July 9, 2018

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NATIONAL NEWS

  1. There has been a steep hike of 28% and 26% in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) on Medium-Staple and Long-Staple fibre cotton.
    • The hike comes after five consecutive years of only single-digit MSP increases. The last such hefty one was 29% and 22% respectively in 2013.
    • The cotton prices currently are higher than the proposed MSP, because of the deficit in global and domestic supply.

 

  1. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is planning for light-touch licensing for the proposed ‘Public Data Offices’ (PDO) to sell internet services.
    • It may even allow unlicensed entities to sell internet services.
    • Unlicensed entities will have to follow all terms and conditions that licensees follow, except the licence fee and revenue share part.
    • This has been opposed by the Licensed entitles as they claim that it violates the Indian Telegraph Act and Trai Act.
    • Licensed telcos and internet providers need to share revenue.
  1. One year later, the evidence on GST is mixed.
    • While prices have not gone up, the expected convergence has not materialized fully, as per the analysis of price data collated from online grocer com.
    • The analysis is based on 71 items representative of a middle-class shopping cart and drawn from 18 categories of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the yardstick used to measure retail inflation.
    • The fall in prices has been sharpest in Bengaluru followed by Chennai.
    • Among product categories, the increase in mark-up is the highest in spices (5% to 21%), followed by non-alcoholic beverages (7% to 15%) and personal care (8% to 12%).
    • Cereals (9% to 6%) and household goods (7% to 4%) saw a decrease in mark-up.

 

  1. The central government is expected to launch seven greenfield projects to construct 3,000 km of expressways under the ₹ 5.35 trillion Bharatmala scheme.
    • In the first phase, the road network is set to connect Delhi-Vadodara, Chennai-Salem in Tamil Nadu, Kharagpur-Siliguri in West Bengal, Delhi-Bilaspur, Durg-Aurang in Chhattisgarh, Mangaluru-Chitradurga in Karnataka and Ambala-Kathputli in Haryana
    • The longest stretch of 1,000km will be built between Delhi and Vadodara.
    • Bharatmala Pariyojana is an umbrella programme for the highways sector under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, which focuses on optimizing efficiency of freight and passenger movement across the country.
  1. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattarlaunched a state-wide plantation campaign from the Narwana sub-division of the district.
    • It would be carried out from July to August this year.
  1. The Gorakhpur administration in Uttar Pradesh launched an android based smart phone application named ‘Stop JE/AES’ to combat encephalitis.
    • Encephalitis claims the lives of hundreds of children every year in eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh.
    • The ‘Stop JE/AES’ app enables users to avail immediate medical help by just pressing a button. 

 

  1. The 17th World Sanskrit Conference will be inaugurated by Human Resource Development Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar at Vancouver, Canada from 9th July to 13th July, 2018.
    • Purpose – to promote, preserve and practice the Sanskrit language all over the world by the people.
  1. National Information Security Policy and Guidelines (NISPG) would be upgraded and updated for the government sector.
    • In 2013, cybersecurity, which was the sole preserve of the Home Ministry, was moved to the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) under the Prime Minister’s Office.
    • The critical infrastructure was moved to the National Technical Research Organisation and the non-critical part to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
    • The new policy would cover issues pertaining to the Official Secrets Act.

 

  1. The Uttar Pradesh government is mulling compulsory retirement for employees aged 50 years and above, if they are found negligent in conducting their duty.
    • The order also read that any government employee aged 50 years and above can themselves also apply for retirement.
  1. All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), the highest decision-making body on Muslim affairs, plans to open Darul-Qaza (Shariat courts) in all districts of the country to resolves issues in line with Islamic laws.
    • At present there are 40 such courts in Uttar Pradesh.
  1. Kerala state government will roll out a mobile app for transgenders in the State since very few have registered for the transgender ID card scheme.
    • The department has no clear data on the number of transgenders in the State.
    • This is perceived to be a hurdle to the various benefits meant for transgenders.
    • Once the verification is complete, the data will be registered on the app and is expected to be named Mazhavillu.


 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  1. The Trump administration is freezing payments under an “Obamacare” program that protects insurers with sicker patients from financial losses, a move expected to add to premium increases next year.
    • Obamacare is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

 

BANKING AND ECONOMY

  1. The Centre is planning to set up an Information Technology (IT)-based mechanism to keep a tab on all non-cash, financial transactions in the country.
    • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had been asked to develop the IT infrastructure for this purpose.
    • Currently, the idea is to make the RBI the sole repository of such information, which will not be made available to other agencies such as the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate as a default.
    • Such agencies may be required to make specific requests to the central bank if they want information on a particular set of entities.
    • All suspicious transactions need to reported to the unit within seven days after it is concluded that those are suspicious in nature.
    • The move to track all financial transactions is the latest in a series to curb black money and identify shell companies.
    • Following the 2016 demonetisation exercise that rendered more than 86% of the currency in circulation invalid, it was found there had been a significant spurt in the operations of shell firms that typically have no assets or active businesses.

 

 

APPOINTMENTS

  1. Uday Kumar Varma has been appointed a member of the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC).

 

 

SPORTS

  1. Dipa Karmakar created history by becoming the first Indian gymnast to clinch a gold at a global vault event of FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup at Mersin, Turkey
  2. Indian squash player Dipika Pallikal was appointed Asia’s representative in the Athletes Advisory Commission of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

 

 

MISCELLANEOUS

  1. A scientist from the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, has come out with a green alternative –“straw bamboos” to use-and-throw plastic drinking straws, by tapping bamboo.