Current affair of 12th September 2019

Centre to commits Corruption free environment for business

Ministry of Commerce & Trade held a meeting with around 100 domestic industry, manufacturers, associations of various sectors and users in New Delhi, India. The meeting aimed to change trade to become competitive to balance the interests of domestic shoppers and trade without relating to corruption problems in an associate meeting with 100 domestic industry. In the meeting planned to provide a corruption-free business environment.

Key highlights:
  1. The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has been upgraded to a facilitation center to make awareness relating to trade remedies and to produce full support to the trade significantly to domestic producers with helpline of 1800 111 808.
  2. The objectives of the meeting was to create awareness amongst the stake-holders wherever problems faced by the domestic trade to balance domestic trade interests. The meeting was targeted on the national trading policy Instruments, viz. Tariff Measures, Non-Tariff Measures moreover as Trade Remedial Measures for the Indian trade.
Haryana launches two insurance schemes for traders

The State Government of Haryana launched two insurance schemes for registered small and medium traders. The schemes are Mukhyamantri Vyapari Samuhik Niji Durghatna Beema Yojana and Mukhyamantri Vyapari Kshatipurti Beema Yojana. The insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh would be provided under the Mukhyamantri Vyapari Samuhik Niji Durghatna Beema Yojana.

Key highlights:
  1. The insurance cover ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh would be provided under the Mukhyamantri Vyapari Kshatipurti Beema Yojana. The traders registered under the Haryana Goods and Service Tax (HGST) Act 2017 would be covered under these schemes.
  2. The premium of people under both schemes would be paid by the State government.
Ministry of information announced the accessibility of TV programs for hearing impaired

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting announced the implementation of television Programmes for the deaf audience. The announcement was made by the Minister of I&B Prakash Javadekar on 11 September 2019. It will be effective from 18 September 2019.

Key highlights:
  1. The plan will be implemented on all TV channels. The service providers were asked to run atleast one program every week with captioning and subtitles. The news channels have been asked to carry a news bulletin with sign language interpretation at least once a day.
  2. The channels can either make their own programme with sign language interpretation or carry a bulletin prepared by DD News free of cost. The plan will be carried out in various phases over the next 5 years. The policy will be reviewed after 2 years.
  3. The Ministry is responsible to formulate the rules, regulations, and laws in the areas of information, broadcasting. It also administers Prasar Bharati which is the broadcasting arm of the Indian Government.
Cryodrakon boreas is the largest flying animal of all time

A new species of pterosaur called Cryodrakon boreas which was recently discovered was unveiled by scientists. The previously unknown type of pterosaur was one of the largest flying animals that ever lived.

Key highlights:
  1. Cryo Drakon boreas, which means frozen dragon of the north wind flew over North America 77 million years ago. The plane-sized reptile had a wingspan of 32.8 feet and it weighed 250 kilograms, researchers said in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
  2. The fossils of Cryodrakon were initially found 3 decades ago in Dinosaur Provincial Park, located in Alberta, Canada. However, scientists thought that the fossil belonged to Quetzalcoatlus.
  3. The fossils found include legs, neck, a rib and part of the wings. The remains were of a juvenile whose wingspan was about 16.4 feet. However, the palaeontologists studied the giant neck bone of an adult to estimate that the wingspan of a fully grown Cryodrakon would be about 32.8 feet.
  4. Cryodrakon belonged to the azhdarchids family of pterosaurs which is known for having long necks.
  5. Cryodrakon was a carnivore and ate lizards, small mammals and even baby dinosaurs.
  6. Even though the reptile had a wing capacity to cross oceans, the fossil records show that they stayed close to the inland.
International Day for South South Cooperation is observed on 12 September

International Day for South-South Cooperation is observed on 12 September. South-South cooperation is a broad framework where the South Countries have collaborated in various domains including political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains. The day celebrates the political, social and economical developments made by regions and countries in the south in recent years.

Key highlights:
  1. South-South Cooperation works towards achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs).
  2. It aims to boost the progress towards implementing the SDGs. It raises the awareness of the efforts taken by the United Nation to work on technical cooperation among developing countries.
  3. The theme for the 2019 South-South Cooperation is From Commitment to Action — Follow up to Buenos Aires Plan of Action+40. It is a follow up to the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 20-22 March 2019. The theme focuses on implementing the commitments adopted in the summit.
  4. The Day was originally observed on December 19. The day of South-South Cooperation was fully adopted by the United Nations on 12 September 2011. 
  5. The day commemorates the day when the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a plan of action in 1978 to promote and implement technical cooperation among developing countries.
IAF resurrects 17 Squadron Golden Arrows for Rafale

Indian Air Force (IAF) used the Air Force Station (AFS) Ambala-based 17 Squadron Golden Arrows which will operate the first squadron of Rafale fighter.

Key highlights:
  1. The first batch of Rafale jets are scheduled to be formally handed over to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh condition of anonymity. The jets are set to arrive in India in May 2020.
  2. The resurrection ceremony was presided over by IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) B.S. Dhanoa. He had commanded the 17 Squadron during the Kargil conflict in 1999. On December 31, 2011 the squadron was number plated after the Russian Mig-21 jets that it flew were decommissioned as part of the IAF’s long-term plan to phase the decades-old aircraft out of service and was since awaiting newer inductions.
  3. The 17 Squadron was raised at Ambala on October 01, 1951, under the command of Flight Lieutenant D.L. Springett and initially equipped with the Harvard-II B aircraft. 
  4. There are three batches each comprising eight IAF pilots along with engineers and technicians would undergo advanced training on the Indian jets in France. 
UNCCD launched drought toolbox in 14th Conference of Parties

On the 10th day of the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) launched a drought toolbox.

Key highlights:
  1. The Drought toolbox is a knowledge bank which can be used by vulnerable countries to reduce drought risk. It aims to boost the resilience of people and ecosystems to drought.
  2. It is a web page which will provide the stakeholders to easily access the case studies and other resources to support action on drought preparedness. Using the toolbox, vulnerable countries, including India, can be better prepared and effectively respond to it.
  3. UNCCD was established in 1994. There are 197 countries participating in the convention. It aims to improve the living conditions of people in drylands. It also works toward maintaining and restoring land and soil productivity and to mitigate the effects of drought.
  4. UNCCD collaborated with two Rio Conventions namely the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Indian Institute of Science IISC in Bengaluru the only Indian entry in the top 300 last year

Indian institution figured among the top 300 in World University Rankings 2020, compiled by UK-based Times Higher Education.

Key highlights:
  1. Indian universities are led by the Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc) Bangalore, its ranking dropped 50 places from 251-300 ranking cohort in the previous year to the 301-350 grouping.
  2. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar appeared in the same grouping, followed by IIT Indore with a rank of 351 to 400. 
  3. The second-generation IITs established after 2008-09 have leaped ahead of other top schools and older IITs including those in Mumbai and Delhi primarily because of their high score in research citations.
  4. IIT Ropar has got 100 in the research citation parameter, IIT Indore scored 77 much better than IISc and older IITs.
DRDO successfully test fired MPATGM

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired an indigenously developed Man Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh on 9 September 2019. It was launched from a tripod launcher.

Key highlights:
  1. The test aims to pave the way for the Indian Army to develop the third generation MPATGM. The anti-tank missile will be used for army purpose. The MPATGM has been successfully tested for the third series.
  2. MPATGM is a man-portable anti-tank guided missile
  3. The primary aim of the design is to hit and destroy heavily armoured military vehicles
  4. MPATGMs range varies from: smaller transportable shoulder-launched weapons and single transported soldier, larger tripod-mounted weapons that require a squad or team to transport and fire and vehicle and aircraft-mounted missile systems.
CM Devendra Fadnavis flags off trial run of Navi Mumbai Metro Line one

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis flagged off the trial run of the first Belapur to Pendhar Metro rail project in Navi Mumbai.

Key highlights:
  1. The four lines proposed for Navi Mumbai Metro Line one have a total of 11 stations on the 11.10 km corridor being constructed at a cost of Rs 3,063 crore.
  2. Navi Mumbai Metro make the commute easy for inhabitants residing at Kharghar, Taloja and Pendar. The travel time to reach Taloja from Belapur is 45 minutes.
  3. The metro becomes operational, this will reduce to 18 minutes, which will be a great relief for Navi Mumbaikars using the route.
  4. They distributed allotment letters to 10,000 successful candidates from CIDCO Housing Scheme-2018.
  5. The event marked the beginning of the process of registration of tenements in 9,249 units.
Prime Minister Launches National Animal Disease Control Programme and National Artificial Insemination Programme

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to launch the National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP) for eradicating the foot and mouth disease and brucellosis in livestock.

Key highlights:
  1. The project cost ₹12,652 crores for a period of five years till 2024, will be funded entirely by the government. The programme to be launched in Mathura.
  2. aims to control the livestock diseases by 2025 and eradicate these by 2030.
  3. The programme aims at vaccinating over 500 million livestock including cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats and pigs against the FMD. 
  4. The programme also aims at vaccinating 36 million female bovine calves annually in its fight against the brucellosis disease.
  5. The choice of Mathura for the launch of the programme is interesting because the support of Uttar Pradesh was instrumental in bringing back Prime Minister Narendra Modi to power for a consecutive term.
  6. Apart from its political significance, Mathura is also a holy city and many farmers in the region have traditionally been dependent on livestock.
Dr PK Mishra takes over as Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister

Dr Pramod Kumar Mishra appointed as Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India. Dr Mishra varied work experience in the management of programmes relating to agriculture, disaster management, power sector, infrastructure financing, and regulatory issues outstanding career profile comprising research, publications, policy formulation and programme/project management. The major assignments such as Additional Pr. Secretary to the Prime Minister; Secretary, Agriculture and Cooperation,  Government of India; Chairman, State Electricity Regulatory Commission and in the area of Disaster management. As Secretary Agriculture & Cooperation, he was actively involved in path-breaking national initiatives such as the National Agriculture Development Programme (RKVY) and the National Food Security Mission (NFSM).

Key highlights:
  1. The Prime Minister during 2014-19 Dr Mishra is credited with  introducing innovation and transformative changes in human resource management, particularly appointments to senior positions.
  2. The international experience includes research and academic work for over four years at the Institute of Development Studies (UK), negotiation and execution of ADB and World Bank projects, member of the Governing Board of the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and participation as expert/resource person in several international conferences.
  3. He was conferred with the United Nations SASAKAWA Award 2019, the most prestigious international award in disaster management. 
  4. Dr Mishra has a Ph.D in Economics/Development Studies from the University of Sussex, M.A. in Development Economics at the University of Sussex as also M.A. in Economics with a first class at the Delhi School of Economics and  B.A. Hons. (Economics) with a first class and distinction in other subjects from G.M. College (Sambalpur University) in 1970.
England greats Boycott & Strauss honoured with knighthoods

England cricket greats Geoffrey Boycott and Andrew Strauss honoured with Knighthoods by Theresa May in her resignation honours list. The former cricketers have received the honour for their services to sport after outstanding careers for England.

Key highlights:
  1. Andrew Strauss played 100 tests for England from 2004-12 scoring more than 7,000 runs at an average of 40.91 and captained the team to two Ashes series wins.
  2. He served as England’s director of cricket between 2015 and 2018.
  3. Geoffrey Boycott played 108 tests between 1964 and 1982 for England. He scored 8,114 Test runs at an average of 47.72.
GeM and Punjab Government sign MoU for Setting up Project Management Unit

Government e-Marketplace (GeM) under the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry and Government of Punjab, signed MoU to set up a GeM Organizational Transformation Team (GOTT) Project Management Unit (PMU) in the state. The MoU was signed by Additional CEO, GeM, S. Suresh Kumar, and Director Industries.

Key highlights:
  1. GeM, the national public procurement portal launched in August 2016 transformed the public procurement landscape in the country with transparency, efficiency, and inclusion.  
  2. Their main aim is to strengthen and enable Government departments towards a market-based procurement, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, Government of India has advised Ministries and Departments of Central and State Governments to consider services of GOTT on an outcome-based self-sustenance model. GOTT will assist the buyer agency to redesign the procurement processes and enhance competencies to derive maximum benefit.
  3. Government of Punjab is the first State which will establish GOTT PMU for effectively utilising this transformational initiative towards inclusive, efficient and transparent procurement. 
  4. It is projected that through the initiatives of GOTT PMU, Government of Punjab will be able to transact around Rs 1700 crore in terms of annual Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) on GeM platform in the first year and over Rs 3000 crore per annum, over a period of time
President of India addresses India-Iceland Business Forum on the final day of his state visit to Iceland

Shri Ram Nath Kovind, addressed the India-Iceland Business Forum in Reykjavik, Iceland. India’s growth and commitment to sustainability and Iceland’s business strengths make for a natural partnership. Iceland’s capacity in the fields of geothermal energy, circular economy, financial services, fisheries, food processing, shipping, tourism and innovation.

Key highlights:
  1. Indian market and Iceland’s business strengths can add significant numbers to them. Iceland can look at sourcing manufactured goods, fruits and vegetables, textiles, chemicals and engineering goods from India. India and Iceland in the pharma, healthcare and biotech space. Finance, hospitality and tourism services also present significant opportunities.
  2. Iceland’s technological prowess and India’s scientific skills could embrace each other to drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the machine-intelligence age. Our Start-ups working on robotics, ecology and marine litter can be the potential anchors of our future engagement, in Iceland, India or in any other part of the world.
  3. The President will meet Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir of Iceland at a working lunch hosted in his honour.

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