 20 to 24 hours.
x. Radar imaging shows that the two objects are larger than their combined optical brightness originally suggested.
xi. The two rocks do not reflect as much sunlight as a typical rocky asteroid. 2017 YE5 is said to be dark like charcoal.
xii. The Goldstone images taken on 21st June 2018 also shows a striking difference in the radar reflectivity of the two objects.
xiii. This phenomenon was not seen earlier in over 50 other binary asteroid systems studied by radar since 2000.
xiii. The reflectivity differences are also seen in the Arecibo images. This shows that the two objects may have different densities, compositions near their surfaces, or different surface roughness.
xiv. Scientists estimate that among near-Earth asteroids larger than 200 metres in size, nearly 15 % are binaries with one larger object and a much smaller satellite. Equal-mass binaries like 2017 YE5 are very rare.
About NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration):
♦ Administrator – Jim Bridenstine
♦ Headquarters – Washington, D.C., U.S.
Goa University has discovered a pigment in wild edible mushroom that may help fight cancer
On July 11, 2018, The Mycological Laboratory of Goa university announced the discovery of a new pigment from local wild mushrooms that may help fight cancer. The pigment has been declared as world’s first sulphur-rich edible melanin.
i. It is a new suphur-rich melanin biopigment of immense bioindustrial, biomedical (anti-cancer, anti-tumour) and biotechnological potential.
ii. It has been found in Roen alamis (wild variety of Goan mushrooms that grows on termite hills) or Termitomyces species.
iii. Its structure is similar to black pigment found in human hair.
iv. This discovery has been done by Rosy de Souza, who is a national scholar under DST INSPIRE under three years under Dr. Nandakumar Kamat, Assistant Professor of Botany, department of Goa University.
v. The study published on July 9 in Mycology: International Journal Of Fungal Biology affiliated to Mycological Society of China, and published by Taylor and Francis, U.S.
♦ Chief Minister: Manohar Parrikar.
♦ Governor: Smt.Mridula Sinha.
♦ Waterfalls: Dudhsagar, Sada Waterfall, Netravali, Harvalem, Kalsa Waterfall.
Mohammad Kaif retires from all form of cricket
On 13th July 2018, Indian cricketer Mohammed Kaif officially retired from all forms of cricket.
Retirement of Mohammad Kaif:
i. Mohammad Kaif started his first-class cricket career in 1997-98. His international career was from 2000 to 2006.
ii. He played in 13 Tests and 125 One Day Internationals. He captained India’s U-19 team in their first-ever World Cup win in 2000.
iii. Earlier he led his home team Uttar Pradesh. He helped them win their first Ranji Trophy title in 2005-06.
iv. He has scored 10,229 runs in 186 first-class matches at an average of 38.60. He also led Chhattisgarh in their first Ranji Trophy season of 2016-17.
v. After retirement, he wishes to be a coach. He has already served as assistant coach of Gujarat Lions team in the IPL.
Some important stadiums in India:
♦ Mahabir Stadium – Hisar, Haryana
♦ Tau Devi Lal Stadium – Gurgaon, Haryana
♦ Chaudhary Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium – Rohtak, Haryana
Dr.N N Wig Doyen of Indian Psychiatry dies at 88 in Chandigarh
On July 13, 2018, Dr. & Prof. N N Wig, the doyen of Psychiatry in India died at the age of 88 after a brief illness in Chandigarh.
i. He led many pioneering studies related to mental health at national and international levels and was head of the Department of Psychiatry at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi.
ii. He set up the psychiatry department at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), in 1963.
iii. Wig was born on October 1, 1930 in Gujranwala, Pakistan. He completed his MBBS from KG Medical College, Lucknow in 1953 and MD Medicine from Lucknow University in 1957.
iv. He pursued his interest in psychiatry by training at the All India Institute of Mental Health (now NIMHANS), Bengaluru.
v. On his return, he joined the Medical College at Lucknow as a lecturer in neuropsychiatry.
vi. He completed the Diploma in Psychological Medicine both from England and Scotland.
vii. From 1984 till 1990 he was the Regional Advisor for Mental Health at the Regional office of the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) of the World Health Organisation at Alexandria, Egypt.
viii. He was the Honorary General Secretary of the Indian Psychiatric Society from 1968-1973.
ix. He had immense contribution in areas of in the area of nosology, culture bound syndromes, course and outcome of psychoses, psychotherapy and psychology.
x. He has a unit after him at the Fountain House Psychiatric Centre at Lahore.