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Cabinet approves revision of guidelines of Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme
On July 26, 2017, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave approval for revision of guidelines of Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGB) Scheme with a view to achieve its intended objectives.
i. The investment limit per fiscal year has been increased to 4 kg for individuals, 4 Kg for Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) and 20 Kg for Trusts and similar entities notified by the Government from time to time.
ii. The ceiling will be counted on financial year basis and will include the SGBs purchased during the trading in the secondary market.The ceiling on investment will not include the holdings as collateral by Banks and Financial institutions.
Lok Sabha passes bill to amend Companies Law
On July 27, 2017, Lok Sabha passed Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2016, a bill to amend the Companies Act, 2013, seeking to strengthen corporate governance standards, initiate strict action against defaulting companies and help improve the ease of doing business in India.
i. The bill was moved by Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs. It was passed with a voice vote, with over 40 amendments.
ii. Threshold for the easy compliance scheme has been raised to Rs 100 crore from Rs 20 crore, making more companies eligible for the simple compliance regime.
Rajya Sabha passes the Indian Institute of Information Technology (Public Private Partnership) Bill 2017
On July 28, 2017, Rajya Sabha passed Indian Institute of Information Technology (Public-Private Partnership) Bill, 2017, a bill to declare 15 Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIITs) set up through public-private partnership mode as “institutions of national importance” as well as to set up such institutes through collaboration.
Key Provisions of Indian Institute of Information Technology Public Private Partnership (IIIT-PPP) Bill 2017:
i. The IIIT (Public-Private Partnership) Bill, 2017 seeks to grant statutory status to 15 IIITs and declare them as ‘Institutions of National Importance’ (INI).
ii. Premier public higher education institutions in India which play a pivotal role in developing highly skilled personnel are conferred INI status through an act of Parliament.
iii. The Bill also seeks to enable these institutions to grant degrees to their students in the academic courses conducted by them.
NITSER (National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research) Amendment Bill passed in Rajya Sabha
NITSER (National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research) Amendment Bill was passed in RajyaSabha on 26th July, 2017.
i. The Bill was passed in the LokSabha on 28th March, 2017.
ii. Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister of State (HRD) in RajyaSabha had informed that the Bill proposes to introduce two new Institutions.
1.Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Tirupati
2.IISER Berhampur in the Second Schedule of the NITSER Act, 2007.
iii. Five IISERs at Kolkata (2006), Pune (2006), Mohali (2007), Bhopal (2008) and Thiruvananthapuram (2008) has mandated with promoting quality education and research in the sciences were established.
iv.With the establishment of the two new IISERs there are now seven IISERs.
Punjab launches flagship ‘care companion programme’ scheme
The Punjab health minister Brahm Mohindra has launched a flagship care companion health scheme on 28th of July 2017.
i. The main aim is to improve patient outcomes through better family engagement and education.
ii. The state department of health and family welfare has signed an MoU with Noora Health India Trust, a healthcare non-profit organisation, for implementation of the ‘Care Companion Programme’ (CCP).
iii. The staff nurses from all six hospitals are trained on how to engage and teach patients in the wards.
iv .The objective is to reduce the number of infant deaths and complications like infections in the first 30 days post- discharge and ensure adoption of long-term health pro-motive behaviours.
v.T he innovative programme includes teaching the family of patient’s high-impact medical skills to take care of the patients in the hospital and at home.
vi. The CCP will be initially implemented in maternal and child health wings of six district hospitals.
vii. Through this initiative, the Families will also learn high-impact health skills for taking care of the new-born baby, their hygiene, thermal care, breastfeeding, and maternal nutrition.
♦ Governor:V P Singh Badnore
♦ Chief Minister:Amarinder Singh (INC)
Supreme Court strikes out immediate arrests in dowry cases
Supreme Court strike out immediate arrests in dowry harassment cases was ruled out on 27th of July 2017.
i. The Supreme Court has said that the police will now have to conduct a preliminary inquiry before making any arrest under the dowry cases.
ii. Every dowry harassment complaint made under Section 498A of Indian Penal Code must be referred to the committee, which would look into them.
iii. The bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit said the anti-dowry law was approved with the commendable object of punishing inhumanity of husband when such cruelty leads to the wife’s suicide.
iv. The court’s latest order came as complaints against misuse of the anti-dowry harassment law which was framed in 1983 following a cluster of dowry-related deaths by disappointed wives.
v. With the current misuse of the law, the court said family welfare committees should be set up in every district across the country.
vi. The court also defined the procedures the committees should follow.
vii. The couple and their families should be called in and the matter will be discussed.
viii. Only then the committee will submit a report to the local Magistrate.
ix. According to the court, arrests can be made only if the committee report points to hideous play by the husband.
Bengaluru ranks 40 among top 50 cities for women entrepreneurs – Dell
Bengaluru has ranked 40th out of 50 cities on Women Entrepreneur (WE) Cities Index 2017 study released by Dell. The index ranks cities in terms of its ability to attract and foster growth of women-owned firms.
i. Besides Bengaluru, the only other Indian city in the top 50 list is Delhi at 49th spot.New York topped the list, followed by Bay Area (US), London (UK), Boston (US) and Stockholm (Sweden).
ii. Singapore was at the 8th spot, the only city from Asia Pacific and Japan region.
BRICS nations sign memorandum to facilitate taxation cooperation
The BRICS nations have signed the BRICS Taxation Cooperation Memorandum on 27th of July 2017.
i. The document has been signed by the Heads of Tax Authorities of the five BRICS Nations.
ii. All the five nations agreed to work together to ensure steady employment and better quality of life for their nation as well as for their people.
iii. The aim is to establish a mechanism for taxation cooperation. It includes improving consultation procedures efficiency, boost taxation capacities and plan paths for coordination of taxation policies and tax collection.
iv. The meeting comes ahead of the 2017 BRICS Summit, which is scheduled to be held in Fujian province’s Xiamen, China from 3-5 September 2017.
♦ BRICS was established in 2006. It is an association of five major emerging national economies- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
♦ All BRICS members are either developing or newly industrialised countries. They are also members of the G-20 group.
♦ It became BRICS after South Africa joined it in 2010.
♦ Their total share in the global economy has risen from 12-23% and contributes more than half of global growth.
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI sets up Supervisory Colleges for six Scheduled Commercial Banks which have sizeable international presence
RBI has set up Supervisory Colleges for six Scheduled Commercial Banks which have sizeable international presence.
i. The objectives of the colleges are to enhance information exchange and cooperation among supervisors, to improve understanding of the risk profile of the banking group.
ii. It helps in facilitating more effective supervision of internationally active banks.
iii. The Banks which are included are State Bank of India, ICICI Bank Ltd., Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Axis Bank Ltd. and Punjab National Bank.
iv. This was stated by Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Minister of State for Finance.
♦ The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is India’s central banking institution, which controls the monetary policy of the Indian rupee.
♦ Established: 1st April 1935 & HQ: Mumbai Maharashtra
♦ Bank Rate:6.50%; Repo Rate: 6.25%; Reverse Repo Rate:6.00; Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR): 4%; Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR): 20%
NPCI receives final nod from RBI to function as Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit
The RBI has given a final nod to National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for all retail payment to function as the Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU) and operate the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS).
i. On August 31, 2016, 8 BBPS operating units, which received in-principle approval from RBI, took part in the pilot.
ii. Almost after a year of running the pilot, streamlining the technology and business processes, NPCI has now received final clearance from RBI.
iii. Total number of Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU) certified by NPCI now stands at 24.
iv. The certified units include three public sector banks (Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank), 10 private banks, 5 Cooperative Banks and 6 non-bank biller aggregators.
♦ Founded :2008
♦ Chairman:Balachandran M
♦ MD&CEO: A.P Hota
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif resigns over Panama Papers verdict
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has disqualified Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as a member of the National Assembly in Panama Papers leak case. He has been found guilty of corruption. It has been announced on 28th of July 2017.
i. The Supreme Court also disqualified Finance Minister Ishaq Dar from office.
ii. Defence Minister Khwaja Asif and former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif are the new contenders for the post of Pakistan Prime Minister.
iii. His ruling PML-N party, which has a majority in the parliament, is now expected to appoint a new prime minister.
iv. The Supreme Court ordered the National Accountability Bureau to file case against Sharif and his children within six weeks.
v. The Supreme Court dismissed Sharif after an investigative panel alleged his family could not account for its vast wealth.
vi. The Supreme Court also said that Nawaz Sharif didn’t submit valid asset details in 2013 general elections.
vii. Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan is headed the implementation bench said that cases should be opened against Maryam Nawaz (Sharif’s daughter), Captain Muhammad Safdar (Maryam’s husband), Hassan and Hussain Nawaz (PM Sharif’s sons) as well as Prime Minister Sharif.viii. The judgement should be announced within 30 days.
ix. Pakistan’s stock market fell by 3.4% after Supreme Court ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
♦ Capital: Islamabad
♦ Currency: Pakistani rupee
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Dr. Harshvardhan launches “Sagar Vani” – An Integrated Information Dissemination System
On July 27, 2017, Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Dr. Harshvardhan launched an Integrated Information Dissemination System, “Sagar Vani” on the occasion of Foundation Day of Ministry of Earth Sciences in New Delhi.
i. ‘Sagar Vani’ has been launched to disseminate ocean related information and alerts (like high waves and Tsunami early warnings) to the user community (especially fishermen) in timely manner for their safety.
ii. It is an Integrated Information Dissemination System (IDS) and has been developed by Earth System Science Organisation (ESSO)-Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) under Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) through the Industry M/s. Gaian Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
Iran successfully launches satellite-carrying rocket
Iran has successfully launched a satellite-carrying rocket Simorgh into space on 28th of July 2017.
i. The launch of a “Simorgh” rocket that is capable of carrying a satellite weighing 250 kilograms (550 pounds). “Simorgh” means “phoenix” in Farsi.
ii. The launch took place at the Imam Khomeini National Space Station in Semnan, 220 kilometers (138 miles) east of Tehran.
iii. The launch will be seen as a major step forward for the country’s young space program.
iv. According to a US National Air and Space Intelligence Centre report from June, the Simorgh could act as a test bed for Iran to produce an intercontinental ballistic missile.
♦ Capital :Tehran
♦ Currency: Iranian Rial
♦ President:Hassan Rouhani
Scientists develop new software that can crate 3D models from 2D photographs
Scientists have developed new Artificial intelligence (AI) software called SurfNet that can create three dimensional (3D) models from 2D photographs.
i. SurfNet can be used in robotics, object recognition and even self-driving cars.
ii. It will give them the ability to understand the 3D environment around them using standard 2D cameras.
iii. SurfNet software using hundreds of thousands of 2D shapes of objects can reconstruct it a model in 3Dimensions.
How It Works?
♦ If you show it hundreds of thousands of shapes of something such as a car, if you then show it a 2D image of a car, it can reconstruct that model in 3D.
♦ It can even take two 2D images and create a 3D shape between the two.
♦ It can also be used to create 3D content for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) by simply using standard 2D photos.
NITI Aayog clears six proposals for high-tech public transport
The NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog has approved 6 transport proposals of the Transport ministry exploring options to improve public transport.
i. The ministry is headed by former top official of Railways to study parameters associated with these technologies and their best global practices.
ii. It includes high-tech mass rapid transportation technologies such as Metrino, Hyperloop, Pod taxis, hybrid buses Stadler buses, and freight rail road.
iii. The new technologies are being explored by the Government as current public transportation is unable to resolve the increasing traffic crisis in the country.
iv. The ministry of road transport and highways had sought the approval of NITI Aayog to experiment and introduce six latest mass rapid transportation technologies.
Some More Points:
♦ Metrino: It is fully automatic, driverless small pods, travel independently suspended over an overhead network.
♦ Pod taxis: It is small automated vehicles, cable cars or pod cars which is equipped to carry a small group of passengers.
♦ Hyperloop: It is a pod like vehicle is propelled through a near vacuum tube connecting cities at speeds matching that of an aircraft.
Prannoy climbs to 17th spot in BWF rankings
Indian shuttler HS Prannoy climbed to 17th position in the BWFworld rankings released on 28th of July 2017.
i. Prannoy has won in the US Open Grand Prix Gold title after beating ParupalliKashyap in the final. His previous ranked was 23.
ii. Kashyap had lost the final but made it to top-50. He is now at 47th position in the world rankings. His previous rank was 59.
iii. Another Indian shuttler Sameer Verma has climed four places from 32 to 28 and became the fourth Indian to qualify for the World Championship.
iv. Indian, Kidambi Srikanth is highest ranked at number 8. India now has four shuttlers in top-20.
v. Ajay Jayaram is at 16th spot, while B Sai Praneeth maintains his 19th position.
i. PV Sindhu has ranked at 5th.
ii. Saina Nehwal slipped a place and is now ranked 16th.
i.Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy slipped to three places and now rank 20.
Badminton World Federation (BWF) :
♦ Headquarters: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
♦ Formation: 1934
♦ President: Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen
Bollywood actor Inder Kumar passes away
Actor Inder Kumar, best known for his role in films like Khiladiyon KaKhiladi and Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye, died on 28th July 2017. He was 45.
i. Inder Kumar suffered a heart attack at his residence in Andheri, Mumbai.
ii. Inder Kumar was born in Jaipur and raised in Kolkata.
iii. Inder Kumar had made his Bollywood debut with 1996 film Masoom and worked in over 20 films in a career spanning nearly twenty years
World Hepatitis Day – July 28 2017
World Hepatitis Day has observed on 28th July every year. Viral hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 1.34 million deaths per year that’s as many as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. Together, hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C cause 80% of liver cancer cases in the world.
i. It aims to raise global awareness of hepatitis a group of infectious diseases known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E and encourage prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
ii. This Day brings the world together under a single theme to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and to influence real change.
iii. The 2017 theme of World Hepatitis Day is “Eliminate Hepatitis” to mobilize intensified action towards the health targets in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
iv. The theme is aimed at achieving elimination of hepatitis, greater awareness, increaseddiagnosis including universal vaccination, blood and injection safety, harm reduction and treatment.
v.In 2015, there were around 325 million people living with chronic hepatitis, with 257 million people living with hepatitis B (HBV) infection and 71 million people with hepatitis C (HCV).
vi. The most effective current hepatitis B treatment ‘Tenofovir‘ is available for as low as USD 48 per year in many low and middle income countries.
vii. Viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths in 2015 in comparison to TB deaths and exceeding deaths from HIV.
viii. Hepatitis B vaccine is preventing approximately 4.5 million infections per year in children.
ix. The targets for 2030 Sustainable Development Goals are to ensure that 90% of people with HBV and HCV infections are tested and 80% are reached with treatment.
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