Current affair of 31st July 2019

1. Parliament passed the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019 seeks to amends the Companies Act, 2013

The Cabinet on Wednesday approved re-introduction of a Bill to amend the Companies Act 2013. The Bill will replace the Ordinance promulgated in February this year and likely to be tabled during the on going session of Parliament. Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javdekar said the proposed amendment will lead to further promotion of ease of doing business, de-clogging of the National Company Law Tribunal and special courts, strengthening corporate governance standards and strengthening of enforcement with focus on serious cases of violations of the Act and enhanced compliance by the corporate.

2. Parliament passed Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019

Parliament today passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019. Expressing satisfaction over this landmark moment, Union Minister for Home Affairs, Shri Amit Shah congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for fulfilling his commitment and ensuring that a law is made to ban Triple Talaq. The Home Minister also congratulated Muslim women by saying, “On the passage of this Bill, I congratulate the Muslim sisters across the country on getting rid of the Triple Talaq curse. This act will free Muslim women from the curse of this regressive practice”.

3. Centre plans to review the List of 17 Iconic Tourist Sites

The government’s plan to develop 17 ‘iconic tourist sites’ could see some changes, with Union Culture and Tourism Minister of State (independent charge) Prahlad Singh Patel ordering a review of the sites included in the project. Mr. Patel ordered the setting up of a committee to look into the sites included in the plan, Ministry officials said on Monday. Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan wrote to the Tourism Minister of State asking him to include Odisha’s Konark Sun Temple and Jagannath Temple, Puri.

4. Govt sanctioned project for development of Tirthankar Circuit covering sites associated with Jainism under Swadesh Darshan scheme

Ministry of Tourism under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme has identified Tirthankar Circuit as one of the fifteen thematic circuits for development in the country. All the sites associated with Jainism are covered under this circuit. The projects under the above scheme are identified for development in consultation with the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations and are sanctioned subject to availability of funds, submission of suitable Detailed Project Reports, adherence to scheme guidelines and utilization of funds released earlier. Based on the above criteria, Ministry has sanctioned the project “Development of Tirthankar Circuit: Vaishali-Arrah-Masad-Patna-Rajgir-Pawapuri-Champapuri in Bihar” for Rs.52.39 crores in 2016-17. The project is under implementation and Ministry has released Rs.26.19 crores for the project.

5. Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Dharmendra Pradhan launched Atal Community Innovation Centre in New Delhi

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas &Steel Dharmendra Pradhan today launched Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC) in New Delhi, to encourage the spirit of innovation at the community level. This initiative aims to encourage the spirit of innovation through solution-driven design thinking to serve society. Speaking on the occasion, Pradhan said, Atal Innovation Mission has a key role to perform in order to achieve the target of five trillion dollar economy by 2025. He urged the NITI Aayog to open innovation Centres in all Gram Panchayats of the country to promote local innovation. Pradhan noted that innovation is part of every Indian's daily affairs and there is need to support and promote them. He said that traditional and conventional knowledge available in the country needs to be supported and brought into the mainstream, through innovative mechanism.

6. National traders welfare board announced by the government for small traders

The commerce and industry ministry will soon notify the constitution of a National Traders’ Welfare Board that will identify ways to improve access to funds for this unorganised sector and suggest measures to simplify acts and rules applicable to traders. “The notification for constitution of the board will be issued soon," an official at the ministry said under condition of anonymity. The board will also make recommendations to reduce the compliance burden of traders as well as to ensure social security benefits such as insurance, pension, and healthcare for traders and their employees.

7. DDUGJY flagship scheme’s targets achieved 

Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana, one of the flagship scheme of the government completes 4 years today. In an exclusive interview to All India Radio News, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, New & Renewable Energy, R K Singh said the scheme has achieved the targets set and is at its conclusion. He added that the scheme has strengthened the entire sector and even the most distant village has been electrified. Mr. Singh said, India is the only country in the world to have one synchronous grid and One Nation, one Grid has helped in significantly reducing the power tarrifs. He added, 26 million houses have been electrified.

8. Chhattisgarh & Telangana top in the processing of solid waste

53 per cent of the solid waste generated in the country was processed till February this year, with Chhattisgarh topping the list by processing 84 per cent waste followed by Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, an RTI reply has found. In reply to an RTI application, the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry said Mizoram and West Bengal processed only 4 per cent and 5 per cent of the solid waste they generated. Mizoram and West Bengal produced 201 metric tonnes and 7,700 metric tones of waste per day respectively.

9. London named as World’s Best Student City in QS Best Student Cities Ranking 2019

Debuting at 81st position globally, Bengaluru has been ranked India’s best city for students in the global ranking agency QS’ (Quacquarelli Symonds) latest Best Student Cities Ranking 2019. However, in terms of affordability, Bengaluru is ranked seventh globally. The other top Indian cities include Mumbai (85), Delhi (113), and Chennai (115). Among these, while Mumbai gained ground, moving 14 places up on a year-on-year basis, Delhi dropped by six places in this year’s edition. Chennai ranked at 115, an improvement of two places from last year. In the sixth edition of the QS Best Student Cities Ranking compiled by QS, cities were ranked according to the number and performance of their universities, the extent to which employers are actively hiring there, the city’s affordability, the city’s desirability and quality of life, and the diversity of a city’s student body.

10. RBI relaxes norms of NBFC and corporates raised through ECB

The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday relaxed norms on end-use of funds raised via external commercial borrowings, making it more attractive and viable for corporates including non-banking finance companies to raise cheaper offshore funds. The central bank said based on feedback from stakeholders and with a view to further liberalise the ECB framework it has been decided to relax the end-use restrictions and allow the use of funds for working capital requirements, general corporate purposes and repayment of rupee loans. ECBs with a minimum average maturity period of 10 years can now be used for working capital purposes and general corporate purposes, the RBI said in a release.

11. PNB Housing Finance raises $100 million (nearly Rs.690 crore) from World Bank Group member IFC

PNB Housing Finance Ltd on July 29 said it has raised $100 million (around Rs 690 crore) from International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to finance the purchase of affordable housing projects. "The investment was made under the central bank's automatic route in the revamped external commercial borrowings (ECB) framework," PNB Housing Finance Ltd said in a regulatory filing. PNB Housing Finance Managing Director Sanjaya Gupta said this is the first ECB disbursement during the current financial year under the RBI automatic route. Several other ECB proposals are in the pipeline.

12. FDI inflow registered a growth of 79% during the last 6 years amounting to $64.37 billion in 2018-19

As a child in 1943, the Indian economist Amartya Sen watched one of the worst famines of the 20th century sweep through his native Bengal. Contrary to the popular image, the disaster didn’t manifest as a widespread shortage of food, he later wrote. The middle classes hadn’t “experienced the slightest problem during the entire famine,” which primarily affected “landless rural laborers” instead. That observation carries an important lesson for India as it runs short of a commodity even more fundamental than grain: water. As Sen showed, famine doesn’t simply result from supplies running out, but from prices being pushed beyond the reach of the neediest. Similarly, India’s current drought isn’t happening so much because of an absolute shortage of water, as its misallocation and mispricing. That’s shown most dramatically by the crisis in Chennai. While the city is now dependent on importing water by tankers to slake its thirst, India simultaneously has the title of the world’s biggest water exporter.

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