Current affair of 13th September 2019

Scientists introduce colour changing smart skin

Scientists in the field of photonic crystals have created a flexible smart skin that can change colour like a chameleon. The colour will change in response to the environment without changing shape.

Key highlights:
  1. The smart skin is fragile and buckles after being exposed to varying temperatures. The researchers created it by studying time-lapse videos of chameleons' phase-shifting skin.
  2. This is achieved by embedding photonic crystal arrays into flexible, water-containing polymers. The colour change was achieved by expanding or contracting the hydrogel that changed the spacing in the arrays.
  3. The smart skin has its applications in various applications like camouflage, signaling, and anti-counterfeiting. MIT's color-changing ink, on the other hand, let the users change the patterns and colors of their shoes, cars and more.
  4. Chameleons can change colour using the photonic crystals in its skin. When the chameleon is relaxed or tense the muscles it reflects the light in a different pattern. This result is expressed in a change of color
State Bank of India charges effect

State Bank of India or SBI on its website regarding revision of service charges with effect from 1st October. The bank allows free transactions to its customers at ATMs for 8-10 times in a month.

Key highlights:
  1. The mandated number of free transactions, SBI charges a certain amount to its customers. Effective 1st October. SBI will also charge for transaction decline due to insufficient balance and cardless cash withdrawal at ATMs.
  2. In non-metros, such account holders get 10 free transactions, including five at SBI ATMs and five at other bank ATMs.SBI charges a fee ranging from ₹5 plus GST to ₹20 plus GST for any additional transactions beyond this limit.
  3. SBI will charge ₹20 plus GST for transaction decline due insufficient balance.SBI will also charge ₹22 plus GST for cardless cash withdrawal at ATMs.
  4. SBI offers free unlimited transactions at State Bank Group (SBG )ATMs and other bank ATMs.
Ministry of Commerce to introduce a scheme for easier export credit

Ministry of Commerce and Industry is to introduce a scheme to augment the availability of export credit. The scheme will be at affordable terms and sufficient volume. The scheme will include forex credit.

Key highlights:
  1. The centre is currently speculating to achieve the target of growing the economy to the $5 trillion level.
  2. The aim will lead to rate dropping to the sub-4% category. It will ease the availability of export credit, especially for small businesses. 
  3. The Ministry aims to make more export credit in foreign currency by increased exporters. It will raise the share of foreign currency in total export credit much beyond the present level of 50%.
  4. RBI reports said, in FY19, the export credit disbursal by public sector banks (PSBs) reduced by 45%  to Rs.156 billion. 
Google Doodle Celebrates 166th Birthday Of Hans Christian Gram

Google is celebrating the 166th birth anniversary of microbiologist Hans Christian Joachim Gram with a doodle.

Key highlights:
  1. Gram was born on September 13, 1853, in Denmark’s Copenhagen. Gram is best known for pioneering the method of the Gram stain to identify bacteria.
  2. The Danish microbiologist earned an M.D. from the University of Copenhagen in 1878. He then traveled through Europe between 1883 to 1885 studying pharmacology and bacteriology.
  3. It was in 1884, while working in the lab of German microbiologist Karl Friedländer in Berlin, that he devised his famous staining technique that is now still used to identify and classify different types of bacteria.
  4. He followed the method of Paul Ehrlich, using aniline-water and gentian violet solution.The heat-fixed smear of bacterial cells with a crystal violet stain, followed by an iodine solution and an organic solvent, revealed differences in the structure and biochemical function of various samples.
ISRO and SpaceIL to exchange notes on the lunar mission

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced that it is to exchange notes with Israel’s private space center, SpaceIL. In February 2019, Israel SpaceIL’s Beresheet mission lost robotic lunar lander in a manner similar to Chandrayaan-2’s lander Vikram.

Key highlights:
  1. ISRO committee the analyzed Chandrayaan's failure concluded its inquiry into how and why lander Vikram lost the communication link with the master control room.
  2. Now the two countries rea planning to exchange notes and discuss the factors that led to the failure of the Lander's landing. 
  3. Beresheet Lunar Mission was an Israeli mission that was launched in February. It was launched by a partnership between nonprofit SpacelL and government-owned aerospace company Israel Aerospace Industries. Beresheet crashed during an attempt to land on the lunar surface.
India and Asian Development Bank signs 200 million dollar loan agreement

India and Asian Development Bank signed 200 million dollar loan agreement. The agreement which will upgrade rural roads in 34 districts of Maharashtra to improve road safety.

Key highlights:
  1. The project aims to improve the condition of about 2,100 km of rural roads to all-weather standards, with climate resilience and safety features. 
  2. The main aim is to connect rural communities with productive agricultural areas and socio-economic centres.
  3. The road connectivity and better access to markets will help the farmers increase agricultural productivity and incomes.
PM launched pension schemes in Jharkhand

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyaparik Mandhan Yojana and Swarojgar pension schemes in Jharkhand during his visit. During his visit, he also laid the foundation for the new building of Jharkhand Secretariat.

Key highlights:
  1. To avail the scheme the beneficiaries must be between 18 and 40 years. All shopkeepers, self-employed persons, and retail traders whose GST turnover is below Rs.1.5 crore will be eligible.
  2. The eligible beneficiary will get Rs.3,000 per month after completing 60 years of age.
  3. In the Union Budget 2019-20, the Central Government has allocated Rs.750 crore for the scheme. Centre also has chosen Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India as a pension fund manager. LIC will be responsible for managing the pension fund, Central recordkeeping agency and responsible for pension payout.
IFC and FIDC sign a MoU to train NBFC

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) part of the World Bank Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Finance Industry Development Council (FIDC), a representative body of asset and loan Financing NBFC to collaborate on the training of NBFCs in the country.

Key highlights:
  1. These training programs would be conducted at various centers across the country under the guidance of leading consultants from the World Bank Group.
  2. The training programs would greatly enhance the awareness, expertise and professionalism of our member companies and medium-sized NBFCs catering to the credit needs in rural and semi-urban areas.
  3. This would also facilitate more informed credit appraisals thereby improving the asset quality. Such engagement with a global development finance institution would further improve the credibility of the NBFC sector thereby boosting investors confidence.
Sixteen members of CISF successfully summitted Mt. Satopanth peak

A team of 16 members of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) successfully completed Mount Satopanth's peak climbing. The CISF members committed the expedition to Fit India Movement and Women Empowerment which were initiated by the Prime Minister of India.

Key highlights:
  1. The aim of the expedition was to unfold the message of empowering girls through mountain climbing to stay spirit of journey alive in effect. 
  2. The team pushed their limit and achieved their goal by exposing themselves to the very best order of mental and physical challenges, including exposure to low atmospheric pressure, thin air, sub-zero temperatures, incessant snow blizzards and lots of alternative harsh climatic conditions.
  3. The CISF has a sixteen members mountain climbing expedition team including 3 girls was flagged-off on 05th August  2019 by Director General of CISF. The team was led by Shri Raghubir Lal DIG.CISF as a part of the CAPFs team will go to Mt. Everest Expedition in March-April in 2020.  
Sri Lanka new luxury train Pulathisi Express by Indian railways Make in India product flagged off

India and its southern neighbour Sri Lanka received a boost when a newly Make In India train rake was flagged off from Colombo Fort Railway station. The rake of the train was manufactured in the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai.

Key highlights:
  1. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Transport Minister Arjuna Ranathunga and Indian envoy to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu flagged off a new train to Polonnaruwa from Colombo Fort Railway station.
  2. The train was conducted under an Indian Line of Credit an on-board entertainment system, modular interiors and fully-rotating seats in Air Conditioned Chair cars for passenger comfort.
  3. ICF will manufacture six DEMU rakes consisting of 78 coaches in five variants. The order is being jointly executed by RITES and ICF under the India-Sri Lanka economic cooperation agreement.
  4. The new features include plush interiors, GPS-based passenger information system in all coaches.Halogen-free rubber flooring, individually revolving seats and the individual audio controls for AC class passengers.
State Bank of India launches OFS to sell stake in life insurance

State Bank of India is one of the biggest banking sector in India launched a two-day offer for sale (OFS) to sell a 4.5% stake in SBI Life Insurance Co Ltd.SBI is looking to sell up to 3.5% through the OFS with an option to sell an additional 1%.SBI Life started as a joint venture between the public sector lender and France’s BNP Paribas Cardif.

Key highlights:
  1. The secondary share sale at ₹770 apiece, a discount of 3.6% to the stock’s closing price of ₹798.75. The Shares of SBI Life closed at ₹791.9 apiece down 0.86% on the BSE 
  2. SBI will fetch ₹3,465 crore about $487 million if it sells the entire 4.5% stake.The stake sale will help the company comply with minimum public shareholding norms (of 25%).
  3. The secondary share sale, which opened for institutional and non-retail investors subscribed 2.7 times.
  4. The Investment banks Sbicap Securities Ltd HSBC and Nomura are managing the share sale.


India joins Global Antimicrobial Research Hub

India joined the world Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Research and Development (R&D) Hub as a new member. From 2019, India will be a member of Board of Members officially. Now India will be working with all the partners under the hub. It will focus on new research to address drug-resistant infections.

Key highlights:
  1. AMR is the ability of a microorganism to treat the antimicrobial resistance that continues intense round the world.
  2. India is cheap to explore problems with antimicrobial resistance through the lens of one Health approach that ought to be supported by long-run commitments from all stakeholders.
  3. The Global AMR R&D Hub was launched in 2018. It was established within the margins of the 71st session of the globe Health Assembly following a decision from G20 Leaders in 2017. The acting Chairperson of the hub's Board of Members is Bersabel Ephrem.
  4. The operation of the world AMR R&D Hub is supported through a Secretariat. The secretariat was established in Berlin. Currently, it received its grants from the German Federal Ministry of Education and analysis (BMBF) and Federal Ministry of Health (BMG)
Govt to bring an ordinance to ban e cigarettes sales

The Union cabinet is all set to approve an ordinance to ban e-cigarettes sales. The Ordinance includes the prohibition of the manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes.

Key highlights:
  1. The Health Ministry has proposed to announce a ban on the e-cigarette. The production, import, export, transport, sale, distribution and advertisements of e-cigarettes will be an offense. 
  2. The prohibiter will get a penalty of jail term up to 3 years and fine up to Rs.5 lakh for violations. 
  3. For first time offender, the penalty will be a jail term up to one year and a fine up to Rs.1 lakh. 
  4. For repeat offenders, jail term might extend up to three years and a fine up to Rs.5 lakh. 
  5. Anyone storing e-cigarettes shall be punished with jail up to 6 months or fine up to Rs.50,000 or each.
Union HRD Minister launches several initiatives of MIC and AICTE to boost research and innovation

Union Human Resource Development Minister, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank attended the First Annual Innovation Festival of the MHRD’s Innovation Cell (MIC). The Innovation cell showcased more than 70 top students innovations from across India.

Key highlights:
  1. He launched Smart India Hackathon 2020, Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) 2020, and Institution’s Innovation Council 2.0. 
  2. The event witnessed the release of the Start-Up Policy Document and SIH Report, launch of Technical Teachers Training Module, ATAL Academies, Protsahan Mudra Scheme, Vishwakarma Award and the Vice Chancellor’s Meet on the Student Induction Programme.
  3. India aspires to be 5 trillion-dollar economy by 2024, India needs to emerge as global innovation, entrepreneurship and startup hub.
  4. He added that considering India’s current demography, youngsters need to be in the forefront of this innovative movement and Indian higher education institutes need to play a key role and emerge as centers of excellence producing global quality research and innovation.
Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development launches Curriculum for Life Skills

Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shri Sanjay Dhotre launched the Curriculum for Life Skills - JeevanKaushal.It is designed by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Key highlights:
  1. The event is held in New Delhi.Shri Dhotre emphasized on development of life skills in every individual as an essential part of wholesome learning.
  2. He highlighted the problem of prevalent obsession with earning marks in different examinations.
  3. The examination-driven education encourages narrow and selective reading and rote learning, which ultimately leads to deficit in actual learning. 
  4. This initiative of UGC will surely lead to improvement in the collective efficiency of the country's young population.
  5. The demand for quality higher education for producing employable, exceptionally performing graduates qualified with skills, knowledge and ethics essential for leading a rewarding life and it is with this aim University Grants Commission issued Quality Mandate and its objectives.

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