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Daily Current Affairs for August 1, 2018 ( English)

Important Days:
1.     Aug 1- Earth Overshoot Day 2018 was observed. It marks the date when we all have consumed more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. The date of Earth Overshoot Day is calculated from data of Global Footprint Network. Global Footprint Network is an international research organization that is changing how the world measures and manages its natural resources.
1.     A MoU was signed between Common Service Center (CSC) and National Health Accounts (NHA) to implement the Ayushman Bharat scheme through 3 lakh Common Service Centers (CSCs) across the country. CSCs will help beneficiary to identify his name in Health Ministry database and his entitlement for the scheme. It will also help beneficiary to scan and upload his KYC documents for verification of his identity and claim his entitlement. Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) aims cover over 10 crore poor vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage of up to Rs. 5 lakh (per family per year) for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. 
2.     The neelakurinji flower will bloom in the Anamalai hills near Munnar, Kerala after 12 years.Spread over 3,000 hectares of rolling hills, Munnar is home to this rarely occurring neelakurinji flower plants.These plants take another 12 years for the seeds to sprout again and grow up to 30 to 60 centimetres high.
3.     Startup India Yatra began on July 30, 2018 in Raipur. The Startup India van will travel to various cities of Chhattisgarh like Bilaspur, Korba, Koria, Surguja, Jashpur, Raigarh, Balodabazar, Durg, Rajnandgaon, Balod, Dhamtari, Kanker, Kondagaon, Jagdalpur and Dantewada. Startup India Yatra van is equipped with facilities for individuals and startups to pitch their ideas. Students queued up in large numbers to register for the first boot camp at Raipur. It will hold boot camps in the Government Engineering colleges and Polytechnic Institutes.The boot camps will include presentations on Startup India and Chhattisgarh Startup Policy followed by extensive ideation workshops.
4.     The Delhi government on July 31, 2018 approved a proposal of its Social Welfare Department to do away with the requirement of linking the 12-digit Aadhaar number with bank accounts to avail the benefits of welfare schemes including old age, disability and widow pensions. The Social Welfare department will now remit all the pensions stopped due to lack of Aadhaar linkage. The increased pension will be remitted with effect from April 2018, to all beneficiaries who are getting the pension on old rates so that beneficiaries are not penalised for system related reasons.
5.     Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) and BSNL have signed an MoU for extending benefits in customer services. BSNL will use the smart card services of LMRC for collection of post-paid bills.
6.     ‘Mobile Tihar’- a smartphone distribution scheme under the Sanchar Kranti Yojna (SKY) was launched by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and actress Kangana Ranaut in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. As a part of this scheme, 556 new mobile towers will be set up in Chhattisgarh. The scheme has been launched to distribute smartphones to women and students. It will benefit more than 50 Lakh people.
7.     FOCAL(Forum of Cargo-Owners and Logistics-Operators)- a dedicated portal to connect cargo owners and shippers with real time data on availability of vessels has launched by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) on August 1,2018. It has been designed and developed by IT Department and the Traffic Wing of IWAI. This would ensure direct interaction among the vessel operators, shippers and cargo owners.
8.     The foundation stone of the 2nd Phase of Construction of North East Institute of Ayurveda & Homeopathy (NEIAH) at NEIAH Campus in Mawdiangdiang, Shillong was laid by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH Shri Shripad Yesso Naik. NEIAH is the hub for researches in Ayurveda and folk medicine for the entire South East Asia. The institute will focus on cultivation and preservation of valuable medicinal plants in the region and would promote and preserve the traditional knowledge of folk medicine.
1.     First Nepal-India Think Tank’ Summit held in Kathmandu, Nepal on July 31, 2018 to foster greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing among the think tanks of the two countries. It was jointly organized by the Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs and Nehru Memorial Museum Library. The summit will be hosted alternatively in Nepal and India annually. It consisted of 4 sessions. They are :1st session-Building innovative cooperation between Indo-Nepal think tanks,2nd session- Bolstering bilateral economic ties for the shared prosperity,3rd session- Managing security dilemma and 4th session- Redefining Nepal-India relations in 21st century.
2.      India and Germany signed an agreement on financial and technical cooperation. This will focus on sustainable urban development and renewable energy in areas of sanitation, solid waste management and promotion of urban mobility. This cooperation will help reduce the greenhouse gases emission. 2018 marks 60 years of bilateral development cooperation between India and Germany.
Science & Technology:
1.     Scientists from National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) have successfully identified molecular and cellular mechanisms by which Zika virus causes microcephaly. Babies born with microcephaly have significantly smaller head size compared with normal babies. Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which also transmits dengue. It can also spread through blood transfusion and sexual contact.
2.     NASA’s new planet hunting Spacecraft Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has become operational and has started collecting data after its successful launch in April 2018. TESS mission is led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. Now, the TESS spacecraft will firstly scan patch of sky in southern hemisphere covering 2,300 degrees from south ecliptic pole to near ecliptic plane.

1.     Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2018 has passed by Lok Sabha to bring relief to the home buyers and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The Bill replaces ordinance promulgated in this regard and amends the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. Insolvency is situation where individual or company is unable to repay their outstanding debt.
2.     A safeguard duty of 25% on import of solar cells (whether or not assembled in modules or panels) from China and Malaysia has imposed by Union Government. The decision by Union Government follows long deliberation by Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), which recommended safeguard duty structure after considering application by Indian solar cell manufacturers. The move is aimed at helping domestic solar cell manufacturing sector. But it could affect existing projects dependent on cheap imports and hike solar power tariffs in India since around 90% of panels sector uses solar cells made in China and Malaysia.
3.     The index of eight core industries (comprising of coal, crude oil, natural gas, petroleum refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity) expanded to 7-month high of 6.7% in June 2018 as per the data released by Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry. This was due to better performance by cement, refinery and coal sectors of the index. The previous high was witnessed in November 2017 at 6.9%. The growth rate in May 2018 was 4.3%. This growth in the core industry is considered by two factors.One is that government investment in infrastructure projects is going up, driving industries such as steel. The other is petroleum products are mainly exported and drive to increase exports will be pushing this up. 
4.     The Supreme Court overruled its 21-year-old verdict and held that benefit of any ambiguity in notification related to tax exemptions must be interpreted in favour of the State. A five-judge Constitution bench said that benefit of ambiguity in exemption notification of the government, which is subject to strict interpretation, cannot be claimed by the assessee. In 1997, the apex court said that in case of any ambiguity in a tax exemption provision or notification, it must be interpreted in favour the assessee claiming the benefit of such exemptions. It, however, reiterated that if in the event of ambiguity in a taxation liability statute, the benefit should go to the subject or assessee.
5.     StarAgri Finance signed an MoU with private lender Karur Vysya Bank to provide financial assistance to commodity traders and farmers. Micro-lending would be provided to traders and farmers in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
6.      The amendments of GST Laws were approved in a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 1, 2018. It has 46 amendments. Amendments to the Central GST law, Integrated GST law, and compensation Cess law are yet to be tabled.
7.     Investors’ Conference for the Holistic Development of Islands is going to host by NITI Aayog at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi on 10th August 2018. This Conference will be inaugurated by Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog. It is expected to gain investment for the sustainable development of eco-tourism projects in Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands.
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First in State/ India/ International:
1.     Rajasthan became first state in the country to implement National Policy on Biofuels unveiled by Union Government in May 2018. Under this policy, State Government will lay emphasis on increasing production of oilseeds and establish Centre for Excellence in Udaipur to promote research in fields of alternative fuels and energy resources.
Appointments/ Resignations:
1.     C B Ananthakrishnan was appointed as the Director (Finance) of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
1.     Under the Swachh Bharat Mission Programme of Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports is celebrating Swachhta Pakhwada from August 1 to 15, 2018. The Ministry aims to make all five SAI Stadia namely Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex, Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range and Dr. SPM Swimming Pool Complex as “Plastic Free Zone”. 
2.     World Junior Squash Championships 2018 was held in Chennai from 18th to 29th July 2018. Egypt national junior squash team defeated England 2-0 in the final and emerged as the 2018 World Junior Squash Champions. India finished in 11th position.
3.  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, United Kingdom wins 6th Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix. This is the 67th career victory for Lewis Hamilton. Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull of Australia was named as the  Driver of the Day by Formula One for finishing at fourth position after starting from the 12th position. Formula One’s next race is the Belgian Grand Prix. It will be held on 26th August 2018.
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