July 31, 2020

Current Affairs
July 31, 2020

STALKERWARE
According to Global cyber-security leader Avast, there was a 51 % increase in the use of spyware and stalkerware in India during the lockdown period from March to June in the backdrop of heightened domestic violence cases.

About:

  • Stalkerware is monitoring software or spyware that is used for stalking.

  • The term was coined when people started to widely use commercial spyware to spy on their spouses or intimate partners.

Spyware vs stalkerware:

  • A spyware app, which can also be installed remotely, accesses the data usage pattern of the device, gains access to photos and videos as well as other personal information of the user, and then passes it off to a central server.

  • On the other hand, in most cases, a stalkerware app can be installed only when someone has physical access to the digitally connected device.

  • Though the app works in a manner similar to spyware apps, it goes a step ahead and also gives out the location of the device to a master device which controls the stalkerware app.

Source : Indian Express
Social Issues

Current Affairs
July 31, 2020

NATIONAL TRANSIT PASS SYSTEM (NTPS)
Union Environment Ministry launched the National Transit Pass System (NTPS), an online system for issuing transit permits for timber, bamboo and other forest produce.

About:

  • NTPS will bring ease of business and expedite issuance of transit permits for timber, bamboo and other minor forest produce without physically going to forest offices. Through mobile application e-pass will be issued for transit of forest produce.

  • The pilot project will be functional in Madhya Pradesh and Telangana for now. The system will be will be operational in all states by Diwali.

  • This will enhance seamless movement of forest produce. Transit of timber, bamboo and other forest produce is governed by various state specific acts and rules.

Source : Outlook
Environment

Current Affairs
July 31, 2020

CSC WI-FI CHOUPAL
Union IT Minister said that since 10th June, 2020 the Common Services Centre (CSC) Wi-Fi Choupal has provided 1 Lakh FTTH broadband connections in rural areas across 21 states, using the Bharat Net infrastructure. Government has set the target of 5 Lakh FTTH connections by September.

About:

  • Wi-Fi Choupal is a government initiative to provide Wi-Fi hotspots in rural areas where people can access the internet by subscribing to low-cost data plans.

  • This will be achieved by leveraging BharatNet infrastructure for providing broadband services in Gram Panchayats (GPs) and villages.

  • It is an Initiative of ‘CSC e-Governance Services India Limited’, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up in 2016 by the Ministry of Electronics & IT under the Companies Act, 1956 to oversee implementation of the Common Service Centres (CSC) scheme. 

Important Info :
  • Fiber to the home (FTTH), also called "fiber to the premises" (FTTP), is the installation and use of optical fiber from a central point directly to individual buildings such as residences, apartment buildings and businesses to provide high-speed Internet access. 
Source : All India Radio
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
July 31, 2020

LATENT VIRAL INFECTION
Ever since cases of ‘reinfection’ — people who had tested negative for COVID-19 testing positive again after a while — emerged in early January, the question of latency of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is being hotly debated.

About:

  • A latent viral infection is an infection when the virus in the body is dormant and does not replicate within the host. It however possesses the capacity to be reactivated at some point, causing a flare-up of the disease much later.

  • As opposed to active infections, where a virus is actively replicating and potentially causing symptoms, latent infections are essentially static which last the life of the host and occur when the primary infection is not cleared by the adaptive immune response

  • Latent viral infections can be reactivated into a lytic form (the replication of a viral genome). The ability to move back and forth from latent to lytic infections helps the virus spread from infected individuals to uninfected individuals”

  • Examples are Herpes simplex viruses type 1 and 2, varicella-zoster virus, HIV, Epstein-Barr virus (human herpesvirus 4), and cytomegalovirus. They are known to cause typical latent infections in humans. 

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
July 31, 2020

NAG RIVER
The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court observed that Industrialisation and urbanisation has reduced Nag river to a cursed lady by heavily polluting it.

About:

  • The Nag River is a river flowing through the city of Nagpur in Maharashtra. Nagpur city derives its name from the Nag river.

  • Forming a part of the Kanhan-Pench river system, the Nag River originates in Lava hills near wadi.

  • The river serves as drainage for Nagpur and as a result its ecosystem is heavily polluted by urban waste from the city. The Nag River Rejuvenation was cleared by National River Conservation Directorate in November 2019.

Source : The Hindu
Geography

Current Affairs
July 31, 2020

BIHAD AREA IN GWALIOR - CHAMBAL REGION
Union Agriculture Minister held a meeting with World Bank representatives to bring large Bihad area of Gwalior-Chambal region under agriculture.

About:

  • More than three lakh hectares of rugged land is not cultivable and if this area is improved, then this will help in the integrated development of the Bihad area in Gwalior - Chambal region.

  • The Chambal-Gwalior ravines that consist of sharp, steep, mud hillocks stretch across three States — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Bihad areas of Chambal-Gwalior belt is a unique geographical feature having gullies up to 15-20 feet deep.

  • According to a study, about 3.97 million hectares of land in India form ravines. The States of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat account for 2.7 million hectares, or 70 per cent, of the country’s ravines.

Source : Daily Pioneer
Geography

Current Affairs
July 31, 2020

INDIA-EU AGREEMENT ON SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COOPERATION
India and European Union (EU) have renewed its Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation for the next five years (2020-2025).

About:

  • This will expand the cooperation in scientific and technological research for economic and social benefit. The Agreement was initially signed in 2001 and renewed two times in 2007 and 2015.

  • In the last 5 years, the level of co-investment on India-EU Research Technology Development Projects for addressing societal challenges such as affordable healthcare, water, energy, food & nutrition has been stepped up.

  • The cooperation has been focused on water, green transport, e-mobility, clean energy, bio-economy, health, and ICT.

Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
July 31, 2020

HIGH IMPACT COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (HICDP) PROJECTS
India and Maldives signed a contract for setting up ‘Neighbourhood Fish Processing Plants’ at two of the islands in the neighbouring country.

About:

  • These fish-processing plants are the first in a series of High Impact Community Development (HICDP) projects that India and Maldives have committed to execute together under a total grant of USD 5.5 million.

  • These Projects chosen by the Government of Maldives have a high-level of community impact and participation in the areas of livelihood and income generation, health, education, gender and child empowerment etc.

  • HICDPs constitute an important dimension of the dynamic development partnership between India and the Maldives. They will be implemented by City and Local Councils.

Important Info :
  • Recently, India and Maldives also signed an agreement for establishment of ‘Emergency Medical Services’ in capital Male. It is one of the several small and medium projects that are being financed by India under a grant assistance of around 20 million US dollars for Maldives.
Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
July 31, 2020

KUTCH MAINLAND FAULT (KMF)
A recent study has suggested that the Kutch Mainland Fault (KMF), which has been dormant for the last 1,000-odd years, has been accumulating stress within and could trigger an earthquake.

About:

  • The Kutch Mainland Fault (KMF) is the major east-west trending fault. The fault line extends for over 150 km from Lakhpat to Bhachau.

  • The study also gives evidence that there were four major earthquakes on KMF between 5600 and 1000 BP (before present), a time scale used by geologists to define events that happened before the origin of radiocarbon dating technology in the 1950s. 

Important Info :
  • The fragile crust of Kutch holds four major active faults which frequently liberate energy in the form of earthquakes.
  • The devastating January 26, 2001 earthquake had occurred from the South Wagad fault system. Moreover, the recent earthquakes experienced in Rajkot on July 16 and Ahmedabad on June 15 have nothing to do with KMF.
Source : Times of India
Geography

Current Affairs
July 31, 2020

HALOARCHAEA
According to a study by a Pune-based institute, the colour of water in Lonar lake in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district turned pink in June 2020 due to a large presence of the salt-loving Haloarchaea microbes.

About:

  • Haloarchaea (or halophilic archaea) are aa class of the Euryarchaeota, found in water saturated or nearly saturated with salt.

  • Halobacteria are now recognized as archaea, rather than bacteria and are one of the largest groups.

  • These microorganisms are members of the halophile community, in that they require high salt concentrations to grow.

  • Their high densities in the water often lead to pink or red colourations of the water (the cells possessing high levels of carotenoid pigments, presumably for UV protection).

Source : Times of India
Science & Tech

July 30, 2020

Current Affairs
July 30, 2020

WORLD DAY AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
The 2020 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is being celebrated on July 30.

About:

  • In 2013, the United Nations designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

  • This year’s theme:
    • The 2020 theme for the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons will focus on the first responders to human trafficking.

    • These are the people who work in different sectors - identifying, supporting, counselling and seeking justice for victims of trafficking, and challenging the impunity of the traffickers.



Important Info :
  • The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as guardian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocols thereto, assists States in their efforts to implement the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Trafficking in Persons Protocol).
Source : United Nations
Social Issues

Current Affairs
July 30, 2020

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FRIENDSHIP
The International Day of Friendship is being celebrated on July 30, 2020.

About:

  • The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.

  • This initiative that follows on the proposal made by UNESCO defining the Culture of Peace as a set of values, attitudes and behaviours that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by addressing their root causes with a view to solving problems.

Source : United Nations
International

Current Affairs
July 30, 2020

CONSERVATION ASSURED | TIGER STANDARDS (CA|TS) FRAMEWORK
India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), of the Ministry of Environment announced the adoption of the Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards [CA|TS] across all of the country’s 50 Tiger Reserves.

About:

  • The announcement means India is the first among the 13 tiger range countries to nationally adopt CA|TS, which are a set of minimum standards setting the benchmark for managing conservation sites

  • CA|TS is a conservation tool that sets best practice and standards to manage target species, and encourages assessments to benchmark progress. Tigers are the first species selected for the initiative.

  • Launched in 2013, the tool was developed in collaboration with field managers, tiger experts and government agencies engaged in tiger conservation.

  • CA|TS is a partnership of tiger range governments, inter-governmental agencies, institutions, NGOs and conservation organisations. WWF is helping tiger range countries to implement CA|TS.

Source : WWF
Environment

Current Affairs
July 30, 2020

ALL INDIA TIGER ESTIMATION REPORT-2018
On the occasion of International Tigers day (July 29, 2020), Union Environment Minister released the All India Tiger Estimation Report-2018. The All India Tiger Estimation is undertaken every four years, the latest in 2018.

Key findings of the Report:

  • India’s tiger population now stands at 2967 which is 70 percent of the global tiger population.

  • Among states, MP topped the tiger estimation, with 526 (it had 308 last time), going past Karnataka (524 this time, 406 earlier). Uttarakhand remained on the third spot, with 442 tigers, up from 340 previously.

  • Jim Corbett national park in Uttarakhand has the most number of tigers at 231. It is followed by Nagarhole (127) and Bandipur (126), both in Karnataka, Bandhavgarh in MP (MP) and Kaziranga in Assam (104 each).

  • Jim Corbett is the only reserve with more than 200 tigers and has the highest tiger density in India at 14.

  • Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary, which used to be a non-tiger zone in UP, now has one tiger.

  • In 1973 there were only 9 tiger reserves in the country, which has now gone up to 50.

  • Nearly a third of India’s tigers are living outside tiger reserves and nearly 17 of the 50 reserves are approaching the peak of their capacity at sustaining their populations.

Source : Times of India
Environment

Current Affairs
July 30, 2020

INTERNATIONAL TIGERS DAY
International Tigers day was observed on July 29, 2020.

About:

  • In 2010, the Heads of the Governments of Tiger Range countries at St. Petersburg, Russia, had resolved to double tiger numbers across their global range by 2022 by signing the Petersburg declaration on tiger conservation.

  • During the said meeting it was also decided to celebrate July 29 as Global Tiger Day across the world, which is since, being celebrated to spread and generate awareness on tiger conservation.

  • There are currently 13 tiger range countries -- India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Source : All India Radio
Environment

Current Affairs
July 30, 2020

AUSTRALIA’S 2019-20 BUSHFIRES
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) released an interim report entitled “Australia’s 2019-2020 Bushfires: The Wildlife Toll”. The research is the first continent-wide analysis of animals impacted by the bushfires. The final report will be completed by the end of August 2020.

Findings:

  • Nearly 3 billion animals – mammals, reptiles, birds, and frogs – were killed or displaced by Australia’s devastating 2019-20 bushfires.

  • The breakdown is 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds, and 51 million frogs.

  • This ranks as one of the worst wildlife disasters in modern history.

Important Info :

The recommendations in the interim report call for:

  • addressing knowledge gaps on wildlife densities and responses to fire,
  • improving habitat connectivity to help mobile species escape fire,
  • identifying and protecting unburnt habitat crucial to threatened species,
  • improving fire prevention and management, and
  • establishing rapid response teams to help species impacted by fire.
Source : The Hindu
Disaster Management

Current Affairs
July 30, 2020

INDIA REPORT ON DIGITAL EDUCATION, 2020
Union HRD Minister launched India Report on Digital Education, 2020.

About:

  • The report has been prepared by Digital Education Division of Ministry of HRD in consultation with Education Departments of States and UTs.

  • The report elaborates on the innovative methods adopted by Ministry of HRD, Education Departments of States/UTs for ensuring education to children at home.

  • Ministry of HRD has initiated many projects to assist teachers and students like DIKSHA platform, Swayam Prabha TV Channel, Online MOOC courses, On Air – Shiksha Vani, DAISY by NIOS for differently-abled, e-PathShala, National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) to develop e-content and energized books etc.

  • Some of the major medium to connect to the students were using social media tools like WhatsApp Group for all the classes, Online classes through YouTube channel, Google meet, Skype etc.

  • Some of the major digital initiatives by State Governments are SMILE (Social Media Interface for Learning Engagement) in Rajasthan, Padhai Tunhar duvaar in Chhattisgarh, Unnayan Initiatives in Bihar, Mission Buniyaad in Delhi etc

  • Competitive exams: Goa has partnered with Embibe, an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered online platform for students preparing for entrance exams in the State. Karnataka has launched Pariksha Vani, an exam preparation program through Doordarshan.

Source : All India Radio
Education

Current Affairs
July 30, 2020

1MDB SCANDAL
Malaysia’s former leader Najib Razak was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 12 years in jail in the first trial over a multi-billion-dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB.

About:

  • 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is an insolvent Malaysian strategic development company, wholly owned by the Minister of Finance (Incorporated).

  • It was founded in 2009 by Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak founded as a platform to bring foreign investment to the country and promote long-term economic development.

Important Info :

Scandal

  • Since 2015, the company has been under heavy scrutiny for its suspicious money transactions and evidence pointing to money laundering, fraud, and theft.
  • In 2012, American banking giant Goldman Sachs was roped in to raise investments, and over $6.5 billion was raised in the following year. The firm charged $600 million in fees for its services, and billions were allegedly pocketed by Razak and members of his inner circle.
  • In 2015, Malaysia's then-Prime Minister Najib Razak was accused of channelling over RM 2.67 billion from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to his personal bank accounts.
Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
July 30, 2020

FDI NORMS ON CIVIL AVIATION
The Government of India has notified changes in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms on civil aviation.

About:

  • These rules will be called as the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) (Third Amendment) Rules, 2020.

  • It will permit non-resident Indian nationals to own 100 % stake of Air India.

  • The amendment removes the exception which permitted Overseas Citizens of India 100% FDI in air transport, but not Air India. This category of citizens has been replaced with NRIs, now allowed to commit 100% FDI in air transport, including Air India, through automatic route. 

Important Info :

Background:

  • Last month, the government for the third time extended the deadline to bid for Air India. The deadline was extended by two months till August 31st. The divestment process for the national carrier was initiated on January 27th. 
Source : Times of India
Economy

Current Affairs
July 30, 2020

BAD BANK
The banking sector, led by the Indian Banks Association (IBA), had recently submitted a proposal for setting up a bad bank to the finance ministry and the RBI.

About:

  • What Is it? A bad bank is a bank set up by the government to buy the bad loans and other illiquid holdings of another financial institution. The entity holding significant Non Performing Assets (NPAs) will sell these holdings to the bad bank at market price, thus clearing its balance sheet.

  • Recent proposal in India by IBA:
    • The proposal envisages setting up an Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) platform to buy stressed pools from banks and turn them around.

    • This would allow banks to write off the appropriate provisions for the portfolio sold and get the discounted value that the ARC pays for the distressed pool purchase.

    • The stressed assets can alternatively be sold to an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF), which could turn them around.



Important Info :

Debate:

  • What is the need? In a couple of years, the proportion of stressed assets in the banking system could jump to as high as 18 per cent from around 11 per cent at present. To tackle this upcoming challenge, the banking industry has proposed the setting up of a government-backed bad bank.
  • Arguments against:
    • Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan argued that a government-funded bad bank would just shift loans “from one government pocket (the public sector banks) to another (the bad bank) and did not see how it would improve matters”.
    • Other experts argue that the enactment of IBC has reduced the need for having a bad bank, as a transparent and open process is available for all lenders to attempt insolvency resolution.
Source : Indian Express
Economy

July 29, 2020

Current Affairs
July 29, 2020

RAILWAY COOPERATION BETWEEN INDIA AND BANGLADESH
Bangladesh received 10 broad-gauge locomotives from India. These locomotives will help handle the increasing volume of passenger and freight train operations in Bangladesh.

About:

  • The locomotives arrived at the Darshana station of Bangladesh after being flagged off at the Gede railway station on the Indian side.

  • Railway cooperation between India and Bangladesh has grown substantially over the years. India has extended a Line of Credit (LoC) worth over 2.4 billion dollars for 17 railway projects out of which 9 have been completed.

  • Recently, parcel and container train services have also commenced between India and Bangladesh.

  • The railway link from Agartala to Akhaura in Bangladesh is also being built under grant in aid scheme to connect Tripura with Bangladesh by railways.

Important Info :

Gede railway station?

  • Gede is the last railway station and border checkpoint on the Indian side of the Bangladesh-India border in Nadia district of West Bengal. The corresponding station on the Bangladesh side is Darshana.
Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
July 29, 2020

DARE TO DREAM 2.0
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has launched its innovation contest ‘Dare to Dream 2.0’ on the 5th death anniversary of APJ Abdul Kalam.

About:

  • The ‘Dare to Dream 2.0’ is an open challenge to promote the individuals & startups for innovation in defence and aerospace technologies in the country.

  • Award money, up to Rs 10 lakh for startup and Rs five lakh to individual category, will be given to the winners.

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
July 29, 2020

Lyfas
The Department of Science and Technology has selected Acculi Labs, a Bangalore based startup, to develop a Covid risk assessment profile called Lyfas COVID score under the Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis, KAWACH initiative.

About:

  • Lyfas is an android application in which, when any person keeps the index finger on the rear phone camera of a mobile phone for five minutes, it captures the capillary pulse and blood volume change.

  • The technology is focused on population screening, monitoring of quarantined individuals and surveillance at the community level. KAWACH initiative is supporting market-ready innovations for the control of COVID-19.

Source : All India Radio
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
July 29, 2020

CONTACTLESS CREDIT CARD
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and SBI Card together launched their new Co-branded Contactless Credit Card on RuPay Platform.

About:

  • The new RuPay credit card is equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology with which, users can expedite their transactions at the POS machines by just tapping the card on the machines.

  • Designed to reward frequent railway travellers, the card offers travellers on Indian railways savings proposition on their travel besides benefits on retail, dining and entertainment besides transaction fee waivers.

Important Info :

Near Field Communication (NFC)?

  • Near Field Communication (NFC) is a contact-less communication technology based on a radio frequency (RF) field using a base frequency of 13.56 MHz.
  • NFC technology is perfectly designed to exchange data between two devices through a simple touch gesture.
Economy

Current Affairs
July 29, 2020

BIS-CARE
Union Consumer Affairs Minister launched the Bureau of Indian Standard’s Mobile App BIS-Care today. He also launched three portals on Standardization, Conformity Assessment and Training of e-BIS.

About:

  • The mobile app BIS-Care can be operated on any Android phone and consumers can check the authenticity of the ISI-marked and hallmarked products through this Application.

  • Customers can also lodge complaints using this medium.

Important Info :

Bureau Of Indian Standards (BIS)?

  • Status: It is a statutory body established in 1987 under the BIS Act 1986. It replaced the Indian Standards Institution (ISI), a body set up under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  • Parent ministry: Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
  • HQ: New Delhi.
  • Objective: BIS is the National Standard Body of India for achieving harmonious development of the activities of standardization, certification marking and quality certification of goods.
  • Functions: BIS is involved in various activities such as Standards Formulation, Product Certification Scheme, Hall Marking Scheme, Laboratory Services etc.
Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
July 29, 2020

SREE SREE JOYKALI MATAR TEMPLE
The High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh inaugurated the reconstructed Sree Sree Joykali Matar temple at Natore in Bangladesh.

About:

  • The Sree Sree JoyKali Matar temple is among the oldest temples in Bangladesh.

  • It was built approximately 300 years back in the early 18th century by Shri Dayaram Roy. He was an influential Dewan of Queen Bhahani of Natore and the founder of Dighapatia Royal Family.

  • The MoU for the reconstruction of the temple at Lalbazar, Natore was signed between India in Bangladesh in 2016.

  • The Government of India provided a grant assistance of Taka 97 lakh for the reconstruction of the historic temple under its High Impact Community Development Project (HICDP) scheme.

Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
July 29, 2020

‘MAUSAM’ MOBILE APP; KRCNet
Union Minister for Earth sciences launched MoES-Knowledge Resource Centre Network (KRCNet) and mobile App "Mausam” for India Meteorological Department (IMD).

‘Mausam’ Mobile App:

  • This ‘Mausam’ Mobile App for India Meteorological Department (IMD) is designed to communicate the weather information and forecasts to the general public in a lucid manner without technical jargons.

  • The MAUSAM mobile App has the following 5 services: (1) Current Weather, (2) Nowcast, (3) City Forecast, (4) Warnings and (5) Radar products.

MoES-Knowledge Resource Centre Network (KRCNet):

  • Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) aims to develop a World-Class Knowledge Resource Centre Network (KRCNet).

  • Under It, the traditional libraries of the MoES system will be upgraded into a top-notch Knowledge Resource Centres (KRC). KRCs will be connected with each other and integrated into the KRCNet portal.

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
July 29, 2020

BULK DRUGS AND MEDICAL DEVICES PARKS
Union Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister launched schemes of Department of Pharmaceuticals for promotion of domestic manufacturing of bulk drugs and medical devices in the country.

About:

  • The Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes for promoting domestic manufacturing of KSMs, DIs and APIs and medical devices will go a long way including to boost domestic manufacturing of 53 bulk drugs, on which India is critically dependent on imports.

  • The Scheme for promotion of Bulk Drug Parks envisages creation of 3 bulk drug parks in the country. The grant-in-aid will be 90% of the project cost in case of North-East and hilly States and 70% in case of other States. Maximum grant-in-aid for one bulk drug park is Rs.1000 crore.

  • Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for promoting domestic manufacturing of Medical Devices intends to boost domestic manufacturing of medical devices in four target segments by giving financial incentives on sales to a maximum number of 28 selected applicants for a period of 5 years. 

Important Info :

Background:

  • In order to encourage domestic production of critical APIs(Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients)/ KSM(Key Starting Material) and medical devices, Union Cabinet in March, 2020 approved a scheme for development of three bulk drugs and four medical devices parks.
  • Under this, Government of India will give incentive to States with a maximum limit of 1000 Crore rupees per bulk drug park and 100 crore rupees per medical device parks.
Source : All India Radio
Health

Current Affairs
July 29, 2020

PRE-PACKS
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has set up a committee to look into the possibility of including “pre-packs” under the current insolvency regime to offer faster insolvency resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

About:

  • What is a pre-pack? A pre-pack is an agreement for the resolution of the debt of a distressed company through an agreement between secured creditors and investors instead of a public bidding process.

  • Global scenario: This system of insolvency proceedings has become increasingly popular in the UK and Europe over the past decade. 

Important Info :

Benefits of a pre-pack:

  • In the case of pre-packs, the incumbent management retains control of the company until a final agreement is reached.
  • Transfer of control from the incumbent management to an insolvency professional as is the case in the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) leads to disruptions in the business and loss of some high-quality human resources and asset value.
  • This process would likely be completed much faster than the traditional CIRP which requires that the creditors of the distressed company allow for an open auction for qualified investors to bid for the distressed company.
Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
July 29, 2020

WORLD NATURE CONSERVATION DAY
World Nature Conservation Day was observed on July 28, 2020.

About:

  • Observed each year on July 28th, World Conservation Day is celebrated internationally to increase awareness about the best practices to protect our natural resources.

  • This is because Earth has limited resources which we need to use efficiently to maintain the balance.

Source : All India Radio
Environment

July 28, 2020

Current Affairs
July 28, 2020

WORLD HEPATITIS DAY
World Hepatitis Day is being celebrated on 28 July. This year’s theme is “Hepatitis-free future,” with a strong focus on preventing hepatitis B among mothers and new-borns.

About:

  • World Hepatitis Day is commemorated each year on 28 July to enhance awareness of viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that causes a range of health problems, including liver cancer.

  • The date of 28 July was chosen 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.

Important Info :
  • There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D and E. Together, hepatitis B and C are the most common cause of deaths, with 1.3 million lives lost each year.
  • WHO is calling on all countries to work together to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.
Source : WHO
Health

Current Affairs
July 28, 2020

GI TAG FOR KASHMIR SAFFRON
The Union Government has issued a certificate of Geographical Indication (GI) registration for Saffron grown in the Kashmir Valley.

About:

  • What is it? The GI certification establishes specific geographical origin and certifies certain unique qualities of the product and enables those who have the right to use sign in order to prevent third parties using the sign.

  • Significance of the decision for Kashmir Saffron?
    • With the GI tag, Kashmir Saffron will acquire more prominence in the export market and would help the farmers get a better remunerative price.

    • It would also stop the prevalent adulteration of Kashmir Saffron and thereby authenticated Saffron will fetch much better prices.



Important Info :

Do you know?

  • Kashmir saffron, grown at an altitude of 1,600 metres, saw a steep decline in production by around 65%, from 16 tonnes to 5.6 tonnes in 2018.
  • Land under saffron cultivation has also come down to 3,715 hectares in 2009-10 from 5,707 hectares in 1996.
Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
July 28, 2020

NABAM REBIA JUDGMENT
The Constitution Bench judgment of the Supreme Court in Nabam Rebia versus Deputy Speaker on July 13, 2016, held that a Governor is bound to convene a meeting of the Assembly for a floor test on the recommendation of the Cabinet.

Key highlights of the Judgement:

  • A Governor cannot employ his “discretion”, and should strictly abide by the “aid and advice” of the Cabinet to summon the Assembly for a floor test.

  • The Governor can summon, prorogue and dissolve the House only on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as the head. And not at his own.

  • Even the Constituent Assembly was wary of extending the Governor’s discretion. Though the draft Constitution had vested the Governor with the discretion to summon and dissolve, it was latter omitted by the framers of the Constitution.

  • Article 163 of the Constitution does not give the Governor a “general discretionary power to act against or without the advice of his Council of Ministers”.

  • Governor’s discretionary powers are limited to specified areas like giving assent or withholding/referring a Bill to the President or appointment of a Chief Minister or dismissal of a government which has lost of confidence but refuses to quit, etc.

Important Info :

Present Relevance:

  • The judgment is significant in the present deadlock between Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot over the summoning of an Assembly session for a floor test.
Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
July 28, 2020

FIRST CONTAINER TRAIN FROM INDIA REACHES BANGLADESH
The first container train from India – carrying FMCG products and other items – arrived at the Benapole railways station of Bangladesh on July 26, 2020. It had started from Majerhat station near Kolkata on July 24, 2020.

About:

  • The Container Train Service is going to be a regular service connecting various terminals of Indian Railways network to various stations in Bangladesh.

  • Background:
    • The process for facilitating movement of Container trains from India to Bangladesh started in 2017 when an MoU was signed by Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) and the Bangladesh Container Company Ltd.

    • It was followed up by a trial run of the first container train from Kolkata to Bangabandhusetu West station (BBW) in April 2018.



Important Info :

Significance:

  • Container Train Service is an additional service which is going to transport cargo by rail to Bangladesh other than the traditional Freight Trains Services and the newly introduced Parcel Train Service (On 13 July, 2020 a parcel train carrying chilli from Andhra Pradesh had arrived in Bangladesh).
  • Container train services are cost effective and safer to carry FMCG, chemicals and consumer durables requiring shorter transit time. In contrast, traditional freight trains carry bulk items like fertiliser, coal, iron ore and cement among others.
Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
July 28, 2020

CURRENCY SWAP AGREEMENT WITH SRI LANKA
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has signed an agreement for extending a $400-million currency swap facility to Sri Lanka to boost the foreign reserves and ensure financial stability of the country, which is badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

About:

  • The currency swap arrangement will remain available till November 2022.

  • The agreement between Sri Lanka and RBI has been signed under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) framework. The RBI also offers similar swap lines to central banks in the SAARC region within a total corpus of $2 billion. This facility originally came into operation in 2012.

  • India already has a $75 billion bilateral currency swap line with Japan, which has the second highest dollar reserves after China.

Important Info :

Currency Swap?

  • In the swap arrangement, a country provides dollars to a foreign central bank, which, at the same time, provides the equivalent funds in its currency to the former, based on the market exchange rate at the time of the transaction.
  • The parties agree to swap back these quantities of their two currencies at a specified date in the future, which could be the next day or even two years later, using the same exchange rate as in the first transaction. In Sri Lanka’s case, it’s more than two years.
  • Benefits:
    • These swap operations carry no exchange rate or other market risks, as transaction terms are set in advance. The absence of an exchange rate risk is the major benefit of such a facility.
    • This facility provides the country, which is getting the dollars, with the flexibility to use these reserves at any time in order to maintain an appropriate level of balance of payments or short-term liquidity.
Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
July 28, 2020

FDI FROM NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES
About 200 investment proposals from China are awaiting security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) after the new FDI rules were notified in April 2020.

About:

  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) notified the new FDI policy in April 2020, making prior government approval mandatory for foreign direct investments (FDI) from countries which share a land border with India.

  • India shares land borders with Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

  • Investors from countries that are not covered by revised FDI new policy only have to inform the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) after the completion of a transaction rather than seek prior clearance from the administrative ministry.

  • The revised FDI policy is aimed at “curbing opportunistic takeovers/acquisitions of Indian companies due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
July 28, 2020

INTERNATIONAL UNION OF RAILWAYS (UIC)
International Union of Railways (UIC), Paris has nominated Arun Kumar as Vice-Chairman of its security platform.

About:

  • The International Union of Railways – translated as Union Internationale des Chemins (UIC) – is an international rail transport industry body.

  • It was formed in 1922 and is headquartered in Paris.

Important Info :

Arun Kumar:

  • Arun Kumar, presently serving as Director General of Railway Protection Force (RPF) will take over as vice-chairman of UIC Security Platform from July 2022 to July 2024. The decision was taken in the 96th General Assembly of the Union.
  • The Security Platform of the Union is empowered to formulate policy positions for matters relating to security, property and installation in the rail sector.
Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
July 28, 2020

SEROLOGICAL SURVEY
The Ministry of Health declared the results of a serological survey carried out in Delhi between June 27 and July 10, which showed that 22.86% of the people surveyed had developed IgG antibodies, indicating they had been exposed to the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

About:

  • A serological survey seeks to assess the prevalence of disease in a population by detecting the presence of specific antibodies against the virus.

  • A serological test is performed to diagnose infections and autoimmune illnesses. It can also be conducted to check if a person has developed immunity to certain diseases.

  • The test indicates past infections (and which triggered an immune response), and is not used to detect active infections.

Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
July 28, 2020

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT INDEX FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Union Minister of Rural Development released the “Financial Management Index for Rural Development Programmes.”

About:

  • The index will rank the performance of the States on the basis of following parameters:
    • Preparation of annual plan, projecting the requirement of funds for the financial year, expeditious release of State’s share, timely utilization of the funds and submission of the Utilization Certificates etc.;

    • Optimum implementation of Public Financial Management System (PFMS) & Direct Benefit Transfer;

    • Internal Audit; and

    • Social Audit.



  • The performance of the States on the parameters of the Index would also promote the spirit of competitive, cooperative federalism amongst States.

Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
July 28, 2020

TUTING-TIDDING SUTURE ZONE (TTSZ)
A study by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), revealed that the Tuting-Tidding Suture Zone (TTSZ) is generating moderate earthquakes at two different depths.

About:

  • The Tuting-Tidding Suture Zone (TTSZ) is a major part of the Eastern Himalaya, where the Himalaya takes a sharp southward bend and connects with the Indo-Burma Range.

  • This part of the Arunachal Himalaya has gained significant importance in recent times due to the growing need of constructing roads and hydropower projects, making the need for understanding the pattern of seismicity in this region critical.

Source : PIB
Geography
Load More...