1. June 25 -The Day of the Seafarer is being observed every year across the globe as an expression of thanks to the seafarers for their contribution to the economy and civil society of the world. The theme for year 2018 is ‘Seafarers wellbeing’.
2. June 26-The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was observed across the globe with an aim to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society. The theme of 2018 is "Listen First - Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe".
1. The setting up of committee to lay down standards for metro rail systems in the country has approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The committee will recommend standardisation norms for various components of Metro rail systems that are currently imported. The committee will be headed by E Sreedharan (famously known as metro man of India) who is credited for changing face of public transport in India with his leadership in building Konkan Railway and Delhi Metro.
2. The Cabinet Committee of Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh has formally announced that the Monsoon Session of Parliament will be held from July 18 to August 10, 2018. It will span over 24 days and will have 18 sittings. The CCPA recommendation now sets in summoning motion process of President Ram Nath Kovind for formally convening the session.
3. India and Seychelles have signed six Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) after bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Seychelles President Danny Faure in New Delhi in the areas of infrastructure development in Seychelles, cyber security and white-shipping arrangement. India has announced US $100-million credit to Seychelles for augmenting its defence capabilities. It also announced to hand over second Dornier aircraft to Seychelles as promised by PM Modi during his visit there in 2015. The aircraft will reach Seychelles before its National Day on June 29, 2018.
4. India has pledged $5 million for United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in the Near East. Besides India, 19 countries also made pledges (contributions) for UNRWA at the Pledging Conference for UNRWA held in New York, US. Among the donors, Sweden has pledge to contribute US $250 million over four years, $ 51 million and UAE $50 million.
5. India announced to increase its grant to Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) new four-year investment cycle, known as GEF-7 from $12 million to $15 million. It was announced at the GEF Council meeting held at Da Nang, Vietnam and approved a $4.1 billion replenishment of GEF-7. India is among the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change, is both donor and recipient of GEF. With India’s increased financing commitment, it is playing crucial role to mitigate climate change and other environmental challenges across the globe.
6. In its 13th Executive Committee Meeting, on June 26, 2018, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) approved two projects – setting up of community toilets and procurement of dustbins for the upcoming Kumbh Mela 2019 in Allahabad. The move is aimed at ensuring that the pollutants are not dumped into river Ganga.
7. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recommended stringent punishment for those adulterating food products following the Supreme Court order. Now, those adulterating food products could face life imprisonment and penalty of up to Rs 10 lakh.
8. On June 26, 2018 the 10 new Swachh Iconic Places of the country came up with thorough action plans for raising their sanitation standards to exemplary levels. All the 30 Swachh Iconic Places, selected so far under the Swachh Bharat Mission, also resolved to make their sites completely free of plastic. The plans were formulated at a two-day consultation in Hyderabad held between Central and State Government agencies, local administrations and the Trusts of the iconic places.
9. A draft bill to repeal the University Grants Commission (UGC) and set up the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), a move that aims to reform higher education in India was proposed by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development. The HECI Act, 2018 is expected to be introduced in Parliament in the upcoming monsoon session.
10. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has restricted the manufacture of Oxytocin formulations to public sector for domestic use only from July 2018. It has also banned the import of Oxytocin and its formulations. Only Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KAPL), a public sector company, would be manufacturing this drug for domestic use. No private manufacturer will be allowed to manufacture the drug for domestic use.
11. The report titled ‘Women in Prisons’ launched by Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi on June 25, 2018. The report contains a comprehensive list of 134 recommendations for improving the lives of women under incarceration, addresses a wide range of issues pertaining to pregnancy and childbirth in prison, their mental health, legal aid and reintegration in society.
12. A day-long Seminar on Technology Partnerships ‘TECH-THON’ for steering POSHAN Abhiyaan on June 28, 2018 at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi was announced to organize by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development. The POSHAN Abhiyaan empowers the frontline functionaries such as the Anganwadi Workers and Lady Supervisors by providing them with Smartphones. POSHAN Abhiyaan, also known as National Nutrition Mission, was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 8, 2018 in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.
13. A MoU with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) signed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to scale up the short term healthcare courses through its available robust platform. Under this MoU, curriculum for 10 courses especially designed for the health sector will provide more than 14 lakh trained manpower by 2025.
14. The group of eminent personalities constituted by the Government of India to study the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Policy of India held its first meeting on June 22, 2018 under the aegis of Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation. Baba Kalyani, Chairman Bharat Forge, who is Chairman of this group, pointed out that biggest challenge is the creation of jobs and the focus of the group would be to address this issue. The Minister requested the members of the group to review the entire ecosystem of SEZs to suggest policy changes to make SEZ policy simple and transparent. The group will make suggestion for shift from fiscal incentives to employment based incentives, reframe the boundaries and introduce grandfathering clause for existing provisions, he added. The group has decided to meet in the middle of July 2018 again and will submit its report by the end of August 2018.
15. National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) will organise a National Seminar on “Conservation of Particularly Vulnerable Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: The Way Forward” on June 27-28, 2018 at Kamaladevi Multipurpose Hall, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi. Andaman and Nicobar Islands are home to the most primitive tribal groups: Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa, Sentinelese, Nicobarese and Shompens.
16. Following the retirement of Justice J. Chelameswar, the Supreme Court on June 24, 2018 notified a new roster for the allocation of cases to judges, which will come into effect from July 2, 2018. The Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra will hear all public interest litigation petitions, besides pleas on social justice, elections, habeas corpus and contempt of court. The roster was put in the public domain for the first time in February 2018 after Justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, M.B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph held a press meeting in January 2018 questioning the allocation of sensitive petitions and crucial cases to judges junior to them.
1. To enhance cooperation in biotechnology and traditional medicine, India has signed two MoUs with Cuba. The MoUs were signed after delegation-level talks between President Ram Nath Kovind and his Cuban counterpart Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel in Havana, Cuba. Cuba reaffirmed its support to India’s candidature for permanent seat in United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
2. A pair of Giant Aldabra tortoise to India as a goodwill gesture was gifted by Seychelles. Gifting or giving Aldabra tortoise on loan to friendly countries is a part of the Seychellois diplomacy. Earlier, in 2010, Seychelles had loaned two giant tortoise to Shanghai Zoo in China, while another pair was presented to Guangzhou Zoo in 2014. They were brought to India as gift from the President of Seychelles Danny Faure during his five-day visit to India. The tortoises are both aged about 20 years and weighs around 120 and 150kg. The pair was handed over to Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad after Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in New Delhi gave permission to house them. They have been kept under quarantine at Nehru Zoological Park and will continue to be under observation for 30 days, after which they will be released into enclosure for public view, where presently Galapagos tortoise is also housed.
3. The US Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Trump administration's travel ban targeting people from several Muslim-majority countries. The ban prohibits most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen from entering the US. The court's ruling is viewed as a victory for the Trump administration.
4. In a first, women across Saudi Arabia were legally allowed to drive for the first time since 1957 on June 24, 2018, thus, putting an end to the world’s last ban on female drivers which was seen as a symbol of women’s repression in the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom. Following the lifting of ban, women in Saudi Arabia fired up their engines and hit the roads, marking the moment they had waited for since the issuance of the royal decree by King Salman on September 26, 2017 to lift the driving ban on women.
Science & Technology:
1. The first satellite named RemoveDEBRIS to demonstrate a range of innovative technologies to clean up space debris orbiting Earth was successfully deployed from International Space Station (ISS). The satellite was designed, built and manufactured by consortium of space companies and research institutions led by Surrey Space Centre at University of Surrey, United Kingdom. The project is co-funded by European Commission. RemoveDEBRIS mission is aimed at performing key Active Debris Removal (ADR) technology demonstrations (e.g capture, deorbiting) representative of operational scenario during low-cost mission using novel key technologies for ADR. It was transported to ISS via SpaceX CRS-14 launch in early April 2018.
1. Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT)- an annual exercise between navies of India and Bangladesh was agreed to institute between two countries. The first edition of CORPAT between two navies was inaugurated by Indian Navy’s Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba during his visit to Bangladesh. It saw participation of four maritime patrol aircraft, two from Bangladesh Navy and two from Indian navy, and four frigates, two from Bangladesh Navy(BNS Dhaleswari and BNS Abu Bakar) and two from Indian navy (INS Kadmatt and INS Satpura). During the joint patrol, naval forces of both the countries shared information through naval communication and understanding.
2. The world's largest multilateral naval exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) will begin on June 27, 2018 in Hawaii in the Western Pacific Ocean. The two-month long biennial exercise is likely to be attended by navies of 26 countries including India. Indian Naval Ship Sahyadri has already reached the Pearl Harbour in Hawaii to participate in the 26th edition of RIMPAC exercise. India's participation in the exercise provides a platform for increased interoperability and development of common understanding of procedures for maritime security operations.
1. Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY), solar power scheme for farmers enabling them to generate electricity for their captive consumption as well as sell surplus power to grid has launched by Gujarat government. It is claimed to be first such scheme in the country, where farmer will produce his power and sell surplus to State power utility. The pilot project of the scheme will kickoff from July 2018 and about 137 feeders will be set up. It will cover as many as 12,400 farmers from 33 districts. The project cost is around Rs 870 crore and it will generate 175 MW.
2. On the completion of 3rd year of implementation of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) – Urban, the PMAY (U) has approved more than 51 Lakhs dwelling units against the estimated demand of 1 crore. This is a huge jump in comparison to old housing scheme where 12.4 Lakh houses were approved in around 9 years of its implementation. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) conducted its 35th Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) meeting on June 25, 2018 where a total of 3,18,900 houses from 6 States/UTs were approved on 25th June 2018.
1. $200 million in India’s National Investment & Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) to give greater impetus to mega infrastructure projects has approved by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). It will be investing US $100 million now and remaining $100 million in the time to come. AIIB so far approved $4.4 billion investments in 25 projects. Of these investments, $1.2 billion have been approved for six infrastructure projects in India, making it largest recipient of funds from the multilateral agency.
2. Gender inequality in India is extremely high at the workplace and in terms of legal protection and political voice according to recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) for the Asia-Pacific region. It ranks countries on scale of 0 (signifying inequality) to 1 (signifying parity). India’s score was 0.30 in gender equality at work and 0.78 in legal protection and political voice.
3. The setting up of Board of Management (BoM) in all Urban Co-operative Banks (UCBs) having deposits of over Rs 100 crore within one year to strengthen governance and promote professional management in these banks has proposed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). BoM will look after all administrative functions of UCBs as spelt out in respective Co-operatives Act. It will be responsible for credit, risk and
liquidity management of UCBs. BoM will be in addition to the Board of Directors (BoD). The BoD will continue to be apex policy setting body and constitute various committees of boa rd including BoM to assist it to carry out its functions.
4. The second tranche of Bharat-22 Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), comprising shares of 22 companies, has received bids worth Rs. 15,436 crore, much higher than government’s fund raising target. The second tranche was targeted to achieve fund mop up of Rs 6,000 crore with green-shoe option for another Rs. 2,400 crore. Bharat 22 is a well-diversified ETF spanning six sectors — basic materials, energy, finance, industrials, FMCG and utilities.
1. The World Food Prize 2018 was awarded to Lawrence Haddad and Dr. David Nabarro for their individual but complementary global leadership in elevating maternal and child under nutrition within food security. Lawrence Haddad is British economist and food policy researcher and Dr. David Nabarro has worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations (UN) on health and hunger issues. Both have dedicated their careers to reducing hunger and malnutrition. This year’s $250,000 prize will be divided equally between two recipients.
2. IIFA 2018 Awards: Vidya Balan-starrer "Tumhari Sulu" won the Best Picture Award at the International Indian Film Academy Awards 2018 in Bangkok. Irfan Khan was adjudged the Best Actor for his role in the film "Hindi Medium". Sridevi was posthumously awarded the Best Female Actor for "Mom". The Best Director trophy was won by Saket Chowdhary for his film "Hindi Medium". “Newton", which was India's official entry to Oscars this year, won the award for Best Story for director Masurkar. Anupam Kher, who has over 500 films to his credit, was honoured with the Outstanding Achievement Award at the ceremony.
1. Anant Barua was appointed as whole-time member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) by the Union Government. He is has been appointed to post for three years on the pay as admissible to additional secretary to the central government or a consolidated salary of Rs 4 lakh per month.
2. Senior bureaucrat S Ramesh has appointed as Chairman of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) by the Union Government. CBIC is the apex policy-making body for indirect taxes. He will succeed Vanaja N Sarna who retires on June 30, 2018.
1. In Archery, Deepika Kumari clinched a gold medal in the women's recurve event at stage three of World Cup in Salt Lake City of the US by defeating Michelle Kroppen of Germany. With this win, the four-time World Cup final silver medalist has automatically qualified for the Archery World Cup Final to be held in Samsun, Turkey in 2018. Tan Ya-Ting of Chinese Taipei won bronze medal after beating Gabriela Bayardo of the Netherlands in four set. In the medal standings, India finished fourth behind US, Colombia and Chinese Taipei with a gold, silver and bronze each in the penultimate stage of the World Cup.