1. A draft fee regulation to put in place uniform fee framework to check frequent and arbitrary increases in school fees by unaided private schools has made by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). It proposes 10% yearly cap on the fee hike permissible by private, unaided schools. It suggests setting up district fee regulatory authority in states. It will recommend these draft regulations to Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD).
2. An order allowing photography within premises of protected monuments and sites has issued by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Under the new order, photography will be allowed within premises of Centrally protected monuments maintained and managed by ASI. However photography will remain prohibited near Ajanta Caves, Leh Palace (both housing paintings that can be damaged by camera flash) and mausoleum of Taj Mahal. The order was issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi questioned ASI’s rules prohibiting visitors from taking photographs at certain monuments while inaugurating ASI’s new headquarters Dharohar Bhawan in Delhi’s Tilak Marg area.
3. A high-level task force under Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha to identify various items and policy interventions to reduce dependence on imports has constituted by the Union Government. It will suggest ways to cut import of those items which can be manufactured or explored in the country.
4. India becomes world’s fifth largest area cultivated under genetically modified (GM) crops in 2017 with 11.4 million hectares (mh) according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) latest ‘Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/ GM Crops in 2017 report. United States has highest area under transgenic crops, at 75 mh. It is followed by Brazil (50.2 mh), Argentina’s (23.6 mh) and Canada (13.1 mh). India’s entire GM crop area is under single crop BT Cotton incorporating genes from Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt soil bacterium coding for resistance against heliothis bollworm insect pests.
5. A fortnightly video contest “Jal Bachao, Video Banao, Puruskar Pao” has launched by the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. For running this contest, Ministry has joined hands with MyGov portal (www.mygov.in). The contest will last till 4th November 2018 and three winners will be chosen every fortnight. In this contest, participants can make and upload videos by capturing efforts, significant contributions, best practices in the field of water conservation, water resource development and management and optimum water utilization in different parts of the country. They can also submit any innovative advertisement or commercial on water Conservation. It should be uploaded on YouTube and share publicly accessible link of it on video link section of MyGov contest page. The prize amount for first, second and third positions is Rs 25,000, Rs 15,000 and Rs 10,000 respectively.
6. A MoU has signed by Indian Army with State bank of India (SBI) on Defence Salary Package. Currently Indian Army has MoUs on Defence Salary Package with 11 public and private sector banks. These MoUs are considered for inception and renewal with banks on analyzing their utility and suitability to requirements of serving soldiers, pensioners and families.
7. The new headquarters building of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI ‘Dharohar Bhawan’ has inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 24, Tilak Marg in New Delhi. It houses Central Archaeological Library, with a collection of 1.5 lakh books and journals. It houses authentic records related to archaeology, such as ASI reports, etc., diary of Alexander Cunningham (founder of ASI), John Marshall, etc. It also has original collection of religious books and books on cultural heritage of India, such as sacred books on Hindus, Manusmiti, Kautilya’s Arthasastra.
8. The climate change is the main factor that threatening the Nilgiri tahr according to recent study published by international journal Ecological Engineering. There are only around 2,500 Nilgiri Tahrs left in the wild and their population is small and isolated. In 2030’s , it is estimated that endangered wild goat could lose approximately 60% of its habitat. Nilgiri tahr is the state animal of Tamil Nadu. It is endemic to Western Ghats from the Nilgiris to Kanyakumari. IUCN in its red data book has classified it as Endangered (number fewer than 2,500 mature individuals).
9. United States President Donald Trump has invited to be the chief guest at 2019 Republic Day celebrations by the Union Government. If President Trump accepts the invitation, he will be second serving US President after Barack Obama to be invited as chief guest of Republic Day Parade. It will indicate importance of the Indo-U.S. relationship.
1. The Resolution 2428 (2018) has adopted by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan almost five years after the civil war was started in the country. The Resolution calls upon all UN member states to prevent supply, sale or transfer to South Sudan — from or through their territories till 31 May 2019.
2. A panel on digital cooperation which aimed at addressing concerns of cyber security threats and rise in hate speech has established by United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres. The panel will have 20 members in total and include leaders from technology, public policy, science and academia etc. The high-level panel on digital cooperation will be co-chaired by US philanthropist Melinda Gates and China-based Alibaba founder Jack Ma.
Science & Technology:
1. Century’s (2001 AD to 2100 AD) longest total lunar eclipse of 1 hour 43 minutes will occur on July 27-28, 2018. This announcement was made by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. The entire eclipse will be visible from all parts of India.
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1. Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2018 (SSG 2018)- a rural cleanliness survey to rank all states and districts on basis of qualitative and quantitative evaluation has launched by Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) in New Delhi. The criteria of SSG-2018 include survey of public places, citizens’ perspective of cleanliness, their recommendations and data from SBM-G. As part of it, 6,980 villages in 698 districts across India will be covered. The SSG 2018 will be conducted by independent survey agency in all districts from 1st to 31st August 2018. It will also take feedback from over 50 lakh citizens on SBM related issues through direct interaction as well as online feedback. The top performing states and districts are expected to be awarded on 2nd October 2018.
First in state/ National/ International:
1. World’s first-ever 3-D, colour X-ray on human has performed by scientists from New Zealand. The new device is based on the traditional black-and-white X-ray but incorporates particle-tracking technology called Medipix. It is developed by European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). This colour X-ray imaging technique can produce clearer and more accurate pictures and help doctors give their patients more accurate diagnoses. The images very clearly show difference between bone, muscle and cartilage and also the position and size of cancerous tumours.
2. A first consolidated Bridge Management System (IR-BMS), a web-enabled IT application to store data on its 1.5 lakh bridges has launched by Indian Railways. It is web-based platform that will show bridge master data, works data, information regarding inspection and monitoring and maintenance of bridges and other essentials.
1. The threshold monetary limit for tax departments has hiked by the Union Finance Ministry to file appeals all three levels of appeal — Appellate Tribunals, High Courts, and Supreme Court. The move is aimed at significantly decreasing taxpayer greivances and litigation burden of tax departments in courts and tribunals across the country. Under new limits tax departments CBDT and CBIC can file appeals in ITAT/CESTAT only if the tax amount involved is Rs 20 lakh or more, up from Rs 10 lakh at present.The new threshold limits will result in 41% reduction litigation from CBDT’s side, including 34% cases in ITAT, 48% of cases in case of High Courts and 54% of cases in case of Supreme Court. Similarly, in case of CBIC, it will result in reduction in 18% of cases as 16% of cases will be withdrawn in CESTAT, 22% in High Courts, and 21% in Supreme Court. This decision will give relief to taxpayers.
2. The factory output measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has slipped to seven-month low of 3.2% in May 2018 according to the data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). It was mainly due to sluggish performance of manufacturing and power sectors coupled with poor off take of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG).
1. Dr. TCA Raghavan was appointed as the Director General (DG) of Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).