Current Affairs Today August 5 2018

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Current Affairs Today August 5 2018

INDIAN AFFAIRS

29th GST Council meeting: Sub-committee formed under MoS Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla to address MSME woes
On August 5, 2018, GST council in its 29th meeting decided to create a sub-committee headed by MoS Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector.
Objective:
To address the issues, challenges and concerns of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME)
Key Points:
i. The committee will consist of Manish Sisodia, Sushil Modi, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Thomas Isaac and Manpreet Badal.
ii. The issues related to law would be taken up by the law committee and issues related to rates would be taken up by the fitment committee. The reports would be presented before the sub-committee.
Other announcements:
i. It has also decided to run a pilot to provide cashback for digital transactions.
ii. Capped at Rs 100RuPay Debit and UPI-based transaction will get cashback of 20% for the GST paid.
iii. For this initiative GST council would a create software and has invited states to implement it.

122 New Research Project selected at a cost of Rs 112 Crore under IMPRINT-2 : HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar
On August 5, 2018, the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved 122 new research projects at a cost of Rs 112 crore under IMPRINT-2.

122 New Research Project selected at a cost of Rs 112 Crore under IMPRINT-2 : HRD Minister Prakash JavadekarObjective:
For advancing research in the high education institutions
Key Points:
i. It would cover the fields of Energy, Security, Healthcare, Advanced Materials, ICT and Security/Defence.
ii. Of the 122 new IMPRINT projects sanctioned, 81 are sponsored by industry.
iii. These include: 35 (ICT); 18 (Advanced Materials), 17 (Healthcare Technology), 12 (Energy Security); 11 (Security &Defence); 9 (Sustainable Habitat); 7 Water Resource & River Systems; 5 (Environment & Climate); 4 (Manufacturing); and 4 (Nano Technology).
iv. Private institutions have been invited to participate in the IMPRINT programme.
Achievements under this initiative:
i. So far, 142 projects under IMPRINT-1 have been implemented.
ii. These include :

  • Development of Cost Effective Magneto-Rheological (MR) Fluid Damper in Two wheelers and Four Wheelers Automobile to Improve Ride Comfort and Stability;
  • Indigenous development of an ultra high strength steel with stainless property for space application;
  • High strength, wear and corrosion resistant steel for high speed rail and elastic clip;
  • Low Cost Indoor Occupancy and Climate Monitoring System For Energy Conservation;
  • Development of Artificial Pancreas for Closed Loop Blood Glucose Control of Type-1 Diabetic Patients in India;
  • Development of a smartphone camera-based sensor for detection and remediation of chromium pollution in water;
  • Efficient Glycemic Control for the Management of Diabetes Complications : Intervention with Novel Point of Care Device for Community Healthcare;
  • Smart Classrooms: Technology Aids for Effective Teaching in Large Classrooms; and
  • Designing and fabrication of an aerodynamic lens for nanoparticles of variable size.

About IMPRINT:
♦ IMPRINT is the first of its kind MHRD supported Pan-IIT + IISc joint initiative to address the major science and engineering challenges that India faces through research.
♦ Full Form of IMPRINT: IMPacting Research INnovation and Technology.

Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018 gets President’s assent
On 5th August 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018, that will prevent offenders from avoiding legal process and escaping the country.

Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018 gets President’s assentFugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018:
i. Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018 was passed by the Parliament on 25th July 2018. It was introduced in Rajya Sabha by Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.
ii. The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018 enables authorities to attach and confiscate properties and assets of economic offenders who escape from India.
iii. As per the bill, the accused will be forced to return to India and face prosecution.
iv. One of the provisions under this bill is formation a Special Court under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002 to declare Fugitive Economic Offenders.
v. A fugitive economic offender is an individual against whom an arrest warrant is issued for economic offences of Rs 100 crore and above. Also, the offender should have fled from India to avoid criminal prosecution.
vi. Only cases where the total value involved in such offences is Rs 100 crore or more will be handled by the Special Court.
About Rajya Sabha:
♦ Chairman – M. Venkaiah Naidu
♦ Leader of the House – Arun Jaitley

Govt imposed 120% tariffs on 29 US imports effective from September 18
On August 5, 2018, India imposed new higher tariffs of 120% against 29 goods imported from the United States.
i. These will come into effect from September 18,2018.
ii. The products include: almonds, walnuts and apples.
iii. This is in response to rise in the import levies on certain steel and aluminium products earlier this year by US, which had a tariff implication of Rs.241 million on India.
Background:
♦ Trade differences between India and the United States have been rising.
♦ Bilateral trade rose to $115 billion in 2016, which the current administration wants to reduce to $31 billion deficit with India.

Additional 180-day window for resolution of 34 stressed power firms: report by govt committee under Cabinet Secretary
On August 5, 2018, according to a government report, additional 180 days will be provided for resolution of 34 stressed power projects.
i. This would be allowed to commissioned power projects which have been commissioned before February 12 or have not been referred to NCLT.
ii. During this time banks should undertake more intensive monitoring of the said assets to avoid them into turning into NPAs.
iii. Power plants with capacity of about 40,000 MW will be considered differently.
iv. A High Level Empowered Committee (HLEC) has been set up under Cabinet Secretary to resolve and revive 34 stressed power projects.
v. It will have representatives from the ministries of railways, finance, power, coal and the lenders.
Cabinet Secretary : Pradeep Kumar Sinha.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Japan overtakes China to become world’s second-largest stock market: Bloomberg
On August 5, 2018, according to Bloomberg’s data Japan is now the world’s second-largest stock market.
i. It has overthrown China as its total equity is $6.17 trillion and that of China’s is $6.09 trillion.
ii. The United States is the world’s biggest market for stocks, with total worth just over $31 trillion.
iii. Earlier, China overtook Japan in 2014.

India-Israel collaborate to strengthen sectors of agriculture, health & environment
Six Israeli startups working on healthcare, agriculture and water management sectors have been selected under the “Israel-India Bridge to Innovation” program to interact with various Indian businesses.

India-Israel collaborate to strengthen sectors of agriculture, health & environmentSix Israeli startups selected to interact with Indian businesses:
i. The 6 startups that have been selected include: Amaizz, Biofeed, Zebra Medical, MobileODT, etc.
ii. The 6 selected startups possess innovative technologies in healthcare, agriculture and water management sectors.
iii. These startups had participated in the innovation week from 23-27 July 2018.
iv. The innovation week was started by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) and Invest India in 2017.
v. India-Israel Innovation Bridge was developed to help Israeli companies use their technologies, develop, adapt and commercialize their innovation in India.
vi. India-Israel Innovation Bridge is managed by the Israel Innovation Authority, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry of India and Invest India. Chairperson of the Israel-India Chamber of Commerce is Anat Bernstein-Reich.
v. An agreement had been signed earlier to start an innovation fund under which India and Israel will contribute USD 4 million each on an annual basis for 5 years.
About Ministry of Commerce & Industry:
♦ Minister of Commerce and Industry – Suresh Prabhu
♦ Minister of State for Commerce and Industry – C R Chaudhary

BANKING & FINANCE

India Post Payments Bank will be launched by PM Modi on August 21
On August 5, 2018, the central government announced that PM Modi will launch India Post Payments Bank on August 21 with a focus on rural areas.

India Post Payments Bank will be launched by PM Modi on August 21i. 648 branches will be launched across country in every district.
ii. Government will link all the 1.55 lakh post office branches with IPPB services.
iii. This will create the country’s largest banking network.
Functions of IBBI:
i. IPPB would have 3,250 access points co-located at post offices and around 11,000 postmen both in rural and urban area.
ii. It will link around 17 crore postal savings bank (PSB) account with its account.
iii. It will also carry out  RTGS, NEFT, IMPS transactions.
iv. Government would distribute NREGA wages, subsidies, pension etc  through IBBI.
Other Announcements:
i. The government would also launch the IPPB app.
ii. It would enable customers to pay for services of around 100 firms including phone recharges and bill, electricity bill, DTH service, college fees etc that are present on Bharat Bill payments system of National Payments Corporation of India.
Background:
♦ IPPB was the third entity to receive payments bank permit after Airtel and Paytm.
♦ Payments banks can accept deposits up to Rs 1 lakh per account from individuals and small businesses.

Umbrella Organisation’ to revive Urban Co-op Banking: RBI
On August 5, 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed non-fund-based Umbrella organisations(UO) at State levels to revive India’s co-operative banking sector.
i. It would conduct non-fund activities in the areas of training, capacity building and IT infrastructure and research.
ii. Gujarat is the first State in the country to have an UO for the UCB sector.
iii. Along with this, it is conducting a two-day conference and exhibition of co-operative banking sector under the name Sahakar Setu 2018, in Ahmedabad, from August 4-5.
iv. The Centre for Banking Research Development & Excellence (CBRDE) was inaugurated in 2014.
Background:
i. In 2016, a steering committee was constituted by NAFCUB, which had submitted its report to the RBI in August 2017.
ii. As per the committee’s recommendations, a National Umbrella of UCBs will be formed as an NBFC and owned by UCBs.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

NASA names Sunita Williams, 8 others, for first space flights on commercial spacecraft
Indian-origin U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams is among the 9 astronauts selected by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to fly the first missions into space on commercial spacecraft, starting in 2019.

NASA names Sunita Williams, 8 others, for first space flights on commercial spacecraftNine astronauts to fly the first missions into space on commercial spacecraft:
i. These nine astronauts will launch on the first crewed test flights and missions of new commercial spacecraft built and operated by the Boeing Company and SpaceX.
ii. The astronauts will launch on Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Dragon capsules to the International Space Station starting in 2019.
iii. These missions will be the first crewed launches from United States soil after the end of the space shuttle programme in 2011.
iv. The 9 astronauts selected for flying first space flights on commercial spacecraft are:

  • Josh Cassada
  • Sunita Williams
  • Robert Behnken
  • Douglas Hurley
  • Eric Boe
  • Nicole Mann
  • Christopher Ferguson
  • Victor Glover
  • Michael Hopkins

About National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):
♦ Administrator – Jim Bridenstine
♦ Headquarters – Washington DC, United States

Chinese researchers ‘create’ world’s first single-chromosome yeast
Chinese scientists have created the first single-chromosome yeast without affecting the majority of its functions.
World’s first single-chromosome yeast:
i. Brewer’s yeast consists of 16 chromosomes. Chinese scientists have created a single-chromosome yeast which has almost all the genetic material of Brewer’s yeast.
ii. Molecular biologists at the Centre for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, China used CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing to develop a single-chromosome yeast strain.
iii. A paper regarding this has been published in journal Nature. This finding can help in advancing research related to aging and diseases in humans.
iv. It could also lead to the creation of new man-made species in future.

SPORTS

Gaganjeet Bhullar wins his first European Tour title at Fiji International (Golf)
On 5th August 2018, India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar won his first European Tour title at the Fiji International, at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course, in Fiji.

Gaganjeet Bhullar wins his first European Tour title at Fiji International (Golf)Gaganjeet Bhullar wins first European Tour title at Fiji International:
i. Gaganjeet Bhullar won the title at the Fiji International with a six-under 66 for a four-day total of 14-under 274.
ii. Australia’s Anthony Quayle finished in the second position. South Africa’s Ernie Els finished at tied third with Australia’s Ben Campbell. Another Indian Ajeetesh Sandhu finished at tied 43rd position.
iii. This is Gaganjeet Bhullar’s 10th overall title. Now he has become the most successful Indian golf player on Asian Tour.
iv. He is the first Indian to win on Australasia Tour. He is also the fifth Indian to win on European Tour following Atwal, Jeev Milkha Singh, SSP Chawrasia and Anirban Lahiri.
Some important stadiums in India:
♦ Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium – Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
♦ YS Raja Reddy Stadium – Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh

Virat Kohli’s 22nd ton propels him to the top of ICC Test rankings for batsmen
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli reached number 1 position in the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, as per the latest ICC ranking released on 5th August 2018.

Virat Kohli's 22nd ton propels him to the top of ICC Test rankings for batsmenVirat Kohli tops ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen:
i. Virat Kohli’s century against England in the opening Test at Edgbaston, has helped him reach the top position.
ii. Now Virat Kohli has replaced Steve Smith as the as the top-ranked batsman. Virat Kohli (934 points) leads Steve Smith by 5 points. This is the first time Virat Kohli has reached top position in the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen.
iii. Virat Kohli has become the 7th India batsman and first since Sachin Tendulkar (in 2011) to reach the top position in the ICC Test Batsmen ranking.
iv. Other Indians who have reached this mark are: Rahul Dravid, Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag and Dilip Vengsarkar.
v. Virat Kohli has become India’s highest-ranked batsman and 14th overall on the all-time tally of points.
About International Cricket Council (ICC):
♦ CEO – David Richardson
♦ Headquarters – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

OBITUARY

Library scientist Prof Krishna Shripadrao Deshpande passed away at 95
On August 4,2018, eminent library scientist Krishna Shripadrao Deshpande passed away at his residence in Malamaddi of Dharwad, Karnataka.
i. He was 95 and survived by wife, son and daughter.
ii. He became the chief librarian and professor in the department of library science.
iii. He had participated in the freedom movement and was the president of Gandhi Peace Foundation.
iv.The state government had honoured him with the Rajyotsava award.He is also the recipient of the prestigious Kaula-Ranganath award.