Current affairs of July 1, 2019

1. Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2019 passed by the Parliament by Allowing Trusts To Open Units In SEZs

A bill allows trusts to set up units in special economic zones by amending the SEZ law which was passed by Lok Sabha. The Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2019 became the first legislation to be passed by the newly-constituted 17th Lok Sabha. Introducing the bill, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that special economic zones (SEZs) play an important role in promoting exports and economic growth of the country. The Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2019 will replace the Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, which was promulgated in March. The ordinance had paved the way for trusts to set up units in these zones.

2. ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme

‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme is available across the country from July 1, 2020. Aadhaar Card should be linked for it to work. States given one more year to use point of sale machines in ration shops, says Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme, which will allow portability of food security benefits and it will be available across the country from July 1, 2020. This means poor migrant workers will be able to buy subsidized rice and wheat from any ration shop in the country as long as their ration cards are linked to Aadhaar.

3. Telecom Ministry forms committee under telecom Secretary

Telecom Ministry forms committee under telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan to spell out revival plans of the Telecom sector which is under financial stress. It will help the telecom sector to review the issues and promote the Ease of Doing Business (EDB). The committee should submit the report within two weeks. Also, they will look into the previous recommendations provided by the telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and consult Solicitor General, if they requires any clarity on issues. The committee focus on the issues like reduction of levies and fees, such as licence fee, spectrum usage charge (SUC) and universal service levy along with review of definition of aggregated gross revenue. The Government also has plans for revival plan for state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) on priority basis.

4. G20 Summit 2019: PM Narendra Modi Meets World Leaders in Japan

The G20 (Group of 20) Summit 2019 was held at the International Exhibition Center, Osaka, Japan on June 28-29, 2019. It was the 14th meeting of the G20. The 2018 G20 Summit was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the 2020 G20 Summit will be held in the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Modi, Trump, Abe held 2nd Japan-America-India (JAI) trilateral talks in Osaka, Japan. PM discussed on the Indo-Pacific region to improve connectivity and infrastructure development with US President Donald Trump and Japanese premier Shinzo Abe.

5. ISA’s First Joint Security Exercise named ‘ISALEX19’ held in Abu Dhabi

The International Security Alliance’s First Joint Exercise (ISALEX19) hosted by the UAE Ministry of Interior (MoI) kicked-off. The exercise witnessed the participation of 50 representatives from law enforcement agencies from the International Security Alliance (ISA) countries including members of tactical teams; swift intervention units; and media, communications, civil defense and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams.

6. India Refrains From UNGA voting on Capital Punishment

Paulomi Tripathi stressed that India remains firmly committed to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. India has abstained from voting on a General Assembly resolution aimed at examining options to end trade in goods used for capital punishment and torture, saying it is unacceptable to place death penalty on par with torture. The 193-member UN General Assembly Friday adopted the resolution ‘Towards torture-free trade: examining the feasibility, scope and parameters for possible common international standards’ by a recorded vote of 81 in favour to 20 against, with 44 abstentions.

7. India signs worth Rs.200 cr deal with Russia

Seeking to keep itself battle-ready in situations like the one post-Balakot aerial strikes, India has signed a deal to acquire 'Strum Ataka' anti-tank missile from Russia for its fleet of Mi-35 attack choppers. "The deal for acquiring 'Strum Ataka' anti-tank missiles was signed with Russia under the emergency clauses through which the missiles would be supplied within three months of contract signing," government sources told ANI. 

8. MGIT-BP, India-assisted IT- Biotechnology Park inaugurated in Cote d’Ivoire

The Mahatma Gandhi IT and Biotechnology Park in Cote d’Ivoire, a dedicated free trade zone built with India’s assistance to build development capacities, has been inaugurated. The Mahatma Gandhi IT and Biotechnology Park (MGIT-BP) was jointly inaugurated by Ambassador of India and Cote d’Ivoire  Vice President Daniel Kablan Duccan at a ceremony in Grand-Bassam, Cote d’Ivoire on Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in statement.

9. FinMin to launch 11th tranche of Electoral Bonds sale to start from July 1

The Finance Ministry Thursday announced launch of the 11th tranche of electoral bonds sale from July 1-10. Electoral bonds are being pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political funding. "State Bank of India (SBI), in the XI phase of sale, has been authorised to issue and encash electoral bonds through its 29 authorised branches with effect from July 1 to 10," the ministry said in a statement. The 29 specified SBI branches are in cities like New Delhi, Gandhinagar, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Mumbai, Jaipur, Lucknow, Chennai, Kolkata and Guwahati.

10. IL&FS board sets up sub-committee to oversee disinvestment process

Debt-ridden IL&FS has decided to constitute a sub-committee to oversee the process of divestment of its assets in light of the Reserve Bank of India's June 7 circular which has laid guidelines for resolution of bad loans. The decision to form a sub-panel was taken in its board meeting held on June 28, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) said in a statement. 

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