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 INDIAN AFFAIRS

NMCG Organised “Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan” in Five Ganga Basin States
On July 19, 2018, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) organised “Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan” in five main stem Ganga basin states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. 
9thJuly to 15th July 2018 was observed as ‘Shubharambh Saptah’ .
Objective:
Aims to bring greater awareness regarding the importance of afforestation for the task of Ganga Rejuvenation.
Key Points:
i. State Forest Departments of the 5 basin states were made the nodal agencies .
ii. Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) were made the district level Nodal Officers and Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) at the State level for organizing the events.
iii. Other Participants in the programme were :

  • Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS)
  • Ganga Vichar Manch (GVM),
  • NGOs and educational institutions,
  • District Ganga Committees,

iv. Schools, colleges and departments have initiated “Adopt a Plant” campaign.
v. Plantation activities and formal events happened in 100 locations.
vi .Some of the plants which are being sown were: Kanji, Sheesham, Farmis, Jamun, Arjun, Gutal, Siras, Chhitvan, Mango, Neem, Semal, Jungal Jalebi, Gulmohar, Kadam, Sagwan, Saal, Mahogni, Ber, Bamboo, Karaonda, Ashwagandha, Curry Patta, Jathrofa, Beheda, Dhatura, Sarpgandha etc.
vii. In Uttar Pradesh the campaigned was joined with Ganga Haritima Abhiyan.
Other Announcements:
i. Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun was assigned to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR). Based on its report, State Forest Departments would carry out their plantation activities.
ii. An area of 83,946 km2 (1,13,751 hectare) has been outlined along the five main stem Ganga basin states for afforestation over a period of 5 years  at a cost of Rs. 2293.73 crore.
NCMG:
Director General : Shri Rajiv Ranjan Mishra.

Chhattisgarh: CM Raman Singh launches online pension system ‘Aabhar-Aapki seva ka’
On July 19, 2018, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh launched an online portal and mobile app called ‘Aabhaar-Aapki seva ka’ for the online pensioners of the state.
Chhattisgarh: CM Raman Singh launches online pension system ‘Aabhar-Aapki seva ka’i. This would be implemented by Online Pension Management System.
ii. 80,000 pensioners would get information related to pension through the app and portal.
iii. Pensioners will get the benefit of senior pension with the State government’s 7th pay scale before January 1, 2016.
iv. According to which an increased Basic Pension of 2.57 per cent would be received by them.
v. This online management system has been prepared by the Department of Finance for the pensioners by the Directorate of Funds, Accounts and Pension.
vi. This will entail an additional expenditure of Rs 500 crore on the State Government.
vii. Additionally, the Gratuity of officers-employees had been hiked from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh.
Chhattisgarh:
♦ Chief Minister: Raman Singh.
♦ Governor: Balram Das Tandon.
♦ National Parks: Indravati National Park, Kanger Ghati National Park, Sitanadi National Park.

Udaipur ranked 3rd among world’s best cities for second successive year: Travel + Leisure
On July 19, 2018, According to Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Cities report, The city of Udaipur has ranked 3rd among the 15 of the world’s best cities.
i. The top 2 cities are both in Mexico: San Miguel de Allende and Oaxaca.
ii. The ranks were given based on sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.
iii. Earlier in 2009 it has ranked 1st in the list making it  ‘best city in the world to visit’. And in 2017 also it has received the 3rd rank.
♦ Nicknames of Udaipur: City of Lakes, Venice of the East.

Swaraj hosted 10th edition of 2 day Delhi Dialogue in New Delhi
On July 19, 2018, External Affairs minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj is hosting the 10th edition of Delhi Dialogue (DD X) from July 19th to July 20,2018 in New Delhi.
Swaraj to hosted 10th edition of 2 day Delhi Dialogue in New DelhiDignitaries present:
i. Political leadership, policy makers, senior officials, diplomats, business leaders, think-tanks and a cademicians from India and ASEAN member states.
ii. Chief ministers from the North-Eastern states are also invited to participate in the event.
Key Points:
About the DDX Meeting:
i. The theme of this year’s DD X will be “Strengthening India-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation”.
ii. DD X is being organised in partnership with the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).
iii. This will be the first major event to be organised after the ASEAN-India commemorative Summit, which was held in New Delhi in January 2018.
Agenda of the Meeting:
i. It will comprise of six plenary and four parallel sessions, with each session followed by open discussions.
ii. The Discussions are as follows:

  • The sessions on the first day will discuss – Role of North East in Act East, Forging Connectivity with ASEAN, Strengthening Socio-Cultural Links and India-ASEAN Partnership and Emerging Global Order.
  • In the second-day session, there will be discussions on – Maritime Cooperation: A New Framework for India-ASEAN Partnership, Development Cooperation and ASEAN-India Trade, Investment and Technology.
  • The four parallel sessions will discuss – Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Regional Development, e-Commerce and Digital Connectivity, Tourism Cooperation and Building Smart Cities.

Other Important Discussions:
i. Main focus was given to ASEAN India maritime cooperation and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific  region and special focus on North east and India’s Act East Policy.
ii. ASEAN lies in the heart of Indo-Pacific policy so North Eastern states are active partners in developing linkages with the region.
iii. Discussions with Chief Ministers of North Eastern states happened where the Ministers of North Eastern states requested access to Chittagong port as it is the closest port to the North Eastern region.
iv. Recommendation of opening Consulates of ASEAN countries in the North East was suggested by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma as people from North East have to travel all the way to Kolkata to get visas.

NIWE has installed a remote sensing instrument – LiDAR for assessment of offshore wind resource at Gulf of Khambat, off the Gujarat Coast
National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) has installed a remote sensing instrument- LiDAR for assessment of offshore wind resource at Gulf of Khambat, off the Gujarat Coast.
Remote sensing instrument – LiDAR:
i. Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) has performed the following studies with foreign assistance during the past 3 years and current year:

  • Study/Survey & Preparation of Road Map on Tidal Energy Projects in India.
  • Study on the business models for decentralized systems like Solar PV/Hybrid mini grids, PV irrigation pumps and household lighting systems under access to Clean Energy Programme.
  • Study for analysis of battery and Solar PV modules recycling processes in India and creation of market outreach strategy for Rooftop Solar PV.
  • Study on the Investment Potential of Biofuels in India.

ii. A total of 31.67 GW of renewable energy capacity has been installed through implementation of various renewable energy programmes in the past 3 years and current year (up to June 2018) in India including Uttarakhand.
iii. Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) is a non-banking financial institution under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
About National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE):
♦ Director General – Dr K Balaraman
♦ Established – 1998

Elphinstone station of Mumbai renamed as Prabhadevi by Western Railways
On July 17, 2018, Western Railways renames Elphistone Road station to Prabhadevi on Mumbai’s suburban section.

Elphinstone station of Mumbai renamed as Prabhadevi by Western Railwaysi. This change will come into effect from July 19th ,2018.
ii. The station code for the renamed station is PBHD.
iii. Previously it was named Elphinstone road station after Lord Elphinstone , Governor of Bombay from 1853 to 1860.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

UK selects Sutherland as site for its first spaceport
On 15th July 2018, the UK Space Agency said that, it had chosen Sutherland, a peninsula on Scotland’s north coast as the site for UK’s first space port.
Sutherland: site for UK’s first space port:
i. Graham Turnock is the head of UK Space Agency. The United Kingdom will build its first spaceport at A’Mhoine Peninsula in Sutherland on the northern coast of Scotland.
ii. The UK Space Agency is offering 2.5 million pounds to Highlands and Islands Enterprise for the development of the facility.
iii. Highlands and Islands Enterprise will work with a consortium that includes Lockheed Martin to initiate launches as early as 2020.
iv. A spaceport or cosmodrome is a site for launching or receiving spacecraft. Also, an English airport signed a deal that would lead to launches from its facility.
v. The site will enable launches to the north, supporting spacecraft operating in sun-synchronous or other highly inclined orbits.
vi. The U.K. Space Agency said that, in addition to the funding for the Sutherland launch site, it will provide 2 million pounds to support development of horizontal launch sites subject to business case.
Some important bird sanctuaries in India:
♦ Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary – Karnataka
♦ Puttenahalli Lake (Yelahanka) – Karnataka
♦ Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary – Karnataka

Jeff Bezos topped the Bloomberg Billionaires Index 2018 and is the richest man in modern history having $152 billion
On July 19, 2018, According to Bloomberg Billionaires index 2018Jeff Bezos, The Amazon com Inc. founder, is the richest man in modern history with a net worth of $152 billion.
Jeff Bezos topped the Bloomberg Billionaires Index 2018 and is the richest man in modern history having $152 billioni. He holds the position of the richest man since 1982.
ii. His net worth is $55 billion more than that of Bill Gates.
iii. His net worth increased by $52 billion in 2018 and over all it is very close to the Walton Family(World’s richest family)’s fortune which is $151.5 billion.
iv. Bill gates is in the second position with $95.5 billion followed by Mark Zuckerberg with $83.5 billion.
v. Among the billionaires in Asia, Jack Ma of Alibaba (China)ranked 14th with a net worth of $44.1 billion.
vi. Following him is Mukesh Ambani (India) ranking 15th in the list with a net worth of $43.9 billion.
vii. Overall 22 Indian Billionaires were ranked . They are:

Indian Billionaires Name Rank
Mukesh Ambani 15th
Pallonji Mistry 47th
Lakhsmi Mittal 57th
Azim Premji 71st
Shiv Nadar 93rd
Uday Kotak 103rd
Dilip Shanghvi 127th
Radhakishan Damani 164th
Cyrus Poonawalla 166th
Savitri Jindal 196th
Nusli Wadia 213th
Gautam Adani 223rd
Kumar Birla 274th
Vikram Lal 297th
Benu Gopal Bangur 328th
Rahul Bajaj 373rd
Micky Jagtiani 403rd
Prakash Hinduja 435th
Ashok Hinduja 436th
K P Singh 458th
Ajay Piramal 461st
Pankaj Patel 479th


viii. Top 5 billionaires in the index are:

Name Net worth (in $ billion) Country
Jeff Bezos 152 US
Bill Gates 95.5 US
Mark Zuckerberg 83.5 US
Warren Buffet 83.1 US
Bernard Arnault 76.1 France


About Bloomberg Billionaires Index:
♦ The Bloomberg Billionaires Index is a daily ranking of the world’s richest people. The figures are updated at the close of every trading day in New York.
♦ It ranks top 500 billionaires of the world.

India-US resolve to enhance cooperation in counter-terror, aviation security
On 18th July 2018, senior security officials of India and the United States held a meeting on Homeland Security Dialogue in Delhi.
Homeland Security Dialogue:
i. India and United States resolved to improve cooperation in counter-terror, immigration and aviation security.
ii. The Homeland Security Dialogue focused on issues related to security cooperation, customs and immigration, aviation security, capacity building.
iii. India and United decided to work on addressing these issues. The discussions were held in a friendly atmosphere.
iv. It was agreed to maintain sustained interactions to improve security cooperation between India and United States.
v. The Indian delegation was led by Additional Secretary in the Home Ministry Rajni Sekhri Sibal.
vi. The US delegation was led by James McCament, Deputy Under Secretary, Department of Homeland Security.
vii. India and US are in the process of creating a list of terror fugitives. They have agreed on the names of individuals for the Global Entry Programme (GEP) under the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-6 (HSPD-6) Agreement.
viii. The HSPD-6 pact enables sharing of terror-related information. The GEP exempts important citizens from immigration checks.
Some important dams in India:
♦ Idukki Dam – Periyar River
♦ Ranjit Sagar Dam – Ravi River
♦ Indira Sagar (NHDC) Dam – Narmada River

India and Ghana sign 2 MoUs to improve bilateral cooperation
On 18th July 2018, India and Ghana signed 2 agreements to improve the bilateral cooperation between India and Ghana.
India and Ghana sign 2 MoUs:
i. 2 MOUs on Cultural Exchange Programme and on cooperation between Bureau of Indian Standards and Ghana Standards Authority were signed.
ii. On 16th July 2018, Shirley Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana, arrived on a four-day visit to India.
iii. She met Indian External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj and held delegation-level talks.
iv. They discussed on improving cooperation in development cooperation, capacity building, trade and investment and people-to-people relationship.
v. Ghana is one of India’s important partners in West Africa. India is the second largest investor in Ghana.
Some important lakes in India:
♦ Hamirsar Lake – Gujarat
♦ Kankaria Lake – Gujarat
♦ Lakhota Lake – Gujarat

BANKING & FINANCE

India fastest growing economy in Asia:Asian Development Outlook (ADB)
On July 19, 2018, As per Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s Asian Development Outlook report India continues to be the fastest growing economy in Asia with projected GDP growth of 7.3 per cent.
i. Growth would accelerate to 7.6 percent in 2019.
ii. Growth would be driven by increased public spending, higher capacity utilisation rate and uptick in private investment, reform in the banking sector and tax.
iii. China will decelerate to 6.6 per cent in 2018 and further to 6.4 per cent in 2019.
iv. Globally, South Asia would be the fastest growing sub-region despite trade tensions with US.
v. ADO has raised the South Asia inflation forecast to 5 per cent from 4.7 per cent but kept at 5.1 per cent for 2019.
ADB :
♦ Chief Economist: Yasuyuki Sawada
♦ Headquarters: Manila, Philippines.

RBI to issue new 100 Rupee notes with motif of ‘Rani Ki Vav’
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would issue new Rs. 100 note with motif of ‘Rani Ki Vav’ next month.
RBI to issue new 100 Rupee notes with motif of 'Rani Ki Vav'RBI to issue new 100 Rupee notes with motif of ‘Rani Ki Vav’:
i. This note is part of the revised design series introduced after demonetization in November 2016.
ii. This note will have Gujarat’s ‘Rani Ki Vav’ (queen’s stepwell) along with the Swachh Bharat logo and slogan on its reverse. Gandhi ji’s placement will be the same.
iii. The base colour of the note is lavender. The note has other designs, geometric patterns aligning with the overall colour scheme, both at the obverse and reverse.
iv. Dimension of the banknote will be 66 mm x 142 mm. All the Rs. 100 notes issued by the Reserve Bank of India in the earlier series will continue to be legal tender.
v. The new note is little smaller than the existing one and bigger than the Rs. 10 note.
vi. In 2014, UNESCO had recognised Gujarat’s ‘Rani-ki-Vav’ as a World Heritage Site. It is an 11th-century wonder in Patan, Gujarat.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
♦ Governor – Urjit Patel
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai

Jana Small Finance Bank launches commercial operations
On July 19,2018, Jana Small Finance Bank formerly known as Janalakshmi Financial Services formally launched its operations.
Jana Small Finance Bank launches commercial operationsi. It has 157 branches spread over 19 States, in addition to 402 micro-finance branches and
ii. It has more than 45 lakh existing loan customers loan book of Rs 7,600 crore and would hire 1000 employes totaling it to 15,000 employess.
iii. It got small finance bank licence in March 2018.
Iv. It expects to target aspirational middle-class as well as millions of micro and small enterprises for financial inclusion.
v. The Bank has raised Rs 1,600 crore from investors and aims to add another Rs.300 crore to its capital.
vi. It has inaugural interest rate offer of 8.5% (9.1% for senior citizens) for 366-day fixed deposits.
Jana Small Finance Bank:
♦ CEO: Ajay Kanwal
♦ Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka.
♦ Tagline:  Likho apni Kahani

Indian Bank raised MCLR by up to 0.10% ; effective from Jul 20
On July 18, 2018, Indian Bank raised MCLR by up to 0.10%.
i. This will come into effect from July 20,2018.
ii. The raised rate for various tenors are:

Tenors Increased Rates (in %)
Overnight 8.05
One Month 8.15
Three Months 8.35
Six Months 8.50
One Year 8.60
Three Years 8.80
Five Years 9.05


iii. Recently after RBI raised the repo rate by 25 basis points or 0.25%, other banks like SBI, PNB, ICICI, HDFC, Karnataka Bank etc. have raised their MCLR rates to 5-10 basis points for various tenors.
iv. This makes the EMIs, loans more expensive.
About MCLR:
MCLR or Marginal Cost of Lending Rate is the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend except for some special cases stated by RBI. This is linked to repo rate of RBI.
RBI:
♦ 24th Governor: Dr.Urjit Patel.
♦ Recommended by Hilton Young Commission in 1926.
♦ Commenced operations in 1935.
♦ Nationalised: 1949.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Infosys Foundation, Bangalore Metro sign MoU for construction of a station at Konappana Agrahara
On 19th July 2018, Infosys Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) for the construction of a station at Konappana Agrahara in Electronics City, Bengaluru.
Infosys Foundation, Bangalore Metro sign MoU for construction of a station at Konappana AgraharaInfosys Foundation – Konappana Agrahara Metro Station:
i. The station is under the 2nd phase of Bangalore Metro’s expansion plans. Infosys Foundation has committed to maintain it for the next 30 years.
ii. Earlier, Karnataka government had said that Infosys Foundation would contribute Rs 200 crore to the Bengaluru Metro Rail for the construction of Konappana Agrahara Metro Station and railway track.
iii. The MoU was signed by Infosys Foundation Chairperson Sudha Murthy and BMRCL Managing Director Ajay Seth.
iv. As per the MoU, the station will be named Infosys Foundation – Konappana Agrahara Metro Station. The station will be developed on an area of more than 2 lakh square feet.
v. An area of 3,000 square feet within the station will be dedicated to Infosys Foundation.
vi. This space will be given to local craftsmen and artisans for free of rent to showcase their talent and to conduct exhibitions.
vii. The roof of the station will be designed to support solar panels that will offer power for lighting. The station would be operational by 2021.
About Infosys:
♦ CEO & MD – Salil Parekh
♦ Chairman – Nandan M Nilekani

All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) & IIT Delhi sign MOU to give scientific validation to Ayurveda
On July 17, 2018, IIT Delhi signed an agreement with All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) to launch projects to give scientific validation to the ancient medical science of Ayurveda and integrate it with technology.
All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) & IIT Delhi sign MOU to give scientific validation to AyurvedaObjective:
To give validation and integrate the technology with Ayurveda.
Key Points:
i. The agreement was signed at a conference of the heads of National Ayush Institutes.
ii. The projects would be funded by AYUSH ministry.
iii.The projects would work towards promoting the benefits of Ayurveda.
iv. Apart from IIT Delhi, Representatives of IIT and IIM Ahmedabad and AIIMS would also participate to improve Ayurveda education.
Ministry of AYUSH:
♦ Minister of State: Shripad Yesso Naik.
♦ Full Form of Ayush:  Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy.

Setting up of 10 Indigenous Nuclear Power Reactors; Target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 has been set
In June 2017, the Government gave administrative approval and financial sanction to establish 10 indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) of 700 MW each in fleet mode.
Setting up of 10 Indigenous Nuclear Power Reactors:
i. These reactors of indigenous technology are established by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).
ii. NPCIL is a wholly owned PSU (Public Sector Undertaking) of Indian Government under the administrative control of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
iii. These reactors would be set up in the following locations:

Location & State Project Capacity (MW)
Chutka, Madhya Pradesh Chutka -1&2 2 X 700
Kaiga, Karnataka Kaiga – 5&6 2 X 700
Mahi Banswara, Rajasthan Mahi Banswara – 1&2 2 X 700
Gorakhpur,  Haryana GHAVP – 3&4 2 X 700
Mahi Banswara, Rajasthan Mahi Banswara – 3&4 2 X 700


iv. Pre-project activities like Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement, Environmental Clearance, etc are in progress.
v. Land is available at Kaiga and Gorakhpur sites. Land acquisition is at an advanced stage at Chutka and Mahi Banswara sites.
vi. Environmental Clearance has been obtained for Chutka 1&2 and GHAVP 3&4 projects.
vii. For other sites, Environmental Clearance is in process. Also, procurement of long manufacturing cycle equipment, human resource planning etc. have been initiated.
viii. After completion of projects under construction (including 500 MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR), implemented by Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI) and projects sanctioned (including these 10 PHWRs), the total nuclear power capacity will reach 22480 MW by 2031.
A target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 has been set:
i. The Government has formed a target of installing 40 GW of grid connected rooftop solar capacity in India including Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) by 2022.
ii. According to the Delhi Solar Policy, 2016, notified by Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, target has been set for installation of 1 GW of solar power by 2020 and 2 GW of solar power by 2025 in Delhi.
iii. The Government has set a target of installing 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022 in India.
iv. A target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 has been set. This includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro-power.
v. In 2014, the Ministry of Urban Development had requested all States & UTs, to issue required directives to all State Government Departments for using rooftop of buildings under their control for solar power production on mandatory basis.
vi. Also, it was told to issue directives to local bodies under their jurisdiction to incorporate the similar provision in their building bye-laws so that installation of Roof Top Systems (RTS) on rooftops of all types of buildings in their jurisdiction may become mandatory.
vii. The Ministry of Urban Development also issued Model Building Bye-Laws, 2016, in which suitable provisions for installation of RTS on buildings have been incorporated.
viii. 4 States/UTs viz. Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have already issued mandatory notifications for installation of RTS in various categories of buildings.
ix. The Capacity Utilization Factor (CUF) of solar power projects is less than thermal, hydro, nuclear, wind and bio-mass power projects.
x. Government has launched various schemes for promotion and development of renewable energy including solar energy in India from time to time.
xi. Government is promoting development of solar energy in India by offering fiscal and promotional incentives like accelerated depreciation, waiver of Inter State Transmission System (ISTS) charges and losses, financing solar rooftop systems as part of home loan, and permitting Foreign Direct Investment up to 100 % under the automatic route.
About Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL):
♦ Chairman and Managing Director – Satish Kumar Sharma
♦ Registered Office – Mumbai

Phiroze Jeejeebhoy Towers: BSE Dalal Street building gets trademark
On July 17, 2018, BSE building Phiroze Jeejeebhoy Towers located on Dalal Street, in Mumbai gets trademark under Trade Marks Act, 1999 by the government.
i. After this any pictoral usage of BSE would be required to have BSE’s prior consent.
ii. It started its operations in 1875.
iii. It was known as BSE Towers but was renamed after late chairman of BSE, Sir Phiroze Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Repco Micro Finance Ltd received NABARD 2018 award
Repco Micro Finance Ltd was awarded the NABARD 2018 award for its service to self-help group (SHG) linkage in Tamil Nadu for the fiscal year 2017-18.
Repco Micro Finance Ltd received Nabard 2018 award:
i. Repco Micro Finance Ltd is a non-banking finance company promoted by Repco Bank.
ii. Repco Micro Finance Ltd has offered loans amounting to Rs 2,500 crore to more than 10 lakh beneficiaries through 50,000 SHGs, so far.
About Repco Micro Finance Ltd:
♦ MD – Mrs. R S Isabella
♦ Head Office – Chennai

Hima Das to be Assam sports ambassador
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has named Indian Athlete Hima Das as the first sports ambassador of Assam.
Hima Das – Assam sports ambassador:
i. This announcement has been made after Hima Das became the first Indian woman to win gold medal in the women’s 400 m final race at IAAF World U-20 Athletics Championships held in France, recently.
ii. Hima Das registered a time of 51.46s and finished in the top position surpassing Romania’s Andrea Miklos and USA’s Taylor Manson. Hima Das is 18 years old.
Some National Parks in Assam:
♦ Manas National Park
♦ Orang National Park
♦ Nameri National Park

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

World’s beaches eroding in protected marine areas: NASA
On July 19, 2018, According to Landsat satellites data from NASA and the US Geological Survey taken between 1984 and 2016 (30 years), the world’s sandy shorelines are declining in protected marine areas.
i. This could threaten plant and animal species and cultural heritage sites.
ii. About 24 per cent of sandy beaches worldwide are eroding, while 27 per cent are growing.
iii. A third (31 per cent) of all ice-free shorelines are sandy or gravelly and Africa has the highest proportion of sandy beaches (66 per cent) and Europe has the lowest (22 per cent).
iv. Beaches in Australia and Africa are experiencing more erosion than growth while Asia is experiencing the highest rate of overall growth.
v. Reasons could be : artificial coastline development in China, land reclamation, or draining land for human use.

ISRO partners with 3 vendors to assemble 27 satellites by 2021
On July 19, 2018, ISRO signed contracts with three vendors to outsource Spacecraft Assembly Integration and Testing (AIT) activities.
i. It is aimed at industry participation in satellite building activities.
ii. They will help ISRO assemble about 27 satellites over the next three years.
iii. The U R Rao Satellite Centre of ISRO has signed the agreements with Alpha Technologies Private Limited, Bengaluru, and its consortium partners; Bharat Electronics Limited, Bengaluru, and Tata Advanced Systems Limited, Hyderabad.

Commander of Combined task force (CTF-151) visits Indian naval ship Teg in Djibouti
On July 18, 2018, Combined Task Force (CTF 151) led by Commander Rear Admiral Saw Shi Tat of the Singapore Navy visited Indian Naval Ship Teg in Djibouti to carry out anti-piracy operations .
i. The Indian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Anurag Srivastav, and Nalin Kothari, Consulate General, Djibouti, also visited the ship.
ii. Discussions on various aspects of anti-piracy operations including CTF 151 modus operandi were made.
iii. The Indian Navy has been participating in the anti-piracy operation by sending ships to Gulf of Aden.
About CTF 151:
The CTF 151 is focused on disrupting piracy and robbery in in the maritime environment especially in the Somali Basin and Southern Red Sea.

ENVIRONMENT

UNEP & Google partner for monitoring impact of human activity on global ecosystem
On July 17,2018, UNEP(UN Environment Programme ) has announced that UN would partner with Google to monitor the impacts of human activity on global ecosystems by using sophisticated online tools.

UNEP & Google partner for monitoring impact of human activity on global ecosystemObjective:
To develop a platform to enable governments, NGO’s and the public to track specific environment-related development targets.
Key Points:
About the Partnership:
i. The partnership was launched during the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at the UN headquarters in New York.
ii. The focus areas are on fresh-water ecosystems including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.
iii. Other areas are: advocacy and capacity building activities. This would include partnership with European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), ESA and NASA.
How it would work:
i. Google will periodically produce geospatial maps and data on water-related ecosystems by its Cloud computing technology.
ii. Satellite imagery and statistics will be generated to assess and track changes, prevent and reverse ecosystem loss.
iii. The partnership hopes to establish a platform for open-source data and analysis of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Background:
Fresh water ecosystem accounts for 0.01 per cent of the world’s water but is home to 10 per cent of the world’s known species and evidence suggests a rapid loss of freshwater biodiversity.

SPORTS

The International Cricket Council released its ODI rankings; VIrat Kohli tops the chart with 911 points
On July 19, 2018, The International Cricket Council (ICC) released the latest ODI rankings and India captain Virat Kohli has topped with a score of 911 points a career high for him.

The International Cricket Council released its ODI rankings; VIrat Kohli tops the chart with 911 pointsi. This is the highest since Australia’s Dean Jones tally of 918 points in March 1991.
ii. Other rankings are as follows:

  • Top 5 Batting Rankings:

Player Rank
Virat Kohli 1
Joe Root 2
Babar Azam 3
Rohit Sharma 4
David Warner 5

  • Top 5 Bowling Rankings:

Player Rank
Jasprit Bumrah 1
Rashid Khan 2
Hasan Ali 3
Trent Boult 4
Josh Hazlewood 5

  • Top 5 ODI All rounder
Player Rank
Shakib Al Hasan 1
Mohammad Hafeez 2
Mohammad Nabi 3
Mitchell Santner 4
Angelo Mathews 5


ICC:
♦ Headquarters: Dubai , UAE.
♦ Chairman: Shashank Manohar.

OBITUARY

Noted activist Rajmata Satvashila Devi Bhosle passes away
On 18th July 2018, activist Rajmata Satvashila Devi Bhosle died due to a long term illness at Sawantwadi, Maharashtra.
Death of Rajmata Satvashila Devi Bhosle:
i. Rajmata Satvashila Devi Bhosle was 83 years old. She belonged to the Konkan region in Maharashtra.
ii. She was the wife of the last King of the Sawantwadi Kingdom late Shivramraje Bhosle. Shivramraje Bhosle was coronated before the merger of the princely state into Union of India.