1. 29 inhabited islands in Andaman and Nicobar has excluded from Restricted Area Permit (RAP) regime under the Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order, 1963 till December 2022 by the Union Government. The lifting of RAP will allow foreigners to visit these islands without prior permission from the government. This decision aims to increase footfalls and promote tourism. Government is also planning to open 11 other uninhabited islands to foreigners.
2. The government has extended e-visa facility for citizens of 165 countries at 25 airports and five seaports in order to promote tourism. A 24X7 toll free multi-lingual tourist helpline has also been put in place as part of the efforts.
3. ‘GoaMiles’- the app-based taxi service of Goa Tourism Development Corporation was flagged off in Panaji by Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar on August 7,2018. The service is aimed at bringing about transparency in fares for the customers and it would ensure that commuters are not cheated and at the same time would increase the earnings of taxi drivers by ‘two to three’ times.
4. The Uttar Pradesh government has announced that it will appoint interns in every block of the state for publicity of the welfare schemes of government. These interns named as ‘Lok Kalyan Mitra’ will also provide feedback regarding implementation of the welfare schemes.
5. The Delhi High Court on August 8, 2018 decriminalised begging in the national capital, stating that the provisions penalising the act were unconstitutional and deserved to be struck down. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar ruled that the consequences of this decision would be that the trial, under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 against people alleged to have committed the offence of begging, will now be liable to be struck down.
1. The third India-Nepal coordination meet was held on August 8, 2018 to discuss border security. A seven-member delegation from Nepal, headed by Inspector General of Nepal Armed Police Force Shailendra Khanal, arrived to take part in the three-day meet. Issues related to security along the border and sharing of information on criminals were discussed during the meet.
Science & Technology:
1. Startup Academia Alliance programme to fulfill Government’s mission to promote spirit of entrepreneurship in the country has launched by Startup India. The programme aims to reduce gap between scientific research and its industrial applications in order to increase efficacy of these technologies and widen their impact. The first phase of the programme was kickstarted through partnering with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Regional Centre for Biotechnology, Council on Energy, Environment and Water and TERI School of Advanced Studies.
2. India has highest gender gap in mobile phone ownership amongst 18 comparable countries and ranks among the lowest in women’s access to Internet according to recent study released by LIRNEAsia. The study also included comparative research done by ICT Africa in Africa and DIRSI in Latin America.
3. Earth is at the risk of entering an irreversible hothouse condition according to recent study. Hothouse Earth climate will in long-term stabilise at global average of 4-5 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial temperatures with sea level 10- 60 metres higher than today. Currently, global average temperatures are just over 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial and rising at 0.17 degree Celsius per decade.
4. Chinese astronomers have discovered the most lithium-rich giant star ever known, which could shed new light on the evolution of the universe. A research team, led by astronomers from the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC), made the discovery with the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fibre Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST). With 3,000 times more lithium than a normal star, it was found in the direction of Ophiuchus, on the north side of the galactic disk, at a distance of 4,500 light years from Earth. The star has a mass almost 1.5 times our sun.
5. The TRAI Mobile Apps namely DND 2.0 and MyCall with UMANG Platform were integrated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on August 7, 2018. From now onwards, the DND 2.0 and MyCall mobile apps will also be available on Umang Platform. This integration is part of the policy initiatives of TRAI that the authority has been undertaking over the years to protect the interests of the consumers to safeguard their interests.
First in State/India/World:
1. Bharat Energy Storage Technology Private Limited (BEST) owned the world’s first-ever thermal battery plant that was inaugurated in Amravati, Andhra Pradesh. The thermal battery is based on alternative sources of energy production, and its presence is expected to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The plant will begin its commercial operations from May 2019. BEST is planning to create a battery capacity of 1000MW. This is expected to be upgraded to a 10GW capacity by 2025. This plant is based on technology patented in India by Dr Patrick Glynn in 2016.
1. The import duties on 328 textile products has doubled to 20% from existing rate of 10% under Section 159 of the Customs Act, 1962 by Government. The increase in duties will give edge to domestic manufacturers as imported products are currently cheaper. It will curb soaring imports from China and focus more on local value addition in labour-intensive sector. Earlier in July 2018, Government had doubled import duty on over 50 textile products — including jackets, suits and carpets to 20%.
2. Journalist Swaminathan Gurumurthy and Sahakar Bharathi patron Satish Kashinath Marathe were appointed as part-time non-official Directors on the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) by the Central Government on August 7, 2018 following the approval from the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. With these latest appointments, the total number of government appointed directors on the RBI board comes to 10, the maximum permitted.
3. India is a source of growth for the global economy for the next few decades according to International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF report also described the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as a "milestone reform" in India's tax policy.
1. Under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), the Union Government, NABARD and National Water Development Agency (NWDA) have signed revised Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for funding of central share of 99 prioritized irrigation projects through Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF). The revised MoA will enable Ministry of Water Resources to release Central Assistance to prioritized projects under PMKSY as per requirements from time to time.
1. Justice Shripathi Ravindra Bhat was appointed as the acting chief justice of the Delhi High Court on August 7, 2018. Justice Bhat will continue to hold the charge of acting chief justice till Justice Rajendra Menon of the Patna High Court takes over as the chief justice of the Delhi High Court in the coming days.
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1. Tokyo 2020 will be first Olympics to use facial recognition technology to increase security around all venues. The facial recognition technology will use IC chips within identification cards to automatically verify the identity of those entering over 40 sporting venues. This system will help to prevent fraudulent entry by people borrowing, stealing or faking an ID card. The technology takes only 0.3 seconds to match up face with pre-registered photo, making it world’s fastest such system.
2. World Champion weightlifter Mirabai Chanu pulled out of the Asian Games after failing to recover from a lower back injury. Her absence from the upcoming Asian Games comes as a huge setback for India, as she was considered as one of the strongest contenders for a gold medal in the event.
3. The games period will be made mandatory in all schools from 2019 onwards. This announcement was made by Union Sports Minister, Rajyavardhan Rathore on August 6, 2018 Along with this, the Minister said that the Ministry of Education will ensure a 50 per cent reduction in the syllabus.