Current affairs of 12th August 2019

1. Vice President book Listening Learning and Leading released

Vice President Shri Venkaiah Naidu released a book titled “Listening, Learning and Leading” of his two years in office. The abrogation of Article 370 should not be considered as a political issue in the interest of the security of the nation and the future of people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Key highlights:
  1. The Book “Listening, Learning and Leading” released by Union Minister of Home Affairs Shri Amit Shah. Vice President Shri Venkaiah Naidu received the first copy.
  2. The event was hosted by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu’s popular alliteration and witty remarks, created a cordial atmosphere in the Rajya Sabha.
  3. A part of the book release, Regional Outreach Bureau, Chennai organized a photo exhibition highlighting the journey of the Vice President from a student leader. Shri.  Venkaiah Naidu’s interaction with a cross section of society, meeting with world leaders and visits to Universities, Research institutions were also pictured.         
2. Chandrima Shaha, first woman President of INSA

Chandrima Shaha, first woman set to head science academy, was also a cricketer, commentator.

Key highlights:
  1. Ms. Shaha was formerly the Director of the National Institute of Immunology, Delhi and graduated with a Master’s degree from the University of Calcutta and completed her doctoral research in 1980 from the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology.
  2. Women comprise less than 10% of the fellowships of India’s science academies but Ms. Shaha is against quotas for women. “The critical mass of good women candidates is still low. While there are several more young women scientists today who are good and deserving, we cannot dilute [academic and research] standards just to accommodate more women.
  3. India has several opportunities for women scientists perhaps more than several countries. However, we need to do better at assessing these programmes and evaluating their effectiveness and execution.”
  4. Chandrima Shaha, the president-elect of the Indian National Science Academy, says she will take initiatives to combat pseudoscience.
3. Government Provides Green Fund Worth Over Rs 66000 Crore To Increase Country’s Forest Cover

The Union Government has unlocked green funds worth over Rs 66,000 crore to increase the country’s forest cover. The fund is an accumulated amount of money, which user agencies have been depositing as compensation for diverting forest land for non-forest purposes.

Key highlights:
  1. The rules were framed two years after a law to this effect was enacted. However, they were notified on August 10, 2018. 
  2. The rules specify that 80 per cent of the green fund will be utilised by the states for green activities listed under 13 permissible activities. 
  3. The activities include plantation, assisted natural regeneration of forests, forest fire prevention, pest and disease control in forest, soil and moisture conservation works and improvement of wildlife habitat among others. 
  4. The remaining 20 percent will be used for 11 listed works to strengthen forest and wildlife protection related infrastructure. 
  5. The list includes third-party monitoring of works, forest certification, development of certification standards and casual hiring of local people to assist forest department staff.
Forest Cover in India
  1. According to India State of Forest Report (SFR) 2017, India posted a marginal 0.21 per cent rise in the area under forest between 2015 and 2017.
  2. The report states that India has about 7, 08,273 sq kms of forest, which is 21.53 per cent  of the geographical area of the country.
  3. The Indian Government aims to increase the area under forest cover in the nation to at least 33 per cent.
  4. The total tree cover estimated in 2017 amounted to 93,815 sq kms, which records a 2 per cent rise from the approximately 92,500 sq kms estimated in 2015.
  5. The report attributed the increase in forest cover to plantation and conservation activities both within and outside the Recorded Forest areas as well as an improvement in interpretation of satellite data.
  6. Currently, 15 States and union territories have 33 per cent of their geographical area under forests.
  7. However, in India’s north-east, forest cover showed a decrease in comparison to the assessment made in 2015.
4. Sourabh Verma wins Hyderabad Open title

In Badminton, reigning national champion, Sourabh Verma clinched the Men's Singles title in the Hyderabad Open.

Key highlights:
  1. The 26-year-old  Sourabh from Madhya Pradesh had won the Slovenian International in May this year. 
  2. He had also won two Super 100 titles at the Dutch Open and Russian Open last year. 
  3. Top seeds Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy, however, finished runners up in women's doubles. They lost to Korean combination of Baek Ha Na and Jung Kyung Eun in the summit clash.
5. Rajasthan Government To Organise Human Chain Along Pak Border

A record 700-km-long human chain was formed in Rajasthan’s four border districts – Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Sriganganagar – on Tuesday as a tribute to the martyrs on the eve of the Independence Day.

Key highlights:
  1. On the eve of Independence Day, the Rajasthan government will organise a human chain along the 650-km-long Pakistan border.
  2. It will be conducted under a programme, ”Shahadat ko Salam.”
  3. The programme will be organised by the state government with the help of Border Security Force and the Army. 
6. ISRO Set To Launch Its TV Channel

The Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman Dr K Sivan has announced that ISRO TV will go on air in a few months.

Key highlights:
  1. The TV channel will focus on space and science activities. At present, people especially in the rural areas are not being reached. ISRO will also undertake a students programme, as part of its outreach activities.
  2. Also, ISRO will open the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota to the public to watch satellite launches.
  3. As it strengthens its public outreach, ISRO will shortly start allowing the public to watch satellite launches from its Sriharikota launch centre. “We are opening our space port to visitors just as NASA (the U.S.’ National Aeronautical and Space Administration).
7. MoHFW And MoTA Sign MoU For Extending Services Of School Health Programme To Schools

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), Government of India  for cooperation between the two Ministries.

Key highlights:
  1. It aims for sensitizing the principals and training to teachers each of all functional EMRSs, Ashram Schools and other Schools supported by MoTA in the country using the existing infrastructure of MoTA in the states.
  2. The school health programme was launched to address the health needs of school going children and adolescents in the 6-18 year age groups in the Government and Government aided schools.
8. Israel Opens Visa Application Centre In Kolkata

The embassy of Israel has opened a visa application centre in kolkata for tourists from West Bengal and the north eastern states. It aims to encourage more Indian travellers to visit Israel.

Key highlights:
  1. Additionally, visa applications in jurisdiction under the New Delhi centre are also acceptable at the new Kolkata Centre.The visa application categories include B1 for employment, B2 for business, tourism, meeting or conference and A2 for students.
  2. Among other initiatives, Israel recently announced a reduction in visa fees to Rs 1,100 (from Rs 1700) for Indian citizens.
9. Axis Bank Introduced 1st Of Its Kind Iris Authentication For Aadhaar-Based Transactions

The Axis Bank has become the first bank in the country to introduce Iris Scan Authentication feature for Aadhaar-based transactions through its micro ATM tablets.

Key highlights:
  1. This service, which requires a customer to scan their iris on a tablet, will boost the bank’s financial inclusion efforts by making Aadhaar authentication process hassle-free and offering easier access to digital banking for consumers especially in the rural parts of the country.
  2. Micro ATMs completely eliminate the requirement of debit cards, passwords, PINs, and user IDs, and empower consumers to avail banking services using only their Aadhaar numbers and biometrics.
10. International Day Youth Day – 12 August

“Today, we celebrate the young people, youth-led organizations, Governments and others who are working to transform education and uplift young people everywhere.”

Key highlights:
  1. 12 August was first designated International Youth Day by the UN General Assembly in 1999, and serves as an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change, and an opportunity to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world’s youth.
  2. 2019 Theme: “Transforming education”
  3. This year’s theme highlights efforts to make education more inclusive and accessible for all youth, including efforts by youth themselves. Rooted in Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” – International Youth Day 2019 will examine how Governments, young people and youth-led and youth-focused organizations, as well as other stakeholders, are transforming education so that it becomes a powerful tool to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
11. World Elephant Day – 12 August

The World Elephant Day is observed on August 12 every year. It aims to raise awareness about elephants and numerous threats they face.

Key highlights:
  1. We admire elephants in part because they demonstrate what we consider the finest human traits: empathy, self-awareness, and social intelligence. But the way we treat them puts on display the very worst of human behavior.
  2. On August 12, 2012, the inaugural World Elephant Day was launched to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. The elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet we balance on the brink of seeing the last of this magnificent creature.
  3. Elephants are simply one more natural resource that is being caught up in human greed on the one hand and human need on the other.  We somehow need people to become reacquainted with nature or they can have no clue as to the inter relatedness of cause and effect.

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