Current affair of 28th August 2019

IIP sets up plant to turn plastic waste into diesel

The Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) has set up a plant turn plastic waste into diesel. The plant was inaugurated by the Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan on 27 August.

Key highlights:
  1. The plant setting up of the plant is a good move towards freeing the environment from plastic. It will also reduce the country's dependence on other countries for petroleum products. The plant will produce diesel out of plastic waste on a large scale. 
  2. The move aims to protect the environment from plastic pollution. The plant will also boost economic growth. It is expected to produce 800 litres of diesel from one tonne of plastic waste which will be collected with the help of NGOs.
  3. It is the first of its kind in setting up by a government research institute in the country. 
Lieu Governor launches QR Code Scheme on Himmat Plus app

Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal launched a QR Code Scheme on the Himmat Plus app which can be used by cab or auto-rickshaw passengers to verify the identity of the driver and raise an alarm.

Key highlights:
  1. Around 3,000 taxis and auto-rickshaws plying outside airports, railway stations and metro stations in the city have been registered under this scheme of the Delhi Police Transport Range and can be verified by scanning the QR code of the card pasted on the back of the headrest of the driver's seat.
  2. A user can scan the QR code using the Himmat Plus app. The 'Report Journey' button, the app sends the location with driver's unique ID to the Himmat dashboard working at Himmat stations of the Police HeadQuarters (PHQ). 
  3. If driver is not registered, the user receives the pop-up notification on the application. In this case, the passenger can call the control room or press the SOS button from the application .On the occasion of the launch, Baijal distributed QR Codes to some of the auto and taxi drivers
  4. Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, all Special Commissioners of Police, including Nuzhat Hassan (Women Safety), other senior officers and college students attended the programme.The aim of the scheme is to enhance the safety and security of women and other commuters travelling in the yellow or black taxis or auto-rickshaws from railway stations, airport and metro stations.The objective is to provide emergency assistance to the citizens of Delhi at the earliest. This service cab be availed by downloading and registering on the app at zero cost. 
IAF wing Commander S Dhami became the first Flight Commander of a flying unit

Indian Air Force's (IAF) Wing Commander S Dhami the Flight Commander of a flying unit. She became the first female officer in the country to become the Flight Commander of a flying unit. She has taken incharge as Flight Commander of a Chetak helicopter unit at Hindon airbase.

Key highlights:
  1. Dhamini is a permanent commission officer of IAF's flying branch. She has been flying choppers. She is a Flight commander in IAF.
  2. The rank Flight Commander is the second in command of the unit. She is number two in the unit after the commanding officer. 
  3. The promotion given to her as the flying branch commander is moving a step closer towards women officers commanding units and formations in the service.
Microsoft to train 5000 govt employees on AI cloud

Microsoft India launched a scheme to provide 5000 government employees over the next year on AI (artificial intelligence) and cloud computing skills. The program, called 'Digital Governance Tech Tour', will comprise of physical and virtual workshops.

Key highlights:
  1. The program was inaugurated by Amitabh Kant, chief executive of NITI Aayog, the government’s policy think-tank and Ajay Prakash Sawhney, secretary, MeITY (The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology). 
  2. The program will be open to technocrats and IT professionals across the government, including employees of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). The government partners as well as solutions/systems integrators .
  3. Under the program, developers can earn the AZ-900 Certification, which demonstrates foundational level cloud computing skills on the spot at no cost, after clearing an exam. 
  4. The power of AI, cloud services, and data analytics needs to be brought to bear in core sectors for inclusive economic growth. As we move beyond pilots and understand how to scale AI implementation and cloud adoption across states and sectors, it is vital to equip the ecosystem with the right knowhow and skills.
Cantona to be honoured with UEFA President Award

Former Manchester United and France legend Eric Cantona to receive the UEFA President's Award at the Champions League draw in Monaco

Key highlights:
  1. Cantona is the third Manchester United player to receive the award after Bobby Charlton in 2008 and David Beckham last year.
  2. This award not only recognises his career as a player of the highest calibre . He honours him for the person he is a man who refuses compromise, who stands up for his values, who speaks his mind and in particular puts his heart and his soul into supporting the causes he believes in," said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.
  3. Cantona played 45 times for France but retired before the 1998 World Cup triumph.His career, which ran from 1983 when he first played for Auxerre to 1997, often courted controversy.
  4. In 1988 Cantona was temporarily suspended from the French national team for calling team manager Henri Michel a "bag of shit".In 1995 he was banned from football for eight months and stripped of the France captaincy after attacking a Crystal Palace supporter who was jeering Cantona after the Frenchman was sent off.
Fedor arrived at ISS

A humanoid machine named Fedor, Russia’s first robot in space arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on 27 August. Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research (Fedor) is officially known as SkybotF850.

Key highlights:
  1. The robot was aimed to enable Russian astronauts to perform risky space experiments from a remote location. Fedor will complete its work and return to Earth on 7 September.
  2. The 180 cm and 160Kg Fedor flew to the ISS in an unmanned Soyuz MS-14 vehicle on 22 August. SkybotF850 is a humanoid bipedal robot, which means it resembles a human being and walks like one too.
  3. Fedor has been designed in a way it has the ability to mirror its controllers’ movements. This facility will enable it to conduct experiments in potentially risky environments while being controlled from a safe distance.
World Vision India and IFMR LEAD released India child well being index

World Vision India and IFMR LEAD released a report on the India child well-being index 2019 on 27 August. In the Index states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, and Puducherry topped the charts. States like Meghalaya, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh ranked bottom in the index. The centre is fully committed to secure the rights and well-being of children.

Key highlights:
  1. The report by the non-government organization and the research institute aimed to look at the India fairs on child well-being using a composite child well-being index. 
  2. The dimensions of the index include various factors like healthy individual development, positive relationships, and protective contexts.
  3. NITI Aayog said that the India child well-being index is very crucial that the Government and civil organizations should take note and the needed measures.
  4. This will achieve the goal of child well-being and the report will; be used effectively. The report provides nutrition for the children, education, insights on health, sanitation and child protection.
IndTokyo launched to help Paralympians to look up accessible places in Tokyo during 2020 Paralympics Games

A mobile app launched to help para-athletes to look up accessible places in Tokyo during their visit to the city for the 2020 Paralympics Games.

Key highlights:
  1. The application IndTokyo launched by Arhan Bagati, Awareness and Impact Ambassador of Paralympic Committee of India, at the 'Countdown to Tokyo 2020' event here, has features like information on para-athletes and accessible places in Tokyo among others.
  2. Indians should download this application and learn about our Paralympic athletes. Our Indian Paralympians will be able to use this application to look up accessible places in Tokyo during their visit to the city for the 2020 Paralympics.
  3. The 2020 Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik is bubbling with confidence that the Indian contingent will work hard to double the medal tally at the global event.
  4. It is a big milestone for the players. The list will be finalised soon. We won a total of 11 medals in the Paralympics so far. We hope to double the medal tally in the 2020 event.
Ministry of Earth Sciences plan to revive land affected by degradation

Union atmosphere Minister Prakash Javadekar has announced a project to restore 50 lakh hectare land by 2030. The Ministry aims to save 29.3% of land in India that was affected by degradation.

Key highlights:
  1. The project aims to develop and adopt best practices for the restoration process. It will also ensure the monitoring protocols for the Indian states and build capacity within the 5 pilot states, namely  Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland and Karnataka on forest landscape restoration (FLR) and Bonn challenge.
  2. India is hosting the Conference of Parties (COP) 14 of the United Nations Convention Combat geologic process (UNCCD) from 2-13 September in Noida. It is expected that over 5,000 representatives from more than 197 will be participating in the two-week conference. 
  3. One-third of the globe faces challenges in the matter of land. Several factors like over-exploitation, over crazing, over-waterlogging, flood, and wind has destroyed the land. The centre is taking efforts to revive the devastated land into fertile land by 2030.
  4. The plans to facilitate cut back land degradation was launched in the previous few years under various schemes and ideas like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Soil Health Card theme, Soil Health Management theme, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojna (PKSY) and Per Drop additional Crop.
Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers launched Janaushadhi Sugam was launched

The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers launched a mobile application Janaushadhi Sugam. It was launched by the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda. The Ministry has also announced that Jan Aushadhi Suvidha Oxo-Biodegradable Sanitary Napkin will now be available at only One Rupee per pad.

Key highlights:
  1. The Janaushadhi Sugam app will help the people to search for Janaushadhi generic medicines and the stores in the nearby location.
  2. A report said that in India about 28 million girls are leaving education because of lack of availability of good quality Sanitary Napkin pads at a reasonable cost. 
  3. It ensures the health security of underprivileged Indian women who still use unhygienic aids during menstrual period due to non-affordability of sanitary pads available in the market.
Indian Bank and Tata AIG General Insurance signed an MoU

The public sector Indian Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tata AIG General Insurance to offer a variety of general insurance products to its customers.

Key highlights:
  1. The MoU was signed in the presence of Ms Padmaja Chunduru MD and CEO of Indian Bank and Mr Saurabh Maini, Senior Vice President and Business Head.
  2. The partnership will see around 2,900 branches of the bank spread across India range of insurance policies benefiting its customers by way of protection, wealth creation and savings.
  3. Tata AIG General Insurance will work with the bank for sales training, product support and ensuring smooth operational processes, all leading to seamless service to customers.
RBI issues guidelines on Interest Subvention Scheme for Kisan Credit Card (KCC)

The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) issued guidelines on Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS)for Kisan Credit Card (KCC) to Fisheries and Animal Husbandry farmers during the year 2018-19 and 2019-20.RBI directed the Central Government to operate the interest subvention guidelines.

Key highlights:
  1. The farmers involved in activities related to Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, through a separate KCC will get at a concessional interest rate of 7% per annum during the years only 2018-19 and 2019-20 for the short loan up to Rs. 2 lakh.
  2. The Interest subvention is available for animal husbandry and fisheries farmers at the rate of 2% per annum at the time of disbursal of loan.
  3. The additional interest subvention of 3% per annum given to farmers, who repay in time up to the due date fixed by the banks for repayment of the loan.
  4. This subvention will also provided to the farmers repaying promptly would get short-term loans at the rate of 4 % per annum during 2018-19 and 2019-20.
China and Pakistan began joint exercise Shaheen-VIII near Ladakh

China and Pakistan began joint exercise  Labelled  ‘Shaheen-VIII’ in the Chinese city of Holton, close to the Indian border of around 300 km north of  Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir(J&K). This is the 8th such exercise undertaken by two countries with the participation of Chinese J10 & J-11  and Pakistani JF-17s planes.

Key highlights:
  1. Pakistani JF-17 planes (a single-engined light jet aircraft)passed through the Skardu airbase in Gilgit Baltistan area occupied by Pakistan. India claims is a part of the former princely state of J&K.
  2. The single-engine, single-seat J-10 is a product of the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group. JF-17, a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation of China.
  3. The exercise will help India’s two neighbours of China &Pakistan to improve bilateral relation.In 2018, ‘Shaheen-VII’ was held in Pakistan.
MHRD launched National Digital Library of India

National Digital Library integrated with Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) App and users can register through or through the mobile app.
There are more than 3 crore digital resources available through the National Digital Library.

Key highlights:
  1. Human Resource Development Ministry under its National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology, NMEICT launched the National Digital Library of India project to develop a framework of virtual repository of learning resources with a single-window search facility. 
  2. As of now, there are more than 3 crore digital resources available through the National Digital Library. The contents cover almost all major domains of education and all major levels of learners.
  3. More than 50 lakh students have registered themselves in the National Digital Library with about 20 lakh active users.
  4. National Digital Library has been integrated with UMANG App and users can register through or through the mobile app.
Shri Ram Vilas Paswan holds wide ranging discussions on the formulation of rules & regulations under Consumer Protection Act, 2019

Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Shri Ram Vilas Paswan invited all MPs, Secretaries, officials as well as Media personnel to give their other suggestions on the formulation of rules and regulations in writing to the Secretary, Consumer Affairs, Shri Avinash K Srivastava by 15th September 2019.

Key highlights:
  1. Shri Paswan said that it will be the endeavor for the Ministry to ensure that all suggestions are suitably considered within the legal framework and the best possible outcome is achieved in terms of drafting comprehensive rules and regulations under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
  2. Shri Paswan also asserted that while it usually takes a year or two to form the rules and regulations under any Act, the same under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 will be formed within the next 3 months and notified before 31st December, 2019 itself. 
  3. Talking about exclusion of Health Sector from the purview of the Bill, Shri Paswan said that rules for the health sector will continue to remain as they are currently. 
  4. He said that the views of Health Ministry was also considered and the consumers are free to approach consumer fora in case of any infringement of their rights.
Power Minister Shri RK Singh holds meeting with North-Eastern States, reviews power sector in the region

Development of North-Eastern India is on high priority of the Union Government and a well-developed power sector is a prerequisite to the economic development in these States. Union Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy (IC) and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.

Key highlights:
  1. The Minister recalled the achievements made during the past 3-4 years in power sector. The concerted efforts will have to be made to make the system sustainable.  In order to redeem our pledge for 24/7 power, we will have to reduce the losses and make the DISCOMS viable.
  2. He cited example of some of the States had huge commercial losses but have been able to bring down the losses to 15% or below. 
  3. The NE States to adopt smart and prepaid meters to avoid power theft.
  4. The Minister further stated that grant for Central Government schemes will be made available to only those states who undertakes reforms namely  reduction of losses.

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