August 2, 2018

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NATIONAL NEWS

  1. The government is planning to bring in an e-commerce law and a sector regulator to effectively deal with all aspects of online trade.
    • According to an estimate by the finance ministry, the size of the digital economy in Indian will be $1 trillion by 2022 and it will account for close to 50% of the entire economy by 2030.
    • The draft e-commerce policy proposes that all discounts offered by large e-commerce firms be phased out within two years to ensure fair competition with brick-and mortar stores.
    • It mandates ecommerce firms to store consumer data in India. The firms will be given two years to comply.
    • The Competition Commission of India may be asked to amend the current thresholds and examine potentially competition-distorting M&As.
    • An independent regulator will address compliance with FDI caps in e-commerce.
    • At present, 100% FDI is allowed in online stores that follow the marketplace model;
    • No FDI is permitted in firms following the inventory model. Under this model, firms directly sell products from their own inventories.
    • The draft policy proposes 49% FDI under the inventory model for firms to sell locally produced goods on their online platforms.
    • The control of such firms will remain with Indians.
  1. The Union cabinet cleared a new legislation to be introduced in Parliament, restoring provisions of the law on Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act or SC/ST Act which had been knocked off by the Supreme Court.
    • According to the court’s directive on 20 March, coercive action against public servants, accused of hostility towards the lower caste, can only be taken with written permission from their appointing authority. For private citizens accused of a similar crime, arrest can be made only after the Senior Superintendent of Police concerned allows it.
    • The court said there was no complete bar against granting anticipatory bail if there is no prima facie case or if, upon investigation, the case registered under the PoA is found to be ‘mala fide’ or motivated in bad faith.
  1. Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has reiterated the proposal to name Belagavi (earlier known as Belgaum) as the second capital of the state as a measure to rectify the regional imbalance between the northern and southern parts of the state.

 

  1. The National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA) was formed to monitor whether manufacturers pass on the full benefit of GST rate cut to customers or retain some of it as their profit.
    • But, it usually takes up cases on the basis of customer complaints and has limited manpower to monitor price behaviour.
    • Also, Anti-profiteering provisions are envisaged only for the first two years of GST implementation.
  1. The government’s plan to raise Rs17,000 crore for Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) has hit a road block.
    • HEFA is a Non-Banking Financial Corporation that is tasked to raise money from the market to fund education infrastructure and research requirements of state-funded educational institutions.
    • Of this, Rs12,000 crore is for higher education, Rs1,000 crore for school education and the remaining Rs 4,000 crore for medical education.
    • Funding agencies, including the Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC), the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd (HUDCO), and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) have expressed their limitations in helping HEFA raise the funds.

 

  1. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI)launched a dedicated portal named FOCAL to connect cargo owners and shippers with real time data on availability of vessels.
    • The name of the portal is : Forum of Cargo-Owners and Logistics-Operators (FOCAL).
    • The objective is to know the availability of vessels in the market.
    • The move is a first of its kind as there is no platform currently available to provide details about available vessels in the market as well as to connect cargo owners, shippers and vessel operators with each other.

 

  1. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singhand actress Kangana Ranaut launched ‘Mobile Tihar’, a smartphone distribution scheme under the Sanchar Kranti Yojna (SKY) in Raipur, Chhattisgarh.
    • The scheme has been launched to distribute smartphones to women and students. It will benefit more than 50 Lakh people.

 

  1. First ‘Nepal-India Think Tank’Summit held in Kathmandu, Nepal.
    • To foster greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing among the think tanks of the two countries.
  1. India has ordered an immediate recall of rabies vaccines made by a scandal-hit Chinese company, complaining it only found out about possible problems through media reports.

 

  1. Important Communities –
    • GorkhasIndian Gorkhas also known as Nepali-Indian are Nepali language-speaking Indians. The term “Indian Gorkha” is used to differentiate the Gorkhas of India from the Gurkhas of Nepal.
    • Matua – Bangladesh and West Bengal – The Matua Mahasangha, a pressure group of the Namasudra caste were from the Matua sect, founded by the 19th century social reformer Harichand Thakur in present-day Bangladesh.

 

  1. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended the auction of spectrum for offering 5G services for the first time in the country at a pan-India reserve price of about 492 crore per MHz.
    • For the 5G airwaves the spectrum is in 3300-3600 MHz.

 

  1. Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu launched a logo and tagline for Geographical Indications (GI) to increase awareness about Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in the country.
    • Invaluable Treasures of Incredible India” is the tagline.
    • The Ministry had launched a contest for designing a logo and tagline for GIs.
    • A Geographical Indication (GI) product is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicraft and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.
    • Darjeeling Tea, Tirupathi Laddu, Kangra Paintings, Nagpur Orange and Kashmir Pashmina are among the registered GIs in India.

 

  1. The Lok Sabha passed the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
    • It will designate some courts as commercial courts for speedy disposal of commercial disputes and will reduce the pecuniary jurisdiction of these courts from ₹1 crore to ₹3 lakh.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

1. Facebook and Instagram are introducing time management tools which will be called ‘Your time on Facebook’ and ‘Your activity on Instagram’.

  1. “Golden Bridge , 150 m long bridge, is located in the densely forested Ba Na Hills, Vietnam.
    • The shimmering structure, set more than 3,280 feet above sea level, was designed to evoke the image of giant hands of God, pulling a strip of gold out of the land.
    • At first glance, it appears to be made of stone, but are actually built using steel mesh, concrete with a fibre-glass finish.

 

  1. The world is warming as the burning of fossil fuels builds heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, said the annual State of the Climate for 2017 Report, issued by the American Meteorological Society and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 

  1. Denmark’s ban on the Islamic full-face veil in public spaces came into force, with anyone wearing a garment that hides the face in public risking a fine.

 

  1. The UAE launched a landmark three-month visa amnesty programme that will benefit hundreds of illegal foreign workers, including Indians, who are overstaying their permits.
    • The programme allows the workers to leave the country without paying penalty and also gives them six months to find a job.
    • The UAE is home to 8 million Indian expatriates, the largest expatriate community in the country.
    • Expatriates will be able to rectify their status legally during the amnesty period, which will end on October 31.
    • Those who have been blacklisted and those who have legal cases against them are not eligible for amnesty.
    • This is the third such amnesty announced by the UAE government in just over a decade.

 

 

BANKING AND ECONOMY

  1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may look into extending market timings for segments such as currency futures and over-the-counter foreign exchange.

 

  1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon release guidelines on co-origination of loans by banks and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) for the priority sector. 

 

  1. Third Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy
    • RBI retains GDP growth forecast at 7.4 % for FY’19.
    • RBI pegs retail inflation at 4.8% for second half of FY19.
    • RBI hikes interest rate by 0.25% or 25 basis points on inflationary concerns.
    • RBI has raised benchmark repo, or the short term rate at which it lends to other banks, by 0.25 per cent to 6.5 per cent.

Policy rates

2nd bi-monthly in June 6th 2018

3rd bimonthly in August 1,2018

Repo Rate

6.25%

6.50%

Reverse Repo Rate

6.0%

6.25%

Marginal Standing Facility (MSF)

6.5%

6.75%

Bank Rate

6.5%

6.75%

Reserve Ratios:

Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR)

4%

4%

Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR)

19.5%

19.5%

 

  1. To provide financial assistance to commodity traders and farmers, StarAgri Finance signed MoU with private lender Karur Vysya Bank.
    • Micro-lending would be provided to traders and farmers in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

 

 

AWARDS

  1. Five students from India proudly walked away with the silver medal in the World Schools Debating Championships held at Croatia, with Dhananjay Ashok adjudged ‘Best Speaker’ in the world.
    • The speakers from India were: Hemanth Bharatha Chakravarthy; Dhananjay Ashok; Tejas Subramaniam; Manya Gupta; and Saranya Ravindran.

 

  1. Akshay Venkatesh, a renowned Indian-Australian mathematician, is one of four winners of mathematics’ prestigious Fields medal.
    • Every four years, at an international gathering of mathematicians, the subject’s youngest and brightest are honored with the Fields Medal, often described as the Nobel Prize of mathematics.
    • The Fields Medal is a prize awarded to two, three, or four mathematicians under 40 years of age at the International Congress of the International Mathematical Union (IMU).
    • Peter Scholze, a professor of mathematics at the University of Bonn, who is 30 years old was honored with the Fields Medal.

 

  1. Outstanding Parliamentarian awards from 2013 to 2017
    • Dr Najma Heptullah won the award for 2013, Hukum Dev Narayan for 2014, Ghulam Nabi Azad for 2015, Dinesh Trivedi for 2016 and Bhartruhari Mahtab for 2017.

 

 

SPORTS

  1. Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes won the Hungarian Grand Prix for the 6th time, at the Hungaroring circuit, in Hungary.

 

  1. World Junior Squash Championships 2018 was held in Chennai, India.
    • Egypt national junior squash team defeated England 2-0 in the final and emerged as the 2018 World Junior Squash Champions.
    • India finished in 11th position.
  1. The BCCI will bear the entire cost of the cash-strapped North Eastern statesRanji Trophy debut, which has been mandated by the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee.
    • A couple of whom will play their home games at neutral venues due to lack of infrastructure.
    • The BCCI will be providing all the six states with their accreditated NCA coaches, physios and trainers.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

  1. American and Spanish scientists have discovered a new 3D shape called “scutoid” during a study on how tissues are moulded to form the skin, cavity linings and the building blocks of organs.
    • Scientists refer this as a twisted prism kind of shape. It enables the tissue to mould around organs.