Current Affairs Current Affairs July 2018

 Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, who retired from the Supreme Court of India has been appointed as the new Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). He has been appointed to the position for a term of five years, as per an order issued by the personnel ministry. The post of NGT chairperson had been lying vacant for more than 6 months after the retirement of Justice Swatanter Kumar. After Justice Kumar's retirement, Justice Umesh Dattatraya Salvi was appointed as the acting chairperson of the NGT. He retired on February 13, after this, Justice Jawad Rahim was appointed as the acting chairperson.
Source- The Hindu

 Commerce Secretary, Rita Teaotia, chaired the first meeting of the Task Force on e-commerce in New Delhi. The meeting deliberated upon the suggestions emerging from the sub-group meetings held in June 2018. The suggestions were on wide-ranging issues such as cross-border data flows, taxation, trade facilitation and logistics, consumer confidence, IPR and future tech, FDI and competition issues. It was decided to set up a Task Force in the first meeting of the Think Tank, on the framework for national policy on e-commerce, held in April 2018, under the chairmanship of Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation.
Source- Press Information Bureau (PIB)

 State-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) will set up a state-of-the-art Civil Aviation Research Organization (CARO) at Hyderabad’s Begumpet Airport to find indigenous solutions to meet the challenges posed by the growing air traffic and for enhancing safety, capacity and efficiency of aircraft operations in the country. AAI has earmarked Rs 1,200 crore for this project that will be spent over 12 years for research and development. CARO is expected to be built in three years. Union aviation minister Suresh Prabhu laid the foundation stone for CARO which will be spread over 27 acres and cater to air navigation services and airport/engineering research.
Source- India Today

 The International Day of Cooperatives is observed across the world on July 7 with an aim to promote the co-operative model, since it contains aspects of sustainable development at its core and is based on ethical values and principles. The 2018 theme of the Day is the ‘Sustainable societies through cooperation’.  This year’s theme was aimed at creating the sustainable societies through cooperation.
Source- The United Nations

 The Law Commission recommended that gambling and betting on sports, including cricket, be allowed as regulated activities taxable under the direct and indirect tax regimes and used as a source for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). The commission's report, 'Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India', recommends a number of changes in the law for regulating betting and generating tax revenues from it. In case legislation is made under Article 252, states other than the consenting states will be free to adopt the same. The commission has also recommended linking Aadhar or PAN card of an individual indulging in betting and gambling and making the transaction cashless to regulate illegal activities such as money laundering.
Source- DD News

 The Finance Ministry has kept the interest rates on small savings schemes, including NSC and PPF, unchanged for the July-September quarter. The move is aimed at matching the hardening interest rates in the banking sector. Interest rates for small savings schemes are notified on a quarterly basis.
The Interest rates on different Small Savings schemes are as follows:
Sl.No. Schemes Interest rate (in %)
1. 5 yr Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (Paid Quarterly) 8.3
2. Savings Deposits 4
3. Public Provident Fund (PPF) 7.6
4. National Savings Certificate (NSC) 7.6
5. Kisan Vikas Patra (maturity in 11 months) 7.3
6. Sukanya Samriddhi Account (SSA) 8.1
7. Term Deposit (1-5 years) 6.6-7.4
    Source- The Firstpost

 The Union Ministry of Coal has launched Coal Mine Surveillance & Management System (CMSMS) and Mobile Application ‘Khan Prahari’. The CMSMS and the mobile app have been developed by CMPDI, Ranchi a Subsidiary of CIL and Bhaskarcharya Institute of Space Application and Geo-informatics (BISAG).
  • Coal Mine Surveillance & Management System (CMSMS)
The CMSMS is web based GIS application through which location of sites for unauthorised mining can be detected. Its objective is reporting, monitoring and taking suitable action on unauthorised coal mining activities. The basic platform used in the system is of Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology’s (MeiTY) map which provides village level information. The leasehold boundary of all coal mines are displayed on this map.  The system uses satellite data to detect changes by which unauthorised mining activity extending beyond allotted lease area to take suitable action. It also uses information provided by responsible citizens using smartphones using Khan Prahari mobile app.
  • Khan Prahari
It is tool used for reporting any activity taking place related to illegal coal mining like rat hole mining, pilferage etc. Using it, one can upload geo-tagged photographs of incident along with textual information directly to system. It uses both satellite data and human information to capture information on unauthorised mining activities.  Once incident is reported through this app, information will be automatically directed to nodal officers to take suitable action on those activities. The complainant can also track his complaint through it without identity being revealed.

 In a first, the Uttarakhand High Court accorded the status of ‘legal person or entity’ to the animals in the state. The HC stated that "they have a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person." The unique status was bestowed upon the state’s animals by a division bench of judges comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Lokpal Singh while issuing a series of directions to prevent cruelty against animals.
Source- India Today

 The National Security Guard will be the first central paramilitary force to opt for e-ticketing instead of the railway warrant under an agreement signed with the IRCTC. An MoU was signed between the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation and the NSG at the headquarters of the special force (New Delhi). This system will eliminate the need for carrying railway warrants by the NSG personnel.
What is Railway Warrant: A railway warrant is a voucher issued for train travel for certain categories such as government employees, security force personnel and retirees at subsidised rates or free of charge, exchangeable for a ticket.
Source- India Today

 The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully carried out a flight test for a newly-designedCrew Escape System. It is meant for saving lives of astronauts in an exigency. According to ISRO, the first ‘Pad Abort Test’ demonstrated the safe recovery of the crew module in case of any exigency at the launch pad. It was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. It was the first in a series of tests to ascertain the trustworthiness and efficiency of the Crew Escape System. 
Source- AIR World Service

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