Current Affairs Current Affairs July 2018

 The Madhya Pradesh State Government launched an outstanding power bill waiver scheme and subsidised power scheme called ‘Sambal’ for labourers and poor families. Under Sambal Yojana, the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families would be provided electricity at a cost of Rs 200 per month. The main objective of the scheme is to make sure that all the households have power facility in the state. In case the bill is lower than Rs 200, the beneficiaries will have to pay the actual bill amount and if the bill amount is crossing Rs 200 then, the difference amount would be subsidised by the state government.
Source- News on AIR

 The Supreme Court held that Lieutenant Governor does not have independent decision-making powers,and is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. The apex court was ruling on a batch of appeals filed by the Delhi government challenging the Delhi High Court’s order holding the LG as the administrative head of the national capital. The judgement pronounced in the court by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who was heading a five-judge Constitution bench, also held that the LG cannot act as an "obstructionist". 
Source- DD News

 The Union Cabinet approved proposal of renaming Agartala Airport in Tripura as ‘Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore Airport, Agartala. The decision comes in the wake of long pending demand of people of Tripura as well as Government of Tripura for paying tribute to Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore.
  • Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore
He was the king of Tripura from 1923 to 1947 before its merger with India. He was enlightened and benevolent ruler. He is considered the father of modern architecture in Tripura, as entire planning of present-day Tripura was initiated during his rule. As a visionary ruler, he had travelled extensively across globe and took several steps for all-round development of Tripura. He is also considered one of the pioneers in land reforms. In 1939, he reserved land for local Tripura tribals, which was later instrumental in creation of Tripura autonoumus district council.
  • Background
Agartala Airport was constructed in 1942 on the land donated by Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore. Due to his initiative, an aerodrome at Agartala was constructed that has evolved as second busiest airport in North East and provides crucial air connectivity to Tripura. Hence, Agartala Airport was renamed after him as a befitting tribute to Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore.

 Madhya Pradesh Government has Sambal Yojana, an outstanding power bill waiver scheme and subsidised power scheme for labourers and poor families. Under this scheme, Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and registered labourers of unorganised sector from the state will be provided electricity at cost of Rs 200 per month,
  • Sambal Yojana
The objective of scheme is to make sure that all households have power facility in the state. The beneficiaries will be provided with power free of cost connection. Intended Beneficiaries: Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and registered labourers of unorganised sector are targeted beneficiaries of the scheme. People not using air-conditioners, electric heaters and whose power consumption is below 1000 watts would be eligible for this scheme. It will benefit more than 88 lakh families in the state. So far, around one crore 83 lakh workers are registered under the scheme. Key Features of the scheme: Under its subsidised power segment, registered labourers of unorganised sector and BPL families will be provided with electricity at Rs 200 per month. In case the bill is lower than Rs 200, beneficiaries will have to pay actual bill amount and if bill amount is crossing Rs 200 then, difference amount will be subsidised by state government. Pending dues of beneficiaries will be waived off completely under scheme.  The beneficiaries of the scheme will be able to operate fan, television and bulbs.

 Union minister of chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar announced that the country’s first e-waste recycling unit will come up in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The unit, to be set up by the ministry, is likely to be ready in four months, and is in keeping with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan drive. A 2016 study by Assocham and KPMG ranked India among the top five countries in e-waste generation,with an estimated 1.85 million tonnes generated annually. According to the study, computers comprised 70% of the total e-waste and telecommunication equipment accounted for 12%. Bengaluru ranked third after Mumbai and Delhi and generated nearly 92,000 tonnes of e-waste annually.
Source- The Times of India

 The government has decided to sharply increase the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Kharif crops, as it responds to concerns about distress in the country’s farm economy despite two years of strong monsoons. The MSP for common variety paddy, the most important Kharif crop, will be raised by Rs 200 over last year’s Rs 1,550 per quintal. That works out a 13%t increase for the financial year ended March 2019 compared to a 5.4% increase in FY18. The year-on-year jump in MSP for most other Kharif crops has also been far steeper than the annual increases announced over the last three years.
  Khareef Season MSPs: Annual Increase    
Crop FY16 FY17 FY18 FY19
Paddy 3.70 4.30 5.40 12.90
Jowar 2.60 3.50 4.60 42.90
Bajra 2 3.50 7.10 36.80
Maize 1.10 3 4.40 19.30
Ragi 6.50 4.50 10.10 52.40
        Source- The Bloomberg

 The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the following set of approvals. The important Cabinet Approvals are given as follows-
The Cabinet has approved-
  • Accession to WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Copyright Treaty, 1996 and WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty, 1996- The approval is a step towards the objective laid in the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy adopted by the Government on 12thMay 2016 which aims to get value for IPRs through commercialization by providing guidance and support to EPR owners about commercial opportunities of e-commerce through Internet and mobile platforms. About WIPO- The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) is a special agreement under the Berne Convention which deals with the protection of works and the rights of their authors in the digital environment.
  • Renewal of MoU between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India & Saudi Arabia.
  • Umbrella Schemes for Relief and Rehabilitation of Migrants and Repatriates- Approval for the continuance of the 8 existing schemes of the Ministry of Home Affairs upto March 2020 for relief and rehabilitation of migrants and repatriates under the Umbrella scheme "Relief and Rehabilitation of Migrants and Repatriates".
  • Renaming of Agartala Airport, Tripura as Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore Airport, Agartala.
  • Extension of Scheme of Recapitalization of Regional Rural Banks upto 2019-20- This will enable the RRBs to maintain the minimum prescribed Capital to Risk Weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of 9%. There are 56 RRBs functioning in the country. As on 31st March, 2017(Prov.), the total credit given by RRBs is Rs.2,28,599 crore.
  • MoU between India and the United Kingdom on cooperation in the sphere of Law & Justice and establishing a Joint Consultative Committee.
  • DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018- The primary intended purpose for enactment of the "DNA Based Technology (Use and Regulation) Bill 2018" is for expanding the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country.
  • Source- Press Information Bureau (PIB)

     NITI Aayog, in collaboration with various ministries and industry partners, is organising ‘MOVE: Global Mobility Summit’ in New Delhi in September 2018. This Summit will help drive Government’s goals for vehicle electrification,  renewable energy integration and job growth and also speed up India’s transition to a clean energy economy. PM Narendra Modi will be inaugurating the Summit, which will be the first Global Mobility Summit of its kind, with over 1,200 expected participants from across the world. The Summit will constitute three designated components – The Conclave, the Expo and the Featured Events.
    Source- Press Information Bureau (PIB)

     The 5th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional ministerial meeting was held in Tokyo, Japan. It was first RCEP ministerial gathering to be held outside ASEAN countries. It was co-chaired by Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and his Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko. During the meeting, ministers from member countries had in-depth discussions on issues such as trade, service, investment and rules at the meeting.
    About Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in Brief (RCEP): RCEP is a proposed proposed free trade agreement (FTA) or comprehensive regional economic integration agreement between the 10-ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and its six FTA partners (Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Japan and Korea).

     The Election Commission of India has launched Cvigil mobile application for citizens to report any violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during elections. The app aims at empowering people across the country to share evidence of malpractice by political parties, their candidates and activists directly with ECI. At present its beta version has been released and will be made available for use during forthcoming Assembly elections Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan.
    • Features of cVigil
    It will allow anyone in election-bound state to report violations of MCC. By using this app, vigilant citizens can immediately report on incidents of misconduct anonymously and in real-time by clicking picture or record video of upto two minutes and uploading it on the app. The identity of the complainant will be kept confidential and will be provided with Unique ID to track and receive the follow up updates on the mobile. The app also has inbuilt features to prevent its misuse. It will be active only in States where elections have been announced. The app also facilitates sharing of geo-tagged photographic and video evidence without disclosing identity of sender. The uploaded information will be transmitted to control room and from there to field units or flying squads, mapped on Geographic Information System (GIS) for further action.
    • Background
    So far, complaints about violations of MCC often were not followed instantly, leading to violators escaping detection from action squads. Besides, lack of any documented evidence in form of pictures or videos was seen as hurdle in verifying complaint. Further, absence of robust response system to quickly and accurately identify scene of occurrence of violations with help of geographical location details hampered election officers’ ability to apprehend violators. The cVigil app is expected to fill in all these gaps and create fast-track complaint reception and redressal system.

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