July 12, 2018

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NATIONAL NEWS

  1. Vistara would place orders for 19 Airbus and Boeing planes worth USD 3.1 billion (over Rs 21,300 crore) and induct 37 more aircraft from A320 Neo family on lease.
    • Vistara is a JV between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines.
    • Vistara, one of the three full-service carriers in India, is the only local airline to have a premium economy class.
    • The airline which started flying in January 2015 currently has about 4% of the local market share.

 

  1. India’s Department of Telecommunications has approved Net Neutrality rules that ban blocking, throttling, and zero-rating internet data, with some exceptions.
    • Net neutrality requires service providers to treat all internet traffic equally and prohibits discrimination in the treatment of content, including practices such as degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds.
    • ‘Critical IoT services’ and ‘specialised services’ are exempt from the new rules, according to TRAI.
    • DoT will also frame a policy on traffic management practices for service providers and separately set up a body of industry representatives and civil society to monitor and enforce net neutrality norms.
  1. Amendments to make Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code gender-neutral “is under consideration”.
    • Centre’s Plea – Challenging the constitutional validity of the law governing adultery, which only criminalises a man.
      1. It also objected to decriminalisation of adultery, as it would result in weakening the “sanctity of a marital bond”.
    • Section 497 of the IPC says a woman cannot be punished for the offence of adultery. Only a man who has consensual sexual intercourse with the wife of another man without his consent can be punished under this offense in India. If someone “lives in adultery”, the partner can file for divorce.
    • Adultery is punishable with imprisonment for a maximum term of five years, with fine, or with both. The woman, or wife, is exempted from the purview of this section.
  1. State-run telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) unveiled first internet telephony service in the country that will allow users to dial any telephone number in India through its mobile app.
    • Now BSNL customers will be able to make calls using the company’s mobile app ‘Wings’ to any phone number in the country.
    • Before this, phone calls on mobile apps was possible within users of a particular app and not on telephone numbers.
  1. Delhi’s Connaught Place is the ninth most expensive office markets in the world according to property consultant CBRE.
    • While Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) slipped ten places to the 26th spot.
    • The Central Business District (CBD) of Nariman Point moved down to
    • BKC and Nariman Point were at 16th and 30th positions, respectively, last year.
    • Hong Kong (Central) is at the first position, followed by London (West End), Beijing (Finance Street) in China, Hong Kong (Kowloon) and Beijing (CBD) in China.
  1. The government plans to launch the ₹1.4 trillion solar power pumps scheme named Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) to improve farmers’ income and reduce dependence on diesel pumps in July.
    • A central financial assistance of ₹48,000 crore will be given for the scheme with the balance to be raised by the states, through loans and farmers themselves to generate 28,250MW.
    • Surplus electricity generated by farmers will be bought by state electricity distribution companies and will help boost the country’s emerging green economy.
  1. The government sharply increased the monetary threshold for filing appeals in tax disputes in various courts and decided to withdraw many pending appeals to cut down litigation and improve ease of doing business.
    • The monetary threshold for filing appeals in tribunals handling income tax as well as customs, excise and service tax disputes has been doubled from ₹10 lakh to ₹20 lakh.
    • In high courts, the monetary threshold will now be ₹50 lakh instead of ₹20 lakh
    • In the Supreme Court, the threshold has been increased from ₹25 lakh to ₹1 crore.
    • Also, 34% of the cases, out of the total number of direct tax appeals filed by the department in the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), will be withdrawn (The ministry did not specify the exact number of cases).

 

  1. The Digital Indian Language Report (second edition) analysed online language usage patterns of 89,000 Android users who have installed Reverie’s app, Indic Keyboard Swalekh Flip.
    • While Hindi is the most widely used Indian language online, users of Marathi, Bengali and Telugu show more engagement, as per report by Reverie Language Technologies.
    • The engagement level corresponds to the average number of words typed per user in a language.
    • Apart from major languages in India, minority languages, such as Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, Sindhi and Santali, are also widely used online.
    • According to the findings, four of the top 25 apps used by the user base are shopping apps such as Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm and OLX
    • Out of the top 25 apps used seven are messaging and social media apps, while only one gaming app was featured.
  1. The Andhra Pradesh government launched the ‘Anna Canteens Scheme’ in various parts of the state.
    • These will be run by Akshaya Patra Foundation.
    • Breakfast, lunch and dinner would be offered at Rs 5 each.
    • In March 2016, the first ‘Anna Canteen’ named after N T Rama Rao, was opened on a pilot basis at Velgapudi in Amaravati and only three more canteens were opened at other places in the last two years.
  1. According to a ‘Twiplomacy’ study on ‘world leaders on social media’ conducted by communications firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW), Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the third most followed world leader on Twitter with 42 million followers on his personal account @NarendraModi.
    • Sushma Swaraj, India’s External Affairs Minister also made it to the top 10 list of the most followed world leaders.

 

  1. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s pre-poll yatra ‘Suraj Gaurav Yatra’ will be done across the State next month to seek public mandate for the BJP in the Rajasthan Assembly elections due later this year.

 

  1. The military camouflage painted Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) ‘Dhruv’ made an emergency landing in Aurangabad district of Bihar. 
    • They were en route to a camp of the 205th battalion camp of the CoBRA in Barachatti in Gaya district.
    • The CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) is an elite jungle warfare unit of the CRPF.
  1. For the first time, all law books required by visually impaired administrative officials in Odisha are being printed in Braille
    • The law books are being transcribed into Braille and then printed at the Red Cross Computerised Braille Press in Berhampur, the only Braille press in the State.
  1. Aanayoottu, one of the largest festivals in Kerala, involves a large number of unadorned elephants being worshipped and fed.

 

  1. An all-women motorbike squad of the Kolkata Police rolled out to patrol the streets of Kolkata.

 

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  1. The 15 member UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2427 aimed at formulating a framework for protection, rights, well-being and empowerment of children throughout the conflict cycle at the UN Headquarters in New York City.
    • The resolution strongly condemns-
      1. Recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts
      2. Killing and rape
      3. Maiming and other forms of sexual violence and abductions.
      4. Attacks against schools and hospitals
      5. Denial of humanitarian access by parties to armed conflict
      6. All other violations of international law committed against children in situations of armed conflict.
  1. US President Donald Trump‘s administration announced a package of 10% tariffs targeting Chinese exports worth USD 200 billion.

 

 

BANKING AND ECONOMY

  1. HDFC Securities announced launch of Mutual Funds transactional capabilities on Facebook Messenger through their virtual assistant, Arya.
    • Through conversational style of investing, customers will invest in a language they understand and not get caught up in stock market jargons.
  1. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will soon come out with a consultation paper on making it mandatory for large corporates to meet one-fourth of their financing needs through the bond market as envisioned by the FY19 Union Budget

 

 

APPOINTMENTS

  1. The Tripura state committee proposed the government to appoint gold medal winner, Dipa Karmakar, as brand ambassador of Tripura.