Current affair of August 31st, 2019

Around 25,000 nominations received for Padma Awards-2020 process open till 15th September

The online nominations/recommendations for Padma Awards-2020 started on 1st May 2019. The last date for nominations/recommendations is 15th September 2019. The nominations/recommendations for Padma Awards received only through online on the Padma Awards portal

Key highlights:
  1. There are around 25,317 registrations have been made on the portal against which 23,865 nominations/recommendations.
  2. Padma Awards recognize ‘work of distinction’ and is given for distinguished and exceptional achievements/service in all fields/disciplines. Persons without any distinction of race, caste, occupation, position or sex are eligible for these awards. The government servants including those working with PSUs, except Doctors and Scientists are not eligible for Padma Awards.
  3. Central Ministries/Departments, States/UT Governments, Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan awardees, Institutes of Excellence requested to make concerted efforts in identifying talented persons whose excellence and achievements really deserve to be recognized and make suitable nominations in their favor. They requested that efforts may be made to identify talented persons especially from amongst women, weaker sections of the society, SCs & STs, divyang persons.
  4. The regard are available under the heading 'Awards and Medals' on the website of Ministry of Home Affairs ( The statutes and rules relating to these Awards are available on the website with the link
Health Ministry explores AI in combating TB

The Central TB (Tuberculosis)  Division of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has signed an MoU with Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Mumbai. It aims to explore the appliance of the newest computing technology in its fight against TB.

Key highlights:
  1. As per the agreement, Wadhwani AI will support National TB programme by making it AI-ready which would include, developing, piloting, and deploying AI-based solutions. 
  2. It would support the programme in vulnerability and hot-spot mapping, modelling novel methods of screening and diagnostics
  3. It will also enable decision support for care-givers apart from supporting the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) in the adoption of other AI technologies.
  4. The MoU was signed by Vikas Sheel the  Joint Secretary and P Anandan the business executive of Wadhwani AI. Wadhwani would support the National TB program by developing, piloting, and deploying AI-based solutions.
Shri Dharmendra Pradhan visits Russia to Strengthen Cooperation in Energy and Steel Sectors

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan led a business delegation from Oil and Gas as well as Steel sectors to Moscow, Russia. It is an active overreach to strengthen the bilateral relationship between India and Russia in the energy and steel sectors.

Key highlights:
  1. The Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal Districts of Russia, HE Yury P Trutnev. Discussions centered on expanding the scope of cooperation between India and Far Eastern Russia, in the energy and steel sectors. 
  2. The two sides discussed to further cooperation in sourcing of metallurgical coal and crude oil from the Far East of Russia.The potential Indian investments in oil and gas and steel sectors in Far Eastern Russia and reviewed the progress in these sectors in the run up to the visit of Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during the first week of September to Vladivostok for the Eastern Economic Forum and for the 20th Annual Bilateral Summit.
  3. The two sides explored avenues for strengthening economic cooperation, enhancing the flow of investments between the two countries. India and Russia have a long history of cooperation in the steel sector. 
  4. The main discussions centered towards further strengthening bilateral relations in this sector in areas of coking coal sourcing, technology transfer, skill development.

GeM signs MoU with SIDBI to enable the growth of MSMEs

Government e-Marketplace (GeM), Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and trade has signed an MoU with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). It aims to benefit Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), ladies entrepreneurs, Self facilitate teams (SHGs), ladies Self facilitate teams and varied loan beneficiaries under MUDRA and Stand-up schemes. The MoU was signed in Delhi.

Key highlights:
  1. The MoU will strengthen capability building through GeM-specific coaching programs of personnel from partner agencies. Special services through networking, workshops, promoting events, awards and recognition of MSMEs with special concentrate on SHGs, ladies entrepreneurs, artisans, NGOs.
  2. The MoU of GeM with SIDBI is towards its growing partnership with money establishments to alter the growth of MSMEs and Start-ups within the country. GeM needs to empower through the payments by auto-debiting GeM Pool Account. The MoU signed with SIDBI will help to promote GeM's special initiatives like Womaniya and Start-up Runway.

Angikaar campaign launched by HAL to bring PMAY(U) beneficiaries into Ujjawala Ayushman Bharat fold

The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry launched the Angikaar campaign a move aimed at bringing beneficiaries of PMAY (urban) into the fold of other central schemes such as Ujjawala and Ayushman Bharat. The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri the convergence would especially focus on Ujjwala for gas connection and Ayushman Bharat for health insurance to the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(U).

Key highlights:
  1. The campaign will officially be rolled out in all cities with PMAY(U) on October 2 and culminate on December 10.  Around 88 lakh houses approved against the demand of 1.12 crore. The Angikaar aims at reaching out all the beneficiaries of the PMAY(U) in a phased manner.
  2. The ministry also launched the e-course on vulnerability atlas in collaboration with the School of Planning & Architecture (SPA) New Delhi and the Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC).
  3. It is a unique course that offers awareness and understanding about natural hazards, helps identify regions with high vulnerability with respect to various hazards (earthquakes, cyclones, landslides, floods, etc.) and specifies the district-wise level of damage risks to the existing housing stock.
US to launch 6th branch of US Space Command to defend Space interests

US President Donald Trump announced that it is to launch the space Command to defend America's interests in the next war-fighting domain. The US is to unveil the new Space Command called SPACECOM. It will be the US's sixth branch of the military, U.S. Space Force, for space defense.

Key highlights:
  1. SPACECOM, the newest combatant command, is expected to defend America's vital interests in space in the next warfighting domain.
  2. The Trump administration has known that Russia and China will cause a threat to the US. To challenge them, the USA has announced its new space command SPACECOM.
  3. The protection of America's interests tends to apply the mandatory focus, energy, and resources to space tasks. It is the restoration of the USA Space Command which existed between 1985 and 2002.
  4. In February 2019, the Defense Intelligence Agency of US said that Russia and China are developing jamming and cyberspace capabilities, on-orbit capabilities, directed energy weapons, and ground-based anti-satellite missiles which are capable of achieving a range of reversible to non-reversible effects.
Mumbai ranks 45th and Delhi 52nd in 2019 Worlds Safe Cities Index

Mumbai ranked as the 45th safest city on the Safe Cities Index (SCI). Delhi got at the 52nd position. The report was released by the Economist Intelligence Unit
The cities in the Asia-Pacific (Apac) region made up six of the top-10 safest cities with Tokyo taking the top spot.Tokyo, Apac cities dominated the SCI 2019.

Key highlights:
  1. Singapore and Osaka got second and third while Sydney and Melbourne made it to the top-10 cities list.Hong Kong dropped out of this group since 2017.Seoul joined the top-10 cities' league taking eighth place with Copenhagen.
  2. The Safe Cities Index (SCI) 2019 ranks 60 countries worldwide across five continents and measures the multi-faceted nature of urban safety with indicators categorised as digital, infrastructure, health and personal security.
  3. The Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka to rank within the top-three cities in the Index. The region hosts some of the lowest-scoring cities in the world, with Yangon, Karachi, and Dhaka close to the bottom of the list.
  4. The cities perform well across the categories of health security, infrastructure security and personal security their North American counterparts generally fare better in digital security, accounting for seven of the top-10 cities in this category.
Chandrayaan 2 has officially gone further than Chandrayaan 1 says ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced that its Moon mission Chandrayaan-2 has officially gone further than its predecessor Chandrayaan-1.

Key highlights:
  1. ISRO also reported that the Chandrayaan-2 had completed the third lunar-bound manoeuvre. It happened using the onboard propulsion system.
  2. Currently, Chandrayaan-2 has been placed in a new orbit around Moon. The duration of the third manoeuvre was 1190 seconds. ISRO also reported that all the parameters of Chandrayaan-2 were normal. 
  3. Three more orbit manoeuvre will be there, before the Vikram lander's separation from the Orbiter on 2 September. The soft landing in the south polar region of the Moon has been planned on 7 September.
  4. Upon successful landing, the rover Pragyan will be rolled out from Vikram, the lander and carry out experiments on the lunar surface for a period of one lunar day. 
Banking license of Rupee Cooperative Bank extended by RBI till Nov 30, 2019

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) extended the banking license of Rupee Cooperative Bank Ltd till November 30, 2019. The Bank paid Rs.338.20 crores to 85,462 needy depositors under the hardship scheme of RBI. i has deposits of Rs.1291.00 crores. The Rupee Co-op Bank & MSC (Maharashtra State Cooperative) Bank are going to submit joint proposal for merger to RBI.

Delhi Cabinet approves free rides for women in DTC from 29 October

The Delhi Cabinet has approved free rides for women on Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses as well as its cluster buses from October 29. The proposal was approved by the cabinet at the Delhi Secretariat.

Key highlights:
  1. On August 26, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia presented a sum of Rs.290 crore in the Legislative Assembly for the free ride scheme for women in metro and DTC buses. 
  2. The approval will enable Women in Delhi able to commute on DTC buses for free from October 29. Out of the Rs.290 crore, Rs.140 crore will be used for DTC and its cluster buses and Rs.150 crore will be utilized for Delhi metro services.
  3. On August, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that free travel in DTC buses will start from October 29. The date for Delhi Metro is yet to be fixed.
Final NRC of Assam to be published

The final National Register of Citizens, NRC of Assam published. The state government made necessary arrangements to provide free legal aid to those whose names do not figure in the final NRC.

Key highlights:
  1. They can represent their case in front of foreigners tribunals. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal government planned to extend support to needy people. He appealed to the public to maintain peace and tranquility in the state. 
  2. The process is from the first time since 195. The NRC is being in Assam to identify bonafide residents. The entire project is headed by the State Coordinator of National Registration, Assam, under the strict monitoring of the Supreme Court.
  3. The first NRC draft was published on the midnight of 31st December 2017 which includes names of 1.9 crore people out of 3.29 crore applicants.
  4. The second and final draft was published bearing the names of 2 crores 89 lakh 83 thousand 677 citizens of Assam. Around 40 lakh 7 thousand people were not included.
Pakistan test fired ballistic missile Ghaznavi

Pakistan has successfully test-fired nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile Ghaznavi from Sonmiani test range near Karachi located in Balochistan.

Key highlights:
  1. The missile was built with a capability to deliver different types of warheads including nuclear and conventional up to a range of 290 km. 
  2. It will be placed under the medium-range ballistic missiles. During the test, Ghaznavi was tracked by the National Development Complex (NDC) ground control station. It is located at a 220 km distance from the test range.
  3. The move comes after the address of the Prime Minister Imran Khan who said that Pakistan will go to any extent for Kashmir.
  4. In his address he asserted that Islamabad would not be afraid of using its nuclear power for Kashmir.
Aswatha Narayana won gold in he World Skills competition

Aswatha Narayana bagged a gold medal in the World Skills competition 2019 in Kazan, Russia. The event was held from 23-27 August. He won by beating 9 other competitors in the event. Along with him Lufeng Zeng from China also won Gold. He set a record by winning the title as this is the first time that an Indian contingent was participating in the tournament.

Key highlights:
  1. The other participants are from countries such as Iran, Belarus, Vietnam, Korea, Germany, Brazil, Russia and South Africa.
  2. Narayana participated in the world skills tournament in the skill water technology. 
  3. Aswatha Narayana is a B Tech graduate in Applied electronics from CV Raman Engineering College of Bhubaneswar. He had his first experience in a technical competition in 2017.
  4. He won a state-level automated robotics competition organized by International Institute of Information Technology, Bhubaneswar. In that event, he built a robot at a cost of Rs.950. 
Union Government appoints nine pvt sector experts as joint secretaries

The Union government appointed nine private sector specialists in various fields as joint secretaries in various ministries under its lateral recruitment policy. The appointments were cleared by the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Key highlights:
  1. The nine joint secretaries from among the private sector experts appointed for a period of three years or till further orders.
  2. The appointments were cleared by the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  3. The nine joint secretaries from among the private sector experts have been appointed for a period of three years or till further orders.
  4. They have been deputed to various ministries in Level 14 of the pay matrix as per the Seventh Central Pay Commission . They adding their appointments will be effective from the day they assume charges.
Air India bans usage of single use plastic on the flight of its subsidiaries

Air India has banned the usage of single-use plastic on the flight of its subsidiaries from October 2, 2019. The subsidiaries of Air India are Air India Express and Alliance Air. Also, Air India has announced that in its second phase, the single-use plastic will be banned in all Air India flights.

Key highlights:
  1. From October 2, the banana chips and sandwiches on Alliance Air flights and Air India Express flights will be packed in butter paper pouches instead of plastic pouches.
  2. Instead of Cake slices uplifted in snack boxes, muffins will be served to avoid the present plastic wrapping.
  3. Also, the crew meal cutlery will be replaced with lightweight steel cutlery. Tea and Coffee will be served only on sturdy paper cups. Eco-friendly birch wood cutlery will be used for special meals that are ordered and paid for by passengers in advance in the crew of Alliance Air and Air India Express.
New logo and certificate identity of CBFC unveiled

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) getting a new logo and certificate design. It is unveiled at a first-of-its-kind film industry interaction between eminent industry leaders and CBFC board members, being held in Mumbai on August 31, 2019.

Key highlights:
  1. The Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Shri Prakash Javdekar will be the Chief Guest. Secretary, Ministry of I&B, Shri Amit Khare will be the Guest of Honour. 
  2. The new logo and certificate identity revealed by the Chairman, CBFC. 
  3. The new design in its approach and in sync with the new digital world.
  4. It is interactive in its design sensibility. Shri Prasoon Joshi design has been done by designer Shri Rohit Devgun, with technical support from NSDL.

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