July 31, 2019

Current Affairs
July 31, 2019

TOI 270
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered a dwarf star and the planetary system by the name of TOI 270.

About: 

  • What is it? TOI 270 is the name of the dwarf star and the planetary system recently discovered by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). 

  • Location: TOI 270 is about 73 light years away from Earth, and is located in the constellation Pictor.

  • Members of the planetary system: Its members include the –
    • Dwarf star named TOI 270, which is 40 % smaller than the Sun in size and mass, and

    • three exoplanets (planets outside the solar system) that have been named TOI 270 b, TOI 270 c, and TOI 270 d. These three planets orbit the star every 3.4 days, 5.7 days, and 11.4 days respectively.



  • Features of these exoplanets:
    • In this system, TOI 270 b is the innermost planet. Researchers expect it to be a rocky world about 25 % bigger than Earth. It is not habitable since it is located too close to the star — about 13 times closer than our Solar System’s Mercury is from the Sun.

    • On the other hand, TOI 270 c and TOI 270 d are Neptune-like planets because their compositions are dominated by gases rather than rock.



Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
July 31, 2019

ATAL COMMUNITY INNOVATION CENTRE
Government of India launched Atal Community Innovation Centre in New Delhi to encourage the spirit of innovation at the community level.

About: 

  • This initiative has been launched under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), a flagship initiative of NITI Aayog. 

  • The purpose of this new initiative is to make innovation ecosystem socially inclusive as well as to ensure equitable distribution of infrastructure for innovation across the country. 

  • The Atal Community Innovation Centre has been launched to focus on the 484 backward districts where the innovation infrastructure is very weak. 

  • The new program has been specifically designed for underserved, unserved regions of Tier 1 or Metro cities, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, Smart Cities, Aspirational districts, North-East, Jammu and Kashmir as well as the rural and tribal regions of India. 

Source : All India Radio
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
July 31, 2019

EXTERNAL COMMERCIAL BORROWING
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relaxed External Commercial Borrowing norms for corporates, non-banking lenders as a move towards easing liquidity.

Recent changes:

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has liberalised the end-use stipulations for the External Commercial Borrowings both for corporates as well as liquidity starved non-banking lenders.

  • Liberalisation will be applicable to ECBs taken for working capital, general corporate purpose loans or repayment of rupee loans.

  • Corporate borrowers will be able to avail of ECBs to repay rupee loans taken for Capital expenditures if they are into manufacturing or infrastructure building and classified as Special Mention Account, SMA-2 or Non-Performing Asset, under any one-time settlement arrangement with lenders.

Important Info :

Meaning:

  • An external commercial borrowing (ECB) is an instrument used in India to facilitate Indian companies to raise money outside the country in foreign currency.
  • It refers to commercial loans which can be in the form of bank loans, bonds, securitized instruments, buyers’ credit and suppliers credit availed from non-resident lenders with a minimum average maturity of 3 years.
  • ECBs availed of by residents are governed by the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 alongwith the Foreign Exchange Management (Borrowing or Lending in Foreign Exchange) Regulations, 2000, as amended from time to time.
Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
July 31, 2019

BARDDHAMAN RAILWAY STATION
Government of India clarified that No proposal regarding changing the name of Barddhaman railway station is under consideration in Ministry of Railways.

Background: 

  • Barddhaman Junction is a railway junction station under Eastern Railway in Purba Bardhaman district of West Bengal. 

  • The controversy erupted recently after the Union Minister of State for Home had said the station would be renamed after freedom fighter Batukeshwar Dutt. 

Procedure to change name of Railway station: 

  • As per the existing guidelines, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, alone is the competent authority to approve change in the name of a railway station on Indian Railways. 

  • It does so on the recommendation of the State Government concerned after obtaining No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Science & Technology, Surveyor General of India and Department of Post. 

Important Info :

Batukeshwar Dutt? 

  • Batukeshwar Dutt, who was born in Barddhaman, was tried by the colonial authorities for bombing the National Legislative Assembly in Delhi. Revolutionary Bhagat Singh had also faced trial in the case. 
  • While Singh was sentenced to death, Dutt was awarded life imprisonment. Both were members of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. 
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
July 31, 2019

GLOBAL HOUSING TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGE-INDIA (GHTC-INDIA)
A pre-bid meeting for construction of Light House Projects under GHTC-India was organized in New Delhi.

Global Housing Technology Challenge (GHTC): 

  • Objective: GHTC was launched by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in January 2019 to fast-track the construction of affordable housing and meet the target of constructing 1.2 crore houses by 2022.

  • Parent programme: Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Urban (PMAY-U).

  • Salient Features:
    • Under it, Centre will offer about ₹150 crore as a technology innovation grant to build 6,000 homes — cheaper, faster and better — using alternative technologies and materials.

    • The challenge will focus on identifying and mainstreaming proven demonstrable technologies through ASHA (Affordable Sustainable Housing Accelerators) — India.



Light House Projects Challenge:

  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has published Request for Proposal (RFP) for construction of Light House Projects (LHP) at six selected sites under GHTC-India.

  • These LHPs will be constructed at Indore, Rajkot, Chennai, Ranchi, Agartala and Lucknow.

  • These selected sites will be used as an ‘open laboratory’ for live demonstration and will receive due attention from policy makers and media apart from felicitation/ recognition in Grand Expo-cum-Conference.

Important Info :

Do you know? 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared 2019-20 as Construction Technology Year during the inauguration event of Construction Technology India (CTI) 2019 Expo-cum-Conference under Global Housing Technology Challenge-India (GHTC-India). 
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
July 31, 2019

MUSLIM WOMEN (PROTECTION OF RIGHTS ON MARRIAGE) BILL 2019
Parliament passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019.

About: 

  • Objective: The Bill would help in protecting the rights of married Muslim women and prevent divorce by practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ by their husbands.

  • Salient features of the bill:
    • It declares the practice of triple talaq as void and illegal.

    • It makes this offence punishable with imprisonment up to three years and fine.

    • It provides for payment of subsistence allowance to married Muslim women and dependent children.

    • It proposes to make the offence cognizable, if information relating to the commission of an offence is given to a police officer by the married Muslim woman upon whom talaq is pronounced or by any person related to her by blood or marriage.

    • The offence is made compoundable with the permission of the Magistrate at the instance of the married Muslim woman upon whom talaq is pronounced.

    • It further provides for hearing the married Muslim woman upon whom talaq is pronounced, before the accused is released on bail by the Magistrate.



Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
July 31, 2019

ODISHA RASAGOLA
The rasagola, a popular dessert of Odisha, has received the geographical indication tag from the Registrar of Geographical Indication after years of controversy around the sweet.

About: 

  • The registration was conferred to ‘Odisha Rasagola’ under Section 16(I) or of authorized Section 17(3)(c) of Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999. 

  • The GI number 612 has been registered in favour of the Odisha Small Industries Corporation Limited (OSIC Limited), a government of Odisha undertaking and Utkal Mistanna Byabasayee Samiti, a traders’ organisation, in the foodstuff category. 

Features: 

  • According to the application submitted to the Registrar of GI, ‘Odisha Rasagola’ is a sweet from the state of Odisha made of chhena (cottage cheese) cooked in sugar syrup, which is very soft to feel, is juicy and non- chewy in consistency and can be swallowed without teeth pressure. 

  • Colour development of the ‘Odisha Rasagola’ is very specific, where without addition of external colour, various intensely-coloured rasagolas are prepared using the principle of caramelisation of sugar with specific methods of preparation. 

  • The area of production of Odisha Rasagola has been shown all 30 districts. 

Important Info :

History of Odisha Rasagola: 

  • Both Odisha and West Bengal have been contesting the origin of the rasagola. 
  • Historical records submitted say the ‘Odisha Rasagola’ is associated with Lord Jagannath (of world famous Puri Jagannath Temple) as part of bhog since centuries. 
  • The reference of rasagola is found in the late 15th-century Odia Ramayana written by Balaram Das. Balaram Das’s Ramayana is known as Dandi Ramayana or Jagamohana Ramayana as it was composed and sung at the Jagamohana of the Puri Temple. 
Source : The Hindu
Culture

Current Affairs
July 31, 2019

CONSUMER PROTECTION BILL, 2019
The Lok Sabha passed the Consumer Protection Bill 2019. The bill aims at protecting the interests of consumers by establishing authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers’ dispute.

Salient Features of the Bill: 

  • There is provision for central government to set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers and will be empowered to investigate, recall, refund and impose penalties. It will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements.

  • Mediation: It provides for an Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism. Mediation cells will be attached to Consumer Forum.

  • It ensures Ease of approaching Consumer Commission and Simplification of Adjudication process.

  • It provides for Deterrent punishment to check misleading advertisements and adulteration of products.

  • There are Provision for rules for new age consumer issues: e-commerce & direct selling.

  • Product Liability: A manufacturer or product service provider or product seller will be responsible to compensate for injury or damage caused by defective product or deficiency in services.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
July 31, 2019

AWARD OF SENIOR/JUNIOR FELLOWSHIPS TO OUTSTANDING ARTISTES IN THE FIELDS OF CULTURE
The Union Minister for Culture has announced the inclusion of Nepali and Santhali languages in the Scheme for grant of Senior/Junior Fellowships of Culture Ministry.

About: 

  • The Union Minister for Culture has announced the inclusion of the remaining 02 languages from the 8th  Schedule of the Indian Constitution i.e. Nepali and Santhali in the Sub-Field of Field “Literature” in the scheme component ‘Award of Senior/Junior Fellowships to Outstanding Artistes in the Fields of Culture’. 

  • The Ministry of Culture administers a scheme component namely Award of Senior/Junior Fellowships to Outstanding Artistes in the Fields of Culture. The fellowships are awarded for undertaking research oriented projects. 

  • Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT), Dwarka is the Nodal institute for handling the Scheme of Sr. /Jr. Fellowship till selection process. 

  • “Literary Arts” is one of the Fields under this Scheme where candidates can apply for research in 22 languages as their Sub-Field. These 22 languages include 20 languages from the 8th Schedule of Articles 344(1) and 251 of the Indian Constitution along with English and Khasi. 

Source : PIB
Culture

July 30, 2019

Current Affairs
July 30, 2019

MINORITIES
The National Commission of Minorities (NCM) has clarified that only the Government has the power to declare new groups as minorities.

Recent development:

  • The National Commission of Minorities (NCM) has refused to entertain a plea to declare Hindus a “minority community” in those States where they do not form a majority of the population.

  • The petition was filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay to either frame guidelines for identification of minorities at the State level or use the powers under Section 2(c) of the NCM Act of 1992 to declare Hindus a minority in States where they do not form the majority.

  • Arguments given:
    • The role of the NCM was not to declare new minority communities. The power to declare a community as minority lies with the Central government.

    • Section 2(c) of the NCM Act itself clearly states that a community is notified as “minority” only by the government.

    • Instead it’s role is to ensure the development of minorities and protect their religious, cultural and educational rights.

    • The above was also clarified by the Supreme Court’s own judgment in 1999 in Bal Patil vs Union of India which detailed the function of the NCM.



Important Info :

National Commission for Minorities?

  • Background:
    • In 1978, Government of India, vide an executive order, set up a "Minorities Commission" to safeguard the interests of minorities.
    • With the enactment of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, the Minorities Commission became a statutory body and was renamed as the "National Commission for Minorities".
  • Functions:
    • To evaluate the progress of the developmental programs and legal & constitutional safeguards for the welfare of minorities.
    • To Look into specific complaints regarding deprivation of the rights of minorities.
    • To undertake studies/research on the issues relating to socio economic development of minorities.
  • Composition: It consists of a Chairperson, a Vice Chairperson and five Members to be nominated by the Central Government from amongst persons of eminence, ability and integrity.
Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Current Affairs
July 30, 2019

ROBOBEE X-WING
In a recently published paper in Nature, researchers from the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory in Cambridge have claimed to have made possible the “lightest insect-scale aerial vehicle so far to have achieved sustained, untethered flight.”

About: 

  • Name: RoboBee X-Wing.

  • What is it? It is essentially a flying machine, which can flap its wings 120 times a second and is half the size of a paperclip.

  • Features:
    • According to researchers, it is the lightest insect-scale aerial vehicle so far to have achieved sustained, untethered flight.

    • Along with the electronics required to give RoboBee X-Wing its flight, the robot weighs 259 mg and uses 110-120 milliwatts of power using solar energy, matching the “thrust efficiency” of similarly sized insects such as bees.

    • Much like aircraft, the robot is heavier than the air it displaces — a concept referred to as “heavier-than-air flight”. However, when objects become smaller, achieving a heavier-than-air flight becomes more complicated.



  • Application: Flapping-wing robots can help in addressing questions related to the evolution of flight, the mechanical basis of natural selection and environmental monitoring. Others are interested in replicating these abilities to build a new array of machines.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
July 30, 2019

GREEN RATING OF THE FERTILIZER SECTOR
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar released the latest report of green ratings on fertilizer sector in New Delhi.

About: 

  • The report - ‘Grain by Grain’ - is the complete assessment of the environmental performance of fertilizer industry in India. 

  • This first of its kind of environmental rating of Indian fertilizer industry has been done by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), along with its Green rating project (GRP). 

  • It rated India’s all 28 operational fertilizer plants on around 50 parameters. 

  • This is the seventh rating project undertaken by GRP. The Project has, earlier, rated the pulp and paper, automobile, chloro-alkali, cement, iron and steel and thermal power sectors. 

Key Findings of the report:

  • The fertilizer sector as a whole has turned out a better performer than any of the other sectors rated by GRP.

  • India’s fertilizer sector is among the best in the world in energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, its staggering records on water use, water pollution and plant safety is a cause of concern.

  • It found Grasim Industries Ltd’s Indo Gulf Fertilizers unit at Jasdishpur, Uttar Pradesh as the best, followed by Hazira unit of KRIBHCO in Gujarat and Panambur unit of Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd. in Karnataka.

Source : Times of India
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
July 30, 2019

BANNING OF UNREGULATED DEPOSIT SCHEMES BILL 2019
Parliament has passed the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill 2019 with the Rajya Sabha approving it unanimously. The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill.

Objective: 

  • The bill seeks to provide for a comprehensive mechanism to ban the unregulated deposit schemes other than deposits taken in the ordinary course of businesses and to protect the interest of depositors.

  • The bill after becoming an act will work as a crackdown on Ponzi schemes. the bill will help protect the interests of poor people and their hard-earned money.

Salient features of the Bill:

  • Unregulated deposit scheme: The Bill bans unregulated deposit schemes.  A deposit-taking scheme is defined as unregulated if it is taken for a business purpose and is not registered with the regulators listed in the Bill.

  • Deposit taker: The Bill defines deposit takers as an individual, a group of individuals, or a company who asks for (solicits), or receives deposits.  Banks and entities incorporated under any other law are not included as deposit takers.

  • Competent Authority: The Bill provides for the appointment of government officers, not below the rank of Secretary to the state or central government, as the Competent Authority. The Competent Authority will have powers similar to those vested in a civil court. The Competent Authority may:
    • provisionally attach the property of the deposit taker, as well as all deposits received,

    • summon and examine any person it considers necessary for the purpose of obtaining evidence, and

    • order the production of records and evidence.



  • Designated Courts: The Bill provides for the constitution of one or more Designated Courts in specified areas. The Court will seek to complete the process within 180 days of being approached by the Competent Authority.

  • Central database: The Bill provides for the central government to designate an authority to create an online central database for information on deposit takers. All deposit takers will be required to inform the database authority about their business.

  • Offences and penalties: The Bill defines three types of offences, and penalties related to them. These offences are:
    • running (advertising, promoting, operating or accepting money for) unregulated deposit schemes,

    • fraudulently defaulting on regulated deposit schemes, and

    • wrongfully inducing depositors to invest in unregulated deposit schemes by willingly falsifying facts.



Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
July 30, 2019

ELECTRIC BUSES
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant announced that an inter-ministerial panel has sanctioned 5645 electric buses for operations in 65 cities and for inter-city operations to 8 state transport undertakings.

The Centre has been taking initiatives to popularise environment-friendly electric vehicles: 

  1. Last week, the GST Council decided to cut the tax rates on e-vehicles from 12 per cent to 5 per cent with effect from August 1. 

  2. In the Union Budget 2019-20, the government proposed additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on loans taken to purchase electric vehicles. Besides, certain parts of EVs have been exempted from customs duty to further incentivise e-mobility in the country. 

  3. The Centre has also approved Rs 10,000 crore under the FAME II scheme, which aims to encourage faster adoption of such vehicles by right incentives and charging infrastructure. 

  4. Niti Aayog has proposed that two-wheelers below the capacity of 150cc sold in the country after March 31, 2025, should be electric ones only. It also proposed that three-wheelers sold in the country after March 31, 2023 should be electric ones. 

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
July 30, 2019

ALL INDIA TIGER ESTIMATION – 2018
On the occasion of International Tiger Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the results of the fourth cycle of All India Tiger Estimation - 2018.

All India Tiger Estimation – 2018: 

  • Methodology:
    • India has been estimating its tigers using a double sampling approach involving a mark-recapture framework to ascertain tiger numbers.

    • During the 4th cycle, data was collected using an Android based application- M-STrIPES ( Monitoring system for Tigers’ Intensive Protection and Ecological Status).



  • Key Findings:
    • The count of tigers in India has risen to 2967, in 2018, according to this census.

    • The 33% rise in tiger numbers is the highest ever recorded between cycles which stood at 21% between 2006 to 2010 and 30% between 2010 and 2014.

    • Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka at 524 with Uttarakhand at number 3 with 442 tigers.

    • Chhatisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in their tiger numbers while tiger’s numbers in Odisha remained constant. All other States witnessed a positive trend.

    • At the landscape level, all 5 landscapes showed an increase with the Central Indian landscape recording the highest increment.

    • India achieved its commitment to the St.Petersburg Declaration, of doubling Tiger population, much in advance to the 2022 deadline.



Important Info :

4th cycle of the Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserves (MEETR):

  • On the occasion, the Prime Minister also released report of the 4th cycle of the Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserves (MEETR).
  • Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh scored the highest and Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu showed the highest increment in management since the last cycle.
  • 42% of the tiger reserves fell in the Very Good management category, 34% in the Good category, 24% in the Fair category while no tiger reserve was rated Poor.
  • In the last five years, there has been an increase in the “protected areas.” In 2014, there were 692 protected areas, which increased to more than 860 in 2019. The “Community Reserves” have also grown from 43, in 2014, to more than 100 now.
Source : PIB
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
July 30, 2019

MUTHULAKSHMI REDDI
Google dedicated a Doodle to Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddi, a surgeon, educator, lawmaker and social reformer, on her 133rd birth anniversary.

About: 

  • Born in 1886 in Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu, Dr. Reddi devoted her life to public health and fought the battle against gender inequality. She passed away in 1968 at the age of 81.

  • Medical career:
    • She was the first Indian girl student in the Department of Surgery at Madras Medical College.

    • She became one of the first women doctors in India in 1912, and the first woman house surgeon in the Government Maternity Hospital, Madras.

    • In 1954, she opened the Cancer Institute in Chennai.



  • Political career:
    • She was the first woman member (and vice president) of the Madras Legislative Council, making her the first woman legislator in India.

    • She resigned from the Council to support the Salt Satyagraha.



  • Social reforms:
    • As member of Madras Legislative Council, she helped raise the minimum age for marriage for girls and pushed the Council to pass the Immoral Traffic Control Act, and the Devadasi system abolishment Bill.

    • In 1930, she established the Avvai Home to shelter and educate devadasi girls.

    • She co-founded the Women's Indian Association in 1918.



  • Honours:
    • In 1956 she was awarded the Padma Bhushan.

    • The Government of Tamil Nadu has recently announced that government hospitals in the State will celebrate her birth anniversary as ‘Hospital Day' every year.



Source : The Hindu
History

Current Affairs
July 30, 2019

MICRODOT TECHNOLOGY
The Union Ministry of Road Transport has issued a draft notification allowing Motor Vehicles and their Parts to be Affixed with Microdots.

About: 

  • The Ministry of Road Transport has issued a draft notification to amend Central Motor Vehicle Rules, allowing motor vehicles and their parts to be affixed with permanent and nearly invisible microdots.

  • Microdot technology involves spraying the body and parts of the vehicle or any other machine with microscopic dots, which give a unique identification.

  • The microdots and adhesive will become permanent fixtures/affixation which cannot be removed without damaging the asset, that is the vehicle itself.

  • These nearly invisible microdots can only be read physically with a microscope and identified with ultra violet light source.

  • Use of this technology will help check theft of vehicles and also use of fake spare parts.

  • The notification says that the microdots, if affixed, will have to comply with AIS 155 requirements.

  • The Ministry has sought comments / objections on the draft notification within 30 days.

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
July 30, 2019

WAQF
Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi inaugurated a national conference of Central Waqf Council (CWC) in New Delhi.

Key highlights of the conference:

  • He announced that the Central Government has set a target to achieve 100 per cent digitisation of Waqf properties across the country in its first 100 days. There are more than 6 lakh registered Waqf properties across the country.

  • He awarded 8 Mutawalis under “Qaumi Waqf Board Taraqqiati Scheme” for better management of Waqf properties in their respective state Waqf boards. This is for the first time that Mutawalis have been encouraged and awarded for better utilisation of Waqf properties.

  • He also stated that the report of a five-member committee, constituted to review Waqf properties lease rule, headed by Justice (Retd) Zakiullah Khan, has been submitted. The recommendations of the committee will ensure that Waqf rules are made easy and effective for better utilisation of Waqf properties.

 

Important Info :

Terminologies: 

  • 'Wakf/Waqf:
    • Generous Muslims adhering to the principles of 'endowment' in Islam often dedicate large properties in the name of God. The proceeds from these properties are dedicated to meet the exclusive needs of the poor. This type of property is called 'Wakf'.
    • Apart from landed (often agricultural) and built up commercial and residential properties, Wakfs in India include Mosques, Dargahs, Khanqahs, Maqbaras, Idgahs, Anjumans and so on.
  • Waakif: The person who so dedicates his or her property is known as Waakif.
  • Mutawalli: The person nominated by the Waakif to manage the affairs of the Wakf property is known as Mutawalli.
Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
July 30, 2019

IN LCU L-56
IN LCU L56 was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Vice-Admiral Atul Kumar Jain, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command.

About: 

  • LCU 56 is an amphibious ship with its primary role being transportation and deployment of Main Battle Tanks, Armoured Vehicles, Troops and Equipment from ship to shore. 

  • LCU L56 would be administered and based in Port Blair under the NAVCC in ANC (Andaman Nicobar Command). 

  • it is the sixth ship of the Landing Craft Utility(LCU) MK IV class. 

  • Commissioning the ship, the Vice-Admiral congratulated the GRSE (Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers) for being the first shipyard in the country to have built the 100th warship. 

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

July 29, 2019

Current Affairs
July 29, 2019

INTEGRATED BATTLE GROUPS
The Indian Army announced that the first Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) concept is close to implementation and will be structured by end of next month.

About:

  • What is it? Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) are brigade-sized, agile, self-sufficient combat formations, which can swiftly launch strikes against adversary in case of hostilities.

  • Features:
    • Each IBG would be tailor-made based on Threat, Terrain and Task and resources will be allotted based on the three Ts. An IBG operating in a desert needs to be constituted differently from an IBG operating in the mountains.

    • They need to be light so they will be low on logistics. They will be able to mobilise within 12-48 hrs based on the location.

    • The IBGs will also be defensive and offensive. While the offensive IBGs would quickly mobilise and make thrust into enemy territory for strikes, defensive IBGs would hold ground at vulnerable points or where enemy action is expected.

    • The number of IBGs has not been decided yet.



Terminologies: Command, corps and brigades

  • While a command is the largest static formation of the Army spread across a defined geography, a corps is the largest mobile formation.

  • Typically each corps has about three brigades.

  • The idea is to reorganise them into IBGs which are brigade-sized units but have all the essential elements like infantry, armoured, artillery and air defence embedded together based on the three Ts.

Important Info :

Cold start doctrine? 

  • After the terrorist attack on the Parliament, the Indian military undertook massive mobilisation but the Army’s formations which were deep inside took weeks to mobilise loosing the element of surprise.
  • Following this, the Army formulated a proactive doctrine known as ‘Cold Start’ to launch swift offensive but its existence was consistently denied in the past. Its existence was acknowledged for the first time by Gen Rawat in January 2017.
Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
July 29, 2019

AGENT SMITH
According to Indian cybercrime officials, Indians constitute the highest number of victims of the recently detected Agent Smith malware.

About:

  • What is it? First noticed early this year, the malware can replace apps on android phones with malicious versions without the user’s knowledge.

  • Working:
    • Agent Smith is embedded in apps available on Google Playstore, mostly connected to gaming, image editing or adult entertainment. Once a user downloads the app, the malware gets active, looking for other apps that it can take over. Its ability to impersonate apps makes it next to impossible to detect.



  • Impact: According to a report by Checkpoint, a private cyber security firm, Agent Smith is believed to have infected over 25 million devices so far. Around 59% of those affected by Agent Smith are Indians.

Important Info :

Janus vulnerability?

  • Unlike most malware, the creators of Agent Smith seem to have identified all the latest vulnerabilities in the Android operating system and designed it specifically to exploit them.
  • One such vulnerability is called the Janus, which was discovered in 2017 by cybersecurity researchers. It allows hackers to modify an app without affecting its own signature, which makes the hack impossible to detect.
  • Agent Smith relies heavily on the Janus vulnerability in replacing apps with their contaminated versions while leaving the hash value, which is like a unique signature for any app, intact.
Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
July 29, 2019

ICONIC TOURIST SITES
During her Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that 17 “Iconic Tourist Sites” in the country would be developed by the government “into world class tourist destinations, to serve as a model for other tourism sites”.

About: 

  • The Sites: Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh), Ajanta & Ellora (Maharashtra), Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort and Qutub Minar (Delhi), Colva (Goa), Amer Fort (Rajasthan), Somnath and Dholavira (Gujarat), Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh), Hampi (Karnataka), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Kaziranga (Assam), Kumarakom (Kerala) and the Mahabodhi Temple (Bihar).

  • Objective: To develop these sites into world class tourist destinations, to serve as a model for other tourism sites.

  • Strategy: It involves overall development from the tourism point of view in and around these sites — which includes roads and infrastructure, hotels and lodges, connectivity and access”.

  • Implementing Agencies: Several ministries, from Railways to Civil Aviation, will be involved, while the Tourism Ministry will be the nodal agency.

Source : Indian Express
Culture

Current Affairs
July 29, 2019

DEEPFAKE
The debate around “deepfakes” has been rekindled recently with the popularity of applications such as FaceApp (for photo-editing).

About: 

  • Meaning: The word Deepfake is made from “deep learning” and “fake”. Deepfake is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) software that superimposes a digital composite on to an existing video (or audio). 

  • Background: The origin of the word “deepfake” can be traced back to 2017 when a Reddit user, with the username “deepfakes”, posted explicit videos of celebrities. 

  • Working: Deepfakes are created by machine learning models, which use neural networks to manipulate images and videos. This model “analyses video footage until it is able algorithmically to transpose the ‘skin’ of one human face on to the movements of another. 

  • Recent Controversy: 
    • The debate around “deepfakes” has been rekindled recently with the popularity of applications such as FaceApp (for photo-editing) and DeepNude ( that produces fake nudes of women). 

    • In June this year, a deepfake video surfaced that showed Mark Zuckerberg saying that he is in total control of the stolen data of billions of people. 



Source : All India Radio
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
July 29, 2019

STENA IMPERO
Iran termed the British proposal for a European-led naval mission to escort tankers in the Gulf as provocative, amid soaring tensions over the seizure of ships.

About: 

  • Britain has announced that it was planning a European-led force to escort tankers through the Strait of Hormuz, world's busiest oil shipping lane in response to seizure of Stena Impero, a UK-flagged vessel on July 19 by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. 

  • The seizure of the Stena Impero came two weeks after British authorities detained an Iranian tanker -- the Grace 1 -- off its overseas territory Gibraltar on allegations it was breaching EU sanctions on Syria. 

  • Iran said the intention to send a European fleet to the Persian Gulf which naturally carries a hostile message, is provocative and will increase tensions. Iran believed the security of the oil-rich Gulf had to be maintained by countries in the region. 

Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
July 29, 2019

7th Economic Census
The government started off the 7th Economic Census from Tripura. It will be launched in other states and union territories in August and September.

About: 

  • What is it? Economic Census (EC) is the complete count of all establishments/units located within the geographical boundaries of the country.

  • Is Agriculture covered in Economic Census? No, Agriculture is not covered in Economic census (Only Growing of agricultural crops and plantations should not be counted as establishments for the purpose of this Economic Census).

  • What is Establishment? The establishment is a unit situated in a single location in which predominantly one kind of economic activity is carried out such that at least a part of the goods and/or services produced by the unit goes for sale (i.e. entire produce is not for sole consumption).

  • Which are the Bodies involved in carrying it out?
    • 7th Economic Census -2019 is being conducted by the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation (MoSPI).

    • MoSPI has partnered with Common Service Centres, CSC e-Governance Services India Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) as the implementing agency for 7th EC.



  • Parent act: The data will be collected through door to door survey of each household and commercial establishment under the provisions of Collection of Statistics Act 2008.

  • Timeline: The fieldwork is expected to be completed by December and the results at the national level is expected to be available by March 2020.

  • History: Six Economic Censuses (EC) have been conducted till date: First EC (1977), Second EC (1980), Third EC (1990), Fourth EC (1998), Fifth EC (2005) and Sixth EC (2013).

Important Info :
  • The economic census is the only source of information on the significantly large unorganized sector in the country.
  • As per the last Economic Census conducted in 2013, there were 58.5 million establishments employing around 131 million workers.
Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
July 29, 2019

HIMALAYAN CONCLAVE
In Uttarakhand, a Himalayan Conclave is being held in Mussoorie.

About: 

  • The objective is to discuss various issues related to the development of Himalayan States.

  • The main agenda for the conclave are conservation of Himalayan ecology, bio-diversity and cultural heritage and water conservation, with focus on conserving rivers, glaciers, lakes and water bodies besides reviving water resources which have dried up over the years.

  • Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is attending the conclave as the chief guest.  Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog are attending the conclave. 

Important Info :

Himalayan State Regional Council? 

  • In November 2018, NITI Aayog has constituted the ‘Himalayan State Regional Council’ to ensure sustainable development of the Indian Himalayan region.
  • Regions covered: It will be the nodal agency for the Sustainable development in the Himalayan Region which consists of the 12 States namely –
    • Jammu &Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh,
    • Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura,
    • Two districts (namely Dima Hasao and KarbiAnglong) of Assam and
    • Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal.
  • Terms of Reference: To monitor the implementation of action points identified in the five thematic reports released by the NITI Aayog in August, 2018 for sustainable development of Himalayas. The action points include:
    • river basin development and regional cooperation,
    • spring mapping and revival for water security,
    • develop, implement and monitor tourism sector standards and
    • strengthen skill & entrepreneurship.
Source : All India Radio
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
July 29, 2019

WHO REPORT ON GLOBAL TOBACCO EPIDEMIC 2019
WHO launched its seventh Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic which analyses national efforts to reduce demand for tobacco.

About: 

  • Tobacco use has declined proportionately in most countries, but population growth means the total number of people using tobacco has remained stubbornly high.

  • Currently, there are an estimated 1.1 billion smokers, around 80% of whom live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

  • Many governments are making progress in the fight against tobacco, with 5 billion people today living in countries that have introduced smoking bans, graphic warnings on packaging and other effective tobacco control measures - four times more people than a decade ago.

  • The greatest growth in population coverage was seen in tobacco taxation. The population coverage from this MPOWER policy has almost doubled from 8% in 2016 to 14% in 2018.

  • Brazil has become the second, after Turkey, to fully implement all the MPOWER measures at the highest level of achievement.

Important Info :

MPOWER?

  • The MPOWER report was launched in 2007 to promote government action on six tobacco control strategies in-line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) that are proven to reduce demand for tobacco.
  • The six strategies are:
    1. Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies.
    2. Protect people from tobacco smoke.
    3. Offer help to quit tobacco use.
    4. Warn people about the dangers of tobacco.
    5. Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
    6. Raise taxes on tobacco.

 

Source : WHO
Health

Current Affairs
July 29, 2019

WORLD HINDU ECONOMIC FORUM (HEF)
World Hindu Economic Forum (HEF) has launched its Nepal Chapter to increase economic cooperation between India and Nepal and to connect Nepal with a global network for its economic prosperity.

About: 

  • Promoters of WHEF: A group of committed Economists, Academicians, Industrialists, Businessmen, Bankers, Professionals and activists. 

  • Objective: WHEF wants Hindus to cooperate and collaborate globally so that market access and appropriately priced capital is facilitated among them. 

  • Philosophy of WHEF: Dharmasya Moolam  Arthah (Economy is the strength) (~ Kautilya’s Arthashastra). 

  • Members of WHEF: WHEF is not a membership organization. However, Business organizations, chambers, and associations can affiliate with WHEF. 

  • HQ: Gurgaon, Haryana. 

  • History: The WHEF journey began in 2012 at Hong Kong, followed by successful annual forums in Bangkok 2013, New Delhi 2014, London 2015, and several regional forums along the way. 

  • Main activities of WHEF: 
    • Provide a platform to promote business and facilitate networking 

    • Knowledge/Information sharing related to Business and Economy 

    • Providing expert connectivity 

    • Access to data base of PEs (Private Equity), VCs (Venture Capital), Investors etc. 

    • Organising economic conferences across the world 

    • Local chapter activities for regular interactions 



Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
July 29, 2019

WHO REPORT ON HEPATITIS
According to WHO report released on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day (28 July), Bangladesh along with Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand in South-East Asia Region has been able to achieve Hepatitis B control.

Key findings of WHO report: 

  • Bangladesh along with Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand in South-East Asia Region has been able to achieve Hepatitis B control. The prevalence of the deadly disease has come down to less than 1 % among five-year-old children in these countries. 

  • According to WHO data viral hepatitis kills 4,10,000 people every year. 

  • A new study by WHO, published in Lancet Global Health, has found that investing US$6bn per year in eliminating hepatitis in 67 low- and middle-income countries would avert 4.5 million premature deaths by 2030, and more than 26 million deaths beyond that target date. 

  • A total of US$58.7 billion is needed to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat in these 67 countries by 2030. This means reducing new hepatitis infections by 90% and deaths by 65%. 

Source : All India Radio
Health

July 28, 2019

Current Affairs
July 28, 2019

REGULATION OF NBFCs BY RBI
Minister of Finance informed Rajya Sabha about the regulation of NBFCs by RBI.

About: 

  • Amendments to give more powers to RBI to regulate NBFCs form part of Finance Bill, 2019, which has been introduced in the ongoing Budget Session 2019 of Parliament. The proposed amendments would empower RBI to – 
    • supersede the Board of an NBFC or remove its director(s),

    • amalgamate or reconstruct or split an NBFC in public interest or for financial stability,

    • remove and debar auditors,

    • direct the inspection and audit of any group company of an NBFC,

    • raise the Net Owned Fund requirement for NBFCs, and

    • impose higher penalties in case of legal contraventions.



  • RBI has also taken a number of regulatory and supervisory measures to strengthen NBFCs:
    • To remove the regulatory arbitrage between banks and non-banks, supervisory framework for NBFCs is being aligned with that of Scheduled Commercial Banks.

    • Minimum capital adequacy norms have been prescribed for different categories of NBFCs.

    • Net owned fund requirement for Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs) has been fixed at Rs. 100 crore on an ongoing basis.



Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
July 28, 2019

WORLD HEPATITIS DAY 2019
World Hepatitis Day 2019 is being observed on July 28, 2019 with the theme “Invest in eliminating hepatitis”. The host country for World Hepatitis Day 2019 is Pakistan.

About: 

  • What is it? Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver which can also progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer. 

  • Cause: Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause, but other infections and toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs) can also cause it. 

  • Types of hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D and E. 
    • Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water (transmitted via oral-faecal route). 

    • Hepatitis B, C and D are transmitted through unsafe blood transfusions or contaminated needles/syringes (particularly among the drug users), sexual-transmission or even mother-to-child transmission. 



  • Steps at global level: The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 3.3) calls for eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030. 

  • Steps at Indian level: 
    • India has also included Hepatitis B vaccination under the expanded Universal Immunization Programme. 

    • National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme was launched by Union Health Ministry in collaboration with the WHO on the occasion of the World Hepatitis Day, 2018 to eliminate Viral Hepatitis as a Public Health Threat by 2030 in the country. 



Important Info :

World Hepatitis Day is observed on 28 July because it is the birthday of Nobel-prize winning scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg, who discovered hepatitis B virus (HBV) and developed a diagnostic test and vaccine for the virus. 

Source : WHO
Health

Current Affairs
July 28, 2019

SECURITYPEDIA
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) launched Securitypedia, an online encyclopaedia.

About:

  • What is it? Securitypedia is an online encyclopaedia which incorporates a wide gamut of security-related practices across the globe.

  • Launched by: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

  • Features:
    • This repository of knowledge contains information on technical learning, CISF manuals, case studies, technical compendium, etc.

    • There is also a feature in Securitypedia — CISF Tube — where officials can find all videos relevant to CISF.



  • NISA, Technical Lab: The CISF has established a technical lab at National Industrial Security Academy (NISA) in Hyderabad to maintain and update technical knowledge about the latest innovations in the field safety and security that can be used in places like airports and government offices

  • Way ahead: Depending upon the outreach and feedback, the Securitypedia will be made accessible to other paramilitary forces.

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
July 28, 2019

BANUO Z. JAMIR COMMISSION
The Nagaland government constituted a commission to frame the modalities of creating the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN).

About: 

  • It has been decided that the policies and modalities of preparing the RIIN would be framed and made public before the actual enumeration begins. Thus the commission has been formed.

  • Composition: The Commission would be headed by retired Chief Secretary Banuo Z. Jamir as chairman.

  • Mandate: The commission would recommend the - 
    • eligibility criteria to be an indigenous inhabitant,

    • documents to be acceptable as proof for being an indigenous inhabitant,

    • manner in which the exercise is to be carried out and

    • any other issue relating to implementation of the RIIN.



  • Duration: The panel would submit its report within three months.

Important Info :

Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN): 

  • The RIIN, a register of all the indigenous inhabitants of the State, is required to prevent issuance of indigenous inhabitant certificates to ineligible persons. 
  • According to a June 29 government notification, the RIIN, will help identify the citizens who settled in Nagaland prior to December 1, 1963, the day it became a full-fledged State. 
  • The Nagaland government began the process of preparing the RIIN on July 10. 
Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
July 28, 2019

DEEP OCEAN MISSION
The ‘Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)’ has received in-principle approval from the government.

About: 

  • Implementing agency: The ‘Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)’ to be led by the Union Earth Sciences Ministry.

  • Duration: This five-year mission is expected to commence from October 31.

  • Objective: The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO about 35 years ago. A major thrust of the mission will be looking for metals and minerals.

  • Features: It will comprise an offshore desalination plant that will work with tidal energy and developing a submersible vehicle that can go to a depth of at least 6,000 metres with three people on board.

Important Info :

Polymetallic Nodules (PMN)? 

  • India has been allotted a site of 75,000 sq. km. in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by the UN International Sea Bed Authority for exploitation of polymetallic nodules (PMN).
  • These are rocks scattered on the seabed containing iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.
  • It has been estimated that 380 million metric tonnes of polymetallic nodules are available at the bottom of the seas in the Central Indian Ocean. Being able to lay hands on even 10% of that reserve can meet the energy requirement for the next 100 years.
  • India’s Exclusive Economic Zone spreads over 2.2 million sq. km. and in the deep sea, lies “unexplored and unutilised”.
Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
July 28, 2019

ZERO-BUDGET NATURAL FARMING (ZBNF)
In the first Budget speech of the 17th Lok Sabha earlier this month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman called for promoting zero budget farming as a step towards doubling farmers income.

Meaning: 

  • ZBNF is a set of farming methods, and also a grassroots peasant movement, which has spread to various states in India.

  • 'Zero Budget' means without using any credit, and without spending any money on purchased inputs. 'Natural farming' means farming with Nature and without chemicals.

  • Under ZBNF, neither fertiliser nor pesticide is used. Also, only 10 % of water is to be utilised for irrigation as compared to traditional farming techniques.

  • Basic concept of ZBNF, which is different from organic farming, is to ensure that profit from supplementary crops is enough to cover the cost of production of the main crop.

Benefits:

  • According to proponents of ZBNF, due to neo-liberalization of the Indian economy, Privatized seeds, inputs, and markets are inaccessible and expensive for peasants. Because of the high production costs, Indian farmers increasingly find themselves in a vicious cycle of debt.

  • In this background, ‘zero budget’ farming promises to end a reliance on loans and drastically cut production costs, ending the debt cycle and infact move towards doubling farmers’ income by 2022.

  • Promoting natural farming, will make farming viable and sustainable.

Indian scenario:

  • It has attained wide success in southern India, especially the southern Indian state of Karnataka where it first evolved. The movement in Karnataka state was born out of by the efforts of Padma Shri Subhash Palekar in Karnataka.

  • At present, around five million farmers are working on zero-budget farming in different states.

Is it effective?

  • A limited 2017 study in Andhra Pradesh claimed a sharp decline in input costs and improvement in yields.

  • However, reports also suggest that many farmers, including in Mr. Palekar’s native Maharashtra, have reverted to conventional farming after seeing their ZBNF returns drop after a few years, in turn raising doubts about the method’s efficacy in increasing farmers’ incomes.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
July 28, 2019

DOLUTEGRAVIR (DTG)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended the use of the HIV drug dolutegravir (DTG) as the preferred first-line and second-line treatment for all populations, including pregnant women and those of childbearing potential.

About: 

  • Dolutegravir (DTG), sold under the brand name Tivicay, is an antiretroviral medication used, together with other medication, to treat HIV/AIDS. 

  • Initial studies had highlighted a possible link between DTG and neural tube defects (birth defects of the brain and spinal cord) in infants born to women using the drug at the time of conception. 

  • But new studies have shown that DTG is more effective, easier to take and has fewer side effects than alternative drugs. It also has a high genetic barrier to developing drug resistance, which is important, given the rising trend of resistance. 

  • In 2019, 82 low- and middle-income countries reported to be transitioning to DTG-based HIV treatment. The new recommendations aim at helping more nations improve their HIV policies. 

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
July 28, 2019

SPECIES EXTINCTION
According to the data tabled in the Lok Sabha by the Ministry of Environment, 4 species of fauna and 18 species of flora have gone extinct in India in the past few centuries.

Fauna extinction in India: 

  • Among mammals, the following are considered extinct in India: 
    • Cheetah (Acionyx jubatus), 

    • Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensisi), 

    • Pink-headed duck (Rhodonessa caryophyllaceai) and 

    • Himalayan quail (Ophrysia supercililios). 



  • The four animals can be found in other parts of the world. 

  • Factors like “competition, predation, natural selection, and human induced factors like hunting, habitat degradation” are some of the important reasons that have led to these extinctions. 

  • India has about 6.49% of all the fauna species in the world. 

Flora extinction in India: 

  • 18 species of plants — 4 non-flowering and 14 flowering — have gone extinct. 

  • The notable among them are Lastreopsis wattii , a fern in Manipur discovered by George Watt in 1882 and three species from the genus Ophiorrhiza (Ophiorrhiza brunonis , Ophiorrhiza caudate and Ophiorrhiza radican ), all discovered from peninsular India. 

  • Corypha taliera Roxb, a palm species discovered in Myanmar and the Bengal region by William Roxburgh is also extinct. 

  • India is home to 11.5% of all flora in the world. 

Important Info :

According to the International Union for Conservation Of Nature, a new study has shown that since 1750, more than double the number of plants have disappeared from the wild than birds, mammals and amphibians combined. 

Source : The Hindu
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
July 28, 2019

ULHAS RIVER
A coordinated operation of the NDRF, the Army and the Navy rescued 1,050 passengers stranded on the Mumbai-Kolhapur Mahalaxmi Express near Badlapur, following heavy overnight rains that inundated large swathes of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

About: 

  • Mahalaxmi Express runs between Mumbai and Kolhapur. 

  • It was held up between Badlapur and Wangani railway station due to water logging on tracks as the Ulhas river near Badlapur breached its banks. 

Important Info :

Ulhas River? 

The Ulhas River is a west flowing river in the state of Maharashtra which drains into Arabian sea.The River supplies drinking water to the cities of Badlapur and Navi Mumbai, Kalyan Dombivali. 

Source : The Hindu
Geography

Current Affairs
July 28, 2019

ELECTRIC VEHICLES
During the 36th GST Council Meeting, it was announced that GST rate on all Electric Vehicles has been reduced from 12% to 5% and of charger or charging stations for EVs from 18% to 5%.

The 36th GST Council Meeting was recently held under the chairmanship of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Council has recommended the following:

GST rate related changes on supply of goods and services

  • The GST rate on all electric vehicles be reduced from 12% to 5%.

  • The GST rate on charger or charging stations for Electric vehicles be reduced from 18% to 5%.

  • Hiring of electric buses (of carrying capacity of more than 12 passengers) by local authorities be exempted from GST.

  • These changes shall become effective from 1st August, 2019.

Source : PIB
Economy
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