Aug. 31, 2018

Current Affairs
Aug. 31, 2018

JINSON JOHNSON
In Asian Games-2018, Indian athlete Jinson Johnson won Men's 1500 metres gold.

About:

  • Jinson Johnson is an Indian middle-distance runner from

  • He specialises in the 800 and 1500 metres event.

  • In 2018 Commonwealth Games, he set a new national record in the 1500 metres race.

  • 2018 Asian Games, he won a gold medal in the men's 1500m race and a silver medal in 800m.

Source : All India Radio
Sports, Person in News

Current Affairs
Aug. 31, 2018

METEOR
A meteor, believed to have been part of an asteroid, passed close to Earth, over Perth, Australia.

 A Brief Overview of Meteor Terminology:

  • Asteroids: Asteroids, also known as planetoids, are objects that orbit the sun, too small to be a dwarf planet, but large enough to get their own identity.

  • Meteoroids: These are rocks, orbiting the sun, smaller than asteroids (basically, anything smaller than 10-meters). Many of them burn up in Earth’s atmosphere on entry.

  • Meteors: When an asteroid/meteoroid enters Earth’s atmosphere, it becomes a meteor (also known as a shooting star). Friction from Earth’s atmosphere causes most meteors to burn up.

  • Fireballs: If a meteor is ‘unusually bright’ it is known as a fireball. A fireball is caused by friction from Earth’s atmosphere – it’s just a bigger rock so it burns brighter.

  • Bolides: A bolide is a fireball that explodes in midair.

  • Meteorite: For those meteors, fireballs, bolides, or fragments there of that survive the trip through the atmosphere and impact the Earth, they become meteorites. A meteorite is basically any non-terrestrial rock that has reached earth.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Aug. 31, 2018

TRANSIT REMAND
Delhi High Court stayed a trial court order granting to Maharashtra Police the transit remand of human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, one of five arrested in connection with the violence in Bhima Koregaon.

About:

  • Transit remand is defined in Section 80 of the CrPC. The broader provisions for remand itself are defined in CrPC Section 76.

  • If a warrant of arrest is executed outside the district in which it was issued — unless the court that issued the warrant is within 30 km — the person has to be produced in a court of that particular district for remand.

  • g. if an offence is committed in Delhi but the accused is arrested in Chandigarh, then the police will seek his remand from a court in Chandigarh to transport him to Delhi, so that he can be investigated and tried in Delhi.

Source : Indian Express
Internal Security

Current Affairs
Aug. 31, 2018

NATIONAL REDD+ STRATEGY
Union Environment Minister released India’s national REDD+ strategy for achieving climate change mitigation by incentivizing forest conservation.

Background:

  • REDD+ stands for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation”.

  • It aims to achieve climate change mitigation by incentivizing conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

  • Paris agreement on climate change also recognizes role of forests in climate change mitigation and calls upon country Parties to implement REDD+.

  • India – in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under Paris Agreement – has announced that it will capture 5 – 3 billion tonnes of CO2 through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

  • In this background, India has prepared its National REDD+ Strategy.

National REDD+ Strategy:

  • The strategy seeks to address drivers of deforestation and developing a roadmap for enhancement of forest carbon stocks and achieving sustainable management of forests.

  • The National REDD+ Strategy will soon be communicated to the UNFCCC.

  • Implementation mechanism for implementing REDD+:

National level

A National Governing Council of REDD+ chaired by the Union Environment Minister supported by two technical committees, headed by

·         Director General (DG) of Forest Survey of India and

·         DG of Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE).

State level

A committee headed by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) & Head of Forest Force (HOFF) of the States will coordinate REDD+ actions at the State level.

Source : PIB
Environment

Current Affairs
Aug. 31, 2018

NILGIRI TAHR
Acc. to a recent census conducted by Tamil Nadu forest department, population of Nilgiri tahr at the Mukurthi National Park has grown by 18% in the last two years, from 480 to 568.

About:

  • They are a Goat specie.

  • Scientific name: Nilgiritragus hylocrius; Hemitragus hylocrius.

  • Common name: Saddlebacks (as Adult males develop a light grey area or “saddle” on their backs).

  • Habitat and distribution:
    • They are found at high elevations on cliffs, grass-covered hills and open terrain (i.e. open montane grassland habitats at altitudes of 1,200 – 2,600 meters of the South Western Ghats.

    • Their present distribution is limited to approximately 5% of the Western Ghats in southern India (Kerala and Tamil Nadu).

    • Eravikulam National Park is home to its largest population.



  • Population: Around 2,500 in Wild.

  • Conversation status:
    • Listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and

    • Listed as Endangered on IUCN Red List.



  • Threat: Principal threats are habitat loss (mainly from domestic livestock and spread of invasive plants which leads to diminishing grazing land) and poaching.

 

Important Info :

Mukurthi National Park (MNP) is a protected area located in the northwest corner of Tamil Nadu.

It has montane grasslands and shrublands interspersed with sholas in a high-altitude area of high rainfall

It’s a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, India's first International Biosphere Reserve. 

As part of the Western Ghats, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
Aug. 31, 2018

MANGALORE REFINERY AND PETROCHEMICALS LIMITED (MRPL)
ONGC-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) is planning to merge its subsidiary Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) with itself.

About:

  • MRPL, is an oil refinery set up in 1988 and is located at Katipalla, close to Mangalore, Karnataka.

  • In 2007, Government of India declared it as a

  • HPCL owns 17% stake in MRPL while its parent ONGC holds a majority 71.63% stake in the company.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Aug. 31, 2018

ATAL RANKING OF INSTITUTIONS ON INNOVATION ACHIEVEMENTS (ARIIA)
The Centre announced Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA), another annual ranking of higher educational institutions.

About:

  • It is an annual ranking of higher educational institutions based on how they fare in terms of innovation.

  • Indicators: ARIIA will primarily focus on 5 main parameters:

Indicators

Weightage

Budget Expenses and Revenue generated through Innovation and entrepreneurship development

20

Facilitating access to advance centres / facilities and entrepreneurial support system

10

Idea to Entrepreneurship

54

Development of Innovation Ecosystems Supported through Teaching & Learning

10

Best innovative solutions Developed In-house for Improving Governance of Your Institution

6

Total

100

  • Timeline:
    • The new ranking will be formally launched on October 15, the birth anniversary of former President APJ Abdul Kalam.

    • The first results will be declared on February 28, 2019, which is also Science Day.



ARIIA and NIRF:

  • ARIIA, which focuses on innovation, will work parallel to the ranking of institutions captured by the annual National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) which focuses on research.

  • According to government the two differs as
    • Research produces new knowledge,

    • while ‘innovation’ puts that knowledge to use.



Source : PIB
Education

Current Affairs
Aug. 31, 2018

MHRD INNOVATION CELL (MIC)
Union Minister for HRD, Shri Prakash Javadekar launched the Innovation Cell at AICTE, New Delhi.

About:

  • Innovation cell is an initiative of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).

  • It has been established at All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) premises.

  • Objective: To foster the culture of Innovation in all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the country.

  • Mandate: To encourage and nurture young students by exposing them to new ideas resulting in innovative activities in their formative years fostered through Network of Innovation clubs (NIC) in Higher Educational Institutions.

Source : PIB
Education

Current Affairs
Aug. 31, 2018

EXERCISE KAKADU
Indian Naval Ship (INS) Sahyadri reached Darwin, Australia for participating in Exercise Kakadu 2018.

About:

  • Exercise KAKADU, which started in 1993, is a multilateral regional maritime engagement exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and supported by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

  • The exercise is held biennially in Darwin and the Northern Australian Exercise Areas (NAXA) for undertaking maritime activities among regional navies to ensure peace in Indo-Pacific region.

  • It derives its name from Kakadu National Park, which is a protected area in the northern territory of Australia, 171 km south-east of Darwin.

  • KAKADU 2018, the 14th edition of the exercise, is scheduled from 29 Aug – 15 Sep 18 and would see participation of warships and aircrafts from over 25 different countries.

Source : PIB
Internal Security

Current Affairs
Aug. 31, 2018

LAW COMMISSION REPORT NO 277
The Law Commission of India submitted its Report No. 277 titled ‘Wrongful Prosecution (Miscarriage of Justice): Legal Remedies’ to the Government of India.

Background:

  • In 2017, The Delhi High Court, in its order in the case of Babloo Chauhan @ Dabloo vs. State Govt. of NCT of Delhi expressed grave concern about the state of innocent persons being wrongfully prosecuted.

  • It asked the Law Commission to make recommendations on a legislative framework for providing relief and rehabilitation to victims of wrongful prosecution.

Global scenario:

  • Internationally, the issue of wrongful prosecution and conviction of innocent persons is identified as ‘miscarriage of justice’.

  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘ICCPR’, ratified by India) also creates an obligation on the State parties to enact a law to compensate the victims of such miscarriage of justice.

Summary of Law Commission Report no. 277:

  • This report recommends ‘wrongful prosecution’ to be the standards of miscarriage of justice, as against ‘wrongful conviction’ and ‘wrongful incarceration’.

  • ‘Wrongful prosecution’ would include cases where the accused is not guilty of the offence, and the prosecution engaged in misconduct in investigating and/or prosecuting the person.

  • It recommends enacting a specific legal provision to provide relief to the victims of wrongful prosecution in terms of monetary and non-monetary compensation (such as counselling, vocational / employment skills development etc.) within a statutory framework.

  • Compensation framework: It also enumerates the core principles of the recommended framework –
    • Defining ‘wrongful prosecution’ i.e., cases in which claim for compensation can be filed,

    • Designation of a Special Court to decide claims of compensation where filed,

    • Timeline for deciding the claim,

    • financial and other factors to be considered while determining the compensation,

    • provisions for interim compensation in certain *cases etc.



Source : PIB
Polity & Governance

Aug. 30, 2018

Current Affairs
Aug. 30, 2018

DR. AMBEDKAR NATIONAL MERIT AWARDS-2017
Over 180 students belonging to SC and ST communities were honoured at the Dr Ambedkar National Merit Awards for scoring high marks in class 10 and 12 examinations in 2017.

About:

  • Background: The award scheme was started in year 2002-03

  • Implementing agency: Ambedkar Foundation (DAF).

  • Objective: Recognizing meritorious performance of the SC/ST students of Secondary School Exam (class 10th) & for SC Students at the Senior Secondary School Exam (12th) level in all Streams i.e. Science, Humanities and Commerce.

  • Cash Prize:
    • Cash Award @ Rs 60, 000/-, Rs.50, 000/- and Rs.40, 000/- is given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd highest marks holders respectively (amongst the category).

    • Girl students securing highest marks, in case the above list does not include a girl student, are also given cash award @ Rs.40, 000/-.



  • Eligibility criteria for Merit Awards scheme:
    • Students should belong to Scheduled Castes (SC) or Scheduled Tribe (ST) for 10th Standard;

    • In respect of Senior Secondary Board (12th Standard), the student belonging to SC category only.



Important Info :

Dr. Ambedkar Foundation (DAF) is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

It was set up in 1992 as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment is the Chairperson of the Foundation.

Function: implementation of programs for furthering the ideology and message of Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.

Source : All India Radio
Awards and Recognitions

Current Affairs
Aug. 30, 2018

NATIONAL SPORTS DAY
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to the Major Dhyan Chand and greeted all sports enthusiasts on National Sports Day.

About:

  • National Sports Day (also known as Rashtriya Khel Divas) is celebrated on 29th August every year to mark the birth anniversary of legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand.

  • On this day, Dronacharya Award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, and the Arjuna Awards are conferred by the President of India. This year the date has been postponed to September 25 so the Indian athletes could return from Asian Games 2018 taking place in Indonesia.

Source : All India Radio
Sports

Current Affairs
Aug. 30, 2018

ASIAN GAMES
In Asian Games 2018, Swapna Barman created history by becoming the first Indian heptathlete to win an Asian Games gold; Arpinder Singh won a gold in men’s triple jump.

Arpinder Singh:

  • Arpinder Singh is an Indian triple jumper from

  • Medal Record:
    • 2014 Commonwealth Games (Glasgow):

    • 2018 Asian Games (Jakarta): Gold; He won India's first men's triple jump gold in Asian Games in 48 years. Earlier, Mohinder Singh Gill won a Gold in 1970 at Bangkok Asiad.



Swapna Barman:

  • Swapna Barman is an Indian heptathlete from West Bengal.

  • Medal records: She has won Gold in the Heptathlon at the –
    • Asian Athletics Championships, 2017 (Bhubaneswar)

    • Asian Games, 2018 (Indonesia); She is the first Indian heptathlete to win an Asian Games gold.



Important Info :

A heptathlon is a track and field combined events contest made up of following seven events: (1) 100 metres hurdles, (2) High jump, (3) Shot put, (4) 200 metres, (5) Long jump, (6) Javelin throw, and (7) 800 metres.

Of these, the first four are contested on the first day, and the remaining three on day two.

Source : All India Radio
Sports, Person in News

Current Affairs
Aug. 30, 2018

O-SMART
Union cabinet has approved the umbrella scheme named O-SMART which includes 16 sub-projects for addressing ocean development activities.

About:

  • O-SMART is an acronym for “Ocean services, technology, observations, resources modelling and Science”.

  • Implementing ministry: Ministry of Earth Sciences.

  • Implementation Period of scheme: 2017-18 to 2019-20 at an overall cost of Rs.1623 crore.

  • Areas covered: 16 sub-projects addressing ocean development activities such as Services, Technology, Resources, Observations and Science.

  • Target activities during the next 2 years:
    • Strengthening of Ocean Observations and Modelling,

    • Strengthening of Ocean Services for Fishermen,

    • Setting up Marine Coastal Observatories for monitoring marine pollution in 2018,

    • Setting up Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Plant (OTEC) in Kavaratti,

    • Acquisition of 2 Coastal Research Vessels for Coastal research,

    • Continuation of Ocean Survey and Exploration of Minerals and Living Resources,

    • Technology Development for Deep Ocean Mining and

    • Setting up Six Desalination Plants in Lakshadweep.



  • Significance/Impact of technologies developed under O-smart:
    • Providing economic benefits to communities involved in the coastal and ocean sectors, namely, fisheries, offshore industry, coastal states, Defence, Shipping, Ports etc.

    • Addressing issues relating to Sustainable Development Goal-14, which aims to conserve use of oceans, marine resources for sustainable development.

    • Implementation of various aspects of Blue Economy (for efficient use of the vast ocean resources in a sustainable way).

    • Dealing with ocean disasters like Tsunami, storm surges (with the help of Early Warning Systems established under the O-SMART Scheme).

    • Harnessing the vast ocean resources of both living and non-living resources from the seas around India.



Source : PIB
Science

Current Affairs
Aug. 30, 2018

PRAGATI
Prime Minister Modi, chaired his 28th interaction through PRAGATI - the ICT-based, multi-modal platform – to review the progress of various flagship schemes.

About:

  • PRAGATI stands for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation.

  • What is it? It is a multi-purpose and and interactive ICT platform designed in-house by the PMO team with the help of National Informatics Center (NIC).

  • Objective: To initiate a culture of Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation by
    • Addressing common man’s grievances, and

    • Monitoring important programs of Union and State Governments.



  • Working:
    • It is a three-tier system (involving PMO, Union Government Secretaries, and Chief Secretaries of the States); 

    • PM will hold a monthly interaction with the Government of India Secretaries and Chief Secretaries through Video-conferencing enabled by data and geo-informatics visuals; 

    • Issues to be raised before the PM are picked up from the available database regarding Public Grievances, on-going Programs and pending Projects; 



  • It was launched by PM in

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Aug. 30, 2018

GAUBA COMMITTEE ON MOB LYNCHING
A panel headed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba – constituted for suggesting measures to check incidents of lynching – submitted its report to a Group of Ministers headed by Union Home Minister.

About:

  • Background:
    • In May-June 2018, more than 20 people were lynched based on fake posts or rumours floating on various social media platforms.

    • Subsequently, this expert panel was constituted to discuss such incidents and suggest measures to curb incidents of mob lynching’s.



  • Recommendations:
    • Social media platforms – Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Twitter – need to act in a ‘time-bound’ manner against fake posts.

    • Make social media platforms accountable for not blocking malicious posts and videos when brought to their notice.

    • FIR could be launched against top officials of such platforms for not complying with government orders and they could be prosecuted under law.



  • Way ahead: The Group of Ministers (GoM) will now submit its recommendations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a final decision.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Aug. 30, 2018

NORTH KOEL RESERVOIR PROJECT
Union Minister of Water Resources has called for expediting North Koel Reservoir project in Jharkhand which is pending since 1972.

About:

  • The North Koel Reservoir is located in the Palamau and Garhwa districts of Jharkhand State. It is situated on North Koel river which is a tributary of Sone river finally joining the river Ganga.

  • The major components of project are –
    • Mandal dam

    • Mohammadganj barrage (located 96 km downstream of the dam)

    • and two canals originating from Mohammadganj Barrage with distributaries system for irrigation.



  • The project aims to provide irrigation to drought prone areas of Palamu & Garhwa districts in Jharkhand and Aurangabad & Gaya districts in Bihar.

Timeline:

  • The construction started in 1972.

  • It continued till 1993 when it was stopped by the Forest Department, Govt. of Bihar to prevent the submergence of Betla National Park and Palamau Tiger Reserve. Since then, the work on dam is at a standstill.

  • In August 2017, the Union Cabinet approved the proposal for completing the balance works of the North-Koel reservoir project at an estimated cost of Rs 1622 crore.

Source : PIB
Location in News

Current Affairs
Aug. 30, 2018

HIRAKUD DAM
The Hirakud Dam authorities have opened 25 gates of the Dam as the upper catchment areas of the dam in Chhattisgarh had experienced heavy rain. Due to this, water level in Mahanadi has increased.

About:

  • Hirakud Dam is built across the Mahanadi River, close to Sambalpur city in Odisha in India.

  • Type: It is a composite structure of earth, concrete and masonry. It is the longest major earthen dam in India.

  • Background: It is one of the first major multipurpose river valley projects started after India's independence and began operations in 1957.

  • With successful irrigation provided by the dam, Sambalpur is called the rice bowl of Odisha.

Source : The Hindu
Location in News

Current Affairs
Aug. 30, 2018

GANGA CULTURAL HERITAGE
The Executive Committee of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has approved a proposal to document the cultural heritage of River Ganga from Gaumukh to Gangasagar through INTACH.

Documentation of Cultural Heritage along River Ganga:

  • The proposal seeks to develop an appreciation of the river as a cultural stream embedded in the soul of India, by documenting its associated cultural narrative, including features like an annual calendar of events and rituals.

  • This would cover archaeological heritage, intangible cultural heritage and environmental heritage.

Important Info :

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is a non-profit charitable organisation working for conserving the cultural heritage of India.

In 1984, INTACH was established as a Registered Society under the Societies' Registration Act, 1860.

In 2007, United Nations Economic & Social Council (UNESCO) granted INTACH a ‘Special consultative status’.

Source : PIB
Culture

Current Affairs
Aug. 30, 2018

ARANMULA VALLAMKALI
Due to Kerala floods disaster, the annual ‘Aranmula Vallamkali’ was held without celebrations in the water stadium of the Pampa river on the ‘Uthrittathi’ day.

About:

  • It is the oldest river boat race in Kerala held during Onam (August–September).

  • It takes place at Aranmula temple (dedicated to Lord Krishna and Arjuna) in the river Pampa.

  • Palliyodams: These are Aranmula’s unique snake boats (‘’Chundan Vallam’’).

  • Vanchipattu (song): The oarsmen sing traditional boat songs known as Vanchipattu while rowing the boat.

Source : The Hindu
Culture

Aug. 29, 2018

Current Affairs
Aug. 29, 2018

ASIAN GAMES-2018
At the Asian Games in Indonesia, Manjit Singh won gold in men's 800 metres; PV Sindhu became the first Indian to win a Silver medal in Badminton at Asian Games.

Manjit Singh:

  • Manjit Singh is an Indian middle-distance runner who specialises in the 800 metres and 1500 metres events.

  • He hails from

PV Sindhu:

  • Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is an Indian professional badminton player.

  • She is the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal.

  • National honours:
    • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, highest sporting honour of India (2016).

    • Padma Shri (2015).

    • Arjuna Award (2013).



Source : All India Radio
Sports

Current Affairs
Aug. 29, 2018

AIR POLLUTION
Acc. to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), 30% of India's most polluted cities have no contingency plan for curbing air pollution.

About:

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) maintains a list of India’s most polluted cities – also referred to as ‘non-attainment’ cities – which includes 102 names.

  • Out of these, only 73 have submitted a plan of remedial action to the CPCB yet. Major cities including Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Jaipur are lagging behind.

Background:

  • The Centre came up with the National Clean Air Campaign (NCAP) earlier this year after smog levels in major Indian cities saw a high level of smog in the air.

  • The CPCB listed out the most polluted and asked them to implement 42 measures to mitigate air pollution including maintaining a contingency plan for curbing air pollution.

  • Aim of these mitigation measures was to cut overall pollution in India by 35 % in the next 3 years.

Important Info :

The non-attainment cities were chosen on the basis of their performance on the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for over five years

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
Aug. 29, 2018

PRIME MINISTER’S SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION ADVISORY COUNCIL (PM-STIAC)
Union Government has scrapped two Scientific Advisory Committees (SAC) for the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, and replaced them with a nine-member PM-STIAC.

About:

  • Mandate: To act as a high-level advisory body to several ministries and execute mission-oriented programmes.

  • Composition: The 9-member PM-STIAC will be headed by Government of India’s Principal Scientific Adviser to (K. Vijay Raghavan). Other 8 members are –
    • K. Saraswat, former chief of DRDO;

    • S. Kiran Kumar, former Chairman of ISRO;

    • Manjul Bhargava, Professor, Princeton University;

    • Baba Kalyani, MD, Bharat Forge (the lone member from industry);

    • Ajay Kumar Sood, Professor, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru;

    • Madhuri Kanitkar, Dean, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune;

    • Sanghamitra Bandopadhyay, Director, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata and

    • Subhash Kak, Professor, Oklahoma State University.



  • Special Invitees: Unlike in the earlier SACs, secretaries of various scientific Ministries such as education, environment and health would be ‘special invitees’ to the council meetings.

Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Aug. 29, 2018

GAGAN-YAAN
ISRO unveiled details of India’s Gagan-Yaan programme for manned space flight before 2022 as announced by the Prime Minister on Independence Day.

About:

  • Objective: Under the mission, three astronauts will be sent to space for 5-7 days. The spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400km. The crew will do microgravity experiment during the mission.

  • Mission objectives:
    • Enhancement of science and technology levels in the country

    • A national project involving several institutes, academia and industry

    • Improvement of industrial growth

    • Development of technology for social benefits

    • Improving international collaboration

    • Enhance the prestige of the country (India will be the fourth country after the USA, Russia and China to send humans to space)



  • Timeline: The mission will be executed six months before India’s 75th Independence Day. Two unmanned Gagan-Yaan missions will be undertaken prior to sending humans.

  • Members: The crew will be selected by the Indian Air Force and ISRO jointly after which they will undergo training for two to three years.

  • Technologies:
    • GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle will be used to launch Gagan-yaan.

    • ISRO has already developed some critical technologies like re-entry mission capability, crew escape system, thermal protection system, floatation system, sub-systems of life support system etc. required for this programme.



  • Cost: The total programme cost is expected to be less than Rs. 10,000 crores.

Source : The Hindu
Space

Current Affairs
Aug. 29, 2018

SECURITIES TRANSACTION TAX (STT)
Union govt. has clarified that settlements in derivatives will attract same Securities Transaction Tax (STT) as that levied in the equity cash segment.

About:

  • STT is levied on every purchase or sale of securities that are listed on the Indian stock exchanges. This would include shares, derivatives or equity-oriented mutual funds units.

  • It was introduced by the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram, in the Union Budget 2004-05, to stop tax avoidance of capital gains tax.

  • The rate of STT that is deducted is determined by the central government, and it varies with the type of transaction and security.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Aug. 29, 2018

INDIA ENERGY EFFICIENCY SCALE-UP PROGRAM
Government of India and the World Bank signed a $300 million agreement for the “India energy efficiency scale-up program”.

About:

  • Implementing agency: Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL).

  • Objective: Scaling-up the deployment of energy saving measures in residential and public sectors, strengthen EESL’s institutional capacity, and enhance its access to commercial financing.

  • Program components:
    • EESL will deploy 219 million LED bulbs and tubelights, 5.8 million ceiling fans and 7.2 million street lights which will be supplied by the private sector manufacturers.

    • EESL will develop sustainable business models for emerging market segments such as super-efficient air conditioning and agricultural water pumping systems.



  • Significance:
    • Implementing it will avoid lifetime greenhouse gas emissions of 170 million tons of CO

    • The Program will tackle the financing and technical barriers faced by energy efficiency programs and support the Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) program.



Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Aug. 29, 2018

INDORE-MANMAD RAIL PROJECT
An MoU for implementation of the 362 km Indore- Manmad New Railway Line Project has been signed.

About:

  • The MoU was signed between –
    • Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust- Ministry of Shipping,

    • Ministry of Railways,

    • Government of Maharashtra and

    • Government of Madhya Pradesh.



  • Project details:
    • Earlier, Containers and other rail traffic from Indore had to pass through Vadodara and Surat to reach Mumbai, Pune and ports like JNPT, travelling a distance of 815 km.

    • The new project will reduce the distance from Mumbai/Pune to key central India locations by 171 km.



  • Implementation mechanism:
    • The implementation of the project will be through the Indian Port Rail Corporation Limited (IPRCL) on Joint Venture SPV model

    • A Joint Venture Company will be formed between Ministry of Shipping with equity share of 55%, Government of Maharashtra, Government of Madhya Pradesh, and others with equity share of 15 % each.



  • Duration: The project will be constructed within 6 years.

  • Project benefits: The project will reduce the logistics cost for the cargo centres. By providing an alternate route, it will reduce congestion on the existing lines.

Important Info :

Manmad is a town in Nasik district, Maharashtra.

Manmad houses the largest grain storage warehouses of Asia which are administered by Food Corporation of India (FCI).

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Aug. 29, 2018

NAFTA
U.S. President Donald Trump announced a new, preliminary trade agreement between the US and Mexico, which he said could replace NAFTA.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

  • NAFTA is an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America.

  • The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994.

  • According to Donald trump, NAFTA is the “worst trade deal ever made by United States”. Thus, he is planning to renegotiate or replace it.

Mexico-U.S. Agreement:

  • Agreement details:
    • 75% of automobile content must be made in the U.S. and Mexico, up from the current level of 62.5%.

    • Further, 40-45% of such content must be manufactured using labour that costs at least $16 an hour.



  • Benefits for U.S.: The U.S. hopes that this will discourage manufacturers from moving their facilities to Mexico, where labour is available at rates lower than in the U.S.

  • Way ahead: Trump administration has also invited Canada to join talks for a renegotiation of trade terms in favour of U.S. interests.

Comment on ongoing trade war:

  • Mexico’s decision could set an example for other countries like China which have resorted to retaliatory tariffs to deal with Trump’s aggressive trade war against them.

  • Retaliatory tariffs can only cause further harm to the world economy by increasing the burden of taxes on the private sector, which is crucial to fuel growth and create jobs. Further it deprives domestic consumers of access to useful foreign goods.

  • The right response to Trump’s trade war will be to abstain from any mutually destructive tit-for-tat tariff regimes while simultaneously pushing for peace talks.

Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
Aug. 29, 2018

PUNJAB’S SACRILEGE BILL
The Punjab Assembly passed two bills to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to make the desecration of all religious texts punishable with life imprisonment.

About:

  • The bills passed – namely the Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018, and The Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 – make sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and other religious texts (Bhagavad Gita, Quran and Bible) punishable with life term.

  • The bill adds Section 295AA to the IPC to provide life term for injury, damage or disrespect to above mentioned religious texts. Under the existing Section 295A of the IPC, punishment is for a maximum of three years without fine.

  • According to state government, objective of the bill is to preserve communal harmony.

  • The amendments would need the assent of the President.

Background:

  • Earlier amendments passed by the House made only sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib punishable with life imprisonment.

  • The Centre had objected to the amendment and asked the state to not limit it to the desecration of the holy book of one religion.

Important Info :

Sacrilege is the violation or profanation of anything sacred or held sacred (it can be sacred persons, places, and things.

When the sacrilegious offence is verbal, it is called Blasphemy, and when physical, it is often called Desecration.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Aug. 29, 2018

LAKHWAR MULTIPURPOSE PROJECT
The Centre signed a MoU with the six Upper Yamuna basin states for the construction of Lakhwar multi-purpose project in Uttarakhand on Yamuna near Dehradun.

About:

The Lakhwar project envisages construction of a 204-metre-high concrete dam across river Yamuna near Lohari village in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand with a live storage capacity of 330.66 million cubic metre (MCM).

  • This storage will provide over 78 MCM water for domestic and industrial use in the six basin states (Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Delhi).

  • It will also irrigate 33,780 hectares of land and generate 300 Megawatt of power.

  • The project is to be executed by Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UJVL).

  • Background:
    • The project was initially approved in 1976 but work got suspended in 1992.

    • The 6 states signed a MoU in 1994 regarding allocation of surface flow of River Yamuna.



Important Info :

Upper Yamuna refers to the stretch of River Yamuna from its origin to the Okhla Barrage in Delhi.

Source : All India Radio
Geography-Location in News

Aug. 28, 2018

Current Affairs
Aug. 28, 2018

NEERAJ CHOPRA
Neeraj Chopra won a gold medal in Javelin Throw at Asian Games-2018. By this he became the first Indian Javelin thrower to win an Asian Games gold medal.

About:

  • Neeraj Chopra is an Indian athlete from Haryana who competes in Javelin Throw.

  • In the 2018 Commonwealth Games, he won the gold medal.

  • Asian Games-2018:
    • In this process he broke his own national record by clearing a distance of 88.06 metres in men's final.

    • Chopra's gold is only the second medal India has won in javelin throw in Asian Games history after Gurtej Singh won a bronze in 1982 in New Delhi.



Source : All India Radio
Sports, Person in News

Current Affairs
Aug. 28, 2018

INJETI SRINIVAS COMMITTEE
Committee chaired by Injeti Srinivas – for reviewing penal provisions of Company act 2013 – submitted its report making several recommendations for improving Corporate Governance.

Key recommendations:

  1. Restructure Corporate Offences to relieve Special Courts from adjudicating routine offences:
    1. Institute a transparent online platform for E-adjudication and E-publication of orders.

    2. Re-categorize 16 out of the 81 compoundable offences by shifting them from the jurisdiction of special courts to an in-house E-adjudication framework.



  2. De-clogging the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) by through significant reduction in compounding cases before the Tribunal;

  3. Re-introduction of declaration of commencement of business provision to better tackle the menace of ‘shell companies’;

  4. Imposition of a cap on independent director’s remuneration in terms of percentage of income in order to prevent any material pecuniary relationship;

  5. Non-maintenance of registered office to trigger de-registration process;

  6. Holding of directorships beyond permissible limits to trigger disqualification of such directors;

  7. Greater disclosures with respect to public deposits to prevent abuse and harming of public interest.

Source : PIB
GS-4 – Corporate Governance

Current Affairs
Aug. 28, 2018

DRONE REGULATIONS 1.0
Ministry of Civil Aviation has released regulations for Drones under which, from December 1, Drones and their operators & pilots will have to be mandatorily registered.

About:

  • The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) for civil use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) commonly known as drones.

  • These regulations will enable the safe, commercial usage of drones starting December 1, 2018.

Key features of Drone Regulations 1.0 are:

  • There are 5 categories of RPAS categorized by weight (Nano, Micro, Small, Medium and Large).

  • Operational/ Procedural Requirements:
    • All RPAS except Nano and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies are to be registered and issued with Unique Identification Number (UIN).

    • Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) shall be required for RPA operators except for Nano RPAS operating below 50 ft., micro RPAS operating below 200 ft., and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies.

    • As of now, RPAS to operate within visual line of sight (VLoS), during day time only, and upto maximum400 ft. altitude.



  • Operations through Digital Platform:
    • The Digital Sky Platform has been developed as the national unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform that implements “No Permission, No Take-off” (NPNT) for registering and operating drones.

    • Users will be required to do a one-time registration of their drones, pilots and owners.

    • For every flight (exempted for Nano category), users will have to take permission to fly on a mobile app and an automated process permits or denies the request instantly.



  • The regulation defines ‘No Drone Zones’ around airports; near international border, Vijay Chowk in Delhi; State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals, strategic locations etc.

  • The enforcement actions are suspension/ cancellation of UIN/ UAOP in case of violation of regulatory provisions; penalties under Aircraft Act 1934 and under relevant section of IPCs.

  • Application:
    • Drones are allowed for taking photographs, conducting surveys, spraying of pesticides and delivery of relief material during a natural disaster on a case-by-case basis.

    • The rules bar use of drones for delivery of items.



Way ahead: Drone Regulations 2.0

  • Going forward, the Drone Task Force under the chairmanship of the Minister of State Shri Jayant Sinha will provide draft recommendations for Drone Regulations 2.0.

  • These regulations will examine the following issues:
    • Certification of safe and controlled operation of drone hardware and software,

    • Air space management,

    • Beyond visual-line-of-sight operations,

    • Contribution to establishing global standards etc.



Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Aug. 28, 2018

OPEC+
An OPEC+ committee has found has found that found that oil production by OPEC and non-OPEC producers is increasing.

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC):

  • OPEC is a permanent intergovernmental organization of 15 oil-exporting developing nations that coordinates and unifies the petroleum policies of its Member Countries.

  • Origin: OPEC was founded in 1960 in Baghdad, Iraq by five countries namely Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

  • Present member countries: 15 (6 in the Middle East (Western Asia), 7 in Africa, and 2 in South America).

  • HQ: Vienna, Austria.

OPEC+:

  • In November of 2016, OPEC and other oil producers, including the world’s largest– Russia – reached a decision to cut 1.8 million barrels of oil per day from global output. Since then, the cost of Brent crude has almost doubled – from $40/bbl to just under $76/bbl.

  • This new “Super OPEC” – informally referred to as “OPEC +” and the “Vienna Group” - accounts for 55 % of global oil supply and nearly 80 % of the world’s proven reserves, which gives it tremendous market influence.

  • OPEC is also planning to institutionalize this expanded cartel, to include Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Oman, Mexico, Sudan, S. Sudan, and Malaysia.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Aug. 28, 2018

INDIA’S FIRST BIOFUEL POWERED FLIGHT
A blend of oil from jatropha seeds and aviation turbine fuel (ATF) propelled India’s first-ever bio jet fuel-powered flight between Dehradun and Delhi.

About:

  • The 43-minute flight was operated by SpiceJet’s Bombardier Q-400 aircraft, with 20 officials and five crew members on board.

  • A blend of 25% of bio jet fuel and 75% of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) was carried in one of the two engines of the plane, while the other carried only ATF. International standards permit a blend of upto 50% biofuel with ATF.

  • Agencies involved: The indigenously developed Aviation biofuel has been developed by CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun.

  • Significance: With this maiden flight India joins the exclusive club of nations using biofuel in aviation. The use of bio-jet fuel has various benefits like
    • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 15 % and sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions by over 99%,

    • Providing indigenous jet fuel supply security and bring downs import bill on crude oil,

    • Possible cost savings as feedstock availability at farm level scales up,

    • superior engine performance and reduced maintenance cost for the airline operators.



  • Way ahead: Government is planning to formulate a policy on bio jet fuel for aviation industry.

Important Info :

CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP) is a laboratory of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) based in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.

It was established in 1960, for undertaking R&D work in the downstream sector of hydrocarbon (areas of petroleum refining, natural gas, alternative fuels, petrochemicals utilization of petroleum products etc).

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Aug. 28, 2018

ROHINGYA
According to recent report by United Nations, persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar amounts to genocide.

Background:

  • In 2017, government troops led a crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on Myanmar police posts and a military base.

  • Some 7,00,000 Rohingya fled the crackdown and most are now living in refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh and other countries.

  • Subsequently, a UN panel was set up, which interviewed victims and witnesses in Bangladesh and other countries, and analysed documents and videos.

Report by United Nations: Summary

  • Findings:
    • Myanmar’s military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with ‘genocidal intent’.

    • Aung San Suu Kyi – country’s de facto civilian leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner –failed to use her” moral authority” to protect civilians.

    • The report also criticised Facebook for allowing the world’s biggest social media network to be used to incite violence and hatred.



  • Recommendations:
    • The Commander-in-Chief and five generals should be prosecuted for the gravest crimes under international law.

    • The UN Security Council (UNSC) should set up an ad hoc tribunal to try suspects or refer them to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

    • UNSC should also impose an arms embargo on Myanmar and targeted sanctions against individuals most responsible for crimes.



Important Info :

Rohingya are an ethnic group, majority of whom are Muslim.

Currently, there are about 1.1 million Rohingya living in Myanmar. Nearly all of the Rohingya in Myanmar live in the western coastal state of Rakhine.

They are not considered one of the country's 135 official ethnic groups and have been denied citizenship in Myanmar since 1982, which has effectively rendered them stateless.

Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
Aug. 28, 2018

HEMAGGLUTININ (HA)
Scientists have identified a potential universal influenza vaccine that could protect people against most strains of the virus.

Hemagglutinin:

  • Recent development:Haemagglutinin (designated as HA) is a glycoprotein found on the surface of influenza viruses.

  • The name comes from the protein's ability to cause red blood cells (erythrocytes) to clump together (agglutinate) in vitro.

  • Being a class I fusion protein, it is responsible for binding the virus to cells with sialic acid on the membranes, such as cells in the erythrocytes.

  • The candidate vaccine, described in the journal Nature Communications, is called the hemagglutinin (HA) stalk which protected mice from infection by various flu strains.

  • HA stalk has the potential to be developed into a universal flu vaccine, which – unlike the current seasonal flu vaccines – could be given a few times over a lifetime to provide protection potentially similar to a tetanus vaccine.

Important Info :

A glycoprotein is a protein that contains a short chain of sugar as part of its structure.

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
Aug. 28, 2018

AFRICAN SWINE FEVER
U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned that outbreak of African swine fever in China could spread to Southeast Asia and Korea where trade and consumption of pork products is also high.

About:

  • It is a highly contagious, viral disease that affects pigs and wild boar.

  • Transmission: The virus is present in body fluids and tissues of the infected animals and spreads via direct contact and possibly through blood-sucking flies, ticks or other insects.

  • Symptoms: The infected animals get high haemorrhagic fever, lose appetite and die in 2-10 days.

  • Regions of occurrence: The virus is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa, but outbreaks have occurred in East-Europe, Russia, china, the Caribbean and Brazil in recent decades.

  • Prevention: There is no effective vaccine to protect pigs from the virus. No vaccine exists and culling (Slaughtering) is often the only effective way.

  • Impact on Humans:

  • Unlike the H1N1 virus that causes swine flu, the ASF virus doesn’t infect humans.

  • But major outbreaks and culling’s can potentially impact human food security due to lost or reduced production. Bans on imports can impact international trade.

  • Recent outbreak in China: China has killed more than 24,000 pigs and imposed strict quarantine and disinfection efforts in hopes of limiting the spread of virus.

Important Info :

China is the world’s biggest pork producer, accounting for about half the world’s population of swine at around 500 million head.

The meat accounts for more than 60 % of animal protein consumed in the country.

Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
Aug. 28, 2018

AROGYA-MITRAS
A MoU was signed between the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and National Health Agency (NHA) for skill development of Arogya-Mitras under the PMJAY.

About:

  • Under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), Arogya-Mitras will act as an interface between the beneficiaries and the system.

  • Under PMJAY, it has been proposed to hire/depute Arogya-Mitra at each Empanelled Health Care Provider (EHCP) to provide support in: Beneficiary Verification, Query Management, Grievance redressal, and Handling emergency cases.

  • Recent MoU:
    • As per the MoU, NSDC will ensure quality training of Arogya-Mitra through its network of Skill Development Centres functioning under PMKVY.

    • All the Arogyamitras will be certified by health care sector skill council, the body notified as non-statutory body for health sector under the aegis of NSDC.



Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
Aug. 28, 2018

PARINAM MANJUSHA
CBSE has allowed students in Kerala who have lost their marksheets and pass certificate in the floods, to retrieve them from its digital academic repository ‘Parinam Manjusha’.

About:

  • Background: In 2016, The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) launched 'Parinam Manjusha'.

  • Function:
    • It is a digital academic repository which allows students to find their mark sheets, pass and migration certificates online.

    • Employers and educational institutions can also use it to verify academic records.



  • Agencies involved: It has been developed by CBSE in collaboration with NEGD (Digi Locker) and is available at cbse.digitallocker.gov.in.

Source : The Hindu
Education
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