Current affair of 24th August 2019

NITI Aayog release CWMI 2.0 report

NITI Aayog has released the second Round of Composite Water Management Index (CWMI 2.0) in New Delhi. The report was launched by Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog and Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of Jal Shakti. NITI Aayog has prepared the report to supplement the efforts of Jal Shakti Ministry. The  CWMI 2.0 ranks varied states for the reference year 2017-18 as against 2016-17.

Key highlights:
  1. Jal Shakti Abhiyaan, a campaign for water conservation and water security in 1592 water-stressed blocks in 256 districts was launched by Jal Shakti Ministry on 1st July 2019. It also ensures the important water conservation interventions.
  2. NITI Aayog's CWMI 2.0 will assess the economical management of water resources in all States/UTs. It is a way of cooperative and competitive ideology among the states.
  3. It will supply data for the States with Central Ministries to formulate and implement the appropriate ways for higher management of water resources.
WHO says Microplastics does not pose a threat

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the number of Microplastics in drinking water does not pose a health risk at current levels. This is the WHO's first report into the consequences of microplastics on human health. WHO looked into the particular impact of Microplastics in faucet and drinking water. It conducted a lot of in-depth analysis into Microplastics and also the potential impact on human health.

Key highlights:
  1. Microplastics are larger than 150 micrometers will not be absorbed by the organic structure of the human body. The uptake of smaller particles is limited.
  2. The drinkable studies have found Microplastics concentrations starting from 1 to 0.001 microparticles per litre with the balance of chemical, physical, and infection-related risks of drinking these particles. 
  3. Microplastics contain chemicals that might probably hurt organs like flame retardants, or cause injuries many diseases. Even less is thought Nanoscale plastic particles can cause epithelial duct as just microscopic particles.
Rajasthans free medicine scheme secures top rank

Rajasthan’s free medicine scheme secured the highest position with first ranking issued by the National Health Mission (NHM) among the sixteen states of the country. NHM free drug service was introduced by the Ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) for all states/UTs.

Key highlights:
  1. It aimed to supply free medication to patients coming back to public health facilities. The theme was launched on October 2011. 
  2. The Ministry has multiplied the number of free medicines from 608 to 712 and free tests from 70 to 90. The NHM has initiated the rankings to encouraging and supporting states to supply free medication to patients coming back to public health facilities.
  3. The main aim of  Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation Limited (RMSCL) is to produce commonly used essential medicines freed from price to patients visiting government tending establishment in the year 2011-12. The scheme consists of 2 elements like free drugs and free tests.
  4. The Free medicines theme was enforced on the Gregorian calendar of 2011 and the free check theme was introduced on World Health Day in April of  2013.
  5. The primary part of the free check theme was enforced in hospitals connected with state medical schools likewise as district /sub-divisional and satellite hospitals.
WCD Minister Smriti Irani distributed the Poshan Abhiyan Awards for 2018-19

Women and Child Development Minister distributed the Poshan Abhiyan Awards for 2018-19 in different categories in New Delhi.
The awards were given to the States, Districts, Blocks and Anganwadi Workers. The reason for their contributions in scaling up the Abhiyaan and ensuring that it reaches every household in the country.

Key highlights:
  1. The awards are aimed at motivating the primary stakeholders and encourage large scale citizen participation in creating awareness to combat malnutrition.
  2. The Poshan Award Ceremony will be organised in the second week of October 2018 at New Delhi under the aegis of Ministry of Women and Child Development
  3. New Delhi under the aegis of Ministry of Women and Child Development. All Awardees will be invited to Delhi to receive the award. Details of the Award Function will be issued separately. 
RBI allows recurring transactions up to 2,000 on cards from Sep 1

The Reserve Bank of India allows customers to make recurring payments of less than Rs.2000 without the two-factor authentication process.

Key highlights:
  1. The changing payment needs and the requirement to balance the safety and security of card transactions with customer convenience decided to permit processing of e-mandate on cards for recurring transactions (merchant payments). 
  2. The move has been made to make digital payments to the merchant, typically at kirana and grocery stores where ticket sizes are small, more convenient. 
  3. The circular is applicable for transactions performed using all types of cards – debit, credit and Prepaid Card.
International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition observed on August 23

Santo Domingo Haiti and the Dominican Republic the beginning of the uprising play a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is observed on 23 August.

Key highlights:
  1. This International Day is intended to inscribe the tragedy of the slave trade in the memory of all peoples. The intercultural project "The Slave Route,'' should offer an opportunity for collective consideration of the historic causes. The methods and the consequences of this tragedy, and for an analysis of the interactions to given rise between Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean.
  2. Director-General of UNESCO invites the Ministers of Culture of all Member States to organize events every year on that date, involving the entire population of their country and in particular young people, educators, artists and intellectuals.
  3. International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition celebrated in a number of countries, in particular in Haiti (23 August 1998) and Goree in Senegal (23 August 1999). The cultural events and debates were organized. 
Iran unveiled Bavar 373 system

Iran has unveiled the Bavar-373 system, a defence missile system, on 22 August. The missile was unveiled by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Iran's National Defense Industry Day. The country has developed a large domestic arms industry despite several international sanctions and barring it from importing many weapons.

Key highlights:
  1. Bavar-373 system is an indigenous long-range, surface-to-air missile air defense system. The missile is capable of targeting planes at more than 300 km, lock it at about 250 km and shooting down targets at a distance of 200 km. This missile is a competitor to the Russian S-300 missile system.
  2. Iran has introduced the system amidst the rising tension between Iran and the United States. Earlier, in the month of June, Iran shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone with a surface-to-air missile in the Gulf. 
Thaawarchand Gehlot inaugurated the Modernized AOPC

The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot inaugurated the Renovated ALIMCO Orthotics and Prosthetic Centre (AOPC) and Residential complex building of ALIMCO headquarters at Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh on 22 August.

Key highlights:
  1. By this two of the Projects under the modernization plan of Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) has been completed. Modernization of ALIMCO will facilitate the Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in the region by providing modern rehabilitation facilities. The total Construction cost on renovation and extension is approximately Rs.4.05 crores. 
  2. It is expected that the Modernized APOC will meet the requirements of the local and regional Divyangjans and shall be equipped better to serve them.
  3. The Modernized APOC will provide first-class Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Audiology rehabilitation facility under one roof. 
  4. In future provisions like real-time GAIT analysis lab, Foot Care Unit, Silicone Cosmetic Restoration Lab, Myo Electric lab, Hand splinting & Spinal Orthotics Lab will be added.
International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief observed on 22 August

The world observed ‘International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief’ for the first time.

Key highlights:
  1. The main aim is to honor the victims and survivors of disgraceful acts who often remain forgotten.
  2. United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolution A/RES/73/296 & designated 22 August as International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief . 
  3. The recognising the importance of providing victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief and members of their families with appropriate support and assistance in accordance with applicable law..
  4. The General Assembly recalled that States have the primary responsibility to promote and protect human rights, including the human rights of persons belonging to religious minorities, including their right to exercise their religion or belief freely.
  5. The atrocities continue to be stemmed in the regions Myanmar occupied Kashmir, Syria, and Palestine among other parts of the world, as per the recent report.
  6. This Day comes right after the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, which was observed on 21 August 2019.
WWF and Discovery tie up with forest directorate to preserve Sundarbans

Discovery India and World Wide Fund (WWF) India have partnered with the Forest Directorate. The government of West Bengal and local communities in the Sundarbans.

Key highlights:
  1. The mangrove forest, the habitat of Bengal tigers, to reduce the tiger-human conflict and also as part of a global movement “Project CAT -Conserving Acres for Tigers”.WWF India and Discovery India are working with government agencies Their main aim is to help the local communities and village panchayats and to focuses on farmland productivity through low-cost measures.
  2. The Two Sundarbans Ecological Observatories will be set up each featuring data loggers, monitoring buoys and an onsite laboratory. This is to be done in partnership with West Bengal Forest Directorate and Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER)Kolkata. Datasets will be built on impacts of climate change on estuarine ecosystem.
  3. A detailed intervention is also being implemented at Manas Tiger Reserve.
NASA confirms Europa Clipper Mission

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States (US) space agency confirmed the next phase of development of the Europa Clipper Mission. It is an interplanetary mission to Jupiter’s smallest moon Europa with the target. It is conducting an in-depth exploration of Jupiter’s moon Europa whether the icy moon can have suitable conditions for sustaining life and increase our insights into astrobiology.

Key highlights:
  1. The space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the development of the Europa Clipper mission in partnership with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for the Science Mission Directorate.
  2. The mission is managed by the Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.Jupiter’s Galilean moon Europa consists of a huge ocean of liquid water beneath its icy shell. 
  3. The water is in contact with the rocky core of the moon, which according to space scientists, make a range of interesting chemical reactions possible.The astrobiologists consider 1,940-miles-wide (3,120 kilometres) Europa moon to be one of the best bets to host alien life in the solar system.
Knight Frank ranks Delhi as the 10th fastest growing market globally

Prime Global Cities Index of London based consultancy Knight Frank ranked Delhi as the 10th fastest growing prime market globally.
The index is topped by Berlin(Germany) whereas Istanbul(Turkey) and Vancouver(Canada) were the weakest markets with rates minus 9.9% and minus 13.6% respectively.

Key highlights:
  1. Around 46 cities movement globally were tracked based on its luxury residential prices but only 35 out of those 46 cities have projected price growth.
  2. Berlin ranking first in the index, its annual growth rate has decreased from 14.1 per cent in March to 12.7% in June and Frankfurt its annual price growth increase from 9.6% to 12% over the same period.
  3. As of June 2019, Luxury residential prices have overall registered an average increase of 1.4 per cent.
  4. The index is expected to moderate further in the second half of 2019 before strengthening in 2020.
Sabka Vishwas-Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme 2019 to be effective from 1 September

The Sabka Vishwas-Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme, 2019 will be operationalized from 1st September 2019 to 31st December 2019. The scheme was announced by the Finance Minister in the Union Budget 2019-20.

Key highlights:
  1. It is expected that the Scheme will be availed by a large number of taxpayers to close their pending disputes that are related to legacy Service Tax and Central Excise cases. These taxes will are now be included under GST.
  2. Resolution and amnesty are the two main components of the Scheme are a dispute and amnesty component.
  3. Under this component, the legacy cases of Central Excise and Service Tax will be liquidated. The cases that are under GST and are pending in litigation at various forums will be dissolved.
  4. This component under the Scheme will allow the taxpayers to pay the outstanding tax. They will be free of any other consequence under the law. It provides substantial relief in the tax dues for all categories of cases as well as full waiver of interest, fine, penalty. It will also provide a complete pardon from prosecution.
Centre organized San Sadhan Hackathon on 22 August

Centre has organized San-Sadhan Hackathon on 22 August. It invites for tech enthusiasts to participate in San-Sadhan hackathon- for Divyangjan accessible toilets.

Key highlights:
  1. San-Sadhan Hackathon is an initiative that will make the lives of Persons with Disabilities (PwD) (Divyangjan) easier by making toilets smarter, more accessible, and easier to use. 
  2. The Hackathon is jointly organized by the Ministry of Jal Shakti and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment's Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, in collaboration with Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and 91springboard.
  3. The government has called for applications for economical toilets for individual and community use in rural and urban contexts. The interested Technology enthusiasts can apply by or before August 28th, 2019 through the
  4. Participants: Researchers, students, innovators, start-ups, technology enthusiasts, and industry experts can participate in the hackathon. 
Amazon inaugurates its worlds largest campus in Hyderabad

E-commerce company Amazon inaugurated its single-largest campus in the world in Hyderabad, Telangana. The campus was inaugurated by Mohammed Mahmood Ali, MLC(Member of Legislative Council), Minister of Home, Prisons, Fire Services, the government of Telangana. This Hyderabad campus of Amazon is the only one, placed outside US(United States).

Key highlights:
  1. There are 62,000 employees in India, this campus alone can accommodate more than 15,000 employees.
  2. The other members are Amit Agarwal, SVP(Senior Vice President) and Country Head, Amazon India.
  3. John Schoettler, VP(Vice President), Global Real Estate and Facilities.

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