Current Affairs Today August 1 2018

We are here for you to provide the important current affairs August 1 2018 which have unique updates of all daily events from all newspapers such as The Hindu, The Economic Times, PIB, Times of India, India Today, Indian Express, Business Standard, all Government official websites. Our complete current affairs helps you to get more marks in Banking, insurance, UPSC, SSC, CLAT, Railway and all other competitive Exams.

Click here to try Current Affairs Quiz : August 1 2018

Current Affairs Today August 1 2018

 INDIAN AFFAIRS

Cabinet clears 46 amendments to GST laws
On August 1, 2018, In a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi amendments of GST Laws were approved.

Cabinet clears 46 amendments to GST lawsi. It has 46 amendments.
ii. It includes hiking threshold limit to Rs.1.5 crore , allowance of  employers to claim input tax credit on food, transport and insurance provided to employees under any law.
iii. It also has modification of reverse charge mechanism, separate registration for companies having different business verticals, cancellation of registration, new return filing norms and issuance of consolidated debit/credit notes covering multiple invoices.
iv. Amendments to the Central GST law, Integrated GST law, Compensation Cess law are yet to be tabled.

Cabinet approved LIC-IDBI deal of LIC acquiring 51% stake at IDBI Bank
On August 1,2018, The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi , cleared the purchase of 51 per cent controlling stake in IDBI bank by state-run insurer Life Insurance Corporation (LIC).
i. According to the deal the bank will get Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 13,000 crore depending on the share price.
ii. This was done to raise the capital of the IDBI Bank to pay off debts.
iii. Earlier LIC had 7-7.5 per cent stake in the bank.
LIC:
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ Founded: 1956.
IDBI Bank:
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ Tagline: Aao Sochein Bada.

India, Germany sign pact for collaboration in area of sustainable urban development
On August 1, 2018, India and Germany signed an agreement on financial and technical cooperation.
i. According to this agreement, Germany will give nearly Rs 8,500 crore (1,055 million Euros) for development of India.
ii. This will focus on sustainable urban development and renewable energy in areas of sanitation, solid waste management and promotion of urban mobility.
iii. This cooperation will help reduce the greenhouse gases emission.
iv. The agreement was signed between German Ambassador to India Martin Ney from the German side and Joint Secretary, (Department of Economic Affairs), Finance Ministry, Sameer Kumar Khare from the Indian side.
v. 2018 marks 60 years of bilateral development cooperation between India and Germany.
Germany:
♦ Capital: Berlin.
♦ Currency: Euro.
♦ Prime Minister: Angela Merkel.

Shri Shripad Yesso Naik lays the foundation stone of the 2nd Phase of construction of NEIAH in Shillong
On July 29, 2018, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH Shri Shripad Yesso Naik laid the foundation stone of the 2nd Phase of Construction of North East Institute of Ayurveda & Homeopathy (NEIAH) at NEIAH Campus in Mawdiangdiang, Shillong.

Shri Shripad Yesso Naik lays the foundation stone of the 2nd Phase of construction of NEIAH in Shillongi. The estimated cost of the construction is Rs 40.80 crore.
ii. The area of the project is : 10481.53 sqm.
iii. It will have residential accommodation for students, doctors and staff and guest house.
About NIEH:
i. It is the hub for researches in Ayurveda and folk medicine for the entire South East Asia.
ii. institute will focus on cultivation and preservation of valuable medicinal plants in the region and would promote and preserve the traditional knowledge of folk medicine.
iii. Etablished in 2016.

FOCAL: a dedicated portal to connect cargo owners and shippers launched by The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI)
On August 1,2018, 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.

FOCAL: a dedicated portal to connect cargo owners and shippers launched by The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI)Objective:
To know the availability of vessels in the market.
Key Points:
i. The name of the portal is : Forum of Cargo-Owners and Logistics-Operators (FOCAL).
ii.  It has been designed and developed by IT Department and the Traffic Wing of IWAI.
iii.This would ensure direct interaction among the vessel operators, shippers and cargo owners.
Background:
The Government is developing National Waterways as a part of an integrated transport network strategy, which will help correct the transport.

NITI Aayog to host Investors’ Conference for the Holistic Development of Islands
On 10th August 2018, NITI Aayog is set to host an Investors’ Conference for the Holistic Development of Islands, at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi.
Investors’ Conference for the Holistic Development of Islands:
i. This Conference will be inaugurated by Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog. It is expected to gain investment for the sustainable development of eco-tourism projects in Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands.
ii. The Conference is organized by NITI Aayog along with the respective UT Administration.
iii .NITI Aayog has been mandated to look over the Holistic Development of Islands program, along with the respective UT administration and State Governments.
iv. Under the first phase of this program, 10 Islands in Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep have been considered for holistic development.
v. 11 anchor tourism projects are proposed to be implemented with private sector participation under risk-sharing model through open-competitive bidding.
vi. The 11 anchor tourism projects have been reviewed by Island Development Agency (IDA). They include 6 projects in Andaman & Nicobar and 5 in Lakshadweep.
About Island Development Agency (IDA):
♦ Constituted – June 2017
♦ Chairman – Home Minister Rajnath Singh

Health Ministry signs MoU with Electronics Ministry to facilitate access of Ayushman Bharat
National Health Agency (NHA) and Common Service Centres (CSC) scheme under the Digital India Programme, have signed a MoU to provide information and eligibility validation services to beneficiaries, mainly in remote areas.

Health Ministry signs MoU with Electronics Ministry to facilitate access of Ayushman BharatNHA signs MoU with CSC:
i. National Health Agency (NHA) functions under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Its objective is to implement Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM).
ii. The MoU was signed by Dr. Indu Bhushan, CEO, National Health Agency (NHA) and Dr. Dinesh Tyagi, CEO, CSC-SPV.
iii. More than 3 lakh CSCs in 2.5 lakh Panchayats of India will become the major point of information for potential beneficiaries and help in validating the entitlement of beneficiaries.
iv. AB-NHPM aims to cover nearly 10.74 crore poor families. It has identified occupational category of urban workers’ families according to the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data, for both rural and urban India.
v. CSC will be given access to Beneficiary Identification System (BIS) that helps in confirming application from entitled beneficiaries through SECC and RSBY databases.
vi. BIS has already been designed and pilot testing is carried out in several States.
About Ministry of Health and Family Welfare:
♦ Minister of Health – Jagat Prakash Nadda
♦ Ministers of State for Health – Ashwani Kumar Choubey, Anupriya Patel

Rajasthan becomes first State to implement Centre’s ‘Biofuel Policy’
On August 1, 2018, Rajasthan becomes the first state to implement Centre’s ‘Biofuel Policy.’
i. For this Rajasthan has established a Centre of Excellence in Udaipur to promote research in alternate fuels and energy sources.
ii. To expand ethanol production, it has allowed using sugarcane juice and starch containing materials for production of ethanol.
iii. The state installed a biodiesel plant of capacity of tonnes a day with the financial assistance of Indian Railways.
iv. These steps will help in increase in production of oil seeds and reduce country’s oil import.
v. State Rural Livelihood Development Council will also encourage women’s self-help groups (SHGs) to have additional income through supply of biodiesel.
National Policy of Biofuels:
♦ It categorizes the biofuels called Basic Biofuels into 3 categories viz. i.  First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel , ii.“Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels and iii. Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG among others to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
♦ In order to increase farmers income use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
♦  It provides a funding scheme of 2G ethanol Bio refineries an amount of Rs.5,000 crore in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels.

Chhattisgarh CM & actress Kangana Ranaut launch mobile distribution scheme ‘Mobile Tihar’
On 30th July 2018, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and actress Kangana Ranaut launched ‘Mobile Tihar’, a smartphone distribution scheme under the Sanchar Kranti Yojna (SKY) in Raipur, Chhattisgarh.

Chhattisgarh CM & actress Kangana Ranaut launch mobile distribution scheme ‘Mobile Tihar’Mobile Tihar:
i. The scheme has been launched to distribute smartphones to women and students. It will benefit more than 50 Lakh people.
ii. As a part of this scheme, 556 new mobile towers will be set up in Chhattisgarh.
Some National Parks in Chhattisgarh:
♦ Indravati National Park
♦ Kanger Ghati National Park

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

First ‘Nepal-India Think Tank’ Summit held in Kathmandu for bilateral cooperation
On July 31, 2018, First ‘Nepal-India Think Tank’ Summit held in Kathmandu, Nepal.

First 'Nepal-India Think Tank' Summit held in Kathmandu for bilateral cooperationObjective:
To foster greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing among the think tanks of the two countries.
Key Points:
i. It was inaugurated by Former Prime Minister of Nepal and Co-Chairman of ruling Nepal Communist Party, Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’.
ii. It was jointly organized by the Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs and Nehru Memorial Museum Library.
iii. It consisted of 4 sessions. They are :
1st session- Building innovative cooperation between Indo-Nepal think tanks,
2nd session- Bolstering bilateral economic ties for the shared prosperity,
3rd session- Managing security dilemma,
4th session- Redefining Nepal-India relations in 21st century.
iv. The summit will be hosted alternatively in Nepal and India annually.
Nepal:
♦ Prime Minister: K. P. Sharma Oli.
♦ President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari.
♦ Currency:  Nepalese Rupee.
♦ Capital: Kathmandu.

India imposed safeguard duty on solar cells imports from China and Malaysia for two years
On August 1, 2018, India imposed safeguard duty on solar panels imported from China and Malaysia for 2 years.
Objective:
To protect domestic players from losing the market to them
Key Points:
i. This was recommended  by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), under the commerce ministry.
ii. As per the notice from Finance Ministry,

  • 25 per cent safeguard duty have been imposed for July 30 to July 29, 2019,
  • 20 per cent during July 30, 2019 to January 29, 2020 and
  • 15 per cent during January 30, 2020 to July 29, 2020.

iii. Solar tariffs are currently at around Rs 2.75 per unit, on par with that of thermal power, but safeguard duty is expected to raise it by at least 50 paise.
Comparison of the imports to India’s domestic production:
i.  India has produced 842 MW solar cells in 2017-18.
ii.And the imports of the solar cells has jumped to 9,790 MW in 201 7-18 from 1,275 MW in 2014-15.
Background:
i. Solar cells, electrical devices that convert sunlight directly into electricity, are imported primarily from China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.
ii. Imports of the cells from these countries account for more than 90 per cent of the total inbound shipments in the country.
iii. An application was filed before the DGTR by the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA) on behalf of 5 Indian producers — Mundra Solar PV Ltd, Indosolar Ltd, Jupiter Solar Power, Websol Energy Systems, and Helios Photo Voltaic — seeking imposition of safeguard duty on the imports.
iv. The period of investigation was 2014-15 to 2017-18.

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI releases its Third Bi-monthly Policy on August 1, 2018
On August 1, 2018, a 3 day 6 member meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee headed by Governor Dr. Urjit Patel concluded where RBI released its 3rd bi-monthly policy.

RBI releases its Third Bi-monthly Policy on August 1, 2018i. RBI retains GDP growth forecast at 7.4 pc for FY’19.

  • This would be owing to higher corporate earnings and sharp increase in MSPs (Minimum Support Price) of kharif crops which would boost the rural demand and farmer’s income.
  • RBI retained its earlier prediction of GDP from June’s bi-monthly statement that GDP growth for the year 2018-19 would be 7.4%.
  • With GDP range of 7.5-7.6 %has been predicted for the first half of the fiscal and 7.3-7.4% for second half of the fiscal of 2018-19.
  • Also GDP of first quarterof the next financial year 2019-2020 is projected to be 7.5%.

ii. RBI pegs retail inflation at 4.8% for second half of FY19.

  • This is due to increase in food price due to a 150%hike in MSPs of the kharif season of 2018-19.
  • For the July- September quarter the inflation rate is projected to be 4.6%and 4.8% in the second half of 2018-19.
  • Retail Inflation has been projected to rise to 5%in the first quarter of 2019-20.
  • Excluding the HRA, CPI based retail inflation is projected to be 4.4%for the Quarter 2, 4.7%- 4.8% for second half of 2018-19 and 5% inQ1 of 2019-20.
  • RBI’s targeted comfort level of inflation is 4per cent.

iii. 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.
  • Reverse repo rate stands at 6.25%, Marginal Standing Facility stands at 6.75%.

Following gives the comparison of the 2nd and 3rd bi-monthly rates:

Policy rates2nd bi-monthly in June 6th 20183rd bimonthly in August 1,2018
Repo Rate6.25%6.50%
Reverse Repo Rate6.0%6.25%
Marginal Standing Facility (MSF)6.5%6.75%
Bank Rate6.5%6.75%
Reserve Ratios:
Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR)4%4%
Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR)19.5%19.5%
CPI with HRA3rd bimonthly August 1, 2018
In Q2 of 2018-194.6%
In H2 of 2018-194.8%
In Q1 of 2019-205%
CPI without HRA
In Q2 of 2018-194.4%
In H2 of 2018-194.7%- 4.8%
In Q1 of 2019-205%
iv. The Next meeting will be scheduled from October 3-5, 2018.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

StarAgri Finance signs MoU with Karur Vysya Bank to aid traders and farmers
On August 1, 2018, To provide financial assistance to commodity traders and farmers, StarAgri Finance signed MoU with private lender Karur Vysya Bank.
i. Micro-lending would be provided to traders and farmers in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
ii. The assistance would be provided against the commodities stored in warehouses of StarAgri Finance.
About StarArgi Finance:
StarAgri Finance, a subsidiary of StarAgri Warehousing and Collateral Management.

Lucknow Metro, BSNL ink pact to facilitate customer services through smart cards
On August 1, 2018, Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) and BSNL have signed an MoU for extending benefits in customer services.
i. BSNL will use the smart card services of LMRC for collection of post-paid bills.
ii. It will also involve sale of pre-paid products like recharge vouchers and electronic top-up at LMRC Ticket Office Machine (TOM) station counters.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

C B Ananthakrishnan assumes charge as Director (Finance) of HAL
On 1st August 2018, C B Ananthakrishnan took charge as Director (Finance) of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
C B Ananthakrishnan – Director (Finance) of HAL:
i. Earlier, C B Ananthakrishnan was the Executive Director (Finance) at HAL Corporate Office.
ii. He joined HAL as Chief Manager (Finance) at Helicopter Division, Bengaluru, in 2004.
iii. He was also HAL nominee Director in the Board of three joint ventures of HAL.
About Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL):
♦ Chairman and Managing Director – T Suvarna Raju
♦ Incorporated – 1940

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Scutoid: Scientists discover new shape after studying human cells
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.
Scutoid:
i. Scutoid has 5 sides on one end and 6 on the other end. It has a triangular surface on one of its longer edges.
ii. Scientists refer this as a twisted prism kind of shape. It enables the tissue to mould around organs.
iii. The name Scutoid refers to its similarity to the scutellum. Scutellum is the lowest segment of an insect’s midsection.
iv. Epithelial cells that cover the surface of various organs as safety shield adopt a certain geometric shape, which was earlier believed to be columnar or bottle-like. Now, the shape has been named ‘Scutoid’.
v. A paper named ‘Scutoids are a geometrical solution to the three-dimensional packing of epithelia’, has been published in Nature Communications.

SPORTS

Lewis Hamilton wins 6th Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix
On 29th July 2018, Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes won the Hungarian Grand Prix for the 6th time, at the Hungaroring circuit, in Hungary.

Lewis Hamilton wins 6th Hungarian Formula 1 Grand PrixLewis Hamilton wins 6th Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix:
i. This is the 67th career victory for Lewis Hamilton. Daniel Ricciardo was named Driver of the Day by Formula One for finishing at fourth position after starting from the 12th position.
ii. Results of the 6th Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix:

PositionDriverTeamCountry
1Lewis HamiltonMercedesUnited Kingdom
2Sebastian VettelFerrariGermany
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrariFinland
4Daniel RicciardoRed BullAustralia
5Valtteri BottasMercedesFinland
iii. Formula One’s next race is the Belgian Grand Prix. It will be held on 26th August 2018.
Some important stadiums in India:
♦ Bakhshi Stadium – Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir
♦ Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium – Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir

World Junior Squash Championships 2018 held in Chennai, India
From 18th to 29th July 2018, World Junior Squash Championships 2018 was held in Chennai, India.

World Junior Squash Championships 2018 held in Chennai, IndiaWorld Junior Squash Championships 2018:
i. A total of 171 players including 116 men and 55 women from 28 countries took part in the World Junior Squash Championship. Cyrus Poncha was the tournament director.
ii. The individual event for men and women was held from 18th July to 23rd July 2018. The biennial team championship for men was held from 24th July to 29th July 2018.
iii. The individuals event for men and women are held every year since 2009. The team event is biennial.
iv. Results:

EventWinnerRunner-up
Men’s IndividualMostafa Asal (Egypt)Marwan Tarek (Egypt)
Women’s IndividualRowan Elaraby (Egypt)Hania El Hammamy(Egypt)
Men’s TeamEgyptEngland
v. 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.
About World Squash Federation (WSF):
♦ President – Jacques Fontaine
♦ Founded – 1967

IMPORTANT DAYS

Earth Overshoot Day 2018 – August 1
On 1st August 2018, Earth Overshoot Day 2018 was observed.
Earth Overshoot Day 2018:
i. Earth Overshoot Day is an initiative of Global Footprint Network. Global Footprint Network is an international research organization that is changing how the world measures and manages its natural resources.
ii. The date of Earth Overshoot Day is calculated from data of Global Footprint Network.
iii. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when we all have consumed more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year.
About Global Footprint Network:
♦ CEO – Mathis Wackernagel
♦ Founded – 2003