Current Affairs Current Affairs July 2018

 The 4th BIMSTEC Summit will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal. The announcement in this regard was made by Nepal’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. The main focus of the summit will be to increase connectivity between the BIMSTEC nations including roads, airways and transmission lines. The BIMSTEC is a regional economic bloc comprising seven member states lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity. 
Source- AIR World Service

 The 8th BRICS Health Ministers’ Meeting was held at Durban, South Africa.  Indian deligation was led by Mr J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare. He stated that India is committed to eliminating TB by 2025. Highlighting the accomplishments of India in the health sector, he stated India's achievement in reducing the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by 77%, from 556 per 1,00,000 live births in 1990 to 130 per 1,00,000 live births in 2016, was commended by the Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO). 
Source- Press Information Bureau (PIB)

 The 28th meeting of the GST Council chaired by interim finance minister Piyush Goyal was held in New Delhi. The Council was deliberated upon a number of key issues on its agenda which includes rate revision on a number of items, amendments to the GST law, simplification of return, and the setting up of a National Appellate Tribunal in Delhi.  The GST Council has exempted sanitary napkins from Goods and Services Tax. Earlier, there was a 12% levy of tax on sanitary napkins. It has also recommended reduction in the GST slab for lithium-ion batteries used in electronic items from the current 28% to 18% along with a slew of reductions in other items like bamboo flooring, ice making machines, vending machines, water coolers etc. 
Source- Press Information Bureau (PIB)

 Ramchandra Singhdeo, former and first Finance Minister of Chhattisgarh, passed away in Raipur. He was the Finance Minister in the cabinet of the then Chief Minister Ajit Jogi. 
Source- India Today

 Ministry of Home Affairs sponsored Student Police Cadet (SPC) Programme was launched nationally in Gurugram, Haryana. It was launched by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the presence of Union Human Resources Minister Prakash Javadekar. The programme aims to build bridge between Police and larger community through school students by inculcating values and ethics in them through classes in school and outside.
  • Student Police Cadet (SPC) Programme
The programme focuses on students of class 8th and 9th. It will be implemented first in government schools, in both urban and rural areas and later expanded to private schools. It takes special care to ensure that it does not increase workload of the students. It does not have any prescribed text book and also any exam. Only one class is proposed in a month under its schedule.
Programme will broadly cover two topics
  • Crime prevention and control: Topics covered under it include road safety, fight against social evils, community policing, safety of women and children, fight against corruption and disaster management.
  •  Values and ethics: Topics covered under it include values and ethics, empathy and sympathy, tolerance, patience, attitude, respect for elders, team spirit and discipline.
Handbook: Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) with support of National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has prepared handbook for imparting instructions. It will also enable learning through group discussions and audio-visual mediums. Implementation: It will be steered by state level committee headed by Principal Secretary, Home Department with Principal Secretary, Education and Director General of Police (DGP) as members. Besides, similar committee will be formed at district level, headed by District Magistrate with District Inspector of Schools and Superintendent of Police (SP) as members. Funding: Central Government has released amount worth Rs.67 crores to states for implementation of programme. Besides, amount of Rs 50,000 has been earmarked for each school for educational aids, training and contingency.

 Five central oil PSUs – IOCL, ONGC, GAIL, OIL, and NRL have signed agreement for executing 1500 Km North-East Natural Gas Pipeline Grid. It is a major initiative to connect all North-East States to National Gas Grid. It will be implemented under Centre’s ambitious Urja Ganga Gas Pipeline Project.
  • Terms of Agreement
Joint Venture (JV) company will be formed to develop, build, operate and maintain Natural Gas Pipeline Grid connecting Guwahati to other major North -Eastern cities and major load centres such as Numaligarh Refinery and integrating it with feasible gas producing fields in the region. The JV company will have equal equity contribution from all partners for development of natural gas pipeline project. The project will connect state capitals of all eight North Eastern states- Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. The expenditure for 1500 Km length gas pipeline project is Rs. 6000 crore and is scheduled to compete in four years (by 2022) in three phases.
  • Urja Ganga Gas Pipeline Project
The project was launched in October 2016 with an aim to provide piped cooking (PNG) gas to residents of eastern region of the country and CNG gas for the vehicles. The project envisaged laying 2,050-km pipeline connecting Jagdishpur (UP) to Haldia (West Bengal) by 2018. It covers five states including UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha. The project is being implemented by state-run gas utility GAIL.

 Facebook has confirmed it is working on a new satellite project, named Athena, that will provide broadband internet connections to rural and underserved areas. The company aims to launch satellite in early 2019. In 2016, Facebook's internet satellite for Africa was lost when SpaceX's rocket exploded.
Source- Hindustan Times

 The Indian Government has announced the launch of a new MicroDot Technology that would help check on vehicle thefts. Under this, thousands of small dots laser etched will be sprayed with a vehicle identification number on all over the vehicle’s body including its engine. This technology is yet to be finalized by the highest automobile technical standard making body Central Motor Vehicles Rules -Technical Standing Committee (CMVR-TSC). 
Source- The Times of India

 Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic arm of IT major, Infosys, signed an MoU with the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) for the construction of a station at Konappana Agrahara in Electronics City. The station is under the second phase of Bangalore Metro's expansion plans and the Foundation has committed to maintaining it for the next 30 years. Infosys Foundation would contribute Rs 200 crore to the Bengaluru Metro Rail for the construction of Konappana Agrahara Metro Station and railway track. 
Source- The Firstpost

 An agreement was signed between IIT Delhi and the All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) under which projects would be launched that would aim to give “scientific validation” to the ancient medical science and integrate it with technology. The projects would be funded by the Ayush Ministry. Under the MoU, the faculties of IIT Delhi and AIIA will work together in the projects to look at ways to integrate technology with Ayurveda. 
Source- The Hindu Business Line

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