Current Affairs Today July 26 2018

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 INDIAN AFFAIRS

International conference on India-Vietnam economic ties held in New Delhi
On July 26, 2018, an international conference on India-Vietnam economic ties was held in New Delhi.

International conference on India-Vietnam economic ties held in New Delhii. Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Ton Sinh Thanh was present at the inauguration of the international conference.
Objective:
To enhance the economic ties with Vietnam and enable government’s Act East Policy
Key Points:
i. Vietnam and India has extensive economic ties in oil exploration, agriculture, manufacturing and defence .
ii. India will extend ties in services sector.
iii. Both nations have agreed on a trade target of USD 15 billion by 2020.
iv. As Vietnam is a member of ASEAN, it can help on the growth of India’s ties with other ASEAN countries.
About Act East Policy:
The Objective of ”Act East Policy” is to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.
Focus is on:

  • Infrastructure, manufacturing, trade, skills, urban renewal, smart cities, Make in India and other initiative.
  • Connectivity projects, cooperation in space, S&T and people-to-people exchanges.
  • Enhanced connectivity to the States of North Eastern Region including Arunanchal Pradesh with other countries in our neighbourhood. Therefore, the North East of India has been a priority in our Act East Policy (AEP).

Vietnam:
♦ Prime Minister: Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
♦ Currency: Vietnamese Dong.
♦ Capital: Hanoi.
♦ India granted “Most Favoured Nation” status to Vietnam in 1975.

“Innovate India Platform” : a collaboration of Atal Innovation Mission & MyGov launched by NITI Aayog
On July 26, 2018, “#InnovateIndia Platform”, a collaboration between the Atal Innovation Mission and MyGov was launched by NITI Aayog.

“Innovate India Platform” : a collaboration of Atal Innovation Mission & MyGov launched by NITI AayogObjective:
To create and encourage a structured ecosystem for innovation in India.
Key Points:
i. It is a citizen centric platform of the Government of India to access the innovation in the country.
ii. In this platform, registration of both grassroots and deep-tech innovators at a national level will happen.
iii. The users can View, comment, share, and rate the innovations in the platform.
iv. It has a  leaderboard which is calculated based on the votes on each innovation.
v. Citizens can share their/organizations/someone else’s innovation on the platform by login to the MyGov website.
vi. These innovations can be shared in social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter.
NITI Aayog:
♦ Founded: 1st January 2015.
♦ Chairman: PM Narendra Modi.
♦ CEO: Amitabh Kant.

The National Green Tribunal formed a monitoring committee on cleaning of the Yamuna.
On July 26, 2018, The National Green Tribunal formed a monitoring committee for Yamuna Rejuvenation Project.
Objective:
To submit an action plan for cleaning of Yamuna.
Key Points:
i. B S Sajwan and former Delhi chief secretary Shailaja Chandra has been appointed as members of the committee.
ii. The committee has been asked to submit the report by December 31,2018.
iii. This decision was taken by a bench headed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) Chairperson A K Goel .
iv. State governments of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh has been asked to cooperate the committee on this issue.
Other announcements:
Delhi Development Authority and the Delhi Jal Board has been asked to hold a meeting on July 30 for identifying land for setting up of a sewage treatment plant.
About ‘Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project’:
The Phase-I of the clean Yamuna project aims to lower the pollution levels in the Najafgarh and Delhi Gate drains, while Phase-II deals with Shahdara, Barapullah, and other drains.

Convergence of Meghalaya Health Insurance Scheme with Ayushman Bharat approved by Meghalaya Cabinet
On July 26, 2018, The Meghalaya Cabinet approved the convergence of phase 4 of Meghalaya Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS) with the centre’s Ayushman Bharat Yojana.
i. Under this the health coverage has been increased to Rs. 5 lakh from previous Rs.2.8 lakh per household excluding government employees.
ii. It would also cover investigations of sickness as well as treatment.
ii. This would benefit a total of 8.8 lakh families in the state.
Other approvals of the Cabinet of Meghalaya:
Approval of Rs.200 crore for enhancing milk production:
i. It also approved a Rs.200 crore loan of the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department for enhancing milk production in the state.
ii. Out of the Rs.200 crore, Rs. 150 crore would be a soft loan and Rs. 50 crore would be from subsidy.
iii. The loan would be given by National Cooperative Development Corporation.
iv. This loan is for the city-based East Khasi Hills District Cooperative Milk Union and State government would be the guarantaor. Similar unions are to come up in future in Jowai, West Jaintia Hills District, Tura, West Garo Hills District and Nongpoh, Ri Bhoi District.
v. This would enhance the milk production from current 10,000 litres per day to 50,000 litres per day under the Meghalaya Milk Mission.
Approval to enhance grant to teachers:
i. The cabinet has also approved to enhance the grant-in-aid for 710 pre-primary school teachers with effect from August 1, 2018.
ii. This is effective for teachers in both government and non-government schools.
iii. Under this the teachers would get Rs.12000 per month from the previous Rs.6000 per month and this would cost the government Rs. 5 crore every year for the enhancement.
Meghalaya:
♦ Chief Minister: Conrad Sangma
♦ Governor:  Ganga Prasad.
♦ Capital: Shillong.

Odisha CM inaugurated Rs 300 crore Rukura irrigation dam project in Sundargarh
On July 26, 2018, Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the Rs 300 crore Rukura Medium Irrigation Dam project in Sundargarhdistrict.

Odisha CM inaugurated Rs 300 crore Rukura irrigation dam project in SundargarhAbout the Project:
i. The Rukura project, built at a cost of Rs 296 crore, is constructed over the Rukura nullah in Bonai Sub-Division of Sundargarh district.
ii. It has a height of 26 metres, upper width of 6 metres, while the dam’s length is 1,133 metres and is built over 666 hectares.
iii .It has maximum flood discharging capacity is 1,442.50 cusecs. It has only one main canal, and its length is over 10.872km.
iv. In the rabi season, it will irrigate 2,185 hectares, while during the kharif season, the dam will irrigate 5,463 hectares.
v. Over all, this project will irrigate 5,800 hectare of agricultural field and Rs.300 crore has been provided for the construction.
Other announcements/inaugurations:
i. Apart from the Rukura Dam, he laid foundations stones for 31 projects for road, drinking water, social centre and bridge projects.
ii. They include seven kalyan mandaps and information centres at a cost of Rs 50 lakh, the Gurundia-Jarada road, Lalei-Koida drinking water project for Rs. 180 crore.
iii. All of these projects would be funded from District Mineral Fund and State’s own fund.
iv. The Odisha government has an aim to spend Rs 75,000 crore on irrigation in next five years.
v. Construction of pucca houses under Biju housing scheme for people of  Koida, Guruntia and Lahunipada area were also announced.
Odisha:
♦ Capital: Bhubaneswar
♦ Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik
♦ Governor: Ganeshi Lal.
♦ UNESCO Heritage Site: Konark Sun Temple.
♦ Lakes : Chilika Lake, Kanjia Lake, Anshupa Lake, Balimela Reservoir.
♦ Dams: Rengali Dam, Kala dam, Pitamahal Dam, Kansbahal Dam, Tikhali Dam, Deras Dam, Salia Dam, Ghodahada Dam, Kuanria Dam.

18th International Children’s Film Festival inaugurated in West Bengal ; to start from August 9 – September 30th, 2018
On July 25, 2018, West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi inaugurated the 18th International Children’s Film Festival.
i. It will screen 36 films from 17 countries.
ii. Screening of one children’s film in every cinema hall of the state every month to be done.
iii.The festival was being organised by Cine  Central in collaboration with the UNICEF.
iv. Screening of films will begin from August 9 to September 30th.
v.  The inaugural film is Moana from the USA.
vi. Other films to be screened in the festival include

  • Doctor Funes Formula (Mexico),
  • White Bridge(Iran),
  • The Monkey King – Uproar in Heaven (China),
  • The Magicians (Netherlands),
  • The Shamer’s Daughter (Denmark),
  • Giraffada (France), We are the Best (Sweden).

UNICEF:
♦ Headquarters: New York City, USA.
♦ Founded: 1946.
♦ Head: Henrietta H. Fore.
♦ International Children’s Day:  June 1.
♦ National Children’s Day: November 14.
♦ Universal Children’s Day: November 20.

Karnataka surpasses Tamil Nadu to become top State in renewable energy: says “Karnataka’s Electricity Sector Transformation” report by IEEFA
Karnataka has become the leading State for renewable energy in India, surpassing Tamil Nadu, according to the report “Karnataka’s Electricity Sector Transformation” released by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).
Karnataka’s Electricity Sector Transformation:
i. Karnataka reached 12.3 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity in March 2018. 5 GW capacity addition was done in 2017-18.

ii. 27% of Karnataka’s power generation comes from renewable energy. Also, Pavagada industrial solar park that is developed in Karnataka, is said to be the second largest solar development currently under construction in the world.
iii. The report also cites certain threats to solar energy in Karnataka like lack of transmission network infrastructure and policies like repealing the zero wheeling charge order.
v. IEEFA has presented a model for Karnataka’s electricity supply and demand till 2027-28.
vi. IEEFA had predicted a doubling of economic activity in the upcoming decade with 7.8% GDP. This will contribute to a 73% increase in electricity demand.
vii. IEEFA recommends increasing renewables from 46% of state capacity (27% of generation) in 2017-18 to 60% of capacity (43% of generation).
About Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA):
♦ Purpose – conducts research and analyses on financial and economic issues related to energy and the environment
♦ Executive Director – Sandy Buchanan

West Bengal Municipal Service Commission Bill introduced in the Assembly
On 25th July 2018, the West Bengal government introduced the West Bengal Municipal Service Commission Bill in the Assembly, for direct recruitment of personnel for various categories of posts and services in the establishment of urban local bodies.
West Bengal Municipal Service Commission Bill:
i. The bill was introduced by West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim.
ii.Implementation of this bill will enable the West Bengal Municipal Service Commission to conduct recruitment for all the 8 municipal corporations, 115 municipalities and 18 development authorities in West Bengal.
iii.The Commission will have a chairman and 3 other members. It will operate under the administrative control of West Bengal government in the urban development and municipal affairs department.
Some National Parks in West Bengal:
♦ Gorumara National Park
♦ Jaldapara National Park
♦ Neora Valley National Park

Andhra CM lays foundation stone of Amaravati International Sports Complex in Vijayawada; launches ‘Project Gandiva’
On 24th July 2018, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu laid the foundation stone of Amaravati International Sports Complex worth Rs 60 crore in Vijayawada.

Andhra CM lays foundation stone of Amaravati International Sports Complex in Vijayawada; launches 'Project Gandiva'Amaravati International Sports Complex:
i.  The Amaravati International Sports Complex will be built on 8.9 acres of land. The headquarters of the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) will be moved to this complex.
ii. The Andhra Pradesh government has planned to develop Amaravati, Vizag and Tirupati as sports cities. Andhra Pradesh government will spend Rs 54 crore and the Centre will offer Rs 6 crore for this complex.
iii. The work has been allotted to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). The project would be completed in 10 months.
iv. Andhra Pradesh government is also implementing Panchajanya sports scheme to develop sports in the state.
v. As per this scheme, 303 schools in Andhra Pradesh have been identified. Out of this, 100 schools will be offered basic infrastructure facilities.
vi. Chandrababu Naidu also launched ‘Project Gandiva’. As per this project, government will choose students aged between 10-16 years and offer them international level facilities and coaching with an aim to secure medals in Olympic Games in a period of 10 years.
Some important wildlife sanctuaries in Andhra Pradesh:
♦ Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary

Gajyatra” begins in Delhi on August 1 to raise awareness on conservation of elephants
From 1st August 2018, the “Gaj Yatra” exhibition will be conducted to raise awareness about conservation of elephants at the Mandi House metro station in Delhi.
Gaj Yatra:
i. Gaj Yatra will be conducted for 2 months. It is conducted as part of India Habitat Centre’s year-long multi-media festival on sustainable development named “Habitat Photosphere”.
ii. It is organised by Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
iii. It is curated by Alka Pande, an art consultant and cultural theorist. It will feature illustrations on elephant, which is India’s national heritage animal.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

IRDAI has constituted a 16-member committee for the first time to monitor third party pricing and premium rates
On July 26, 2018, for the first time a 16 member committee has been formed by Insurance regulator IRDAI.
Objective:
To examine motor third party insurance pricing and make recommendations on the premium rates for 2019-20.
Key Points:
i. IRDAI member – P.J. Joseph is the chairman of the committee .
ii. Other members include 2 senior officials of IRDAI , one each from Centre’s Department of Financial Services and Ministry of Road transport and Highways and 5 members from general insurance companies.
iii. It also includes other members from All India Motor Transport Corporation (AIMTC), Bus Operators Corporation of India, Federation of India Automobile Association, Consumer Voice, General Insurance Council, Insurance Information Bureau of India (IIBI).
Background:
Due to the 25% hike in third party premium that was caused by the IRDAI’s rates in March 2018-19, the cargo transporters had a strike. This committee will look at the categorization of cargo vehicles and would merge a few categories.
IRDAI:
♦ Headquarters: Hyderabad.
♦ Chairman: Subhash Chandra Khuntia.
♦ Founded: 1999.

Invest India, Business France sign MoU to promote investment in the private sector
On July 26, 2018, Invest India and Business France have signed an MoU to promote investment and cooperation between startups of India and France.

Invest India, Business France sign MoU to promote investment in the private sectorObjective:
To promote business and startup ecosystem between the two countries
Key Points:
i. Under the MOU,  joint activities and exchange  will take place in the French and Indian private sector.
ii. It would promote direct foreign investment by providing practical investment information to enterprises which would help in economic growth.
About Invest India:
It is the official Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of the Government of India.
Headquarters:
MD CEO: Deepak Bagla.
About Business France:
♦ Business France is an executive agency of the French government under the Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development.
♦ It has a network of 80 Trade Commissions, has worked with over 7,500 SMEs & mid-caps during 2017.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Four Indian-origin names including 3 women in list of Fortune’s 40 young influential people
On July 26, 2018, Fortune released its The Ledger ’40 Under 40′ list and 4 persons of India-origin, including three women have been named on it.

Four Indian-origin names including 3 women in list of Fortune's 40 young influential peoplei. The Indian origin persons were:

RankPersonPosition in company
4Dhivya SuryadevaraCFO of General Motors
14Anjali SudCEO of Vimeo
24Baiju BhattCofounder and Co-CEO of Robinhood
32Anu Duggalfounding partner of Female Founders Fund
ii. Suryadevara, 39 , made historyby becoming GM’s first female CFO making it one of only two Fortune 500 companies led by a female CEO and CFO after Hershey.
iii. The Top 5 ‘40 under 40’ are:
Kevin Systrom and Mark Zuckerberg1
Logan Green, John Zimmer2
Wang Xing3
Dhivya Suryadevara4
Brian Chesky5
About Fortune’s 40 under 40:
♦ It focuses on the pioneers building some of the world’s fastest-growing businesses.
♦ 1st started in 1999-2003 in first phase and the current phase started from 2009.
Fortune Magazine:
♦ Company: Meredith Corporation.
♦ Based in: New York.

Ramon Magsaysay Award: Two Indians Bharat Vatwani and Sonam Wangchuk are among six individuals declared winners
On 26th July 2018, two Indians Bharat Vatwani and Sonam Wangchuk were named winners of 2018 Ramon Magsaysay Award.

Ramon Magsaysay Award: Two Indians Bharat Vatwani and Sonam Wangchuk are among six individuals declared winnersRamon Magsaysay Award:
i. A total of 6 persons were declared winners of 2018 Ramon Magsaysay Award.
ii. Bharat Vatwani is awarded for leading the rescue of thousands of mentally ill destitute people and reuniting them with their families.
iii. Sonam Wangchuk is awarded for his contribution in the field of education, culture and progress of communities in remote northern India.
iv. Other winners of the award are:

  • Youk Chhang from Cambodia
  • Maria de Lourdes Martins Cruz from East Timor
  • Howard Dee from the Philippines
  • Vo Thi Hoang Yen from Vietnam

v. The recipients of Ramon Magsaysay Award 2018 will receive a certificate, a medallion, and a cash prize.
vi. They will be presented the Ramon Magsaysay Award 2018 at an award ceremony that will be held on 31st August 2018 at the Cultural Centre of the Philippines.
About Ramon Magsaysay Award:
♦ Established in – 1957
♦ Named after – Ramon Magsaysay, the third president of Philippines
♦ Presented – every year
♦ Awarded to – individuals who exhibit selfless service and transformative influence
♦ President of Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation – Carmencita Abella

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Government gives final nod to Vodafone-Idea merger; India’s largest mobile operator – “Vodafone Idea Limited” created
On 26th July 2018, the government gave the final approval for the merger of Vodafone and Idea Cellular that will result in the creation of India’s largest mobile operator with 35% market share and nearly 430 million subscribers.
Vodafone Idea Limited:
i. This move has been made days after Idea Cellular and Vodafone India made a joint payment of Rs 7,268.78 crore ‘under protest’ to the Department of Telecom (DoT) for merging their mobile businesses.
ii.  Now, the entities will approach the Registrar of Companies (RoC) for stipulated filings for approval to conclude the formalities.
iii.  DoT gave conditional nod to the merger on 9th July 2018 and asked the two firms to meet the demand raised for taking the merger on record.
iv.The new telecom entity Vodafone Idea Limited will replace Bharti Airtel from its current number one position.
v.  Vodafone Idea Limited is estimated to be worth more than USD 23 billion. Kumar Mangalam Birla will be the non-executive Chairman and Balesh Sharma will be the new CEO of Vodafone Idea Limited.
vi.Vodafone will own 45.1 % stake in Vodafone Idea Limited. Aditya Birla Group will own 26 % and Idea shareholders will own 28.9 %.
About Department of Telecommunications (DoT):
♦ Chairman of Telecom Commission and Telecom Secretary – Aruna Sundararajan
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

ENVIRONMENT

First Lake Of Liquid Water Discovered On Mars by ESA’s MARSIS
On July 26, 2018, According to a report on US journal Science, a massive underground lake has been detected for the first time on Mars.
i. This study was led by Italian researchers.
ii.  The lake is about 20 kilometres wide, located under a layer of Martian ice  and is the largest body of liquid water ever found on the Red Planet.
iii.It lies almost 1.5 km beneath the icy surface in a harsh and frigid environment and the water is not drinkable.
iv. The discovery was made using radar instruments on board the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter, which launched in 2003.
v. The tool that detected this is called  Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS).
European Space Agency:
♦ Headquarters: Paris, France.
♦ Founded: 30th May 1975.
♦ Member states: 22.

OBITUARY

Veteran sports journalist Swapan Sarkar passes away
On 26th July 2018, sports journalist Swapan Sarkar died due to diabetic complications.
Death of Swapan Sarkar:
i. Swapan Sarkar was 67 years old.  He was the Delhi sports correspondent of Ananda Bazaar Patrika (ABP).
ii. Earlier, he had worked for Amrita Bazar Patrika, Northern India Patrika and Gujarat Samachar.
Some important stadiums in India:
♦ Dhyan Chand National Stadium – Delhi
♦ Ambedkar Stadium  – Delhi
♦ Chhatrasal Stadium – Delhi

IMPORTANT DAYS

India observes 19th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas on 26th July
On 26th July 2018, the 19th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas was celebrated throughout India to commemorate India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1999 Kargil War.

India observes 19th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas on 26th JulyKargil Vijay Diwas:
i. Kargil Vijay Diwas honours the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for India in the 1999 Kargil War.
ii.  On 26th July 1999, India won the Kargil War that was fought for more than 60 days. Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated every year for three days till 26th July.
iii. Kargil Vijay Diwas celebrations started on 24th July 2018 at the Drass War Memorial in Kargil town in Jammu and Kashmir.
iv. Day 1: tributes were paid to martyrs by laying wreath at the memorial.
v. Day 2: veterans of the war and serving heroes shared their experiences during Kargil war at an event.
vi. Day 3: main function of the wreath-laying ceremony was held.
vii. Also, a Bike rally was conducted by the Jungle War college in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh.
About Indian Army:
♦ Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) – General Bipin Rawat
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi