1. The International Army Games 2018 are being held at 24 training grounds in seven countries namely Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Iran, Kazakhstan, China and Russia from July 28 to August 11. It is for the first time that Armenia and Iran are co-hosting events of the Army Games. Indian teams are taking part in two major competitions– Tank Biathlon event at Alabino ranges, Moscow region and Elbrus Ring competition in Caucasus mountains. The opening ceremony was attended by Indian Ambassador to Russia, Pankaj Saran along with Indian attaches attended the ceremony.
2. Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF), the marketers of the popular Amul brand of milk and dairy products, was awarded the ‘Marketer of the Year’ award by the International Advertising Association of India (IAAI). The award was received by RS Sodhi, the Managing Director (MD) of GCMMF, on behalf of the 36 lakh milk famers and producers of Gujarat. Amul is the brand worth Rs 41,000 crore and is the biggest cooperative owned by 36 lakh farmers of Gujarat. Amul is not only known for its cooperative structure and farmer’s faith, but is also known for its marketing and advertizing strategies.
3. The World Day against Trafficking in Persons is observed every year on July 30 to raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights. The 2018 theme “Responding to the trafficking of children and young people” highlights the fact that almost a 3rd of trafficking victims are children. The theme draws attention to the issues faced by trafficked children and to possible action initiatives linked to safeguarding and ensuring justice for child victims.
4. India’s first in-phone tourism guide and mobile application “Go whats That” has launched by Dharmendra Pradhan, the Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, at Rock Garden in Chandigarh on July 28, 2018. This is first of its kind app where tourist can scan QR code at a heritage site to download the history & details of that place in multiple languages. Initially, 1,100 tags have been placed at different tourist spots, which will give accurate information on each artifact. The app will also help the UT Administration in data analytics by getting real-time updates on each place, including the number of tourists visiting the places, scan details, etc.
5. Prabhat Koli (19) from Maharashtra, who crossed the English Channel when he was 16, has become the first Asian to swim the choppy water from Jersey (an Island in the UK) to France in cold weather. The long-distance sea swimmer covered 25km in 6 hours and 54 minutes. He started off from La Coupe Point of Jersey, behind St Catherine’s backwater and touched the shore of St Germain Plage on the Normandy coast of France. As part of his seven seas challenge, Prabhat is now training to cross the North Channel in Ireland in first week of August.
6. The Union Government has constituted a high level empowered committee to address the issues of stressed thermal power projects. The committee will be headed by Cabinet Secretary, Pradeep Kumar Sinha with representatives from the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Coal and the lenders having major exposure to the power sector. The Committee would look into the various issues with a view to resolve them and maximize the efficiency of investment including changes required to be made in the fuel allocation policy, regulatory framework, mechanisms to facilitate sale of power, ensure timely payments, payment security mechanism, changes required in the provisioning norms/Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), Asset Restructuring Company (ARC) Regulations and any other measures proposed for revival of stressed assets so as to avoid such investments becoming NPA.
7. The Myanmar Government has appointed an independent 4- member commission to investigate alleged human rights abuses against the ethnic Rohingya minority. The Independent Commission will investigate the allegations of human rights violations and related issues, following the terrorist attacks by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). The commission will be comprised of two local members & two international members. It will be headed by Filipino diplomat Rosario Manalo. The other members includes Japan’s former ambassador to the UN Kenzo Oshima, lawyer Mya Thein and economist and former UN official Aung Tun Thet. In August 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar’s western Rakhine state to Bangladesh after a military crackdown started in response to attacks by ARSA on security posts.
8. The Chhattisgarh government has launched a smartphone distribution scheme ‘Mobile Tihar’ under the Sanchar Kranti Yojna (SKY). The scheme is for distribution of smartphones to women and students, covering over 50 Lakh beneficiaries. As part of the scheme, 556 new mobile towers will be installed across the state. ‘Mobile Tihar’ was launched by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, along with National Award-winning actress Kangana Ranaut on July 31.
9. The first cow sanctuary in Rajasthan will be situated in Napasar, Bikaner to dedicate the entire area for cows, much on the lines of a wildlife sanctuary. It will provide shelter for 10,000 bovines spread over an area of more than 220 hectares in Bikaner district. The facilities in the sanctuary will include hospitals and Sewan grass as fodder for the animals. The state government has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a private trust in this regard. The cow sanctuary will be the latest in a string of initiatives announced by the BJP government in the state for the protection of bovines since it came to power in 2013. The state already has a ministry dedicated to the welfare of cows and last year it had announced a 10% surcharge on stamp duty towards cow protection.
10. Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the former West Bengal governor, has been selected for 2018 Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award for his outstanding contribution towards the promotion of communal harmony, peace and goodwill. The award will be presented to him at a special ceremony on August 20 at Jawahar Bhawan. The award, which carries a citation and cash amount of Rs 10 lakh, is given on the occasion of the birthday of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. It was instituted to commemorate the lasting contribution made by him to promote peace, communal harmony and fight against violence.
11. The Meenakshi Amman temple is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Recently, it is in news because the famous Goddess Meenakshi temple has got its first non-Brahmin as ‘archaka’ (priest), 12 years after the Tamil Nadu government passed an order for appointment of people from any caste as priests. The new priest, belonging to a backward caste, was among the 206 people who had undergone training conducted by the ancient temple administration. The temple has appointed the priest with conditions which included that he could be suspended if he violated the ‘Agama’ rules, a manual for worship of the deity, rituals and construction of temples.
12. Rajasthan has become the first Indian state to implement the National policy on bio fuels, which was launched by the Union Government in May 2018. The desert State will lay emphasis on increasing production of oilseeds and establish a Centre for Excellence in Udaipur to promote research in the fields of alternative fuels and energy resources. The policy on bio fuels seeks to help farmers dispose of their surplus stock in an economic manner and reduce the country’s oil import dependence. It has expanded the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of sugarcane juice, sugar containing materials, starch containing materials and damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice and rotten potatoes for ethanol production.
13. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) hiked policy repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.50% in its third bi-monthly monetary policy review of 2018-19. Repo rate is the rate at which the RBI lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds. Reverse repo rate, the rate at which the Reserve Bank borrows money from commercial banks within the country, was adjusted to 6.25%. Accordingly, the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate too stand adjusted at 6.75%. This time too, RBI has maintained neutral stance with an objective of achieving the medium-term target for headline inflation of 4 per cent while supporting growth.
14. Akshay Venkatesh, a renowned Indian-Australian mathematician, has won the 2018 Fields Medal for his profound contributions to an exceptionally broad range of subjects in mathematics. Venkatesh is one of four winners of mathematics’ top honour known as the Nobel prize for math. The Fields medals are awarded every four years to the most promising mathematicians under the age of 40. Each winner receives a 15,000 Canadian-dollar cash prize. The other three winners are: Caucher Birkar, a Cambridge University professor of Iranian Kurdish origin; Germany’s Peter Scholze, who teaches at the University of Bonn and Alessio Figalli, an Italian mathematician at ETH Zurich.
15. The Government of Odisha has launched a 360 degree nation-wide publicity campaign “Heartbeats for Hockey” to attract fans for 2018 men’s hockey World Cup. The movement attempts to get India behind the game by way of music, entertainment, fashion, pure sport and panel discussions. Each time anyone holds the custom-made hockey stick, named ‘Heart Beat’, their heart beat will be recorded as a pledge to support hockey. The ‘Heart Beat’ will take a round of the country through ‘Hockey Adda’, a curated on-ground discussion platform for hockey players and experts. The event will take place at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar from November 28 to December 16. The state is the title partner for the hockey event and Odisha Tourism is the host partner. The maximum players in the national team are also from Odisha.
16. India has been ranked 96th in the United Nation’s E-Government Development Index (EGDI) 2018. The survey, released by UN every two years, noted that India has scored 100% in the first stage of the E-Participation sub-index, followed by 95.65% in the second stage and 90.91% in the third stage. The overall score of 0.9551 on the E-Participation sub-index has put India among top 15 countries in the list of 193 counties surveyed. In this category, India has emerged as sub-region leader. Denmark is the world leader, both on E-Government index and E-Participation sub-index.
17. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has launched a desktop software ‘e-Aksharayan’ for converting any scanned or printed Indian language documents into a fully editable text format in Unicode encoding. The text can be also saved separately. The application is free of cost and supports editing in 7 Indian languages viz. Hindi, Bangla, Malayalam, Gurmukhi, Tamil, Kannada & Assamese.
18. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has recently launched a landmark 3-month visa amnesty programme which will benefit hundreds of illegal foreign workers, including Indians, overstaying their permits by allowing them to leave the country without penalties and giving them six months to find a job. The UAE is home to 2.8 million Indian expatriates, the largest expatriate community in the country. Professionally qualified personnel constitute about 15 to 20% of the community, followed by 20% white-collar non-professionals and the remainder 65% comprises blue-collar workers. The government did not release specific numbers, but says thousands of people, primarily labourers from countries like India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and the Philippines, will benefit from the amnesty scheme which will facilitate their smooth return to their home countries. As per Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA), the entity responsible for entry and residence of foreigners in the UAE, visa violators before August 1, 2018 will be able to rectify their status legally during the amnesty period, which will end on October 31.
19. The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet has recently approved an unemployment allowance scheme “Mukhyamantri Yuva Nestam” through which an allowance of Rs 1000 per month will be provided to unemployed youth in the state. Unemployed youths with a degree or diploma between the ages of 22 and 35 years are eligible to avail the benefit. The state government will set up a website for the scheme by the end of August, where a 15-day registration window will be open for potential beneficiaries of the scheme. The amount will be directly transferred into their bank account. The state government decided to implement this scheme to benefit as many as 12 lakh youths of the state. It has also been decided that 20,000 job vacancies, 9,000 teacher posts and other department vacancies will be filled.
20. The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind presented the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award (OPA) for the years 2013-2017 in New Delhi on August 1, 2018. Dr Najma Heptullah, the Manipur’s governor and 5-times Rajya Sabha member, won the award for 2013. Meanwhile, BJP’s Lok Sabha member Hukum Dev Narayan was the recipient of OPA for 2014, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad for 2015, Trinamool Congress’ Dinesh Trivedi for 2016 and Bhartruhari Mahtab of the Lok Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for 2017. The OPA is an award given by the Indian Parliamentary Group (IPG) to an outstanding sitting Member of Parliament (MP) for overall contribution in the Parliament. It was instituted in 1992 by Shivraj Patil, who was the Speaker of Lok Sabha from 1991 to 1996.
21. Following the publication of the final draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, the Manipur government has constituted two committees – state and district level – to deal with a possible influx of illegal immigrants. The State Level Monitoring Committee will monitor the entry or presence of illegal immigrants in the state and take steps for creating adequate public awareness to counter the situation. It will be headed by Special Secretary (Home) while the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police as its members. The district level committee will be headed by the concerned deputy commissioners while Superintendent of Police, SDOs, SDPO, SDCs, OCs will be the members. The committee with local bodies would likely to conduct headcounts if needed.
22. NITI Aayog has launched a global mobility hackathon ” Move Hack” to crowdsource solutions for future of mobility in India. Focused on 10 themes and open to individuals from all nationalities, the hackathon will have an online leg, followed by a Singapore leg, and the finals in New Delhi. The purpose of MoveHack is to bring about innovative, dynamic and scalable solutions to problems pertaining to mobility. It has two-pronged campaign approach: (a) “Just Code It”: aimed at solutions through innovations in technology / product / software and data analysis, and (b) “Just Solve It”: innovative business ideas or sustainable solutions to transform mobility infrastructure through technology. The hackathon is organized in partnership with Government of Singapore and is powered by Hacker Earth. PwC is the Knowledge Partner and NASSCOM is the Strategic Partner.
23. Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar has won the 2018 Fiji International title. It is his first win on the European Tour, ninth Asian Tour and 10th international title overall. Thus, he became the most successful Indian player on Asian Tour and the first Indian to win on Australasia Tour. Bhullar joined Arjun Atwal, Jeev Milkha Singh, SSP Chawrasia and Anirban Lahiri as the only Indians to win on the European Tour as this was sanctioned by Asian, Australasia and European Tours. The victory also granted him an exemption on all three Tours till end of 2019. Other Indian in fray, Ajeetesh Sandhu scored 71 in the final round to end his campaign at the tied 43rd spot.
24. The Karnataka government has launched a rural cleanliness and sanitation campaign “Swachhameva Jayate” to make every citizen in rural Karnataka take a pledge of cleanliness. The aim of the campaign is to boost the Swachh Survkekshan Grameen 2018 (SSG 2018) survey in all the districts with the help of school children. Since the inception of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the government of Karnataka has constructed a total of 22 lakh toilets in 29,736 villages. The state needs another 5 lakh toilets in its rural areas before October 2 to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. The 2018 SSG survey will rank all Indian districts and states on the basis of qualitative and quantitative evaluation of sanitation status of the villages and will run from August 1 to 31. While the survey will target 698 districts, 6,980 villages, 34,900 public places randomly across the country, Swachha Meva Jayate will aim to take messages about the parameters of the survey to every rural household in Karnataka. The survey will measure and rank villages across India on the basis of availability and access to toilets, cleanliness of public spaces, and feedback and opinions of citizens.
25. In Uttar Pradesh, the iconic Mughalsarai junction has been formally renamed after RSS ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU), who was found dead in mysterious circumstances near the station in February 1968. The DDU station is more than 150 years old and one of the busiest railway stations in India. The station contains the largest railway marshaling yard in Asia. It was inaugurated by BJP national president Amit shah. Beside this, he also flagged off a passenger train with an all-women crew and a goods train at the DDU station. As per Railway officials, it will be the first time in India that an all-woman crew will run a train. Mughalsarai is also the birthplace of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. It is a part of the Chandauli Parliamentary seat which is presently held by UP BJP president Mahendra Nath Pandey.
26. Ranjit Srivastava, the Ranchi-based software developer, has claimed to develop the world’s first Hindi speaking realistic humanoid robot and India’s first lip-synching robot. The robot “Rashmi” has developed in 2 years at a minimum cost of Rs 50,000. In simple words, Srivastava developed an Indian version of a social humanoid robot ‘Sophia’ that was developed by a Hong Kong based company. The robot can speak Hindi, Bhojpuri and Marathi along with English. It uses Linguistic Interpretation (LI), Artificial Intelligence (AI), visual data and facial recognition systems. It functions under a specially designed software and linguistic interpretation system. The LI programme analyses the feeling of the conversation while AI program analyses the conversation to extract the response from the device.
27. The two week-long joint military exercise “Maitree 2018′ has started between Indian Army and Royal Thai Army in Thailand on August 6 with a focus on enhancing anti-terror cooperation between the two sides. The exercise will emphasize to hone the tactical and technical skills in joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in rural and urban scenario under UN mandate. Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats that may be encountered in urban warfare scenario. Experts from both sides will also hold detailed discussions to share their experience on varied topics for mutual benefit. Exercise Maitree will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and bonhomie between the two armies in order to counter terrorism.
28. The Central Government has approved 122 new research projects of Rs 112 crore under its Impacting Research Innovation and Technology ‘IMPRINT-2’ scheme. The aim of the initiative is to advance research in energy, security, and healthcare domains in the high education institutions. IMPRINT is the first of its kind government supported initiative to address the major science and engineering challenges that India must address and champion to enable, empower and embolden the nation for inclusive growth and self-reliance. The proposals were approved at the IMPRINT 2 Apex Committee meeting held in New Delhi on August 4, 2018.
29. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has signed pact with the State Bank of India (SBI) for a long-term unsecured loan to the tune of Rs 25,000 crore. This is SBI’s highest long-term unsecured loan to any entity and also the largest ever loan sanctioned to NHAI. There is no principal repayment liability for initial 3 years. After 3 years, the repayment would be done in 14 equal half yearly instalments. The total loan tenure is 10 years. NHAI can repay/ prepay it at any time without any prepayment penalty. The total sanctioned amount of Rs 25000 Crore is to be disbursed within 31st March 2019. Rate of interest would be based on one month MCLR. Interest accrued on the amount actually outstanding will be paid on monthly basis. NHAI can draw the amount in any number of tranches, latest by 31st March 2019.
30. Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain has become the first woman shuttler to win the women’s singles World Badminton Championships thrice with an emphatic victory over P.V. Sindhu of India in Nanjing, China on August 5, 2018. Earlier, Marin won the title in 2014 and the 2015 Jakarta edition. Sindhu didn’t have answers to Marin’s blistering pace in the 45 minutes that the match lasted. The second silver meant Sindhu is the only Indian to have four world championships podium finishes. She had won two bronze medals at the 2013 Guangzhou and 2014 Copenhagen editions. In men’s singles, Kento Momota of Japan won the title with an easy 21-13, 21-11 victory over local boy Shi Yuqi. With this victory, Kento Momota became the first Japanese man to win the Championships.
31. In the 14th edition of Women’s Hockey World Cup 2018, defending champions the Netherlands recorded a stunning 6-0 victory over Ireland in the summit clash at London on August 5 to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 32 matches. It must be noted that the Netherlands have been crowned the world champions for a record 8th time. Kitty van Male, who was among the 6 different goal scorers, finished the tournament as the top scorer with 8 goals. Spain won the third place match by beating Australia 3-1 to claim their first ever World Cup medal. India finished the tournament at the 8th spot.
32. The Indian Under-20 football team has created history by winning the 2018 Cotif Cup football tournament by defeating the 6-time U20 World Cup champions Argentina by 2-1 in their final match in Spain on 6 August. Deepak Tangri scored for India in the 4th minute and Anwar Ali’s 68th minute put India 2-0 up against the most successful team in U-20 World Cup history. Argentina pulled one back in the 72nd minute, and hit the cross bar in added time, but failed to break the Indian resolve as India concluded the tournament with a memorable performance.
33. On August 6, the world’s first-ever facility to create thermal batteries has been inaugurated in Andhra Pradesh by the state’s Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu in Amaravati. The thermal battery plant, which is manufactured by the Bharat Energy Storage Technology Private Limited (BEST), is expected to start commercial operations by May 2019. The technology will help in mitigating carbon emissions and is best suited for grid balancing and stabilisations. It will also be used to store energy for telecommunication, commercial establishments, electric vehicles and highway charging stations. It can also be effectively used in remote locations, such as hilly terrains and islands. The BEST also aims to set up a Greenfield Project in India, at an estimated cost of Rs 660 crores, through which nearly 3000 jobs are expected to be created within three years’ time. It must be noted that the thermal battery technology was patented in India by Dr Patrick Glynn in 2016.
34. The Parliament of India has passed the 123rd Constitutional Amendment Bill, which grants constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). The bill was passed after the House repealed the NCBC Act, 1993. It will contribute to the empowerment of the OBC communities across India. The bill states that the President may specify the socially and educationally backward classes in the various states and union territories. He may do this in consultation with the Governor of the concerned state. It will give the institution all powers to safeguard the rights of the socially and educationally backward classes and fulfils a long pending commitment of the central govt to the OBCs. The Clause-3 (5) of the Bill gives the proposed Commission the power to inquire into complaints of deprivation of rights and safeguards. Clause 3 (8) gives it the powers of a civil court trying a suit and allows it to summon anyone, require documents to be produced and receive evidence on affidavit.
35. UNESCO has included the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve (KBR) in the list of World Network of Biosphere Reserve (WNBR) at the 30th Session of the Man and Biosphere International Coordinating Council (ICC) in Palembang, Indonesia. With this, KBR has now become the India’s 11th internationally designated WNBR and joined the list of other biospheres such as Nandadevi, Simlipal, Sunderbans, Nokrek , Pachmarhi and Nilgiri. The reserve, which is located in Sikkim, includes a range of ecoclines varying from subtropical to arctic, as well as vast natural forests in different biomes that support an immensely rich diversity of forest types and habitats resulting in high species diversity and endemism. The core zone of the biosphere alone has over 150 glaciers and 73 glacial lakes, the prominent one being the famous 26-km-long Zemu glacier. It is home to a number of globally threatened fauna including musk deer, snow leopard, red panda and Himalayan Tahr and many ethnic communities including Lepcha, Nepalese, and Bhutia.
36. The Mizoram government will start the repatriation process of Bru (Reang) tribals from Tripura to Mizoram from August 14 to September 10. The Brus are in Tripura since late 1997 in the wake of a communal tension triggered by the murder of a forest guard inside the Dampa Tiger Reserve on October 21, 1997 by Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) militants. Regarding to this issue, the Centre, state governments of Mizoram and Tripura and the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), the apex body of the Bru community in the relief camps, have on July 3 signed an agreement in New Delhi for repatriation of all the Bru refugees from Tripura before September 30. According to the agreement, Rs 4 lakh would be deposited in the account of the head of each repatriated Bru family, which would mature after three years, and a payment of Rs 1.5 lakh as housing assistance. Each repatriated Bru family would also be given Rs 5,000 through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) every month and free ration for two years. Altogether 32,876 Brus belonging to 5,407 families are lodged in six relief camps in North Tripura district.
37. Avi Goel (14), the Indian-American high school student, has won the International Geography Bee World Championship 2018 in junior varsity division in Berlin, Germany. Avi is a tenth grader at Silver Creek High School in Evergreen, San Jose, California. He won a gold medal in 7 out of the 10 medal events, and a silver medal in two of the events, topping the overall medals table. He also bagged the top spot in all the three events counting towards the world championship title: the International Geography Exam, the International Geography Showdown, and the International Geography Bee. The competition took place from 11th to 18th of last month, bringing together over 100 of the world’s top geography students to vie for the world championship title in the subject. The competition was held by International Academic Competitions, a worldwide organization that runs academic competitions across the world, including the newly formed International Geography Bee.
38. Dr. Ram Sewak Sharma has been reappointed the Chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) till 30th September 2020. He was in July 2015 named as the TRAI chief for a three-year period. Recently, he triggered a debate around safety of Aadhaar by tweeting his Aadhaar number and challenging Twitter users to cause any harm from the knowledge of the number. TRAI is a statutory body set up by the Government of India (GoI) under section 3 of the TRAI Act, 1997. Its headquarters is located in New Delhi.
39. The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the ‘One District One Product (ODOP)’ Summit in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on August 10, 2018. The summit has been organised by the Uttar Pradesh government to promote traditional industries and spur local trade. During the summit, with a tagline of ‘Nayi Udaan, Nayi Pehchan’, the President distributed loan sanction papers to some artisans. The summit is stated to be the first of its kind in the country and is expected to give a big boost to the MSME and handicraft in the state. Uttar Pradesh is uniquely famous for product-specific traditional industrial hubs across 75 districts, including Varanasi (Banarasi silk sari), Bhadohi (carpet), Lucknow (chikan), Kanpur (leather goods), Agra (leather footwear), Aligarh (locks), Moradabad (brassware), Meerut (sports goods) and Saharanpur (wooden products).
40. The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed every year on August 9 in recognition of the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations in Geneva in 1982. On this day, people from around the world are encouraged to spread the UN’s message on the protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples. The 2018 theme “Indigenous peoples’ migration and movement” focus on the current situation of indigenous territories, the root causes of migration, trans-border movement and displacement, with a specific focus on indigenous peoples living in urban areas and across international borders.
41. The Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) has become the first defence Public Sector Units (PSU) to be activated on the TReDS (Trade Receivable Discounting System) platform. The platform enables discounting of invoices of MSME sellers against large buyers through an auction mechanism, helping prompt realisation of trade receivables at competitive market rates and helps avoid the constraints in obtaining financing. The platform hosts 15 financers including Allahabad Bank, Bank of Baroda (BoB), Union Bank of India (UBI) and Vijaya Bank.
42. Javelin thrower star Neeraj Chopra from Haryana will be India’s flag bearer in the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. He will lead India’s contingent in the multi-sport event. So far, Chopra won gold in 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (CWG), 2017 Asian Athletic championships, 2016 South Asian Games and the 2016 World Junior Championships. He also holds the for U-20 world record with a throw of 86.48m. He is currently coached by Uwe Hohn, a retired German track and field athlete.
43. NCW member Rekha Sharma from Haryana has been appointed the new chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW). She was recently embroiled in a controversy after she recommended abolishing the practice of “confessions” in churches as it can lead to blackmailing of women, after such a case came to light in Kerala. The NCW is a statutory body of the Government of India (GoI), which represent the rights of women in India and to provide a voice for their issues and concerns.
44. The World Biodiesel Day (WBD) is observed every year on August 10 to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels and to highlight the various efforts made by the Government in the biofuel sector. The day also honours the research experiments by Sir Rudolf Diesel who ran an engine with peanut oil in the year of 1893. In India, the 2018 WBD is observed by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas. On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched “Pro Active and Responsive facilitation by interactive and Virtuous Environment Single window Hub” (PARIVESH) at WBD Programme at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. He also released book on National Biofuel Policy 2018. The Biofuels policy has the objective of reaching 20% ethanol-blending and 5% biodiesel-blending by the year 2030.
45. Justice Gita Mittal has been sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. She was administered the oath of office by Governor N.N. Vohra. She is the first woman Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir High Court.
46. On August 10, 2018, the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve (KBR) of Sikkim has been included in the UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserve (WHBR). With this, number of biosphere reserves from the country included in World Network of Biosphere Reserves has increased to 11. KBR is the highest biosphere reserve in the country that includes the third highest mountain peak in the world, Kanchenjunga (8,586 m).
47. Nobel prize winning scientist Marie Curie was the most influential woman in this poll. The magazine ranked Polish born Curie at the top of a list of 100 women who changed the world, for her role in treating cancer.
48. India’s first all-woman Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team for anti-terrorist operations has been inducted in Delhi Police. The 36 elite women commandos, hailing from north-eastern states, have undergone rigorous training of around 15 months from specialists all across India and abroad to handle urban situations as well as jungle operations. Their expertise includes unarmed combat, ambush and counter-ambush and urban operations like building interventions, vehicle intervention and VVIP security. They will be deployed at Red Fort and India Gate during the 2018 Independence Day celebrations. The SWAT team is the brainchild of Amulya Patnaik, the Delhi Police Commissioner.
49. Axis Bank has become the India’s first bank to introduce Iris Scan Authentication feature for Aadhaar-based transactions through its micro ATM tablets. As per study conducted by the International Centre for Biometric Research (ICBR), Iris scan technology is completely contactless and provides up to 98.2% authentication success rate and offers an edge over other prevalent biometric modes. The highly secure iris powered micro ATM tablets are Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) certified and UIDAI compliant registered devices with completely integrated iris sensors. The process of transaction through iris scan is very simple. Customer need to select the desired service (funds transfer, cash withdrawal) and feed-in their Aadhaar numbers in the micro ATM. Next, they will have to choose ‘IRIS’ as the desired mode of authentication. Verification will be done by scanning the eyes of the customers through the tablet’s iris sensor camera in 3-5 seconds. The transaction will be completed after the biometric details are verified from the UIDAI database.
50. The International Youth Day (IYD) is celebrated every year on August 12 to recognize the efforts of the world’s youth in enhancing global society. The day is the brainchild of the United Nations to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding the youth of today. The 2018 theme is “Safe Spaces for Youth”. The UN has taken this initiative to drive attention towards youth development and protection and the areas that include education, employment, environment, HIV/AIDS, girls and young women, and intergenerational relations.
51. Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (85), the Trinidad-born Indian origin author, has passed away in London, England on August 12, 2018. He was known for his critical commentary on colonialism, idealism, religion and politics. Born in 1932 in Trinidad into an Indian Hindu family, he wrote more than 30 books of fiction and non-fiction including ‘A Bend in the River’, ‘A House for Mr Biswas’, The Writer and the World, Magic Seeds, etc. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001 for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories.
52. The 9th edition of Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit-2019 is scheduled to be held between January 18 and 20 in Gandhinagar with theme `Shaping of a New India’. The `Youth Connect Forums’ at the summit will facilitate interactions between young achievers, successful businessmen and traders and the youth. There would be discussions on success of sectors like pharma, diamond, manufacturing and SEZ in the state.
53. The Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting will offer 3-year Santoor women’s scholarship for higher education to girls from economically weaker families in the three southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Approx 900 girls from the 3 states will be given Santoor scholarship, with Rs 24,000 for each of them per annum to do under-graduation.. The students can apply for the scholarship on “www.santoorscholarships.com” till September 15 or in state-run colleges across the three states. The scholarship is an attempt to empower women to change their life and the world. Enrollment ratio of women pursuing higher education in the country is low and many give up higher study due to lack of financial support. Santoor is the leading brand name of Wipro’s toilet soap.
54. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched an initiative “RUCO (Repurpose Used Cooking Oil)” that will enable collection and conversion of used cooking oil to biodiesel. Under this initiative, 64 companies at 101 locations have been identified to enable collection of used cooking oil. According to FSSAI regulations, the maximum permissible limits for Total Polar Compounds (TPC) have been set at 25%, beyond which the cooking oil is unsafe for consumption. Beside this, FSSAI is also working in partnership with Biodiesel Association of India and the food industry to ensure effective compliance of used cooking oil regulations.
55. Justice Manjula Chellur has been appointed the new chairperson of Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (ATE), which is under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Power. Prior to this, she was Chief Justice of Bombay High Court. The tribunal has been established by Central Government for those who are not satisfied with the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) order or with a state. It has the authority to overrule or amend that order, just like the Income-Tax tribunal or the Central Administrative Tribunal. Justice Chellur was the first woman Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court. She also served as the Chief Justice of Kerala High Court and the first female judge of the Karnataka High Court.
56. In Hyderabad, India’s first genetic bank for wildlife conservation has been inaugurated by Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan at the Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) in CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) to protect India’s biodiversity and environment. It is dubbed as National Wildlife Genetic Resource Bank (NWGRB), which can store 17,000 vials worth of samples. Currently genetic material, including DNA, cells and tissues besides semen and eggs of 23 wildlife species are stored. This facility would also facilitate exchange of genetic material between Indian zoos for maintaining genetic diversity and conservation management made accessible to scientists and wildlife managers for implementing conservation programmes. The Genetic Resource Bank (GRB) is the systematic collection and preservation of tissues, sperm, eggs and embryos, genetic material (DNA/RNA).
57. The World Elephant Day (WED) is observed every year on August 12 to bring the world together to help protect & honour these gentle giants and to spread awareness about the critical threats they are facing. The day is also observed to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants and to share knowledge & positive solutions for the better care and management of captive and wild elephants. It’s also India’s National Heritage Animal. On the occasion of 2018 WED, the festival Gaj Mahotsav has started in Delhi to showcase 101 elephant installations, photographs by artists and performances by Delhi-based rock bank Euphoria. The event is organised by Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
58. The Nepal-India Literature Festival 2018 was held in Birgunj, Nepal on August 12 to strengthen Indo-Nepal ties. On this occasion, the renowned writers from both the countries were also felicitated. Approx 250 participants from India and Nepal attended the two day festival. The event was organized by Nepal India Co-operation Forum.
59. Michelle Bachelet, the former two-time President of Chile, has been officially appointed new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for a period of 4 years. She will succeed Jordanian diplomat Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein in September 2018. The High Commissioner is the principle official who speaks out for human rights across the whole UN system. It strengthens human rights mechanisms, enhance equality & fight discrimination in all its forms. It also strengthens accountability & the rule of law and widens the democratic space & protecting the most vulnerable from all forms of human rights abuse.
60. The Indian Army has launched the major rescue and relief operation “Operation Sahyog” at Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Idukki after incessant rain and landslides hit various northern districts of Kerala. The army constructed temporary bridges for the evacuations of the stranded people from the isolated villages. Apart from the Army, the Southern Naval Command of Indian Navy has also launched ‘Operation Madad’ to assist the state administration and undertake disaster relief operations due to unprecedented flooding in many parts of Kerala following incessant rainfall and release of excess water from Idukki and other dams. Naval helicopters are also deployed for ferrying divers, power tools, axes and relief material to the flooded areas to augment ongoing relief operations.
61. On August 12, the US space agency NASA has successfully launched the Parker Solar Probe mission to send a satellite closer to the Sun than any before. The rocket carrying the Parker Solar Probe lifted off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida in the US. It is the world’s first mission to touch the Sun that will unlock the mysteries of star’s fiery outer atmosphere and its effects on space weather during the 7-year long journey. The car-sized spacecraft will travel directly into the Sun’s atmosphere, about four million miles from its surface and more than 7 times closer than any spacecraft has come before. The US $1.5 billion mission will perform the closest-ever observations of a star when it travels through the Sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona. It is the first space craft to be named after a living person – astrophysicist Eugene Parker (91), who first described solar wind in 1958.
62. Somnath Chatterjee (89), the former Lok Sabha Speaker & veteran leader, has passed away in Kolkata, West Bengal on August 13, 2018. Mr. Chatterjee was the Speaker in the first five-year term (2004-2009) of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and was elected to the Parliament’s Lower House ten times since 1971. He joined Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in 1968 and was a member till his expulsion in 2008. He was expelled from CPI-M in July 2008 for refusing to resign as Speaker after CPI-M withdrew support from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. After that, he was independent in the last decade of his life.
63. Ashish Kumar Bhutani, a 1992 batch IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) till May 9, 2020. The PMFBY is the government sponsored crop insurance scheme that integrates multiple stakeholders on a single platform. It was launched by Prime Narendra Modi on 18th February 2016 in line with ‘One Nation – One Scheme’ theme. It envisages a uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for Kharif crops, and 1.5% for Rabi crops. The premium for annual commercial and horticultural crops will be 5%. The purpose of PMFBY is to provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crop as a result of natural calamities, pests & diseases. It also aims to encourage farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices and to stabilize the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming.
64. The Ease of Living Index 2018 has been launched by Hardeep Singh Puri, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing & Urban Affairs, in New Delhi on August 13. In it, Pune has been ranked first, followed by Navi Mumbai, Greater Mumbai, Triputi, Chandigarh, Thane, Raipur, Indore, Vijaywada and Bhopal. The survey was conducted on 111 cities in the country. The Index is based on four parameters — governance, social institutions, economic and physical infrastructure. Chennai has been ranked 14 and New Delhi 65. The Ease of Living Index is a government initiative to assess cities’ ‘liveability’ with regards to global and national benchmarks and encourage them towards urban planning and management.
65. Santhali has become the first Indian tribal language to get a Wikipedia edition in its native script. It is a language in the Munda subfamily of Austroasiatic languages & presently has content of about 70,000 words. The Santhali Wikipedia edition received approval from the Wikimedia Foundation’s Language Committee on June 28, 2018 and finally, the Santali Wikipedia site was launched on 2nd August 2018. According to the 2001 census, Santhali is written in Ol Chiki script & is spoken by 6.4 million people in India only. Its speakers live mostly in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Assam. The language is also spoken in Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. As per the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India, Santali is a recognized regional language of India. Wikipedia is available in nearly 300 languages globally as of August 2018.
66. The 2018 cleanliness survey for Indian Railways has been conducted by the Quality Council of India (QCI) i.e. announced by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in New Delhi on August 13. Among the A-1 category stations, Jodhpur has been declared the cleanest railway station in the A1 category, followed by Jaipur and Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh). In A category stations, Marwar (Rajasthan) has been placed at first position, followed by Phulera (Rajasthan) and Warangal (Telangana). The North Western Railway (NWR), which is headquartered at Jaipur , topped the list in the cleanest zone category, followed by South Central Railway (SCR) and East Coast Railway (ECR). This is the 3rd report of Third Party Audit-cum-Survey of ranking of cleanliness, which covers 407 stations which includes 75 stations in A1 and 332 stations in A category stations. It is an attempt of Indian Railways to increase cleanliness levels and improve hygiene standards by identifying the laggards.
67. On August 5, China has successfully tested its first cutting-edge waverider hypersonic aircraft “Xingkong-2 (or Starry Sky-2)” which could carry nuclear warheads and penetrate any current generation anti-missile defense systems. This type of waverider aircraft uses shock waves generated by its own flight as a lifting surface to enhance the lift-to-drag ratio to reach the hypersonic regime of Mach 5 or even above. It flew independently, made large-angle turning maneuvers, and landed in the targeted area as planned. It travels at least 4 times faster than the speed of sound. The aircraft was designed by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA) in collaboration with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC). Presently, the United States and Russia have been carrying out similar experiments.
68. On August 14, Film Actor Akshay Kumar has been appointed the brand ambassador for Government of India (GoI)’s special road safety awareness campaign. As part of the campaign “Sadak Suraksha – Jeevan Raksha”, three short films starring Akshay as traffic police inspector has been released to generate public awareness towards road safety. In it, he highlighted the importance of not breaking traffic rules. It is a matter of serious concern that India accounts for 5 lakh accidents annually, the highest in the world, in which 1.5 lakh people lose their lives every year.
69. NITI Aayog has launched a mobility pitch competition “Pitch to MOVE” for budding startups in the mobility field. The competition aims to identify and reward the start-ups offering innovative solutions for shared, connected and environment friendly mobility. It will provide budding entrepreneurs of India a unique opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a distinguished jury. The winners of the event will be felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Global Mobility Summit 2018, which is scheduled to be held on September in New Delhi. ‘Pitch to MOVE’ is organised by NITI Aayog in collaboration with Invest India and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) as a part of a series of engaging featured events in the run up to the main event.
70. D Bala Venkatesh Varma, a 1988 batch Indian Foreign Service officer, has been appointed India’s new ambassador to Russia, which is considered a high-profile posting due to expanse of strategic cooperation between the two countries. Currently, he is serving as Indian envoy in Spain. He will succeed Pankaj Saran, who has been appointed deputy National Security Advisor (NSA). The Union Government also appointed Partha Satpathy as next Ambassador of India to Ukraine.
71. The Government of India (GoI) has released 470 million Nepali rupees grant for Terai roads project in Nepal. The amount has been released to maintain fund liquidity for the ongoing construction of 14 road packages under Postal Highway Project. With this payment, 2.35 billion Nepali rupees have been released so far out of total grant assistance of 8 billion Nepali rupees committed by the Government of India for implementing 14 packages under Postal Highway Project. Since 1950, the Indian Government has been supporting infrastructure development of Nepal and has provided financial assistance for construction of various Highways, Roads, Bridges, Airports, etc. as part of its multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional India-Nepal Economic Cooperation Programme.
72. Ramesh Powar, the former Indian off-spinner, has been appointed the head coach of the Indian Women’s National Cricket team on an interim basis till 30th November 2018. His term will include the tours to Sri Lanka in September, a bilateral series in West Indies in October followed by the 2018 ICC Women’s World T20 in West Indies in November. This was informed by BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary. As per the Supreme Court directive, only a Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) – now functional – can appoint a fulltime coach on a long-term basis. Powar has played 31 ODIs and two Tests from 2004 to 2007, picking 34 wickets with a best of 54 in the 50-over format.
73. The Rajasthan government has decided to observe September as the “month of nutrition” to create awareness among people living in the state. From September, the students of Class 1 to 8 of government schools will be given milk daily instead of thrice a week for which additional funds of Rs 203 crore will be allocated. Besides, students in the age group of 3-6 years, adolescent girls and pregnant women registered with Anganwadi centres will also be provided milk thrice a week and the government will allocate Rs 100 crore for this. In the month of nutrition, the awareness in rural as well as urban areas will be created for nutrition. It must be noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National Nutrition Mission (NNM) and Pan India Expansion of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) at a mega event held at Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan on the occasion 2018 International Women’s Day (IWD).
74. The Central government has constituted a coordination committee headed by the Central Water Commission Chairman “Narendra Kumar” to coordinate the discharge of floodwaters from inter-State projects involving Kerala and Tamil Nadu, including Mullaperiyar and Aliyar. The Chairman of the CWC will monitor the situation at Mullaperiyar dam in view of rising water level and continued heavy inflow.
75. The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has launched a VOIP based service “WINGS”. In WINGS, there is no SIM or cable wiring as is a VOIP service through an app. The WINGS service offers unlimited free audio/video calling for one year. The service can be activated with a one-time fee of Rs. 1,099 (Rs 1,297 with GST). Calls can be made using any data connection such as wired broadband, Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G network of any any operator. WINGS can also be used over Internet Leased Lines. The facility can be used anywhere within the country and the app automatically uses the existing address book in the phone. Unlike other app-based VOIP services such as WhatsApp and Telegram calls, the WINGS app can make calls to any phone number – free of cost. As there is no physical SIM, the number can be used as the second number in phones without provision for second SIM. It can even be a third number in dual-SIM phones.
76. On the occasion of 72nd Independence Day 2018, the special film festival on the theme “Freedom Struggle and Freedom Fighters” has started in Mumbai on August 14. The festival was organized by Films Division of India (FDI), a film production house belonging to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B). It was inaugurated by Rama Khandwala, nonagenarian freedom fighter and Indian National Army (INA) veteran. During the festival, noteworthy documentary films on freedom struggle and freedom fighters were screened. Some of them are as follows: Jawan Tujhe Salam, Gandhi – A Universal Man, Netaji, Sardar Patel – The Iron Man, etc.
77. Atal Bihari Vajpayee (93), the veteran leader, prolific writer and former Prime Minister of India, has passed away in New Delhi on 16th August 2018. Born on 25th December 1924 in Gwalior, he was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1957 and had a long parliamentary experience spanning over four decades. He was elected to the Lok Sabha nine times and two times for the Rajya Sabha. Vajpayee was the Minister of External Affairs (MEA) in the cabinet of Prime Minister Morarji Desai. He served as the PM of India between 1996 and 2004 in three non-consecutive terms viz. May 1996 (for 13 days), 1998–1999 (for 11 months) and 1999–2004. He was awarded the India’s highest civilian honour ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 2015. His birthday is celebrated as the Good Governance Day (GGD) by the Central Government since 2014 to foster awareness among the people of accountability in government.
78. China is hosting the 24th World Congress of Philosophy (WCP) 2018 in Beijing from August 13 with theme “Learning To Be Human”. The purpose of the event is to contribute to the development of professional relations between philosophers of all countries, promote philosophical education & contribute to the impact of philosophical knowledge on global problems. More than 6,000 philosophers and academics from 121 countries and regions are attending the event, which will be concluded on August 20. Attendees will share diverse philosophical thoughts and take part in dialogues focusing on major issues confronting the development of the global civilization, and challenges that mankind will face in the future. The event is organized by the International Federation of Philosophical Societies, and Peking University.
79. Austrian capital Vienna has been ranked as the world’s most liveable city in a list of 140 global cities at the 2018 Global Liveability Index, which was released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Melbourne has secured 2nd position followed by Osaka, Calgary and Sydney. Delhi (112) and Mumbai (117) are only two Indian cities that are included in the EIU’s annual index. The Syrian capital ‘Damascus’ was ranked the least liveable city in the list of 140 cities, followed by Dhaka, Lagos and Karachi. The index assigns cities scores on five broad parameters — stability, healthcare, culture/environment, education, and infrastructure using 30 indicators. The EIU is part of UK magazine The Economist and provides forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis.
80. Ajit Laxman Wadekar (77), the former Indian cricket captain, has passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra on August 15, 2018. He is best remembered for being the captain of the Indian team which won Test series in England and the West Indies for the first time, in 1971. Wadekar scored 2,113 runs in his Test career, including one hundred, and was also the country’s first ODI captain. Wadekar is the only cricketer apart from Lala Amarnath and Chandu Borde to have served as captain, coach/manager and selector in Indian cricket. He was bestowed the Arjuna Award in 1967 and India’s fourth highest civilian honour, the Padmashri, in 1972.
81. Teen cyclist Esow Alben (17) has scripted history by winning the India’s first junior cycling World Cup medal — a silver at the men’s keirin event in the UCI Junior Track Cycling World 2018. He put enormous pressure on Czech Republic’s Jakub Stastny in the final sprint before settling for the silver medal. Esow finished just 0.017 seconds behind gold medallist Stastny in the thrilling photo-finish of a race. Alben, who hails from Andaman & Nicobar Islands, trains in Delhi at the Sports Authority of India (SAI)’s National Cycling Academy (NCA). Esow is now the top-ranked junior cyclist for the sprint event and is No. 3 for keirin, where the cyclists sprint for victory on a track following a controlled start.
82. The IIT Kharagpur has decided to set up a Re-Water Research Center to replenish and rejuvenate water resources. It will be seed-funded by two alumni members – Aneesh Reddy & Aditya Choubey. The purpose of the ‘Aditya Choubey Center for Re-Water Research’ is to tackle the challenge of resolving two burning issues faced by urban India – sewage disposal and access to clean potable water. The institute will set up an on-campus plant which will convert 1.35 million litre of sewage water from the hostels to 1.2 million litre of potable water, on a daily basis. The project is being developed to attract potential entrepreneurs and government agencies to take up sewage treatment at a large scale and with a business model for banks to gain confidence in funding such businesses. The pilot plant is expected to be ready by March 2019.
83. Aretha Franklin (76), the legendary US singer and pianist, has passed away in Michigan, U.S on August 16, 2018. The “Queen of Soul” was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and made her debut in 1961. Her style on such hits as “Respect” and “Natural Woman” attracted fans all over the world. She received the Grammy Award 18 times and was the first female vocalist to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Franklin performed at the inaugurations of three Presidents of the United States — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.
84. The 11th World Hindi Conference 2018 (WHC) has started in Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, with theme “Hindi World and Indian Culture” on August 18. It was organized by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India (GoI) in association with the Government of Mauritius. More than 2000 delegates from India and various countries of the world will deliberate on 8 subtopics on 2018 theme during the 3-day conference. The aim of the Conference is to expand the reach of the Hindi language at a global level. The WHC was started in 1975 to make the Hindi language a medium of service and knowledge and enable it to move forward with the time. Since then, Hindi has made remarkable progress and it has become one of the prominent languages of the world.
85. For the first time, the International team of scientists including 18 from India cracked the genetic code of wheat, the world’s most widely cultivated crop. The information generated will help to identify genes controlling complex agronomic traits such as yield, grain quality, resistance to diseases and pests, as well as tolerance to drought, heat, water logging and salinity. The research, which is published in Journal ‘Science’, stated that the DNA sequence of bread wheat has been ordered and it represents the highest quality genome sequence generated to date. The reference genome covers 94% (14.5 Gb) of the entire wheat genome. The bread wheat has a complex hexaploid genome which is 40 times larger than that of the rice genome and 5 times larger than the human genome. The availability of high quality reference genome would accelerate the breeding of climate-resilient wheat varieties to feed the ever-increasing world population and help address global food security in the decades to come.
86. The “Panini Language Laboratory” has been inaugurated by Sushma Swaraj, the Union Minister of External Affairs (MEA), during the 11th World Hindi Conference (WHC) 2018 at Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI) at Port Louis in Mauritius on August 19. The Lab has been gifted by the Government of India (GoI) and it will help MGI in teaching of all Indian languages in Mauritius. The eminent scholars have stressed upon on refinement of the Hindi language by making it simple and interesting. The delegates from across the globe underlined the need of developing software for Hindi which can be available to common people on a reasonable price. The basic objective of 3-day conference is to connect Hindi language with culture to spread and popularise it in the entire world.
87. On August 19, Wrestler Bajrang Punia clinched India’s first gold medal in the 18th Asian Games after defeating Takatani Daichi of Japan in the men’s 65 kg freestyle title bout in Jakarta, Indonesia. Punia, who hails from Haryana, had won three consecutive gold medals — 2018 CWG (Gold Coast), Tbilisi Grand Prix (Georgia) and Yasar Dogu International (Istanbul) — ahead of the 2018 Asian Games. Earlier, Indian shooters Apurvi Chandela and Ravi Kumar won the bronze medal in the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team event at the 2018 Asian Games. It was India’s first medal in the ongoing event.
88. Kofi Annan (80), the former UN secretary-general and a Ghanaian diplomat, has passed away in Switzerland on August 18, 2018. He served two terms as UN chief from 1997 to 2006. Mr Annan was the first black African to become UN secretary-general. He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for helping to revitalize the international body, during a period that coincided with the Iraq War and the HIV/Aids pandemic. In September 2016, Annan was appointed to lead a UN commission to investigate the Rohingya crisis.
89. The deadly agricultural insect-pest “Fall Armyworm (FAW)” has been recently spotted at a few places in the districts of Karimnagar, Kamareddy, Sangareddy, Medak and Gadwal in Telangana. It is known to attack and destroy several varieties of crops, but it prefers maize and sorghum because of the sweetness in their leaves. The Fall Armyworm (or Spodoptera frugiperda) is a species in the order of Lepidoptera and is the larval life stage of a fall armyworm moth. In its larva stage, it can cause significant damage to crops, if not well managed. The lifespan of the pest is 30 to 60 days and each generation can migrate to a distance of more than 400 km. It is considered deadly as it has caused massive agricultural losses in several countries in Africa. The worm was first found in Karnataka in the country and later spread to Tamil Nadu.
90. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to form a 3-member committee to look into the draft of Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations 2018. The expert committee will be led by B Sesikeran, former director of National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), and comprise current NIN director Hemalatha and AIIMS’ Nikhil Tandon. In April, food safety regulator FSSAI had come out with the above draft that propose mandatory red colour-coded labels on packaged food products which are high in fat, sugar and salt contents. However, the Union Health Ministry has put on hold the draft after industry stakeholders expressed concerns referring to an adverse impact on the evolving packaged food industry. Hence, FSSAI has decided to set up committee to study in detail the concerns of the industry and make recommendations.
91. The World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is held every year on August 19 to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to rally support for people affected by crises around the world. The day recognizes humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes. The campaign theme of 2018 WHD is #NotATarget. The day was designated by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to commemorate the 19th August 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq.
92. The Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development (HRD) has proposed to set up a 5-member committee to suggest changes to the JEE (Advanced) examination in the wake of an inadequate number of candidates qualifying the entrance test this year. The aim of the committee, which will be headed by IIT-Madras director “Bhaskar Ramamurthy”, is to develop a robust and scientifically designed entrance exam system to test the potential of the candidates as well as to reduce their dependence on coaching institutes. The proposal is on the agenda of the IIT Council, which is considered to be the top decision-making body of all the IITs. Additionally, the IIT-Council is expected to discuss a suggestion made by one of the 23 premier engineering schools that the students who qualify JEE (Advanced) should be allocated an institute and not the engineering branch. According to the suggestion, the student should be allocated an engineering branch only in the second year, based on the aptitude exhibited in the first year. The IIT Council is scheduled to meet on August 21, 2018.
93. On 16 August, the Amnesty International India (AII) has launched a new campaign “Our Safety, Our Rights” to create awareness among children to help them understand and identify sexual abuse. The campaign seeks to empower children to speak up and report sexual abuse without fear. The AII has collaborated with Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti (BGVS), People’s Action for Rural Awakening (PARA), Institute of Social Education (ISE) to engage with children in 400 schools, across four Indian states – Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Through this campaign, an estimated 50,000 students, parents, teachers and other key stakeholders will be sensitized on the issue of child sexual abuse.The campaign will culminate on 2018 International Day of the Girl Child.
94. Vinesh Phogat has created history by becoming the first Indian woman wrestler to win a gold medal at the Asian Games. in the final match in freestyle 50 kg category, she defeated Japan’s Yuki Irie in Jakarta, Indonesia on August 20, 2018. The gold also enabled Vinesh to achieve another feat as she became the only woman wrestler to win two medals in back-to-back Asian Games. Earlier, Vinesh had won a bronze medal in the 48kg category at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. Vinesh also won back-to-back gold medals in Glasgow and Gold Coast Commonwealth Games this year. Beside her, Wrestler Bajrang Punia clinched India’s first gold medal at the Jakarta Asian Games 2018 after defeating Takatani Daichi of Japan in the men’s 65 kg freestyle title bout.
95. Former Indian Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag has been awarded the United States (US) ‘Legion of Merit (Degree of commander)’ on August 17, 2018, at Pentagon, Washington DC. The award was given to Singh for exceptionally meritorious service as Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) from August 2014 to December 2016. With this, he became the 2nd Indian military officer to get this award after General Rajendrasinghji Jadeja in 1946. The Legion of Merit is awarded in four degrees – Degree of Chief Commander, Degree of commander, Degree of the officer, Degree of Legionnarie.
96. On August 19, India has successfully test-fired the indigenously developed helicopter launched Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) ‘HELINA’ from an Army helicopter ‘Rudra’ in Pokhran test range in Rajasthan. The HELINA weapon system tested for its full range was released smoothly from the launch platform. The missile hit the target with high precision. The missile is guided by an Infrared Imaging Seeker (IIR) operating in the Lock-on-Before-Launch mode. It is one of the most advanced anti-tank weapons in the world. It is the helicopter-launched version of NAG and has a hit range of 7-8 km. The production and induction of the missile are likely to happen in 2019. Beside this, the indigenously designed and developed guided bombs Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) also successfully flight tested from IAF aircraft at Chandan range in Jaisalmer. The SAAW is the combined effort of the DRDO, IAF and HAL. This weapon is capable of destroying a variety of ground targets using precision navigation.
97. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has become the first Public Sector Unit (PSU) to make a transaction on the “TReDS platform”. The transaction was financed by Bank of Baroda (BoB) and since stands settled. The TReDS platform is an online electronic institutional mechanism for facilitating the financing of trade receivables of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) through multiple financiers. The acronym ‘TReDS’ stands for Trade Receivables Discounting System. In October 2017, the central government mandated all major PSUs to join TReDS platform to facilitate payments to MSME vendors. RXIL (Receivables Exchange of India), which is India’s first TReDS platform, is promoted by the National Stock Exchange, Small Industries Development Bank of India, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and Yes Bank.
98. The World Mosquito Day (WMD) is observed every year on August 20 to raise awareness regarding what all causes malaria and ways to prevent it. The day also observed to mark British doctor Sir Ronald Ross’ 1897 landmark discovery that female mosquitoes “Anopheles” transmit malaria to humans. This discovery laid foundations for scientists across the world to better understand the deadly role of mosquitoes in disease transmission and come up with effective innovative interventions. Some of the best ways to prevent malaria include insecticide treated mosquito nets, indoor spraying with insecticides and anti-malarial drugs. Quinine is a medication used to treat malaria.
99. Shooter Saurabh Chaudhary (16) has clinched gold in the Men’s 10m Air Pistol event at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games in Indonesia on August 21. It is India’s first shooting gold in the ongoing event. While another Indian shooter, Abhishek Verma won bronze in the same event. India have won five medals in shooting at the Games so far.
100. Satya Pal Malik has been appointed the new Governor of Jammu & Kashmir. He will replace N N Vohra. Prior to this post, Malik was the Governor of Bihar. On 21 August, other governors of states appointed were Lal Ji Tandon for Bihar, Ganga Prasad for Sikkim, Tathagata Roy for Meghalaya and Kaptan Singh Solanki for Tripura. Satyadev Narayan Arya was appointed as the Governor of Haryana while Baby Rani Maurya was appointed as the Governor of Uttarakhand.
101. Using data from the Chandrayaan-I spacecraft, that was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2008, NASA Scientists have confirmed the presence of frozen water deposits in the darkest and coldest parts of the Moon’s polar regions. Scientists used data from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument aboard the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft to identify three specific signatures that definitively prove there is water ice at the surface of the Moon. According to the study published in the journal PNAS, the ice deposits are patchily distributed and could possibly be ancient. The study said with enough ice sitting at the surface within the top few millimetres water would possibly be accessible as a resource for future expeditions to explore and even stay on the Moon. Most of the newfound water ice lies in the shadows of craters near the poles, where the warmest temperatures never reach above minus 156 degrees Celsius. Due to the very small tilt of the Moon’s rotation axis, sunlight never reaches these regions.
102. On August 22, Indian shooter Rahi Sarnobat has become the first-ever Indian woman to win an individual shooting medal at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. She bagged gold in the 25m pistol final event at the Jakabaring Shooting Range in Palembang, after prevailing in a double shoot-off at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. Earlier, in shooting, Saurabh Chaudhary won gold in the Men’s 10m Air Pistol event. In wrestling, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat clinched gold in Men’s freestyle 65 kg and Women’s freestyle 50 kg, respectively. India is currently placed 7th in the tally with 12 medals, comprising 4 Gold, 3 Silver and 5 Bronze.
103. The 2018 International Buddhist Conclave (IBC) will be inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind with theme “Buddha Path – The Living Heritage” in New Delhi on August 23. The aim of the conclave is to showcase Buddhist Heritage in India and boost tourism. It is being organized by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the State Governments of Maharashtra, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh at New Delhi and Ajanta (Maharashtra), followed by site visits to Rajgir, Nalanda and Bodhgaya (Bihar) and Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh). The Ministerial level delegation from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka will participate in the conclave along with delegates from the 29 countries participating in the International Buddhist Conclave including US, UK, Russia, Japan, Germany and France. Japan would be the partner Country for the 2018 Buddhist conclave.
104. On August 21, the Chhattisgarh government has decided to re-name state’s new capital city of Naya Raipur as “Atal Nagar” in memory of late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It has also been decided to develop an “Atal Memorial” in an area of five acres at state’s new capital. Besides, many institutions, including Bilaspur University and Rajnandgaon Medical College, will be named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The state government has also decided to name a battalion of state police force as “Pokharan battalion”. The chief minister said it has also been decided to install a statue of former Prime Minister in the state capital and district headquarters of all the 27 districts. The state capital Naya Raipur, a most modern smart city, has been developed at a cost of more than Rs 10,000 crore.
105. The first-ever International Day of Remembrance and tribute to the Victims of Terrorism is observed by United Nations on 21st August 2018 to honour the innocent victims of terror attacks around the world, who will forever remain in our hearts. As per resolution 72/165 (2017), the international day will serve as a reminder to stop and listen to the victims and survivors of terrorism, to raise up their voices and recognize the impact terrorism has on their lives.
106. The book “281 and Beyond” is the autobiography of veteran cricketer VVS Laxman, which will be launched by Westland Sport in November 2018. The title has been borrowed from the Hyderabad stylist’s fabulous series-turning innings of 281 against Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001. His partnership along with Rahul Dravid in that match is one of the best batting partnerships in cricket history. He was known for his patience and wrist work and scored many memorable centuries during his playing days. Laxman played 134 Tests, amassing 8,781 runs at an average of 45.97. He scored 17 centuries and 56 half centuries. He also played in 86 ODIs for an aggregate of 2338 and average of 30.76 in the shorter format.
107. Jhulan Nishit Goswami, the veteran Indian women’s team pacer, has announced her retirement from International T20 cricket. She represented India in 68 T20Is picking up 56 wickets which included a 5-wicket haul against Australia in 2012. Goswami will only play One Day International (ODIs) (as India don’t play Test cricket), in which format she is the world’s highest wicket-taker with 200 scalps from 169 games. She hails from a non-descript town of Chakdah in West Bengal’s Nadia district.
108. Kuldip Nayar (95), the Veteran journalist, author and human rights activist, has passed away in New Delhi on August 23, 2018. Nayar, a former editor of the Indian Express, was also the author of 15 books including “Without Fear: The Life and Trial of Bhagat Singh”, “India after Nehru” and “Emergency Retold”. In his autobiography ‘Beyond The Lines’, he wrote about his interview with Pakistan’s nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, during which the latter revealed that Pakistan had a nuclear device well before it was thought to have had it. During Emergency, he was jailed under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act for leading a protest against the excesses of the administration. In 2015, he was honoured with ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for his contribution to journalism at the 8th edition of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence awards. Nayar also served as High Commissioner of India to the UK in 1990 and as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
109. On August 22, the 9th edition of Mountain Echoes Literature Festival 2018 has started in Thimphu, Bhutan to serve as a collaborative platform for knowledge sharing, leading to global cultural potpourri of ideas. The 4-day Literature Festival began with a tribute to former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was remembered at the annual event for his animated style of poetry recitations. It will celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan. The 2018 edition will focus on subjects such as Spirituality and Philosophy, Performing Arts, Environmental Conservation, Food, as well as Film and Theatre, among others. The literary festival of Bhutan was established under the patronage of Her Majesty the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck and is known for bringing together literary stalwarts from across the world in the lap of the Himalayas.
110. Indian shooter Shardul Vihan (15) from Uttar Pradesh clinched silver in the men’s double trap shooting event at the Jakabaring shooting range in the 18th Asian Games 2018 on August 23. He shot 73 to claim the silver medal, while Korea’s Shin Hyunwoo clinched gold with a score of 74. Qatar’s Al Marri Hamad Ali bagged the bronze after shooting 53 at the Jakabaring shooting range. Vihan, who is coached by former Asian Championship double gold medallist Anwer Sultan, had grabbed four gold medals at Shotgun Nationals Championship in 2017.
111. The 4th summit of Heads of State/Government of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) will be held at Kathmandu in Nepal on August 30 and 31. All member states of BIMSTEC will participate in the Summit. During the two-day Summit, leaders of member states will review progressachieved so far in the areas of cooperation and provide guidance to the futurework of the BIMSTEC. Prior to the Summit, the 19th Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) and the 16th Ministerial Meeting of BIMSTEC will be held on August 28 and 29 in Kathmandu. BIMSTEC is a regional economic bloc comprising 7 member states lyingin the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity. The group was formed in 1997 and it brings together Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand. Nepal is the current chair of BIMSTEC.
112. Iran has launched its first state-of-the-art domestic fighter jet “Kowsar” at a defense show in Tehran on August 23, 2018. The jet is a fourth-generation fighter, with advanced avionics and multi-purpose radar. It is designed and manufactured by domestic military experts. It is dual-cockpit, single engine jet with single tail fin. It resembles US-made F-5F Tiger (first flew in 1974), which is variant of 1950s-era US Northrop F-5 fighter that is a long-time mainstay of Iranian Air Force. It can be used for short aerial support missions and is equipped with systems that promote precision targeting. The acronym “Kowsar” refers river in paradise in Islam and also the title of a chapter in the Koran.
113. The Maharashtra government has appointed actor Raveena Tandon as the brand ambassador of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) to spread environmental awareness among citizens. The SGNP is spread over 103 Sq. Km. and is wedged between the suburbs of Mumbai and Thane. It is home to more than 274 species of birds, 35 species of mammals, 78 species of reptiles and amphibians, 170 species of butterflies and over a staggering 1,300 species of plants. The park is notable as one of the major national parks existing within a metropolis limit and is one of the most visited parks in the world. It was formerly known as Borivali National Park and was renamed SGNP in 1996, after Sanjay Gandhi, the son of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
114. In Rajasthan, India’s largest Startup incubation and acceleration- Bhamashah Techno Hub – was inaugurated by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in Jaipur On August 23, 2018. The purpose of the techno hub is to create an ecosystem for promoting state’s youth for entrepreneurship. The hub would be able to accommodate over 700 startup ventures with one lakh square feet incubation space and also help them to get connected with potential investors. In it, free space, easier funding avenues and mentorship will also be provided to startup.
115. The Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad (IIT-H) has launched an exclusive incubator “Fabless Chip Design Incubator (FabCI)” to boost chip design. It is a first of its kind in India that will focus on creating an ecosystem for start-ups in chip design. The purpose of FabCI is to incubate at least 50 ‘Make-in-India’ chip design companies that can compete globally and generate Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). It will provide a bouquet of offerings including free software tools with leading technology partners in Electronic Design Automation (EDA), a characterization facility for testing chips, and equipment for performing DC and RF characterization. FabCI is funded by MeitY, with technology partners Cadence Design Systems and Mentor Graphics both are leading providers of Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software, hardware and IP. The Incubator also offers virtual support to non-Hyderabad start-ups which can join FabCI and leverage the offerings and participate remotely.
116. Indian Tennis player, Ankita Raina has won a bronze after losing a hard fought women’s singles semifinal 4-6, 6-7 in straight sets against Shuai Zhang of China at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games on August 23. With this, she became the 2nd Indian female tennis player after Sania Mirza to win a medal in singles’ competition at the Asian Games. For India, Mirza won silver in Doha in 2006 and a bronze in Guangzhou 2010. Ankita from Maharashtra is currently India’s number one women’s singles.
117. On August 23, the 2018 India Banking Conclave (IBC) was held in New Delhi to address issues of India’s Banking Sector. It was organized by Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and the government Think Tank NITI Aayog. IBC 2018 is an important platform for varied stakeholders connected to India’s banking and financial sectors. The 2-day thought awareness programme witnessed panel discussions on NPAs, development of banks with changing times, privatization versus merger and the future of banking, among other issues.
118. The 9-member Steering Committee, headed by Stanford University Prof. AJ Paulraj, has recently submitted its 5G high level forum report titled ‘Making India 5G Ready’ to Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan. The report suggested the Central government should announce its 5G policy by 31st December 2018, besides setting up a standing committee to advise on building the infrastructure for spectrum technology. The key recommendations and action plan for the report include spectrum policy; regulatory policy; education and awareness promotion; application and use case labs; participation in international standards; development of application layer standards; and major 5G trials. The committee expected the 5G commercial roll out in India by 2020.
119. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has lifted ban on retail sale of life saving drug ‘Oxytocin’ with effect from 1st September 2018, which was restricted to retail sale from July 2018. Though, the Centre has imposed strict regulations on its sales and retained the monopoly of Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KAPL) for manufacturing oxytocin. As per new rules, Oxytocin will be moved from schedule A to Schedule H1 that means retailer has to maintain a separate register giving the name and address of the prescriber, the patient, the drug and the quantity supplied. These records have to be maintained for 3 years and be available for inspection. Oxytocin is an essential drug used to prevent and treat bleeding after child birth. But, its misuse is widespread in the dairy industry, where livestock are injected with oxytocin to make them release milk at a time convenient to farmers. The hormone is also used to increase the size of vegetables and fruits such as pumpkins, watermelons, brinjals, gourds and cucumbers.
120. The European Space Agency (ESA) has launched a wind- sensing satellite “Aeolus” into orbit from French Guyana to track global winds. The satellite will be placed at an altitude of 320 Km above the Earth. The launch is part of the Copernicus project, a joint effort by the European Union and the European Space Agency (ESA) to track environmental damage and assist disaster relief operations. The “Aeolus” satellite – named after the keeper of the winds in Greek mythology – is designed to enable improved weather forecasting and aid disaster relief operations. It is equipped with a Doppler wind LIDAR – an advanced laser system designed to measure global wind patterns from space. Aeolus, which is built by Airbus, will be the first satellite equipped to perform global wind-component-profile observation on a daily basis in near real-time.
121. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has appointed former Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice S J Vazifdar as head of a 3-member committee to decide mining company Vedanta Limited’s plea challenging the Tamil Nadu government’s order to close the Sterlite copper plant at Thoothukudi. The committee may, if necessary, visit the site and consider the technical data and take a decision as early as found viable preferably within 6 weeks after it assumes it’s working. Recently, on 9th August 2018, the Tribunal had allowed Vedanta to access the administrative unit inside its Sterlite copper plant at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu. Though, the plant would remain closed and the company would not have access to its production unit and directed the district magistrate to ensure this. In March 2013, Sterlite’s factory came into limelight when a gas leak led to the death of one person and injuries to several others, after which then chief minister J Jayalalithaa had ordered its closure.
122. The book “No Spin” is the autobiography of renowned Australian bowler Shane Warne, which will release on October 30. It is the true story behind the headlines, in Warne’s own voice, and challenges some of the enduring myths and untruths that surround him. The memoir is written with cricketer and TV presenter Mark Nicholas. Warne is widely regarded as one of the finest bowlers in the history of the game. He played his first Test match in 1992, and took over 1,000 international wickets.
123. The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has launched a Kerala Heritage Rescue Initiative to assess damage to rich cultural and built heritage in flood-devastated Kerala. The initiative aims to set up a platform for emergency response to the cultural heritage damaged by the floods in Kerala. It has also set up a Facebook page to collect information on the damage to buildings, museum collections, cultural artefacts, libraries, archives, and even intangible heritage. ICOMOS, which is headquartered in Paris, is an inter-governmental organisation dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage worldwide through training, information, research, cooperation and advocacy programmes. ICOMOS is also an advisory body to the UNESCO for cultural heritage, in particular for implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC).
124. On August 23, the International Water Colour Festival 2018 has started at Audrey House in Ranchi, which is organized by the Jharkhand Art Culture and Tourism Department in Audrey House. The aim of the 5-day fest is to bring local artists in touch with the international art and promote the rich art and culture of Jharkhand. During the water colour festival, the visiting artists will interact with school students and local artists on various themes including “nature” and “modern/abstract”. Approx 56 internationally renowned artists — from 24 countries and 25 Indian states are participating in the festival. The list of artists from different countries include names like Anna Massinissa (Fabriano), Zhou Tianya and Mong Sho (China), the Indian art diaspora in the festival will be represented by Milind Mulick, Sailesh Meshram, Nirupam Konwar, Ramesh Jhawar and Praween Karmaker, among others.
125. Renowned aerospace scientist Dr G Satheesh Reddy, who is scientific adviser to the Defence minister, has been appointed new chairman of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for a period of two years. He will also be secretary in the Department of Defence Research and Development (DDR&D) for the same period. The post of DRDO chief was lying vacant since May 2018 after the then Chief Dr. S. Christopher stepped down. Dr. Reddy is the first defence scientist working in India to receive the Silver Medal of Royal Aeronautical Society, UK, and has also been selected for the first IEI (India) and IEEE (USA) joint award for Engineering Excellence.
126. The 2018 Krishi Kumbh International Conference and Exhibition will be held at Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research (Telibagh) in Lucknow from October 26, which will be organized by the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The aim of the 3-day conference is to provide a platform to farmers, technical experts and entrepreneurs for exchange of knowledge and expertise in the field of agriculture sector. It also aims at increasing the agriculture production by adopting advance technologies. In it, farmers from all 75 districts National & International agriculture scientist, representatives from industries & policy maker from Central and State govt. will participate.
127. The multi-nation counter-terror exercise Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Peace Mission 2018 has started at Chebarkul, Russia on August 24 to provide an opportunity to the armed forces of SCO nations to train in counter terrorism operations in urban scenario in a multinational and joint environment. The scope of the exercise includes professional interaction, mutual understanding of drills & procedures, establishment of joint command and control structures and elimination of terrorist threat in urban counter terrorist scenario. It will be for the first time since Independence that India and Pakistan will both be part of a military exercise, though the armies of the two nations have worked together in UN peace keeping missions. All 8 SCO member nations – Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan – are participating in this exercise.
128. Fouaad Mirza from Bangaluru clinched silver in the equestrian event with a score of 26.40 at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games on August 26. With this, he became the first Indian to win an Asian Games individual medal in the equestrian event after 36 years. The last individual eventing medal came in 1982 when Raghubir Singh topped the table in New Delhi. Beside this, the Indian equestrian team, comprising Fouaad Mirza, Jitender Singh, Akash Malik and Rakesh Kumar, also won silver in the same competition with a combined score of 121.30 in the ongoing event. Equestrian is a sport related to Horse riding.
129. Budget passenger carrier SpiceJet has successfully conducted India’s first-ever test flight powered by biojet fuel between Dehradun and Delhi on August 27, 2018. The 43 minute flight was operated by the airline’s Bombardier Q-400 aircraft with total 25 on onboard, including crew. The flight was powered with a blend of 75% Air Turbine Fuel (ATF) and 25% biojet fuel. The biojet fuel, which is made from Jatropha crop, has been developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) based in Dehradun along with Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP). The advantage of using biojet fuel as compared to ATF is that it reduces carbon emissions and enhances fuel efficiency. The biojet fuel has been recognised by American Standard Testing Method (ASTM) and meets the specification standards of Pratt & Whitney and Bombardier for commercial application in aircraft. Globally, bio-fuel powered flights are operated in Canada.
130. For the first time, India’s only aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya will be fitted with marine hydraulic systems “GS-1MF and GS-3” to boost the air operations of the ship. The systems would be fitted by Russia’s Rostec State Corporation through its subsidiary “Technodinamika” by May 2019. The upgradation and sea trials of the ship will be done in India only. The hydraulics technology uses fluid pressure to power machines. These hydraulic systems are used for refuelling, cleaning and pressurization of hydraulic systems of aircraft and helicopters which form part of the air-capable wing of INS Vikramaditya. GS-1MF hydraulic system is used for helicopters while GS-3 is used for aircraft. INS Vikramaditya is a modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier, which entered into service with the Indian Navy in 2013. It weighs 44,500 tonnes and is the biggest & heaviest ship in the Indian Navy. It is 284m long and 60m high — that’s about as high as a 20-storeyed building. The ship weighs 40,000 tonnes and is the biggest & heaviest ship in the Indian Navy.
131. The 3rd edition of Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) 2018 has started in Hanoi, Vietnam on August 27 with theme ‘Building Regional Architectures’. The 2-day conference was inaugurated by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj along with her Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Binh Minh. Ms Swaraj also unveiled the bust of Mahatma Gandhi in the Chancery building at the Embassy of India in Hanoi. The purpose of the conference is to serve a platform to the countries to come closer and exchange better views on the economic and strategic importance of the region and neighbourhood. The conference will see 43 countries as participants while 28 ministers and officials are set to address the event. The conference will emphasise on better cooperation, strategic collaboration and governance architectures.
132. The committee, chaired by Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas, has recently submitted final report on review of penal provisions of Company Act 2013 to the Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley. The Committee recommended that the existing rigour of the law should continue for serious offences, covering six categories, whereas for lapses that are essentially technical or procedural in nature, mainly falling under two categories may be shifted to in-house adjudication process. The report makes recommendations for de-clogging the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) through significant reduction in compounding cases before the Tribunal. The Committee was constituted by the Union government in July 2018 to review the existing framework dealing with offences under the Companies Act, 2013 and related matters and make recommendations to promote better corporate compliance.
133. Olympic Silver Medalist PV Sindhu has created history by becoming the first-ever Indian shuttler to enter a badminton final at the Asian Games. She stormed into the women’s singles final after defeating Akane Yamaguchi of in the semi-final at the 18th Asian Games 2018 on August 27. Sindhu will now face World No 1 Chines Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying in a Gold rush on August 28. Earlier, top shuttler Saina Nehwal settled for a Bronze after losing her women’s singles semifinal in straight sets 17-21, 14-21 to Tai Tzu Ying. With this, Nehwal became the first Indian to win an individual medal in badminton 36 years after Syed Modi had clinched the bronze at the 1982 Delhi Asian Games.
134. The Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018 eliminates leprosy as a ground for dissolution of marriage or divorce. It is an attempt to end the discrimination against leprosy persons in various central laws: The Divorce Act, 1869; the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939; the Special Marriage Act, 1954; the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955; and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act of 1956. The Bill is meant to provide for the integration of leprosy patients into the mainstream. Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. It usually affects the skin and peripheral nerves, but has a wide range of clinical manifestations. According to WHO, leprosy affected 2,12,000 people globally in 2015. India alone reported 1,27,326 new cases, accounting for 60% of new cases globally.
135. Dr. Ravinder Kumar Singhal (53), the Maharashtra cadre IPS officer & presently Nashik Police Commissioner, has successfully completed the immensely difficult “Ironman triathlon” in 15 hours and 13 minutes as against the stipulated time of 17 hours in France on August 26, 2018. The Ironman is an international triathlon consisting of three consecutive events- 3.8 km of swimming, 180 km cycling and 42.2 km of running (a full marathon). It is considered one of the toughest one-day sporting events in the world. The competitors have to complete the events in sequence within 17 hours to earn the title of ‘Ironman’. Earlier, model-turned-actor Milind Soman had successfully completed the race in 2015. Beside this, Anju Khosla (52) became the oldest Indian woman to complete an Ironman Triathlon in Austria on July 2018, while Major General Vikram Dogra became the first serving Indian Army officer and the only General across the world to have successfully completed a gruelling ‘Ironman’ competition held in Klagenfurt, Austria in July 2018.
136. Neeraj Chopra has created history by becoming the first-ever Indian javelin-thrower to win an Asian Games gold medal. He shattered his own national record by clearing a distance of 88.06m at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games on August 27. He also became the 2nd Indian after Milkha Singh to win a Commonwealth and Asian Games gold in the event in the same year. Beside this, Neeraj became the 3rd Indian javelin-thrower to win a medal at the Asian Games after Gurtej Singh (who won a bronze in the 1982 edition in New Delhi) and Parsa Singh (who became the first Indian to won a silver at the 1951 New Delhi Asian Games).
137. The book “Atal Ji Ne Kaha” is authored and compiled by Brijendra Rehi, who is Doordarshan producer & senior journalist. It is a book on the BJP patriarch and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The book has 26 chapters based on former Prime Minister’s speeches which is on economy, policies, small industries, social development, nuclear programme, science and technology or terrorism. It is replete with pictures of the late Prime Minister. Beside this, Rehi has published 11 books so far including Muktiswar, Kaka and Mewad Ke Itihaas Ki Jhanki.
138. Indra Nooyi, the PepsiCo Chairman and CEO, has been selected as Asia Society’s Game Changer of the Year for 2018 in recognition of her pioneering business achievements, humanitarian record, and advocacy for women and girls around the world. The award will be presented at the 5th Annual Asia Game Changer Awards Dinner and Celebration in New York City on October 9, 2018. The event will also feature the first-ever U.S. performance of Koolulam.
139. On 24 August, the Japan Women’s National Team has won the 9th edition of 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup tournament by beating the Spanish team 3-1 at the final in France. In Japanese football history, it’s their first-ever FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup title. The FIFA Fair Play Award was goes to Japanese team. It must be noted that France will also host the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is schedule to take place between June-July.
140. On August 28, the Government of India (GoI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chief Ministers of 6 Upper Yamuna basin states for the construction of Lakhwar multi-purpose project in Uttarakhand. The states are Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi. The Lakhwar project envisages construction of a 204m high concrete dam across river Yamuna near Lohari village in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand with a live storage capacity of 330.66 Million Cubic Metre (MCM). This storage will provide 78.83 MCM water for domestic, drinking and industrial use in the six basin states. It will also irrigate 33,780 hectares of land and generate 300MW of power. Out of the total project cost of Rs 3966.51 crore, the power component of Rs. 1388.28 crore will be borne totally by the Uttarakhand government. Uttarakhand will also get the benefit of total power generation once the project is complete. The project is to be executed by M/s Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UJVL).
141. Indian sprinter Dutee Chand from Odisha clinched silver in women’s 100m dash in the 18th Asian Games 2018 to win the country’s first medal in 20 years in this event. Earlier, she was suspended by the IAAF in 2014 under its hyperandrogenism policy but she filed an appealed before the Court of Arbitration for Sports and won it. Recently, under a revised rule of the IAAF, Dutee was left outside the purview of the hyperandrogenism policy which gave her liberty to pursue her career. India’s last medal in this event was the bronze won by Rachita Mistry in 1998 Asian Games.
142. IIT-Kharagpur has recently conducted study on River Ganga that indicates that river is drying up in summers due to groundwater depletion. The study, published recently in Scientific Reports magazine by Nature Publishing Group, used a combination of satellite images of groundwater levels of Ganga, numerical simulations and chemical analyses to draw the conclusion. The study asserted that the decline of groundwater inflow (base flow) is also impacting the health of the river. The study also observed that in the forthcoming summers, for the next 30 years, groundwater contribution to river Ganga will continue decreasing. The trend can lead to disastrous effect on the riverine ecology and lead to food scarcity for 115 million people in the Ganga basin. Abhijit Mukherjee, associate professor of Geology in IIT-Kharapur, along with researchers Soumendra Nath Bhanja from Canada and Yoshihide Wada from IIASA Austria has conducted the study. The research was carried out under IIT-KGP Science and Heritage Initiative (SANDHI) Initiative, which focuses on river systems and its relationship with settlement system.
143. On August 29, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given its approval for the umbrella scheme “Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science (O-SMART)” of Ministry of Earth Sciences. The scheme with an overall cost of Rs. 1623 crore encompasses a total of 16 sub-projects addressing ocean development activities such as Services, Technology, Resources, Observations and Science. The services rendered under the O-SMART will provide economic benefits to a number of user communities in the coastal and ocean sectors, namely, fisheries, offshore industry, coastal states, Defence, Shipping, Ports etc. This scheme also provides necessary scientific and technological background required for implementation of various aspects of Blue Economy.
144. On August 28, Manjit Singh clinched gold in the men’s 800 metres event at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, which was India’s first gold in the event since Charles Borromeo won in 1982 Asiad. Beside this, Indian sprinter Jinson Johnson from Kerala also won the silver at the same event. With this, India achieved a rare one-two in men’s 800m at the Asian Games. Manjit clocked 1:46.15 while Johnson clocked 1:46.35 to make it a memorable double for India. It was India’s only second one-two finish in 800m at the Games since Ranjit Singh and Kulwant Singh achieved the feat at the inaugural edition held in New Delhi in 1951.
145. At the 4th edition of Google for India event, Google has launched Project Navlekha to help Indian vernacular news publishers to take their content online. It does not require any technical know-how of web publishing and can be used by anyone. Currently, the project has publishers from Delhi and its reach would soon be expanded across India. Navlekha, which means ‘a new way to write’ in Sanksrit, will allow 1.35 lakh Indian publishers to digitize their offline content by creating instant web pages using scanned documents or PDFs. The registered publishers on Navlekha will also be provided with free web hosting, along with a branded domain for 3 years. They’ll also have AdSense support to begin monetising their content. To be available initially in Hindi language, Google will not charge the publication for the publication tools and the domain name for the first 3 years.
146. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has decided to launch `Gaganyaan — India’s first human spaceflight programme’ by 2022. The mission will aim to send a 3-member crew to space for a period of 5 to 7 days. The spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400km and the total programme cost is expected to be less than Rs. 10,000 crores. The crew will be selected by the Indian Air Force and ISRO jointly after which they will undergo training for 2 to 3 years. It is expected that the mission may be executed six months before India completes its 75th Independence Day with the help of GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle.The objectives of the Mission are to inspire youth, increase science and technology levels in the country, improve industrial growth, develop technology for social benefits, etc. The programme will make India the 4th nation in the world to launch a Human Spaceflight Mission. So far, only the USA, Russia and China have launched human spaceflight missions.
147. The National Sports Day (NSD) is celebrated every year in India on August 29 to mark the birth anniversary of legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand, who was known as ‘The Wizard’ or ‘The Magician’ of hockey for his superb ball control. He won gold medals in Olympics for India in the years 1928, 1934 and 1936. He scored over 400 goals in his career, from 1926 to 1948. His autobiography “Goal!” was published by Sport & Pastime, Madras in 1952. The Government of India (GoI) awarded him the 3rd highest civilian honour of Padma Bhushan in 1956. Beside this, the most noted memorial for him is the Major Dhyan Chand Award, which is the highest award for lifetime achievement in sports and games in India. It has been awarded annually from 2002 to sporting figures that not only contribute through their performance but also contribute to the sport after their retirement.
148. Emmerson Mnangagwa was officially sworn-in as the new President of Zimbabwe on August 26, after narrowly winning the 2018 Zimbabwean general election. It was the country’s first election since the ousting of strongman Robert Mugabe. The President of Zimbabwe is the head of state of Zimbabwe, elected by direct universal suffrage using a two-round system. The President is also the head of government, as the office of Prime Minister was abolished in 1987. Zimbabwe is a landlocked country and its capital is Harare.
149. Arpinder Singh from Punjab clinched India’s first men’s triple jump gold in 48 years, with a jump of 16.77m in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games on August 29. With this, he became the 2nd Indian sportsperson to achieve this landmark. Before him, Mohinder Singh Gill won gold medal in triple jump event in 1970 Bangkok Asian games event.
150. The Government of India has signed a $375 million loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for Madhya Pradesh Irrigation Efficiency Improvement Project (MPIEIP). The aim of the pact is to double farming incomes in Madhya Pradesh by expanding irrigation networks and system efficiency. The project will focus on two large irrigation systems: Kundalia irrigation project & Sanjay Sarovar Irrigation Project. It will develop 125,000 hectares of new, highly efficient and climate resilient irrigation networks, and improve water use efficiency in more than 400 villages, which will benefit over 800,000 people across the state. The project will also help farmers to adopt micro-irrigated agriculture including high-value crops.
151. Ruchi Ghanashyam, the 1982 batch IFS officer, has been appointed India’s new High Commissioner to United Kingdom (UK). She succeeded Y K Sinha. Prior to this post, she was the Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Ghanashyam was the first Indian woman diplomat to be posted in Islamabad when the harassment of Indian diplomats was routine.
152. The 14th edition of multilateral regional maritime engagement exercise “KAKADU 2018” has started in Darwin, Australia from August 29 and will continue till September 15. It is hosted by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and supported by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Indian Naval Ship ‘INS Sahyadri’, commanded by Captain Shantanu Jha, is participating in this edition of exercise. Indian Navy’s participation is a significant milestone in towards strengthening mutual confidence among regional navies and is expected to further bolster India’s contribution in ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The exercise KAKADU is held biennially in Darwin and the Northern Australian Exercise Areas (NAXA). Exercise KAKADU derives its name from Kakadu National Park, which is a protected area in the northern territory of Australia, 171 km south-east of Darwin.
153. The Krishna Kutir is a special home for 1000 widows set up by the Ministry of Women & Child Development (MoWCD) under the Swadhar Greh scheme. It is said to be the largest-ever facility of its kind created by a government organization, which will be inaugurated by Maneka Sanjay Gandhi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath at Vrindavan in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh on 31st August 2018. The new widows’ home has been constructed to mitigate the plight of widows living in pathetic condition in Vrindavan. The design of the four-storey building has been prepared in consultation with the non-governmental organisation, HelpAge India. It consists amenities like ramps and lifts for senior citizens and differently-abled people. The facility is also equipped with a large modern kitchen and a skill cum training centre. The construction of the home has been funded by Central Government and will be managed by the Government of Uttar Pradesh.
154. Germany has sanctioned a soft loan of euro 120 million ( approx Rs. 990 crore) to India for National Clean Ganga Mission & to strengthen sewage water treatment infrastructure in Uttarakhand. The purpose of the project is to reduce the inflow of untreated waste water in River Ganga & to improve the water quality of the river. The project would focus on extension and replacement of sewerage system (around 360Km) including complete house connection, construction of sewage treatment plants of around 15 million litres per day (mld).The initiative also includes construction of 13 sewage pumping stations. Beside this, the German development agency GIZ has prepared a ‘Ganga Box’ that aimed to target schools-going children and inform them about the river. The concept ‘Ganga book’ was planned on the lines of ‘Danube Book’ when the cleaning of Rhine River was undertaken. The Ganga book would have information mythological, socio-cultural, economic importance about the river and suggestions to avoid pollution, like not dumping plastic in the water body.
155. The Madhya Pradesh government has organized an interactive programme “Mil -Banche” in government schools of state on August 31, 2018. It is a first of its kind initiative i.e. being organized for multi-dimensional development of children through language skill up-gradation, reading other books in addition to textbooks, developing interest in understanding and other co-curricular activities. Over 2 lakh volunteers who have registered for the programme include 820 engineers, 843 doctors, 36 thousand employees of private sector, 19 thousand public representatives and around 45 thousand government employees and officers. Volunteers will read out one chapter of any book from either the school library or the Hindi textbook during the programme. After the reading session, the students present in the class will be asked interesting questions and will be introduced to the art of conversation and reading after group discussion.
156. Indian sprinter Jinson Johnson from Kerala clinched gold with a timing of 3 minutes 44.72 seconds in men’s 1500m race at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games on August 30. He also holds the credit of winning silver in the 800m track event at the ongoing event, finishing behind compatriot Manjit Singh, who won the Gold. With this, India achieved a rare one-two in men’s 800m at the 18th Asian Games 2018. It was India’s only second one-two finish in 800m at the Games since Ranjit Singh and Kulwant Singh achieved the feat at the inaugural edition held in New Delhi in 1951.
157. NITI Aayog will organise MOVE: India’s First Global Mobility Summit 2018 at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on September 7. The aim of the summit is to showcase innovation and build a platform to shape the future of mobility, The summit will constitute three designated components – the Conclave, Digital Exhibition, and Featured Events. The six themes of the 2-day summit are asset utilisation and service, comprehensive electrification, alternative energy, reinventing public transit, logistics and goods transport and data analytics and mobility. The summit, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will help drive the government’s goals for vehicle electrification, renewable energy integration and job growth and also speed up India’s transition to a clean energy economy.